Category Archives: Addressing Police Misconduct

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YouTube effect’ has left police officers under siege, law enforcement leaders say

Chiefs of some of the nation’s biggest police departments say officers in American cities have pulled back and have stopped policing as aggressively as they used to, fearing that they could be the next person in a uniform featured on a career-ending viral video.

That was the unifying — and controversial — theory reached Wednesday at a private meeting of more than 100 of the nation’s top law enforcement officers and politicians.

With homicide rates soaring inexplicably this year in dozens of U.S. cities, the group convened by new U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch concluded with a brief news conference promising a robust response to the reversal of decades of falling violent crime rates.

But for hours preceding that, mayors, police chiefs, U.S. attorneys and even FBI Director James Comey privately vented in a Washington ballroom that they don’t really understand the alarming spike in murders and applause filled the room when mayors said police officers’ sinking morale could be a factor.
Participants in the discussion were told that the meeting was closed to the news media, but the mayor of D.C. listed the event as public and a Washington Post reporter entered with her entourage and observed more than three hours of the discussion.

Could the root cause be drugs? Guns? Gangs? Perhaps a little of each, said Chuck Wexler, a former top officer in Boston and head of the Police Executive Research Forum.

Wexler tried to sum up the day-long discussion for Lynch, who arrived near the end. But there was another problem, he told her, one that hits closer to home for the nation’s top cop.

“Perhaps the most difficult to calibrate, but the most significant,” he said, “is this notion of a reduction in proactive policing.”

Police chiefs and elected leaders from Baltimore, Chicago, New York and St. Louis were more blunt:

“We have allowed our police department to get fetal and it is having a direct consequence,” Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel told Lynch. “They have pulled back from the ability to interdict … they don’t want to be a news story themselves, they don’t want their career ended early, and it’s having an impact.”

There is no evidence of a broad retraction of police engagement with the public in major cities, and no participant in Wednesday’s summit presented a single example of lackluster policing that somehow contributed to a violent crime.

Rather, chiefs and elected officials spoke broadly of a changed atmosphere in major city police departments over the past year amid high-profile police-involved shootings and in-custody deaths that led to riots in Ferguson, Missouri and Baltimore.

Chiefs said patrol officers still do their jobs, clocking in and policing their beats. But fewer take extra steps such as confronting a group loitering on a sidewalk late at night that might glean intelligence or lead to arrests, for fear that any altercations that ensued would be uploaded to the Internet.

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Police line up shortly after the deadline for a city-wide curfew at North Ave and Pennsylvania Ave in Baltimore, Maryland April 30, 2015. REUTERS/Eric Thayer

U.S. confidence in police at 22-year low: Gallup poll

Confidence in police in the United States has dropped to the lowest level in more than two decades, with just 52 percent of Americans expressing “a great deal” or “quite a lot” of confidence, according to a Gallup poll released on Friday.

The confidence level in police matched the low seen in 1993, when Gallup first began measuring it as a federal civil rights trial got underway over the 1991 beating of black motorist Rodney King by white Los Angeles police officers.

Since 1993, American confidence in police has ranged from the low of 52 percent to a high of 64 percent in 2004, the Gallup poll found.

The annual poll on confidence in U.S. institutions was taken earlier this month with a random sample of 1,527 adults aged 18 and older living in all 50 U.S. states and Washington, D.C. The poll had a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.

The findings come amid heightened scrutiny of the treatment of African-American men by police in the United States, an issue that flared last year after the killings of unarmed black men in Ferguson, Missouri, New York City and elsewhere.

“These events likely contributed to the decline in confidence in police, although it is important to note that Americans’ trust in police has not been fundamentally shaken – it remains high in an absolute sense, despite being at a historical low,” Jeffrey Jones of Gallup said in an accompanying report.

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6 Police Officers Across the US Were Charged with Murder This Week, Proving Strength of Protests

This was a really bad week for (alleged) killer cops as cities respond following a year of nationwide protests

After months of sustained #BlackLivesMatter protests, there have been a seemingly unprecedented six indictments of police in the last four days. This signals a stunning departure from the long trend of non-indictments, most notably in the cases of Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, and Tony Robinson.

The uptick in police indictments is not unique to this week, either. In fact, the rate of indictments has increased by 5 times over the course of the last 5 months, according to data compiled by criminal justice professor Philip Stinson.

The sharp rise in indictments isn’t the only change following the anti-police violence protests sweeping across the country. Americans’ confidence in police is at a 22-year low, according to a Gallup poll conducted last month.

The six indictments that took place since Monday include two former East Point, Atlanta officers charged with murdering an already handcuffed black man. Two Albuquerque police were indicted for killing a homeless man who had surrendered. A former Fairfax, Virginia officer was charged with murder for shooting a man who’d had his hands up—in his own home. Just today, a Maryland officer was charged with attempted murder for shooting an unarmed suspect who had already surrendered. Following his surrender, the police officer called him a “piece of shit” and shot him in the groin.

This week’s indictments follow a number of other high-profile police indictments: that of South Carolina officer Michael T. Slager for shooting a 50-year-old black man, Walter Scott, in the back; and University of Cincinnati officer Ray Tensing for shooting an unarmed black man, Sam DuBose, during a traffic stop.

More subtle changes are also taking place, regarding public attitudes toward the protests calling for police accountability.

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61-Year-Old Man Violently Attacked by Police and Arrested for Singing a “Beach Boys” Song

Allentown, PA — A 61-year-old Pennsylvania man, Jim Osche likes to go out into public and sing as a means of relieving stress. On Friday, however, Osche’s stress relief would be met with police brutality.

As Osche walked down the sidewalk in front of Shula’s Steakhouse in downtown Allentown, the restaurant guests seemed to be pleasantly receptive. Many of them pulled out their phones to record this cheerful man giving his rendition of Beach Boys, Barbara Ann. 

After wrapping up his song, though, Osche was met with police violence instead of applause.

Osche seemed to be agitated by the police presence and looked to have heated words with the officer. However, at no time did Osche touch or otherwise warrant the violent action that followed.

After he turned to walk away, the officer, who has yet to be named by the department, grabbed Osche and violently through this 61-year-old man to the ground, causing him to scream in agony.

According to Luisa Ranis Soos, who posted the video to Facebook, the guards claimed that Osche touched the officer. However, according to the video, this was entirely false.

Though Osche was arrested and held in a jail cell for over an hour, police did not inform him of any charges, only saying, according to Osche, that he would be “cited by mail.” This is likely due to the fact that he hadn’t broken any laws.

According to mcall.com,

(Osche) said he is going to engage a civil rights attorney and request meetings with the Lehigh County District Attorney’s Office and police department brass.

“These guys need to be prosecuted,” he said of the security guards — who did not touch Ochse but stood watching — and the officer. “They have to be held accountable for the actions.”

Below is yet another video of why police in America are getting such a bad rap. Until it stops the animosity, which is not undeserved, will continue.

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Man Down Video Portrays The Truth About Police Abuse.

Today, someone will have their life threatened by someone who believes their costume gives them the right to do whatever they want. As long as we think that we can hold Government accountable, nothing will change. When someone investigates and answers only to themselves, they will do what they want, when they want. We can live in a world without the the threat of being ruled by force, but first we must understand that we are free already and do not need anyone’s permission to live or exist.

“Even if you see something everyday, it does not mean it should be accepted as normal or OK”

“Man Down” appears on the new album from Blooded the Brave “Peace” available now on I-Tunes & Spotify www.bloodedthebrave.com

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Killings By Police in Utah Outpacing Gang, Drug, Child-Abuse, and Spousal Homicides

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.”

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80-Year-Old Army Vet and Cancer Survivor, Mercilessly Beaten By Police Who “Feared For Their Lives”

Lone Jack, Mo. – An 80-year-old cancer survivor and Army veteran says that he fears for his life after being beaten, bloodied and left with broken bones by police.

“I’m afraid for us to even drive out of our driveway or to get on the street. I don’t know what they will do,” Libby Swan, Bill’s wife, said.

Bill Swan was on his tractor when he noticed a utility crew attempting to dig on his property and approached them to tell them to vacate his property. The workers then called police, according to KCTV 5.

When officers arrived they yanked Swan off the tractor and took him to the ground leaving him bloodied and with broken ribs.

“It’s very unnerving that something happened to him,” said his wife Libby, adding, “He’s 80, he’s a veteran, and he has had cancer.”

Officers of course claim that Swan was a threat to them, and that he attempted to back his tractor into a police cruiser and then tried to leave the scene. They claim they gave him verbal and hand signals to stop but he refused and attempted to run the officers over.

“Police got there and told him to get off his tractor, he was on his own property, and said, ‘I don’t have to get off my tractor,’” said Bill’s grandson, Tim Swan, according to Fox 4.

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Domestic Terrorism: Cop Caught Aiming Gun at a Crowd of Hundreds of Innocent People

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.

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Graphic Video Released in “Firing Squad” Style Police Killing of Mentally Ill Man

Saginaw, MI — The gruesome dashcam video of a summary execution of a mentally ill man by police has been released to the public this week.

The video shows six police officers, in firing squad fashion, execute mentally ill, Milton Hall, in broad daylight in a Saginaw parking lot.

Hall was several meters away from the closest police officer when the shots began. He posed very little threat to the officers as he was armed with a small pocket knife and could have easily been brought down with a taser.

Six Saginaw police officers fired 47 times at the 49-year-old Hall, striking him 11 times. Police claim Hall acted aggressively, according to then-Saginaw County Prosecutor Michael D. Thomas.

The video was obtained by the ACLU from the family of Hall. It provides a more detailed depiction of the incident that day than the original cellphone footage. 

The shooting was “not only reckless, but clearly unjust, and also grossly violated Milton Hall’s human right to life,” Fancher said.

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In this image made from video taken in August 2014, and provided by the American Civil Liberties Union on Tuesday, Aug. 4, 2015, an 8-year-old boy struggles and cries out as he sits in a chair with handcuffs around his biceps and his arms locked behind him while a school resource officer stands nearby, at an elementary school in Covington, Ky. The boy’s mother, along with the mother of a 9-year-old girl who was also handcuffed at the school, have filed a federal lawsuit against the school. The lawsuit says both children have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and school officials are aware of their disabilities. (American Civil Liberties Union via AP)

Parents Fighting Back, Suing Cops for Terrorizing School Children

COVINGTON, Ky. (CN) – A deputy sheriff handcuffed an 8-year-old and a 9-year-old at school in Kentucky, pinning their tiny arms above the elbows behind their backs, two mothers claim in federal court.

Described in the Aug. 3 complaint only by their initials, 8-year-old S.R. and 9-year-old L.G. allegedly endured the improper restraints on three occasions in fall 2014.

At the time, the students, both of whom suffer from disabilities, were elementary students in the Covington Independent Public Schools District, their mothers claim.

Kenton County Sheriff Charles Korzenborn entered into a deal with the district last summer to provide four deputies to serve as school resource officers through June 2015, according to the complaint.

The mothers say it was one of these officers, Kevin Sumner, who used unnecessary excessive force on their children.

“Because of the children’s small size in comparison to the handcuffs, which are designed for adults, defendant Sumner handcuffed them behind their backs and placed the handcuffs on their biceps (above the elbows),” the federal complaint states (parentheses in original).

Standing at just 3 ½ feet tall in the 2014-15 school year, S.R. was a 52-pound third-grade boy at Latonia Elementary School diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactive disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder.

L.G., a fourth grader last year at Carlisle Elementary School, also suffers from ADHD and weighed 56 pounds, her mother says.

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