Archive for the 'Police' Category
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be stopped and questions 258 times over 4 years while working…at the private property on which you work? Apparently, according to TheRoot.com, one guy can tell you how it feels…
Well, that’s what Miami Gardens, Fla., store owner Alex Saleh is trying to figure out. One of the employees at his store, 207 Quickstop, Earl Sampson, has been stopped and questioned 258 times, searched more than 100 times and arrested and tossed in jail countless times, the Miami Herald reports.
According to Saleh, Sampson, other employees and even his customers have been repeatedly stopped and frisked by Miami Gardens police, sometimes as often as three times a day.
Most of them, the Herald reports, are like Sampson. In two words: poor and black.
Saleh couldn’t take the constant harassment anymore and ended up installing 15 video cameras in his store—not to protect himself from criminals, but from the police.
What these videos reveal is shocking, the Herald reports. Read more and view videos…
According to HuffPost:
Marissa Sargeant admits her 14-year-old son did a bad thing when he allegedly shoplifted, but she doesn’t think he deserved to be roughed up by cops during his arrest.
The arrest happened last Tuesday when the boy — whose name has not been released — allegedly shoplifted goods from a Walmart in Tullytown, Pa., with two adult relatives.
She doesn’t deny the charges, but said the arresting officers beat the teen so bad, he has a broken nose and two swollen eyes.
“What he did was wrong. He was coerced by a 19-year-old. He does know better,” she said, according to the New York Daily News. “The picture speaks a thousand words.”
Note that the article quotes District Attorney David Heckler:
“Heckler told Philly.com that his office may interview eyewitnesses and possibly review footage of the incident taken on a police dashboard camera before proceeding further.”
According to the county website, the number to reach Heckler’s office is 215-348-6344.
Once again, Sheriff Gillespie and County Commissioner Tom Collins are trying to push the “More Cops” sales tax down the throats of the people of Las Vegas to fill the self-inflicted gaps in Metro’s already bloated budget and hire even more cops to harass and abuse the members of that very community.
Yet another sales tax is wrong from a practical standpoint in a time when the Las Vegas economy consistently ranks at or near the bottom in every financial category and most local residents are already just barely hanging on. By nature, sales taxes are regressive. Unlike wealthy people that have the capability of stashing most of their income in the bank, poor people generally have to spend most, if not all, of their money on the basic necessities of life. It’s not a coincidence that crime rates have increased as the economy has tanked. People that have little or no other options resort to whatever they have to do to survive. Taking even more from people that are already struggling just to keep their head above water is not the way to “take a bite out of crime.” It’s an unarguable fact that poverty leads to even more crime.
Beyond the basic economics it’s wrong on an ethical level to expect poor residents to fund their own abuse at the hands of the LVMPD. People in poor and/or minority neighborhoods are routinely stopped, searched, abused, and humiliated by the police. In fact, Metro employs several “saturation units,” whose stated function is to descend upon certain neighborhoods en masse seeking any excuse they can to stop, interrogate, and arrest residents of that community. And those many, many abuses don’t end with harassment and wrongful arrests, either. The victims of police beatings and outright murder are predominantly members of the poor/ minority classes.
Not surprisingly, it has also been explicitly stated that these “select’ neighborhoods don’t include the ones in Summerlin. Many of the proponents of the “More Cops” tax increase are, in fact, residents of Summerlin and other wealthy neighborhoods, who have expressed the desire to have a cop in their neighborhood because it makes them feel safe. I have very little doubt that the residents of poor neighborhoods would have no qualms about letting them have some of the cops terrorizing their neighborhoods. They rarely make them feel safe, especially within the Las Vegas area, since there is absolutely no hope that any sort of accountability will ever be imposed upon the perpetrators of injustices against them.
Metro isn’t short on cops, they’re short on priorities. Anyone who has witnessed the massive East German style check point erected on Fremont St. every First Friday or the continual harassment of water vendors and buskers on the Strip, both of whom are just trying to earn a living during tough economic times, would have to question the claims of personnel shortages within the LVMPD. When you can afford to employ undercover cops to ensure tourists don’t have the chance to buy water at a cheaper price than the casinos sell it, then maybe you have a few people to spare for other things. Perhaps those plain clothes cops using official Metro vehicles to escort Zappos employees to their parking garage so they don’t have to look at poor people along the way, could be better utilized, as well.
Gillespie and the rest of his mafia dons have expended their budget on raises for an already overpaid police force, shiny new headquarters buildings that they insisted on pushing forward with in the middle of the worst recession in history, and million dollar settlements to the victims of their abuses and murders. Now they want the poorest people within this community to bail them out so that they can hire more cops even while absolutely refusing to do anything to hold them responsible for the crimes they continue to commit against their own neighbors and families.
Just say NO to more thugs!
Thanks for reading. No “More Cops” for the LVMPD. They Aren’t Needed and They Aren’t Wanted. is a post from Nevada CopBlock
Fifty years ago, the population of Gary, Indiana reached its peak with nearly 180,000 residents. Infrastructure was being built on estimates that the area may soon be home to nearly a quarter million people. Founded around the turn of the century and designated as the home of the Gary Works steel plant, soon automation replaced human labor and demand for domestically produced steel decreased. As the number of employees of Gary Works declined, so did the economy and tax base of the city, as well as its population, which now hosts less than 80,000 residents. During that time, another legal phenomenon swept the nation, which only contributed to Gary’s woes. The United States experienced the proliferation of the war on drugs. These two factors led to Gary experiencing high crime and poverty rates, which continue to affect the city that resembles a ghost town more each year.
The failure of central planning has also negatively impacted the city. City hall grossly overestimates property values in an attempt to recoup the tax base lost to other towns and cities as residents fled. While houses and businesses sit abandoned and in shambles, back taxes are claimed owed on them despite their negative value. Travelling through the city full of crumbling structures, it would seem the obvious solution would be to allow the impoverished residents to homestead and reclaim the land and property which is underutilized. Yet police in Gary still work to combat squatting in structures deemed to have potential future value, if only someone would purchase and refurbish them.
The most prominent, lit-up, and welcoming businesses aligning Gary’s downtown are payday loan stores, which are a sad sign of the financial desperation of the city’s inhabitants. With many crimes, including robbery, burglary, rape, and homicide being off the charts compared to Indiana as well as national averages, one would hope that the police in Gary would become focused on addressing the major problem of violent crime. But where are priorities at the Gary police department?
Since the 1960s, Lake County, Indiana, where Gary sits, has been considered a hotbed of corruption. Despite the city’s small and shrinking size, all of the elements of big city corruption and bureaucracy are present. There are numerous cases of gross police misconduct and involvement in criminal activity and brutality, including assaults on handcuffed suspects, participation in cocaine distribution, cannabis trafficking, kidnapping and strangulation, and also robbery and murder executed under the guise of drug raids. In 2008, former chief Thomas Houston was convicted in a federal court of abusing confined suspects. Akin to a big city, nobody steps up to take charge and responsibility, as even the current chief of police has requested officers be fired for abusing authority while a Civil Service Commission is permitted shift the blame and pass the buck.
When being interviewed about Gary’s homicide problem earlier this year, chief Wade Ingram points out that while there has been a net decrease in shootings in the city of recent, that more of the shootings are resulting in fatalities, which means more intentional execution of victims, usually with multiple gunshots. Ideally, victimless crimes should be set aside, and the shocking murder and violence rate should be the focus of the police. Desperate for assistance, the chief cites a search for federal grants, but in what areas will this outside assistance be applied?
If [the governor] can’t send manpower, we would like the be the recipient of some type of grants that would assist us with fighting crime, whether it’s enforce seat belt missions, or any type of traffic enforcement, so that’s what we’re trying to do.
To divert the topic of disturbing murder rates to the issue of seat belt and vehicular traffic enforcement demonstrates just how out of touch police are with the real issues plaguing the community. It is understandable that no one would want to be a homicide detective, or be actively present during a situation where shots may be fired, but who will actually step up to work on the real problems? The incentive is for each individual employed by the city to maintain as safe and comfortable a position as possible, and often that means only responding after gunshots have subsided, and not getting to know the individuals most affected by the violence, since their lifestyles may be such that would send them to prison or bring about their fate for merely interacting with police.
Wade Ingram, sworn in as chief in early 2012, subscribes to the Broken Windows theory of enforcement (not to be confused with the Broken Windows fallacy). The theory posits that lower level, quality of life crimes should be promptly addressed in an attempt to prevent the proliferation of such offenses. As there is no shortage of actual broken windows in Gary, there is no time to address every such lower level offense in such a location. While the broken windows theory provides a model to prevent specific areas from reaching disrepair, in an area where serious crime is already an issue, harassing young people for loitering, playing loud music, or having open containers of alcohol is literally turning a blind eye to larger issues. Every time that the police expend their scarce resources searching for drugs at traffic stops or making open container arrests is time not spent searching for the culprits in robbery and homicide cases continually growing cold. The theory may also perpetuate the idea among enforcers that all crime should be treated equally, equating the graffiti vandal with the murderer since they are all deemed part of a larger crime problem.
On the ground in Gary, we met inhabitants who spoke of losing friends to senseless violence, whether that meant their death in the street or their incarceration for victimless crimes. Many of the homicide victims in the city are males aged sixteen to twenty-five. There was expressed much suspicion and fear of the police, who individuals believed for good reason also have a hand in Gary’s drug trade.
In expressing dependence and expectation that assistance will come from outside of the community, it is doubtful that the current bureaucracy is in any position to address the needs of the community. While technology and automation is often blamed for the economic depression of the area, there is hope that technology that is decentralized and individually empowering can revitalize the neighborhoods that have become locked down. Filming of the police is not a common practice in Gary, so it was very inspiring to tour the city with the crew of Northwest Indiana CopBlock and document the actions of police employees. As inhabitants observed groups of people marching towards authorities with rolling cameras, confusion became support for the practice. Police employees often took notice of cameramen, observing and pointing the situation out to their colleagues. What was once not common may become the norm. In addition to domesticating the heavy-handed among the department, may the accountability inspire the few within who do care about community safety to focus on the problems associated with real crime and disregard enforcement of legislation which only perpetuates the city’s social woes.
Well, it’s been almost a year since I’ve made a blog post here at CopBlock.org, but before I explain where I’ve been, why I haven’t posted so much and so forth, let me rewind a little bit for some of the new readers.
I’m Ademo – the Founder (along with Pete Eyre) of CopBlock.org – and just over a year ago I was in jail for “wiretapping” public officials, as well as using children’s chalk on a police station. It was the longest stretch of time I’ve done and the last time, or so I hope, I ever walk myself into a cage again. Yep, my time in jail didn’t do me any favors, as is the case for anyone who has been behind bars. After being released, I took some time off and did some serious soul searching. During that time, I attempted to launch “CopBlock.org Protection,” which I believe is the first step to affecting change within the policing industry today. I believe that nothing will change with police (or the service of protection) until someone offers the solution to the state funded and operated protection system we know as policing today. As much as I wanted to be the guy to take CopBlock.org to that next level, I felt that starting such a project would only enlarge the target on my back, so I ended my involvement with CopBlock.org Protection.
Some folks would say I’ve left CopBlock.org, that I’m damaged goods from being arrested so many times, having spent time in jail and so on. Honestly, some of that might be true, but only to the point that I’ve learned from my interactions. I most certainly don’t like being kidnapped and caged, who does? From 2011 – 2012 I was arrested over a dozen times, did time in over 6 different lock ups and caught 3 felonies. I’m tired, but not of what you think.
What I’m tired of is their game. I’m tired of going out with the good intention of educating others, while holding (all) folks accountable, and ending up in a cage for doing nothing. I’m tired of playing with the police on their terms and in their playground (court). They make the rules, they run the show and no matter how many times you can point out the hypocrisy of their jobs, it’s YOU (or me) that end up paying the price. Even when you ‘beat’ them, like Pete and I did in Mass, you still lose. You lose time, energy and wealth (resources).
Which brings me to my post here today, CopBlocking on my own terms.
I know those of us who go above and beyond our ‘call’ by taking the message of CopBlock.org to the streets, meaning those who’ve dedicated their lives to being an ambassador of a cause, are doing so at a great expense. Whether that be financially, personally or in hours of sleep lost – many put their lives, literally, on the line to make the point that “Badges Don’t Grant Extra Rights.” These days I’m not so bold, brave or ambitious in this area. Sure, I tell everyone I can about CopBlock.org, I still assist folks with their CopBlock.org related projects and do interviews from time to time, but CopBlock.org is not my life. My life is just that, mine, and I won’t let a single jack booth thug have any effect on it.
I may not blog 7 days a week like I did for the first year plus of CopBlock.org’s existence. I may not go out on active CopBlock outings, or join the most recent tour (though the thought did crossed my mind). Nevertheless I’m still a CopBlocker. I’m just playing a different game these days. I only film police when I stumble across them, or if they’re directly in my neighborhood – like outside my house. I refuse to play by their rules and I’m of the mindset that when I do (film police), it’s on my own terms. If the police arrest or harass me, we’re not going to settle it in their playground anymore. They’re going to have to come play in mine.
Here are some of the videos I’ve posted to my personal YouTube (since it’s connected to my phone) since my time off from CopBlock.org. I hope you enjoy them and remember, “Badges Don’t Grant Extra Rights.”
This post was shared anonymously via CopBlock.org’s submit page.
This post is at the urging of an admin on the CopBlock Facebook page in response to a message I sent Cop Block on Facebook. He said I should ask for a call flood to the Midland County Sheriff’s office in Midland Texas; the phone number is 432-688-4600.
On September 14th, as I drove into work, I was passed by a deputy on I-20 driving in excess of 120 mph with no emergency lights or siren. I was able to catch up and follow this deputy when he slowed down to exit off the interstate and then had to stop at a red light and wait for some light traffic to clear before he could proceed. This occurred at 1:30 am and the officer was just going to back up a state trooper, though the sheriff was already on scene to provide back up. This was just a routine traffic stop in which they had the occupants out of the vehicle and were searching for drugs is what it appeared to me as. Texas state law says that the only exemption for not using emergency lights is if the officer is responding to a crime in progress and the use of the equipment would cause the offender to flee before the officer could make a positive I.D. or it would cause evidence to be destroyed.
As a truck driver that hauls flammable liquids, I can only imagine the casualties that could be caused if a trucker relying only on their mirrors, in which it is hard to gauge just how fast a car is approaching at night, had pulled out into the left hand lane to pass another vehicle and the officer was unable to stop in time, running into the back of the truck and killing himself; or tried to make an evasive move swerving into the right lane and run into a vehicle or motorcyclist that might have been experiencing mechanical difficulties and in the process of pulling to the shoulder, causing the truck to change lanes. If the officer was using his lights, then no one would pull out in front of him in an attempt to pass someone else as common sense and the rules of the road tell you to pull over to the right and stop, which is why emergency lights are placed on these vehicles.
About 9 days later, on my way to work again and in the next town over, I saw a Midland County Sheriffs Deputy well within the city limits of Odessa, outside of his jurisdiction, with his lights on and out on a traffic stop with numerous state troopers. When I contacted the sheriff’s office about this, they said he was probably involved in a chase. I contacted D.P.S and they said their call logs showed none of their officers being involved in a chase. While talking to a Lieutenant Bear, he asked if I was the same person that had made a complaint about the deputy speeding and I said that was me. He then told me that he pulled the G.P.S records for that vehicle and that the officer never exceeded 90 mph during his entire shift. I asked if I could come down to the sheriff’s office and see that report and was told no. When I asked why, I was told it was because he didn’t have to show it to me. I told him the only reason someone wouldn’t voluntarily show a report like that is if they had something to hide and that the report did in fact prove what I claimed. I then got the “HOW DARE YOU CALL ME A LIAR, I AM AN OFFICER OF THE LAW!” speech and was told not to contact his office again unless it was through an attorney. Below are links about Texas law and the use of emergency lights and about the legal aspects of law enforcement driving. In the first link, if you go to 546.004. EXCEPTIONS TO SIGNAL REQUIREMENT section (C), you will find the part of the law I am referring to about the exemptions for using emergency lights which the speeding officer was not exempt.
When in Cape Town, South Africa as part of the Police Accountability Tour we connected with Sean Tait, the founder and director of the African Police Civilian Oversight Forum (APCOF), who gave an informed overview of the current lackluster policing in South Africa.
Tait notes that, due to the prevalence of corruption, ineffective training, failure of internal disciplinary mechanisms, and other factors, the situation is now at a crossroads, with the bulk of inhabitants distrusting those who claim to serve and protect them.
Video documentation of abuse whetted out by police employees captured by bystanders has helped to make others aware of the systemic problem. Might the continued filming of police actions be a game-changer?
THE POLICE ACCOUNTABILITY TOUR
video playlist: http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLQKn6VyrLIpekRhC_sqm5xU2dCLiiJAzd
support: http://WePay.com/donate/PATour2013 or with BTC: 1Hy8xL2ey3GwFLTEd3NTS76A3bWMnQ2dRP
Radley Balko’s Rise of the Warrior Cop really is an amazing book, particularly for those of us who read and contribute to this site. I’ve been foll owing Ademo and Pete since their days in the Motor Home Diaries, and had started paying at least some attention to abuse by cops even earlier than that – and yet there are literally dozens of raids Balko discusses that I’d never heard of.
But it is a particular piece of his policy recommendation chapter that I want to discuss tonight. You see, police accountability was indeed one thing he mentioned in particular. He states the following, the closest he comes to mentioning us by name:
The public needs to start caring about these issues. The proliferation of “cop watch” sites, citizen-shot video of police misconduct, and coverage of police abuse incidents by a bevy of online media is encouraging. Another good sign is the fact that this growing skepticism of police has been accompanied by a decline in violence against police officers themselves. Activists are fighting police abuse with technology and information, not with threats and violence.
But then he goes into the last two sentences of this particular quote, and that is where I want to draw some attention. Balko mentions how the growing skepticism (let’s face it, he was putting it nicely) of cops has not been met with a rise in violence against them, but indeed the opposite – even as more and more people distrust cops, fewer and fewer people are openly attacking them. We don’t fight them with violence or threats, we fight them with our video cameras and getting the information out – often at the cost of being caged and/or beaten ourselves.
Except that I’ve seen an all too common trend in comments on CB-related Facebook pages in particular of not just “fuck the police”, but outright calling for violence against them. I’m not going to name names here, that isn’t the subject of this particular post, and I’m not sure how Ademo, Pete, and others feel about what I am writing to begin with. But speaking personally, this is something that I refuse to tolerate in any way, shape, or form any longer.
I know not all who come here are Voluntaryists – indeed, at this point and forward we largely come from literally all across the ideological spectrum. Yes, I’ve even noticed some hard core GOP friends who are beginning to come around to our side to some degree or another. But I know Ademo, Pete, myself, and many others who contribute at various levels are in fact Voluntaryists, and I want to speak from that perspective at least briefly.
Each of us has a slightly different meaning to what “Voluntaryism” means to them, but one core concept of it is non-violence. Some take this to higher levels than others. I personally vote, I know others who do not. But one thing I believe we can all agree on is that aggressive violence is WRONG. To me, that includes calling for violence against those who have never directly harmed you, as well as telling a victim they should harm their attackers well after doing so would be an act of self defense, at a time when it would more accurately be considered self vengeance.
Balko’s point hit me hard, because I feel that we as editors here on CopBlock.org and as administrators of the various CB-affiliated Facebook pages – in our desire to ensure as close to absolute freedom of speech as we can – may appear to others to in fact foster a sense that violence against cops is ok because so many cops step out of line.
Let me be perfectly clear: Obviously, defending yourself at the moment you are attacked by anyone, no matter their clothing or jewelry, is well within your rights and I encourage you to do what you can to end the situation peacefully, but if peace has gone out the window, to keep yourself and those you love alive. Going after someone who has attacked you hours or days later is no longer self defense, it is aggression, pure and simple, and it is NOT, repeat NOT justified, no matter what was done to you. Calling for violence against someone who has never directly harmed you is wrong, as is calling for violence against someone who has directly harmed you.
The tide in this struggle is beginning to shift in our favor. We must work to further that by doing as Balko says we are and acting peacefully at all times, even at the height of our passion. Our passion is what makes us strong, but it can be a glaring weakness if not tempered with our reason. We must be dedicated to peace at all times, even when those who oppose us would resort to threats and violence themselves. That is their way. It is NOT ours.
In general, we see this with the videos and stories we get here. Meaning that for the most part, the things we get where people are actually interacting with cops, those interactions tend to be peaceful on our side. We simply need to be aware that just as we watch PoliceOne and other sites for the less than savory things they do, they too watch us and look for any way to attack us – and having commenters call for violence against them is one easy target that can discredit our entire movement.
So please, chill out with the calls for violence against cops. “Disrespect” is one thing – many of us agree they’ve earned pretty much all the disrespect and scorn we can possibly heap upon them. But violence or threats of violence or calls for violence cross a line that should absolutely NEVER be crossed by our side.
CopBlock.org/Library – which links to videos, books, essays, audio and some CopBlock.org content, was just made more robust. The purpose is to help bring-about a world where the site, and the action of watching the police, is not even needed as such an institution of violence is no more.
A handful of videos were added to the playlist Ideas Have Consequences (below) from folks such as Larken Rose, Stefan Molyneux and Jacob Crawford. The playlist now has 29 videos and is 13-hours long.
Also, the essays section was expanded, and because some of the content points to .pdf format, and it’s recognized that many will hesitate to click-through to view such content, it was downloaded, compiled onto two collections, uploaded to Scribd.com/CopBlock and embedded.
Together, the documents present ideas on how protection can be better provided from folks such as Lysander Spooner, Henry David Thoreau, Murray Rothbard, Peter T. Leeson, Frederic Bastiat, Gene Sharp, Claire Wolfe, Robert P. Murphy, Joseph R. Peden, Terry L Anderson, P.J. Hill, Wally Conger, Samuel Edward Konkin III, Bruce L. Benson, Patrick Tinsley, Thomas DiLorenzo, Murray Rothbard, Gil Guillory and Gustave de Molinari.
Invest in yourself. Expose yourself to ideas that the “authorities” would never teach in their schools.
If you have suggestions for other content that should be included let me know: email@example.com
Alternatives to Top-Down Provision of Protection PART3 was just added to the CopBlock.org/Library page.
The essays included on this document are drawn from the book “I Must Speak Out: The Best of the Voluntaryist” edited by Carl Watner. That book, in .pdf, on Google Books, and on Amazon, can be found at http://CopBlock.org/Library