In the past five years, more Utahns have been killed by cops than by gang violence, drug dealers, or from child abuse.
Data from a five-year period is painting a disturbing picture of a deadly trend among Utah police officers.
Up until this year, killings by police officers ranked second only to homicide of intimate partners. However, this year, including a Saturday shooting in South Jordan, deadly force by police surpassed even violence between spouses and dating partners.
As police killings rise, more people are becoming aware and police watchdog groups are saying that it’s time we start treating deadly force by police as a potentially serious public safety problem. The Free Thought Project agrees.
“The numbers reflect that there could be an issue, and it’s going to take a deeper understanding of these shootings,” said Chris Gebhardt to the Salt Lake Tribune, a former police lieutenant and sergeant who served in Washington, D.C., and in Utah, including six years on SWAT teams and several training duties. “It definitely can’t be written off as citizen groups being upset with law enforcement.”
Baltimore, MD — A Baltimore cop was caught in a photograph, which is now going viral, pointing his pistol into a crowd of hundreds.
The incident began Sunday night as a crowd gathered to watch dirt bikers perform. Police showed up to disperse the crowd, when one of them took to threatening the lives of hundreds.
“It just seemed so egregious,” said Noah Scialom, who took the photo. “I just took a few pictures, and I couldn’t believe that he did it.”
After a glass bottle had allegedly broken near a group of officers, this one cop felt that it was necessary to respond with deadly force. According to Scialom, no other officers felt the need to brandish their weapons, and the photograph illustrates that point.
According to WDAM, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said she has asked the police commissioner to investigate. A police spokesman said they take the incident seriously, and the officer has been placed on administrative duties during an investigation.
After the image had been posted to Facebook, it was met with mixed responses. While most people saw the cop as threatening and insane, a few ardent apologists praised the officer’s actions. “Looks like he knows how to handle a situation,” said one person on Facebook.
As is the standard operating procedure for police officers behaving badly, this madcap cop has not been identified but the department assures us that it is under investigation.
Rohnert Park, CA — In a video that is sure to spark outrage across the country, a Rohnert Park police officer was caught on film stalking a man for filming.
As if the harassment and intimidation for simply recording a police officer from his own property weren’t enough, this cop went so far as to exit his vehicle and pull his gun on a man who was simply practicing his freedom of speech.
The incident began as Don McComas was loading up his boat for a day on the water when he noticed a Rohnert Park police cruiser stopped in front of his house.
McComas explained the interaction on a post to his Facebook page:
I was hooking the boat up when the officer pulled slowly into my court. When he rounded infront of my house he stopped yet did nothing, then crept forward and instead of leaving toward Snyder he rounded the court opposite of me, then stopped facing me for a few minutes, doing nothing but pointing straight at me/my house. After a couple minutes I was concerned enough to pull out my phone and hit record. Glad I did.
The officer in unit 1438240 parked only a few feet away from McComas’ Excursion and just sat there in an overt attempt to intimidate an innocent man. After a few uncomfortable moments, the officer rolls down his window and begins filming back. Seconds later he jumps out of his car and begins to threaten McComas.
Within just a few seconds of exiting his vehicle, the officer drew his pistol and began approaching McComas. Remember that McComas had done absolutely nothing wrong, a fact that this officer admits upon contact.
Despite McComas having the camera in one hand and his other hand up, posing no threat whatsoever, the officer continues his advance, with his pistol drawn.
“When I saw the gun and comprehended what was happening I absolutely thought ‘they are going to kill me and claim my hand was in my pocket’ period,” said McComas.
When McComas asserts that he’s done nothing wrong and asks the officer why he got out of his vehicle, the officer proceeded to resort to elementary school tactics.”You’re taking a picture me; I’m taking a picture of you.”
Is taking a picture enough to have reasonable articular suspicion to not only stop at someone’s home but to pull a gun on them?
Luckily, McComas escapes with his life as the armed assailant walks back to his car after momentarily coming to his senses.
When the Free Thought Project reached out to the Rohnert Park Police in regards to this incident, we were told that they are aware of the incident, and they “will be responding in due course.”
It’s a racially charged photo the Chicago Police Department didn’t want the public to see: two white cops posing with rifles as they stand over a black man lying on his belly with deer antlers on his head.
The camouflage-wearing Florida cops who made international news last month when they used an armored car to pull a man over for flipping them off were disciplined, including one Alachua County Sheriff’s Sergeant who was suspended without pay for a day.
Perhaps now they will acknowledge that citizens do that have the right to flip them off, even though we all can agree it is a rude gesture.
Even if they are dressed like Rambo to oversee an annual college football festival titled Orange and Blue Weekend.
Or perhaps they just need to “grow a thicker skin,” as the investigative report concluded, which was obtained by the Gainesville Sun last week.
Now the sergeant who initiated the traffic stop, Kevin Davis, will also have to write a new policy for the agency, which will outline the situations when the armored car, officially titled the Lenco Bearcat Armored Personnel Carrier (APC), will be allowed to make traffic stops. We hope he makes it clear that contempt-of-cop traffic stops are forbidden
Sgt. Kevin Davis was issued one day of suspension without pay by Sheriff Sadie Darnell herself, and Deputy Richard Howell was given a written reprimand.