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 litany of stories of law enforcement officials behaving irresponsibly, unethically, immorally, and/or criminally. Here are five recent examples from across the United States:
According to the LA Times, the unidentified man was shot near Griffith Park after he extended his arm, wrapped in the towel, towards the officers.
“This person extended an arm wrapped in a towel. The officer exited the vehicle and said, ‘Drop the gun, drop the gun,’” LAPD Lt. John Jenal said.
Police officials say at least one officer opened fire on the man, wounding him, with a authorities rushing him afterwards to a nearby hospital in critical condition.
Police say no weapon was found near the man.
A bystander captured video of the two officers rolling the critically wounded man over on to his stomach so that they can handcuff him, exposing the head wound to the video device.
“Drop the gun”? Why would they assume a hand wrapped in a towel contained a gun? What could possibly lead them to suspect that, let alone conclude that was the case? Why do they see danger lurking around the corner? And why oh why, does this “danger” so often have darker skin pigmentation?
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A Columbus police officer accidentally wounded a 4-year-old girl in Whitehall on Friday when he fired at a charging dog, police said.
A neighbor and the girl’s uncle identified her as Ava Ellis, who was taken to Nationwide Children’s Hospital, where police said she was in stable condition.
The officer was at a house in the 4100 block of Chandler Drive investigating a hit-and-run case about 3:10 p.m., Columbus police spokeswoman Denise Alex-Bouzounis said.
As the officer was walking from the home to his patrol car, a woman a few houses away called out to him, saying her sister and the girl’s mother, Andrea Ellis, had cut herself.
The officer was at the doorway when a dog charged at him, Alex-Bouzounis said.
The officer fired once, missing the animal but striking the girl in the right leg. It was unclear whether the girl was hit directly or by a ricochet. The officer has not been identified.
Andrea Ellis was taken to OhioHealth Grant Medical Center for treatment of the cut.
Gary Parsley II said the officer was following up with him about Parsley’s being struck by a car a couple weeks ago. When the girl’s aunt called out to the officer, the officer walked over and Parsley returned to his house, when he heard a shot.
I’m glad the cop’s knee-jerk reaction didn’t result in anyone’s death, but dammit-again with a police officer thinking they were in danger. Do cops jump at every sound or at the sight of their shadow? Do they sleep with the lights on? Do they have 15 different security systems on their homes and iron bars on their windows? And why did the cop assume the dog was dangerous? Many dogs rush at people out of sheer excitement, not a desire to harm them.
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If you’re anything like me, you’re probably wondering why home invasion is a crime worthy of execution. You’ll still be wondering when you finish reading.
The incident was first reported to fire officials as a cut and bleeding person at 12:53 p.m. in the 400 block of East Lee Drive, Los Angeles County Fire Department dispatch supervisor Cheryl Sims said. The call was then updated to a report of a gunshot wound victim.
Azusa police referred inquiries to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s homicide bureau which took over the investigation.
Nearby resident Jesse Zarate, 76, said he saw a police officer shoot a bloody man who had broken into a neighbors home. The officer confronted the man in the front yard of a home and ordered him to stop, Zarate said. The man responded “shoot me, shoot me” and continued running toward neighboring homes.
The officer fired three times, seemingly striking the man in the back, Zarate said. The man fell to the ground wounded.
“I don’t blame the police,” Zarate said. “What if he could have gotten out and hurt somebody else.” When the officer confronted the man, “he was bloody. All the house was bloody.”
Mr. Zarate, I do blame the police officer. He was the one that shot and killed a man who was breaking into homes. Yes, that’s a crime, but since when is home invasion grounds for extrajudicial execution? Also, there was no indication that this man presented a threat to the lives of others. Breaking into homes does not make someone a threat to the safety or well-being of the citizenry. Why then, were the actions of this person considered such a deadly threat that his constitutional right to due process was suspended? This is not the type of policing we need in this country.
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Saratoga Springs police officer Nathan Baker has been placed on administrative leave after the incident. He is now suspended without pay pending a disciplinary hearing that the department says will take place within the next 30 days.
But Police Chief Greg Veitch says that he “will be seeking Baker’s termination.”
Rupeka says that he is considering filing a civil suit against the department.
He had two cameras set up in his vehicle, as he performed a test of whether the police would respect his first amendment right to free speech. Officer Baker didn’t apparently have any patience for the Constitution.
In the video clipof the incident, Baker can be seen demanding Rupeka’s license. Rupeka says he will if Baker can “articulate what crime I’ve committed.”
Baker barked “Step out of the vehicle,” and removed a can of pepper spray.
“You’re under arrest for disorderly conduct,” Baker trumped up, right as he sprayed Rupeka’s face.
Baker then twisted Rupeka’s arm, and bullied “You gonna comply?”
“I can’t,” Rupeka explained.
Rupeka was then charged with disorderly conduct, having an obstructed view, resisting arrest, and obstruction of governmental administration.
He needs to be terminated. If he cannot follow the Constitution and uphold his duties to serve and protect the public, then he should not be a police officer. Authoritarian thugs are the last people we need policing our streets (and unfortunately, there are far too many of them doing just that).
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The event happened Tuesday, June 9, when Fairfield police responded to the pool after a group of juveniles was asked to leave because one of them did not have a swimsuit.
The incident escalated to one where police physically restrained the youths and used pepper spray on one of the teenagers. Four people were arrested: two adults, plus a 12-year-old and 15-year-old.
Krystal and Maya Dixon, two adults on the scene, are scheduled to appear in court this morning on charges of resisting arrest and disorderly conduct.
At a news conference Tuesday, Bishop Bobby Hilton, leader of Word Deliverance Ministries in Forest Park, played snippets of a video Dixon’s family recorded that day. Pictures of two juveniles who were hospitalized and later released decorated the room.
Hilton said he was “shocked” and “embarrassed” at what he called the police department’s “ridiculous” and excessive use of force.
But Fairfield Police Chief Michael J. Dickey said the video clips only reinforced his opinion officers acted appropriately.
“All they are trying to do is calm everyone down,” Dickey told The Enquirer. “It’s just business.”
Fairfield Mayor Steve Miller has seen surveillance video of the incident and reviewed a preliminary police report. He agreed with his police chief.
“This is an unfortunate situation and our officers had a tough situation there. But I think they did a good job in showing restraint,” Miller said.
In an alternate reality where the officers harmed no one, then I’d agree with that statement. But here in the real world, where they used pepper spray and what appears to be excessive force–no, I do not think they exercised restraint.
He said he has not seen the two-minute video provided by Hilton.
“Give us some time to review this and give a response,” the mayor said.
“I’ve talked to the police chief, the city manager and the parks and recreation director. We have to complete our investigation. But if anyone else has more information about this, we’d like them to provide that to us.”
Conflicting reports, questions of race
Hilton said Tuesday that news reports of the incident were “nowhere near reflective” of the video he was shown by family who were at the pool.
“It really disturbs me that I’m here,” Hilton said. “I don’t want to be known as someone who stands against police officers.”
Law enforcement officials are entrusted with powers greater than civilians; powers that can impact the lives of others. As a result, they have a greater responsibility to take care that their actions do not harm others unless necessary to resolve a situation. And they should use only the minimal amount of force required to resolve a situation. When they use excessive force and that force is unjustified, they need to be called out and held accountable. They need to know that the public-the people they are here to serve and protect-are disappointed that they failed to live up to their responsibilities. No one ought to let their loyalty or affection for the police prevent them from speaking up when law enforcement officials use undue force or exceed the bounds of their authority.