Posts tagged ‘police misconduct’

Misc Stuff

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Police Misconduct and Officer Friendly

This sort of thing happens on small and large scales every day, with the level of suspicion far beyond what’s reasonable. The effect on society is destructive, and it sets a vicious circle into motion.

This all gives us a clue as to how views of the verdict can be so colored by race.

Sometimes, cases like Trayvon’s are hard to talk about productively, because we’re not really arguing about the same story. What story you hear when you follow the case depends on the experiences you’ve lived through. And your experiences are determined, in part, by the color of your skin.

Trayvon Martin, Obama, profiling, and perspective

Most of the time, there is a tragedy that overshadows the two fundamentally different views of what happened, so that it’s impossible to divorce the consequences from the mechanics. Not so when it comes to the story of 59-year-old Louise Goldsberry in the Herald-Tribune, where it’s about as clean and clear as it gets.

It’s basically a he said, she said story when the operating room scrub nurse arrived home from a day at work, only to find as she washed some dishes at her kitchen sink a guy outside in a “hunting” vest pointing a gun at her face.

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To Serve and Protect . . . Themselves

It’s a wonder anyone trusts the police, who are the tip of the spear of the state.

“My brother spent the last eight minutes of his life pleading, begging for his life,” said Christopher Silva, 31, brother of the dead man. He said he’s talked to witnesses but did not see the incident himself.

At about midnight, Ruben Ceballos, 19,was awakened by screams and loud banging noises outside his home. He said he ran to the left side of his house to find out who was causing the ruckus.

“When I got outside I saw two officers beating a man with batons and they were hitting his head so every time they would swing, I could hear the blows to his head,” Ceballos said.

Silva was on the ground screaming for help, but officers continued to beat him, Ceballos said.

Dad who died during arrest ‘begged for his life’; witness videos seized

Thank goodness we pay them well and give them great pensions, otherwise the cops might get really upset with us citizens….

For about eight minutes, Ms. Melendez said, the man screamed and cried for help. Then he went silent, she said, making only choking sounds.

Finally, having hogtied him, a number of witnesses said, two officers picked up the man and dropped him, twice. One deputy nudged the man with his foot. When he did not respond, they began CPR.

“He was like a piece of meat,” said Ms. Melendez, 53, who was visiting her son at the hospital after he was injured in a car accident. “We were telling them: ‘He’s dead. You guys already killed him.’ ”

Responding to a call, deputies had arrived at the scene to find the man, David Sal Silva, a 33-year-old father of four, on the pavement. Their attempts to rouse him resulted in the altercation, the authorities said. Mr. Silva was pronounced dead less than an hour later at Kern Medical Center.

Fatal Encounter With Police Is Caught on Video, but Kept From the Public

It is quite possible that under federal law, the Kern County Sheriff’s Office illegally seized two cellphone videos from citizens.

The Privacy Protection Act, 42 U.S.C. 2000aa(a) (hereafter PPA), states:

Did the Kern County Sheriff Illegally Seize Videos of Deputies Beating a Man to Death?


Unfortunately, it seems that the future Aldous Huxley predicted in 1932, in Brave New World, is arriving early. Mockery, truculence, and minimalist living are best, then enjoy the decline. However, we do need a Revolving Door Tax (RDT), learn what Members of Congress pay in taxes, and prosecute politicians and staff and their “family and friends” who profit from insider trading.

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Militarization of Law Enforcement and Statism

Forced lockdown of a city. Militarized police riding tanks in the streets. Door-to-door armed searches without warrant. Families thrown out of their homes at gunpoint to be searched without probable cause. Businesses forced to close. Transport shut down.

These were not the scenes from a military coup in a far off banana republic, but rather the scenes just over a week ago in Boston as the United States got a taste of martial law. The ostensible reason for the military-style takeover of parts of Boston was that the accused perpetrator of a horrific crime was on the loose. The Boston bombing provided the opportunity for the government to turn what should have been a police investigation into a military-style occupation of an American city. This unprecedented move should frighten us as much or more than the attack itself.

What has been sadly forgotten in all the celebration of the capture of one suspect and the killing of his older brother is that the police state tactics in Boston did absolutely nothing to catch them. While the media crowed that the apprehension of the suspects was a triumph of the new surveillance state – and, predictably, many talking heads and Members of Congress called for even more government cameras pointed at the rest of us – the fact is none of this caught the suspect. Actually, it very nearly gave the suspect a chance to make a getaway.

Liberty Was Also Attacked in Boston

In the aftermath of the terrorist bombing—no lesser word will do—at the Boston Marathon, a major debate has broken out over the proper law enforcement procedures in two key areas: general surveillance and targeted searches. Many insist that a general right to privacy should limit the first, and that concern with racial and ethnic profiling should limit the second. Both of these overinflated concerns should be stoutly resisted.

Civil Liberties After Boston


Unfortunately, it seems that the future Aldous Huxley predicted in 1932, in Brave New World, is arriving early. Mockery, truculence, and minimalist living are best, then enjoy the decline. However, we do need a Revolving Door Tax (RDT), learn what Members of Congress pay in taxes, and prosecute politicians and staff and their “family and friends” who profit from insider trading.

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Stop and Frisk in NYC

The trial in the main case challenging the New York Police Department’s stop-and-frisk practices, Floyd v. City of New York, began this week, and yesterday whisteblowing cop Adhyl Polanco testified about the quotas that encourage officers to stop people without the “reasonable suspicion” the Supreme Court has said the Fourth Amendment requires. Polanco, whose recordings of police roll calls caused a splash when excerpts from them were first aired by WABC-TV in 2010, said cops feel strong pressure from superiors and union representatives to issue at least 20 summonses and make at least one arrest a month. “I spoke to the C.O. [commanding officer] for about an hour and a half,” says a Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association delegate in a recording that Polanco made during a 2009 roll call in the Bronx. “Twenty and one. Twenty and one is what the union is backing up….They spoke to the [PBA] trustees. And that’s what they want. They want 20 and one.” That requirement, Polanco explained in court, was “non-negotiable,” meaning “you’re gonna do it, or you’re gonna become a Pizza Hut delivery man.”

New York Cop Explains How Quotas Encourage Unconstitutional Stops

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“Rise Of The Warrior Cop” by Radley Balko

Radley Balko

You will submit to my authitah! Because police are well trained. And police never lie. Unlike civilians, who are not trained and always lie.

“Just unfortunate” that there is collateral damage.
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Police Misconduct

FBI employees were also disciplined for, among other naughtiness: knowingly marrying drug dealers, misusing their FBI status, shoplifting, using stolen ATM cards, purchasing child pornography, check fraud, perusing FBI databases for personal reasons and tax fraud. Personally, I don’t object to anybody hitching up with purveyors of illicit intoxicants or dodging taxes, but if you’re going to willingly enforce drug and tax laws against other people, it seems unsporting to return at night to a home stocked with cocaine and bundles of cash.
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Police State

There’s certainly a lot of overlap between the war on drugs and police militarization. But if we go back to the late 1960s and early 1970s, there were two trends developing simultaneously. The first was the development and spread of SWAT teams. Darryl Gates started the first SWAT team in L.A. in 1969. By 1975, there were 500 of them across the country. They were largely a reaction to riots, violent protest groups like the Black Panthers and Symbionese Liberation Army, and a couple mass shooting incidents, like the Texas clock tower massacre in 1966.

At the same time, Nixon was declaring an “all-out war on drugs.” He was pushing policies like the no-knock raid, dehumanizing drug users and dealers, and sending federal agents to storm private homes on raids that were really more about headlines and photo-ops than diminishing the supply of illicit drugs.

How Cops Became Soldiers: An Interview with Police Militarization Expert Radley Balko

Overarmed federal officials increasingly employ military tactics as a first resort in routine law enforcement. From food-safety cases to mundane financial matters, battle-ready public employees are turning America into the United States of SWAT.

FBI agents and U.S. marshals understandably are well fortified, given their frequent run-ins with ruthless bad guys. However — as my old friend and fellow columnist Quin Hillyer notes — armed officers, if not Special Weapons and Tactics crews, populate these federal agencies: the National Park Service; the Postal Inspection Service; the Departments of Health and Human Services, Agriculture, Labor, and Veterans Affairs; the Bureaus of Land Management and Indian Affairs; the Environmental Protection Agency; and the Fish and Wildlife Service. Even Small Business Administration and Railroad Retirement Board staffers pack heat!
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Los Angeles is in the very best of hands, unlike NY. And Detroit.

[T]he most important political battle in America today isn’t the much-ballyhooed battle for the soul of the GOP. It is the blue civil war, pitting key elements of the Democratic coalition against one another as the old social model fails and the growth curve of rising blue model costs runs up against fiscal limits. Blue model policies, whatever their merits, don’t generate the revenue that can support blue model institutions and methods, and when those shortfalls appear, the coalition divides. It’s happened in Wisconsin, it’s happened in Indiana; it’s happened in Michigan and it is happening in California.
. . .
For decades, Democrats have straddled a divide: they sought to represent both the producers of government services and the low and middle income citizens who depend on those services. Democrats want the votes and the contributions of teacher unions, and they want the votes of the parents whose kids attend public schools. As long as the blue model worked, the contradictions could be managed.

Increasingly, however, the contradictions have come to the fore. Teacher unions want life employment for incompetent teachers; their representatives negotiate farcically unsound pension arrangements with complaisant politicians and want taxpayers to pony up when the huge bills come due. Other producers of government services also have their sweetheart deals.

The result is that the consumers of government services, many of whom of course are Democrats, are getting a raw deal. They are paying too much money in taxes to support a system of government that, however outstanding and dedicated some people in it may be, simply cannot deliver acceptable services at a reasonable cost. The Democratic claim to represent both sides fairly is getting harder to sustain.

Blue Civil War: The Battle for California

Beadledom in action!

Ever walk down a Los Angeles city sidewalk? It may feel like climbing the Himalayas.

Tree roots have uplifted many city sidewalks across L.A., turning a quick walk around the neighborhood into a treacherous experience. According to The Los Angeles Times, the city receives about 2,500 claims a year from people who hurt themselves on these cracks.

LA’s New Crack Epidemic: Sidewalks
Continue reading ‘Los Angeles is in the very best of hands, unlike NY. And Detroit.’ »

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The police lie? Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo

But are police officers necessarily more trustworthy than alleged criminals? I think not. Not just because the police have a special inclination toward confabulation, but because, disturbingly, they have an incentive to lie. In this era of mass incarceration, the police shouldn’t be trusted any more than any other witness, perhaps less so.

That may sound harsh, but numerous law enforcement officials have put the matter more bluntly. Peter Keane, a former San Francisco Police commissioner, wrote an article in The San Francisco Chronicle decrying a police culture that treats lying as the norm: “Police officer perjury in court to justify illegal dope searches is commonplace. One of the dirty little not-so-secret secrets of the criminal justice system is undercover narcotics officers intentionally lying under oath. It is a perversion of the American justice system that strikes directly at the rule of law. Yet it is the routine way of doing business in courtrooms everywhere in America.”

Stop-and-Frisk Watch App – MY ACLU

Numerous scandals involving police officers lying or planting drugs — in Tulia, Tex. and Oakland, Calif., for example — have been linked to federally funded drug task forces eager to keep the cash rolling in.
. . .
The fact that our legal system has become so tolerant of police lying indicates how corrupted our criminal justice system has become by declarations of war, “get tough” mantras, and a seemingly insatiable appetite for locking up and locking out the poorest and darkest among us.

Why Police Lie Under Oath – Cato

The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness – Google Books

(Elizabeth Ritter and Coward County Sheriffs “Officers”)
Nothing to see here, move along.

Police Reform Organizing Project (PROP)

The Agitator – Radley Balko

[A]n innocent man was convicted of murdering a Brooklyn rabbi in 1990. Chaskel Werzberger, an adviser to the Satmar rebbe, was fatally shot by a would-be robber who stole his car while fleeing the scene of a bungled diamond heist. David Ranta, now 58, has been in prison since 1991 for the crime, based mainly on testimony from self-interested witnesses who later admitted they had lied and a detective’s uncorroborated report of a confession that Ranta has always denied making. Powell and Otterman report that “four of the five witnesses in the first lineup did not identify Mr. Ranta.” Furthermore, the eyewitness who should have gotten the clearest look at Werzberger’s killer, the diamond courier he tried to rob, testified at the trial that Ranta was “100 percent not” the right man. The jury evidently gave more weight to other witnesses, including one who was 13 at the time and now says a detective told him to pick Ranta out of a lineup.

In 1996, five years after Ranta began serving his sentence, a woman testified that her husband, an armed robber who was identified by an anonymous tipster as Werzberger’s killer shortly after the crime but died in a car crash a few months later, had confessed to her. But that was not enough to win Ranta a new trial. “I figured I was going to die in prison,” he told the Times. Since then, Powell and Otterman write, “nearly every piece of evidence in this case has fallen away,” including the testimony of a criminal who avoided a potential life sentence by claiming to have been Ranta’s accomplice. This week Kings County District Attorney Charles J. Hynes, who was elected to his first term the year before Werzberger’s murder, announced that he was recommending Ranta’s release based on an investigation by a unit that Hynes created to uncover wrongful convictions. Powell and Otterman’s story shows how the pressure to solve a high-profile murder, a criminal’s incentive to lie in exchange for more lenient treatment, and a cop’s determination to convict someone he’s sure is guilty can combine to create a terrible injustice.

When a Cop Claims a Murder Suspect Confessed, Ask for the Tape

Photography is Not A Crime (PINAC)

Simple Justice – A New York Criminal Defense Blog

Bill of Rights card


Mockery, truculence, and minimalist living are best, then enjoy the decline. We also need a Revolving Door Tax (RDT) and to prosecute politicians and staff and their “family and friends” who profit from insider trading.

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