I began the ‘Police Behaving Badly’ series last year as a way of documenting the stories of police officers who engaged in questionable, unethical, immoral, or illegal behavior. At the time, I knew that there were cases of on-duty cops sexually assaulting women, that cops had been caught stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars from drug suspects, that it was not uncommon for officers to use excessive force, and that police brutality and racism often go hand-in-hand. What I didn’t know was how often this shit occurred. I didn’t know how pervasive these problems were. Like many, I trusted law enforcement officials. As I read more and more stories of police officers behaving badly, I came to realize that these individual cases pointed to a more significant problem-rampant corruption within law enforcement across the country as well as sexism, homophobia, transphobia, and racism. Not just individual officers either, but entire police departments (the New York and Ferguson PDs immediately spring to mind). I learned that this shit happens all the time and as a result, this series will continue for a very, very long time (as long as I’m blogging most likely). Here are a few of the most recent examples of Police Behaving Badly:
A video has surfaced that appears to show a Minneapolis police officer threatening to break a teenager’s leg during a traffic stop. Hamza Jeylani, 17, who recorded the cellphone video, told MRP News that he and his friends had left a YMCA on March 18 when police pulled them over. The four young men, of Somali descent, believe that they were victims of racial profiling, and an advocacy group is now calling for a federal investigation, according to the Huffington Post.
Jeylani’s smartphone captured about 30 seconds of the encounter. An officer says, “Plain and simple, if you f–k with me, I’m going to break your leg before you get the chance to run. I’m being honest; I don’t screw around.”
When one of the young men asks why they are being arrested, the officer responds, “Because I feel like arresting you.”
The teens were handcuffed and detained for about 45 minutes while the officers searched their vehicle. But the young men were not charged with a crime.
A video of this latest example of authoritarian mentality among police officers is available at the link.
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A married couple claims they were assaulted by Metropolitan police last week, and they have the video and their two small children as witnesses to prove it.
Forrest and Chadon Boggs were near their home, with their children when police showed up on the scene.
Officers arrived at the 1500 block of E Street NE last Wednesday after saying they heard reports of people fighting. When officers arrived, they saw that there was no fighting.
As Forrest Boggs was walking by the officers, he says spat on the ground. But Officer Blier, with the Metropolitan police department claimed Boggs spat on his police cruiser.
“Boggs [husband] … spat a wad of saliva onto Ofc. Blier’s scout car rear window and then continued to walk E/B in the alley,” police said in their report.
“I did spit, but I didn’t spit on his car,” said Boggs.
Even if Boggs would have spat on the officer’s car, what happened next was completely unjustified.
“This is straight-out police brutality, and we have videos to show it,” said Forrest Boggs.
The officer on a power trip approached Forest Boggs and began to assault the man. The two fell to the ground and the officer got on the back of Boggs. At this point, Chadon Boggs walked over to the officer who was assaulting her husband and began to voice her disapproval.
Chadon says that when her husbands cell phone and hat fell, she bent down to grab it, and that’s when her attack began.
We can see on the video as an officer walks up to Chadon Boggs and shoves her so hard that she flew back several feet, smashing into the cruiser.
Police officers then got on top of the woman and began beating her with a baton.
“An officer came and rushed up and shoved me onto the back of a police car and took his stick out and began to start hitting me with the stick,” she said.
According to WJLA, the husband and wife were charged with assault on a police officer. Both were taken to hospitals, where Chadon Boggs received four stitches.
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The footage shows Deanna Jo Robinson, an Air Force veteran, being restrained from behind by the unidentified officer and another deputy during a March 4 incident at her parents’ home, where she said sheriff’s officials forced their way in without a warrant to take her 18-month-old son on orders of Child Protective Services (CPS).
The video, taken from a surveillance camera inside the home, cuts out after the officer raises his hand to hit her again. Robinson, who said she was struck four or five times, can be heard saying several times that she is pregnant.
“I’m 38 weeks pregnant, and with my stomach again repeatedly pressed into that counter, and with my 18-month old son watching his mother be assaulted, and him screaming in fear,”she told WFAA-TV this week. “There’s nothing that warrants what they did to me.”
Robinson spent six days in county jail after being arrested and charged with assault on a public servant, resisting arrest and interference with child custody. She said she took the boy with her to her parents’ house after getting into a shoving match with her husband several days earlier.
According to the Observer, CPS officials removed the husband’s other three children away from his custody a day before Robinson’s encounter with police. One of the children’s teachers reportedly alerted the agency regarding the couple’s altercation. All four children are currently in state custody.
Video of the officer hitting Robinson was posted online last weekend. Sheriff Randy Meeks announced the investigation on his department’s Facebook page, saying it came in response to an “Internet allegation.”
Sure would be interesting to see how right-wing authoritarians react to this story. After all, they claim to support the military as well as law enforcement and are known to clutch their pearls and become outraged at any criticism directed at either group. They’ll probably just blame President Obama. Or liberals. Or teh gays. Or all three. Yeah, probably all three.
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On that January night, Floyd Dent was pulled over by Officer William Melendez for an alleged traffic violation. Dashcam video shows a seemingly docile Dent being pulled out of his car and mercilessly hammered by Melendez. No one knows why the officer did so. Melendez’s report says Dent gave him a “narcotic stare” and had his fists clenched and later bit him. The video seems to show a different story. You can be the judge of who is telling the truth, below.
A subsequent search of the vehicle says that crack cocaine was found in the car, but now that charge — the only one remaining against Mr. Dent — seems to have fallen apart, and Officer Melendez, who has previously been fired for filing false reports and charged for planting evidence, is right at the center of it.
Dent claims he doesn’t do drugs and a test following the arrest squarely backs that up. And now a new video has surfaced showing “smoking gun” evidence that Dent was, indeed, framed. The video shows Melendez pulling a small baggie from his pocket. This baggie appears to be similar to the one he claims to have found inside Mr. Dent’s car.
Floyd Dent’s attorney will be in court with this evidence to attempt to get this last remaining charge dropped.
You can watch the video at the link.
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In a video uploaded to Facebook on Wednesday, Michael Cates filmed a disturbing interaction between police and retired truck driver, Russel Ayers. The recording shows police threatening Ayers with incarceration after he refused to apologize to an officer, after calling him a “f*cking asshole.”
The confrontation took place after the officer’s partner allegedly came close to plowing through a group of bikers on Highway 62 in Thomasville, North Carolina. The cruiser was reportedly going 100 mph in a 60 mph zone, with no siren or lights.