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Sandra Bland Was “Resisting Arrest”

So we finally got the dascham footage for the incident that led to Sandra Bland’s arrest. Well, sort of but not exactly.

 

As Crooks And Liars reported, the video is heavily edited. Here’s what they noticed (from the article);

In the video, which is more than 52 minutes long, there are several spots where cars and people disappear and reappear. When it released the video, the department did not mention any editing. The audio ends more than a minute before the video images do.

One of the more conspicuous spots comes 25 minutes and 5 seconds into the video, when a man walks from a truck off screen and then reappears suddenly at the spot where he began walking. The image flutters for a moment before resuming.

There are no breaks in the audio during this time. People are heard talking through the video gaps.

In another spot, at 32:37, a white car appears on the right side of the screen and then disappears. A moment later, what appears to be the same car comes back into the frame and turns left. During this time, Encinia is talking about what occurred during the arrest. There are no breaks in his speech.

What look like the same cars keep appear in the same locations, following their same paths, beginning at 33:04.

Again, the audio continues uninterrupted.

I noticed several more things. First, let’s just start with the video and the editing. In the first part of the video, the sound is crystal clear. You can hear officer dickhead opening Bland’s car door clearly at the 9:32 point in the video. Oddly, at 19:32 when the female officer is opening the doors and the trunk and closing the doors, all you get is white noise. White noise which, by the way, appears to be exponentially louder than it was in the beginning of the video. Just go from 4:00 straight to 18:30. You can hear how white noise has inartfully been dubbed into the tape. There are so many gaps of the audio where you can only hear white noise, it’s almost comical the way they edited it. At one point, officer dickhead’s conversation ends in mid sentence and all you can hear is white noise for several minutes. You can’t hear officer dickhead moving Bland from the ground and putting her in the car. There’s no sound of the car door opening or closing. Strange, since (as I already pointed out) the sound of Bland’s car door was clearly picked up by the dashcam microphone.

I think that we can all agree that the missing parts of the audio did not contain sounds that would incriminate Bland and bolster officer dickhead’s story. Speaking of which, here’s his affidavit;

I had Bland exit the vehicle to further conduct a safe traffic investigation. Bland became combative and uncooperative. Numerous commands were given to Bland ordering her to exit the vehicle. Bland was removed from the ear but became more combative. Bland was placed in handcuffs for officer safety. Bland began swinging her elbows at me and then kicked my right leg in the shin. I had a pain in my right leg and suffered small cuts on my right hand. Force was used to subdue Bland to the ground to which Bland continued to fight back. Bland was placed under arrest for Assault on Public Servant (TXPC 22.91 (B)) The vehicie was inventoried and reieased to Crown Towing. Bland was transported and booked into the Walter County Jail for Assault on Public Servant (TXPC 22.01)

Bullshit. He demanded that she step out of the vehicle because he didn’t like her tone.

Now to the substance of the video.

At 25:42, you hear him start to try and work on what the charge will be with (I assume) his boss. That’s the fucking problem with the tape. There was no assault. Wanna know how I know? Officer dickhead described what the legal definition of assault is at 25:38 (his words);

“Assault is if a person commits an (couldn’t make out the next few words) intentionally knowing they are causing bodily injury to another.”

She never did anything remotely resembling assault at the time he was attempting to pull her out of the car. She pushed his hands off her. That doesn’t sound to me like she was intending to cause him harm. After he pulls his taser on her, she voluntarily gets out of the car. There are no punches, kicks, slaps, or anything coming from her that would fall under his stated definition of assault. In fact, none of those things happen before we can see that he has her in handcuffs. We see no evidence of any of these things after she’s in handcuffs.

At 12:36, officer dickhead calls in saying that he has her under control. She’s in fucking handcuffs, wearing a summer dress and sandals. You never hear him say anything to her other than “stop moving” before she says, “you’re about to break my wrist”. So who is being combative? Who is committing assault? Then she starts crying out. That’s when you hear the female cop. At 14:19, you hear officer dickhead tell the bystander who taped the event that they had to leave so we know that she’s on the ground with his back on her knee at that point.

At 14:51, he says, “…you’re going to jail for resisting arrest”.

And there’s the problem. Cops incessantly use “resisting arrest” as a reason to arrest people. There needs to be an underlying charge in order for there to be an arrest to resist. There was no underlying charge. In fact, he and his boss are clearly heard pulling a charge of “assault” out of their collective asses in order to figure out a reason for why this woman is in handcuffs for not using her turn signal and smoking a cigarette in her own damned car.

There should never be “resisting arrest” charges without an underlying reason for the arrest. No arrest; no resisting arrest. I don’t even know why they’re allowed to bring someone in on just a “resisting arrest” charge. That’s complete bullshit. It enables any asshole cop whose ego has been bruised by someone exercising their first amendment rights to call them a motherfucker to make an arrest, just to prove a point. And that’s how they use “resisting arrest” charges. Yes, you do have a first amendment right to be as profane as your little heart desires with a cop.

“Resisting arrest” enables cops to abuse their power and flush taxpayer money down the toilet because they got their fee fees hurt.

That’s the biggest problem I see in this video, and anyone focusing on anything else has missed the most important part of this incident.

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A Culture Of Police Brutality

Since it’s a day that ends in “day”, we have another cop brutalizing another member of the community he’s supposed to be serving and protecting. This one is a slight variation on the theme we’ve grown completely accustomed to in that, the cop is a black male and the victim is a tiny white woman. This incident happened in Miami in 2013, but we just got the video and “justice” yesterday.

Let me start with what happened. In the early evening of June 26th 2013, the police get a call from the South Bay Club, who had a drunk woman (Megan Adamescu) who wouldn’t leave in their lobby. Enter officer Philippe Archer, who responded in plain clothes. He takes the woman outside and tried to get her to give him her ID. She was apparently too drunk to comprehend what was going on, so he took her purse and started looking for ID. That’s when fifty year old Andrew Mossberg happened to be walking by. He thought he was witnessing a mugging so he called the police. Here are his words from an article in the Miami New Times;

“I saw him grab her purse and pull things out of it. When she tried to grab the bag back, he punched her in the face. She fell down, got up, and tried to go for her purse again. He then kicked her legs from underneath her so she would fall down again.”

Mossberg……alleges Archer was not wearing a police badge or any other ID. So Mossberg called the Miami Beach Police nonemergency number and asked the dispatcher to send units over. “I yelled at him that the police are on their way,” Mossberg says. “That’s when he ran at me, kicked me once in the left side of the head, then kicked me again in the forehead, and punched me twice.”

Okay, so this a fifty year old man who is trying to do the right thing when he sees what he believes to be a crime being committed. Here’s the cop’s version of events (from the report he filed);

Adamescu yelled “fuck you nigger,” “became hostile and belligerent,” and that she “attempted to snatch her passport out of my hands.” Archer alleges he got distracted when Mossberg approached him. That’s when Adamescu “slapped me on the left side of the face, knowing that I was a law enforcement officer. I immediately countered with an open hand strike to [the] right side of her face causing her to fall to the ground and hit the back of her head,” Archer wrote.

That’s when Mossberg charged me, preparing to attack me. I conducted a front kick to his abdomen area, causing him to step back. [Mossberg] became enraged and came back at me. So Archer says he kicked Mossberg in the face. “During the violent and physical confrontation, [Mossberg] sustained a laceration to the right side of his head, a left swollen face cheek, and scratches about his arms,” Archer wrote.

As far as I can tell, the cops own original account doesn’t indicate that he identified himself as a police officer to Mossberg. I don’t know if he subsequently made that claim, but it doesn’t matter (you’ll see why later).

That report did leave out some punching and kicking that he did to both Adamescu and Mossberg (of course it did).

So Archer takes both Adamescu and Mossberg to the precinct, where this happens in the parking garage;

Before some of you say that she kicked him (and what a forceful kick it was), so he was justified in what he did, it’s picture time.

This is officer Philippe Archer:  

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This is Andrew Mossberg:

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This is what Mossberg looked like after Philippe fended off the obvious threat to his life:

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You could clearly see Megan Adamescu’s size relative to Archer’s in the video. Here’s what she looked like after he punched her:

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So you decide if the cop was justified in his actions, given the threat level these two posed to him. He had another detective take a picture of himself with Amamescu in her bandaged state, where he’s grinning from ear to ear. That photo hasn’t been published anywhere, but doesn’t he sound charming?

Did I mention that Archer has been accused of police brutality at least three times prior to this? I couldn’t tell you how many times because, while cops have the ability to run your record in a few seconds to see everything you’ve ever been charged with, we don’t get to easily access their performance records. I do know that when this incident took place, but I do know that the good citizens if Miami had just paid out $60,000 to settle one claim against Archer who didn’t appear to have been punished at all.

There was an internal investigation that concluded that Archer was guilty of excessive use of force. Here’s what the Miami Herald said about the report;

“Your experience, knowledge of rules, policies and proper practice dictates that you knew you should have reported and documented the events at the police station, you knew that taking a photo with a prisoner was inappropriate, you knew you should have properly secured the prisoners, and you knew you used excessive force,” states the report. “Your lack of judgment and your poor decisions defy your tenure as a Miami Beach Police Officer of 19 years.”

The report continues: “You met this slight woman’s meager schoolyard kick with excessive, unnecessary, and unwarranted use of force.”

The good news is that Archer is facing swift and severe punishment for his brutal beating of two people who posed no threat whatsoever to him. That’s not true, he’s technically only been found guilty of punching Adamescu, since that’s all we have video evidence of. There’s no video of what he did to Mossberg. No video means nothing untoward happened, right? He’s being suspended for a month without pay. Harsh. I know, right? But don’t worry, he won’t have to lose that pay for a whole month in a row. He’s going to take several long weekends from May – July so that he’s only missing a few hundred dollars out of several paychecks, instead of getting no paycheck at all for a month. WHEW! My heart was starting to bleed for him, thinking about the hardship he was facing. It looks like the poor bastard may make it through after all.

Does any of this sound like  it’s going to serve as a deterrent to the next cop with anger management issues?  This asshole has kept his job through lord knows how many excessive force complaints, at least one settlement over his brutality and now this. This incident is going to settle for a much higher amount because he was found guilty of excessive force. That’s just going to help the plaintiffs in their civil suits. And to be clear, he didn’t get fired because he’s been on the force for nineteen years. Being fired means losing his pension, when he’s one year away from being eligible to retire. There was no way his union was going to let that happen. See, the longer a bad cop is serving on a force for, the harder the union is going to fight to get him to that retirement finish line. By year twelve or so, a shitty cop is almost entire unfireable.

There is a cultural problem with out police forces all across the country. There is no deterrent mechanism for violence and brutality. If I were a sociopath with sadistic tendencies , I would be signing up for the police academy. I’m not kidding. This is the place for me to act out my issues with impunity and no fear of punishment. Each time one of these cops gets away with these killings or beatings, they make very other cop confident in the knowledge that they can do whatever the fuck they want without fear of retribution.

None of those cops in the garage reported the punch that was recorded on the video. How many “good cops” does that leave us with? And why fucking bother? Seriously, why bother being a good cop? Obviously, you can’t report a fellow officer punching the shit out of a twig on two legs because that isn’t something cops do. Even if you did, that cop will suffer virtually no punishment, so why bother?

The abuse by cops is always doled out on members of society who they deem to be powerless. This is why it’s predominantly people of color who are getting killed and beaten. This doesn’t happen in Beverly Hills or the Upper East Side of Manhattan where people have power. We know about the affluenza sufferers in these neighborhoods, so it’s really not like there aren’t any miscreants to beat the fuck out of. It’s just that miscreants in Beverly Hills come with high priced attorneys. Beating the shit out of, or murdering them would be a career ender. But shooting Tamir Rice, that has no consequences. That motherfucker hasn’t faced a single charge yet because he chose his victim wisely.

People keep saying there are lots of good cops out there. I think that’s true. It’s just that all the “good cops” are patrolling affluent neighborhoods where the incentives don’t allow for beating and killing members of those neighborhoods. I’ve said this several times; I have a bias against cops. My bias comes from each new video I see of a cop behaving viciously toward someone who is unarmed (both physically and societally) and powerless to stop them.

There are no good cops in poor neighborhoods. There just aren’t. We’d see more news stories of cops being retaliated against for reporting their psychopathic co-workers if there were good cops in bad neighborhoods.

I’m forced to conclude that the only good cops in America work in upper middle class or affluent neighborhoods. Is that true? Perhaps not but I can’t tell, what with all the secrecy within the police departments. Is it fair? You’re goddamned right it is. Every single time this happens, it’s fair to conclude that cops are the problem.

I’ve said this before; I know where my bias comes from. Where does the bias on the other side come from?

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Freddie Gray Was Mortally injured In The Van

UPDATE: Freddie Gray’s death has been ruled a homicide and charges will be filed against the 6 arresting officers. This just came in at 10:55 (30 minutes after I wrote this piece), so that’s all the detail I have right now. And yes, I know that it contradicts something I said in the piece, but never let it be said that I can’t admit an error in my conclusions! 

 

 

Last night, we got a bunch of new information about what happened on the day Freddie Gray was arrested. I have to say that I’m not loving how we’re getting the information, and I’m not sure how much of it will actually be in the "official" investigation, but I wanted to share it. I normally wait until something more concrete materializes, but this is important information so I will share it with minimal speculation (cause that’s how these things get dumb).

The source for all of this information is a local ABC news affiliate, who got it from an unnamed source who was briefed on the investigation. I’m generally uncomfortable with stories that are entirely unsourced, but there are a few pieces of information disclosed by this source. that I believe will prove to be accurate.

The first big piece of information that we have, is that;

"Gray’s catastrophic injury was caused when he slammed into the back of the police transport van, apparently breaking his neck; a head injury he sustained matches a bolt in the back of the van."

That’s verbatim from WJLA’s piece. Here’s another direct quote from the piece that’s important as it relates to the information above;

"An investigation into the death of Baltimore resident Freddie Gray has found no evidence that his fatal injuries were caused during his videotaped arrest and interaction with police officers, according to multiple law enforcement sources."

The source seems to be making it clear that the blame is focused on the van ride, and away from the arrest. Did you notice the qualifiers there?

Remember the absurd allegation that was floated a couple of days ago, when Freddie Gray “was intentionally trying to injure himself” according to another prisoner in the van? Well, they haven’t taken that heaping pile of bullshit off the table, although there didn’t seem any new advances in this fanciful story. The prisoner that was attributed to spoke up to dispute how his testimony is being portrayed. His name is Donta Allen, and here’s what he had to say (from the article);

Allen said he did not know a man was already in the van. Gray was on the right side and Allen was loaded on the left side with a divider separating them.

Allen described what he heard: "When I got in the van, I didn’t hear nothing. It was a smooth ride. We went straight to the police station. All I heard was a little banging for about four seconds. I just heard little banging, just little banging."

Asked whether he told police whether he heard Gray banging his head against the van, Allen said, "I told homicide that. I don’t work for the police. I did not tell the police nothing."

According to the autopsy on Gray, there is no evidence that Gray hit his head against anything on his own. His fatal neck and spinal injury was a kin to the type suffered in a car accident; it needed that amount of force and energy.

Sources have told the 11 News I-Team that by the time Allen was loaded into the van, Gray was unresponsive. Citiwatch camera video shows officers looking into the Gray’s side of the van with the doors fully open.

Medical experts said as Gray’s condition deteriorated after the injury occurred, he may have suffered seizures.

Allen told the 11 News I-Team what he heard when the van arrived at the Western District Police Station: "When we got to the police station, they said he didn’t have no pulse or nothing. They called his name, ‘Mr. Gray, Mr. Gray.’ And he wasn’t responsive."

So it’s clear that the "he did it to himself" turd isn’t going to float.

Here’s one of the big shockers we got last night; the van made another stop that we didn’t previously know anything about. As if that wasn’t sketchy enough, investigators learned about this previously undisclosed stop because it was caught on a privately owned camera. And here’s another shocker; the van driver has still not given a statement. This incident occurred nearly three weeks ago, and there’s no statement from the van driver? I believe that WTF? would be the only appropriate reaction to this. And then fate stepped in to further fuck up this situation. A security camera at a market on North Fremont Avenue and Mosher Street caught this unlogged stop on tape. Police copied that footage sometime (the owner guesses) on the week Gray died. The store owner’s copy of the footage was lost when the store was looted during the riots.

See what happens opportunistic looters? You may have just helped the police in crafting a more convenient story for themselves. Well played assholes, well played.

And here’s one more bombshell that we heard yesterday, independent of the source conveying what they heard in the briefing. A relative of one of the six officers involved in the arrest (before Gray was put in the van) believes that Gray was injured during the arrest. She wouldn’t go on record, so take her information in the context of a relative of one of the arresting officers, who doesn’t want to be known by name. She said, "Six officers did not injure this man. Six officers didn’t put him in the hospital. I’m worried that instead of them figuring out who did, that six officers are going to be punished behind something that maybe one or two or even three officers may have done to Freddie Gray." She also said that they didn’t buckle Gray in because he was being belligerent. "They didn’t want to reach over him. You were in a tight space in the paddy wagon. He’s already irate."

To which I say, if you figured out a way to catch him and get him in cuffs, you can figure out a way not to severely injure him the way you’ve already paralyzed at least two people by not buckling them in.

Isn’t perspective amazing? The only person in the country who would be concerned with cops being blamed for something they didn’t do, would have to be related to a cop. I mean seriously, the rest of us witness cops never being held accountable for what they did do, and this woman is worried about a mass incarceration of cops? Amazing.  

And one last interesting piece of information. Five out of the six arresting officers have been interviewed by detectives. One invoked the right not to be questioned. Cops have a right not to be questioned? What the fuck is that horseshit? I’m pretty sure that the rest of us have no such right. We have a right to have an attorney present for questioning, but we aren’t afforded the privilege of skipping the interview process all together.

So this all seems to be getting more confusing with each passing day. It doesn’t look like we’re going to get anything official anytime soon. My guess is that since we haven’t heard anything official yet today, we’re not going to. I will be updating the situation as I get more information.      

 

 

         

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Fuck Your Breath Is SOP

Remember the "fuck your breath" incident in Tulsa? Remember, that was when Eric Harris was accidentally shot by Reserve Deputy Robert Bates? You know, Bates is the rich 73 year old insurance salesman who got to play cop because he donated enough to the Tulsa PD to earn himself a gun and a badge? And then Eric Harris was shot and laying on the ground bleeding, saying, "I’m losing my breath". Remember? Then that fine officer, Joe Byars compassionately replied, "fuck your breath"? You remember, that all happened 3 weeks ago.

It’s starting to feel like "fuck your breath" is standard operating procedure. We had another incident in Baltimore where a seriously injured (and subsequently dead) ward of the police didn’t get medical treatment when it was clear that he needed it. Details are really sketchy right now, even though the incident occurred 2 1/2 weeks ago, but let me tell you what we know. Freddie Gray was arrested on April 12th for no reason that we’re yet aware of. According to "the city", Gray made eye contact with a couple of cops near an apartment complex. Gray then ran, and since this isn’t illegal, cops naturally chased after him. We don’t know what happened immediately after they caught him, but we have video of the incident after he’s in handcuffs and being dragged into a police van.

<iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/m7TZaLpHJhU" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

He’s obviously badly hurt at this point. The police report states that Gray “was arrested without force or incident” so he wasn’t fighting to get away once they had caught him.

I’m going to backtrack for a second to address something I said earlier. Running from cops is not a crime. Cops chasing after someone who runs away from them is completely understandable. Arresting someone for running is not at all understandable. I would think that once they catch the runner, the next step would be to search him and run his name to see if he has any outstanding warrants. If there’s no reason to arrest the runner, the runner should not be arrested merely for running. We would most definitely have heard the reason for the arrest by now if there was one, because what better way to say that he deserved what he got, than to explain what he was arrested for? Police have said that he had a switchblade on him, but since we don’t know the exact size of the blade, it’s safe to say that there was nothing unlawful about his possession of it. We do know that Gray had been charged with crimes on eighteen different occasions before this incident, and we know that he’s spent time in jail.

But we have no idea why he was being taken to jail this time. It’s been 2 1/2 weeks since this happened, and a week and a half since he died, and we still don’t know.

Okay, back to the timeline of what happened. So he’s arrested, he’s screaming out in pain, and his legs aren’t moving. He’s thrown in the van at 8:42 am. According to the attorney representing the cops, Gray was not seat belted into the van. This is referred to by cops as "the nickel ride". I’ll get to that later. According to the police, the van was stopped at 8:46 because Gray was "acting irate". I guess this is considered unusual, since most people who are sitting in the back of that van are usually singing "Tomorrow" from Annie. So when they didn’t hear "Tomorrow", they felt they needed to stop? They say they stopped the van “so that paperwork can be completed, and at that point Mr. Gray is placed in leg irons and put back in the wagon.” At 8:59 something ambiguous happens. The van driver requests another unit to drive over and check on Gray. There is no description of that "check" in the police report. He’s handcuffed and is in leg irons, but you need for another unit to check on him? Huh. Sometime between 8:59 and 9:24, the can picks up another suspect who, as far as I know has not yet been identified. At 9:24, they’re at the police station and call for paramedics. The Baltimore Sun laid out a timeline and included a map to help sort out what happened.

So it was about 45 minutes from the time of the arrest and the time the paramedics were called. Did I mention that Gray, who is asthmatic asked for his inhaler at 8:42, but doesn’t appear to have ever gotten it? We don’t know if someone actually said the words "fuck your breath", but we know that their actions indicated that sentiment.

The preliminary autopsy shows no injuries to Gray, other than his 80% severed spinal cord. According to the attorney for Grey’s family, three of his vertebrae and his voice box were crushed. So there were no injuries to his legs and he wasn’t beaten up. His legs not moving in the video at the time of the arrest would be consistent with the spinal cord injury, but that’s entirely speculation on my part. I don’t know how severe the injury to his voice box was, and if he could still scream out after that injury happened, but we do know that he was screaming out in the video. Note that he wasn’t screaming out words like cussing out the cops. He seemed to be screaming out in pain.

We know that the injuries to Gray couldn’t have happened casually. In other words, they were a result of serious trauma. That’s according to medical experts The Baltimore Sun spoke with.

Now would be a good time for me to explain what a "nickel ride" is. This is a term used by police for when they throw a suspect in the back of a van without a seat belt and drive the van quickly, taking as many fast corners as they can so as to teach the suspect a lesson by throwing him around the van. You know, harmless fun.

Except for the fact that in 2005 Baltimore paid out $6 million to Jeffrey Alston, who was paralyzed from the neck down because he was taken in harmless nickel ride. He was originally awarded $39 million by a jury, but he ended up settling for $6 million because by 2004, he had been paralyzed for seven years. There’s also Dondi Johnson Sr, who became a paraplegic after his nickel ride in Baltimore in 2005. He received a $7.4 million settlement. His arrest was for public urination. His award was reduced to $219,000 because there’s a state law that caps such damages. Yeah, you read that right. I didn’t drop a zero. He got less that a quarter of a million dollars because the cops turned him into a paraplegic. I’m sure he won’t have a financial woe in the world now. There’s also Christine Abbott, who mercifully wasn’t paralyzed. She is in the process of suing because she was given a nickel ride in Baltimore in 2012. From the article in the Baltimore Sun;

"According to the suit, officers cuffed Abbott’s hands behind her back, threw her into a police van, left her unbuckled and "maniacally drove" her to the Northern District police station, "tossing [her] around the interior of the police van."

"They were braking really short so that I would slam against the wall, and they were taking really wide, fast turns," Abbott said in an interview that mirrored allegations in her lawsuit. "I couldn’t brace myself. I was terrified."

The lawsuit states she suffered unspecified injuries from the arrest and the ride.

"You feel like a piece of cargo," she added. "You don’t feel human."

The van’s driver stated in a deposition that Abbott was not buckled into her seat belt, but the officers have denied driving recklessly.

Those are just the cases I found in Baltimore. I don’t know what happened, but I know that the city of Baltimore isn’t explaining it. I know that a 25 year old man who was healthy enough to run, died a week after he was placed in the care of Baltimore PD of spinal cord injuries. I know that we have another black corpse, and four cops who are on (say it with me) paid administrative leave.

I don’t know exactly what happened, but it does seem like "fuck your breath" was the prevailing mindset for around 45 minutes, while Freddie Gray was in that van, as well as the minute or so before he was thrown in it. The city admitted that much anyway.    

 

   

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Pull Up Your Pants

Or we’re going to electrocute you to death, sans the chair. That’s what happened to Ervin Leon Edwards in November 2013. He was taken to jail in Baton Rouge because (I’m not making this up) his pants were too saggy, and therefore didn’t comply with bright red Louisiana’s small government pant regulations.

I’m going to sidetrack for a moment to state something that should be fairly obvious. When you pass a law telling people how to wear their clothes, you cannot call yourself a "small government" republican. It appears there’s nothing small about a any government run by republicans. Over and over again, these red states have laws designed to regulate not business (that would be a bridge too far), but you and personal choices that you may want to make.

When you pass a law making saggy pants illegal, your only goal is to create anther reason to harass black people. Let’s not pretend this law was anything more than that.

Back to Ervin. Police were called to a gas station where he and his girlfriend were having a verbal fight. The fight was over by the time the cops got there but Ervin’s pants were past the legal sagging limit, so in the interest of protecting the public, he had to be taken to jail. Can you guess how this ends? If your guess was that it ends with the corpse of Ervin Leon Edwards, you would be correct.

Let’s start with that the cops said happened. According Officer Dustin McMullan, he tased Ervin for five seconds in order to subdue him when he (Ervin) got combative. Five seconds is one cycle for that particular taser. The cop claims that he holstered the taser after that five second burst because it had no effect on Ervin. After he put the taser away, the cop said that he helped other officers use “empty hand control techniques” to remove the restraints from Edwards’ ankles and hands before leaving the cell. They also said that a deputy went in to check on Ervin at some point and found him breathing and moving his arms.

So let’s watch the video that was finally released yesterday to see how much of that was actually true:

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So you can see that there are six cops in the room. Seems to me like a six to one ratio of force would make the use of a taser completely unnecessary, but that’s just me. Maybe all six of these cops have very low testosterone levels and sperm counts. They need all the tools they can get their hands on in order to subdue anything bigger than a kitten, because they’re barely men at all.

Just to explain what you’re seeing in the video, Officer Dustin McTase A Lot is the cop directly under the really big one who’s standing up, so you can’t see everything he does. At the :32 mark in the video, you can see all of the cops (but especially the one closest to the door) jolt backward. That’s when the taser was first turned on Ervin. At :34 you can actually see it because the big cop steps back. That taser stays on Ervin’s body until :47 where the sadistic cop lifts it for a split second while he gets his balance so that he can really dig the thing into Ervin from a more steady angle. That motherfucker kept that taser in place until the 1:25 mark in the video. Everyone is leaving the room, Ervin isn’t moving at all, and that piece of fucking shit cop is still tasing the (at that point) body while the other cops are pulling the corpse’s pants off. Can you tell that I’m enraged? Three minutes later, you see someone looking into the room. I guess this is when they checked in on him and found him breathing and moving his arms? Two minutes after that, someone else looks into the room. Five minutes after that someone can finally be fucked to enter the room, with no seeming sense of urgency, and solely for the purpose of kicking the body’s foot. I guess this is some new fangled form of CPR that I haven’t yet heard of.

Remember how I told you that this happened in November, 2013? You must be wondering (as I was) why we’re just now seeing the video. The incident was investigated by internal affairs and lo and behold! They found no wrongdoing. Quelle surprise! We’re seeing the video because of a wrongful death civil suit filed by Ervin’s family.

Every article I’ve read on this says that the cops fucked up by not checking in on him and administering any CPR or making any effort to save his life (or make sure that he still had one). So that relentless tasing thing, that’s just swell. I guess that it falls within the parameters of this book we keep hearing that everything is being done by. If pumping 50,000 volts of electricity into a human for nearly a full minute isn’t considered totally shitting on the book, the book needs to be radically edited. So according to police procedure, the misconduct didn’t start until the moment the tasing ended and everyone left the room. By "according to police procedure", I mean not according to internal investigations, who found that everything was done by the book, and there’s nothing to see here.

Ervin’s cause of death is officially "undetermined", a result of “acute cocaine and phencyclidine (PCP) intoxication in association with restraint by law enforcement”. So naturally, we’re starting to get some of the same victim blaming bullshit we got with Eric Garner. He was a drug addled fatty who would be alive today if he’d put down the drugs and the donuts years ago. Or maybe he could have kept doing the drugs and eating the fried chicken, just as long as he kept his pants over the legal limit?

So now the DOJ and the FBI both have the files on this case, although there’s no confirmation that they’re investigating. If past if prologue, here’s how this is going to unfold. The family will receive a big settlement from the city. It won’t go to trial, they will just throw as much money at it as they have to, in order to avoid a trial. Think about it, how many police brutality trials do we hear about, relative to video of police brutality instances we see? The taxpayers of Baton Rouge will have to pay that money, as well as the salaries and pensions of every cop who was in that room, since none of them will ever face any consequences for what they did. The best case scenario is that he sadistic taser-happy piece of crap will be taken off the streets or (not likely) fired (with his full pension intact).

The incentive structure is not set up to produce good cops or promote good behavior by cops. There are seldom any consequences for bad behavior. If there aren’t going to be any consequences, why would these guys ever stop? That piece of shit that killed Eric Garner had three previous complaints of brutality or impropriety brought against him. Two of which had been settled before he killed Eric Garner. Every time he got away with humiliating or assaulting a black man, his sadist wings grew and he let his shitty cop freak flag fly until he finally murdered someone. And he still has his job.

So to recap;

Saggy pants = jail because that’s the only way to get the criminal element off the streets.

Murdering cop = no jail, keep your job, retire with a full pension because the criminal element on the streets is something the community should pay for and value, as long as it’s wearing a uniform.

I don’t see how we’re not encouraging more of this behavior when over and over again, we see communities paying to be brutalized by their police forces.     

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North Charleston PD: Another Ferguson?

Just like with Ferguson, we’re starting to see some systemic issues with North Charleston PD. We’re also learning that the racial makeup of the police force doesn’t much resemble the racial makeup of the community.

Let’s start with demographics and city data:

  • 49% of North Charleston residents are black
  • 39% of North Charleston residents are white
  • 11% of North Charleston residents are Hispanic
  • The estimated median household income is $38,258, compared to $43,107 in South Carolina
  • The median house or condo value in North Charleston is 122,300 compared to $135, 500

So North Charleston is the poor part of town, just like Ferguson. The racial demographics in North Charleston PD are even more lopsided than they are in Ferguson, where 67% of the police are white. In N Charleston PD, 80% of the police are white. So N Charleston PD is worse than Ferguson is, in terms of hiring police officers that look like and come from the community they’re charged with policing. Let that sink in for a minute.

Now on to Michael Slager, the cop who murdered Walter Scott. Just like that piece of crap, Daniel Pantaleo who murdered Eric Garner, Slanger has a previous complaint against him. Pantaleo had three, two of which taxpayers of NYC paid settlements on (the third one is still going through the system). That number of course, does not include Eric Garner.

The previous complaint against Slanger was filed in 2013, has yet to go to court. Here’s what happened in that incident. Slanger and his partner showed up at the home where Mario Givens was living with his mother and brother at 4 am one morning in September 2013. Mario Givens answered the door. According to Givens, Slanger demanded to be let inside the house, but never gave a reason for what he was looking for or what he was doing there at all. Slanger then pushed the door and told Givens that if he didn’t come outside, he (Slanger) was going to tase him (seems like Slanger loves him some hot taser action). Givens complied because he didn’t want to be tased. Slanger tased him in the stomach anyway.

It turns out that they were there because a woman named Maleah Kiara Brown called the police to report that Mario’s brother, Matthew (her ex boyfriend) had shown up in her bedroom uninvited. She gave the police a description of Matthew, where she stated that Matthew is 5 foot 5 inches tall. Mario is over 6 feet tall. Slanger and his partner didn’t just have a description, they had Maleah and her friend with them when they pounded on the Givens’ door. She corroborates Marios story entirely. Right after Slanger tased Mario and pulled him out of the house and onto the porch, Maleah claims that she was yelling at the officers, telling them that they had the wrong man. Here’s what else she said,

"He [Slanger] was cocky. It looked like he wanted to hurt him [Mario]. There was no need to tase him. No reason. He was no threat – and we told him he had the wrong man."

There were other neighbors who witnessed the incident and corroborated Mario’s story. You won’t be surprised to learn that Slanger’s version of events don’t much resemble anyone else’s. From a HuffPo story about the incident:

Slager wrote that he could not see one of Givens’ hands and feared he might be holding a weapon. He wrote that he observed sweat on Givens’ shirt, which he perceived as evidence that he could have run from Brown’s home, and then ordered him to exit several times.

When Givens didn’t comply, Slager said he entered the home to prevent him from fleeing and was then forced to use his stun gun when Givens struggled with him. The officers’ report describes the Givens brothers as looking "just alike."

To be clear, no one else supports Sanger’s claim that Givens was struggling or resisting in any way. So an internal investigation ensued. Naturally, when there are several witnesses agreeing on one version of events and a cop telling another story, the cop should clearly be exonerated. Did I forget to mention that the investigation was conducted without contacting any of the witnesses?

I mentioned that Slanger and a partner knocked on the Givens’ door in that last incident. That partner’s name is Clarence Habersham. You should be familiar with that name by now, but you aren’t because of the systemic problems in this police department that I mentioned earlier. You should know his name because he’s the same partner who was present for the murder of Walter Scott. You should know his name because he’s the second cop you see in the video when Slanger comes back with the taser and plants it next to Scott. If the video was too fast for you to spot that, don’t worry. ABC news was kind enough to publish still frames of the video to help us see what happened.

Here’s the planting-of-the-taser frame:

Screen Shot 2015-04-10 at 10.49.30 AM

We can safely assume that Clarence Habersham’s statement about the incident supported Slanger’s since the department originally spewed all that bullshit about Scott going for the taser, and that he ended up dying despite the attempts at CPR. You know, all that stuff that we categorically didn’t see in the video. Yet we haven’t heard a peep about any disciplinary action taken against Habersham. Well that’s weird. It almost seems like the department took the bare minimum action they could, in firing Slanger after the video came out.

The fact that Habersham hasn’t been sanctioned in any way is an indication of a major systemic problem with this police department, just like there is with Ferguson. And just like Ferguson, I promise you that we’re going to be hearing more incidents of corruption, police brutality, and inaction to correct problems within the department.

I just hope that the Department Of Justice goes into North Charleston PD just like they did in Ferguson.    

 

 

 

 

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Another Cop Wins Another Epic Battle

So we had an ever elusive incident of a cop being charged with murder, for murdering a person who was unarmed. I literally can’t remember the last time this happened so I was stunned by disbelief for a couple of days. You know the story by now. The murdering cop, Michael Slager killed Walter Scott during an incident that started with a traffic stop for a broken tail light.

The incident happened on Saturday, and unfolded in the usual way. The cop claims that he was in an epic battle for his life and had no choice but to shoot to kill. It’s fascinating how many epic battles cops get into. They seem to emerge victorious the in the vast majority of these incidents. Weird.

According to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, a total of 127 cops were killed in the line of duty last year. I don’t have numbers from any other source from last year, but I can tell you that they had the highest number of cops killed for 2013. In other words, no other source had a higher number than they did. So 127 is the maximum number of cops who were killed in the line of duty last year. Of those, 50 were death by gun. So let’s assume that all 50 were of the epic battle nature. I don’t have the 2014 numbers on how many justifiable homicides by cop from the FBI, but I have the 2013 figures. The FBI recorded 461 justifiable homicides committed by cops. These must nearly all have been of the epic battle variety since they were justified, right?

That 50 to 461 ratio is unfathomably imbalanced. It simply defies explanation. We don’t know how many of those 461 were unarmed, and that’s by design. No one is counting. Speaking of counting, that 461 number seems to be off by at least a factor of 2. Some think that the number of people killed by cops is closer to 1,100 per year. You know how anal I am about data, and presenting credible data but I can’t in this case. I don’t know how many of the estimated 1,100 cop killings were of unarmed victims. But I know that it would have to be no more than 5% in order to create parity with the number of cops killed in the line of duty.

If you go back to that FBI link, you’ll see that the police are justifiably murdering more people every year, while the murders of police officers are trending downward every year. There’s something seriously wrong here.

I’m not prone to believe the account of the lone survivor in a struggle, particularly when the one who died wasn’t armed. I’m not prone to believe a cop who won an epic battle for his or her life against someone who wasn’t armed. I’m not inclined to believe any cop whose story includes the word "waistband". I’m sorry, but I have no benefit of the doubt left for them anymore. Especially when they all seem to be telling virtually the same story.

Unfortunately, forensics in the real world is nothing like CSI. It never tells us exactly what happened. Darren Wilson’s story was very similar to Slager’s story. The victim reached for the cop’s weapon…..epic struggle….shoot to kill. In the Michael Brown case, forensics told us that Brown did have contact with Wilson’s gun, but it can’t tell us the circumstances. Was the gun being pulled out when he instinctively grabbed at it before it was aimed at him? We don’t know. We know that all of the bullets except one entered Michael Brown’s body from the front. What about the one we’re not sure of? That was one that went through his raised arm, which could have come in from either the back or the front. We know that Wilson missed half of the shots he took. Were these the shots he fired when they were both running? That would seem to be the most likely circumstances under which to miss, but we don’t know.

But Wilson gets a pass because we don’t know, and he’s the only one left alive to tell a story. The Michael Slager situation was on course to play out the same way as Wilson’s. He told basically the same story, and his department was standing behind it. This autopsy is going to have the benefit of a video tape showing it what happened, but there’s no telling how murky the results would have been without the tape. Based on that horribly imbalanced ratio of shootings, I think it’s safe to assume that the results were going to be too unclear to put a murderer in prison.

The only good thing that happened here, is that the video didn’t come to light until after the murderer told his lies. He’s going to have an impossible time explaining the disparity between his version and the video.

I am not prone to believe any cop’s story that isn’t accompanied by video evidence. You think I’m biased? We’re doing exactly the opposite now. We believe everything the surviving cop says unless there’s a video to prove otherwise. That benefit of the doubt given to the cops is unfounded. My bias comes from the data. Where does the reverse bias come from?         

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The Makings For The Next Tamir Rice Shooting

One of my G+ peeps turned me on to a situation in Cleveland that really should be a national story, but isn’t so I’m writing about it. Please share this, since it needs to go viral. We need to stop something very bad from happening in Cleveland. More specifically, Cleveland PD. I know what you’re thinking, "It’s too late, very bad things have already happened with Cleveland PD since they’re under federal investigation for excessive force, and one of their officers murdered Tamir Rice". You would be correct, but more bad things may be happening.

I’m going to briefly recap the situation in Cleveland, since I want this piece to be relatively short and quickly readable. We all know about the Tamir Rice shooting by now, and have probably seen the video (it’s on youtube). And some of you are familiar with the history of the officer who murdered Tamir. If you’re not, let me give you the highlights. Officer Timothy Loehmann joined Cleveland PD in March of this year. This was a year and a half after he was forced to resign from the Independence Police Department, who found him unfit to serve as a police officer on their force. Here’s a copy of the memo that the deputy chief of the department sent to HR (that’s important but I’ll get to it later). In that memo, the deputy chief described Loehmann as follows, "dangerous loss of composure during live range training" and an "inability to manage personal stress." And he made the following recommendation, "I do not believe time, nor training, will be able to change or correct these deficiencies".

Loehmann subsequently resigned. When he applied to work for Cleveland PD, they were aware of his previous employment with Independence. Loehmann’s background check went like this;

Interviewer: Hey Loehmann, are there any disciplinary actions or incidents that we should be know about before hiring you?

Loehmann: Nope

Interviewer: Alrighty then!

To be fair, they did also call HR at independence. That HR person’s comments were (according to Cleveland PD) limited to letting them know that he resigned due to personal reasons. The whole truth of the situation is that he submitted his resignation for "personal reasons" after he was told that a disciplinary process of separation had begun. Whether that last piece of information was included in his personnel record or not is up for debate.

And this brings us to today. 133 police cadets will be graduating, and becoming full fledged members of Cleveland PD tomorrow. Among them is this guy:

Smith

 

His name is Brandon Smith. If you live in Cleveland, you need to burn this picture into your mind. Why? Cause little Brandon here isn’t new to law enforcement. He served on the East Cleveland police force for a few months in 2012, until he resigned right before he was about to be fired. Fired? Yeah, fired because he and his partner shot 10 – 11 bullets into the car of a woman who was fleeing from the cops. She was pulled over for running a red light. They thought, that instead of putting her license plate out there in the "be on the lookout" list, or following her until she ran out of steam, they would fire copious amounts of bullets into her car. Here’s just one news story on the incident at the time it happened. Why do I share that link? 

Two reasons:

  • Google is awesome, especially if you’re an HR person like I am
  • The article says that Smith was fired.

This is important because if I can find a story that says he was fired, the HR department for Cleveland PD can find it too. What Cleveland PD is claiming isn’t clear to me. I keep finding the same article on several local news sites that all contain exactly the same text (isn’t McJournalism grand?): 

"Cleveland City Hall points out Smith was never hit with criminal charges for it. Cleveland’s Department of Public Safety had been under the impression Smith was fully cleared. However, the East Cleveland mayor has told us he let Smith resign instead of getting fired."

WTF is going on in this clown car of a city government? Here’s one thing we do know Cleveland PD became aware of; Smith lied on his application when he failed to disclose a lawsuit against him. A lawsuit over the same shooting incident. They knew about the incident if they found out about the lawsuit. They didn’t even take any disciplinary action against him, never mind explore the incident in greater detail.

The problem here is not a lack of communication. It’s a lack of honest communication. Everybody seems to be bending over backwards not to sully these brutish cops’ employment records so they let them resign rather than firing them, or they leave out details of the resignation. No, I’m sorry but criminals don’t get to erase their records even after they’ve been held accountable for their actions by serving their time. Why do cops get to enjoy a lovely (and lethal for their communities) combination of not ever being held accountable, and not ever suffering a single repercussion of their actions?

No, this needs to stop. Most police departments make if very difficult for someone to access the personnel records of their officers. And if those personnel records are legally mandated to be public, they will bury personnel issues within the individual incident reports so that they’re not easily locatable. We need transparency here because it’s clear that everyone or anyone associated with a police department has far too many ways to cover for a bad cop.

This has to stop.

But right now, our immediate concern is in making sure that little Brandon Smith doesn’t hit the streets of Cleveland tomorrow, after his graduation ceremony.

 

Here’s a link to the petition urging Cleveland PD to fire Smith. Please share!

         

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Bob McCulloch Should Be Disbarred

So Darrin Wilson’s attorney, I mean ‘prosecutor’ Bob McCulloch admits that he put people in front of the grand jury who he knew were lying. Here’s an interview he did with a local talk show host:

 

17:00 is the point where McCulloch tells us that witness #40 was a lying sack of crap. He knew he couldn’t have done this at trial. The lying jurors (like #40, who wasn’t even there) would have been ripped to shreds on cross examined during the course of a trial, and therefore never would have been called to testify. Wilson’s preposterous testimony would actually have received some cross examination at trial. He threw as much garbage at the grand jury as he could find because he knew that the lack of scrutiny would confuse and misdirect the grand jury.

At some point, the host asks him if the grand jury took the testimony of witness #40 seriously. He responds by making a claim that he can’t possibly make. He said that they definitely didn’t take her testimony seriously. He can’t know what they thought of any piece of evidence put before them because no one is allowed to be in the grand jury room when they’re deliberating.

This proceeding was a joke, and McCulloch should be disbarred.

Anyone who genuinely believes that Wilson didn’t do anything wrong should agree with me because he’s never going to be seen as an innocent person, given the level of shadiness with which this proceeding was conducted. McCulloch just told the world that this grand jury proceeding was a joke. If Wilson did nothing wrong, he should be able to go through the same justice system that everyone else goes through with the confidence of an innocent man. Innocent people should be confident that cross examination is their friend. It doesn’t matter which side of this you fall on, if your opinion is earnestly held, we should all agree that what Bob McCulloch did here neither proved nor disproved a damned thing. 

He’s never going to be an innocent man until he does.

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Exculpated

That appears to be what was done to the grand jury on the Darren Wilson matter. I use the word matter deliberately, and you will see why later. Based on what the ‘prosecutor’ (I use that term very loosely in this instance) said in his tedious and meandering press conference last night, the grand jury in this case were presented with a mountain of exculpatory evidence. If you’re not familiar with the term, exculpatory evidence is evidence that points to the innocence of a defendant on trial. When a defendant is on trial, the prosecutor has an obligation to turn over all exculpatory evidence that they uncover, to the defense attorney. They are literally bound by the law to turn over any evidence they come across that may prove that a defendant is innocent.

There is no such obligation when presenting a case to a grand jury. In fact, the grand jury process is actually designed to block the presentation of any exculpatory evidence. As I said in an earlier post (read it, I explain a lot about the grand jury process in it), I served on a grand jury for a month. I never heard any exculpatory evidence from a prosecutor. A grand jury is not a trial. I’ve seen a lot of comments from a lot of people who have strong opinions on what happened last night. Unfortunately, most of those opinions came from people whose desire to put forth an opinion didn’t appear to be commensurate with a desire to learn anything they should probably learn in order to form said opinion. They all seem to have confused this process with a trial. These are what I refer to as the simpletons. I like to look at facts and then form an opinion. Simpletons like to do it the other way around. They’re usually so determined to do it the other way around, that they will reject any facts that interfere with that rectally generated opinion. Sorry, I digress. I’m extra bitchy this morning, what with the mega dose of stupid I had to endure last night.

The purpose of a grand jury is not to determine if the accused is guilty. The sole purpose of a grand jury is to determine if there’s enough evidence to determine if the accused guilty. There was clearly enough evidence against Darren Wilson to indict and let a jury decide if he was guilty of anything. If the only piece of evidence presented to the jury was that the altercation began in close contact, and ended with a distance of thirty-five feet when the fatal bullet was shot, they had enough evidence. You don’t need to know anything else to know that a jury should see all of the evidence to decide his guilt or lack of guilt. Thirty-five feet is clearly not a case of self defense, and no rational person would make that assertion.

Contrary to what the simpletons think, we were not at the determining innocence or guilt stage of this process yet. I have always asserted that we need to get to that point in the judicial process in this, and all cases when a police officer shoots an unarmed person. We never get to that stage of the process. Cops who shoot unarmed people almost never (I can’t think of one in the past five years) have to face a jury, and that’s very bad for all of us. Every time a simpleton advocates for truncating the justice system for a cop who shoots someone, they encourage more cops to overreact by shooting early and often.

I cannot believe this needs to be explained.

It really does take a special breed of stupid not to realize that. But it’s also much worse than that because these morons are advocating for throwing out our entire justice system by empowering cops to administer the death penalty whenever they deem fit. None of the stupid people who made their stupid judgments last night were able to explain which of Mike Brown’s alleged actions would earn him the death penalty in court. I guess that’s just another inconvenient question that impedes the stupid, baseless opinion process they hold more dear than their own safety and security.

Stupid.

I cannot use that word enough.

Here’s how deep the stupid runs; I was accused of making a snap judgment over and over again last night. Me? Judgment? For insisting on a trial to determine if Wilson was guilty or not? I’m accused of making a snap judgment by people who, without a trial, decided that he did nothing wrong. That’s rich.

And stupid.

That’s all. I’m done.

Stupid.                

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