Archive for the ‘police’ tag
What Up, G
Rudy “9-11” Giuliani, one of the very worst mayors the city of New York has ever suffered through, makes a living these days partly by going on cable news to spew racist nonsense. His most recent rant is disgusting, even by his previous standards. When even a center-left establishment newspaper like the New York Times editorializes against Rudy G’s fact-free assertions, and hate-mongers like Rush Limbaugh are supportive, hmmm…
For a nation heartsick over the killings of black men by police officers in Louisiana and Minnesota, and the ambush murders of officers by a gunman in Dallas, here comes Rudolph Giuliani, bringing his trademark brew of poisonous disinformation to the discussion.
In his view, the problem is black gangs, murderous black children, the refusal of black protesters to look in the mirror at their “racist” selves, and black parents’ failure to teach their children to respect the police.
“What we’ve got to hear from the black community,” said Mr. Giuliani, in a Sunday morning talk-show appearance that seemed to double as a lecture to black America, “is how and what they are doing among themselves about the crime problem in the black community.” He added, “We wonder, do black lives matter, or only the very few black lives that are killed by white policemen?”
Here’s a better question: How, we wonder, will the country ever get beyond its stunted discourse about racialized violence when people like Mr. Giuliani continue to try to change the subject? Those who remember Mr. Giuliani as the hectoring mayor of New York know what he has to offer any conversation on race and violence — not a lot. In case you’re unconvinced, here is what Mr. Giuliani on Sunday said he would tell a young son, if he were black: “Be very careful of those kids in the neighborhood and don’t get involved with them because, son, there’s a 99 percent chance they’re going to kill you, not the police.”
Mr. Giuliani’s garbled, fictional statistic echoes a common right-wing talking point about the prevalence of “black on black” violence in America. Homicide data do show that black victims are most often killed by black assailants. (They also reveal that whites tend to be killed by whites.) This observation does not speak to the matter of racist policing and police brutality. Killings of the police have, mercifully, been on the decline during the Obama presidency. But unwarranted shootings by police officers remain a persistent problem, ignored for generations, exploding only now into the wider public consciousness because of bystander videos that reveal the blood-red truth.
There is Mr. Giuliani’s ludicrous suggestion that black people don’t know they need to be careful around cops, or somehow are complicit in their brutalizing. Alton Sterling, in Baton Rouge, and Philando Castile, in a St. Paul suburb, were posing no threat when they were shot. (Far from being ignorant of the ways of the police, fearful black parents long ago learned to impart the advice that Mr. Castile’s mother, Valerie Castile, said she gave her son: “If you get stopped by the police, comply. Comply, comply, comply.”) Eric Garner, on Staten Island, was unarmed and outnumbered by the officers who swarmed and smothered him.
In 1999, when Mr. Giuliani was New York’s tough-on-crime mayor, Amadou Diallo reached for his wallet and was cut down in a hail of police bullets. Patrick Dorismond was minding his own business on a Manhattan street in 2000 when Mr. Giuliani’s undercover officers confronted him and shot him dead. In one of the disgraceful acts of his or any mayoralty, Mr. Giuliani smeared the victim’s reputation and released part of his juvenile police record, as if to suggest that he deserved to be murdered.
(click here to continue reading Rudy Giuliani’s Racial Myths – The New York Times.)
The vulgar pig-boy loved it, predictably:
Well Rudy Giulani tried the truth on CBS this morning, and he’s catching hell. He’s catching hell for things he said on TV yesterday. He’s catching hell for going after the squeegee guys again. He’s catching hell for stop don’t frisk, or frisk don’t stop, whatever. He’s catching hell for the broken windows policy. He’s catching hell for everything he ever did because he said — and I’m paraphrasing here, I don’t have it right in front of me. He said: if black lives really mattered, then they would be concerned about all the black lives lost in inner cities like Chicago that result from black crime. But I don’t think that Black Lives Matter cares about any of that, so, and he went on to call them an inherent racial or racist organization by virtue of their title, Black Lives Matter. If you’re going to start segregating things like that, doesn’t it make you racist. Now they’re coming after Rudy full-throttle, full-throat, but he made an accurate statement.
(click here to continue reading Limbaugh Defends Giuliani Calling Black Lives Matter Racist: It’s An “Accurate Statement”.)
Gee, thanks, Rush, for your insight into the Republican mindset.
Rudy Giuliani’s reign of error is part of the underlying problem, to be fair.
Terrence Cunningham, the president of the International Association of Chiefs of Police, who appeared on the same show, was quick to dismiss Mr. Giuliani’s comments. “I wouldn’t make that connection,” he said.
“I wouldn’t say that it’s Black Lives Matter that put a target on those police officers,” Mr. Cunningham continued, adding, “Unfortunately, I think, you know, people have really polarized this issue. If we really want to work towards solutions, we need to work together.”
Sherrilyn Ifill, the president of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, who also appeared on the show, suggested that Mr. Giuliani was partly to blame for the rift.
“He actually presided over one of the most discredited areas and periods of policing in the City of New York,” she said, “which is, in fact, responsible for a lot of the tension that exists between police officers and people in African-American communities.”
(click here to continue reading Rudolph Giuliani Lashes Out at Black Lives Matter – The New York Times.)
Finally, from a former NYC Officer
EUGENE O’DONNELL: It is important to say Rudy Guiliani is in a special category. This is a person that made a study out of the most divisive, inflammatory rhetoric with the African-American community, and sadly, is a two term mayor. So we’re not talking about crazy people speaking in the recesses of social media or somebody saying, you kill one of us, we’ll kill two of you in a crowd, we’re talking about somebody who every time he speaks on race hits a new low. I’m not even an African-American, I find one of the things — because I know his playbook — that I find particularly offensive is when he pretends to be talking to the African-American community when he’s really talking at the African-American community, and has nothing to say to them. He poisoned race relations in New York City almost irreparably. We’re trying to get a handle on this. He is one of the most extremist, divisive people, I think I remember when he contemplated running for Senate against Mrs. Clinton, I believe the poll showed the African-American community, he had zero percent. David Duke would have 1 percent. That’s the kind of mayor he was. And people who saw him in action — we can talk about how he destroyed the police profession as a labor mayor — but people of good faith should be calling this guy out. And what’s scary is — we have people running for high office here. If they said what they’re saying out loud on Facebook as cops, they’d be terminated tomorrow morning.
(click here to continue reading On MSNBC’s All In, A Former NYC Officer Says Giuliani “Hits A New Low” “Every Time He Speaks On Race”.)
I’d be happy if I never heard from Rudy Giuliani again, on any topic, but specifically on race and police.
Some morsels you’ve maybe already sampled…
What an asshole…
Sen. Tom Cotton on Thursday slammed his colleagues’ efforts to pass sweeping criminal justice reforms, saying the United States is actually suffering from an “under-incarceration problem.”
Cotton, who has been an outspoken critic of the bill in Congress that would reduce mandatory minimum sentences, smacked down what he called “baseless” arguments that there are too many offenders locked up for relatively small crimes, that incarceration is too costly, or that “we should show more empathy toward those caught up in the criminal-justice system.”
“Take a look at the facts. First, the claim that too many criminals are being jailed, that there is over-incarceration, ignores an unfortunate fact: for the vast majority of crimes, a perpetrator is never identified or arrested, let alone prosecuted, convicted, and jailed,” Cotton said during a speech at The Hudson Institute, according to his prepared remarks. “Law enforcement is able to arrest or identify a likely perpetrator for only 19 percent of property crimes and 47 percent of violent crimes. If anything, we have an under-incarceration problem.”
(click here to continue reading Sen. Tom Cotton: U.S. has ‘under-incarceration problem’ – POLITICO.)
Good for Google, doing something notEvil…
In its first five years, the Google Cultural Institute scanned and archived 200 works of art in super-high-resolution gigapixel images. Now in just the past few months, it has managed to scan another 1,000.
The sudden expansion is thanks to a new camera developed by Google, simply called the Art Camera. It’s designed to be far simpler to use than other camera setups, making it easier for museums and other institutions to start digitizing the art and documents in their collection. And critically, it’s also much faster.
“The capture time has been reduced drastically,” says Marzia Niccolai, technical program manager at the Cultural Institute. “Previously it could take almost a day to capture an image. To give you an idea, now if you have a one meter by one meter painting, it would take 30 minutes.”
(click here to continue reading Google made an insanely high-res camera to preserve great works of art | The Verge.)
Gee, that’s great news, LinkedIn. Remind me why I even have a LinkedIn account?
Hey, do you remember back in 2012 when hackers hit LinkedIn, stole a few million passwords, and released them online? It was a while ago, so don’t feel bad if you don’t. LinkedIn simply can’t leave the breach behind, though: there are now another 117 million e-mail addresses and passwords for sale on an underground marketplace.
…Sure, the data is old, but people do tend to use the same password from one site to another, which means that the credentials might still be useful for accessing other sites, even if users have already changed their passwords, or LinkedIn reset them.
After an initial report on Motherboard that the the cache was for sale for 5 bitcoin ($2,285), LinkedIn confirmed that the leaked information is genuine. “We are taking immediate steps to invalidate the passwords of the accounts impacted, and we will contact those members to reset their passwords,” the company said in a post on its official blog. “We have no indication that this is as a result of a new security breach.” Well, that’s… still not comforting.
(click here to continue reading Remember That LinkedIn Breach Back In 2012? It May Have Been Bigger – Consumerist.)
Still waiting for Ted Cruz to admit he’s told lies, you know, sinned. Oh that’s right, for Ted Cruz’s brand of Christianity, lying your ass off is fine as long as you lie to attack liberals.
Last year liberals took a break from attacking veterans, unborn babies, and Christmas to wage war on cops. Like all the other wars that didn’t actually happen, this one was deserving of a full-court press on Fox News and became a centerpiece of the Cruz campaign. … Cruz, of course, blamed Obama. And complained about Obama’s “complete silence” following the shooting of a deputy—a silence in which Obama had already made comments, issued a statement, and called the deputy’s relatives. But faster than you can repeat “Obama won’t say radical Muslim terrorists,” the entire right was singing the chorus of how liberals hate cops, cops were getting massacred, and it was all the left’s fault for backing horrible, life-threatening ideas like not shooting unarmed 12-year-olds, and accountability. In New York City, the police union went so far as to insist that officers shouldn’t conduct arrests because of “wartime” conditions.
The narrative continued through the year, but now that all the numbers are in …
Data released by the FBI on Monday shows that 2015 was one of the safest years for U.S. law enforcement in recorded history, following a sustained trend of low numbers of on-duty deaths in recent decades. …
Every one of the 41 police officers killed on the job is a tragedy, and every effort should be made to bring that number to zero. Oh, and every one of the at least 1,186 people killed by police in the same period is also a tragedy, and every effort should be made to bring that number to zero.
The number of officers killed on the job was down almost 20 percent from 2014. However, even in 2014, being an active duty police officer was number 15 on the list of dangerous jobs.
(click here to continue reading The ‘war on cops’ leads to … one of the safest years for cops on record.)
For news organizations, Trump is good for business, so expect the cable news flunkies to line up to kiss his ring
And it’s clear Trump is good for business. According to one Fox News producer, the channel’s ratings dip whenever an anti-Trump segment airs. A Fox anchor told me that the message from Roger Ailes’s executives is they need to go easy on Trump. “It’s, ‘Make sure we don’t go after Trump,’” the anchor said. “We’ve thrown in the towel.” Similarly, the New York Post has staked out a pro-Trump position in the marketplace while its rival the Daily News remains one of Trump’s loudest critics. The Post endorsed Trump last month and dubbed him “King Don!” after he won the New York primary. (The outlier among Murdoch’s properties is The Wall Street Journal. “They’re stupid people,” Trump told me back in March).
(click here to continue reading Hullabaloo- Rupert’s game plan .)
Case in point: Megyn Kelly is no journalist, but people still pretend she is…
“You are so powerful,” Megyn Kelly, of Fox, said to Donald Trump, with a note of wonder in her voice, as she interviewed him for her special on Tuesday night. They were sitting in a conference room on a high floor, with a view of Central Park behind them, the proper backdrop for an interview characterized by a soft deferral to the grandeur of Trump. Kelly had, in the moments before, remembered his angry response, after she asked a question at the first Republican Presidential debate about his past comments disparaging women. It had caused a “firestorm,” and Trump was the fire. Did he understand the profound effect that he had on people?
And what did Megyn Kelly know? When the special returned to Trump Tower, the Donald let it slip that, in the period when he was loudly claiming to be boycotting her on Fox News, he had, perhaps, peeked at her show. The other big news was Kelly’s unveiling of her new book, “Settle for More”—not a good slogan for the G.O.P. at the moment—which will go on sale after the election and in which, she said, “For the first time, I will speak openly about my year with Donald Trump.” So what did we just watch? “Well, that is it,” Trump tweeted after the broadcast ended. “Well done Megyn—and they all lived happily ever after! Now let us all see how ‘THE MOVEMENT’ does in Oregon tonight!” Trump won the Republican primary in Oregon with about sixty-seven per cent of the vote. Senator Ted Cruz and Governor John Kasich were still on the ballot, but Trump was, effectively, unopposed—just like he now is on Fox.
(click here to continue reading Megyn Kelly’s Guide to Surrendering to Donald Trump – The New Yorker.)
And speaking of police full to the brim with self-righteousness, a woman was arrested in New Jersey for not answering a variant of the question, “Do you know why we pulled you over”…
Two New Jersey state troopers cuffed a woman along a Warren County roadway and hauled her in on an obstruction charge because she refused to answer questions during a routine traffic stop, according to dashboard camera footage obtained by NJ Advance Media.
The Oct. 16 incident, which happened near the New Jersey-Pennsylvania border on Route 519, is now the subject of a federal civil rights lawsuit filed by the woman, Rebecca Musarra, an attorney from Philadelphia.
Musarra claims in the suit the troopers violated basic rules familiar to anybody who’s ever watched a police show on TV, including the right to remain silent.
She claims at least three troopers insisted during the ordeal that her refusal to answer questions was a criminal act.
NJ Advance Media obtained the footage, along with a dispatch log from that evening, through an Open Public Records Act request filed in April.
The documents show Trooper Matthew Stazzone pulled Musarra over just before 9:30 p.m., suspecting her of speeding. He was quickly joined by a second trooper, Demetric Gosa, records show.
The dashboard camera footage shows Stazzone approached the vehicle on the passenger side and asked Musarra for her license, registration and insurance.
“While you’re looking for that, do you know why you’re being pulled over tonight?” the trooper asked her, according to the tape. She claims she provided the documents but didn’t respond.
After asking her several more times, Stazzone walked to the other side of her car, rapping on the window with his flashlight and again demanding a response.
“You’re going to be placed under arrest if you don’t answer my questions,” he told her. Musarra claims the force of the flashlight chipped her window.
The footage shows she eventually told the trooper she was an attorney and that she did not have to answer questions. Stazzone then ordered her out of the vehicle.
As the two troopers cuffed her and walked her toward a troop car, Musarra asked them, “Are you detaining me because I refused to speak?”
“Yeah,” Stazzone replied, according to the video. “Yeah, obstruction,” Gosa added.
(click here to continue reading WATCH: N.J. troopers arrest woman for remaining silent during traffic stop | NJ.com.)
Obstruction. Yeah, ok. I hope they lose their jobs over this bullying…
If I lived in Idaho, I’d try to get this guy fired; since I don’t, at least Craig Rowland’s retrograde and reprehensible beliefs can be made public for future Google searches…
An Idaho sheriff says the Legislature shouldn’t have gotten involved in creating a statewide system for collecting and tracking rape kits because many rape accusations are false.
The state lawmaker who introduced the bill immediately denounced the comments.
Bingham County Sheriff Craig Rowland made the comments Monday to Idaho Falls TV station KIDK before lawmakers unanimously approved the new system and sent the measure to the governor.
Rowland said legislators should let law officers decide which rape kits need testing, the system that is currently in place.
He said: “The majority of our rapes — not to say that we don’t have rapes, we do — but the majority of our rapes that are called in are actually consensual sex.”
Such claims are part of a larger problem of law enforcement harboring unfair skepticism of victims of rape more so than other crimes
Rep. Melissa Wintrow, a Democrat from Boise who introduced the bill, said the sheriff’s remarks were harmful to women.
“Many times people are focused on a woman’s behavior, and the victim’s response,” she said, “when we should be thinking about what are we teaching men in this society. What are we teaching young boys and men about how we should not initiate or cross any physical boundary without consent.”
She pointed to FBI statistics that show only 33 percent of all rape victims report the crime.
(click here to continue reading Rape kit system unnecessary since most accusations false, Idaho sheriff says | OregonLive.com.)
embiggen by clicking
I took Zen and the Art of Police Barricades on October 20, 2015 at 05:07AM
and processed it in my digital darkroom on April 02, 2016 at 10:37AM
Police who intentionally skirt civilian oversight by destroying or disabling their dashcams should be fired, plain and simple. Or at least severely reprimanded. The police need to come back to being part of society, not standing alone from it, without accountability. Serve and protect used to be the motto, but destroying evidence of police actions only serves to protect the police themselves.
Why are so many police dashcam videos silent?
Chicago Police Department officers stashed microphones in their squad car glove boxes. They pulled out batteries. Microphone antennas got busted or went missing. And sometimes, dashcam systems didn’t have any microphones at all, DNAinfo Chicago has learned.
Police officials last month blamed the absence of audio in 80 percent of dashcam videos on officer error and “intentional destruction.”
A DNAinfo Chicago review of more than 1,800 police maintenance logs sheds light on the no-sound syndrome plaguing Police Department videos — including its most notorious dashcam case.
Maintenance records of the squad car used by Jason Van Dyke, who shot and killed Laquan McDonald, and his partner, Joseph Walsh, show monthslong delays for two dashcam repairs, including a long wait to fix “intentional damage.”
Between Sept. 1, 2014, and July 16, 2015, maintenance technicians assigned to troubleshoot and repair dashcam systems reported 90 incidents where no microphones were found in squad cars, according to police logs.
Another 13 inspections during that period turned up only one microphone in squad cars that were supposed to be equipped with two audio recording devices, according to the logs.
On 30 occasions, technicians who downloaded dashcam videos found evidence that audio recording systems either had not been activated or were “intentionally defeated” by police personnel, the records show.
(click here to continue reading Chicago Police Hid Mics, Destroyed Dashcams To Block Audio, Records Show – Archer Heights – DNAinfo.com Chicago.)
An important story, and you should read it all…
The police are becoming more and more like an occupying army, obeying their own codes, and ignoring laws at will. Of course #notAllCops – but what troubles me is that the rogue cops always seem to have the backing of the rest of the police. How else can you explain the Chicago Police actions in the LaQuan McDonald execution? Why exactly did police officers on the scene immediately try to destroy evidence? Why are those cops still employed? Jason Van Dyke should serve time for 1st Degree murder, but his buddies shouldn’t get off scott-free.
As the shocking video of a Chicago police officer fatally shooting 17-year-old Laquan McDonald is played worldwide, other footage from the scene that night has gone missing.
Minutes after McDonald was shot 16 times by Officer Jason Van Dyke on a Southwest Side street, several police officers entered a Burger King located just yards from where the teen fell, demanding to view the restaurant’s password-protected surveillance video, Jay Darshane, a district manager for the fast-food chain, told the Tribune this week.
Darshane said the restaurant’s assistant manager called him that night saying about four or five police officers were inside demanding the password to access the surveillance video. He authorized the manager of the store — who wasn’t working at the time — to give the code to the officers.
The officers stayed on the scene until almost midnight and even brought in their own information technology specialist when it appeared they were having trouble operating the system, Darshane said.
The equipment had been in perfect working order for weeks before the shooting, Darshane said. But the next morning, Burger King discovered the 86-minute gap when investigators with the Independent Police Review Authority, which investigates police shootings, sought to make a DVD copy of the surveillance video. Missing was any footage from 9:13 p.m. to 10:39 p.m., Darshane said.
When the video system kicked back on, it recorded two police officers in the Burger King office who appeared to be looking at something on the monitor over and over, according to Michael Robbins, an attorney representing McDonald’s family.
“It is curious,” Robbins said. “If they got there and turned it on and found that there was no video, what were they looking at for two hours?”
(click here to continue reading Burger King manager told grand jury of gap in Laquan McDonald video of police shooting – Chicago Tribune.)
I’ve thought about this for days actually, and it still puzzles me. What possible rationalization can the police give for obstructing justice? Other than the obvious motivation that these rogue cops felt there was some illegal or morally ambiguous action they performed that was worth covering up, and they expected that there would not be consequences from their bosses, nor from the rest of the Chicago Police.
These four or five police officers, and their IT specialist need to be named, and to also be charged with a crime. I’d be happier if these criminal thugs were no longer employed by my tax dollars.
In a just world, these officers would all serve time in prison. Knowing our skewed justice system, they will not spend a moment in jail. The state’s attorney’s office must have been pretty pissed at these guys to file felony perjury charges.
Three Chicago police officers and a Glenview police officer have been charged with lying under oath in court during a drug case last year.
The officers — Chicago police Sgt. James Padar, Officer William Pruente, Officer Vince Morgan and Glenview Officer James Horn — have been charged with felony perjury, according to a statement issued early Monday by the Cook County state’s attorney’s office.
The charges come after a video contradicted the officers’ sworn testimony during a March 2014 court hearing on whether evidence in the drug case had been properly obtained.
The other officers took the stand and backed up Pruente’s version of the stop, to one degree or another, before Sperling’s lawyer played police video of the traffic stop.
The video, a copy of which was obtained by the Tribune, showed Pruente walking up to the car, reaching through the open driver’s window, unlocking the door and having Sperling step out of the car. Sperling was then frisked, handcuffed and led to a squad car while his car was searched.
(click here to continue reading Chicago, Glenview police officers charged with lying in drug case – Chicago Tribune.)
The digital revolution has changed our society in many ways, many negative1 but also in one undeniably positive way. So many citizens now have the capability to record what actually happens during interactions with law enforcement. We are learning that police cannot be trusted to tell the truth unless they know there is contrary evidence. How many drug arrests over the decades come down to the word of a police officer cited as incontrovertible evidence? Thousands? Hundreds of thousands? Millions?Footnotes:
- planned obsolescence leading to massive amounts of environmental pollution, stripping our planet of resources to feed the insatiable maw, isolating people from human contact, etc. [↩]
Mayor Bill de Blasio has been in office barely a year, and already forces of entropy are roaming the streets, turning their backs on the law, defying civil authority and trying to unravel the social fabric.
Call this what it is: a reckless, coordinated escalation of a war between the police unions and Mr. de Blasio and a hijacking of law-enforcement policy by those who do not set law-enforcement policy.
Mr. de Blasio’s critics foretold doom when he was elected a year ago. They said graffiti, muggings and other crime would rush back with a vengeance. They were dead wrong — crime rates continued to decline to historic lows in 2014 — but now it seems the cops are trying to help prove them right.
The madness has to stop. The problem is not that a two-week suspension of “broken windows” policing is going to unleash chaos in the city. The problem is that cops who refuse to do their jobs and revel in showing contempt to their civilian leaders are damaging the social order all by themselves.
Mr. de Blasio, who has been cautious since the shootings, found his voice on Monday, saying for the first time that the police officers’ protests of turning their backs at the slain officers’ funerals had been disrespectful to the families of the dead. He was right, but he needs to do more.
He should appeal directly to the public and say plainly that the police are trying to extort him and the city he leads.
If the Police Department’s current commanders cannot get the cops to do their jobs, Mr. de Blasio should consider replacing them.
He should invite the Justice Department to determine if the police are guilty of civil rights violations in withdrawing policing from minority communities.
He should remind the police that they are public employees, under oath to uphold city and state laws.
(click here to continue reading No Justice, No Police – NYTimes.com.)
These officers should be fired, the lot of them. Obviously don’t want to do their jobs anymore.
Somewhat coincidently, we came across Frank Serpico’s article entitled “The Police Are Still Out of Control”, which makes this point, among others, about police violence and lack of accountability:
But an even more serious problem — police violence — has probably grown worse, and it’s out of control for the same reason that graft once was: a lack of accountability.
I tried to be an honest cop in a force full of bribe-takers. But as I found out the hard way, police departments are useless at investigating themselves—and that’s exactly the problem facing ordinary people across the country —including perhaps, Ferguson, Missouri, which has been a lightning rod for discontent even though the circumstances under which an African-American youth, Michael Brown, was shot remain unclear.
Today the combination of an excess of deadly force and near-total lack of accountability is more dangerous than ever: Most cops today can pull out their weapons and fire without fear that anything will happen to them, even if they shoot someone wrongfully. All a police officer has to say is that he believes his life was in danger, and he’s typically absolved. What do you think that does to their psychology as they patrol the streets—this sense of invulnerability? The famous old saying still applies: Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. (And we still don’t know how many of these incidents occur each year; even though Congress enacted the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act 20 years ago, requiring the Justice Department to produce an annual report on “the use of excessive force by law enforcement officers,” the reports were never issued.)
It wasn’t any surprise to me that, after Michael Brown was shot dead in Ferguson, officers instinctively lined up behind Darren Wilson, the cop who allegedly killed Brown. Officer Wilson may well have had cause to fire if Brown was attacking him, as some reports suggest, but it is also possible we will never know the full truth—whether, for example, it was really necessary for Wilson to shoot Brown at least six times, killing rather than just wounding him. As they always do, the police unions closed ranks also behind the officer in question. And the district attorney (who is often totally in bed with the police and needs their votes) and city power structure can almost always be counted on to stand behind the unions.
In some ways, matters have gotten even worse. The gulf between the police and the communities they serve has grown wider. Mind you, I don’t want to say that police shouldn’t protect themselves and have access to the best equipment. Police officers have the right to defend themselves with maximum force, in cases where, say, they are taking on a barricaded felon armed with an assault weapon. But when you are dealing every day with civilians walking the streets, and you bring in armored vehicles and automatic weapons, it’s all out of proportion. It makes you feel like you’re dealing with some kind of subversive enemy. The automatic weapons and bulletproof vest may protect the officer, but they also insulate him from the very society he’s sworn to protect. All that firepower and armor puts an even greater wall between the police and society, and solidifies that “us-versus-them” feeling.
In the NYPD, it used to be you’d fire two shots and then you would assess the situation. You didn’t go off like a madman and empty your magazine and reload. Today it seems these police officers just empty their guns and automatic weapons without thinking, in acts of callousness or racism. They act like they’re in shooting galleries. Today’s uncontrolled firepower, combined with a lack of good training and adequate screening of police academy candidates, has led to a devastating drop in standards. The infamous case of Amadou Diallo in New York—who was shot 41 times in 1999 for no obvious reason—is more typical than you might think. The shooters, of course, were absolved of any wrongdoing, as they almost always are. All a policeman has to say is that “the suspect turned toward me menacingly,” and he does not have to worry about prosecution. In a 2010 case recorded on a police camera in Seattle, John Williams, a 50-year-old traditional carver of the Nuu-chah-nulth First Nations (tribes), was shot four times by police as he walked across the street with a pocketknife and a piece of cedar in his hands. He died at the scene. It’s like the Keystone Kops, but without being funny at all.
(click here to continue reading The Police Are Still Out of Control – Frank Serpico – POLITICO Magazine.)
how far will our nation descend towards becoming a brutal police state before the pendulum swings back?
bonus Matt Bors cartoon on topic
Something has to change, and soon.
It is a long-established and basic reality of law enforcement in America: Prosecutors who want an indictment get an indictment. In 2010 alone, federal prosecutors sought indictments in 162,000 cases. All but 11 times, they succeeded.
Yet the results are entirely different when police officers kill unarmed civilians. In those cases, the officers are almost never prosecuted either because district attorneys do not pursue charges in the first place or grand juries do not indict, as happened most recently in Ferguson, Mo., and Staten Island.
There are various explanations for this, but the most obvious is the inherent conflict of interest that exists for prosecutors, who rely heavily on the police every day. Cops arrest suspects; they investigate crimes; they gather evidence; and they testify in court, working essentially in partnership with prosecutors.
Whether or not bias can be proved in a given case, the public perception of it is real and must be addressed.
The best solution would be a law that automatically transfers to an independent prosecutor all cases in which a civilian is dead at the hands of the police. This would avoid the messy politics of singling out certain district attorneys and taking cases away from them.
The police should be among the strongest supporters of this arrangement because both their authority and their safety are undermined when the communities they work in neither trust them nor believe that they are bound by the same laws as everyone else.
(click here to continue reading A Crisis of Confidence in Prosecutors – NYTimes.com.)
In a free society, the numbers of annual fatal police shootings should be public so these cases can be thoughtfully discussed. The only reason these numbers are hidden is because the police doesn’t want to talk about them, and the police unions are still strong enough to block wider discussion and distribution of these troubling statistics.
The true number of fatal police shootings is surely much higher, however, because many law enforcement agencies do not report to the FBI database. Attempts by journalists to compile more complete data by collating local news reports have resulted in estimates as high as 1,000 police killings a year. There is no way to know how many victims, like [Michael] Brown, were unarmed.
By contrast, there were no fatal police shootings in Great Britain last year. Not one. In Germany, there have been eight police killings over the past two years. In Canada — a country with its own frontier ethos and no great aversion to firearms — police shootings average about a dozen a year.
Liberals and conservatives alike should be outraged at the frequency with which police in this country use deadly force. There is no greater power that we entrust to the state than the license to take life. To put it mildly, misuse of this power is at odds with any notion of limited government.
I realize that the great majority of police officers never fire their weapons in the line of duty. Most cops perform capably and honorably in a stressful, dangerous job; 27 were killed in 2013, according to the FBI. Easy availability of guns means that U.S. police officers — unlike their counterparts in Britain, Japan or other countries where there is appropriate gun control — must keep in mind the possibility that almost any suspect might be packing heat.
(click here to continue reading What America’s police departments don’t want you to know – The Washington Post.)
These numbers are not good, which is due to a multitude of factors, some of which are structural issues with American society. Allowing the NRA to set policy doesn’t help either. We can all agree being a police officer is a challenging, shitty job, however, that doesn’t give officers absolute freedom to fire guns first, and ask questions later.
D. Brian Burghart wrote a piece for Gawker a few months ago about this paucity of information, and what it means:
The bottom line was that I found the absence of such a library of police killings offensive. And so I decided to build it. I’m still building it. But I could use some help. You can find my growing database of deadly police violence here, at Fatal Encounters, and I invite you to go here, research one of the listed shootings, fill out the row, and change its background color. It’ll take you about 25 minutes. There are thousands to choose from, and another 2,000 or so on my cloud drive that I haven’t even added yet. After I fact-check and fill in the cracks, your contribution will be added to largest database about police violence in the country. Feel free to check out what has been collected about your locale’s information here.
The biggest thing I’ve taken away from this project is something I’ll never be able to prove, but I’m convinced to my core: The lack of such a database is intentional. No government—not the federal government, and not the thousands of municipalities that give their police forces license to use deadly force—wants you to know how many people it kills and why.
It’s the only conclusion that can be drawn from the evidence. What evidence? In attempting to collect this information, I was lied to and delayed by the FBI, even when I was only trying to find out the addresses of police departments to make public records requests. The government collects millions of bits of data annually about law enforcement in its Uniform Crime Report, but it doesn’t collect information about the most consequential act a law enforcer can do.
I’ve been lied to and delayed by state, county and local law enforcement agencies—almost every time. They’ve blatantly broken public records laws, and then thumbed their authoritarian noses at the temerity of a citizen asking for information that might embarrass the agency. And these are the people in charge of enforcing the law.
(click here to continue reading What I’ve Learned from Two Years Collecting Data on Police Killings.)
This cannot keep happening. Something drastic has to be done to dial back our over-militarized police forces. Disclaimer: of course not all police are brutal thugs, but if you have a package of blueberries, and several are rotten, what do you do? Discard the whole box or carefully pick out each and every bad one?
The Chicago police vice squad burst through the door of the Noble Square neighborhood massage parlor last summer and grappled with the shrieking manager as a security camera rolled.
Footage of the incident released Monday showed that Jianqing Klyzek was on her knees and cuffed behind her back within seconds. As Klyzek continued to scream, an officer standing behind the petite woman slapped her in the head while another threatened to hit her with a Taser “10 f—ing times.” Then another officer got in her face and began to rant.
“You’re not a f—— American,” the officer yelled at Klyzek, according to the video. “I’ll put you in a UPS box and send you back to wherever the f— you came from!”
The disturbing surveillance footage is at the center of a federal lawsuit filed last week accusing the Chicago Police Department and 10 officers of brutality and a hate crime. Police officers can be seen on the video searching for the surveillance tape, but they were unsuccessful because it was recorded off-site, according to the lawsuit.
The lawsuit alleged that police unjustly charged Klyzek with battery for allegedly biting and scratching officers as they tried to subdue her. The case was thrown out by a Cook County judge at a preliminary hearing, but the police then pursued a felony indictment in which one of the officers lied to a Cook County grand jury, according to the suit.
Sally Daly, a spokeswoman for State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez, said prosecutors dropped the felony charge in January after Klyzek’s attorney gave them a copy of the security video. Prosecutors didn’t know of its existence at the time of the grand jury investigation, she said.
Klyzek’s attorney, Torreya Hamilton, told reporters Monday that she believed the officers involved should be fired for treating Klyzek like “she was less than human.”
“I can’t see how they have any business wearing the uniform,” Hamilton said at a news conference at her law offices in the Loop. “She’s 5-foot-2 and weighs 110 pounds. She was handcuffed and sitting on the ground and was struck from behind…This was not reasonable force.”
(click here to continue reading Lawyer: Video caught cop beating handcuffed woman – chicagotribune.com.)
Not that it matters in the slightest, but Ms. Klzek is a naturalized U.S. citizen.
A lot of this is Daley’s legacy, but Rahm has been in office long enough that he cannot avoid responsibility for abuses in the Chicago Police Department. Same with Eric Holder…
Being a police officer may be a challenging job, but if you cannot handle living in a country with civil liberties, perhaps you should move to Somalia, or in Bundyville, Utah.
A man has died two weeks after police used a Taser on him as he was arrested in the Old Town Triangle neighborhood.
Dominique Franklin Jr., 23, who had lived in the 21000 block of Olivia Avenue in Sauk Village, was pronounced dead at Northwestern Memorial Hospital at 4:49 p.m. Tuesday, according to the Cook County medical examiner’s office.
(click here to continue reading Man dies after Chicago police use Taser during arrest – chicagotribune.com.)
This is a national problem, we keep stepping closer to being a full-on police state…
Salinas, CA police killed a man earlier today, claiming to the local media that they were in fear for their lives after he had waved a pair of garden shearers in their direction, indicating he was going to shred them to pieces.
But then a witness posted a video online, contradicting those claims, showing the man trying to walk away from the cops as they move in on him barking orders with their guns drawn.
or for another random example:
After beating a man into a a coma last week, Florida deputies turned their attention to a citizen who had video recorded the beating, placing him in handcuffs and confiscating his phone, forcing him to sign a waiver that would give them the right to copy the footage.
Shaun Mahoney tried his best to maintain possession of his phone, but eventually complied after several hours in handcuffs when St. Lucie County deputies told him if he did not sign the waiver, they would take his phone anyway, but maintain possession of it for an unlimited amount of time.
That was a lie, of course, as they had no right to seize his phone in the first place.
But that is a lie they know they can get away with considering cops are never disciplined for unlawfully seizing phones as “evidence,” even though the U.S. Department of Justice made it clear there are very strict guidelines in doing this.
The deputies lied about a number of other things as well, including claiming that 29-year-old Tavares Docher was violently resisting them, leaving them no choice but to continually beat him.
But the video shows them punching him repeatedly while restraining his arms behind his back, yelling at him to “stop resisting,” even though it was clear he was not resisting.
In fact, Mahoney started recording after stepping out of a CVS Pharmacy and seeing one deputy planting his foot on the side of Docher’s face, squishing it into the asphalt, which is why he is lying in a pool of blood.
(click here to continue reading Florida Deputies Seize Phone from Man after he Records them Beating Suspect into Coma | Photography is Not a Crime: PINAC.)
Warrants, huh? What are they good for?
Cook County probation officers have for years quietly teamed up with law enforcement to go into probationers’ homes without warrants, looking for guns, drugs and information and leading to questionable and illegal searches, the Tribune has found.
Operating with little oversight, in some cases their actions have triggered accusations that drugs were planted, money was stolen and probationers were threatened with jail if they refused to become informants for Chicago police or the FBI.
The impact has been lasting for some: a promotion missed, a job lost, a dying brother unvisited, months spent in jail.
Although police and probation officers cooperate in other cities, legal experts said such arrangements should have detailed policies to avoid illegal searches that could allow criminals to go free when evidence is thrown out, expose police and others to lawsuits and lead to civil rights violations.
The Cook County Circuit Court’s probation department, however, has not developed rules and regulations for cooperating with law enforcement agencies, has no policies defining “reasonable suspicion” and has only vague guidelines on how officers should carry out their searches. Officers said probationers have had their homes tossed for as little as missing one curfew.
“The fundamental point that is at stake here is an essential guarantee of privacy,” said David Rudovsky, a Pennsylvania civil rights and criminal defense lawyer who specializes in illegal searches and seizures.
“Without that, you really have a police state.”
Chief Judge Timothy Evans, who oversees the probation department, has been repeatedly warned since at least 2005 about potential problems during searches, according to interviews and documents.
The concerns stemmed from the activities of the gun-carrying probation units supervised by Deputy Chief Philippe Loizon, a veteran probation officer who has built alliances with police and the FBI, at times over his bosses’ objections.
(click here to continue reading Warrantless searches draw criticism – chicagotribune.com.)
At the May Day rally at the Haymarket Riot Memorial Statue…
More on that surveillance tool: "’Stingray’: Increased and Secretive Cell Phone Surveillance by Local Police Raises Alarms
ACLU calls technology the "electronic equivalent of dragnet searches" prohibited by the Fourth Amendment"
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I took City of Chicago Emergency Management Surveillance Vehicle on May 01, 2014 at 02:54PM
and processed it in my digital darkroom on May 02, 2014 at 03:37PM
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I took Preparation for May Day 2014 on April 30, 2014 at 03:26PM
and processed it in my digital darkroom on April 30, 2014 at 08:37PM
[for instance: Dictionary of American Regional English; ]
1 – a popular black dance from the 1920’s, performed with the arms outstretched with wings and the body rocking from side to side. Here’s a description of the Eagle Rock (Ballin’ The Jack ?)dance:
"First you put your two knees close up tight, then you sway ’em to the left
Then you sway ’em to the right, step around the floor kind of nice and light
Then you twist around and twist around with all your might,
Stretch your lovin’ arms straight out into space,
then you do the Eagle Rock with style and grace.
Swing your foot way ’round then bring it back.
Now that’s what I call Ballin’ the Jack." from http://ift.tt/1hsIxbG ]
[some say Eagle Rock is a metaphor for sexual congress, but I have no special insight into that usage in re: this photo]
I only knew the phrase from a Blind Willie McTell song, Kind Mama:
Soon in the morning at half past four
Hot shot rider rappin’ at her door
She’s a real kind mama looking for another man
She ain’t got nobody in town to hold her hand
Went to the door and the door was locked
Think that baby tryin’ to eagle rock
She’s a real kind mama looking for another man
Real kind mama looking for another man
And she ain’t got nobody here to hold her hand
Kind mama looking for another man
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I took Let Me Show You How to Eagle Rock on May 03, 2009 at 10:56AM