More than 900,000 people serve as sworn local and state law enforcement officials in the United States (the highest number ever). 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 “simply” 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 police behaving badly:
Or walking sticks.
Magdiel Sanchez, 35, wasn’t obeying the officers’ commands before one shot him with a gun and the other with a Taser on Tuesday night, police Capt. Bo Mathews said at a news conference. He said witnesses were yelling “he can’t hear you” before the officers fired, but they didn’t hear them.
“In those situations, very volatile situations, you have a weapon out, you can get what they call tunnel vision, or you can really lock in to just the person that has the weapon that’d be the threat against you,” Mathews said. “I don’t know exactly what the officers were thinking at that point.”
Sanchez, who had no apparent criminal history, died at the scene. The officer who fired the gun, Sgt. Chris Barnes, has been placed on administrative leave pending an investigation.
Mathews said the officers were investigating a reported hit-and-run at around 8:15 p.m. Tuesday. He said a witness told Lt. Matthew Lindsey the address where the vehicle responsible for the hit-and-run had gone, and that Sanchez was on the porch when Lindsey arrived.
He said Sanchez was holding a metal pipe that was approximately two feet (0.6 meters) long and that had a leather loop on one end for wrapping around one’s wrist. Lindsey called for backup and Barnes arrived, at which point Sanchez left the porch and began to approach the officers, Mathews said.
Witnesses could hear the officers giving Sanchez commands, but the officers didn’t hear the witnesses yelling that Sanchez couldn’t hear them, Mathews said. When he was about 15 feet (4.5 meters) away from the officers, they opened fire — Lindsey with his Taser and Barnes with his gun, apparently simultaneously, Mathews said.
Those who pay attention to police brutality in the United States can be reasonably confident of several things:
- it doesn’t matter what was going through the minds of the officers who killed Sanchez
- it doesn’t matter that Magdiel Sanchez had no criminal record,
- it doesn’t matter if he held a stick or a pipe (or even if he threatened the police or other civilians)
- it doesn’t matter if the officers tried to deescalate the situation or use non-lethal weapons
- despite executing an innocent civilian FOR NO FUCKING REASON, it is highly unlikely that the officers involved will face any punishment.
But why? Why can cops continually kill civilians and with exceedingly rare exceptions, do so with impunity?
Five. Little. Words.
i feared for my life.
In case after case after case of police officers involved in the lethal shooting of civilians, the “I feared for my life” excuse has been trotted out. And in case after case after case, that excuse has proven sufficient to keep
murderous thugs police officers from being jailed. It’s the ultimate “get out of jail” free card. The worst that seems to happen to these trigger-happy killers is a week or two off work. Paid of course. To be fair, there are times when they are put on ::gasp:: desk duty (at least then they won’t be on the streets killing people who carry cell phones or fake swords). Sometimes, police officers are fired from their job (sometimes, and not predictably). There are even some rare occasions when killer cops are charged. Rarer than *that* are the killer cops who are convicted and imprisoned. We have the Tennessee vs Garner ruling in 1985, and 1989’s ruling in the Graham vs Conner case to thank for “I feared for my life” being sufficient justification to exonerate police officers involved in lethal shootings of civilians. And no, they don’t have to justify their fear. Their fear can be completely unfounded. Their fear could be a blatant lie. It doesn’t matter. We don’t get to second guess the police bc, in large part, our courts ruled they should have wide latitude to kill civilians (also bc juries are loathe to second guess police officers). They get to do as they please without much fear of retribution (making the complaints by police unions about how mean the media is to police officers pathetic, frustrating, and laughable). The privileges granted to police officers by the criminal justice system leads to incident after incident of cops killing civilians and facing no punishment, and that’s not going to change until those two cases are overturned. How we get there is anybody’s guess. Especially when such a case would most likely have to go before SCOTUS. With the fascist fuckhead in charge, I fear it won’t be long before the highest court in the nation takes a hard turn to the right (but hey, if you’re a cishet white dude, you don’t have a lot to worry about bc you’re the only demographic the politicians and the courts in this country care about).
A California Highway Patrol vehicle appears to knock down a motorcycle rider in Rancho Cucamonga in a video streamed on Facebook on Sunday afternoon.
CHP officials said the collision happened “for unknown reasons” following a pursuit along the 210 Freeway.
Oh, I’m sure there’s a reason. Probably a reason that exonerates the officer, like…
The man hit by the patrol vehicle has been identified by CHP as 26-year-old Raul Martinez.
Jinkies! See that name? It belongs to a person who most likely isn’t of a Caucasian persuasion! There’s the reason: the officer is racist. I mean, why else would you fucking hit a motorist during a high speed chase, given the potential for injury to that person or other drivers? And most especially when you can simply follow them until they stop or run out of gas. But no,
the most expedient way of stopping a dude on a motorcycle the best way of getting in on the act of police brutality is to ram your vehicle into them. I mean who cares about injuring a Person of Color, right? It’s not like they qualify as human beings with rights or anything. It’s their own damn fault for not being born into a nice, “pure” wyte bloodline. Speaking of being wyte, if Martinez were wyte, the officer’s would probably have asked him to pull over real nice like and if he didn’t, simply wait it out. After all, you can’t drive forever.
The incident happened in the midst of a wide-scale motorcycle event advertised in a flyer published on, and since deleted from, Facebook by Sonia Villalobos. It described the gathering as a memorial event called the “Fallen Brother Ride,” organized by a group called Elite Bikerz Inland Empire.
The post suggested the ride started in the City of Industry at around noon.
The group that was stopped at Carnelian Street rushed to the crash, with one of them heard yelling, “You pushed him! You pushed him down!”
Officials said the CHP officer was in pursuit of Martinez on the eastbound 210 Freeway when Martinez used the right shoulder to ride past a vehicle entering the freeway. He then started to yield to the right shoulder on his motorcycle before continuing to drive down the freeway at “a high rate of speed” as he fled from the officer, officials said.
The pursuit exited the freeway at Archibald Avenue and traveled through surface streets. Some time after that is when the collision happened.
“For unknown reasons, the left side of the Yamaha made contact with the right side of the patrol vehicle on 19th Street west of Carnelian Street,” CHP officials said in a news release.
“The impact caused the rider to be ejected to the ground,” officials said.
For “unknown reasons”. Mmmm-kay. It was probably purely an accident that the cop car came into contact with the left side of the Yamaha. It’s interesting wording from CHP officials. Bc it puts blame for the contact in the hands of the hands of Martinez. As if something *he* did resulted in coming into contact with the cop car, as opposed to the other way around. Oh, what am I saying. I forgot that law enforcement officials are the darlinest little angels who are never in the wrong, and are always morally and ethically upstanding members of society.
Silly me. How could I forget that?
The scary thing about my deliberate wording for the above link is that a great many people will bend over backwards to come up with justifications for cops punching someone, no matter how obvious it is that they shouldn’t have, as in this instance:
Police in Wildwood, N.J., are investigating a viral video that shows an officer punching a woman’s head at least twice on the beach before wrestling her into the sand over Memorial Day weekend.
In the video, two officers are seen trying to subdue a woman, whom police have identified as Emily Weinman, a 20-year-old from Philadelphia. One of the officers punches Weinman’s head at least twice, and she screams and flails as the other officer tries to pin her legs to the sand.
Several beachgoers crowd around and can be heard repeatedly warning Weinman to “stop resisting.”
“Stop resisting they say”. It’s that easy to be victimized by such abusive, brutal actions, is it? Hit repeatedly in the face and you just sit there and take it, huh? One civil rights attorney doesn’t believe that’s quite how it works:
Robert Tarver, a Toms River, N.J.-based civil rights attorney who has represented victims of police excessive force, said the woman’s response to being tackled and held down around the head was not a sign of resisting, but a physical reflex.
“What most people don’t realize is, when you’re grabbed by a police officer in either a choke hold or any type of hold you will reflexively move,” Tarver said. “That’s when they say, ‘Stop resisting, stop resisting.’ She’s really not resisting. She’s being thrown and grabbed. People think the natural reaction is to rag-doll it. Well you can’t just rag-doll it.”
Unfortunately, the LEOs aren’t the only ones who decided to be assholes. Mayor Ernie Troiano decided to not only justify the brutality of those officers, he added some sexism on top of it:
Wildwood Police Chief Robert Regalbuto called the video “alarming,” though the Jersey Shore city’s mayor, Ernie Troiano Jr., defended the officers before seeing the body-camera footage, telling NJ.com on Monday that “the police were doing their job.”
On Tuesday, Troiano again defended the police, telling Philly.com that Weinman was “by far the aggressor here” and that women are typically harder to subdue than men.
“I worked as a doorman, a bouncer,” said Troiano, who told Philly.com that his father owned a nightclub. “They can be hard to control. They’re kicking, they don’t care.”
Even if his claim regarding the difficulty in subduing women were true–which, given that it’s presented without any evidence, is not a claim I believe to be true–why did she need to be subdued in the first place? Not giving her name when asked? Being underage and in possession of alcohol? Or was it spitting sand out of her mouth, which, according to Weinman, was what she was doing. Not spitting at the cops (though let’s be clear here, spitting at a cop does not justify them hitting you in the face). No matter which way you shake it, unless Weinman was some sort of real life Natasha Romanov (IOW, presenting a very real, immediate danger to those officers), there is no justification for their brutal behavior. This whole situation could have been avoided with a fine for being caught underage with alcohol.
Not content with remaining simply a sexist copologist, the Mayor decided to throw in some character assassination:
“Everybody’s trying to paint this young lady as an upstanding model citizen,” he said. “She’s on probation for four years. She chose to attack the officer, spit on the officer. Look I don’t care who you are and what you are, the worst people [to try to subdue] are women.”
Being on probation does not justify police brutality. I highly doubt anyone is trying to paint her as an upstanding model citizen. The point is that no matter her social standing, she should not have been subjected to police brutality. Her behavior was not extreme enough to warrant such an escalation on the part of the police.
By all accounts, including by the Adams County Sheriff’s Office, the confrontation that led to Grabbingbear’s shooting death was a matter of chance.
A deputy had responded to an emergency call to an apartment next to where Grabbingbear was at 3:34 a.m. Thursday.
Feltman said 20 minutes earlier her son had been at her home. He walked to his girlfriend’s apartment in the 8700 block of Galen Court. Grabbingbear and his girlfriend were in the process of breaking up.
“He was hungry and tired,” Feltman said. “He was yelling because he was upset.”
His girlfriend’s mother told him to leave or she would call 911.
“It just so happened that a (expletive) cop was in the hallway,” Feltman said.
Just as her son walked out of his girlfriend’s apartment, he saw the officer. Grabbingbear took off running down the apartment hallway. The deputy gave chase, Feltman said. Sgt. Jim Morgen of the Adams County Sheriff’s Office verified this sequence of events. The deputy caught Grabbingbear in a small courtyard, she said.
“They started scuffling,” Feltman said.
Morgen said the deputy suffered neck and head injuries in a confrontation. Feltman and Morgen agree that at that point, the deputy pulled out his gun and shot Grabbingbear.
Feltman said her son doubled over and crawled under a balcony. She said the deputy pulled her son out by his arms under the balcony. Both the deputy, who has not been identified, and Grabbingbear were taken to a hospital for treatment, Morgen said. The suspect was later pronounced dead.
“Why couldn’t you use your Taser?” Feltman said, sobbing. “Why couldn’t you use your baton?”
If Grabbingbear had been white, the officer probably would have used his taser or baton. Bc subconsciously, white people get the benefit of the doubt, whereas Blacks and Non-Black PoC are viewed as inherently prone to criminality
I hate that so many people, in response to this story, would say “he
shouldn’t have run from the cop”, instead of “the cop shouldn’t have
pursued him”, bc that’s some grade-A victim blaming bullshit.
Per capita, Indigenous people are executed by state-sanctioned
killers at a greater rate than any other racial group (including Blacks)
My heart goes out to Andrea Feltman, Grabbingbear’s mother. The
article mentions that he was her only child and they were very close.
On November 9, 2017, 21 year old Christopher Ballew was stopped by police officers in Pasadena, California. He thought it was a routine traffic stop. The officers said he was stopped over the tint of his windows.
A man seen on video struggling with Pasadena police during his November arrest and eventually being repeatedly struck by officers when he was on the ground filed a damages claim with the city today and insisted he tried to follow the officers’ orders during the confrontation.
“I tried my best to comply with every command that was given to me, from ‘give me your hands’ to ‘turn over,”‘ Christopher Ballew told reporters during a news conference at the office of his attorney, John Burton. “Nobody to this day has told me why I was stopped, really. Nobody’s told me why this
escalated in this manner. Nobody’s told me anything.”
This is what white folks in the United States rarely have to contend with: barbaric treatment by law enforcement officials. They who exist to serve and protect. The only thing these thugs are serving are the interests of a society that is dominated by white people. The only protecting they do is protecting the status quo which sees white people dominant and African-Americans oppressed. These uniformed thugs are little more than KKK members with badges on a power trip.
William Boyer, a spokesman for the city of Pasadena, said Ballew’s claim “will be processed in an appropriate manner like all claims filed with the city.” He said the city “takes seriously all use-of-force incidents,” and the arrest “is under active internal review.”
Bystander video showing a portion of the arrest was posted on social media and was shown on local television newscasts. Pasadena police responded by releasing more extensive body-camera and dashboard-camera video of the confrontation. Boyer said the city released the “unredacted” videos “so all can see the full incident, not just an edited 45-second version.”
Police said after the arrest that Ballew was combative during the confrontation and refused to comply with officers’ orders, ultimately grabbing the police baton.
Oh yeah, it’s completely unreasonable to be combative when you’ve been pulled over for no fucking reason and treated like shit by police officers. Maybe if they hadn’t started it, he wouldn’t have been combative. And in any case, combative shouldn’t equal “deserves to have his leg broken”. Also, I don’t buy for a second that the city takes all use-of-force complaints seriously. If city officials really did, this would not be as pervasive a problem as it is.
As for the reason the officers stopped Ballew in the first place? Better put your waders on, bc the shit is about to get deep:
Ballew, 21, was arrested Nov. 9 near Fair Oaks Avenue and Woodbury Road. According to Burton, police contend they stopped him over the window tint on his car, but the attorney said that claim was only an excuse.
Apparently in Pasadena, tinted windows is a violation of the law punishable by having your leg broken. Either that or the cops who stopped Ballew and broke his leg were racist assholes itching to hurt a Black man.