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:
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.
* * * *
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.
* * * *
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.
* * * *
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.
* * * *
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.