Police Behaving Badly 1.13.16

More than 800,000 people serve as local and state law enforcement officials in the United States. These police officers are charged with upholding and enforcing the law, maintaining order, and providing general services. To carry out these duties, police officers possess certain powers, granted by the state. If the situation calls for it, police officers can frisk, detain, and arrest civilians, as well as seize property. In addition, depending upon the situation, police officers are empowered to use force to defend themselves or civilians (the amount of force extends along a spectrum from police presence through deadly force). Given the powers that police officers have, it is incumbent upon them to maintain a level of professionalism in the course of their duties and to wield their powers responsibly and ethically. Unfortunately, there are countless examples of cops engaging in a range of irresponsible, unethical, immoral, and/or illegal activities from bribery and unjustified arrests to illegal search and seizure and the use of excessive force. Here are five examples of


Providence police sergeant fired for making racist comments

The Providence Police Department on Tuesday fired Sgt. David Marchant, a 21-year veteran of the force, for making an alleged racist comment nearly a year ago.

“He’s no longer deserving to be called the rank of sergeant. He’s no longer a Providence police officer,” said Providence Public Safety Commissioner Steven Pare.

The city moved to fire Marchant in July, and just won its case following a hearing under the Law Enforcement Officers Bill of Rights.

The incident happened in December.

Marchant and a black officer went to Brown University for a report of a suspicious package with powder.

The two officers opened the package, a decision that drew the criticism of a third officer.

That third officer told the hearing board that Marchant responded to the criticism by saying, “So long as he doesn’t get sick, then he should be fine. Who cares anyway? He’s a black guy anyhow.”

The black officer took offense, testifying to the hearing board that he was hurt and disgusted.

“There’s no place for it in the Providence police. There’s no place for it in city government,” Pare said.

Marchant claimed in his testimony that the comment was a joke.

To that claim, Pare responded, “I can’t think of any circumstance in my career that you use that kind of language and it’s in a joking way. It’s ludicrous to think that.”

“Jokes” like that are part of everyday microaggressions that PoC put up with in society from white folks. Such comments are frustrating bc they’re a reminder of how we’re viewed as inferior by others or that we’re worthy of mockery. These comments are that much more frustrating when they’re told and later covered up as “jokes” (which I’ve noticed is only applied after they’ve been criticized). This is one many situations in which “check your privilege” is applicable. People who make these comments? Before you do so, stop and think about how they might make a Person of Color feel. Take yourself out of the equation and imagine how a black person may react to hearing someone say

"So long as he doesn't get sick, then he should be fine. Who cares anyway? He's a black guy anyhow."

Comments like that are a reminder that some people don’t think that black lives matter. So if you find yourself beginning to form the thoughts that might lead to speaking those words, stop. Engage the other part of your brain-the part that has the ability to empathize with others (I’m assuming everyone has this part, some just don’t work it out as often as others). Give some thought to not saying the thing that sounded good in your head. And then at some later point, give some thought to why that thing you thought (but didn’t say) was not a good thing to think. And cops? I really advise y’all to give these thoughts some good long skullcap thinking time. It’s bad enough when civilians think such negative things about black people. It’s quite a bit worse when the people who are supposed to serve and protect all citizens think of some of the citizens in a prejudicial light.


A monk, a seal, a beating, a lawsuit

Honolulu police beat and falsely arrested a man who was speaking and chanting to a seal on a beach, in an encounter caught on video, the man claims in court.
Jamie Kalani Rice says he was at Nanakuli beach in Honolulu at around noon on Sept. 10, 2014, when he saw an endangered Hawaiian monk seal lying by the shore.
He sat about three feet away from it and rubbed sand between his hands “as he spoke and chanted to the seal,” he says in his Dec. 29 federal complaint against the City and County of Honolulu, its police Officer Ming Wang and Police Chief Louis Kealoha.
A 10-minute and 51-second video of the incident is posted on YouTube.
Rice, 41, claims the defendants used excessive force on him and conspired to cover it up.
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration volunteers, who shot the video, called police and told them he was “sitting next to the seal and possibly was harassing the seal,” Rice says in the complaint.
The video shows Rice sitting close to the seal and rubbing sand between his hands, as he says in the complaint. The seal does not appear to mind. However, at 4:20, he tosses a handful of sand at the seal. At 5:05 the seal makes a lunging movement at Rice. Rice then makes some gestures to the seal, which reacts by moving away from him or toward him, alternately.
At 6:13 someone says, “Hey, buddy,” apparently Officer Wang, who appears at 6:28. He speaks to Rice and gestures, obviously directing him to move away from the seal. At 6:48 the officer takes an expandable baton from his belt and flicks it open.
The men continue talking, and at 8:35 the seal wiggles away from them rather quickly.

Ok, so I can understand the point that Rice was bothering the seal. I’m not sure a police officer was needed here, but I’ll concede that point. But things should have wrapped up after 8:35, when the seal wiggles away. Buuuuuuuuuuuuut…things between the officer and Rice continued. Downhill.

The two men then walk down the beach away from the seal, for 100 yards or more, as it appears on the video. Their conversation, if any, is not intelligible on the video. At 9:12 Rice shouts something at the officer, who barely responds, from behind. At 9:31, however, he runs in front of Rice and appears to spray something at him. At 9:40 he begins beating him with the baton. He stops, then resumes and takes Rice down at 9:59. He kicks him at least once.


They’ve walked farther away from the seal now. Rice is not bothering the seal. He is not a danger to himself, to the officer, or to anyone else. So WHY THE FUCK did the cop spray him and beat him with the baton? Why was this use of force justified on someone who was not a threat?

He claims the defendants, “and each of them, took steps to write reports that altered the events as they actually took place so as to justify Wang use force [sic] against the plaintiff to effectuate his arrest.”
Rice was treated for broken bones in his right hand. He says the beating was unjustified because “he at no time posted a threat, resisted or struck Wang.”
Prosecutors initially declined to press charges against Wang, but chief prosecutor Keith Keneshiro disagreed and ordered his staff to re-examine the case, a spokesman for the prosecutor’s office said in a statement.

Let’s translate that last line: “We’re going to reexamine the events to see if we can fabricate a case against a guy who did nothing to justify the use of force against him.” Meanwhile, Wang remains on duty, despite beating a guy who did nothing to him. So business as usual in the corrupted policing system in the US.


CA policeman rapes 21-year-old with internal ‘cavity search’ & department attempts to bribe here

Guardian reporters Oliver Laughland and Jon Swaine have created a investigative series on the vast police corruption that has taken place in Kern County, California. So far, the series includes officer-related fatalities and excessive force which reportedly are the highest in America this year.

The newest revelations in the series have been added, and they expose the rape/sexual assault/misconduct by law enforcement officials—and their subsequent attempts to cover up the crimes after being reported. At least eight victims were offered bribes/deals as hush money.

One victim described her victimization as, “the worst night of my life.” She is known, in court, only as 21-year-old Jane Doe. She describes an assault by Kern Country deputy Gabriel Lopez which took place on March 25, 2013. Lopez and deputy Christopher Escobedo showed up at Doe’s apartment to do a spot check on Doe’s boyfriend who was on probation. But what happened after was illegal, disgusting, and all too common.

They then moved to her bedroom and found the 21-year-old woman stirring from sleep. The officers placed her in handcuffs. Lopez patted her down and then, according to a civil lawsuit, proceeded to move his hands down her shorts, grab her crotch and grope her. The handcuffs were removed. Then the officers left.

Approximately 10 minutes later Doe said Deputy Lopez arrived back at the apartment alone.

He told Doe he needed to perform a cavity search on her to check once more for drugs. He took her back to the bedroom and instructed her to take off all her clothes. He touched her all over her naked body as she bent over with her hands against the bed. She sobbed throughout. She begged him to stop, but he refused. And then he left.

There’s much more about the corruption at the Kern County police department over at the Guardian. It’s disgusting and pervasive.


Rikers Island correction officer raped female inmate on bus, invited fellow guard to watch: lawsuit

A correction officer at Rikers Island raped a female prisoner on a bus and welcomed his co-worker to watch, a federal lawsuit alleges.

The officer who witnessed the March 20 attack did not intervene in the 20-minute assault, the lawsuit claims.

The guards are only identified by their last names — Figueroa and Pearson — and the woman suing did not use her name.

Figueroa and Pearson had driven the woman and five male inmates from Brooklyn to Rikers that day.

Figueroa pushed her down on a seat in the back of the bus. She protested and begged Figueroa to wear a condom, but he refused, the lawsuit alleges.

I’m reminded of a certain meme that I recently found maddening. Some of the comments I read (on FB) regarding that meme complained that targeting men was ‘oh noes’ just-so-wrong. That anti-rape campaigns targeting men are misguided. That men don’t need to be taught not to rape. Indeed, that it is offensive to think that men need to be taught that rape is immoral and wrong. Uh huh. And yet, once again, we see a male assailant and an accomplice. Maybe the problem isn’t that some men don’t know that rape is immoral and wrong. Maybe the problem is that some men don’t CARE that rape is immoral and wrong.


Police Stop and Put Gun to Head of Rapper For Withdrawing ‘Too Much Money’ From His Own Bank Account

A hip-hop artist from Atlanta recently found himself with a gun to his head. But this wasn’t related to any illegal activity whatsoever. The police had stopped the law-abiding rapper after he exited an Atlanta bank.

They handcuffed him and threw him to the ground with guns aimed at his head… all for withdrawing money from his own bank account – money which he had earned from his musical career.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that rapper Sam Benson — better known by his artist name of “Blac Youngsta” — had just exited a Wells Fargo bank. The branch was located in the wealthy, Atlanta suburb of Buckhead. He had requested $200,000, which he said was being withdrawn to make a direct cash purchase of a luxury sports car.

“I come out the bank, I see the police, I’m walking to my car, I see one of them point to my bag like ‘him,’” the artist explained. “They come bum-rushing me at the car, put me on the ground, putting guns to my head.”

“I’m like ‘What I’d do,’” he added. “A lady was like I’m not supposed to have $200,000 on me. I’m like, ‘I’m a millionaire. How can I not have $200,000 on me?’”

Benson hit it big last year when he was signed to the Collective Music Group label run by rap artist Yo Gotti. All of the money in his account had been earned legally.

When we contacted the Atlanta Police Department, they said that their response was “at the request of the bank manager” and that they let the artist go after determining “that no crime had been committed.”

But that didn’t justify the police response, since their only “probable cause” was the appearance and assumed stereotypes held by the officers.

Basically, what we have here is a clear case of “if a black person has a lot of money, they must be a criminal”. Because there’s no way the bank manager would have called cops in response to a white person withdrawing lots of money. We have to add “walking around with too much money” to the list of actions black people cannot do in the United States without being harassed by cops. ::Le sigh::

Police Behaving Badly 1.13.16

2 thoughts on “Police Behaving Badly 1.13.16

  1. 2

    We have to add “walking around with too much money” to the list of actions black people cannot do in the United States without being harassed by cops.

    We could make it easy and shorten the list to one item: “exist.”

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