Posts Tagged ‘police misconduct’

“First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out – because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out – because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out – because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.”

– Martin Niemöller

It is natural, maybe even unavoidable, that one’s view of the world is based mostly on his own personal experiences. If you are white and living in an upscale suburban neighborhood, you may very well view police as friendly, professional and courteous. On the other hand, if you are black and live in a poor inner-city neighborhood, you are likely to view the police as just another dangerous street gang to fear and avoid.

The problem is not that either perception is “wrong.” The problem is that some people assume that their own experiences must match the experiences of everyone else. In middle-class white suburbia, it may usually be true that if you don’t cause trouble, the police won’t harass you (although that is becoming less and less true). So it is easy for such people to assume that if someone is being detained, arrested, or even physically assaulted by police, the person MUST have done something to deserve it. And predictably, this is the same viewpoint expressed by the well-paid, well-connected, and VERY well-controlled mainstream media.

But other people in other circumstances know and report a very different story, as many decades of rap illustrate (e.g., “Sound Of Da Police” by KRS-ONE).

However, recently there have been many stories of people who once believed in “law and order,” and who had faith in the “justice system” but have since learned the brutal reality of things. There have even been stories of black police officers being illegally harassed and detained when not in uniform.

The number of cases of police getting caught lying under oath, abusing suspects, planting evidence and falsifying reports may still surprise many, but they don’t surprise those for whom such injustice is a routine part of life. “They planted evidence!” “They got the wrong guy!” “The cop is lying!” or “I didn’t do anything!”

It’s easy for a spectator— especially one who has never been victimized by thugs in uniform—to assume that such claims are the desperate lies of criminals. But one day you may hear those words coming out of your own mouth knowing they are true, but also knowing that few people are going to believe your word over the word of those “brave men and women in blue.”

Despite the “protect and serve” rhetoric, the primary job of those who wear badges is to supply the politicians with money and power. Money by issuing citations for whatever technical infractions they can detect or fabricate, and power by punishing any who disobey the arbitrary commands of those in power.

Unfortunately, many of those who haven’t yet been victimized still imagine police to be the good guys. But how many “exceptions” make a rule? How many “bad apples” must be exposed before people recognize that the whole barrel is rotten? How many “isolated incidents” does it take for people to see the pattern?

When will people see that law enforcement is not just occasionally blemished by incidents of injustice, corruption and misconduct. Law enforcement IS injustice, corruption, and misconduct, sometimes legalized and sometimes not, but always excused and sanctioned by those who benefit from the racket. Those who have been on the receiving end of “the system” know this all too well, and the number of people in that category continues to grow.

On the bright side, this means that more and more people—even those well-off in upscale suburbia—are starting to learn the true, violent nature of government. It is not your friend. It is not your servant. It serves itself, and it does so at the expense of everyone else.

It may sound cliche, but the only way to have liberty and justice for anyone is to have liberty and justice for all. When whites stand up for blacks, blacks stand up for whites, rich stand up for poor and vice versa.

When decent people of all races, religions, cultures and backgrounds stand with each other against those who would oppress them—that is when violent oppression will end, and peace and justice will begin.

Denial is a powerful drug. It’s high time we get over the addiction.
Source- http://thefreethoughtproject.com/blacks-police-brutality-blacks-anymore/#kHe1hodrbWkpPQ8d.99

By Kim Palmer

CLEVELAND (Reuters) – Community leaders asked a judge on Tuesday to issue arrest warrants for two Cleveland policemen in the 2014 fatal shooting of a 12-year-old boy carrying a replica handgun even as prosecutors mull charges against the officers.

* it was NOT a “replica handgun”-it was an Airsoft handgun with the orange safety tip removed

The move, a signal of distrust in the community toward the authorities handling the case, represents an attempt to bypass the local prosecutor’s office by using an obscure Ohio state law that allows citizens to request an arrest.

The two officers involved in the shooting are white and the boy, Tamir Rice, was black. This is one of a number of cases bringing fresh scrutiny to the issue of police use of force in the United States, particularly against minorities.

“Today, citizens are taking matters into their own hands utilizing the tools of democracy as an instrument of justice,” Olivet Institutional Baptist Church pastor Jawanza Colvin said in a statement.

Cleveland’s police department agreed last month on a plan to minimize racial bias and the use of excessive force after the U.S. Justice Department found a pattern of abuses against civilians by the local police.

Rice was shot outside a city recreation center last Nov. 22 while he played with a Airsoft-type replica handgun used in play combat.

Rookie police officer Timothy Loehmann fired at Rice twice within two seconds of arriving at the scene with his partner Frank Garmback in response to a 911 emergency call about a man with a gun outside the recreation center, according to authorities. The sixth-grader died the next day.

Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Timothy McGinty has said the evidence in the shooting will be presented to a grand jury to decide on whether to bring charges against Loehmann and Garmback after a county sheriff’s department completed its investigation last week.

Rice family lawyer Walter Madison said his clients were worried about the transfer of the case to the prosecutor in light of the acquittal of Cleveland police officer Michael Brelo in May in another case.

Brelo, who is white, was charged with two counts of voluntary manslaughter in the deaths of a black man and a woman.

Those who will present citizens’ affidavits to a judge asserting “probable cause” in Rice’s death include a Case Western Reserve University professor and local clergy.

It was not clear whether the tactic will work. Joe Frolik, the local prosecutor’s spokesman, said Ohio’s constitution requires all felony charges be brought by a grand jury.

Efforts to limit seizures of money, homes and other property from people who may never be convicted of a crime are stalling out amid a wave of pressure from prosecutors and police.

Their effort, at least at the state level, appears to be working. At least a dozen states considered bills restricting or even abolishing forfeiture that isn’t accompanied by a conviction or gives law enforcement less control over forfeited proceeds. But most measures failed to pass.

Civil asset forfeiture is state-sanctioned theft. There is no other way around it. The entire concept violates the spirit of the 4th, 5th and 6th amendments to the Constitution. In case you have any doubt:

The 4th Amendment: The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

The 5th Amendment: No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

The 6th Amendment: In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defense.

Civil asset forfeiture is a civil rights issue, and it should be seen as such by everyone. Just because it targets the entire population as opposed to a specific race, gender or sexual orientation doesn’t make it less important.

Read the whole thing @ http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2015-06-04/us-police-and-prosecutors-fight-retain-barbaric-right-%E2%80%9Ccivil-asset-forfeiture%E2%80%9D

h/t Brittius
The FBI says this program is not secret, but the planes are registered to fictitious companies. The planes also can capture information from cell phones in the area.

Officers could be hesitant to draw their guns because doing so would result in more paperwork under the terms of the agreement, Cleveland Police Patrolman’s Association president Steve Loomis said Wednesday. The agreement requires an officer to complete a report each time he or she points a gun at a suspect.

“It’s going to get somebody killed,” Loomis said. “There’s going to be a time when someone isn’t going to want to do that paperwork, so he’s going to keep that gun in its holster.”

CLEVELAND, Ohio — The head of the Cleveland police department’s patrol union said aspects of the agreement that mandates sweeping reforms to the city’s police department could put officers in danger.

Officers could be hesitant to draw their guns because doing so would result in more paperwork under the terms of the agreement, Cleveland Police Patrolman’s Association president Steve Loomis said Wednesday. The agreement requires an officer to complete a report each time he or she points a gun at a suspect.

“It’s going to get somebody killed,” Loomis said. “There’s going to be a time when someone isn’t going to want to do that paperwork, so he’s going to keep that gun in its holster.”

Cleveland and the U.S. Department of Justice unveiled the agreement, known as a consent decree, Tuesday. It is meant to transform a police department that too often used excessive force and failed to conduct thorough internal investigations, according to an investigation by the Justice Department. The agreement will become legally binding once approved by a federal judge.

Loomis said he believes the 105 pages of reforms are a response to high-profile incidents that have happened nationwide, rather than to incidents that have happened in Cleveland, including the 2012 police chase that saw 13 officers fire at two unarmed people 137 times, the police shooting death of 12-year-old Tamir Rice and the death of a mentally ill woman after officers forced her to the ground.

“This is a political agenda,” he said. “This has nothing to do with the actions of the men and women of the Cleveland police department.”

Read the rest @ http://www.cleveland.com/metro/index.ssf/2015/05/union_head_says_aspects_of_cle.html#incart_m-rpt-1

In Fort Worth, the family of a 72-year-old man killed by police who responded to the wrong address after a burglary call has filed a wrongful death suit.

The suit, filed Tuesday, alleges that an officer admitted that he never identified himself as an officer before shooting Jerry Waller, that police moved Waller’s body after the shooting, and that investigators questioned the officers involved in a way to “provide a defense to the police shooting of an unarmed innocent man.”

The lawsuit alleges that officer Richard Hoeppner trespassed on the Wallers’ property, used excessive force against Waller, and destroyed or altered evidence to make it appear as if Waller was armed and posed a threat.

Brender alleges that Waller, a father and grandfather, had been standing in his own garage, unarmed and with both hands in the air, when he was shot and killed by Hoeppner.

In addition to Hoeppner, the suit also names as defendants Hoeppner’s then-partner on the call, Benjamin Hanlon, former Police Chief Jeff Halstead, investigators Dana Baggott and Merle Davon Green, and officers B.S. Hardin and A. Chambers.

Hanlon was later fired from the department for falsifying a report on an unrelated case.

City officials did not immediately return a message seeking comment on the lawsuit. A police spokesman said the department would not be commenting. Halstead also declined to comment.

Police officials have previously said Hoeppner shot Waller after the man pointed a gun at the officer.

A Tarrant County grand jury declined to indict Hoeppner in January 2014.

Halstead, who has since retired, told the Star-Telegram at that time that the grand jury made the right decision.

“I think it was proven through the autopsy and evidence that a gun was pointed directly at officer Hoeppner and he was forced to make his decision ” Halstead said.

But Brender said Tuesday that police relied largely on “junk science” and that the autopsy and crime scene photographs indicate that Waller was unarmed and would have had his hands up at the time he was shot. He released a video Tuesday of a forensic reenactment of the shooting that he said is supported by evidence in the case.

I’m not sure an autopsy can really prove that the decedent was pointing a gun when he was shot. In any case, even assuming what the police say is true, Waller was only defending his home. There’s zero reason to think that a 72-year-old man with no criminal record would knowingly point his gun at police officers who had mistakenly entered the wrong home. Incidentally, a year after Hoeppner shot Waller, he was nominated for an award for exemplary service.

Our next story is also about a lawsuit, also in Texas, also involving an elderly man.

A lawsuit filed against the Georgetown police department alleges unnecessary force against an 81-year-old man.

The suit comes after 81-year-old Herman Crisp says he was the target of unnecessary police force and that officers left him with a broken hip. Then, the lawsuit states, police got no care for him and family members discovered him the next day.

The police were looking for Crisp’s nephew. I suspect that if Crisp had a gun, or was holding something that resembled one, he’d have met the same fate as Waller.

The final story comes from Florida.

On May 11, Justin Way was drinking and threatening to kill himself. His father, George Way, said his son was a recovering alcoholic and had been alcohol-free for five weeks.

“He just lost his job, and he had a setback,” he said.

Way’s live-in girlfriend, Kaitlyn Christine Lyons, said she’d caught Justin drinking a bottle of vodka, which she took away from him to pour out. She said he was drunk, lying in their bed with a large knife, saying he would hurt himself with it. She called a non-emergency number in an attempt to get her boyfriend to a local St. Augustine, Florida, hospital for help—and told them she did not feel threatened.

“My brother has been Baker Acted three times because he was threatening to hurt himself so I figured that would happen with Justin,” said Lyons. Florida’s Baker Act allows the involuntary institutionalization of an individual, and it can be initiated by law-enforcement officials.

“The only person Justin threatened was himself and I honestly don’t think he wanted to die.”

Minutes later, two St. Johns County Sheriff’s deputies, 26-year-old Jonas Carballosa and 32-year-old Kyle Braig, arrived at the home, armed with assault rifles, and told Kaitlyn to wait outside.

“I thought they were going into war,” she remembered thinking when she first saw the large guns. Within moments, Justin was shot dead.

This is normally where’d I’d strongly caution against ever calling the police if you believe a loved one is unstable or a threat to himself. Too many police departments get too little training in how to resolve these situations peacefully. But that isn’t even what happened here. His girlfriend called a help line. I can’t think of a more inappropriate first response to someone in the midst of a breakdown than to send the SWAT team. But it’s not uncommon. Nor is the result that we saw here.

Source http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-watch/wp/2015/05/28/this-week-in-excessive-force/

This is a valid point- 

“I can guarantee if you look up here and look down there, it might be five people who ain’t been fucked over by the police,” says Baltimore resident Shaun Young, waving a hand at a crowd of maybe a hundred people gathered at Penn and North, site of the protests. “It’s small shit — they get taken advantage of.”

When Baltimore exploded in protests a few weeks ago following the unexplained paddy-wagon death of a young African-American man named Freddie Gray, America responded the way it usually does in a race crisis: It changed the subject.

Instead of using the incident to talk about a campaign of hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of illegal searches and arrests across decades of discriminatory policing policies, the debate revolved around whether or not the teenagers who set fire to two West Baltimore CVS stores after Gray’s death were “thugs,” or merely wrongheaded criminals.

From Eric Garner to Michael Brown to Akai Gurley to Tamir Rice to Walter Scott and now Freddie Gray, there have now been so many police killings of African-American men and boys in the past calendar year or so that it’s been easy for both the media and the political mainstream to sell us on the idea that the killings are the whole story.

Fix that little in-custody death problem, we’re told, perhaps with the aid of “better training” or body cameras (which Baltimore has already promised to install by the end of the year), and we can comfortably go back to ignoring poverty, race, abuse, all that depressing inner-city stuff. But body cameras won’t fix it. You can’t put body cameras on a system.

As a visit to post-uprising Baltimore confirms, high-profile police murders are only part of the problem. An equally large issue is the obscene quantity of smaller daily outrages and abuses that regularly go unpunished by a complex network of local criminal-justice bureaucracies, many of which are designed to cover up bad police work and keep all our worst behaviors hidden, even from ourselves.

Go to any predominantly minority neighborhood in any major American city and you’ll hear the same stories: decades of being sworn at, thrown against walls, kicked, searched without cause, stripped naked on busy city streets, threatened with visits from child protective services, chased by dogs, and arrested and jailed not merely on false pretenses, but for reasons that often don’t even rise to the level of being stupid.

“I can guarantee if you look up here and look down there, it might be five people who ain’t been fucked over by the police,” says Baltimore resident Shaun Young, waving a hand at a crowd of maybe a hundred people gathered at Penn and North, site of the protests. “It’s small shit — they get taken advantage of.”

Even though Rolling Stone is a leftist rag that’s not even good for lining bird cages,hell,it ain’t even good enough for starting fires. I don’t think kids even read it any more-never seen any of our six kids,or their boyfriends/husbands or any of their friends reading a copy.

Matt Taibbi does come up with a good one once in a while, like this…

From the article on the LeBron James: Global Superdouche broadcast-

See if those reality-show zoom-ins don’t start to creep into interviews with candidates-

This is the beginning of our big Lost in Space journey together, where news and reality-show programming fuse completely and we all end up complete morons, voting strippers and X-games athletes into the White House. I’m psyched. Are you?

A series of reports over the last few weeks have shed more light on the increasingly predatory enforcement of misdemeanors across the country, and how this trend disproportionately hurts the poor. The first report comes from an area familiar to readers of The Watch — St. Louis County, Missouri. It was published by the Police Executive Research Forum. Among the key findings:

  • Policing is extremely fragmented: St. Louis County contains a patchwork of police departments, many of which have jurisdiction over very small areas. About one-third of the municipalities in the County that have a police department occupy less than one square mile. This has led to confusion and distrust among residents, who often feel targeted and harassed by police officers and the municipal court system.
  • Many police departments have inappropriate goals: In many municipalities, policing priorities are driven not by the public safety needs of the community, but rather by the goal of generating large portions of the operating revenue for the local government. This is a grossly inappropriate mission for the police, often carried out at the direction of local elected officials.
  • The “muni shuffle” is unprofessional: Police standards, training, pay, and professionalism vary dramatically throughout the region. Of particular concern is the so-called “muni shuffle,” in which police officers who are fired or allowed to resign because of disciplinary or performance issues in one department are quickly hired by another department, because it can be less expensive to hire an experienced (albeit compromised) officer than to recruit and train a new officer.

These criticisms have now been reiterated in several forums, by several different organizations. Perhaps most damning, all of this attention on petty offenses has distracted the area’s police departments from fighting crime. Despite the saturation of police departments, the report found elevated crime rates in the area, and that violent and property crime cost about $1,187 per resident. In other words, the people who live in St. Louis County aren’t being protected by the police, the police are preying on them. And they’re doing at the instruction of these local governments.

Up next, a well-reported three-part series on policing and the poor by the CBS affiliated in Miami. The report focuses on a city “crime suppression team” that’s supposed to improve the quality of life in poor areas. This excerpt is from part three.

During its five-month investigation into the Miami-Dade Police Department’s Crime Suppression Team, CBS4 News reviewed every arrest the officers from the South District Station made in 2014.

The results: CBS4 News found a unit whose actions resulted in the arrests of hundreds of individuals – mostly young black males – for petty offenses. Even more troubling, the arrests failed to result in a reduction in crime in the South District. In fact, crime went up in most of the major categories, according to records obtained by CBS4 News.

CBS4 News also found that most of the cases made by the Crime Suppression Team fell apart once they made it to court. Overall, the Crime Suppression Team had a conviction rate of just eleven percent.

And of the 245 individuals arrested for marijuana – only two ended up being convicted. In addition to those two convictions, 80 individuals – or one third of those arrested – accepted what is known as a “withhold of adjudication.”

“Withhold of adjudication is something that exists only in Florida and it’s kind of a legal fiction,” said Miami-Dade County Public Defender Carlos Martinez. “It’s a conviction, a judge has made a finding of guilt, but we are going to say you are not really a convicted person, but in fact you are.  Immigration does not look at the difference between a withhold or no withhold, they look at it as a conviction. And most employers that I’ve talked to about these issues, and they see withhold, to them it looks like a conviction. They don’t see the difference.”

Most of the people appearing in court don’t realize this because they are not represented by an attorney, Martinez said. “Seventy percent of the people in Dade County go to court without an attorney.”

In Florida, if prosecutors are not requesting jail time for a crime, the person charged doesn’t have the right to have a public defender appointed to represent them.

So once again we have police in predominantly poor, predominantly black communities making “broken windows” and “quality of life” arrests for petty offenses. This is saddling large percentages of these communities with burdensome fines and debilitating arrest records, it’s poisoning the relationship between the police agencies and the communities they’re supposed to be serving and it’s all doing little to nothing to make these communities any safer. This particular anecdote is just chilling:

Read the rest @ http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-watch/wp/2015/05/14/the-ongoing-criminalization-of-poverty/

Francis Pusok will receive $650,000 after his brutal encounter with California deputies was caught on camera. Who winds up paying such bills?

After avoiding arrest, fleeing on a horse, and being beaten by deputies, 30-year-old Francis Pusok will receive a $650,000 settlement to avoid a lawsuit.

In early April, 10 California deputies were placed on paid leave after a video recorded by a TV news crew showed the police using excessive force on Mr. Pusok, who did not appear to resist arrest. The quick settlement raises the question of whether this is the best way to deal with cases of potential excessive force.

The ten deputies chased Pusok for two and a half hours after attempting to serve him a search warrant. He first fled by car, then by a stolen horse. Pusok fell from the horse, and remained face down on the ground. The video shows two deputies approaching him, then kicking his body and punching his head. Throughout the encounter, which lasted about two minutes, as many as 11 deputies hit or punched the suspect.

At the time, San Bernardino County Sheriff John McMahon said the encounter, captured by a KNBC-TV helicopter, did not follow protocol. The officers were subsequently placed on leave.

“I’m asking for some patience while we complete a thorough and fair investigation,” McMahon said, reported the Associated Press. “I am disturbed and troubled by what I see in the video. It does not appear to be in line with our policies and procedures.”

San Bernardino County supervisors approved the settlement, as a result of a federal civil rights investigation. The agreement would settle all potential civil claims, but does not affect internal, criminal, or civil rights investigations, reported the Associated Press.

Read the rest @ http://news.yahoo.com/horseman-beaten-california-police-paid-650-000-best-120605117.html