Archive for the 'police brutality' Category

Waukesha SWAT Sgt. Accused of Murder Threats

Wednesday, April 16th, 2014

Photo Waukesha WI Police Sgt. Gregg Satula (Credit Waukesha PD)

By Tim @wkshacopblock – MilwaukeeCitizenPress

In the latest incident to come to light in what would generously be called an incompetent police department, Waukesha PD’s SWAT Sgt. Gregg Satula is accused of showing up at the home of his wife’s lover, armed and holding his holstered gun, threatening to kill the man and his own wife. The PD’s cover-up machine apparently took effect within minutes of a 911 hang up call and continues to this day.

According to an anonymous source familiar with the incident:

Gregg Satula showed up off duty at Todd Kraine’s (name changed) house to confront him about an affair with his (now ex) wife Waukesha PD officer Jessica Satula-Trucksa. Satula pulled his green Prius down the street from Todd’s house and Todd called 911.  He was startled by Satula approaching his house and hung up the 911 call. Satula then approached Todd’s front door while holding a holstered silver .38 special with approximately a 2″ barrel and a laser sight while yelling and demanding entry into the home. Todd grabbed his own 9mm for protection. Satula was yelling and stated something along the lines of, “I’m on the Tactical Team and I can put a bullet in your and my wife’s head.”

The 911 hang up call was plotted by cell tower to Todd’s address and WPD officer Michelle Enderle was dispatched. She saw (her current direct supervisor) Satula standing at the door and was told it was taken care of and not to include his name on the report. Enderle falsely entered info into the WI State CAD system stating she made no contact. Satula filed for divorce the next day.

Months later, Todd contacted Deputy Chief Dennis Angle to file a complaint about the incident by phone and requested documentation. Dennis Angle refused to document this incident as noted below.

Here’s the email exchange from 8 months after the incident after Todd tried to file a verbal complaint.

-   -   -

4/15/13 Todd wrote to Deputy Chief Dennis Angle:

Dear Mr. Angle: I spoke with you about a month ago with my concerns over Sgt. Satula and officer Trucksa. I would like to get a copy of that report for my court case. Is this something I can procure via email or pick up in person at the station? Please advise.

4/16/13 Dennis Angle responds:

Mr. Kraines, I did not leave a report based on our conversation.

4/16/13 Todd writes:

Mr. Angle, I thought I stated that I wanted those incidents documented? Perhaps there was a misunderstanding?

4/16/13 Deputy Chief Angle writes:

There was no misunderstanding when I spoke to you. We spoke about the computer aided dispatch call (CAD) that documented your call to the police department. That document is attached to this e-mail. However I did not, nor plan to, draft any report documenting our conversation.

-   -   -

Now let’s just look at the individuals involved. I’ve personally had experience with Satula while I was trying to file a complaint against Officer Katrina Frey who illegally detained me for filming which was unsubstantiated. He is also apparently was a member of what I refer to as the “Beat and Delete” club which is a group of Waukesha cops involved in the deliberate destruction of a critical dash cam video showing excessive force. The group was admonished by Judge Stilling for deleting Officer Ryan Lafavor et al’s dash cam video of Mark Schroeder being beaten. She stated it was deleted in “Bad Faith.”  Obviously Satula’s in deep and under the assumption anything will fly.

Deputy Chief Dennis Angle is personally named in the above described “Beat and Delete” Federal Lawsuit pertaining to La Favor‘s beating. Angle once described to me how sometimes officers have to make up their best guess as to what happen then write it as fact on the report. As seen in the emails, he’s shameless and deliberate about his aversion to even document Todd’s complaint. Perhaps he’ll do a better job if he wins the lawsuit he and “eyes wide shut” Police Chief Russel Jack have filed against Waukesha. They claim they should both be paid more than their current rate of $14,000 per month.

Or perhaps Angle will get his act together now that Waukesha PD squads are equipped ALPR systems which, along with several area departments, boasts a database of over 7 million “stored plate reads” saving the GPS location, time of day, and photo of car/driver etcetera for at least 1 year. It’s likely also shared with the Milwaukee Federal “Fusion Center.”  The cited database covers around 250,000 drivers while only 6 million people live in WI. ALPR has been outlawed in NH and similar laws are working their way through other states’ legislatures.

Then there’s Officer Michelle Enderle. Her CAD (computer aided dispatch) entry was made about 2 minutes after arriving on scene at the 911 hang up call and her entry stated the party had left. She likely wanted to get out of the situation ASAP then lie on this state database which could probably land her in a jail cell. Enderle was also present for a not yet released conversation between her, Officer Darin Wittnebel, and Officer Jeremy Bousman in which Bousman is heard laughing, almost hysterically, about dumping evidence in the Kevin J. Noe case (marijuana plants) on Owens Drive which is a small road behind the PD in Waukesha. She’s also facing some other very serious allegations from another incident which I’ll go into detail about this summer.

Prior to publishing this story, I requested comment from Waukesha PD’s Public Information Officer Captain Ron Oremus regarding the allegations (as well as Satula and Angle.)

Here is his response: Your email has given us information that is contradictory to the information we received a year and a half ago about the situation involving Sergeant Satula and Todd Kraines. We will be investigating this new information.

I’m sure they’ll just ask Deputy Chief Dennis Angle to come up with a lie to support the existing lies.

But Waukesha Police Department’s  SWAT Sgt. Gregg Satula placed a little American flag on top of his mountain of damning evidence.

On 8/13/12 (the day after the incident and the day he filed for divorce from Jessica Trucksa) Sgt. Satula sent this to Todd from his personal email which is gregg.satula@redacted.com:

I guess in some strange way I appreciate you taking the time to talk to me and explain your side. I don’t have any reason to believe you lied to me. You don’t have to fear me any more. I’m never going to stop by or call you again. I’m not going to check if she’s there. If for some reason you have a question for me, I’ll answer.Take whatever you want from this mess. I hope you don’t believe her lies anymore. And if you ever go after a married woman, pray that they have the self control that I do.

Apparently Gregg Satula feels that going to a man’s house with a gun (and invoking his official capacity as a SWAT Sergeant) and threatening a man’s life is self control. I tend to disagree.

Town of Brookfield WI Police Department sits just to the East of Waukesha and shares a jurisdictional border. TOB is 99.999% white and houses the upper middle class (along with hundreds of 1 million plus dollar homes) in suburban Milwaukee. TOB includes a 1/2  mile section of Moreland Boulevard  just west of the eastbound I-94 on ramp to the Brew City. It’s a great place for all cops near and far to tax “out of town-ers.” I refer to where my friend was stopped as “The Gauntlet, where black people come to learn about racial profiling.”

In February around quarter to 5, a personal friend of mine we’ll call J got off the bus on his way to work a 12 hour shift as an assistant manager at a local restaurant. It was still broad daylight and he was walking the half block from the bus stop when he was stopped by Field Training officer Steven G. Thompson and his apparent trainee (hired in Feb. of 14) Antonio Dominguez. Thompson demanded ID which was given under duress by my friend (and fellow cop-watcher) while he adamantly asserted that his rights were being violated. Thompson proceeded to unconstitutionally pat J down for weapons (drugs.) Nothing was located but of course Thompson had to make it look good on paper.

He fabricated an incident report which included the “you’re violating my rights” quote but stated he was given consent for both searches. He also reported that the area has a lot of vehicle break ins. The corner in question is overrun with cops from Town of Brookfield, Waukesha PD, and the Wisconsin State Patrol Milwaukee Outpost which is located 200 yards from the field interrogation. I asked police chief Chris Perket to provide some area crime stats to back  up the high crime area claim 5 days ago. He didn’t.

Thompson decided to toss one more lie on the official (probably sworn) incident report. He claimed J has prior convictions for burglary and trespass. This is false. You’d think he’d at least lie about stuff that couldn’t be dis-proven but perhaps his lies have gotten him through the past decade with such little resistance he no longer considers them.

Town of Brookfield Police Chief Chris Perket declined multiple requests for comment on these allegations.

Check out Waukesha CopBlock  on Twitter…

 

 

Cop Chokes Out Teen

Tuesday, April 15th, 2014

Lucy Ingalls shared this post via CopBlock.org’s submit page.

Date of Interaction: March 2012
Police Employees Involved: Chicago Police
Police Employee Contact Information: Address – 3510 South Michigan Avenue Chicago, IL 60653, Telephone – 312-746-6000

This is a video I came across on YouTube. I was not at the incident. In the video, a teen boy is standing toe to toe with a Chicago thug police officer having words. The boy is then literally picked up by his throat and carried across the street, choking, until he gets thrown to the ground, not moving. The cop then proceeds to stand on the unconscious boy until an ambulance arrives within seconds. During the incident, people are heard to be laughing and defending the officer, and no one steps in to rescue the teen from his aggressor.

There is no information on if there were any consequences for this murderous cop, but if the situation was continued to be treated in the same way as on the scene, and afterwards with people saying, “That boy deserved it,” in the comment section of the video, then I imagine nothing has been done.

Police Brutality by NYPD When I Was Thirteen

Saturday, April 12th, 2014

Steven shared this post via CopBlock.org’s submit page. The photograph above depicts Steven at age thirteen, several days after his interaction with the NYPD.

Date of Interaction: 2002
Police Employees Involved: Unknown officers, 122nd Precinct, Staten Island, NY
Police Employee Contact Information: (718) 667-2211 - 2320 Hylan Blvd, Staten Island, NY 10306

Here’s the story of what happened to me and ruined my life. I wrote a story about my anxiety and panic disorder and shared it with people, and this is just a portion of it with edits to make the brutality part more of the aspect than the anxiety aspect. I thought you’d like a good read. Okay, here we go…

I was thirteen years old, doing what any normal thirteen year old would do. I was just hanging around and keeping company with friends. We would always meet up at a shopping plaza near my house since it was sort of like the “middle area” in location to where we all lived. One of these days though, the plaza was crowded by a gang from a neighboring town and they were causing trouble. They were harassing store owners and messing with drivers. I’m assuming some of the store clerks called 911, and you’ll find out why later. Anyway, I took it upon myself to get them out of the area. They knew me from school and respected me, out of fear, mostly because I’m a big, mean dude, even for a thirteen year old (you don’t see many thirteen year old kids with a full beard, so I kind of give credit to my intimidating look too).

Anyway, they all left. I got them out of there simply by talking with them. I told them how they were disrespecting people I know in my town and wanted them to calm down or leave. So, an hour passed and the whole mess cleared. A bunch of my friends and I decided to walk down the block to another friend’s house across the street from the shopping plaza we always hung out at. My one friend, Rob, is disabled. He has some sort of condition with his hip and cannot walk properly. He was in a little pain at the moment and needed a rest, so we sat on a patch of grass down the block from my friend’s house, still only just across the street from the shopping plaza. I was the only one that stayed behind and waited for him, and told my friends we will meet up with them in a bit once Rob rested and felt okay to go. He was sitting on this giant rock and we were just talking.

Suddenly, three grown men came down the grassy hill from the opposite side and started walking toward me and Rob. They were dressed in regular clothing, and looked like typical New York assholes, so I stood in front of Rob in case these guys were looking for trouble. These three men came up to us and started asking me questions about what I was doing there and why, and as they were asking I was not responding and instead asking them the question, “Who are you? What do you care?” They said they were cops, but I didn’t believe it. Fake cops are also a big thing here, and these guys didn’t even appear from a police car or anything. They didn’t have a badge to show either. They ignored me and just repeatedly told me to take my hands out of my pockets, which they weren’t even in. They were on my side. I told them to get out of here because they were starting to piss me off, and one of the guys in front of me slapped my wrist while the other two circled me like thugs about to jump me. Next thing I knew, I spent fifteen minutes in sight of the public against a busy road getting beaten down by three grown men. I didn’t even fight back at first. I let them do their thing until they were done, but they kept kicking me, punching me, and they even grabbed me by my hair and started beating my face into a pile of rocks. I was gushing blood everywhere. I still didn’t fight back. Then one cop told another to go get my friend Rob. I told them to leave him alone because he is disabled, but the one cop started approaching him with handcuffs out, so I got pissed and started fighting back. I clinched and kneed one guy in the face and sliced his forehead open, then broke another’s nose and threw the third officer on top of them. I’m a big, powerful dude, and not to mention trained to fight, so I took control of the three of them the best I could and told them that they could handcuff me and do what they want if they leave him alone. So after fifteen minutes of this mess, they finally got me in cuffs and walked me to a black car.

Now, at this point, I thought I was being kidnapped. I still did not believe these were cops. They sure as hell did not act like cops. I got thrown in the car and they repeatedly made threats and insulted while I was in the backseat. We had a little war on words and I gave them some speech about the way they’re living their lives. Eventually, we got to the police precinct. I was placed in jail while handcuffed to a chair. Can you imagine my anxiety? I was just a thirteen year old kid helping his friend. Honestly, I thought they were going to kill me, but like I said, after a little drive we arrived at a police precinct. My father picked me up after the cops charged me with resisting arrest, public intoxication, loitering, and a bunch of other stuff, none of which was true.

I went home, and since that day, even to today, I carry that memory in my mind because it stole my pride and self-respect. I felt worthless, and the people who respected me and believed in me most saw and heard about it. I was their protector, someone to look after them. I cared a lot about my friends, and I never wanted them to see me like that. Those cops stripped me of all I was and mentally I just never recovered. I tried, but I just wasn’t me anymore. Eventually, I turned fourteen and was afraid to leave my house. I still did, but I was just afraid. The anxiety grew and got worse and worse. I ended up afraid to walk down the block, and I only went out in my backyard, so instead of the shopping plaza we would all gather at, my friends would come in my yard. We did this for like three months. Eventually my body couldn’t take all the anxiety and I collapsed in panic. I didn’t want to fight it anymore. I ended up dropping out of school illegally. I was only six months into the ninth grade. Needless to say, I eventually became severely agoraphobic, having up to sixteen panic attacks a day.

I never left my house again. For four straight years, I never touched my front door… I never smelled the air of the outside. I rarely saw the sun for weeks at a time because I’d like being awake at night when the world was calm and quiet. I never touched a human being for four years, never continued my education in high school, I became afraid of everything, even shaving, showering, or moving in a certain way. I was so afraid. I was mentally scarred and no one helped me.

Now, before my collapse and agoraphobic behavior, I had many court appearances in front of a judge. There were a lot because the arresting officer that night of the beating never made an appearance in court, so the judge threw the case out. My family and I tried to find a lawyer to sue the NYPD, but all the lawyers wanted interviews, and when we discussed the circumstances of the story, all the lawyers would decline to work for us. It’s so hard to find someone who would stand against the police.

Eventually, we gave up, and then that’s when my aforementioned issues started. I lost my life as a teenager. I never went to school. I stayed locked in my bedroom with a computer for the next several years, alone. My parents didn’t take the mental issues seriously and generally thought I was just lazy, and they’d get mad at me, especially my father, so they basically let me rot. It usually comes with the territory that older generations don’t understand what a mental disorder is. They assume you can just get over it, but in many cases it is in fact a medical condition that only stems from something impacting your life or genetics. I may have never gone to jail, but those police still locked me up emotionally in my own home. For what? Why? What reasoning did they have to escalate this situation on a child? Is it because I did their job for them while they showed up over an hour later?

I eventually found a girl online who was very sweet to me and tried getting me out of my house. We ended up together for close to six years, but my panic and anxiety issues eventually pushed her away. I’ve worked several jobs since at homeless shelters and for UPS, but I’d eventually quit or get laid off due to anxiety or physical problems that I developed from four years of horrible living treatment, such as my stomach hernia which can not be repaired, my horrible arthritis, and my dizzy spells.

I still fight everyday, but right now I’m broken, unemployed, and hurting. I’m broke, twenty-seven years old, and still living with my parents who I take care of in the house since my father is a heart attack survivor and my mother has Multiple Sclerosis. I do all the heavy lifting of things around the house, or help my mother with opening a bottle or jar, but I’m in pain myself so often I can barely do much more, so I’m really not as big of a help as I want to be or wish to be. I also cannot get SSI because they keep denying me. I am doing better with anxiety and can control it, and rarely ever panic, but it’s like I am trapped in my home again against my will, and this all stems from that one night.

That’s my story.
Steven

Marion County FL Rights Violation by Sheriff’s Dept.

Tuesday, April 8th, 2014

Jace shared this post via CopBlock.org’s submit page.

Date of interaction: 4/6/14
Police employees involved: Badge #5196 and #5715
Police employee contact information: Marion Oaks District Office – 294 Marion Oaks Lane Ocala, FL 34473
Phone : (352) 402-6030 Fax: (352) 347-2409 Lt. Ramirez email: aramirez@marionso.com

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Marion-County-Cop-Block/660833853962730

I was attending a family reunion/cracker barrel party with my wife on the 15000 block SW 16th St when I observed three Marion County Sheriff’s deputies arriving in front of a home and shining their spot light on the house. They then started pulling over vehicles arriving and asking the occupants if they were going to be drinking at this house or if there was going to be any illegal drug use. After observing the harassment by the officers for about 15-20 minutes, my wife and I made our way closer to the scene, making sure to remain on our family’s property and out of the way. The deputies were then taunting anyone who was on the property, telling them that they just wait and they were about to get everyone. The deputy observed me approximately twenty feet away from the property line. He then shined his light at me and said they were going to come on the property. I told the deputies that I am well aware of my rights and that they are not allowed on private property. This statement caused the deputies to get loud and act like local thugs.

They came running onto the property and grabbed me. I then asked what I was being detained for and the female officer said, “You are not being detained, you are being arrested.” I asked for what charge and she said, “Open house party.” I asked her what code that is and she repeated the phrase open house party. I said it was not my property, to which her response was, “It doesn’t matter.” She asked if I had anything in my pockets. I replied that I do not consent to any search or seizure and I would like a lawyer present for any further questioning. I asked for her name and badge number, but she ignored the request and asked my name. I told her I would like a lawyer present for any further questioning to which she said she was going to slam my face into the car. I complied and did not resist which can all be seen on video once it is recovered. After pushing me into the vehicle roughly, clearly trying to hit me against the car, she put me in the back of the vehicle. The officer then peaked her head in the front passenger door after opening it and made a comment to which I replied, “What is your name and badge number?” She said, “I don’t have to tell you anything if you don’t have to answer anything.” I said I am requesting a lawyer and would like no further questioning. She never at any point Mirandized me and kept attempting to interrogate me. I repeated the question, “What is your name and badge number and the department you work for?” She repeated, “I am not giving it to you.”

My wife, in the meantime, had been recording the entire incident from where I was originally standing on the property, about twenty feet back from the road. During my arrest, she had stepped across the road about 10 feet in front of the bumper of the police vehicle and about fifteen-twenty feet away from the deputies. The cop then told her that she couldn’t stand there, so she crossed back onto private property, about five-ten feet from the road, but well on the property. The female officer said that the camera doesn’t scare them and one of the deputies said she was interfering. She said she was not interfering and was recording for everyone’s safety. She asked for the deputy’s name and badge number as well as what I was being charged with. The officer arrested her at this point and charged her with resisting and obstructing on two separate charges. Multiple witnesses at this point observed the female officer taking the camera and saying she wouldn’t have anything if it was deleted. She then took the keys out of my wife’s hand and asked, “Are these yours?” When my wife didn’t respond, she said, “Guess not,” and chucked them across the yard into the crowd. The male officer had made his way to the vehicle I was in across the road about ten feet from where the vehicle containing my wife was. He opened the door and I told him that it was hot and I couldn’t breathe, because it was 75 degrees and they left me in a turned off vehicle with no air or open windows. He smirked at me and I asked for his name and badge number. He said, “You’re not getting it,” and slammed the door.

The two deputies, along with another deputy, then proceeded to stand by the window and light up what appeared to be Marlboro lights. The female officer and one of the male officers were smoking the cigarettes and laughing about what they could charge us with and that we should learn better than to fuck around with cops. The said that they didn’t have a wallet on me, but then stated my name while looking at my wallet which they found on my wife; they said they should just book me as John Doe to fuck with me. They made jokes about my wife and I for awhile. Thirty plus minutes went by while I was locked in the backseat sweating profusely. When the female officer got in the vehicle, she said, “Not feeling so tough now, are you?” I then repeated the question asking for her name and badge number. She responded, “I told you already, you are not going to get it.” I then asked for a supervisor on the scene. She refused. I said, “I would like a supervisor on the scene. I do not know who is arresting me nor what code or violation I have broken.” She said that I could speak to the supervisor when I got to the jail. I then informed her that I am part of OathKeepers and Marion County Cop Block and that I am well aware of Sheriff Blair’s policy on recording police – he encourages it – and to let him know the reason she is arresting me, because as soon as the video goes viral and I submit a formal complaint, she will be embarrassed to walk around her community with all of the bad coverage she’ll get for deciding that she no longer upholds the constitution that she swore to uphold. I told her that shiny badges do not give her rights above that oath. She then asked if I would like to speak to Sheriff Blair directly and if he would know what the Oath Keepers organization I am a part of was. I assured her he would and that we met at the Sheriff substation. She got nervous and stopped speaking.

When we got to the jail, I again asked for the names and badge numbers of the deputies. They again refused. They started asking questions again, and I again requested a lawyer, still never having been read my rights. They told the jail deputy that I wouldn’t answer questions and he proceeded to shove me into a wall and physically assault me while I made sure not to show any resistance; I am confident video evidence will reveal this as well. He then took me into a room off camera and proceeded to try to shove my arm out of socket backwards; He said, “There are no cameras here and I will break your fucking arm.” I told him he does not intimidate me and his shiny badge doesn’t make him superman. His partner had to stop him because he kept trying to lift my arm out of socket, which I will be getting medical treatment for today because it is now in a lot of pain and clicking. I showed no reaction which made him angry and he said he would smash my face and smear my blood over the wall. I again told him that his threats don’t intimidate me and again his partner stepped in. My wife and I bailed out a couple hours later with the help of a bail bondsman. The female deputy in the vehicle had said that the phone was going to be so wrapped up in evidence that we wouldn’t see it for years and laughed. The video is on the phone if she hasn’t deleted it. If she has, I am confident that it could be recovered. There are also other videos taken that I have posted on Marion County Cop Block Facebook page. Help me in letting people know that Marion County is not above the law and they can not violate rights based on the fact they do not like to be recorded or told they can’t enter private property. Bogus charges do not make what they do legal and we as Cop Blockers will not stand for this type of police brutality. Please write letters, send emails and make phone calls. Let’s let this county know they are not above the law.

Jace

Webster Texas Police Shoot Unarmed Woman In Nightclub In The Face

Thursday, March 27th, 2014

Kimberley Diamond Brooks shared this post via CopBlock.org’s submit page.

Date of Interaction: February 27, 2011
Police Employees Involved: Officer Raymond Berryman and Officer Mark Rawla
Police Employees’ Contact Information: Webster Police Department, TX (281) 332-2426

On February 27, 2011, a fight started in a local gay bar called Club Eden; the fight dispersed rather quickly and was over by the time officers arrived on scene. A gay woman had been attacked by a straight male in the club. He was escorted out, but the female was being escorted to the bathroom as she was bleeding from her head. As I stood in disbelief, I saw the female who was attacked come back through the doorway with her hands up and heard a popping sound – it was a taser. I knew the female; her name is Michael Roman and she is my ex-girlfriend. As I saw this happening, I ran to that side to tell the officers that she had heart trouble and electrocuting her could kill her. Officer Berryman raised his service weapon, pointed it at me, and said, “Stand down.” I had my hands in the air and took a step back, begging him to stop, and suddenly I heard a pop.

My face felt like it was on fire. I had no idea what had happened at the time, but I grabbed my face on the left side and felt my middle finger slide into a large hole. As I looked at my hand, blood was dripping down my arm. I looked at him and said, “What the fuck did you just do?” I got dizzy and fell to the floor as he grabbed the manager of the club, who was my friend, and asked if the video cameras were on – before he even called for an ambulance, as I laid there dying. (I did die, and was paddled back by EMS.) My life flashed before me. I was sad. I saw my own body being worked on on the floor of a club. I was in and out of consciousness and remember the paramedic saying, “We got her back.” He said, “Honey, you’ve been shot, we’re taking you to the hospital.” In my head, I wondered, “How did I get shot?” I was on a breathing machine and spent days on life support. Three years later, I’m under constant doctor’s care, there is shrapnel throughout my head, I’ve had reconstructive surgeries to repair my damaged ear canal. I had no hearing for two years, and have vertigo, which I will have forever.

The officer lied to the grand jury to avoid going to jail. Now, in the civil trial, he’s changed his statement four times, and so has his partner, to cover his ass. This is finally going to trial in a civil suit, though. Mind you, he has been promoted and given a raise. I lost my job, my insurance, my hearing, and he lives on his life; mine is constant doctors and brain surgeons. His version of the story changes all the time, but I and my twenty-three witnesses all have the same recollection of the story. May justice prevail, as court is soon, and may he finally pay the price for ruining my life!

Kimberley Diamond Brooks

Webster Texas Police Shoot Unarmed Woman In Nightclub In The Face is a post from Cop Block - Badges Don't Grant Extra Rights

Justice for Luis Rodriguez, Killed by Police Employees in Moore, Oklahoma

Monday, March 24th, 2014

On February 15th, 2014 Luis F. Rodriguez was killed in the parking lot of the Warren Theater in Moore, Oklahoma.

Will the men responsible – Ryan Minard, Joseph Bradley, and Brian Clarkston, employed at the Moore police outfit, and Tyler Howser and Chad Strang, employed at the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation outfit, be held accountable?

These unnecessary situations will continue to destroy lives, and negatively impact families and communities, until we each recognize that fact, and choose to withdraw our support and consent of them, and operate according to the fact that badges don’t grant extra rights.

ralph-waldo-emerson-badges-copblock-library

Moore Police

See 7-minute raw Bambuser video from stop by Moore police outfit: http://bambuser.com/v/4435844

Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation

See 13-minute raw Bambuser video from stop by Oklahoma Dept. of Wildlife Conservation outfit: http://bambuser.com/v/4435974

Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation

Michael Brooks-Jimenez (lawyer for Rodriguez family)

Scott Adams (lawyer for killers)

Sean Aber Report re Killing of Luis Rodriguez

RELATED CONTENT

Justice for Luis Rodriguez, Killed by Police Employees in Moore, Oklahoma is a post from Cop Block - Badges Don't Grant Extra Rights

Justice For Mah-hi-vist

Monday, March 24th, 2014

Around 8pm on December 21, 2013 18-year-old Mah-hi-vist Goodblanket was unjustly slain, shot seven times by two Custer County Sheriff employees – Dillon Mach* and a still-unnamed second shooter. Present were also two Oklahoma Highway Patrol employees who work out of Troop H.

Call Dennis Smith 580-323-3232

Call Dennis Smith (580) 323-3232

Will the triggermen face criminal charges?

That depends on the conclusion reached by Dennis Smith, Custer County District Attorney, who’s already received the investigatory report done by the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation (OSBI), and who last week received the medical examiner’s report (11-page document embedded below).

Call Dennis Smith, Custer County DA
(580) 323-3232

Tell him you want justice for Mah-hi-vist. Tell him to hold the killers accountable.

Mahi-hi-vist, which is Cheyenne for “Red Bird,” had graduated from high school a year early and was attending college. Melissa, his mom, described him as “fun-loving” and noted that “he liked to make people laugh.”

Diagnosed four years ago with Oppositional Defiant Disorder, Mah-hi-vist was having an episode. Melissa and Mah-hi-vist’s father Wilbur were concerned for his well-being and around 7pm they called 911 out of concern for their son – a decision they now regret.

The Goodblankets – Wilbur, Melissa, their son Ahk-ta-na-hi, and their dog – who were told by police employees to stay out of the way, sat inside Wilbur’s idling pickup facing the house. Mah-hi-vist sat inside talking with his girlfriend.

Justice for Mah-hi-vist Touching Cloud Facebook page https://facebook.com/TouchingCloudGoodblanket

Two waves of police employees entered the dwelling through a large bedroom window that Mah-hi-vist had earlier broken.

In the first entry, two Custer County Sheriff employees were inside less than 15-seconds before they exited and walked to the ambulance on scene, as one of those two – Chance Avery – had cut his hand on the broken glass.

In the second entry, two Custer County Sheriff employees and two Oklahoma Highway Patrol (OHP) employees entered through the window. Less than a minute later one of those OHP employees opened the front door for a third OHP employee to enter. As that happened, Mah-hi-vist’s girlfriend Noami Barron ran out the door between the kitchen and the garage and, as she fell crying and sick, yelled “They shot Bird!”

It’s thought that between the two entries, as Custer County and OHP employees arrived, they saw a fellow badge-wearing colleague enter an ambulance, and assumed that whatever injury happened was caused by Mah-hi-vist. Thus vengeance, not deescalation, was their main drive.

To date, Custer County sheriff Bruce J. Peoples has claimed that Dillon Mach and Chance Avery struggled with Mah-hi-vist and were forced to resort to deadly force. It was at that time, Peoples has stated, that Avery accidentally shot his own hand. Yet Avery wasn’t even on the property when Mah-hi-vist was shot, and the injury he sustained was caused by the broken glass of the window where he had initially entered the house.

“He about cut his hand off” was what Avery’s colleague communicated to the ambulance personnel as he and Avery walked past the Goodblanket’s in their truck.

Peoples also has stated that Mah-hi-vist was assaulting people in the house – yet as the Goodblankets have made clear that never happened.

Wilbur said when on the phone with 911, prior to the arrival of the police employees, that he told Mah-hi-vist, then on the exterior of the house, upset and trying to break windows, to “stop.” The “stop” communicated was not related to an assault or threatened assault, but to encourage Mah-hi-vist to chill out.

Bruce J Peoples

Bruce J Peoples

If anything, Peoples has purposefully taking things out of context to fit his version of what unfolded in an attempt to placate questions about the actions of his colleagues that resulted in the death of Mah-hi-vist. Perhaps it’s not too surprising then, that he didn’t want to engage when I stopped by his facility last week…

RAW FOOTAGE of Custer County Sheriff’s Office visit bambuser.com/channel/copblock

All told, that night, at the Goodblanket property were five Custer County Sheriff employees, six Oklahoma Highway Patrol employees, and one Clinton Police employee. I don’t doubt that each of those twelve think about the killing of Mah-ha-vist daily, but I wonder – will one (or more) of them, or someone close to them who knows the truth of the situation, speak out?

*Note that Dillon Mach had previously worked for Clinton police and was about to be fired but did a lateral transfer to Custer County Sheriff before that happened.

Become familiar with the details of this incident and give Dennis Smith, the DA a call (580) 323-3232

If you have your own questions, please feel free to call those at the Custer County Sheriff’s Office and the other police outfits involved.

custer-county-sheriffs-office-copblockCuster County Sheriff’s Office

Mr. Neidy at the Oklahoma Highway Patrol’s Troop H office wasn’t too much more forthcoming than Peoples but at least he had the integrity to meet me in person.

oklahoma-highway-patrol-troop-h-clinton-goodblanket-copblockNeidy did divulge that his colleagues don audio recorders on their person and that OHP vehicles are outfitted with dash cams. When asked if that evidence was preserved Neidy told me that it would have, if requested by the investigators (those at OSBI) – I guess we’ll soon find out.

Oklahoma Highway Patrol – Troop H

clinton-oklahoma-police-mah-hi-vist-goodblanket-copblockClinton Police

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Mah-hi-vist Goodblanket Autopsy

Related

When working from a McDonald’s in Clinton before I met with Melissa and Wilbur a woman told me that they are very respected in the community. That sentiment was echoed by the many people I’ve since crossed-paths with in the area and from my own personal experience. My interaction with them when collecting content for this video, and later at a Native American Church ceremony, made an impact. I have nothing but respect and love for them and those in their sphere, and hope that those responsible for taking their son are held accountable.

pete-eyre-wilbur-melissa-goodblanket-clinton-oklahoma-copblock
When working in nearby Yukon, OK I  interacted with a number of police employees who worked for different police outfits. When they learned that I was digging into the killing of Mah-hi-vist they definitely weren’t flippant but seemed understanding of the desire to get attention on this situation.

Ida Hoffman, chief of staff at the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes noted, “We’re not going to let it go. We’re going to stand behind the family and do everything we can as a tribe to help them.” Me too.

booster-justice-for-mah-hi-vist-custer-county-oklahoma-copblock

Click this graphic to get a “Justice for Mah-hi-vist” t-shirt via the Booster campaign started by his family

Also, the Cheyenne and Arapaho tribes’ Fifth Legislature passed “A Resolution in Support of the Goodblanket Family,” that states in part:

Now be it resolved the Fifth Legislature of the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes calls for a complete, fair and timely investigation into these shootings, for better management of crisis situations by local law enforcement through changes in policies and additional training, and for better relations between the Tribes and local law enforcement.

 

 

Justice For Mah-hi-vist is a post from Cop Block - Badges Don't Grant Extra Rights

Beaumont School Cop Steve Rivers Breaks Students’ Arm on Video

Wednesday, March 19th, 2014

The incident happened on March 7th at West Brook High School but the cell phone video that captured the truth of the situation wasn’t made public until March 17th. As one commenter noted, “he knew what he was doing.” I don’t disagree.

steve-rivers-is-a-thug-in-beaumont-copblockRivers is employed at Beaumont Independent School District Police Department in Texas. The head-honcho of that outfit – Clydell Duncan – was quoted in a local paper saying that Rivers was placed on leave.

I just called the BISD Police non-emergency number (409.617.7001) to see if area residents were still paying Rivers but I was told to check the local media for a statement. I did, and found that Rivers is NOT being paid. A first!

How much do you want to guess that wouldn’t be the case if the video didn’t exist??

film-the-police-page-copblock-300

click for tips, streaming apps & more

Was the student who now has a broken arm engaged in a scuffle prior to the video starting? Perhaps. Did he deserve to have is arm purposefully broken by someone who claims to “protect and serve”? Definitely not.

This incident is unfortunately just one of a growing number happening in schools, thanks to the widespread invasion of schools by men and women who claim a legitimate right to initiate force.

Beaumont School Cop Steve Rivers Breaks Students’ Arm on Video is a post from Cop Block - Badges Don't Grant Extra Rights

Why Cops Pull The Trigger by Nicole Flatow

Tuesday, March 11th, 2014

The post below by Nicole Flatow was originally posted to ThinkProgress.org on December 20, 2013. I saw it on the Facebook cause for Mah-hi-vist Goodblanket and I thought it worthwhile to repost here. Below the write-up are some thoughts of my own.

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Why Cops Pull The Trigger: Pulling Back The Curtain On Police Shootings
by Nicole Flatow

Last Friday, Los Angeles Police Department officers shot dead a mentally ill man who had already gotten out of his car after a police chase with his hands up. The incident, which was broadcast on national television for all to judge, was the latest in a string of more than a dozen police shootings that have surfaced in the news just in the last few months. Before that, it was the fatal shooting of 19-year-old Tyler Comstock after his father called the cops to report that his son drove away in his car. And other incidents involved death during traffic stop, calls to police for help with a mentally ill family member, and a man whose watering hose was mistaken for a gun.

While national data is not collected on police shootings, available studies suggest excessive use of police force is rarely punished. In the Iowa incident, the county attorney deemed the shooting legally justified, raising renewed questions about when police can and should turn to use of a gun, when another tactic or tool might do the job. While the LAPD incident is still under investigation, a critical look back at several of the other recent incidents through ThinkProgress interviews with former officers, firearms trainers, and academics, reveal that policy and training may be as much to blame as human error.

When You Call The Cops For Help

The Iowa chain of events started when Tyler Comstock got into an argument with his father because he wouldn’t buy him a pack of cigarettes. When Comstock drove away in his father’s truck, his father called the cops to intervene. His father lamented afterward, “It was over a damn pack of cigarettes. … And I lose my son for that.”

Criminal justice professor and former Baltimore police officer Peter Moskos said the family was wrong to call the police. While many think officers play a role in community affairs, Moskos says police view their jobs otherwise. “This idea that cops are always at your beck and call is the basis of the 911 system and it doesn’t work,” Moskos said. “When you call the police, you have to remember what cops do is arrest people. If you don’t want to be arrested, you probably shouldn’t call the police.”

Or if you don’t want someone to die. Several other recent incidents involved calls to police to calm down a mentally ill relative, and to report a suspicious person who turned out to be seeking help for a car accident. Kyle Kazan, a former police officer in Los Angeles County, said shootings in these sorts of circumstances are “not uncommon,” because when the cops show up, “they don’t know why this person is acting up.”

The Chill Of The Chase

Once the Comstock dispute became a police matter, several former officers agree the fatal mistake was that officers opted to chase the car — and to keep chasing. Most departments now have strong policies strictly limiting police chases because they are so particularly dangerous. Just this week in Los Angeles, four police chases led to five deaths. Many jurisdictions allow police pursuits only for felonies, only where the suspect has not been identified, and only with the permission of a supervisor. None of these circumstances applied here, and the officer was advised at least twice by dispatchers to halt the chase.

“I can’t think of a more useless time to chase than when you know the suspect is a family member,” Moskos said.

In fact, the chase appears to have violated the Ames Police Department’s Pursuit of Motor Vehicles policy, because it dispatched 6 to 7 vehicles, contrary to rules that limit chases to two vehicles unless the on-duty shift supervisor specifically directs otherwise. The county attorney’s legal assessment finding the shooting legally justified did not even mention the chase, let alone whether it contravened department policy.

David Long, a former Department of Labor special agent who conducted firearms trainings, faults the county attorney’s report for not acknowledging the significance of the chase to the outcome. “[The report said] the chase was putting other people at risk. Well he was putting other people at risk because he was being chased,” said Long, who now teaches criminal justice and legal studies at Brandman University in Irvine, Calif.

Unfortunately, once the chase began, the situation quickly escalated. Comstock didn’t pull over for police, reportedly running a red light, driving erratically away from police, and leading them to the Iowa State campus. Police rammed Comstock’s car, and later he, in turn rammed theirs. Police blocked his car with theirs on the lawn of the university, where officers approached the car and asked Comstock to get out. When he didn’t and he jerked the car backward again, officers fired seven shots into the vehicle.

The county attorney reasoned that gunfire was an appropriate response because the vehicle is considered a deadly weapon, and some commentators agree. Moskos and Kazan both said at that point, the use of force was justified because Comstock could have harmed the officers or college students with his vehicle.

“I wish the guy had just given up [during the chase],” Kazan said. “I wish this didn’t go down this way. This guy didn’t need to be dead and this officer doesn’t need to have this kind of shooting on his conscience for the rest of his life. It’s a toughie. It’s bad for all.”

But Long said even at that point, the shooting was “problematic.” “If he was unarmed, I could not see how he would be posing a danger in a vehicle that was no longer in operation,” he said. Even if the vehicle was jerking forward, he said, (which it reportedly was) police could have used lesser measures against a suspect they knew was unarmed, such as breaking the window with a baton, and then using pressure points, a Taser, or other measures to incapacitate Comstock. There are dangers to using a baton because the officer exposes herself to the suspect. But given that police knew who Comstock was and why he was driving, those risks were minimal, Long said.

Immobilizing someone in a vehicle poses particular challenges, which is why policies advise cops to avoid car chases in the first place. Many of the other tools available to police don’t work on someone who is in a locked, sealed vehicle.

Weapons Of Less Destruction

For those incidents that occur in open air, police have many more options. This is why the LAPD shooting Friday of Brian Newt Beaird after the car chase had ended and he exited his car was particularly alarming. A few weeks after Comstock was killed, police shot dead a mentally ill man after he came out of his house carrying a shovel. The month before, a man seeking help after a car accident was Tased and then shot dead by police after a homeowner called the cop to report the man at his door.

Once police turn to their guns, protocol is to aim for the chest or head and to keep shooting until the threat is removed. In other words, they are aiming to inflict grievous bodily harm if not death — not minor injury. So why are police turning to a deadly weapon simply to incapacitate an unknown threat when other, lesser measures, might do?

While technology and science limit the options for non-lethal incapacitation, many tools exist that have that precise intended purpose. “I think there’s always room for improvement in non-lethal technology. … With that said I think we have at our hands right now a high-level of nonlethal technology available to police agencies,” Long said. “And I guess in the situations that it’s used appropriately, we don’t hear about it. But there’s many instances that I perceive that nonlethal force was the appropriate way to go and instead we have somebody shot to death by the police.”

Tasers were designed as a nonlethal option for incapacitating a suspect. But they have been clouded in controversy for their inappropriate use, and for their potential to sometimes prove fatal. Moskos said a Taser is “very rarely used instead of a gun.” Frequently, this is because cops don’t carry the Taser with them when they leave the vehicle. Moskos said he is happy that cops don’t carry Tasers more frequently because they are “vastly overused.”

Still, Tasers are significantly less deadly than guns, particularly if officers don’t aim them at the chest. And Long said they should be carried — and used — much more frequently as an alternative to guns, and less frequently in the course of a non-threatening police stop. Also intended to be nondeadly, but occasionally lethal, are bean bag rounds — small fabric pillows with lead shocks shot out of a gun to temporarily immobilize a suspect through a huge shock. “It kind of distributes the lead shot over the target so it’s definitely not designed to kill to be lethal,” Long said. “It’s … designed to cause minimum long-term injury.”

Long also called pepper spray “a wonderful tool.” “A suspect holding a shovel not yet swinging it, you hit him with pepper spray and it’s good to probably ten to 15 feet, that can disable him,” he said. He also said a Taser or a bean bag round would have been more than sufficient.

Another weapon officers have is their own force, which Moskos said officers should use more frequently, but training and fear get in the way. “It should be a hands-on job, but the people who make the rules don’t like that because they get sued and cops get hurt, and so they go for this notion of hands-off policing,” he said. “One crazy person, six cops, grab the motherfucker, and six people can take out one person.”

Long said officers could keep some of these tools in their cars or on their belts, if departments provided for that. But, he added, just because an officer doesn’t have a non-deadly tool on hand doesn’t change the standard for using lethal force. Under federal and most local policies, officers are permitted to use deadly force “in defense of yourself or a third party who can reasonably be said to be in danger of grievous bodily injury or death.” “The key word is reasonable,” said Long.

In the LAPD incident, one early theory is that one officer shot a bean bag round, and other officers mistook it for a gunshot, prompting them to support their fellow officer with more gunshots.

“If you should be using nonlethal force and your nonlethal weapon doesn’t work as is appropriate, then why are you turning to a lethal force weapon when nonlethal is appropriate?” he said. “Just because your nonlethal doesn’t work, doesn’t hike the use of force continuum to lethal, so that makes no sense.”

‘Militaristic’ Policing

Long attributed some of this “militaristic” mentality to a shift during the War on Drugs, which “basically gives police a carte blanche to do what they want and get away with it.”

Other factors include the types of individuals who are attracted to policing. Police love a chase. Even as Moskos blasted the officers in the Iowa incident for engaging in a vehicle pursuit, he said he probably would have done the same in their situation, which is why it’s so important to have rules and a chain of command that curb that behavior. “There’s a strong instinct to catch the bad guy as a cop. That’s what you do. … And it’s fun. And the adrenaline’s flowing. … So you have to assume that cops will want to chase and you also fight that urge. … Usually that decision is not up to the officer. And it shouldn’t be in most cases.”

Other important training elements include dealing with the mentally ill, who are disproportionately victims of deadly force. Among the recommendations of a recent report to police chiefs on the use of force against those with mental illness or addiction problems are “slowing down the situation” by getting a supervisor to the scene, and identifying “chronic consumers” of police services. The man with the shovel had been a frequent consumer of police services, without incident. And in the LAPD incident, the victim was believed to be schnizophrenic and may have fled from a traffic stop because he was scared by the police lights and heard voices — not because he was drunk, as police contended.

The psychology of policing is also influenced by officers’ exposure to a disproportionate amount of violence. As Philadelphia Commissioner Charles Ramsey said in a report on police use of force, “When you ride around all day long and you’re dealing with shootings, you’re dealing with robberies, you’re dealing with all this violent crime that’s constantly going on, that’s going to also influence how you respond in certain situations. And we have to take that into account in our training. We teach our officers to try to interact with people and realize that not everybody in a given neighborhood is a thug or a criminal, they’re not all out to hurt you. These are important things that I think we’ve got to face head on.”

Data suggests that current training is only exacerbating this psychological bias. Psychology Professor Dennis Rosenbaum is studying officers and has found that they come out of police academy already having a bias toward use of force.

The Record Effect

Prominent, oftentimes racially charged police shootings of unarmed individuals are nothing new, and have caused public outrage for decades. But recently, they have emerged in the news with seemingly greater frequency.

Long said this isn’t because anything has changed; it’s because the public has more information from photos, videos, and other recordings.

“I can’t even call it a trend,” Long said. “I think it’s been going on for years and years. But just with the advent of technology of people being able to capture these events, I think they’re coming to light more and more. In the past, I think people would just fabricate and deny and nobody was the wiser.”

In fact, wearing cameras is another reform that has been associated with a dramatic reduction in use of police force. Dashcams — cameras attached to police cars — have become very common. And many jurisdictions are passing bills to equip police with “body cameras.” When police aren’t wearing cameras, some incidents are still suppressed by the wrongful arrest of photographers and journalists during force incidents.

Even in the best of circumstances, however, and in the eye of a recording device, incidents sometimes happen because police are afraid, particularly when the threat of danger is unclear.

“It’s the only job I’ve ever had — and I’ve had several — where your number one goal is to survive your shift, your number two goal is for your partner to survive your shift, the number three goal is for the shift to survive the night or the day,” said Kazan, who has since left the police profession to work in real state.

_________________

Some constructive criticism for Flatow (as I will email her the link to this post so she knows of it being cross-posted): Name names! Don’t just say “officers” from such-and-such and outfit took the life of someone unjustly but specify who it was who acted in the wrong.

Continuing to just say “an officer” does two things, 1) it helps to absolve, or hide the responsibility of the actor, thus bypassing the powerful court of public opinion (as happened to Manny Ramos, if the killers’ identify is known, people will choose not to associate with them), and 2) it unfairly castigates all employed in that specific police outfit and likely makes it less likely that a “good” police employee will speak out (perhaps if properly incentivized?).

Another area that I wish Flatow would have dug into more were a couple statements made by former police employee Kyle Kazan.

Firstly, his assertion that the police mindset was one “where your number one goal is to survive your shift, your number two goal is for your partner to survive your shift, the number three goal is for the shift to survive the night or the day.”

That alone speaks to the title of the piece “Why Cops Pull the Trigger” more than anything else. If a police employee is putting themselves, their partner, and their colleagues first, that means those they claim to protect – and whom they steal from under such a guise – are secondary. It means police employees (at least those who operate according to the paradigm by Kazan) err on the side of shooting first then asking questions.

That is a stark difference to the mindset of Dale Brown, who depends on people voluntarily hiring him and his colleagues to provide protection, who puts-forth that the safety of the other person is priority number one.

Secondly, Kazan’s claim that it’s uncertainty about a situation (“they don’t know why this person is acting up”) that can make more likely the unjust use of lethal force. What about the claim that police employees have immunity when acting? Might that have something to do with the propensity to inflict unnecessary force?

If a person is trained and believed to have a right to not be held accountable for their actions when donning a certain attire, that only facilities misdeeds. Not to mention the backing of police unions.

And the issue of the paper constraint (policy) must be addressed.

Flatow notes that even though the Ames Police have a policy to not allow more than two police vehicles to be involved in the same chase unless approved by a supervisor, up to seven cars were involved in an incident without such approval. A similar incident happened in Cleveland – though such a policy existed that didn’t stop 75 police vehicles from being involved in a chase that ended in a hail of gunfire and the deaths of two people who were unarmed.

Couple that with the statement put-forth by David Long, the former “special agent” with the Department of Labor outfit, that use of deadly force hinges on the word “reasonable” – that supposed check, just like police policy, is a farce because they are interpretation by the very people (or their colleagues) who create the policy or who initiate the force. To be clear, there is no incentive for them to police themselves and thus they don’t.

Ultimately if you wanto see a world free of police abuse and the institutionalized violence associated with the police apparatus you need not look to police body cams or advocate for any other claimed “fix.” Instead, recognize that this conversation hinges on ideas.

Why Cops Pull The Trigger by Nicole Flatow is a post from Cop Block - Badges Don't Grant Extra Rights

Shedding Light on Police Brutality

Friday, March 7th, 2014

Cecily Duran shared this post via CopBlock.org’s submit page.

As Alex Landau -age nineteen- and his passenger, Addison Hunold -age twenty one-, made their way down the street for some late-night burgers, a police car pulled in behind Landau, flashed its lights, and called for Landau to pull his car over. The officer made his way over to Landau’s window, said he’d made an illegal left turn, and asked for his license and registration. Landau explained to the officer that he had left his wallet at home, but offered the officer his proof of insurance and his Social Security number. As the officer went to check out the information given to him, Landau and Hunold waited in the car, both of them feeling nervous. The two had just come from a party where some people were smoking weed, not to mention that Hunold also had a container full of weed in his pocket. Both Hunold and Landau feared the smell of marijuana was noticeable enough for the officer to detect.

When the officer returned, Landau’s suspicions were proven right as the officer asked for the two to get out of the car to be searched for weapons or drugs. Hunold guessed the officer would find the weed anyway, so he handed over his container before even being patted down. The officer then asked Landau if he could search his car, and Landau approved. While the officer searched the front seats, a second cop car pulled over, occupied by male officer Randy Murr, and female officer Tiffany Middleton. When the first officer finished searching the inside of Landau’s car, he took his keys and walked towards the trunk. Landau cautiously stepped forward with his hands raised behind his head, and asked the officer if he had a warrant to search the trunk.

According to a civil rights complaint filed in court, the two cops who had just arrived went after Landau and grabbed him by both arms. The complaint notes that Officer Murr looked at Landau and said, “You don’t have your license,” then punched Landau in the face, causing both Officer Murr, Landau, Officer Middleton and the original officer Ricky Nixon, to lose their balance and tumble into the curb where the officers then continued to punch Landau. During the fight, Hunold screamed for them to stop, yet the brutal abuse continued.

It was when Landau faded in and out of consciousness that other cop cars pulled onto the scene, some standing idle and watching, others deciding to join in on the fight. During this long moment of torture for Landau, he seems to remember one horrifying detail: during the brawl, he recalls feeling the tip of a gun pressed to his temple. Shortly after this shocking realization, Landau blacked out. When he began to regain consciousness, he had already been dragged away from the crime scene where he remembers hearing an officer say, “Where’s that warrant now, you fucking nigger?” Landau remembers feeling someone behind him, putting him in handcuffs while an officer said to him, “You don’t know how close you were to getting your fucking head blown off.” Hunold was no longer on the scene, and there were approximately 8 officers now surrounding Landau, chatting and laughing as though the police abuse they had just witnessed was simply a casual event.

Alex Landau, a 23-year old African American man, was just one victim of thousands. From April of 2009 to June of 2010 alone, 5,986 cases of police misconduct were recorded in the United States, 60% of which consisted of excessive force through the use of firearms, 6.2% resulting in false arrests. Today our prisons consists mostly of men, the majority of which are African American or Latino. Several guesses as to why this is can be related to the societal pressure young men of color face, where being “tough” means never backing down to anyone, never exploiting their partners to the cops or ever allowing anyone to disrespect them. Other guesses are directed at the media and their influences on young men, where Lil Wayne and Drake are encouraged for their profanity, inappropriate behavior and catchy simple-minded lyrics such as the song “Love Me.” It is these artists and others similar who catch young people’s attention, influencing their style, personality and behavior. Yet, while the statistics regarding the differences between white and African and Latino prison percentages are quite close, the attitude wafting from most police officers are determined by the suspects’ race and their emitting appearances.

First and foremost, it should be noted that the job of a police officer is not an easy one. Police officers have to face stressful and frustrating situations that may be very often or very scarce, police officers face heavy pressure to meet society’s expectations and are entrusted to do the right thing and to put their lives on the line every day. Yet even though these are difficult tasks, some wonder if these requirements are crutches used for those facing court due to breaking procedure. In the case of Alex Landau, racial discrimination couldn’t have been more obvious. As for David Hudson, co-founder of DC Cop Block, he himself has encountered first-hand experience of men of color being targets for law enforcement. He says that, “As an African American 29-year-old male I can say yes, I am a victim of police brutality and harassment a lot. I’ve been kicked, punched, pepper sprayed, and choked.” As for any form of recurring violence, paranoia and mistrust can seep into those in society who have faced racial discrimination from their police officers. In situations such as protests and strikes, police officers are known to weapon themselves with pepper spray, guns, and tear gas. These weapons of choice damage the citizens through both physical and chemical abuse, and result in citizens feeling threatened by officers in our society. Hudson states, “Yes, I do feel threatened by the presence of law enforcement, especially when I’m alone. The reason why is because the law enforcement feel [that because] they have badges [it] gives them extra rights. They are taught to shoot first and ask questions later.” The problem with this ideology in our law enforcement system is that it creates room for corruption, preventable deaths, racial profiling – a term for a tactic where one is targeted by law enforcement due to the color of their skin – and overwhelming conflicts in low income communities where crime rates are much higher than those in high income communities.

Some people may wonder why the issue of racial profiling has not been addressed, and the answer lays with justifications for reasonable actions by law enforcement. Officers either do not admit or do not know that they are profiling. One officer of the San Leandro Police Department who wishes to remain anonymous notes, “Do I stop people because they’re black? No. Do I stop people because they’re Hispanic? No. It had nothing to do with race, you committed a crime.” While this is true for some police officers in the United States, this could also be used as an excuse for their departments meeting their monthly quota, a prescribed number of how many tickets need to be distributed or arrests to be made. As for Alameda County supervisor Richard Valle, his justification for people accusing police officers to be known for excessive force was that putting a badge and a uniform on does not ensure that a police officer will not lose his or her temper; “We’re only human, police make mistakes too.”

Alex Landau and David Hudson are but two living victims of over hundreds of victims related to police abuse. Yet there have been cases of victims who were not so lucky, whose families had to mourn their losses to the barrel of an officer’s gun or the fists of men with badges. Kelly Thomas died July 10, 2011 by the hands of three Fullerton police officers. Rodney King, in 1991, was severely beaten by LAPD during a riot, and later pronounced dead from a drowning accident. Oscar Grant, shot by ex-cop Johannes Mehserle, died on New Years of 2009. Melvin Jones III, lived through yet experienced an unnecessary beating by ex-cop Jeffrey M. Asher. Malice Green was beaten to death by an ex-detroit cop. Anthony Baez, 29 years old, was choked to death by Officer Livoti in 1994. Noel Polanco was unarmed and fatally shot by New York police. David Hudson relives a short story of police abuse during 2010: “I was pulled over for speeding. The officer walked up to my truck and opened my door. Then he began to choke me because I told him he was wrong for opening my door.”

It is important to say that not all police officers have overstepped their positions, thus explaining why some may feel that there are misconceptions about law enforcement. One officer stated a ‘misconception’ that is used regularly against police officers, “[The] most common is we’re all mean and use excessive force.” An anonymous officer of Hayward Police Department says, “[A common misconception is] that we cover or are willing to lie for each other.” This power to use excessive force is one people fear. Where some may be afraid to stand up for the belief that officers are corrupted, others prefer to take action into their own hands. Hudson states, “I came across some folks with sad stories and I just got tired of watching videos of police brutality. My, and others’, rights were being violated, so after doing some research on how to file a complaint form and “get justice the right way,” two years later I found myself on Copblock.org. We all want justice and police to [be] held accountable for [their] actions.” For those like Hudson, police abuse was not something that could be disregarded or pushed to the side. Alex Landau, too, couldn’t let the abuse go, and filed suit against Officer Murr, Officer Middleton and Officer Nixon. After fighting his case in court for years, Landau received compensation for the brutal beatings he had received, is now working in movements against police brutality and racial discrimination, and is inspiring others in our country to believe that it is possible to speak out against police injustice.

Cecily Duran

Shedding Light on Police Brutality is a post from Cop Block - Badges Don't Grant Extra Rights