Police Brutality is real and widespread

Baltimore cop repeatedly punches suspect in face:

(excerpt)

“Much like the public, I’m shocked, I’m outraged, I’m disgusted by what I saw by an employee of the Baltimore City Police Department,” Commissioner Anthony Batts said during a press conference regarding the video showing Officer Vincent Cosom striking 32-year-old Kollin Truss in the face repeatedly.

The footage shows Truss and Cosom getting into an argument after Cosom allegedly told Truss to stop loitering outside a liquor store. At one point, Truss reportedly went into the store and told Cosom, “F*ck you, I will see you when I get outside.”

The footage shows Truss’ girlfriend, Stephanie Coleman, getting between the two men when Truss leaves the store, and leading him away from the scene when Cosom appears and begins punching Truss. Cosom is seen continuing to hit Truss even after another officer tries to pull Truss away. Truss was arrested and charged at the time with assaulting Cosom, but the charges were dropped after three days and he was released from jail.

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17 year old Bryce Masters in a medically induced coma following injuries sustained after a struggle with police in Independence, MO (despite what you may think, MO is not unique):

Family and friends are questioning the use of force by Independence police after a struggle with an officer sent a 17-year-old to the hospital.

The officer used a stun gun on the teenager who is now in critical condition.

Friends say Bryce Masters is in a medically induced coma because of injuries to his brain. They are hoping the teenager pulls through.

They are cooling his body to try and reduce swelling that may have been caused by hitting his head on the concrete or losing oxygen for a long period of time.

Curtis Martes stepped outside to welcome Masters to his house in the 200 block of Southside Boulevard about 3:30 p.m. Sunday, only to find that a police officer had pulled his friend over.

“The cop went up to the passenger window and was like, ‘hey, roll down the window,'” Martes said.

However, Martes says Masters couldn’t roll it down.

“He doesn’t have the cable that allows the electric window to work,” Martes said.

But Independence police said Masters had an outstanding traffic violation and refused to cooperate with the officer.

“I believe he did crack the window but did not roll it down any further. He was just being completely uncooperative with the officer,” Sgt. Darrell Schmidli said.

That’s when things got rough.

Police say the officer did what he had to do to protect himself because the teen began to struggle with the officer.

“The driver refused to exit the vehicle. A struggle ensued, a Taser was deployed by the officer. The driver was finally removed out of the car. A struggle ensued once he was moved out of the car,” Sgt. Darrell Schmidli said.

However, witnesses describe a different scene.

“The cop was like, ‘you want to mess with me,’ and pulled out his Taser and tased him. I thought he shot him. Then he pulled him out of the car handcuffed him and drug him around the car,” witness Michelle Baker said.

Schmidli said Masters was warned the officers were going to use a stun gun and still refused to cooperate.

“It looked like he hit his head on the concrete. You could see blood coming out of his mouth. The cop put his foot on his back and moved it back and forth like he was putting a cigarette out and asked him, ‘are you ready to get up now?’ You could tell the kid was going into convulsions,” Baker said.

Witnesses who saw the whole thing happen say they watched Masters die and then come back to life after emergency crews resuscitated him.

Abigail Edwards, a co-worker of Masters, says witnesses and friends want an investigation into how the incident was handled.

“It doesn’t make sense. He didn’t deserve it. I know he didn’t do anything to deserve it because his father is a cop. He knows better than to do stuff like that,” Edwards said.

The story doesn’t end there.  Masters’ father is a police officer with the Kansas City Police Department. The family’s attorney has released this statement:

“The family of Bryce Masters would like to thank everyone for their outpouring of concern and support.

“Because of significant inconsistencies between public statements made by the Independence Police Department and information made available to the family in the form of statements of eyewitnesses and video and audio footage of the occurrence, the family has asked the United States Department of Justice to conduct its own investigation into these tragic events.

“Because Bryce is still in critical condition, the Masters family asks that their privacy be respected in allowing them to focus on Bryce’s needs and his recovery.”

The story isn’t over yet.  The FBI is launching an excessive force probe on the Independence Police Department.

The story has taken on another twist (bolding mine):

An officer had pulled over Masters because there was an outstanding Kansas City Police Department warrant associated with the vehicle. This occurred just after 3 p.m. Sunday in the area of East Southside Boulevard and Main Street.

The warrant was for a woman.

In the Daily Kos article, WFBMM makes a very strong point:

I hate to have to say this, but I feel I must. I have yet to see any attempts at character assassination on this young man. I mean, isn’t that what the talking heads usually do when a teen is either injured or killed by a cop—or a vigilante?

Where are the thug pictures? Where are the hoodie pictures? Where are the stories of behavior issues and problems with authority? Where are the alcohol/marijuana reports from “friends” and acquaintances? Teens are teens. Black, white, brown…whatever. No racial group has a monopoly on these things, so why hasn’t the media dug into this kid’s life as meticulously as they did all the other victims?

Those are some damn excellent questions.

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In an ongoing series, Gawker documents stories of harassment by the NYPD:

Amid the police terror that has swept the nation these last few months, there has been a missing facet from the conversation: the fact that women are brutalized by cops just as severely as men. For every John Crawford and Jahmil-El Cuffee there is an Ersula Ore or a Marlene Pinnock (you can view the footage of Pinnock’s beating by a California Highway Patrol officer here).

The assault on the bodies of Ore and Pinnock, and similarly on women like Stephanie Maldonado, Rosan Miller, and Denise Stewart here in New York City, underlines a truth we can no longer ignore: woman are all too often the targets of police brutality. An organized push for justice in the wake of police violence might start with the story of a Michael Brown or an Eric Garner, but the stories and faces of victimized women—as well as gay, lesbian, and trans people, and the poor and elderly—must too be included as we call for police reform.

As part of an ongoing series, Gawker is publishing stories from New Yorkers who have been victims of, or witnesses to, police harassment and brutality by the NYPD. Police brutality, which we believe should be treated as a national crisis, is not limited to the streets of New York or Los Angeles. But examining the actions of the country’s largest and most famous police force, and giving a voice to the victims of its violence, is a start.

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Police Brutality is real and widespread
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