Showing posts with label Cops Gone Wild. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Cops Gone Wild. Show all posts

January 7, 2020

Cop Pulled Him Over(stolen car,mistakenly)Cop Hit The Head Against The Car, Dead Motorist

After a California cop caught up to the driver of a vehicle he believed to be stolen, he slammed the driver’s head into the car and put him in a sleeper hold. The driver died. 
By Emma Ockerman

But the man behind the wheel, David Glen Ward, was actually the victim of a carjacking — not the perpetrator — and had reported his Honda Civic stolen to the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office just days earlier, on Nov. 24. The 52-year-old had somehow recovered the vehicle, according to the Washington Post, but didn’t tell police the car was back in his possession. Ward was then driving the car home around 6 a.m. on Nov. 27 when police spotted the Honda Civic and began pursuing the vehicle, without realizing the driver was Ward.  
The resulting police chase lasted for more than five minutes. In a disturbing nine-minute block of body camera footage that the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office released Friday, deputies can be heard shouting at Ward to put his hands up, with their guns drawn. Ward puts his hands up but repeatedly tries to rest them back on the wheel before putting them up again, which made the officers scream at him more.  “I can’t believe this, I’m the injured party in this,” Ward says to the officers, according to the video, which the sheriff’s office released to be transparent about Ward’s death, according to KTVU. “Why are you fucking harassing me all the time?” 
“Give me your hands, give me your fucking hands, come out,” Sonoma County Sheriff’s Deputy Charlie Blount responds and begins to pull Ward out of the car.
“Alright, I’m getting out, I’m getting out,” Ward says.
In the video, Blount tries pull Ward out of the vehicle, but Ward groans that his legs are in pain. Deputy Jason Little can be heard off-camera saying that Ward’s legs are stuck. Blount responds that Ward bit him, and Little exclaims that Ward bit him, too. 
As the officers continue to try and pull Ward out of the car, Blount smashes Ward’s head into the frame of the vehicle. Little then deploys his Taser on Ward, and Blount restrains the man in a carotid neck hold, also known as a “sleeper hold,” a move that many large police departments have banned.  
The deputies then pull Ward’s limp body out of the car and handcuff him. 
“Oh, fuck, he broke my skin,” Little says.
“Is he conscious?” Blount says. 
“No, we need medical man, get medical,” Little responds. 
Later, Deputy Nick Jax told the two officers they’d pulled out of the vehicle was the car’s owner.

“Then why did he run?” Little asks.
Jax responded that he didn’t know, and that there was no reason for him to respond in that way.
“Oh well,” Blount said. 
Ward was declared dead at a local hospital later that day, although the exact cause of death hasn’t been revealed. It’s unclear whether he was unconscious because of the sleeper hold or the injury to his head. Blount’s attorney, Harry Stern, told the Washington Post that Blount shouldn’t be held responsible, regardless, and that his impending firing was wrong. 
“Frankly, Mr. Ward caused his own death by inexplicably taking a number of bizarre actions that confirmed in the deputies’ minds that he was an armed carjacker, rather than the victim of that crime,” Stern said. 
Stern alleged that Ward had drugs in his system and that there wasn’t any trauma to his neck, but there’s no evidence to that claim until the county coroner releases their report. Stern also told the Post that Ward had a pre-existing medical condition. (Stern declined to comment further to VICE News but added that the carotid restraint is authorized by the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office.) Ward’s family members confirmed a pre-existing condition and told local news media that Ward had physical disabilities and used a wheelchair.

September 4, 2019

Who is Killing All These Cops? Cops and The Code of Silence

David Betz (left) and Dave Betz (right).Image copyrightDAVE BETZ
Image captionDave Betz and his son David (left)
The death of nine New York police officers this year has left family members, law enforcement and politicians pointing fingers and placing blame. But suicide is a more profound problem, deeply entrenched in police culture. What's behind the epidemic?
Speeding down route 1 on a frigid, gray February morning, Dave Betz's heart was racing. As a hardnosed police officer of 32 years, he was used to car chases, but on this morning, he was a father searching for his son. Dave received a call earlier that morning at 09:21 that his 24-year-old son David, also a police officer, did not show up for his shift at work. Something didn't sound right. 
After he hung up the phone, he opened the door to his son's room where he found a gun holster resting atop the bureau - its weapon missing. 
"I'm calling my buddies, letting them know, 'listen this is not good. I don't have a good feeling about this at all.' You know, I had that pit in my stomach."
Charging across the empty car park of the Boston Sports Club, Dave noticed his son's Volkswagen, windows fogged, tucked in the distant corner behind the overbearing concrete gym building. As he walked around to the front of the car, his police training kicked in. 
"That mindset of a cop - fight or flight - that kinda thing kicked in to react like you're trained," he says.
"Death is not something that anybody likes to see. You just don't want to see it, you know. You do, but it's somebody else's family member.
"He was in his car, he was seated and he had his phone in his lap. And I knew, you know. I just didn't want to know," he says as his voice drops. He pauses. 
Country music blared from the car radio as Dave, dressed in pajama pants and a t-shirt, stood over his son and realized he was dead. 
David Betz died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound without leaving behind any explanation of what led him to that moment, his father says. He's among hundreds of officers across the US who have taken their own lives and left behind a trail of questions. 
"I always thought I was a good judge of character, being able to see things and see if somebody needs help or I should know when someone needs help," he says.
"I couldn't see it in my son, you know, so that bothers me." 
Dave Betz shows a photo of him and his son David.Image copyrightDAVE BETZ
Image captionDave stands in the parking lot where he found his son while displaying a photo of them together
Presentational white space
A 2018 nationwide study found more law enforcement officers died by suicide than in the line of duty. Researchers say those police officers are at a higher risk of suicide than in any other profession due to a combination of the intense stress, pressure to conceal emotional distress and easy access to deadly weapons. 
In fact, 13 out of every 100,000 people die by suicide in the general population. But that number climbs to 17 out of 100,000 for police officers, according to the Ruderman Family Foundation. 
Last year 167 police officers took their own lives while 130 have done so this year, with four months left on the calendar, according to Blue Help, a Massachusetts-based police suicide prevention group that tracks the national rate. 
These numbers only reflect confirmed suicides. Some suicide prevention advocates say current estimates could be higher as some families choose not to report the cause of death or instead describe it as accidental. 

An unspoken reality

New York City bears the brunt of most of the recent national attention. New York Police Department (NYPD) Commissioner James O'Neill declared a mental health crisis as the city grappled with the suicide deaths of nine police officers.
"We need to change the culture," he told reporters in June. "We need to make sure that our police officers have access to mental healthcare. So they can keep themselves well and do the job that they want to do."
Robert Echeverria, 56, died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound in August, just a day after 35-year-old Officer Johnny Rios took his own life. 
His sister, Eileen Echeverria, told the BBC she contacted internal affairs about concerns for her brother's mental health numerous times, most recently in June before his death. 
The department said it would investigate, but the 25-year police veteran's guns were returned to him within two days. She blames the top brass for his suicide. 
New York City Police Commissioner James O'Neill speaks during a press conferenceImage copyrightGETTY IMAGES
Image captionNew York City Police Commissioner James O'Neill
"The NYPD is broken on so many levels. It's not the same, officers used to be respected," she told the BBC before meeting the deputy commissioner of employee relations outside police headquarters in New York.
"Now they spit on in the streets and then they come back to the chief and they spit on by him. I couldn't go home and be normal after that. I couldn't do it. I'm not strong enough. God bless the ones who are." 
The NYPD says Echeverria's death is under investigation. 
"We need change," she says. 
Cities and states across the country are rattled by a similar problem. California, Florida, New York and Texas each reported at least 10 police suicides last year, according to Blue Help. 
Earlier this year, the Chicago Police Department, the nation's second-largest force with 13,000 officers, was forced to confront its own spate of police suicides.
The tragedy sparked the launch of a mental health campaign, which included doubling the number of therapists available to officers as well as a video campaign showing senior officers - including Superintendent Eddie Johnson - admitting their own struggles with mental health. 
President Donald Trump has authorized up to $7.5m (£6.1m) in grant funding a year for police suicide prevention, mental health screenings and training as departments across the country work to curb the numbers. 
But the problem is hardly an American one. A similar trend is cropping up in other countries where officers are armed with a gun. 
Last year France saw a 36% higher rate of suicide among police than the general population, and this year 64 officers have already taken their own lives. 
For comparison, about 21 to 23 officers took their own lives in the UK between 2015-17, according to the UK's Office for National Statistics. Unlike France, most British police do not carry guns. 
Nearly two-thirds of all gun deaths in the US are suicides, according to data compiled by Everytown, a gun safety group. 
Though people are less likely to attempt suicide with a gun (6% of all attempts), the nature of the deadly weapons makes death more likely, with about half of all suicide deaths involving a firearm. 
At least six of the nine deaths in the NYPD involved a gun, with many using their own service weapon. 

Why is suicide so high among police?

John Violanti, a 23-year police veteran and professor at University at Buffalo who focuses on police stress and mental health, points to the nature of the job as part of the equation that leads to suicide. 
"They see abused kids, they see dead bodies, they see horrible traffic accidents. And what that means is that the traumatic events and stressful events kind of build on one another." 
"If you have to put a bulletproof vest on before you go to work, that's an indication you're already under the possibility of being shot or killed and your family is under the same probability. So all of these things weigh heavily on the psyche and over time, they hurt the officers."
He also points to an increasing turmoil driving a wedge between law enforcement and the communities they protect. 
"We have political conflict. We have societal conflict. We have groups at each other's throat all the time. And the cops get stuck in the middle of all of this stuff," he says. "So sometimes they're pulled in different directions and they really don't know what their role is." 
Mark DiBona, a 33-year police veteran and spokesman for Blue Help, has firsthand experience of developing post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) on the job.
He volunteered for three weeks in New York four days after the 9/11 attacks and recalls his nightmares began shortly after. That trauma compounded with other encounters, including responding to a car fire with a passenger trapped inside, led to his depression. 
"I wanted to die. I just did not want to go further because I felt like a failure," he says. 
Sitting in the front seat of his cruiser, Mark wrote an angry letter to the police department and an apology letter to his mother and wife, before placing his gun in mouth.
In a fortuitous moment, another officer pulled up to his car to intervene before he pulled the trigger. 
But he - along with many officers - believes one of the greatest barriers in seeking help is the stigma that comes with needing it. 
"We carry a gun, we carry a Taser, we carry a baton, Mace, we wear a bulletproof vest. All that to protect ourselves physically," he says.
"We need that. But we have very little training when it comes to protecting us mentally."
Part of that stigma is perpetuating the machismo culture in police work, a notion that Janice McCarthy is working to change by training officers in suicide prevention and through her organisation Care of Police Suicide Survivors (Copss), which works with families affected by police suicides. 
Janice's husband Paul killed himself in July 2006 after a 21-year career as a Massachusetts state police captain. He suffered PTSD that stemmed from three car accidents in the line of duty, she says.
Janice McCarthy
Image captionJanice McCarthy has spent the last 13 years after her husband's death pushing for mental health training in law enforcement
"Hypervigilance" is part of the job when it comes to police work, Janice says. "It's that feeling you're jumping out of your skin, you're pacing back and forth.
"Cops run on the adrenaline…it becomes almost like a high," she recalls of her husband. "But the problem is you can't come home and shut it off and [Paul] could not shut it off. He didn't sleep. He couldn't really have a conversation," she recalls. 
"They are caretakers. They are used to taking care of everyone else. 
"He would change flat tires, he saved premature newborn babies. He couldn't save himself because no one gave him the luxury to say, 'what's wrong? Are you OK?'" 
Paul McCarthyImage copyrightJANICE MCCARTHY
Image captionPaul McCarthy, Janice's husband, and their son Christopher
Presentational white space
She helped lawmakers in Massachusetts craft a bill that would mandate mental health training for officers on the job. The bill, four years in the making, has yet to be taken up. 
But former officers and suicide prevention advocates say adding therapists and training is only part of the battle. 

The fear of losing your gun

The idea that an officer's identity is tied to their gun is a stigma advocates can't seem to crack. 
"The one thing about law enforcement is the longer you're on the job, the more it consumes your identity," Mark says while describing the importance of an officer's badge and gun. 
Chris Prochut was third in command at Bolingbrook, a south-west suburb outside of Chicago, when his police department received international attention about a high profile murder investigation within its ranks. 
He was tasked with dealing with the drumbeat of reporters, clamoring for details about former Sgt Drew Peterson, who was accused of murdering his third and fourth wives, the latter of whom is missing. 
"I thought I can handle this because that's what cops do. I can fix this," the now mental health advocate and suicide prevention trainer recalls. "I figured I could change the public perception of our police department."
Under immense pressure and with little sleep, the case ate away at Chris' psyche, taking a toll as the year wore on.
Chris Prochut and his wife and child.Image copyrightCHRIS PROCHUT
Image captionChris Prochut planned his own suicide before his wife and colleagues thwarted his plan
"I'd come home to my family and I didn't want to be around them," he recalls. 
At the urging of his wife, Chris sought help, and eventually went on medication to help ease the anguish. But the pain didn't stop. He eventually decided to take his own life. 
"In my mind, there was no other option because I had tried therapy. I tried medication. They don't work for me, but I can get a hold of this."
He picked a spot where he wanted to take his life in a nearby town, a deliberate move so his colleagues wouldn't have to investigate the death of one of their own. 
"The plan was set. I remember having an extra bounce in my step that week." 
It was ultimately his wife who thwarted his plans, calling his colleagues to intervene in the middle of the night and escort him to the hospital to seek psychiatric treatment.
After Chris was released from the hospital, Illinois state law mandated that he lose his firearm privileges, and stuck in a legal loophole, he eventually lost his job. 
Chris and his family left Illinois after losing their house, relocating to Hartford, Wisconsin, where he now works at Kohl's corporate headquarters as well as with the state police on suicide prevention. 
Chris Prochut and his wifeImage copyrightCHRIS PROCHUT
Presentational white space
The laws have since changed in Illinois, allowing gun owners a 60-day grace period to keep their Firearms Owners Identification Card while a renewal application is processed. Part of that aim is to encourage officers to seek mental health treatment without fear of losing their badge - a step Chris is hopeful could be emulated elsewhere. 
But Chris is hopeful his story can show there is life after the force. 
"It took me a couple of years to realize there is life after law enforcement but you gotta be here. You have to be here in order for it to get better," he says. 
"I did get my gun taken and I did lose my job, but I'm here and I'm OK." 

Life continues

Back at the cemetery on Boston's North Shore in Lynn, Dave's youngest son, Cameron, idles near David's grave, his voice cracking as he struggles to talk about his brother, his hero. 
Cameron is adorned in symbols honoring his brother - suicide prevention bracelets and a tattooed semicolon on his left wrist - a symbol used to raise awareness about mental health struggles and suicide prevention - to show that life continues. 
"Life for them goes on. Life for us goes on in a different kind of way," Dave says of other police officers. 
Much of Dave's life is also a memorial to his son. His office is canvassed with images of his eldest son and the rest of his family, alongside relics and mementos featuring hidden symbols to keep his David's memory alive. 
An image of clouds over his son's grave, formed in the shape of the number eight - David's lucky number - sits framed next to his son's police boots and uniform. His arms are tattooed with his son's favorite number and a message on his forearm, scrawled in his David's handwriting, from a Father's Day card given to him the June before he passed away. 
Dave Betz's arm, showing a tattoo of a Father's Day message his son wrote to him in a card.
Image captionDave Betz displays his arm, revealing his tattoo of a Father's Day message written by his son
Death by suicide can erode validation for loved ones and family members, leaving unanswered questions of what could have gone differently to avoid tragedy. 
"Being a suicide survivor - it's a group we belong to and we never wanted to be," Janice says. 
"If someone dies by suicide, there are a whole lot of things that people read into that everyone wants to have their own idea of what went wrong. It's human nature to try to figure something out and put it in that nice little box and put a bow on it and put it away."
But for this group of survivors, speaking to officers is a way of filling that void left by those they lost to suicide. 
For officers concealing their struggles, Janice has one message: "If you're not a cop tomorrow, who are you?
"Well, are you a husband? Are you a father? You need to be multidimensional and you need to take care of yourself emotionally," she declares.
"I would want them to know that they are more than a police officer and that their life means more than this job."
Presentational grey line
Where to get help
From Canada or US: If you're in an emergency, please call 911
You can contact the US National Suicide Prevention Lifeline on 1-800-273-8255 or the Crisis Test Line by texting HOME to 741741
Young people in need of help can call Kids Help Phone on 1-800-668-6868
If you are in the UK, you can call the Samaritans on 116123

July 17, 2019

The Death of Michael Stewart At The Hands of Cops Changed That Community

  • By Matt Barker

It was just before three in the morning on 15 September 1983, and Michael Stewart was on his way back home to Brooklyn after a night out at the Pyramid Club in the East Village. Waiting for a train at the First Avenue station at 14th Street, the 25-year-old whipped out a pen and tagged one of the station’s tiled walls. He was spotted by a New York Transit Police patrol and after a brief chase, caught. Witnesses then reported seeing him beaten while cuffed, though the cops who detained him later claimed he simply fell while attempting to evade them. Heavily bruised and suffering from a cardiac arrest, he was taken to the nearby Bellevue Hospital, where he fell into a coma and died 13 days later.

The downtown arts community was possessed by a new-found spirit of solidarity and rage 
The arresting officers, all of whom were white, were charged with criminally negligent homicide, assault, and perjury, but those same witnesses who claimed to have seen the incident first-hand were unable to identify any particular officers as the perpetrators. Charges were downscaled and the policemen were put on trial solely for allowing Stewart to be beaten while in their custody. An initial seven-month grand jury investigation than had to be dropped after one of the jurors decided to do their own investigating, jeopardizing the whole case. A retrial was held on November 1985, and the officers acquitted.
Even more so after this outcome, Stewart’s death reverberated as a symbol – and none more so than among New York’s art scene.  As soon as news of Stewart’s vicious arrest began to filter through, and to a backdrop of growing racial tensions in the city, the once determinedly apolitical downtown arts community was possessed by a new-found spirit of solidarity and rage, galvanized into action by the brutality of the police and the fear of further clampdowns.
(Credit: Getty Images)
Basquiat’s Defacement: The Untold Story, a new exhibition that has just opened at the city’s Guggenheim Museum, relays how artists in the city reacted to Stewart’s death. Centring around Jean-Michel Basquiat’s searing painting The Death of Michael Stewart (widely known as Defacement), alongside other works of the artist related to police brutality, it also includes responses to the incident by Keith Haring, Andy Warhol (one of his screen-printed Headline series paintings from 1983 featuring a New York Daily News article on Stewart’s death) and the social realist David Hammons (his 1986 stenciled print The Man Nobody Killed).
Before #BlackLivesMatter
Meanwhile, contemporary news coverage and some of the protest posters that were put up around Lower Manhattan provide the exhibition with extra context. They record the fear and anger from more than 35 years ago that still resonates depressingly strongly today when racialized police brutality has led to the #BlackLivesMatter movement.
Stewart was not a core member of the city’s art scene himself – more one of those types who hung around on the outer circles, waiting to find a way in, his ambitions not yet fully formed. On nodding terms with many East Village personalities, the artists, musicians, club owners and filmmakers who had gravitated towards the area in ever-increasing numbers from the mid-1970s onwards, he had just started to exhibit some of his abstract, richly colorful paintings, was taking photography classes and had occasionally done a bit of modeling.
(Credit: Collection of Patricia A. Pesce Allison Chipak/ Guggenheim Foundation, 2018)
He also dabbled in graffiti – though, unlike Basquiat, who started out spray-painting his work on buildings, he would leave his tag (signature) on trains and walls, but nothing more. Of course, though, the police weren’t particularly interested in nuances. Whether it was a name on a wall or a full-blown mural on a subway train, it was much the same thing to them.
Graffiti was more about the act of rebellion than wanting to be an artist; being seen as an artist was, in a way, a little sissy – Lady Pink 
New York had really given birth to the whole culture of graffiti making in the late 1970s. But while it is now an admired feature of the cityscape, 40 years ago it was seen as a gateway to wider criminality, tied in with African-American and Latino gang culture. Graffiti pieces created to cover the whole side of a subway train (known as ‘bombing’), were seen as a particular problem by the authorities. Millions of dollars were spent on extra security and on ‘buffing’; cleaning the trains with chemical solutions.
Lady Pink was one of the first wave of purveyors of what has now become known as ‘street art’ – though she wouldn’t have understood her work as art at the time. “It was exciting to be a rebel,” she recalls. “We wanted to break the law, we wanted the thrill, the chance to prove your mettle. It was more about the act of rebellion than wanting to be an artist; being seen as an artist was, in a way, a little sissy.”
The street art revolution
However, by the early 1980s, thanks to Basquiat and others, being a bonafide graffiti “artist” had become a very real possibility. A new breed of downtown Manhattan galleries, centered on the East Village, was causing a stir in among the former storefronts and crumbling warehouses. Graffiti art quickly found a home in them and, soon, a hungry market. Stewart’s death came just at the moment when the scene was really beginning to come into its own – and so, on top of everything else, his death represented the horrific endpoint of what was seen as an assault on artistic freedom.
Suzanne Mallouk, Stewart’s former partner, was one of the prime movers behind the Michael Stewart Justice Committee, a voluntary lobby group set up in his memory. “I hired his legal team, raising money from the arts community,” she remembers now. “I went to every gallery that was showing graffiti art and asked for donations. I also got a large donation from Keith Haring, who gave the money from a sale of one of his paintings. Madonna did a show at [nightclub] Danceteria and also donated all the proceeds.”
(Credit: Alamy)
Basquiat, who had also previously been in a long-term relationship with Mallouk, had known Stewart but viewed him as a copycat who tried to imitate his painting style, and even his haircut.
However, perhaps even more so because of these similarities between them, Basquiat was deeply shaken by his death. When he visited Haring’s studio soon after (the exact timescale isn’t known), he began painting a response to it on one of the walls. He worked quickly, in growing anger. The work was cut from the wall and remained in Haring’s collection until he died in 1990.
Basquiat’s grief
Echoing a poster designed by Basquiat’s artistic contemporary David Wojnarowicz to publicize a protest in Union Square on 26 September (while Stewart was still alive, in a coma), The Death of Michael Stewart features a black figure in the middle of two police officers bearing their nightsticks. It’s a painting that at once seems to be a private expression of the artist’s grief and a public document - a protest against state violence.
There is a history of state violence against the black body. And I think that’s what Basquiat’s painting represents - Chaédria LaBouvier 
As the Guggenheim exhibition’s guest curator Chaédria LaBouvier said, explaining the anguish infusing the work, in a 2016 interview  “In 1983, we didn’t have a language around police brutality or white supremacy or state violence to talk about these issues publicly. There was, and is, this very real fear that the police if you’re a black person, can kill you and get away with it. I think Basquiat was aware that this was not just about Michael Stewart or even him, but that there is a history of state violence against the black body. And I think that’s what this painting represents: that history of state violence against the black body as an American heritage.”
(Credit: Collection of Monique and Ziad Ghandour/The Keith Haring foundation)
In 1985, Haring produced his own work, Michael Stewart - the USA For Africa, in response to the tragedy: a garish representation of the moment of arrest, featuring Stewart being strangled and beaten while faces around him cover their eyes. Darren Pih, the curator of the Keith Haring exhibition that opened this month at Tate Liverpool, featuring more than 85 of his works, says that Haring became increasingly politicized through the 1980s, spurred on by racism, the Aids crisis, and the growing nuclear threat: “There’s a touch of hippy innocence about Haring. He was politically active, dealing with serious issues, but in a very communicative way, in a fundamentally optimistic way, with a bright, cranked up the palette.”
They know they killed him. They will never forget his screams, his face, his blood. They must live with that forever – Keith Haring 
Nevertheless, Haring had a lot of anger too. It’s there in the Michael Stewart piece, in stark opposition to his usually upbeat work. Writing in his journals after the Transit Police officers were acquitted, his fury jumps off the page: “They know they killed him. They will never forget his screams, his face, his blood. They must live with that forever. I hope in their next life they are tortured like they tortured him.”
Meanwhile, as investigations continued, Mallouk met with African-American community leaders, briefed the press and talked with lawyers, who arranged for an independent autopsy. Unlike the official autopsy by the city’s Chief Medical Examiner Elliot Gross, this found that Stewart’s cause of death was strangulation; however Gross said there was no evidence of this.
Shockingly, Mallouk claims that Stewart’s eyes were even removed during the original autopsy because they “showed hemorrhaging from an illegal chokehold.” “I presented to Mayor Koch a petition of over 20,000 names demanding an inquiry into Gross’s autopsy because it was a clear cover-up,” she tells BBC Culture. Following multiple allegations of misconduct, including against Stewart, Gross' office was investigated by an independent commission of lawyers and pathologists; Gross was cleared of covering up police brutality, but, following a further investigation, he was eventually fired by Koch for bad management in 1987.
After the officers’ acquittal, the Stewart family also filed a civil suit against the 11 men in question and the Metropolitan Transit Authority. Eventually, in 1990, under the city’s new mayor, David Dinkins, they were awarded $1.7million out of court in 1990 in a settlement paid by the Transit Authority (though it did "not constitute any admission of wrongdoing" according to the Mayor's office.
Lady Pink has no doubt about what happened, she says; she can distinctly remember the day after Stewart’s arrest overhearing a policeman telling subway workers about the incident. “I’m standing [at] my train station coming home from school, reading a book and I hear a cop talking to some of the workers from the transit authority, bragging to them how ‘last night we beat this kid so bad that he was banging his own head on the tile wall…’ I pretended to carry on reading my book, but I was listening to them, this bunch of five or six white guys laughing about what had happened. It was a sheer hate crime.”
Basquiat’s Defacement: The Untold Story is at The Solomon R Guggenheim Museum, New York, until 6 November
Keith Haring is at Tate Liverpool, until 10 November

Featured Posts

Tenn. Gov. Bill Lee Signs Bill to Allow Adoption Agencies to Deny to Gay Couples

Every kid you see in all three photos are either homeless or orphans Joel Ebert   ...