Posts Tagged: police state

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Man Arrested While Picking Up His Kids: 'The Problem Is I'm Black'

If you’ve never experienced arbitrary harassment or brutality at the hands of a police officer, or seen law enforcement act in a way that defies credulity and common sense, it can be hard to believe people who tell stories of inexplicable persecution. As I noted in “Video Killed Trust in Police Officers,” the dawn of cheap recording technology has exposed an ugly side of U.S. law enforcement that a majority of people in middle-class neighborhoods never would’ve seen otherwise. 

Today, what’s most disheartening isn’t that so many Americans still reflexively doubt stories of police harassment, as awful as it is whenever real victims are ignored. What vexes me most is police officers caught acting badly on camera who suffer no consequences and are defended by the police agencies that employ them. 

The latest example of abusive, atrocious police work posted to YouTube comes from St. Paul, Minnesota, where a black father, Chris Lollie, reportedly got off work at Cossetta, an upscale Italian eatery, walked to the downtown building that houses New Horizon Academy, where he was to to pick up his kids, and killed the ten minutes until they’d be released sitting down on a chair in a skyway between buildings. Those details come from the Minneapolis City Pageswhere commenters describe the area he inhabited as a public thoroughfare between commercial buildings. If you’re 27 and black with dreadlocks, sometimes you’re waiting to pick up your kids and someone calls the cops to get rid of you. The police report indicates a call about “an uncooperative male refusing to leave,” which makes it sound as though someone else first asked him to vacate where he was; another press report says that he was sitting in a chair in a public area when a security guard approached and told him to leave as the area was reserved for employees. The Minnesota Star Tribune visited the seating area and reported that ”there was no signage in the area indicating that it was reserved for employees.” 

So a man waiting to pick up his kids from school sits for a few minutes in a seating area where he reasonably thinks he has a right to be, private security asks him to leave, he thinks they’re harassing him because he’s black, and they call police. This is where the video begins, and that conflict is already over. The man is walking away from it and toward the nearby school where he is to pick up his kids.

So problem solved? It could have been. …

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Chicago police commander charged with aggravated battery, misconduct

A Chicago police commander frequently praised by Supt. Garry McCarthy for his no-nonsense approach to fighting crime in some of the city’s toughest neighborhoods was charged Wednesday with placing the barrel of his gun into a suspect’s mouth.

Cmdr. Glenn Evans, who headed the West Side’s Harrison patrol district until he was relieved of his police powers, faces one count of aggravated battery and one count of official misconduct, according to Sally Daly, a spokeswoman for State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez. …

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"The resistance filings denote exactly what the Brazilian state is about. The police forces not only monopolize the prevention and investigation of crimes, but they also possess a legal instrument easily convertible into a license to kill. It’s not by chance that exterminations, extra-judicial executions and “disappearings” are epidemic in Brazilian cities. It’s hard to imagine alternative systems being so easily exploitable."

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"It’s not just Michael Brown getting killed. It’s not just Ferguson where the police are an occupying army. It’s not just Darren Wilson, and it’s not just a few bad apples. These problems are structural, and have to be addressed at the root."

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The Investigators: Dashcam video clears NJ man; Cops now indicted

The tale of the police dashcam video has now helped clear a Bloomfield, New Jersey man who faced a multitude of criminal charges, including eluding police and assault.

Investigative Reporter Sarah Wallace obtained the dashcam tapes, and has spoken exclusively with the 30-year old DJ who was looking at years in prison.

It was quite a turnabout, all the criminal charges against Marcus Jeter have been dismissed, and two Bloomfield police officers have been indicted for falsifying reports, and one of them, for assault.

A third pleaded guilty early on to tampering. It’s all thanks to those dashcam tapes. It’s the video that prosecutors say they never saw when the pursued criminal charges against 30 year-old Marcus Jeter . In the video, his hands were in the air. He was charged with eluding police, resisting arrest and assault. One officer in the video can be seen throwing repeated punches.

Sarah Wallace: “It this tape hadn’t surfaced?” 
Marcus: “I’d be in jail.”

This video was only turned over by Bloomfield police after Jeter’s attorney filed a request for records; at the time prosecutors were insistent that Jeter do prison time.

"The first plea was 5 years," said Jeter.

The incident began when cops were called to the Bloomfield home Jeter shares with his girlfriend. No charges were filed and Jeter says he left after briefly talking to officers.

Sarah Wallace: “They say you eluded police.” 
Jeter: “When they got behind me, I pulled over.” 
Sarah: “So you weren’t trying to escape.” 
"No." said Jeter.

You can clearly see Jeter pulling over and stopping on the side of the Garden State parkway. The cops pull out guns.

Sarah: “Why didn’t you get out of the car?” 
Jeter: “Because I was afraid.” …

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Florida Man Records Himself Getting Attacked by Cop for not Rolling Down Window all the way 

A horrifying video has emerged showing St. Petersburg police forcing a man out of his car before pouncing on him, leaving him hospitalized with several injuries, all because the cop claimed he was in fear for his life.

At least that what he says in his report, where he wrote the following:

I exited my marked patrol cruiser and walked towards the vehicle and I noticed the driver staring at me with a blank stare as he continued revving the engine louder and louder. I thought by his actions the subject was going to attempt to hit me with his car.

The video, however, shows it was Curtis Shannon, a young man from Florida who was probably fearing for his life during the arrest.

It also shows that he remained professional as he tried to hand the cop his license and registration through a small opening after the cop pulled him over for what he claimed was erratic driving.

But if anything was erratic, it the was behavior of the cop, whom unfortunately, Shannon refuses to identify out of what he says is “respect.”

But the cop deserves no respect because he was downright criminal. A thug with a badge. A proud member of the Blue Mafia. …

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Coroner: Black Man Shot Himself in Chest With Hands Cuffed Behind Back

According to a coroner’s report obtained by NBC News, Victor White, a 22-year-old black man, committed suicide in the back of a police car by shooting himself in the chest while his hands were cuffed behind his back. The report contradicts the official police account, which said White shot himself in the back.

White died March 3rd in New Iberia, Louisiana, after a night spent hanging out with friends. He was stopped by police along with an acquaintance, Isaiah Lewis, on the way back from buying cigars at a local gas station. Cops found a small amount of pot on White during a pat-down, then ran the two men’s names through a database and called for backup. A second search yielded a small amount of cocaine, and White was arrested and placed into an Iberia Parrish police cruiser, where he allegedly produced a .25 caliber semi-automatic handgun and shot himself in the right side of the chest.

The story and the new coroner’s report raise several questions about the incident. One friend said White joked about having a gun earlier that night, but no one is on record as having seen one. If he did have a gun, why didn’t police find it during one of the two searches? How was he able to reach around and shoot himself in the chest with his hands cuffed behind his back? (The coroner’s report said it was possible due to White’s “body habitus.”) Why did police initially claim he shot himself in the back? Why didn’t the coroner find the gunpowder stippling common to close-range shots on White’s wound? White had a laceration on his face at the time of his death that Lewis said wasn’t there the last time two men saw each other, before White got into the cruiser. Where did it come from?

Louisiana State Police opened a still-pending investigation hours after White’s death, NBC reports, but White’s father, a Baptist minister, has doubts about what it will find. “You can’t make me understand,” Rev. Victor White II told NBC. “You can’t make me understand how my son took his left hand, when he was handcuffed behind the back, and shot himself. I don’t believe a thing they’re saying at this point.”

Because the investigation is pending, many pertinent details—including dash cam footage and the names of the officers present during White’s death—have not been released. The state police did release a preliminary incident report stating White had been shot with a .25 caliber handgun—not the .45 caliber gun Iberia police officers are issued—but that police hand’t found it during their searches.

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"The treatment that minorities particularly get in the US, whether a Charles Belk or a Joe Blow, are part and parcel of a system that just sees non-whites as an undifferentiated mass. In cities across the country, minorities are subjected to extremely disproportionate stops and searches for drugs and weapons, typically treated harsher by police, and tend to “fit the (ridiculously vague) description” a lot. Given the history of racial profiling, police brutality, and corruption, those carrying the badge of enforcement of an unjust order for the state are themselves suspects. The charges are thousands of counts of murder, and millions of counts of assault, armed robbery, kidnapping, and terrorism."

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Cop Hits Man in the Head 20 Times as Onlookers Plead 'Don't Punch Him No More'

Once the cops have pinned a non-violent suspect to the ground, how many times are they allowed to punch him in the head? Is it fewer than 20? I would say so, but I’m not a Greenville County, South Carolina, deputy.

Greenville officers approached a man at a Walmart parking lot on Saturday. The man appeared to be under the influence of alcohol or drugs, and didn’t respond to police questions or instructions. Eventually, the officers followed the man inside the store, where they attempted to detain him. The deputies claim the man resisted, though video footage of the incident certainly makes said resistance look passive, rather than violent. But once the two cops had the man on the ground, one of them immediately began punching him in the head. I count at least 20 blows.

Onlookers were horrified, and begged the deputies to stop. Many thought the treatment of the man was cruel, according to WSPA.com. “Please don’t punch him like that, don’t punch him no more,” said one witness. (More video footage can be seen here.)

The man was eventually tasered and then taken to the hospital. Police have not given his name or explained what the charges against him are. The department is reviewing the footage, however, to determine whether the deputy acted properly when he punched a helpless man in the head over and over and over again.

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"Ultimately, what it boils down to is the government views its own people — particularly those of color — as the enemy. The question is how long we will tolerate it."