White privilege example #20349

We can’t talk on our phones at an Ohio Wal-Mart while holding an air pellet rifle without being seen as suspicious, even if that rifle is classed as a toy, it’s aimed at the ground, and open/carry is legal in the state (John Crawford, III).

We can’t walk down a Utah street with a fake sword even though Utah is an open/carry state–and that applies to *real* swords too (Darrien Hunt),

Our kids can play in public with toy guns, but they’d better expect concerned citizens to freak the fuck out and call the cops. Once law enforcement officials arrive, we can expect them to open fire before assessing the situation (Tamir Rice).

If a loved one is shot by police and lays dying, we can’t be allowed to rush to their side. But we can be confident we’ll be treated horribly by police during our attempts to do so (Samaria Rice, sister of Tamir).

Our babies can’t be asleep in their cribs without flash grenades going off in front of them (Bounkham Phonesavanh).

Running from the police even if we are unarmed is out of the question bc apparently that’s grounds for being shot to death. In the back (Walter Scott).

We can’t walk outside in near-freezing temperatures with our hands in our pockets bc some “concerned citizens” are worried that a black person with their hands in their pocket must be guarding a nuclear weapon rather than warming their hands (Brandon McKean).

We can’t circumvent state tax laws on cigarettes bc OMG the world will end. And if we do, we can expect to be choked to death. Because violating state tax laws on cigarettes is totes grounds for being killed (Eric Garner).

As adults, we cannot have an attitude or be disrespectful to law enforcement officials during a traffic stop bc authoritarian thugs don’t like their authority questioned (Sandra Bland).

As children we must remember to always be respectful and deferential to law enforcement officials-even ones nicknamed ‘Officer Slam’-bc if we don’t, we deserve to be body-slammed or so I’m told by a lot of white people invested in upholding white supremacy (Spring Valley High School teen).

Our kids cannot be loud and unruly at a swimming pool. Not unless they want to be treated like an armed and dangerous felon, grabbed by the hair, thrown to the ground, and sat on by a really swell douchebag in uniform (Dajerria Becton).

If we are in the midst of a mental health crisis and the police are called, we have no guarantee they will assist us, but we can be confident they’ll make the situation worse (Tanisha Anderson).

We can expect our constitutional rights to be violated if we commit even low-level crimes, bc apparently the punishment for robbery is execution by cop (Shelly Frey).

We can’t expect our children to be able to sleep in the comforting presence of a grandparent without worrying about SWAT teams raiding the wrong house (Aiyana Stanley-Jones).

We don’t get to do any of these things, whether legal or not, without being harassed, detained, abused, brutalized, or murdered by police officers bc our existence is constantly under supervision by agents of the state. At every turn, black people across the United States are overpoliced. From everyday actions like getting an attitude with teachers, to not being thrilled at being pulled over for a bullshit reason, to yes, even committing a crime-black people are not allowed the luxury of any benefit of the doubt. At every turn we are treated to civil rights violations and a denial of basic human rights. For another group of USAmericans, this is not the case. Members of this group are accorded undeserved privilege, even in situations where one of them is a direct threat to the lives of police officers (Roger Hale), or situations where one of them point firearms at cops and children (Lance Tamayo), or even in cases where two of them show up at a Wal-Mart, remove BB-guns from their boxes and shoot up the store (two drunk guys). Even in these examples, when these people were a direct threat to others, no excessive force was used against them. In addition, none of them were killed, despite the danger they posed (which is why I find the “my life was in danger” line used by many cops to justify the murder of suspects to be, how shall we say, hollow-as-fuck). That’s all part of having DUM DUM DUUUUUUUM: White Privilege!

And for the latest example of ‘shit only white people can get away with’ (also known as DUM DUM DUUUUUUM: White Privilege) we have a story out of Akron, Ohio:

Continue reading “White privilege example #20349”

White privilege example #20349

Police Behaving Badly 6.21.15

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 litany of stories of law enforcement officials behaving irresponsibly, unethically, immorally, and/or criminally. Here are five recent examples from across the United States:

Continue reading “Police Behaving Badly 6.21.15”

Police Behaving Badly 6.21.15

Police Behaving Badly 6.5.15

Can you imagine the U.S. as a country without aggressive, authoritarian police officers? Think of it-people who film cops wouldn’t be harassed by them for exercising their constitutional right, anti-racist protesters would be able to march in peace without cops arriving and fomenting chaos, people wouldn’t be expected to follow every command from a cop like they’re a dog, and handcuffed prisoners would not be pepper-sprayed for the shits n giggles of cops.

Video recorded in January of this year shows an Illinois police officer pepper spraying two handcuffed teens, apparently for no reason whatsoever.

Chemical agents, like pepper-spray, are meant to be used by police only when they are dealing with subjects who are resisting arrest or otherwise uncooperative. In this case, both of the teens were already in police custody. Their hands are in restraints. Both appear to sitting quietly in a holding cell.

The Alton police officer, who has since been identified as Vince Warlick, swings open the door and blasts the two young men with pepper-spray.

One of the teens can be seen writhing in pain. His hands are cuffed in front of him, rendering him helpless to defend against the unprovoked assault. A few seconds later, the officer spray the two teens again.


The story doesn’t end there. Although the incident took place in January, Alton Chief of Police Jason ‘Jake’ Simmons also came under fire for not responding to the incident until the video became public. Warlick remained on duty until May. Simmons says that he became aware of the alleged officer misconduct in March, but it took another two months for officers to write a report about the incident.

In mid May, after a lengthy community hearing, which was attended by hundreds of residents, the City Council voted in favor of replacing chief Simmons. Immediately after the vote, however, the town’s mayor, Brant Walker approached the podium. Walker told the gathered crowd:

“I hereby exercise my right as Mayor to retain Jake Simmons as Police Chief. I have no intention of removing him from office, nor do I have any intention of nominating anyone else for the position.”

I wonder if there was a contest between the Mayor and the Police Chief to see who could be the biggest apathetic asshole. Here’s the 42 second video:

 * * * *

Cop runs over bicyclist during high speed chase

Officials near the city of Philadelphia say they are investigating an officer who ran over a bicyclist during a high speed police chase.

Officials say they are trying to determine what happened, but local media sources have already begun spinning the story to favor the officer involved.

The local media has more information than the police have given out to everyone, but numerous sources have already begun conjecture about the collision happening “after” the police chase. We asked the Delaware Sheriff’s department and the Chester Police if they had made any such claim, and they told us they had not.

Right now, they say they have turned the investigation over to the Delaware County District Attorney’s Office. They tell us that this is the normal procedure in any police related fatality case.

The community and the victim’s family say they want answers now. Specifically, they want to know how the officer could have possibly been justified in running over the suspect, identified as 24-year-old Sherman Byrd.

This all happened at around 8:30 Wednesday night, after a 55-year-old woman reported having her cell phone stolen.

Sheriff’s deputies were nearby. They said they saw a suspect on bike who looked like the man the victim had reported.

They claim they are confident Byrd was the culprit, but they have no other evidence than their hunch and the fact that he had a weapon. Byrd’s family say it is ridiculous to imagine he would have robbed anyone.

For many cops, evidenceless suspicion is all they need to go after someone.  The bar should be higher than that.  I wonder…what is Byrd’s race?

He was in fact only in town visiting his 6-year-old daughter and to attend his sister’s high school graduation. To suggest that he would have taken a “robbery break” during his visit is not only out of character, but also just strange, according to friends and family.

My heart goes out to that family. Byrd was there in part to celebrate his sister graduating high school. This should be a joyous time for his family, but because of authoritarian, aggressive thugs-the police-instead of celebrating, this family is grieving. Over a fucking suspicion.

In fact, his family says he had only taken a quick trip to the store in the middle of a family gathering. To suggest that he needed to run out to steal a cell phone made little sense to anyone who knew him.

To add insult to injury, the Upland Police Department has charged Byrd’s father and another relative with assault for getting aggressive with a police officer at the hospital when and where Byrd died.

No need for any police investigation. I’m pretty sure the results will exonerate the officers involved and rather than answers, the family will get hollow condolences from the police department.

* * * *

Cop found not guilty after kicking handcuffed woman in chest

In Kentucky, a Louisville Metro Police officer was placed on paid leave after being caught on a cruiser dashcam kicking a handcuffed woman in the chest.

A six-year department veteran, Officer Jennifer Knopf, 32, handed in her badge and gun pending the outcome of the criminal investigation, according to Sgt. Phil Russell.

The woman was seated and compliant. But that didn’t stop officer Knopf from verbally and physically assaulting the woman.

When the officer found the victim with her hands cuffed behind her back from an officer already on the scene, the two engaged each other verbally.

Then Officer Knopf called the victim a bitch and told those nearby she “was familiar” with the victim.

Officer Knopf put her foot on the victim’s chest, then kicked her, rolled her on her stomach and continuously mocked her according to a complaint filed.

The local Courier Journal says that this is the second officer in a week to be criminally charged from the same department in a matter of weeks.

By February, officer Knopf had her day in court. She was facing two charges: official misconduct and harassment with physical contact.

Go ahead and guess what the verdict was. That cops continue to get away with brutalizing civilians is a travesty of justice.

* * * *

New York cops electrocute former Marine because he ‘clenched his fists’

It is now apparently a crime, punishable by immediate death sentence, to clench your fists in the presence of police officers. This is all we can surmise after a former marine who crashed in an upstate New York neighborhood was fatally shot by police.

The Rochester police officers used a Taser on Richard Gregory Davis, 50, a former Marine, who friends and family say had done nothing wrong aside from his driving.

Police say that he “charged” at them. But as you might anticipate, Davis had not actually taken a swing at any officer, nor harmed them in any way. Still, the police are doubling down on their preemptive execution of the man who had just crashed his red pickup truck.

It is likely that Davis was in some state of shock after the car accident. As is common for people in a state of shock, he attempted to leave the scene on foot. This is not at all unusual after an accident when a crash victim is not thinking clearly.

The Rochester Democrat & Chronicle says that police arrived on the scene around 9 am on Sunday morning. Davis was disoriented and returned to the vehicle after police told him not to.

That’s when he crashed it again, knocking over a gas meter and hitting a fence, as well as a house. Many who have turned out rallies in support of the slain man say that this is evidence of how disoriented he was following the initial accident.

After wrecking again, Davis locked himself inside the truck.

Finally, after around five minutes, he did. But officer say that he “charged them” and had his “fists clenched.”

While his behavior was indeed erratic, witnesses only say that he advanced towards the officers. There was not further corroboration with the official police version of the events, beyond that.

The Rochester Police Department and the district attorney’s office say they are conducting an investigation into the incident.

I’m sure this will be yet another investigation that exonerates the police officers and finds their use of deadly force justified.

* * * *

If you are a dog lover or just love pets in general, this next story will probably anger you more than the typical police brutality stories.

Family raided by SWAT and their dog shot, for being unable to pay utility bill

Nothing says Police State USA quite like a SWAT team raiding a family home and killing their dog because they are unable to pay their natural gas bill.

The woman whose dog was killed and home destroyed by SWAT officers is Angela Zorich, and her story about her police state experience will shock the conscious.

According to a federal lawsuit filed this month, Zorich was the victim of a massive military-style raid and subsequent puppycide. The raid was carried out because police said they needed “to check if her home had electricity and natural gas service.”

“This is an example of police overreaching and using excessive force to get a family out of their house,” said Kenneth Chackes to the Riverfront Times, the attorney who represents Zorich.

According to the lawsuit, on April 25, 2014, St. Louis County Police officers came to her house. Her son cussed at them. They inspected the home’s exterior and placed a “Problem Properties” sticker on the front window.

Days after being publicly shamed and labeled by the St. Louis Police Department as a “Problem,” on April 28, Zorich called them to follow up. She was told by police that she was being investigated for failing to have natural gas or electric service; two violations against city code.

Zorich admitted to the police that she did not have gas, but said that she did have electricity. Zorich asked for another inspection to prove that she had the utilities. The officer told her that was fine, but that the investigation would continue.

The next day, on April 29, 2014, the home of Angela Zorich was raided by multiple officers from the St. Louis County Police Tactical Response Unit.

The Riverfront Times outlines the details of the lawsuit:

Zorich was at home with several family members and her pit bull, Kiya, when a St. Louis County Police Tactical Response Unit burst through the door without knocking, according to her suit. The unit had at least five officers with M-4 rifles, supported by at least eight uniformed officers.

The officers entered so quickly, Zorich’s suit alleges, that Kiya didn’t even have time to bark. A tactical officer fired three shots into the dog, and the dog’s “bladder and bowels released and she fell to the floor.” The dog “was laying on the floor in her own waste and blood struggling to breathe. She had a gaping hole in her chest.”

Zorich claims the officers kept trying to talk to her about the natural gas, but she was focused on her dog, whom she’d raised as a puppy and who (she says) had “never shown agression to any person.”

At one point in the raid, Zorich alleges, an officer pointed his firearm at her son’s head and said “One word, motherfucker, and I’ll put three in you.”

Zorich was subsequently taken into custody at the police station. When she was finally let go and allowed to return to her home, she found to be completely trashed. Beds had been overturned, and items that were once on shelves had been thrown to the floor.

The citations issued to Zorich, which had allegedly justified the heavily militarized raid on her home, were for substandard siding, guard rail, screens, window glass and deck.

This military mentality where cops see themselves at war has got to stop. Even if I were to agree that unpaid bills warrant a visit from the police, the most that should happen is a citation. But a SWAT team?! Zorich is a civilian, not a wartime combatant. She wasn’t in the middle of committing a crime that necessitated a special response team. She just had an unpaid bill. And now, thanks to overzealous thugs, her son’s life was threatened, her dog  was killed, and her house has been ransacked.  This is one of the most outrageous examples of police using excessive force I’ve read in a long time. I’m almost scared to see how the police chief or cop apologists will try to spin this.

Police Behaving Badly 6.5.15

Police Behaving Badly 6.1.15

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:

‘That’s what we do’: Florida cops shoot and kill suicidal man after girlfriend phones for help

We’ve already know that’s what so many cops do. We’d like it to stop. Actually, we DEMAND that it stop.

“I think [police] should come in using other things,” Kaitlyn Lyons said regarding the shooting death of her boyfriend, Justin Way. “And I think they definitely need to figure out how to handle suicidal people.”

And people with mental illnesses.

And People of Color-especially African-Americans.

Lyons contacted the police non-emergency dispatcher on May 11 after catching Way drinking and lying on their bed holding a large knife. She said Way, a recovering alcoholic, “had a setback” after losing his job but did not threaten her with it.

“The only person Justin threatened was himself and I honestly don’t think he wanted to die,” she said, adding that the two St. Johns County sheriff’s deputies who responded to her call, 32-year-old Kyle Braig and 26-year-old Jonas Carballosa, who were carrying assault rifles, looked like they “were going into war” when they entered the residence.

Why the heck did they bring assault rifles?

Lyons said she intended for Way to be institutionalized under the provisions of the Florida Mental Health Act.

According to the Florida Times-Union, the deputies instead shot Way in the stomach and abdomen.

Way’s mother, Denise Way, told the Beast that one official, identified as Detective Mike Smith, said the encounter was part of what he called a “new trend in law enforcement now — suicide by cop.”

Well Mr. Smith, that’s an assertion. Where is your evidence to back it up?

According to Denise Way, Smith also argued that her son had threatened Lyons — which she has denied — and told her that the deputies shot him after he refused to drop the knife, adding, “That’s what we do.”

A great many of you also lie about the circumstances surrounding fatal police encounters. What? We’re supposed to take your word for it that you were threatened? Not a chance.

Way’s parents believe that their son was shot while still laying in bed. His father, George Way, said that he believes a bullet was pulled from the mattress, arguing that there were no blood stains on the walls or floor nearby.

“If Justin was coming after them with a knife, at 6-foot-4, wouldn’t there be blood splattered all over the room?” he said.

Why yes. I think that would be the case. Surely the cops aren’t lying here.

Commander Chuck Mulligan told the Beast that it was standard procedure to send armed deputies without mental health professionals, “if the deputies feel that that is the appropriate weapon system to use,” arguing that using Tasers could pose a risk to the officers if they missed their target.

Your procedures ought to be reexamined then. Also, aren’t cops supposed to de-escalate a situation? Shouldn’t lethal force be the absolute last resort, rather than the first?

“Whether it’s a rifle or not, in many senses, is a non-issue,” Mulligan said. “A bullet comes out of a handgun, a bullet comes out of a rifle.”

Police should not treat citizens as wartime combatants. The use of military-grade weapons by police officers sends the message that the cops are here to fight an enemy rather than to serve and protect the citizenry. So yeah, there’s a bit of a difference between cops using assault rifles versus handguns.

* * * *

No sex assault charges for women in massage parlor sting

Honolulu’s top prosecutor is dismissing cases against 16 women arrested in a massage parlor prostitution sting after the sex assault charges they faced drew criticism.

The women were arrested this month during an operation involving Honolulu police and federal authorities. But instead of being arrested on suspicion of prostitution, police accused the women of sex assault.

“Although the conduct might have constituted a technical violation of the law, proof beyond a reasonable doubt could not be established,” Prosecuting Attorney Keith Kaneshiro said in a statement Wednesday. “Therefore, these cases were dismissed.”

If convicted of sex assault, the women would have had to register as sex offenders and could have been sentenced to up to a year in jail, while a prostitution charge carries 30 days. At the time of their arrests, legal experts said the new tactic from the Honolulu Police Department is unusual for a law enforcement agency. Advocates for prostitutes and sex trafficking victims decried the arrests as re-victimizing the victims.

“I think the charges being dropped is a clear sign that this isn’t a method HPD should use,” said Kathryn Xian, executive director of Pacific Alliance to Stop Slavery. “I think it’s been an embarrassing situation for law enforcement.”

Hawaii has a strange history with prostitution investigations. Until a year ago, police officers were legally allowed to have sex with prostitutes as part of investigations. State lawmakers changed that policy last year after The Associated Press highlighted the loophole.

Myles Breiner, an attorney representing some of the women, said in at least one instance at a massage parlor called Orchid Relaxation, an officer disrobed, took the woman’s hand and put it on his genitals.

A woman who answered the phone at Orchid Relaxation declined to comment.

“They’re experimenting with the limits of the constitution,” Breiner said after hearing that the charges were dropped. “Sex assault in the fourth degree is a nonconsensual touching of a sexual nature. How can you say it’s not consensual when the officers are going into these establishments intending to be touched?”

When asked if the department had any comment on Kaneshiro declining to prosecute the women, a police spokeswoman pointed to a letter posted on social media Tuesday.

“Some in the community have questioned the recent arrests of cosmetology and massage parlor employees, and more information will come out in court,” the letter said. Arraignments were scheduled for Friday.

* * * *

 Cop caught on video telling black teen ‘If you fuck with me, I’m going to break your legs’

“Can you tell me why I’m being arrested?” Hamza Jeylani asks an officer in a video captured on his cell phone.

“Because I feel like arresting you,” the officer, who the American Civil Liberties Union identifies as Officer Rod Webber, replies in the short video.

This exchange happens after Webber calmly threatens Jeylani, who does not appear to be offering any resistance whatsoever. “Plain and simple,” Webber tells Jeylani, “if you fuck with me I’m going to break your legs before you even get a chance to run.”

According to the ACLU, Jeylani and four of his friends — all of whom are black teenagers — were pulled over after making a U-turn in a parking lot in South Minneapolis. The four young men had been playing basketball at a YMCA. Despite Officer Webber’s statement that Jeylani was arrested because the cop felt like arresting him, the police claim that they suspected the four youth of stealing the car they were driving.

Jeylani, however, says that the driver of the car had documents showing that he owned the car. And the ACLU adds that “police said the stolen car they were after was a blue Honda Civic. The teenagers, however, were driving a blue Toyota Camry.”

Not like that matters. If the cops want to harass and terrorize black people, they will find a way.

(video available at the link)

* * * *

 Wife of Oklahoma pastor shot by trooper amid flooding challenges police account

Nehemiah Fischer was an assistant pastor at Faith Bible Church in Tulsa. Police said the 35-year-old was shot dead by a highway patrol officer who responded with a partner to a call about a motorist stuck in a truck in rising waters in a rural road south of Tulsa after 9pm on Friday night.

Seven people have been reported dead in Oklahoma as a result of severe weather that has also badly hit Texas.

According to police, the officers told Fischer and his older brother, Brandon, to leave their stalled car and move to higher ground. Some kind of confrontation ensued and Nehemiah Fischer was killed. Brandon Fischer was not hurt. He was arrested on suspicion of assault.

“They would not have gone after the trooper … they would not do that on their own volition,” the dead man’s wife, Laura, told FOX23 local news.

Fischer had a gun, said captain Paul Timmons, an Oklahoma department of public safety spokesman. He said he was unable to provide more detail about whether Fischer was armed at the moment of the shooting and who exactly fired the shots.

“A handgun was found,” he told the Guardian. “I can’t verify whether it was being brandished but the deceased individual did have a handgun … the investigators are still trying to determine how many shots were fired. We know there was more than one but an exact number, I don’t have that information available yet.”

Timmons said the officers involved would be placed on administrative leave, as is routine when police are involved in a serious incident, and more information, including their names, would be forthcoming later this week.

“It had been raining; that’s an area known to flood. I believe the road may already have been closed because of flood waters,” said Timmons. “The water was rising and running across the roadway rapidly and the troopers were concerned for these individuals’ safety.

“We’d already had numerous operations where we’d had to make water rescues around the state, so they were concerned for their safety, that they may be swept away by the rushing waters, so they were trying to convince them to come up to where they were so it would be safer.”

All of that sounds like a completely good reason to shoot the guy.


* * * *

Woman walking on sidewalk records St Louis PD taser her repeatedly

A silent protest organized by the Black Lives Matter movement under the banner of #ShutDownBaseball on Friday night began at Kiener Plaza around 8:15 p.m. before marching to the Cardinals game at Busch stadium in downtown St Louis. The goal: to raise awareness and call for an end to police brutality on people of color.

The demonstration was largely peaceful and fairly uneventful outside of people standing with signs, some of them in a line crossing the road at the entrance to the stadium, an area already closed off and crowded by baseball fans.

It wasn’t until the last 13 remaining protesters started to head home around 11:30pm when things got out of hand. People still motivated to bring attention to their cause had decided to leave the sidewalk and walk in the street. Faced with a myriad of options, when the commands given to leave the roadway were not met Lt Dan Zarrick made the decision to make arrests.  What we see in the video below (supplied by the female taser victim) shows what happened after that decision was made.

When the video starts off two people are already in custody and at least 6 officers are already on the scene. Some people had left the area already when arrests began, leaving 6 trying to walk away on the sidewalk. At that point you can hear an officer say “Grab anybody, they were all in the street,”  and then an officer with a taser in hand hurries to head off the people who were walking at a normal pace away from the scene of arrests. Seconds later aiming his less than lethal weapon at a man who was at the front of the small group that officer says “get back.”  Obviously not wanting to be tased and to avoid being arrested the man tries to evade the officer with a sidestep, when he is then tased.

The woman taking the video and the other 3 people are grabbed from behind when another officer begins to deploy less than lethal force by firing his taser on her. It is unclear why this officer felt it necessary to deploy less than lethal force on a woman walking away instead of simply or at least attempting to place her under arrest without incident. She is then heard agonizing in pain saying repeatedly “Ow my god, Ow my god” and asking “why did you do that?” I didn’t do anything.” An officer can be heard saying “put your hands behind your back,” she replies repeatedly “Please Stop, please stop, your hurting me, I can’t, it hurts, I can’t, it hurts so bad” when we hear the sound of her being tased yet again by the officer. She then says, obviously in a severe amount of pain “why are you doing this to me, I’m on the ground” before the video ends.

8 of the protesters were arrested.  Six protesters were arrested for impeding the flow of traffic. The remaining two protesters were arrested for impeding the flow of traffic and resisting arrest. All have since been released. Two of them went straight to the hospital to get checked. One for the tasing and the other for a head injury from being slammed to the pavement.

Police Behaving Badly 6.1.15

Police Behaving Badly 5.27.15

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:

Baltimore cop beats a man, keeps his job

Stop me if you’ve heard this one. A cop uses excessive force against a suspect, but even with video of the incident, is allowed to continue being an officer of the law. I don’t place much faith that recording the actions of police officers will hold them accountable.

The violent arrest occurred in Baltimore City last June. Baltimore Police Officer Vincent E. Cosom was caught on the city surveillance video beating a man at a North Avenue bus stop.

Officer Cosom recently pleaded guilty to assault. Last Friday he was sentenced to six months in jail.

Even that hasn’t been enough for his department to fire him.

Shaun Owens, Cosom’s attorney, said his client had an “unblemished record” before the incident and was a veteran police officer.

“This was quite simply a lapse in judgment,” Owens said after the plea.

Oh FUCK YOU Mr. Owens. This was no lapse in judgment. This was a police officer using excessive force against a civilian, something that happens all the goddamn time in this country. Apparently it’s not a big deal to you. Did I mention FUCK YOU?

The sentence, which includes another four and half years suspended time, was handed down as part of an agreement with prosecutors.

The incident happened in June and came to light in September when the victim, Kollin Truss, filed a lawsuit against the police. Cosom and Truss had been in an verbal altercation that appeared to be winding down until Cosom approached him and dealt out the beating.

The video showed Cosom landing a series of heavy blows on Truss, sending him lurching backward at one point. Truss was arrested but officials at Central Booking said he was too injured to be put in jail and ordered medical treatement [sic], according to the lawsuit.

* * * *

 Texas SWAT breaks 81-year-old man’s hip, family finds him lying in his own feces: lawsuit

Herman Crisp told KTBC that Georgetown deputies wearing SWAT uniforms gave no warning before throwing a flash-bang device outside his home last September as he was sitting in a chair and smoking a cigarette.

He said that the explosion knocked him out of his chair, and then officers slammed him on the ground and handcuffed him. The force of hitting the ground broke his hip, according to Crisp, who was 81 years old at the time.

Of course they gave no warning. Why would state-sanctioned thugs need to warn people that they’re about to uproot and destroy their lives when they’re fighting for a much greater cause- the global “War on Drugs”? Obviously, continuing to fight this war-one that has proven to be a catastrophic failure at eliminating or even significantly reducing the distribution, possession, and consumption of illicit drugs-is more important than silly little things like human rights.

Eventually officers did help inside the home before leaving, but they did not call paramedics, he said. The next day, his family said that they found him lying on the floor in his own feces.

“After they left, I tried to get up because I had to go to the bathroom,” he explained to KTBC. “And I couldn’t go. So, I just crawled over and laid on the floor right down through here. My sister had to call paramedics.”

Attorney Boadus Spivey, who is representing Crisp, accused the Georgetown Sheriff’s Office of a “conspiracy of silence.”

It is deeply ironic that various world governments have been waging this decades-long “War on Drugs” under the cover of promoting and ensuring public safety when the very war itself has resulted in untold damage to the lives of the people ostensibly being protected. Dear world governments: if this is your idea of “protection”, THEN PLEASE STOP PROTECTING US.

“Things like this don’t happen in a vacuum,” he pointed out. “There’s nothing that we’ve been able to get that identifies the officers, that identifies the action that occurred. We have our client’s information but I had to hire a private investigator just to get enough faxed to determine whether I should file a lawsuit or not. And I’m convinced that the facts are adequate to file this lawsuit and we’ll find out now that we have some way to get accurate information.”

A lack of transparency on the part of law enforcement agencies? I’m shocked I tells ya. Shocked.

Crisp said that Georgetown deputies had a warrant to search his home as part of an investigation into his nephew, but it was not clear what they were searching for.

This is why I think this story is yet another example of the “War on Drugs”. No, there isn’t anything in this article that directly states the SWAT unit was after Crisp’s nephew for drug-related offenses, but given that 62% of SWAT raids are for drug searches, I don’t feel it is unreasonable-absent evidence to the contrary-to believe it is true in this situation (if it turns out that my assumption is false, I will revise my opinion).

The lawsuit filed against Williamson County and the City of Georgetown seeks damages in excess of $1 million for Crisp’s medical care and mental anguish. The lawsuit alleges that officers used excessive force and caused bodily injury.

‘Excessive force’? Pshaw.  Look at Herman Crisp:

He’s African-American, and as we all know, the use of force (excessive or otherwise) by law enforcement officers against black bodies is justified because well, you know-they’re black. It’s not like black lives matter or anything.

* * * *

Disturbing video shows criminal justice student assaulted & tasered by Border Patrol, for no reason

A young woman travelling through an interior US Border Checkpoint in Waddington, New York Thursday was assaulted and arrested by border patrol for no reason.

Jess Cooke, 21, says she was driving through the checkpoint, when agents said she looked nervous. She was then routed over for a secondary inspection.

Shoot, by the “logic” of you look nervous so we’re going to detain you, I’d be stopped going through a checkpoint. After all, given the treatment of African-Americans by so many police officers, I think it’s reasonable for me to be nervous around them.

Knowing that the agents had no probable cause to search her vehicle, Cooke refused to consent to search. She was then told that she had to wait for a K-9 Unit to arrive before she could leave.

Being nervous is not probable cause nor reasonable suspicion for a search. While inconsistently answering questions may result in reasonable suspicion, it is unclear whether or not this happened prior to Cooke’s detainment.

Because Cooke had committed no crime she demanded to be let go. However, these agents were set on violating her rights.

The conversation between Cooke and the agents quickly escalated and Cooke was thrown to the ground by the male agent as the female agent deployed the taser.

Cooke said the taser was continually deployed until she stopped screaming. After handcuffing her, agents then illegally opened her trunk and searched her entire vehicle, according to Cooke.

The subsequent search turned up nothing.

As the U.S. continues its descent into a police state, this type of situation is likely to occur with greater frequency. Law enforcement officers across the country have (as a whole) far too much power, lack sufficient accountability & oversight, and have insufficient respect for the well-being of all civilians.

* * * *

Angry traffic cop threatens to smash Connecticut man’s phone for filming him

Man! Are there really this many law enforcement officials who do not know that citizens have the right to film them? Or maybe there are just a metric fuckton of authoritarian thugs who think they can intimidate civilians into submitting to their so-called authority? I lean towards the latter. In any case, here’s the story:

Around 11:00 a.m. on April 14, 30-year-old William Ramos began recording officer Kevin Nesta, who was hiding behind a tree along a busy road, radioing to colleagues about ongoing cars whose passengers were not properly restrained in their seats.

Nesta observed Ramos, ordered the guerrilla journalist to stop filming the public display of law enforcement, and threatened to destroy Ramos’ phone.

“Turn the phone off before I smash it,” Nesta says as he walks away from his covert vehicle monitoring spot and approaches Ramos.

I wonder why the officer was so angry and emotional.

Ramos, meanwhile, is still pointing his camera toward Nesta. Nesta, in turn, takes out his own mobile device and films Ramos right back.

“Is there a problem?” Nesta demands.

“There’s no problem,” Ramos replies.

“I didn’t think so,” responds Nesta in an authoritative tone that is also menacing. “Is there something you want to videotape?”

“No,” Ramos clarifies. “Just wondering.”

“No?” Nesta inquires, “But you’re videotaping. Why?”

At an impasse, the camera phone-wielding duo put away their phones and mumblingly part ways peacefully.

Hartford Deputy Police Chief Brian Foley tells the Courant that Nesta has been reprimanded and retrained, and that the officer’s filmed interaction with Ramos will help colleagues on the force “understand that they can be videotaped at any time while they are on duty.” “That’s certainly not the image or the professionalism that we look for in our officers,” Foley adds.

Ramos tells the Courant he has been concerned about accountability for law enforcement officers ever since his 22-year-old half-brother died at the hands of the East Hartford Police Department in April of last year.  “He was tasered and he passed away,” Ramos says of his sibling, now deceased. “Those officers were very hostile toward him… It’s intimidating when they treat you so hostile.”

Stories like Ramos’ (and his brothers’) are depressingly common in the United States, and are a big part of the reason that trust in law enforcement officials is declining in many communities.

* * * *

Cops were hours late to 911 call, when they finally showed up they killed the caller’s dog

Deborah Jones called for help early Sunday when her and her boyfriend had gotten into an argument, which caused her to feel unsafe. When the heroes didn’t show, she was forced to leave her home, only to return to a devastating scene. According to WFTV, “she found deputies surrounding her home and a paper authorizing the county to pick up her dog’s body.”

Residents of the Tymber Skan condominiums told local news that they advised the Orange County deputies that no one was home, but were ignored as the incompetent and trigger-happy cops kicked down Jones’ door, damaged her property, and killed her dog.

“They had to shoot my dog for no reason. They kicked my door in. I can’t even lock my door,” Jones said.

Jones’ daughter, Kita Williams, stated, “That’s his house. This is his house. He’s got to protect this house.”

A spokesperson for the cops said the deputies had to kick in the door due to nature of the call, and shot the dog only because he was charging at them. What they neglect to mention is that if the deputies had responded when help was actually needed, none of that would have been necessary.

Police Behaving Badly 5.27.15

Chaos has not engulfed Baltimore

On April 4, 1968 civil rights activist Martin Luther King, Jr was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee. His death outraged African-Americans across the country and was the inciting event that led to riots in several major U.S. cities including Chicago, Louisville, Kansas City, Washington D.C., and Baltimore. While King’s death was the proximate cause of the riots, in cities like Baltimore, years of economic inequality, high infant mortality, above average unemployment (compared to the national rate), and sub-par housing contributed to the anger and frustration felt by Black Baltimoreans. That frustration and anger provided the fuel that sustained riots in Baltimore from April 6-14 in the spring of ’68.

47 years later, civil unrest has once again come to the city of Baltimore, and once again, the catalyst for the unrest has been the death of an African-American male. On April 12, 2015, Baltimore police arrested Freddie Gray, Jr. after (I kid you not) he gave them a look and started running. Police reports claim his arrest was for possession of a switch blade (I didn’t know it was illegal to possess one in Baltimore). During transport Gray somehow fell into a coma and was eventually taken to a trauma center where injuries to his spinal cord and larynx were discovered. Gray died on April 19 as a result of these injuries. Although he was struggling to walk when he was arrested, he showed no signs of other injury, and the official police report states that the officers involved did not use force. Somehow he incurred damage to his spinal cord and larynx between his arrest and his admission to the trauma center (despite reports to the contrary, Gray did not have a pre-existing spinal injury). As he was in police custody during this time, it is highly likely that the police officers involved know more than they’re saying (it’s possible Gray sustained his injuries as a result of a rough ride). While some news outlets hint that Gray’s injuries were self-sustained, I find that quite implausible (and so does Gray’s family). Baltimore authorities have released little information regarding the events surrounding the death of Gray, claiming that it is important to allow the investigation to run its course. City officials have also said that they will not release the results of their investigation when it is completed on May 1.

With so little information released by city officials, many questions regarding Gray’s death remain unanswered. How did he sustain his injuries? Did they occur before or during his time in police custody? Were the officers involved aware of his injuries? Did the officers involved cause his injuries? Why were his hands cuffed and his legs in irons, yet he wasn’t wearing a seatbelt during transport? Why did the police chase him to begin with? Why did the police arrest him? With no answer to these questions, many African-Americans have become frustrated and suspect that a cover-up is underway. That frustration is fed in no small part by ongoing outrage over the unjust criminal justice system in the United States. That outrage fueled the creation of #BlackLivesMatter, a civil rights movement founded by Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors, and Opal Tometi in the wake of the 2013 acquittal of George Zimmerman for the shooting death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin.  The goal of the BLM is to raise awareness of and broaden the conversation surrounding state sanctioned violence against African-Americans. In their words:

When we say Black Lives Matter, we are broadening the conversation around state violence to include all of the ways in which Black people are intentionally left powerless at the hands of the state.  We are talking about the ways in which Black lives are deprived of our basic human rights and dignity.  How Black poverty and genocide is state violence.  How 2.8 million Black people are locked in cages in this country is state violence.  How Black women bearing the burden of a relentless assault on our children and our families is state violence.  How Black queer and trans folks bear a unique burden from a hetero-patriarchal society that disposes of us like garbage and simultaneously fetishizes us and profits off of us, and that is state violence.  How 500,000 Black people in the US are undocumented immigrants and relegated to the shadows. How Black girls are used as negotiating chips during times of conflict and war.  How Black folks living with disabilities and different abilities bear the burden of state sponsored Darwinian experiments that attempt to squeeze us into boxes of normality defined by white supremacy, and that is state violence.

#BlackLivesMatter is working for a world where Black lives are no longer systematically and intentionally targeted for demise.  We affirm our contributions to this society, our humanity, and our resilience in the face of deadly oppression.  We have put our sweat equity and love for Black people into creating a political project–taking the hashtag off of social media and into the streets. The call for Black lives to matter is a rallying cry for ALL Black lives striving for liberation.

In the wake of Gray’s death, protests began in Baltimore (ostensibly under the banner of #BLM). Initially the protests received little coverage from the mainstream media. Apparently, it isn’t news when an African-American man in police custody later dies under mysterious circumstances. On April 25, a small number of protesters became violent and hurled rocks at police officers and that’s when the MSM took note. The coverage of the protests focused on the relatively minor incidences of civil unrest, serving to paint a decidedly negative image of the protesters in the eyes of many USAmericans. Headlines like USA Today’s ‘Baltimore police say Freddie Gray protest turns destructive‘, TIME’s ‘Baltimore Riots: Instagram videos show violence, looting, unrest‘, CBS’s ‘Calls for calm amid rioting, chaos in Baltimore‘, CNN’s ‘Baltimore riot video shows liquor store on fire, chaos‘, and CNBC’s ‘Chaos in Baltimore: what you need to know‘ have helped perpetuate the idea that the protests in Baltimore are violent, chaotic, and city-wide. Two images courtesy of Vocativ dispel that notion:

The smaller scale of the 2015 civil unrest in Baltimore belies the claim that the city was engulfed in chaos, and yet many media sources chose attention-grabbing headlines that imply the opposite. AJ Woodson of Black Westchester warns people not to fall for the media narrative surrounding the protests:

As you read most of the nationwide coverage, the various news media and websites do admit that most of the protesters were peaceful as you read further down their stories, despite the attention grabbing headlines that speaks of only the violence, destruction and criminal mischief of a few. Unfortunately there will always be a few agitators in any crowd this size. Some of which are purposely positioned among the peaceful protesters for just that reason.

After what has been going on with black men being killed nationwide without any justice taking place even after grand juries, video evidence, incidences being ruled homicide by medical examiners, No officers go to jail, very few cops lose their job and the Ferguson officer who killed Mike Brown was allowed to retire and protect his pension, there is a sense of frustration in these protests, yes!

What happened in the streets of Ferguson was worst by comparison. But let’s be very clear, the scene the media is describing, the picture being painted with all headlines are something no one, I repeat NO ONE wants to see. What they’re showing you are the actions of 100 or so people, there were 10,000 people there, and despite some of the headlines, and you can see by the pictures below all the protesters were not black and out of control. And despite what a local pastor would have you believe, some of those who were acting up the most were doing so before those (he called outsiders), who came to town in support showed up.

Words have power, they create perceptions that make other actions possible and allow the most outrageous of  explanations why they kill black people believable and acceptable by other groups of people. Let’ be clear here, NO ONE wants to truly see Scenes of Chaos: 1,000’s of Frenzied Protesters Rioting In Baltimore, the city would truly still be burning. But they media will show the worst or the worst, you know if it bleeds it leads. It’s true it’s great for ratings which leads to heavy advertising revenue, but it is not good for our community or the race relations nationwide.

Just like the media takes the liberty to show the worst of the worst like they did in Baltimore, I am taking the liberty to show the worst of the worst in their reporting and calling them out. It’s important to not allow the mass media to distort the narrative and take away from the message of this fight for justice.

What they don’t report was there were, “Muslims, Christians, Jews, Blacks, Whites, Asians, Young and Old, Rich and Poor people all united and standing harmoniously against common oppression,” shared one of the organizers Frank ‘Sha’ Francois. The demonstration was sponsored by a wide coalition of social justice groups, including Malik Shabazz of Black Lawyers For Justice (BLFJ), Carl Dix of Stop Mass Incarceration (SMIN) and brother Ted Freedomfighter Sutton of Sutton House, just to name a few who came in support of their brothers and sisters in Baltimore. Support for justice of Freddie Gray, 25, who was arrested one week ago, in West Baltimore. Who died on April 19th, from injuries sustained while he was in police custody.

Contrary to news reports from many sources, the story out of Baltimore is not ‘police were hit by rocks‘, ‘a CVS store burned to the ground in an act of arson‘, or ‘protesters became violent‘*. Yes, there were pockets of violence and property damage. Yes, roughly 15 police officers were injured and a CVS was destroyed. The CVS can be rebuilt, and the officers are still among the living. The same cannot be said of Freddie Gray, Jr, who joins a growing list of African-Americans killed in fatal police encounters including Michael Brown, Jr., Rekia Boyd, Walter Scott, Tanisha Anderson, Shelly Frey, Eric Garner, Alesia Thomas, John Crawford III, Rumain Brisbon, Tamir Rice, Akai Gurley, Kajieme Powell, Ezell Ford, Malissa Williams, Dante Parker, Yvette Smith, Miriam Carey, Shereese Francis and many more. The real story is one the mainstream media has largely failed to address: the failure of the U.S. criminal justice system to treat People of Color-especially African-Americans-equitably.

Let me be clear here: I do not condone the civil unrest. I recognize that there are people who suffer emotionally and financially when their property is destroyed. At the same time, I do not fully condemn the civil unrest because I understand that it is the last option open to an oppressed people who have had their lives and their rights trampled upon by an unjust criminal justice system enabled by the government. When black person after black person continues to be the victim of disproportionately harsh sentencing laws, racial profiling, and police brutality…when peaceful protests and lobbying politicians doesn’t work…when writing and blogging and being an activist does not work to change the system-what then? What is left? How can positive change be accomplished when all other avenues have been exhausted?  It is this understanding that led Martin Luther King, Jr. to say the following about riots:

Urban riots must now be recognized as durable social phenomena. They may be deplored, but they are there and should be understood. Urban riots are a special form of violence. They are not insurrections. The rioters are not seeking to seize territory or to attain control of institutions. They are mainly intended to shock the white community. They are a distorted form of social protest. The looting which is their principal feature serves many functions. It enables the most enraged and deprived Negro to take hold of consumer goods with the ease the white man does by using his purse. Often the Negro does not even want what he takes; he wants the experience of taking. But most of all, alienated from society and knowing that this society cherishes property above people, he is shocking it by abusing property rights. There are thus elements of emotional catharsis in the violent act. This may explain why most cities in which riots have occurred have not had a repetition, even though the causative conditions remain. It is also noteworthy that the amount of physical harm done to white people other than police is infinitesimal and in Detroit whites and Negroes looted in unity.

A profound judgment of today’s riots was expressed by Victor Hugo a century ago. He said, ‘If a soul is left in the darkness, sins will be committed. The guilty one is not he who commits the sin, but he who causes the darkness.’

The policymakers of the white society have caused the darkness; they create discrimination; they structured slums; and they perpetuate unemployment, ignorance and poverty. It is incontestable and deplorable that Negroes have committed crimes; but they are derivative crimes. They are born of the greater crimes of the white society. When we ask Negroes to abide by the law, let us also demand that the white man abide by law in the ghettos. Day-in and day-out he violates welfare laws to deprive the poor of their meager allotments; he flagrantly violates building codes and regulations; his police make a mockery of law; and he violates laws on equal employment and education and the provisions for civic services. The slums are the handiwork of a vicious system of the white society; Negroes live in them but do not make them any more than a prisoner makes a prison. Let us say boldly that if the violations of law by the white man in the slums over the years were calculated and compared with the law-breaking of a few days of riots, the hardened criminal would be the white man. These are often difficult things to say but I have come to see more and more that it is necessary to utter the truth in order to deal with the great problems that we face in our society.

The outrage felt by African-Americans is the result of centuries of discrimination, oppression, disenfranchisement, and economic inequality that sustains the engine of white supremacy. USAmericans must confront the deadly legacy of racism this country was founded upon and continues to benefit from (with an eye to demolishing that system) even if it means white USAmericans lose a bit of privilege. Until then, equality for all citizens will continue to be nothing more than a dream for all but a privileged few.

*For the pearl clutchers concerned about property damage, I have two things to say:

  1. Your priorities are deeply screwed up. You’re hand-wringing over property damage, but where is your concern for black lives? Why are you not outraged over the mass incarceration of black bodies? Why aren’t you similarly angry over the disproportionate levels of police brutality experienced by African-Americans? Why do you care so much more for property than human beings?
  2. Given your concern for property, if you would focus your attention on dismantling the engine of white supremacy, fewer and fewer African-Americans will reach the point of desperation whereupon they choose to engage in civil unrest.
Chaos has not engulfed Baltimore

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.

* * * *

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.

* * * *

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.

* * * *
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.

* * * *

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

Police Behaving Badly 4.23.15

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:

LAPD Chief shocked by video of officer’s confrontation with robbery suspect

“I was shocked by the content of the video,” Beck said of the surveillance footage of the Oct. 16 arrest of 22-year-old Clinton Alford Jr. near 55th Street and South Avalon Boulevard.

Officer Richard Garcia, 34, was charged Monday with assault under color of authority. He pleaded not guilty Monday afternoon and is scheduled to return to court June 1, when a date is expected to be set for a hearing to determine if there is sufficient evidence to go to trial.

Plainclothes officers stopped Alford, who was on a bike, because he matched the description of a robbery suspect. After initially fleeing the officers, Alford surrendered. Alford’s attorney, Caree Harper, says Alford was prone on the ground with his hands behind his head when Garcia kicked and stomped on him, then repeatedly struck him in the head and body.

Beck said that after he saw video of the arrest, he “immediately ensured that the officers were sent home.”

The chief said he “contacted personally the district attorney and expressed my desire for her folks to not only look at this case but to file criminal charges.”

Garcia has not been fired by the department, which is allowing the criminal case to move forward.

“We have to keep in mind that the ultimate goal is justice here,” Beck said. “And we want the justice system to be able to address this use of force, which I believe is a criminal act.”

All of the officers involved in the arrest were placed on paid administrative leave.

* * * *

Over in Round Rock, Texas, a police officer attempting to subdue a woman used a takedown move that resulted in a woman being knocked unconscious on the pavement. A bystander (who wishes to remain anonymous for fear of retaliation) recorded a portion of the incident:

Video captured by a man inside the Wing Stop on East Palm Valley in Round Rock Tuesday afternoon shows Officer Ben Johnson arresting Viviana Keith.

The video shows Johnson and Keith talking, then he tries to force her to bend over onto the hood of his car during the arrest. When she resists, Johnson performs a take-down move, essentially throwing Keith onto the ground. She hit her head and was knocked unconscious.

The video goes on to show Keith’s 6-year-old daughter walk over to check on her mom as the officer rolls Keith onto her back and checks her pulse.

“When I look back at the tape, I can see her head bounce off the concrete because when he threw her down, she wasn’t able to brace herself,” said the man who recorded the video, who wanted to remain anonymous for fear of retaliation. “She was absolutely unconscious. There were a couple of other gentleman in the store with me and we were saying ‘is she breathing?’ Because at first we weren’t seeing her stomach rise and fall.”

Viviana Garcia, who works in the shopping strip, said witnessed the incident and fearing the worst, she walked over to help Keith’s child.

“It looked like she was dead,” Garcia said. “The little girl was screaming, ‘Mommy, mommy.'”

Staff from an urgent care center in the strip went over to help until EMS arrived. Witnesses say the left side of Keith’s face was black and she had a large cut over her eye.

What the video did not capture was what led up to the arrest. Witnesses said Keith was drunk when she walked into Deluxe Nails.

“She was a little loud, and disruptive,” said Rebecca Tomlinson, who was inside the nail salon. “She said she was very tired, really tired and they said, ‘Maybe you should go home and get some sleep,’ and then she turned around and stumbled out.”

I don’t even want to read the comments on articles about this. I can imagine there will be people saying something to the effect of “she deserved this for being drunk” or “what kind of mother is she drinking all day”. As if being drunk or being a bad parent is sufficient justification for being treated brutally by law enforcement officials.

* * * *

Cop runs stop sign without lights or sirens, hits pedestrian, cutting off both legs, 5 hospitalized

A violent, multiple vehicle crash unfolded last week after a Snohomish County Sheriff’s deputy ran a stop sign.

The resulting crash left five people hospitalized. One man, who was loading up his pick-up truck with the tailgate down, was hit by the police cruiser, pinning him in between the car and his truck.

The man, who neighbors say was a construction worker, was taken to Harborview Regional Medical Center in Seattle where both of his legs were amputated. As of today, he is still in ICU.

Witnesses recall that the deputy did not have his lights on, nor his siren as he sped through the stop sign at the north Everett intersection of Rockefeller Avenue and 23rd Street just before noon on Friday.

Steve Teixeira, a neighbor who heard the crash, described hearing the man screaming in agony as he begged for help. Teixeira was forced to argue with the 9-1-1 dispatcher to send an ambulance because he couldn’t see the man pinned between the cop car and the pickup.

“Everyone was, ‘where’s the ambulance?’,” neighbor Kieth Owens said.

The accident investigation has been passed off to the Washington State Patrol, who said on Wednesday that the deputy was most likely at fault for this crash.

* * * *

An inmates final struggle caught on video; some raising questions about death at West Baton Rouge jail

According to a wrongful death lawsuit filed in federal court in February 2014 on behalf of Edwards’ only son, Ervin Edwards was with his girlfriend at a gas station near Port Allen on Nov. 26, 2013, when the couple got into a “minor argument.”

By the time West Baton Rouge Parish sheriff’s deputies responded, the argument was over, the lawsuit says.

Nevertheless, deputies began to question Edwards about his “sagging” pants, the suit says, and before long Edwards was being arrested.

By the time the Port Allen officer, Dustin McMullan, arrived at the gas station, Edwards already was in restraints, according to a police incident report. McMullan said Edwards was combative during the arrest process, threatening multiple times to kill the officers who were arresting him.

At one point while still at the gas station, the lawsuit says one of the law enforcement officers threatened to “tase” Edwards. When his girlfriend heard this comment, she begged the officers not to shock him because of his high blood pressure, the suit says.

While authorities didn’t shock Edwards at the gas station, a Port Allen police officer did end up shocking him inside the cell.

It’s difficult to tell from the video footage how many times or how long the officer shocked Edwards because other officers obscured the view inside the cell. It is clear, however, that Dustin McMullan kept the stun gun pressed against Edwards’ buttocks in “stun drive” mode for more than a minute — a fact apparently in direct contrast with McMullan’s recollection of the event in the police incident report.

McMullan wrote in his report that he warned Edwards three times to quit resisting officers’ restraint attempts before he pulled his stun gun from its holster and pressed it against Edwards.

“I then pulled the trigger on the Taser using the full five second circle on Edwards,” he wrote, meaning he shocked him for five seconds, which is the longest a shock can be applied without stopping for a brief time and pulling the trigger again. “However, the Taser did not appear to have any effect on Edwards.

“Due to the obvious lack of effect of the Taser, I then re-holstered it,” McMullan wrote. “I then again assisted in restraining Edwards using empty hand control techniques” before the officers were able to remove the restraints from Edwards’ ankles and hands and all exit the cell.

In contrast to McMullan’s report, the video shows him keeping the stun gun pressed firmly against Edwards for nearly a minute and a half. While it’s unclear how much of that time was spent shocking the inmate, a bright blue light can be seen between the stun gun and Edwards on several occasions during a roughly 45-second period.

Also in the report, McMullan said another deputy checked on Edwards after the use of force episode and saw the inmate breathing and moving his arms.

But in the video, Edwards doesn’t appear to flinch.

John Jakuback, McMullan’s attorney, said there is “overwhelming evidence” that McMullan’s use of the Taser “had nothing to do with Mr. Edwards’ death.”

Jakuback also noted that McMullan was one of the law enforcement officers who administered CPR to Edwards once the deputies and officers realized Edwards was unresponsive inside the cell.

“The witness statements taken at the scene of Mr. Edwards’ arrest at the gas station, video footage, and Jefferson Parish autopsy report confirm that neither Port Allen officer acted in any way inappropriately,” said Jakuback, who also is representing another Port Allen police officer who helped transport Edwards to the jail, “and that no action taken by those officers caused or contributed to Mr. Edwards’ unfortunate death.”

Jakuback said the Police Department’s “use of force” report, Edwards’ autopsy report and a computer-generated Taser report indicate McMullan only applied a single five-second burst of electricity to Edwards buttocks area.

It wasn’t clear why the computer-generated report says the discharge occurred at 6:46 p.m., while the time stamp on the video footage would indicate the discharge occurred about 15 minutes sooner.

Glenn Holt, a corrections expert with more than 20 years of experience in juvenile and adult detention centers, including some in Louisiana, described the handling of Edwards inside the jail as “bad correctional practice.”

Imagine that-cops lied on the police report to cover their asses.

(h/t Raw Story)

* * * *

Rounding things out, once again a recording has turned up that contradicts the police account of an officer-involved shooting. This time it’s here in Florida, where dashcam video shows that a Palm Beach County deputy lied about the shooting of an unarmed African-American man:

In dashcam video published by WPTV on Thursday, 20-year-old Dontrell Stephens can be seen on his bicycle being followed by PBSO deputy Adams Lin. When Stephens realizes that he’s being followed, he pulls over and appears to confront the deputy.

Stephens briefly disappears from view of the dashcam video and when he comes back into frame, he is being shot at by the deputy. Stephens attempts to flee from the bullets, but he is hit four times. As it turned out, Stephens had a cell phone, but no weapon.

Lin can later be heard explaining to another deputy what happened.

“He starts backing away,” Lin says of encounter. “I said, ‘Get on the ground, get on the ground.’”

“I got your back man,” the second deputy assures Lin. “I got your back. Hey, you hear me?”

“Yeah, I know,” Lin replies.

In a televised press conference later that day, Sheriff Ric Bradshaw warned suspects to “[s]top what you’re doing and comply with us.”

“There’s nothing in the rules of engagement that says we have to put our lives in jeopardy to wait to find out what this is to get killed,” the sheriff insisted.

Within four days, Lin had been cleared to return to duty. And the State Attorney’s Office and PBSO internal affairs later ruled that the shooting was justified.

West Palm Beach attorney Jack Scarola, who is suing on behalf of Stephens, said this week that the dashcam video appeared to contradict claims that Lin gave a command to get down on the ground before shooting.

“There are no records of any commands ever made to Dontrell Stephens,” Scarola said. “The deputy’s recorded statements following the shooting were absolutely false. Internal affairs completely ignored that evidence.”

Police Behaving Badly 4.23.15

Complaining while black can get you arrested

He didn’t shoplift jewelry or burn down someone’s house.

He didn’t shoot the neighbor’s dog and didn’t assault their spouse.

He did not rape a person and no child did he molest.

He destroyed no public property and was not outside undressed.

He did not drive intoxicated nor was he selling drugs.

He was merely griping about authoritarian thugs.

17-year-old Deonte Bertino was playing a game of basketball with friends when they were approached by police officers who told them to disperse. For what, I haven’t a fucking clue. Oh, sure, the cops mention something about someone dropping the F-bomb, but irrespective of whether that is a crime or not (and if it is, it damn well shouldn’t be), that is no justification for telling the teens to leave. In the process of following those orders, the Brockport, NY teen complained about how the police were harassing them. Guess what happened next:

When the teenagers were told to disperse, Bertino walked over to the bench to grab his belongings, but was clearly distraught that he was being forced to leave.

Deciding that teaching manners is now in the job description of police, Officer Cranston attempted to grab Bertino as he was following the order to exit the park, causing the teenager to pull away.

Bertino told the officer not to touch him, as he was not detained, and there was no justification for the officer to have his hands on him.  At this point, the officer tells him that he is under arrest and violently throws the barely 17-year-old to the ground with assistance from Officer Caitlin.  A third officer then rushes over to pile up on him.

Supporters of law enforcement tactics like this often say that black people wouldn’t be treated so horribly if they would simply listen to the police. Bertino was doing exactly that and yet he was still treated horribly by police. What’s their solution now? If complying with orders isn’t enough to stop police from treating black people horribly, what will? Do we have to stop existing?

The story gets a bit worse though. You may want to sit down for this next bit of shocking news. Guess who lied on the police report?

“The arresting officers lied on the police report saying my son threatened the officer and cursed at the officer. In the unedited video, you can plainly hear he never cursed at the officer,” Dante’s father, Jeremy Bertino, told The Free Thought Project.

I know, I know. It’s totes shocking that cops would lie.

Speaking of that unedited video:

Look at that-no threats and no cursing (as if four-color language should be worthy of detainment, let alone arrest). This is nothing more than the latest example of cops expecting civilians to blindly submit to their authority and becoming angry when that does not occur. Fucking authoritarianism.

Complaining while black can get you arrested

Advice for black people

In the days, weeks, and months following the extrajudicial execution of Michael Brown, Jr at the hands of ex-police officer Darren Wilson, one of the common refrains I’ve heard from people (predominately white people) is that if African-Americans would listen to the police, bad things wouldn’t happen to them.

Great advice, that. I’m sure no Black parent in the history of Black parenting has ever told their child to listen to the police to avoid horrible things happening to them. Nope, we needed a white savior to swoop in and give us this piece of advice from the ‘How to survive as a Black person in the US’ handbook. Thanks ever so much.

Now, what’s your advice on how to survive as a Black person in the US when you haven’t done a damn thing wrong? What do you say to the Black people walking around outside, in the cold weather, with their hands in the pockets?

Video of the incident, which has been making the rounds across social media, shows the cop, who also recorded the incident, explaining to the man that his walking around was “making people nervous. They said you had your hands in your pockets.”

“Wow, walking by having your hands in your pockets makes people nervous [enough] to call the police, when it’s snowing outside?” the unidentified man says. “There’s 10,000 people in Pontiac right now with their hands in their pockets.”

The Pontiac police officer acknowledges that the man is right but notes that “we do have a lot of robberies, so just checking on you. You’re fine, you’re good?” he asks.

No, the man wasn’t arrested. Nor was he shot. He was, in my opinion, profiled, and racial profiling is a bad thing that happens to Black people. All. The. Damn. Time. Racial profiling is based on the idea that a particular race has a propensity for criminality. In the United States, that means African-Americans (and Latinos and American Indians) are often treated by law enforcement (and civilians) as if they’re criminals. In this case, a man was treated as a potential criminal for the crime of walking around in the cold weather with his hands in his pockets. As he said, there are thousands of people in Pontiac that likely had their hands in their pockets. Was the officer going to stop all of them on suspicion of being robbers? Or was he only going after this one Black man?  If so, why?  And is this advice given to white people as well? What’s the advice from white people on this one?  “Don’t walk around in the cold weather with your hands in your pockets”? I guess it’s a good thing there were no cops around to watch me walk to the store yesterday–with my hands in my pockets because it was cold. I might have been racially profiled and stopped by police. Or worse, like the next example, where a man got tasered and arrested by the police while walking down the street:

An innocent 34-year-old autistic man was tasered and arrested by police on Christmas eve because he was walking down the street at night.

Greenville City Police were in the area responding to reports of gunshots when they came across Tario Anderson and shined a spotlight in the innocent man’s face. Anderson reacted by walking away from this stressful sensory overload.

“When they put their spotlight on him, he immediately put his head down, put his hands in his pockets and began to walk away from him,” Officer Johnathan Bragg with Greenville Police said. “They then got out of the vehicle and approached him and ordered him to stop at which point he did flee from the officers and they pursued him.”

Anderson had committed no crime but since he did not immediately bow down to the police, he was tasered and cops piled on top of him.

His mother, Carolyn Anderson, said he has severe autism, does not understand much and did not need to be arrested or shocked with a Taser.

“Tario can say yes or no, he might ask for a thing or two, but just verbal, no,” Carolyn Anderson said.

According to WYFF, Carolyn Anderson said the family has lived on Sullivan St. her entire life and he often walks most nights to other relatives’ homes on the street. When neighbors saw Tario shocked with the Taser, Carolyn Anderson said they called her to come outside, but officers would not let her near her son.

“If you had seen my baby was out there, laying on that sidewalk and every time he reached for me, I reached for him- [they’d say] ‘Get back, we gonna Tase you,’” Carolyn Anderson said. “I was trying to make them take me to jail. I curse everything, ‘Take me! I’m the one causing trouble! Take me. He’s not doing nothing.’ No matter what I said, it didn’t make no difference to them.”

Bragg callously stated that Tario Anderson deserved the force he received from officers. He said the officers were not aware that Anderson has a mental handicap, and because he broke the law by running and resisting arrest, they arrested him.

I wasn’t aware that it’s against the law to run from the police when you haven’t done a fucking thing wrong! In this case, the advice from white people would probably sound like “Don’t walk down the street and for heaven’s sake, don’t run from the cops. Even if you’ve done nothing wrong. Even if they scare you because you have a mental disability.” But what about when you’re walking down the street, doing nothing but talking on your cell phone, and you’re sprayed with pepper spray?

Garfield High School teacher Jesse Hagopian will file a tort claim this afternoon against the City of Seattle and the Seattle Police Department, according to his lawyer, former Seattle NAACP President James Bible, over the way he was pepper sprayed during demonstrations on Martin Luther King Day this year.

As you can see in the video, Hagopian is merely walking and talking on his cellphone when the female police officer douses him with pepper spray. Why?  It’s not evident. It’s not like he was violent. It’s not like he was a danger to the police or anyone else.  So what’s the white savior advice for this situation? Don’t have the audacity to engage in those mundane activities that white people do every day and expect to get away with it? That’s pretty much the advice being offered in all the above examples, and many, many more. It’s not useful advice either, bc Blacks are only trying to live their lives on their own terms. That means doing mundane things like warming your cold hands in your pockets, walking down the street, and talking on a cell phone. If we can’t even perform such mundane tasks without the threat of police harassment and brutality, what recourse is there? Stop existing?

Advice for black people