Police Behaving Badly 4.28.15

From the use of excessive force to stealing drugs from suspects…from racial profiling to abusing the power of their badges…from sexually assaulting suspects to planting evidence…there is a never-ending stream of stories of law enforcement officials behaving irresponsibly, unethically, immorally, and/or criminally. Here are five recent examples from across the nation:

Florida deputy fired for ignoring 911 call from dying woman so he could finish his pizza

Lee County Sheriff Mike Scott fired Yvan Fernandez following an Internal Affairs report that showed that the deputy acknowledged the emergency call from dispatch before returning to his pizza, even though he was not on an official meal break at the time.

According to friends of the victim, Gwendolyn Minnis, 48, she had recently been released from the hospital after having a heart attack.

Police believe she called 911 to report another heart attack on March 13, with dispatch sending out a call for an officer to respond after the line went dead.

The report states that Fernandez was having lunch with three other deputies at Raider’s Pizza and Wings when he first took the call, responding to a second call from dispatch 8 minutes later, telling the dispatcher “copy.”

Fernandez then reportedly went back to eating his lunch before passing off the call to another deputy 30 minutes later.

Deputies arrived at the home where Minnis was staying, 53 minutes after the initial call, to find the woman lying in her walkway unconscious with the phone next to her. She later died.

The report also noted that Fernandez was not on an official meal break at the time of the call.  Had he been on a break, another officer would have been assigned to the call by dispatch.

Cop literally puts his appetite ahead of the life of another human being. This lack of concern for the well-being of citizens is one of the many problems USAmericans have with law enforcement officials.

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At the heart of the protests and civil unrest in Baltimore, MD is frustration over police brutality which disproportionately affects African-Americans. Here is one more in a long list of examples:

Video obtained by WDIV in Detroit appears to show Inkster, MI police officers laughing and celebrating after beating suspect Floyd Dent during a traffic stop.

All charges against Dent were drooped after brutal video emerged of officers punching him up to 16 times; Dent was also kicked and tazed, and suffered broken ribs and a head injury.

One officer said Dent had been trying to bite him and possibly reach for a weapon, though there were no reports of any officer injuries. Officer William Melendez, who inflicted most of the beating, has been fired, and may face criminal charges.

In the video obtained by WDIV the cops are reportedly seen afterward cleaning Dent’s blood off their uniforms and fist-bumping. The officers appear to be laughing, though there is no audio, and at one point one of the officers appears to reenact the beating.

I couldn’t embed the video here, but you can watch it if you click the link above.

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2 South Carolina cops sentenced to prison for torturing mentally ill woman

Officer Eric Walters confronted Melissa Brown on a morning patrol in Marion when he saw her walking out of the yard of a home up for sale, assuming she had broken into the residence. According to court records, Walters asked the mentally-disabled woman what she was doing, then tased her before she could reply. Davis collapsed to the ground, at which point the officer ordered her to put her hands behind her back, again not giving her a chance to comply before he tased her four more times.

It was shortly after this when Officer Brown arrived on the scene to find Walters removing the barbs of the taser from the woman’s back after he finally decided she had done nothing wrong. Good thing he didn’t do anything drastic, like electrocuting her repeatedly for no reason.

It gets worse.

Court records show Brown then noticed that his fellow officer didn’t properly apply the handcuffs, allowing one of her hands to slip out. This caused him to order everyone to move back while he tased her three more times, despite the fact that the woman was absolutely no threat to herself or anyone else. He finally stopped electrocuting her when she rolled back over to be handcuffed properly. He then offered to let her go if she let him tase her in the forehead, telling other officers at the scene that he only tased her because he “did not want to touch that nasty b*tch.”

The two officers were fired three weeks after the incident occurred. Franklin Brown was sentenced to 18 months behind bars; Eric Walters, a year and a day, both pleading guilty to deprivation of rights. Although Walters was the sole cause of the brutal attack on the innocent woman, Brown received a longer sentence because he electrocuted the woman when she was restrained and vulnerable. Davis attended the trial but began sobbing when Walters attempted an apology, and was escorted out by her family.

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Long Beach police shoot & kill unarmed teen through window for graffiti on abandoned building

Morejon was inside the vacant apartment building close to his home with four friends when police arrived and saw him standing by a wall through a broken window.

Likely alarmed by the police arriving and pointing to warn his friends, the teenager reportedly turned towards the window, bent his knees and extended his arm “as if pointing an object which the officer perceived was a gun.”

Yet another trigger happy cop that assumes someone has a weapon. I didn’t know the penalty for trespassing in an abandoned building was summary execution.

The police then fired an “unknown” number of bullets at Morejon and arrested the four people he was with for trespassing.  No weapons were found at the scene.

According to a video made by a witness, after the teen was shot, he climbed out the window in a desperate attempt to have his life saved by the monster who had just fatally injured him.

“He was saying, ‘my stomach… my stomach…’ and the cop said, ‘so what?’” the witness explained.

The witness also stated that Morejon was allowed to bleed to death, despite paramedics being only a block and a half away from the scene.

How the fuck does someone bleed to death when paramedics are that close? Oh, wait. I forgot. The lives of people of color don’t matter in this country.

His mother, Lucia Morejon, heard the shots and commotion echo from the alley behind her home and when she went outside to investigate what was going on she saw swarms of police, and her teenage son in an ambulance.

“When he saw her, he propped himself partially up and cried to her, “Mommy, Mommy, please come, please come!” She walked towards the ambulance, identified herself as his mother, expecting to ride with him to the hospital, but was pushed back by a man in a blue uniform. She asked what happened and was told that no one knew.” R. Samuel Paz, the lawyer representing the Morejon family wrote in a statement.

When his mother arrived at the hospital, she was not permitted to see her son until he was dead.

That’s beyond fucked up.

After taking this young life, the police went on the offensive, as usual, assassinating the character of their victim and claiming that the graffiti was gang related.  There has been no indication that it was, and his family insists that he was a sweet teenager who had no gang affiliation.

Always with the character assassination. As if being in a gang is sufficient justification for extrajudicial murder by cop.

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Ex-Irwindale police officer, city sued in molestation of Explorer Scout

“There isn’t a problem with law enforcement as a whole. It’s just a few bad apples.”

That’s a common refrain from police apologists, who seek to minimize the seriousness of police brutality in USAmerica. This story demonstrates that the police culture is geared towards protecting officers, rather than seeking justice. And that’s a problem for law enforcement, which is ostensibly charged with serving and protecting the citizens of this country.

An attorney Friday filed suit against the Irwindale Police Department for allegedly covering up a child sex abuse case involving a former police officer who molested a 15-year-old girl when she was an Explorer Scout.

The lawsuit claims city officials and other officers knew that ex-officer Daniel Robert Camerano, 28, was sexually abusing girls while he was an adviser in the department’s Explorer program but did little or nothing to stop it.

“This case is disturbing and tragic on a number of levels,” said Attorney Anthony DeMarco, an attorney for the victim. “It is striking that these officers knew what was going on and didn’t try to stop it. They’re supposed to be protecting people. They’re supposed to be protecting her.”

Others named in the suit include Camerano, the City of Irwindale and Learning for Life, the national organization that runs the department’s Explorer program, which is designed for high school students interested in pursuing a career in law enforcement.

DeMarco said the lawsuit is against Camerano for abusing her but also against each of the organizations for being complicit in what their officer was doing.

According to the lawsuit, Camerano was not “relieved of his position with the Explorers or disciplined in any way, until complaints reached the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and that entity began its investigation, which resulted in Camerano being criminally convicted in January.

Camerano is currently serving a state prison sentence of two years and eight months for crimes including using a minor for sex acts, oral copulation of a person under 16 and contact with a minor for sexual offenses.

According to the lawsuit and the criminal conviction, he molested the girl when she was on police-sanctioned “ride-alongs,” where the underage girl and her supervisor would work alone overnight in a squad car. He also molested her in the station house, where other officers and supervisors knew or should have known that he was abusing the girl.

City Attorney Fred Galante and Police Chief Anthony Miranda both declined to comment. Galante said the case would be handled by the Joint Powers Insurance Authority, an agency that provides insurance to government agencies.

Few bad apples my ass. And you’re a fool if you think this structural problem is unique to this one police department.

Police Behaving Badly 4.28.15