On Sunday morning, a black Tahoe with IDEAS ARE BULLETPROOF and NO MASTERS NO SLAVES emblazoned on its sides, and COPBLOCK.ORG on its rear cruised out of Keene, New Hampshire, headed for the Motor City in Michigan. Piloting the truck, I was scheduled to pick up Pete Eyre from the airport that evening after the day’s ride West. Detroit is the sixth of nine cities being visited on the in-progress 2013 Police Accountability Tour. Pete and fellow videographer Jacob Crawford began the tour in Austin, Texas, at the Police Accountability Summit hosted by the Peaceful Streets Project. The tour continued in New York City before going global with an extended stop in Cape Town, South Africa. Returning to Jacob’s home town of Oakland, California, Pete continued solo on to Denver, Colorado before reaching our present location in Detroit.
Each city has its own unique issues with monopolist police services. Detroit is known for having historically overzealous law enforcement, which has been the subject of so many internal investigations that the US Department of Justice was tasked to oversee reformation efforts in the early aughts. Even with state and federal oversight of government mismanagement, the city is still plagued with some of the most violent neighborhoods in the nation, where many police officers refuse to patrol and 911 response times are disturbingly long, not uncommonly taking upwards of an hour.
While the state’s solutions to these crimes have consistently failed and even exacerbated the problem, the folks of Detroit have some assistance on the ground documenting the issues and challenging police brutality in legal land. The local publication Voice of Detroit, edited by Diane Bukowski, chronicles much of the police abuse and unaccountability in recent years. The investigative journalism featured at VoD is both revealing and shocking, covering high-profile police abuse cases such as the killing of seven year old Aiyana Jones, and the troubling pasts of the city police chief and his highest ranking colleagues.
Also working to assist the people against police violence is the Detroit Coalition Against Police Brutality, first organized in October of 1996. While also sharing content through a radio program and blog, the DCAPB’s 10-point mission statement demonstrates their commitment to solving problems that do not self-correct or are even acknowledged by the above-the-law enforcers. Pete reached out to the organizers from DCAPB and we plan on meeting up with them during the remainder of our stay here to learn more. Here are some admirable excerpts from their mission statement:
4. We demand that the City of Detroit require the Detroit Police Department to file an annual report of citizens’ complaints against the Department, and that reports of all citizen complaints be available to the public. This report should be comprehensive and include the following: a) complaints filed by intermediaries or witnesses to police brutality, b) fatalities at the hands of police officers, and c) the disposition of all cases of citizen complaints – summarized and compiled in a single document that is available to the public. Citizens who file a complaint should be kept informed of the progress in their investigation. The outcome of all investigations should immediately be made public. The monthly tabulation of crime in the city should be made available to the citizens of Detroit through the libraries and the Department’s web-site.
5. We demand that the City of Detroit require accountability from the Detroit Police Department in the application for, receipt of, and allocation of funds from the State and Federal governments, and that such funds not be used in discriminatory ways, and that no funded programs violate human and Constitutional rights of Detroit citizens…
6. We demand that the City of Detroit facilitate community-based conflict resolution and mediation initiatives. The Detroit Coalition Against Police Brutality is developing a “Peace Zones for Life Program” that will address this cause. Our plan will include methods that will allow the citizens’ options to submit their grievances for resolution by their neighbors or persons whom they trust; thereby, remaining outside the police/criminal justice system and eliminating conflict within our communities.
The DCAPB lists many accomplishments since its twelve year existence, including assisting in the exoneration of unjustly convicted individuals incarcerated by the state’s misdirected criminal justice system. They also played a role in initiating the federal government’s investigation into corruption and abuse in the city’s police force, as well as successfully blocking the issuance of tazers, often used as pain compliance devices, to any of the departments uniformed officers.
On the agenda for myself, Pete, and others interested in proliferating police accountability last evening was a visit to the Threat Management Center, a security service provider whose employees are committed to the safety of all people in their neighborhoods. On a previous expedition to visit their office earlier in the year, Pete produced an iconoclastic video of his interview with service’s founder. Established by Dale Brown in 1994, the Threat Management Center’s toll-free number has replaced 9-1-1 for many in Detroit. The private service provides faster response times and a commitment to nonviolent conflict resolution that goes above and beyond the detached, self-interested standards of city police, who are trained to value their own lives first above those of others in the community. The Threat Management Center takes the opposite approach, with all of their employees following a strict code of conduct and utilizing the best modern technology to hold themselves and others accountable at all times. Though they carry a variety of defensive tools, employees only openly display their carry of non-lethal tools, concealing any firearms, and the organization is gearing up to move in the direction of carrying zero lethal weapons by the start of the new year. Regarding the use of firearms, employees are only permitted to draw a firearm if they confirm the presence of a firearm on an aggressor, and are prohibited from ever being the first to fire a shot.
While the Threat Management Center has many paying clients to whom they provide defense instruction, bodyguard protection, as well as regular neighborhood patrols, their services are not only afforded to those with the capital to cover the costs of the well-equipped security. Because of their professionalism and commitment to nonviolence, and using the absolute minimal amount of force necessary to deescalate situations, the Threat Management Center is able to foster community connections that the untrustworthy police cannot, and in doing so they are creating a model for all stateless, community safety projects to emulate. The Center also offers complimentary classes for law enforcement officers, which often uncomfortably challenges the reactionary tendencies trained into law enforcers.
Embedded below is a playlist of videos from our inspirational three hour conversation with Dale, where he lays out the guiding principles that led him to found the Threat Management Center and his goals to see the model spread to every town and city where people require safety services not being provided by monopolist institutions.
In case you were having too good a day, here’s the latest in police brutality:
John Pike, the disgusting excuse for a human being who pepper-sprayed peaceful, protesting, college students at UC Davis has been approved for disability compensation on the taxpayers’ dime. On Oct. 16, a judge approved a $38,000 settlement between John Pike and the University of California.
The 40-year-old former officer claims he suffered depression and anxiety after he and his family received death threats over the pepper-spraying event (Really? Only death threats? A nice kick to the balls or punch in the face would have been far more appropriate and gratifying). It sounds like a bad joke, but unfortunately isn’t. More here.
In other happy Californian police news, police have shot and killed a 13-year-old who was playing with a fake gun. (Story here). There was a time in American history when playing with toy machine guns was perfectly normal for children. However, in the current age of paranoia and hysteria over “terrorism,” children must be murdered for the “safety” and “protection” of all.
This should come as no surprise. Posters at the train station constantly encourage people to keep a suspicious eye out for their friends and neighbors. Announcements at the airport always imply there could be terrorists around every corner. The “See Something, Say Something” campaign is everywhere you go, even though 99.9999999999 percent of the time, absolutely nothing is going on and no one should be saying anything. (You hear this, Homeland Security? It’s me saying, “Go fuck yourself!”). The Department of Homeland Security has also trained officers to shoot with no hesitation – by using posters of pregnant women, children, and the elderly, for target practice.
As usual, the officers responsible for the murder have been placed on administrative leave (paid vacation). If we’re lucky, they’ll be fired and be rehired in 6 months, maybe at the next town over. If the usual happens, they will be found to have been justified to shoot a child because they “reasonably felt in fear for their lives. ”
It could be because officers are fucking the citizenry up the ass every which way that the Department of Homeland Security anticipates some push back from civilians. I would argue they need not fear any such resistance, as most Americans continue to be mindless lovers of tyranny and authoritarianism. I would bet money that 80 percent of Americans who have learned of the events above are blaming the child or his parents for this atrocious murder, and are defending the nasty pepper-spraying scum – “He was just doing his job! I hate hippies! Stupid college kids.”
Regardless, Homeland Security does seem to anticipate some disorder, or they would not have purchased 2,700 Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles, i.e. tanks on steroids*** (more here and here). Since it is the Department of Homeland Security, we can safely assume these are meant for domestic use.
Oh boy! In time, police can just crush children and college protesters with tanks instead of pepper-spraying or shooting them. I can’t wait!
***[Upon the enlightening instruction of one of our dearest readers, I am informed that it is inaccurate to describe the MRAPs as "tanks on steroids." As such, I hereby amend "tanks on steroids" to "motherfucking armored vehicles - who really gives a fuck about the details."]
Some may call it disrespect, some call it poor taste, I call it disdain. Sgt. Graviette of Stockton, CA police department appears to think It’s funny to stop by a man’s home, with two armed government friends, and apparently interrogate him regarding his intent to redress grievance.
Sgt. Bedford 1317 of Stockton police department-
Sgt. Graviette 1435 of Stockton police department-
Police said poor lighting led officers to the wrong house, where they shot and killed a 72-year-old Fort Worth man, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports.
Waller, a father of four and a grandfather of six, died in the early morning hours of May 28 after police responded to a burglary alarm call. Waller’s family said Waller had heard a noise and grabbed his gun for protection, our Wendy Hundley reported.
According to a search warrant affidavit obtained by the Star-Telegram, officers had been dispatched to 409 Havenwood Lane. Waller lived at 404 Havenwood Lane. Police began inadvertently searching around Waller’s home.
Officers said Waller engaged them and pointed a gun at them. At the time, police told the Star-Telegram that the officers encountered Waller “at the back of his house near the garage and driveway.” Read more…
According to reports from the Chicago Tribune, WBBM Chicago, and Daily Mail, police determined the best way to deal with an upset 95 year old Chicago area resident of a retirement home was to tase him and shoot him with “bean bag rounds” from a 12 gauge shotgun.
The reports indicate the man was slaughtered by cops because he refused a private, for profit ambulance company’s demand that he surrender himself, involuntarily, to some type of medical treatment center.
The man had allegedly attempted to defend himself initially with his aluminum walking can and a 2 foot long shoe horn. He apparently was incapable of bending over far enough to slip his own shoes on with his hand but was such a threat to police that he needed to be murdered, allegedly, for “officer safety” I’m sure.
Police go on to say that he eventually obtained a 12 inch knife. Rather than wait for the man to become tired and ready for a nap, police say the man “refused commands” to drop the weapons.
My two grandfathers are 88 and 89 respectively. My 80 pound twelve year old niece could easily “take” both of them on at the same time regardless of what “weapons” they could possess.
The manner in which police in our country deal with animals, the elderly, and the infirm indicate just how far folks with shiny metal on their shirts seem to be willing to go…for whatever reason.
From Tim of YouTube channel MilwaukeeCitizenPress:
According to Wikipedia, Carroll University, formerly known as Carroll College, was founded in 1841 which is 7 years prior to the founding of what is now known as the State of Wisconsin.
Thousands of young people come to the city I live in yearly to be educated and to experience their first few years of adulthood. Carroll is a private and quite expensive college (compared to my Alma Mater UW-Whitewater) which boasts, according to Forbes, a ranking of 175 out of the top 600 colleges in America.
This video, I believe, indicates just how far Waukesha PD is willing to go in order to justify their salary. Were these cops trying to determine if this man was a thief…a rapist…a serial killer? No. I believe these cops were trying to destroy this young man’s life and eventual career by trying to find a bag of weed or a small bottle of liquor possessed by an underage individual who intended to go back to his dorm and safely enjoy being young.
Waukesha Police: Please stop harassing young people for simply being young…
Feel free to contact Waukesha PD (non emergency line) 262-524-3831.
If you haven’t yet, check out Reason’s coverage of a civil case involving a Kansas City cop who claims he shot a suspect because the suspect was armed and dangerous. Of course, the eyewitnesses disagree with the account. Two women who witnessed the shooting claim the suspect had his hands up and was getting on his knees when he was shot at point-blank range. More here.