Posts Tagged ‘militarized police’

From Balko…

Meet Derek Cruice, your latest collateral damage in the drug war:

A deputy shot and killed an unarmed man while attempting to serve a narcotics search warrant in Deltona, according to the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office.

Investigators said deputies were entering the home on Maybrook Drive when Derek Cruice, 26, allegedly advanced on a member of the SWAT team around 6:30 a.m. Wednesday.

“Volusia County Sheriff’s Office narcotics investigators and the Street Crimes Unit were attempting to serve a search warrant at a residence. They were met with resistance and a shooting occurred,” Volusia County Sheriff Ben Johnson said.

A deputy shot Cruice in the face right in the doorway, investigators said.

Cruice was taken to Florida Hospital Fish Memorial Hospital in Orange City as a trauma alert, but later died.

There were five other people inside the home at the time of the shooting, but no one else was injured.

If he was shot in the doorway, it seems unlikely he had much time to process what was going on around him. In fact, not only was Cruice unarmed, according to his roommates, he was wearing only basketball shorts. The roommates also dispute the police account that Cruice “advanced” on them.

Two of Cruice’s friends, who told WESH 2′s Claire Metz that they were inside the house when he was shot, insist that he did not threaten or resist the deputy.

“That is completely a lie. I was there; I watched the whole thing. There was no advancement. There was no reaching for anything. The guy was wearing basketball shorts like I am. It’s kind of hard to conceal anything or hide anything when this is all you have on,” said Cruice’s friend, who asked not to be identified.

Another friend called the incident “murder.” There were no weapons in the house.

It seems likely that Cruice was dealing pot. The police say they found a ledger book, a scale, about a half-pound of marijuana and some cash. It also seems likely that if the police had simply knocked on the door and waited, or apprehended Cruice as he was coming or going, Cruice would be still be alive. This insistence on serving drug warrants by barreling into homes creates needless violence, confusion and confrontation. They’re designed to do this. I doubt that Cruice knowingly decided to take on a raiding police team armed only with his basketball shorts. It seems far more likely that he thought they were criminal intruders and was either trying to confront them, or was trying to escape. But there is no room for errors in judgment for the people on the receiving end of these raids — even though sowing confusion and disorientation are the stated aim. But it is only the suspects, the targets of the raids, who are expected to do everything right. When the police screw up and kill someone, they’re generally forgiven, owing again to the volatility of the situation.

So judging from the many, many prior incidents similar to this one, it’s probably safe to say that this officer will be cleared of any wrongdoing. It’s also probably safe to say that any investigation will determine that there’s nothing wrong with the police department’s warrant service policies. At least that’s how these investigations usually go. And if it is determined that the cops in these cases are following policy, and that there’s nothing wrong with the policies themselves, then the only conclusion we can draw is that the police agencies believe unarmed men getting shot in the face is an acceptable consequence of the effort to stop people from getting high on marijuana.

Of course, even that is an illusion. If there’s one thing we can say with near-absolute certainty, it’s that it is no more difficult to buy pot in Volusia County, Fla., today than it was before Derek Cruice was gunned down in his own home. And so we add another body to the pile.

By Barbara Liston

ORLANDO, Fla. (Reuters) – A 26-year-old Central Florida man died after being shot in the face early on Wednesday morning by a sheriff’s deputy attempting to serve a search warrant in a narcotics investigation, authorities said.

The Volusia County Sheriff’s Office reported in a press release that the victim, Derek Cruice, advanced on a member of the SWAT team as the officer was entering the house, leading to his killing.

Spokesman Gary Davidson said a further description of the encounter would follow a report from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, which investigates fatal shootings by police.

Michael Grady, one of six people in the house, told reporters at the scene that he opened the door when officers knocked, stepped outside and closed the door behind him. Within a couple of seconds, as officers pushed him to his knees, Grady said he heard the gunshot behind him, according to video of his interview posted on the Daytona Beach News-Journal website.

Reuters could not reach Grady for comment.

The deputy who fired the shot was Todd Raible, 36, a 10-year employee of the sheriff’s office, according to Davidson, who said no one was arrested.

“advanced on the SWAT team my ass-the trigger-happy stormtroopers shot him IN THE FACE!


The Chicago Police Department released a fact sheet Sunday disputing claims they operate a secretive facility in Homan Square on Chicago’s West Side where criminal suspects are denied basic rights.

The fact sheet is three pages: one detailing facility facts, one addressing what experts are saying regarding claims of abuse and the last page explaining the department’s arrest and interview procedures.

The information refutes all claims of abuse. Police say Homan Square open to the public as home to CPD’s Evidence and Recovered Property Section, where “members of the public can collect evidence recovered during now complete criminal investigations, or found property.”

They also say Homan Square is “the base of operations for officers working undercover assignments. These men and women dress in plain clothes and work to disrupt gang activity and clear drug markets out of neighborhoods. Advertising their base of operations could put their lives at risk, which is why Homan Square features little signage.”

Regarding allegations that a death at the facility may have been the result of physical violence from Chicago police officers, the fact sheet says, “The allegation that physical violence is part of interviews with suspects is unequivocally false… Published news reports indicate the Medical Examiner’s autopsy report shows the man died of an accidental heroin overdose.”

Saturday, activists gathered outside the Homan Square facility for a protest, where they made demands including calls for a town hall meeting.

“If Chicago Police Department doesn’t have anything to hide, then open up the doors!” said Rev. Greg Greer of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. “Open up the doors!”

The “Fact Sheet”…

March 1, 2015
Recently, inaccurate and misleading information reg
arding Homan Square has been making
its way around the Internet. The below provides fac
ts about the facility and its uses, and the
arrest and interview procedures of CPD.
Homan Square is a facility owned and operated by th
e Chicago Police Department since
1999. It serves a number of functions, some of whic
h are sensitive and some of which are
not, however
it is not a secret facility
In fact, Homan Square is home to CPD’s Evidence and
Recovered Property Section, which is
open to the public. Homan Square is the only CPD fa
cility where members of the public can
collect evidence recovered during a now complete cr
iminal investigation, or found property.
Portions of the facility are sensitive. Homan Squar
e is the base of operations for officers
working undercover assignments. These men and women
dress in plain clothes and work to
disrupt gang activity and clear drug markets out of
neighborhoods. Advertising their base of
operations could put their lives at risk, which is
why Homan Square features little signage.
Other sensitive units housed at the facility includ
e the Bureau of Organized Crime (including
the narcotics unit), the SWAT Unit, Evidence Techni
cians, and the CPD ballistics lab.
Like more than 25 CPD facilities throughout the Cit
y, such as district stations and detective
bureaus, Homan Square contains several standard int
erview rooms. Most individuals
interviewed at Homan Square are lower-level arrests
from the Narcotics unit. There are
always records of anyone who is arrested by CPD, an
d this is no different at Homan Square.
The allegation that physical violence is a part of
interviews with suspects is
unequivocally false, it is offensive, and it is not
supported by any facts whatsoever.
The articles say a man died in one of the Homan Squ
are interview rooms, and imply
this may have been a result of physical violence at
the hands of CPD officers.
Published news reports indicate the Medical Examine
r’ autopsy report show the
man died of an accidental heroin overdose.
The articles describe Homan Square as a “secretive
warehouse” despite the fact that
the public is able to claim inventoried property th
ere and members of the media
have been invited on tours of the facility on a reg
ular basis. CPD has even held press
conferences inside the facility.
One of the articles implies that during an intervie
w police turned up the heat in an
interview room at Homan Square to get an individual
to admit to a crime, yet there
is no way to regulate heat in individual rooms at t
he facility. Any change in
temperature would affect an entire floor or zone, a
nd can only be done by calling in
a building engineer.
***It takes an engineer to turn up a thermostat?***

A remarkable report from Spencer Ackerman at The Guardian has revealed in detail the existence of an interrogation facility used by Chicago police to detain and hold people in secret. The report describes how police have used a “nondescript warehouse” to keep detainees out of booking databases, beat prisoners, shackle them for “prolonged periods,” and keep them from legal counsel for up to 24 hours — including even children as young as 15.

If that sounds familiar, it’s because the US has used similar facilities around the world since 9/11 in its prosecution of the “war on terror.” CIA “black sites” around the world have been used to secretly detain, interrogate, and torture alleged enemies of state. Use of these sites for “extraordinary rendition” is one of the darkest aspects of the US war on terror, and has been the target of criticism from a broad spectrum of observers.

America has entered a period of constitutional horror

Unlike the CIA’s black sites, The Guardian reports that the Chicago facility targets people who aren’t suspected of terror-related activities; the site is reportedly shared by anti-gang and anti-drug police units.

In one instance, The Guardian reports, 12 people who were protesting a Nato summit in 2012 were taken to the warehouse. One man, Jacob Church, says he was cuffed to a bench for around 17 hours and interrogated without receiving Miranda rights. “Essentially, I wasn’t allowed to make contact with anybody,” Church told The Guardian. “I had essentially figured, ‘all right, well, they disappeared us and so we’re probably never going to see the light of day again.'” An attorney who eventually gained access to the facility reportedly had to talk to Church through a “floor-to-ceiling chain-link metal cage.” But most attorneys, The Guardian notes, have been completely turned away from the site.

One detainee, John Hubbard, died in the facility, The Guardian reports. At the time, The Chicago Tribune unceremoniously reported the event under the headline “man in custody found unresponsive, dies.”

“That scares the hell out of me.”

The Guardian‘s report lands in the wake of a national conversation that began last year about police militarization in the US. Last August, the world witnessed a shocking display of force against residents of Ferguson, Missouri, who assembled to protest the killing of an unarmed teenager. Police in military battle dress rolled armored vehicles with sonic weapons down suburban streets, pointed sniper rifles at peaceful protesters, assaulted and harassed journalists, and unilaterally heightened tensions for dubious reasons. Police militarization and brutality have, of course, been an issue before Ferguson — just ask the participants of Occupy Wall Street.

As The Guardian’s report demonstrates, it’s not just weapons from the war on terror that are flowing to police departments across the country: it’s tactics and attitudes, too. “I’ve never known of any kind of organized, secret place where they go and just hold somebody before booking for hours and hours and hours,” retired DC homicide detective James Trainum told The Guardian. “That scares the hell out of me that that even exists or might exist.”

(Reuters) – Three Los Angeles police officers who fatally shot an unarmed man after a televised car chase in 2013 will not face charges over the killing, prosecutors said on Monday, in a case that has drawn criticism from the department’s police chief.

The news was contained in a letter dated Jan. 29 and released by the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office. It came as national scrutiny over police killings of unarmed people remains high after several high-profile deaths.

The three Los Angeles officers said they thought 51-year-old Brian Beaird, who was white, was reaching for a gun or shooting at them when they fired on him 21 times on Dec. 13, 2013.

“There is insufficient evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that (the officers) did not act in self-defense and in defense of others,” the letter said.

The incident began as a car chase when Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies tried to pull Beaird over in his silver Corvette for reckless driving, police said.

After Los Angeles police officers took up pursuit, Beaird’s vehicle collided with another car at a downtown intersection and he emerged flailing his arms, police said.

An officer fired a non-lethal bean bag shotgun at Beaird. Shortly after, the three officers – Armando Corral, Leonardo Ortiz, and Michael Ayala – opened fire on him, killing him, officials said.

“I find that the tactics utilized by (the officers) substantially and unjustifiably deviated from approved department tactical training, thus requiring a finding of administrative disapproval,” Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck wrote in a report of the incident last December.

Media reported that Beaird’s family had obtained a $5 million settlement from the city over the shooting. Bill Beaird of Fresno, California, told reporters at the time he saw police shoot his son on live television.

“I’ve seen a lot, but nothing affected me like this, I just can’t seem to get over that,” he said.

The decision not to charge the officers comes as officials in Washington state are investigating the fatal shooting by three police officers of an unarmed man who was throwing rocks.

That fatal shooting prompted protests in the state’s agricultural heartland, and a lawyer for the man’s family said his constitutional rights had been violated.

(Reporting by Curtis Skinner in San Francisco)

“Bratton said it would be “very helpful” if charges of resisting arrest were upped from misdemeanors to felonies.”

Like all Borg Collectivists, Bratton  seeks to ensure "Resistance is futile."

From David Codrea

Gun Rights Examiner…

Attempting to further bolster a de facto monopoly of violence in New York City, Police Commissioner Bill Bratton proposed additional edicts to tip the power scales even more in favor of enforcers over citizens, the New York Observer reported Wednesday. In addition to stiffening penalties for things like wearing protective body armor, tinting windows and holding police to similar information disclosures that “civilians” (a telling attitude in itself ) are subjected to, Bratton said it would be “very helpful” if charges of resisting arrest were upped from misdemeanors to felonies.

Who that would be very helpful to is obvious. And, as with so much of what Bratton has stood for throughout a long career as a tax-fed serial oath-breaker, the potentials for further assaults on liberty and shielding of a corruption are intentionally terrifying — if we let ourselves be cowed by them.

“There’s a widespread pattern in American policing where resisting arrest charges are used to sort of cover — and that phrase is used — the officer’s use of force,” retired criminal justice professor and expert witness Sam Walker told WNYC in a December analysis of police abuse. “Why did the officer use force? Well, the person was resisting arrest.”

NYPD Has a Plan to Magically Turn Anyone It Wants Into a Felon,” Gawker Justice observes in a more hard-edged assessment that includes examples of resisting arrest charges being deliberately unjustly applied. And it’s that felony rap that should most outrage right to keep and bear arms advocates, because such convictions will result in lifetime prohibitions against owning guns, outcomes Bratton and his boss, socialist mayor Bill de Blasio, wouldn’t mind seeing more of. Understand, these are people who want to deploy with machine guns to control protesters, a wish they’ve apparently publicly backed down from — for now.

And it’s not like the leadership for the rank and file don’t share the goal of total armed control, with an overwhelming continuum of up-to-lethal force should any have the temerity to resist.

“We need to make it clear that if someone lifts even a finger against a police officer, their life could be on the line,” Patrick Lynch of the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association has advocated. That’s quite the threshold level for “justified” use of lethal force, is it not? How much less will be required for a “resisting” charge? Is it any wonder attitudes like this result in the “permitting” of a right that is reserved for the “right people”?

It’s consistent with a sense of entitlement actually bragged about by former mayor and longtime domestic enemy Michael Bloomberg, when he told an audience in a speech at MIT “I have my own army in the NYPD, which is the seventh largest army in the world.”

Noting how megalomaniacs with power consistently presume their will trumps the Constitution, it’s no surprise they flaunt their workaround to Article .1. Section. 10, which declares “No State shall, without the Consent of Congress …. keep Troops…” But don’t look for anyone to successfully challenge the power elites by reminding them of that unheeded mandate, either through legislatures or courts serving the hands that hold their leashes.

What remains to be seen is if a new paradigm being tested and adjusted to results in a new awakening sufficient to discourage someone lifting an iron fist against a citizen who is exercising his rights. This latest move by Bratton, with his variation on Star Trek’s Borg warning, “Resistance is futile,” may set the stage for seeing if that’s really so.


(ANTIMEDIA) NEW YORK, NY- NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton announced Thursday that 350 heavily armed NYPD officers, called the “Strategic Response Group,” will soon be patrolling protests and the city at large.

He said the new strain of hyper-armed police will be

“…equipped and trained in ways that our normal patrol officers are not. They’ll be equipped with all the extra heavy protective gear, with the long rifles and machine guns — unfortunately sometimes necessary in these instances.”

Bratton announced  their purpose is specifically

“…designed for dealing with events like our recent protests, or incidents like Mumbai or what just happened in Paris.”

Lumping protesters in with terrorists, he said the permanent force will deal with “disorder control and counterterrorism protection capabilities.” It will allegedly assist on crime scenes and help with “crowd control and other large-scale events.”

It is not unusual for authorities to ramp up “security” efforts following attacks (such as the ax attack against officers in October), but the idea of machine-gun clad officers is disturbing, especially considering past NYPD abuses of protesters and other residents.

The federal government, which has attempted to feign concern with police brutality, is partially funding the militarized venture. The Department of Homeland Security is supplying resources, as is the city of New York. The Pentagon has previously provided machine guns, ammuniton, and other military gear to New York police and other local cops around the country.

The program is set to begin with two precincts in Queens and two in Manhattan, though Bratton did not specify when. During the announcement at a Police Foundation breakfast at the Mandarin Hotel, Bratton also said his plan was backed by both Mayor Bill de Blasio (who came under fire from cops last year) and the city council.

He said the effort is intended to improve police relations with communities since “regular” police will no longer be called from their local precincts to deal with protests and alleged security threats:

“For years we’ve been asking our officers to engage in the community, but we’ve never given them time to do it, or the training.”

Such “crises” will now be handled by the machine gunning cops (machine guns are banned for private citizens). Bratton has also previously asked the city for more tasers to “improve relations” by reducing fatal shootings.

In his Thursday announcement, Bratton additionally called on the MTA to install cameras on all subways-for safety, of course.

Unsurprisingly, there is outrage against the proposed plan. Priscilla Gonzalez, Organizing Director of Communities United for Police Reform, said Bratton’s

“…demands for less oversight of the NYPD and a more militarized police force that would use counter-terrorism tactics against protesters are deeply misguided and frankly offensive. We need an NYPD that is more accountable to New Yorkers and that stops criminalizing our communities, especially when people are taking to the streets to voice legitimate concerns about discriminatory and abusive policing. Despite growing evidence that discriminatory broken windows is a failed and harmful policing strategy, Commissioner Bratton stubbornly continues to defend and expand it.”

The move comes as crime has dropped in New York and the police ticket-writing boycott in protest of Mayor de Blasio led to no increase in conflict.

DENVER (Reuters) – A young woman suspected of driving a stolen car filled with teenage passengers was shot dead by Denver police on Monday after she struck an officer with the vehicle as he approached on foot, authorities said.

Denver Police Chief Robert White told reporters that there were five very young people inside the car when the shooting occurred, and the person who was fatally shot “appeared to be a teenager.”

Her name and age were not immediately released.

White said the incident began when an officer responded to reports of a suspicious vehicle in an alley in the city’s Park Hill neighborhood.

The first officer on scene ran the plates on the car and was told it was stolen and called for back-up, White said. A second officer then arrived and when the pair approached the vehicle, the driver hit one of the officers with the car.

“Both officers fired several shots” at the driver, White said, and the person who was shot was later pronounced dead at a local hospital. The chief said the officer who was struck suffered a possible broken leg and was expected to recover.



ProPublica has just published a long investigation of the use of flashbang grenades, an issue I’ve written about quite a bit, including here at The Watch.

These are the incendiary devices intended to temporarily stun, blind and deafen everyone within range. They have some limited appropriate uses, such as when police are confronting someone who is in the process of committing a violent crime. But they’re used far more often than that, and there’s a long trail of people injured and even killed.

[I]n Little Rock, Ark., the police department is still using flashbangs on nearly every raid, according to ProPublica’s analysis. Police department records obtained by the American Civil Liberties Union, as part of its nationwide survey of police militarization, showed that between 2011 and 2013, Little Rock police tossed flashbangs into homes on 112 occasions, or 84 percent of raids — nearly all of them in predominantly black neighborhoods.

Little Rock Police Department spokesman Sidney Allen defended the practice, saying, “You may see a large number of flashbang deployments, but what we see is a large service of warrants without gunfire.” But no weapons were found at three-quarters of the homes during this period, according to department records obtained by ProPublica. Most searches yielded drug paraphernalia such as small baggies of marijuana and glass pipes. Others just turned up bottles of beer.

One Sunday afternoon in 2012, Sharon Kay Harris, a diminutive 54-year-old grandmother, was still in her church clothes getting a soda out of the fridge when police officers threw a flashbang into her kitchen. “It was very scary,” Harris said. “It’s real loud, it sounds like a gun going off.” Other officers broke down her front door with a battering ram and threw a flashbang into the living room, igniting a pile of clothing. A few weeks earlier, Harris had sold a plate of food and six cans of beer without a license, a misdemeanor in Arkansas, to an undercover officer. The officer returned on a second occasion to catch Harris in another offense: selling liquor on a Sunday. During their raid on Harris’ house, the police confiscated several cases of beer, which she freely admitted to selling along with hot dogs, nachos and fajitas . . .

Little Rock Police Department spokesman Allen said he does not consider the force used on Harris’ home to be excessive. “If she hadn’t been selling illegal items out of the home, no warrant would have been served,” he said. “What you call extreme, we call safe.”


Even when deployed properly, it’s important to remember that these devices, by design, inflict pain and punishment on people. That’s perhaps a justifiable use of force when it’s necessary to apprehend someone who is putting others at imminent risk of injury or death. But flashbangs today are primarily used in raids to serve warrants on people still merely suspected of nonviolent, consensual drug crimes. Not only are these suspects not putting anyone at imminent risk, but they have yet to even be charged with a crime. Another way to put it: Police are using premeditated violence as an investigative tool. And that’s merely the problem with using these devices against suspects. Let’s not forget the bystanders who may be inside, or the possibility of police mistakenly targeting the wrong house, a not uncommon problem in drug investigations.

Officer safety is important. But the ubiquity of flashbangs shows that in too many police agencies today, officer safety has become a higher priority than the safety of the citizens the officers serve.

That’s what happens when the local police have all kinds of tacticool shit and no effin clue how to use it. There’s a huge lack of training for SWAT teams all over the USA-that’s why they do dumb assed shit like raid the wrong house,shoot a 5# dog because it was “acting aggressive” towards them,or shoot-often killing- innocent people in their own homes-innocent people who have committed no crime.

They get shot,the stormtroopers kill their Labradoodle,or toy poodle,or mini schnauzer, because it was being so mean to them that they were in fear for their life.

We need to ban these special snowflake SWAT teams,and these stormtroopers need to be held accountable when they raid the wrong home,shoot innocent people at said wrong home,and when they kill the family dog at the wrong home. When they shoot each other-who cares-one less stormtrooper to shoot your wife,your kid,and your dog,kick in your door,break windows to toss flashbangs in the hole where the glass used to be, toss a flashbang into the baby’s crib,break doors all through your home,ruin your carpeting,and tear all your belongings up and toss them all over the floors.

And cops wonder why so many people despise them??????

Here’s what the guys with the tacticool gear and no clue how to use it did this time…

“ALBUQUERQUE (Reuters) – An Albuquerque police officer shot and critically wounded a fellow officer during an undercover narcotics bust at a fast food franchise parking lot at around mid-day on Friday, police said.

Police would not release additional details of the shooting or of the nature of the officer’s injuries.

“Both officers involved were working in a plain clothes, undercover capacity and have been with the department for many years,” said Albuquerque Police Department spokeswoman Celina Espinoza said, adding that two suspects were arrested.

The incident comes after a federal investigation concluded the police department in the mid-sized U.S. city in New Mexico used excessive, even deadly, force against passive civilians.

In October of last year, Albuquerque and the U.S. Justice Department announced an agreement for the city’s police department to undergo reform and be monitored for use of excessive force.

Another police officer was shot during a traffic stop on Jan. 3. On Dec. 15, an Albuquerque police officer accidentally shot a bystander when his weapon discharged as he climbed through a window during a burglary investigation.

The officer in Friday’s underwent surgery at University of New Mexico Hospital, Espinoza said. A second undercover officer was treated and released from the hospital with minor injuries. She said she did not know the cause of the injuries.

Wallace Anderson, who was inside the restaurant at the time of the shooting, told broadcaster KOB 4 he saw two unmarked cars pull up.

“They surrounded this vehicle so it couldn’t back up and escape. At that point, the shots happened and a guy was dragged to the pavement,” Anderson said.”