Showing posts with label Police Abuse. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Police Abuse. Show all posts

September 8, 2018

Young Man is Black and His Grandma is White, Police in Wisconsin Put him in Handcuffs, Assumed It Was A Robbery





Police stopped, drew guns and handcuffed a black teenager on suspicion that he was robbing two white women he was in a car with, before it emerged that one of them was his grandmother and the other was giving them both a ride home from church.
The incident took place in Wauwatosa, in Milwaukee County, Wisconsin, on Sunday, after a bystander told police that he had witnessed what looked like a robbery of two white women in a blue Lexus vehicle. Police officers stopped the car and told the 18-year-old man, whose name was not given, to step out with his hands up, go on his knees and enter the police vehicle, before one of the officers approached the Lexus and soon realized the mistake.
“This is my grandson,” one of the women is heard telling the officer who asked her if she was OK, according to dashcam footage of the incident, broadcast by local NBC-affiliate TMJ4. “We’re on our way home from church to my house.”
The officer can be heard apologizing for “that guy not knowing what he was talking about,” referring to the man who had driven by the police vehicle to alert officers that the young man in the women’s car was “robbing them right now.”
 I’m sure he saw two old white ladies in a car with a black kid and he made some assumptions,” the woman can be heard saying, before the officer informed her that the man in question was black himself. “Oh my God. Then it’s even worse,” the woman exclaimed. The woman assured the officer that the teenager was no threat to either of them, telling the officer that her friend had known him since he was very young.
“It’s all good, he’s her grandson,” one officer is heard shouting to the squad car, before the young man was released.
GettyImages-508157806
The police officers said they could not locate the bystander who had alerted them to question him formally on what led him to suspect the young man was robbing the two women. Attorney Joy Bertrand told USA Today that she had requested Wauwatosa Police Department’s files on the case to investigate whether there was any legitimate basis for police intervention.

"After we take a look at whatever basis they have for stopping and harassing this family, we will be able to comment further," Bertrand said. 
Police said that although they drew their handguns, they pointed them in a safe direction during the stop. 

August 19, 2017

Police in Some Localities Want to Fill Their Sex Offender Registries with Cruising Men










Intro:  I believe that every gay man should come out and get their sex through a relationship or downloading a computer application that allows them that. I also believe this nation was founded in secular believes (constitution does not even mention god) not on religion but freedom of and from religion, So I wish religions would stop telling lies about history and gays and churches wont discriminate against gays if they wanted to worship. Those are wishes that are just that, wishes or pipe dreams. Reality tells me these things are not going to happen on my lifetime therefore I want protection from anyone who is gay and for whatever reasons cannot come out or wont come out.  

Gays already deserve not to be chased by cops paid to keep gays and straights alike safe. Keeping straights from seeing gays or gays cruising does them no harm and it by itself does not attract crime. To have the cops chasing gay men which usually are closetted, bi sexual men living a straight life, do not deserve to be put in a sexual abuser registry for life because they cruised for sex. The registry was put in place to protect children, mainly from straight parents, relatives, friends and neighbors from sexually abusing them. Men cruising for men has nothing to do with children's safety or abuse. Jail was one way to pusnish gays for something they are by nature and some wether gay themselves or straights looking to pusnish gays would love to bring back and if not that any other tool they can use to punish this segment o society. Some even believe to control them, like if making people suffer control their births. Others think keeping gay men afraid keeps them from coming out are well aware that there is where their polical power is based, in their coming out.   [Adam]
Now to our news story:
                                                                     _*_
Police set up hidden cameras in two known cruising areas for two months. The cameras also caught license plate numbers so the police could start making arrests. 
Sheriff William Snyder says police had to set up this sting because there are children at these locations, and of course every space needs to be set aside for children.
“My first concern when I heard about this behavior was for the safety of the families using that area,” Snyder said. His worries were confirmed by one close call recorded by the cameras.
“Right after one or two of these sexual encounters, a family uninvolved in any behavior happened to just walk by,” Snyder said.
I’m sure it isn’t agreeable for someone with kids to walk in on public sex, but that doesn’t make it a “safety” issue. Unless a gay guy stabbed one of the families, then we’re talking about unseemly behavior.
But when we’re talking about gay people having sex, straight people’s heads explode. Snyder didn’t even notice that there’s no direct connection between safety and accidentally seeing gay sex, it’s just that gay sex is terrible and disgusting so clearly people will be scarred for life if they see it.
The article also notes that this has been a cruising area for years now. If the worst “safety” issue is someone accidentally walking in, then maybe the issue isn’t really safety?
Moreover, if someone went there to beat up the queers, would those cruising feel comfortable calling police? If a group of people decided to mug the men, then would the police have been concerned about their safety? The adversarial approach to men who are looking for a little loving in all the wrong places only makes people less safe, but then it appears like only some people’s safety matters.
And if anyone was concerned with safety here, then maybe the local news wouldn’t have run the mugshots of those arrested as if this were 1976. The harassment that will generate alone is probably far more than anything these folks did to others. 
Safety issues aside, there is a real issue when it comes to sharing public space. Considering how public cruising areas have been set up in so many cities, and in so many countries, and for so long, it shows that there’s a real need for this sort of space and there are ways to manage the issues that brings up. If these specific areas were actually a problem because of the children (and not just in the “children could be anywhere” sense), then a uniformed officer could have been sent in.
The problem with that idea, though, is that it’s really too effective.
“The problem we have is because it’s so open, the people that are engaged in this behavior see us coming, so traditional law enforcement methods didn’t work.”
So the people cruising would leave if the police were there? How in the world is instantly stopping the targetted behavior proof that these methods don’t work? They could have sent uniformed officers in regularly for a few months instead of using spy equipment, and word would have spread to stop going to these specific areas. 
But then the goal is to arrest gay men and put fill up sex offender registries (because men who have sex with adults and go to secluded areas to do it clearly should not be allowed to live near schools or hold jobs). In that sense, Snyder has a point – hidden cameras result in more arrests.
And Snyder said here that the police are going to put cameras up in more areas to arrest more people as new cruising areas pop up.
I’m willing to buy that children might walk in on one specific cruising area if it’s poorly placed. But it strains credulity to hear that there is no area in the entire county that isn’t crawling with teeny-boppers. 
Public cruising generates some real problems that need to be addressed, but making arrests isn’t the answer. Set up a real alternative and most of the problem will be solved. The folks who go to cruising sites aren’t trying to cause problems.

May 6, 2017

Indonesian Police Threatening LGBT Civil Rights with Arrests Targeting Gays






An Indonesian police raid targeting gay men in Surabaya, Indonesia, on April 30, 2017, threatens the rights of the country’s already beleaguered lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community, Human Rights Watch said today. The police ordered 14 men to undergo HIV tests and arrested eight of those men on charges of violating the country’s draconian and discriminatory anti-pornography law.

The police, acting on tip-offs from neighbors, carried out a midnight raid on the 14 men, who had gathered in two rooms of a hotel in central Surabaya, Indonesia’s second largest city, according to local activists and media reports. Police detained the group while confiscating condoms, mobile phones, and a flash drive that allegedly contained pornographic videos, among other items.

On May 1, police informed the media that all 14 men underwent tests for sexually transmitted infection, including a rapid test for HIV, and that five had tested HIV positive. The police indicated that eight of the men were detained on Law on Pornography charges, and that two of them would be charged with organizing the event and providing pornography – offenses carrying prison terms of up to 15 years.

“Indonesian police are again violating the basic rights of LGBT people by invading their privacy,” said Phelim Kine, deputy Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “The Surabaya raid subjected these gay men to traumatic humiliation, puts two at risk of long prison terms, and threatens the privacy rights of all Indonesians.”

Mandatory HIV testing is contrary to the ethical and human rights principles of privacy, autonomy, and informed consent. Under the World Health Organization’s 2015 Guidelines on HIV Testing and Counseling, “Mandatory, compulsory or coercive HIV testing is never appropriate.”

The two men who allegedly organized the party face charges of violating the Law on Pornography, which prohibits sex parties and the use of pornography, and the Electronics Information and Transaction Law, which prohibits making accessible electronic content that contains “indecent” material. Indonesia’s Law on Pornography defines “deviant sexual acts” to include: sex with corpses, sex with animals, oral sex, anal sex, lesbian sex, and male homosexual sex.

The arrests in Surabaya follow an unprecedented anti-LGBT campaign in 2016 that featured a series of biased and false statements about LGBT people from government officials and politicians. The anti-LGBT onslaught led to harassment and violence against LGBT Indonesians and death threats by militant Islamists. Government institutions, including the National Broadcasting Commission and the National Child Protection Commission, issued censorship directives banning information and broadcasts that portrayed the lives of LGBT people as “normal,” as well as so-called “propaganda” about LGBT lives.

Despite President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s rhetorical support for the basic human rights of Indonesia’s LGBT community, the authorities target the vulnerable minority with impunity, Human Rights Watch said. In April, authorities in Aceh province arrested two men for allegedly having consensual sex in the privacy of their home. The men face a public flogging sentence – which violates international legal prohibitions against torture – under the province’s Sharia (Islamic law) ordinances.

Privacy rights are a fundamental protection that underlie everyone’s physical autonomy and identity, Human Rights Watch said. The United Nations Human Rights Committee, the independent body of experts that interprets the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), to which Indonesia is party, has stated: “it is undisputed that adult consensual sexual activity in private is covered by the concept of ‘privacy.’”

In 2013 Indonesia co-sponsored a UN Human Rights Council resolution on the right to privacy. In the report on that resolution, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights reminded governments that privacy rights (enshrined in ICCPR article 17) should be upheld jointly with the right to nondiscrimination (ICCPR article 26).

“So long as the government permits police raids on private gatherings under a discriminatory law, it will fail to curb anti-LGBT harassment and intimidation.” Kine said. “President Jokowi should make good on his commitments to protect privacy rights and put an end to state-sanctioned discrimination.”


November 3, 2016

Ugandans Emphasize Police Use Torture to Proof Homosexuality









It was early in the morning when Jackson Mukasa was awakened by the chants outside his Kampala home. 
"The homos are in there!" the crowd yelled, banging spoons on metal cooking pots. 
Mukasa, a 21-year-old gay man living in the Ugandan capital, was terrified. 
"We opened the door, and there were police and people everywhere. The local councilman was there, yelling 'Out with the homos! You are scaring people in the area.' I still have scars from the beatings that followed," Mukasa said. 
It was January 2014. After being beaten by the mob, the police took Mukasa and a male friend staying with him in for questioning, he said. 
They were both subjected to forced anal examinations, said Mukasa. 
"We were questioned, beaten again, forced to admit to homosexuality. They took us to … (a) clinic in Kampala where we were examined," he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation. 
"It is so painful. The doctor puts a machine up your rectum. It hurts so much, and there is blood," he said in a phone interview.  

Photo taken on February 14, 2010 shows Ugandans taking part in an anti-gay demonstration at Jinja, Kampala. Trevor Snapp / AFP/Getty Images

ILLEGAL
Uganda is one of 36 countries in Africa where homosexuality is illegal, and one of eight countries globally where Human Rights Watch has compiled evidence of the use of forced anal examinations to "prove" homosexuality. 
Emilian Kayima, a Kampala police spokesman, denied that forced examinations took place. 
"We do not need anal examination to prove a person is gay. When we arrest gay people, we take them to the courts of law because what they are engaging in is illegal under the laws of Uganda," Kayima told the Thomson Reuters Foundation. 
"If any gay person claims they have been tortured or forced to undergo anal examination, they need to come forward with evidence stating when and where it happened instead of running to the press to make baseless claims," Kayima added. 
The Ugandan health ministry declined to answer questions from the Thomson Reuters Foundation. 
However, local rights campaigners and Human Rights Watch say Mukasa is one of several victims of forced anal examinations in the east African country. They say while the practice is used ostensibly to prevent the transmission of HIV, it is merely a form of discrimination and abuse. 
Uganda lawyer Nicholas Opiyo is preparing a constitutional case to ban forced anal examinations. He believes the HIV and AIDS Prevention and Control Act is used illegally, as an excuse to "prove" homosexuality. 
"They are using the law as an excuse to carry out the examinations. We want them banned," he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation from Kampala in a phone interview. 
"In all the cases we have dealt with, people are arrested and taken to certain clinics," he said, describing how Mukasa's case was typical. 
DEHUMANIZE
Like most of sub-Saharan Africa, Uganda is highly religious and socially conservative. Violence against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people is common and politicians have long tried to pass legislation that denies basic rights to the LGBT community. 
A law passed more than two years ago, punishing gay sex with long prison terms, provoked an international storm of protest and led some donor countries to withhold aid. 
The constitutional court overturned the law - formerly known as the "Kill the Gays" bill because a first draft included the death penalty for gay sex - on a technicality in August 2014. 
Cases like Mukasa's are not designed to get LGBT people convicted in court, according to Opiyo. "The examinations aren't used as evidence, they are used as a tool to dehumanize and stigmatize," he said. 
Mukasa, who used to work in a restaurant, said police and authorities made no attempt to hide his identity. "I cannot walk the street, I cannot get medicine, I do not have any money and cannot claim benefits because I am a homosexual," he said. 
According to experts such examinations have no validity, either legally or medically. 
"There is absolutely no value in such examinations for this purpose," Vincent Iacopino, medical director at Physicians for Human Rights, said by phone from the United States. 
He said the examinations were unethical, harmful, and in some cases, torture. 
Asger Kjaerum, advocacy director at the International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims, agreed. "These practices lack both scientific value and violate international standards on the ban of torture and ill-treatment," he said in an email from Copenhagen. 
SURGE OF EXAMINATIONS
Homosexuality was banned in Uganda in 1952. In recent years, assaults against LGBT people have been on the rise, according to Human Rights Watch, fueled by the anti-gay policies of President Yoweri Museveni's government. 
"Heated discourse around the passage of the Anti-Homosexuality Act and its draconian provisions appears to have led to an increase in harassment of persons perceived to be LGBT by civilians and the police alike," Neela Ghoshal, senior researcher at Human Rights Watch, said in a report this year. 
Human rights lawyer Opiyo is currently preparing his case, and expects to file it within the coming months. "Anal examinations are a form of torture, a violation of the Ugandan Constitution, the African Charter, and international human rights. We want them banned," he said. 
"If the court declares the practice unconstitutional, the examinations will be unlawful, meaning anyone engaged in performing the examinations could be sued," he said. 
Mukasa's case was eventually dismissed due to lack of evidence, but he says he feels convicted, and is serving a sentence - albeit out of jail. 
He has changed his identity since the case, and is now living in a shelter, isolated from family and friends. 
"I have lost my job because of the case," he said. "People know who I am, I can't leave my house. I cannot get a taxi, I cannot get a job, all because of the case.”

Reuters
nbcnews.com

October 12, 2016

FaceBook,Tweeter, Instagram Block Police Spying Softwere’Geofedia’







A new report from the American Civil Liberties Union is spotlighting the way cops keep tabs on protesters and civil unrest via social media — but it's a way that Twitter, Instagram and Facebook don't like. 
Twitter announced Tuesday it was "immediately suspending" access to Geofeedia, a company that gives clients real-time information about users that can be exploited for marketing purposes. 
Geofeedia also counts about 500 police departments and law enforcement agencies as customers, and has provided data during major protests, such as in Ferguson, Missouri, and Baltimore.

Twitter's crackdown follows the decision last month by Facebook and Instagram to terminate Geofeedia's access. Facebook stressed that the company "only had access to data that people chose to make public." 
Meanwhile, Twitter's developer policy prohibits partner developers from using data to "investigate, track or surveil" its users. 
Police departments that watch people on social media has alarmed civil liberties groups, which say doing so could stifle freedom of expression and be used as an arrest tool. 
In addition, minority communities are most at risk of being targeted during protests highlighting racial injustice, according to Matt Cagle, the ACLU of Northern California's technology and civil liberties policy attorney. 
"Social media monitoring is spreading fast and is a powerful example of surveillance technology that can disproportionately impact communities of color," Cagle wrote
Geofeedia has labeled activist groups and unions as "overt threats," according to company materials obtained by the ACLU
“We know for a fact that in Oakland and Baltimore, law enforcement has used Geofeedia to monitor protests," Cagle wrote.

Geofeedia did not respond to a request from NBC News for comment about its relationship with law enforcement or the social media platforms cutting ties. 
In a statement provided to VICE's Motherboard, Geofeedia defended its product, saying it has "in place clear policies and guidelines to prevent the inappropriate use of our software" — ultimately allowing police to do their jobs while protecting civil liberties. 
"Geofeedia will continue to engage with key civil liberty stakeholders, including the ACLU, and the law enforcement community to make sure that we do everything in our power to support the security of the American people and the protection of personal freedoms," the company said. 
Some police departments have shelled out tens of thousands of dollars in contracts with Geofeedia, which is also used by journalists and retailers. 
The Baltimore County Police Department touted its use of the software in a "case study" obtained by the ACLU. Police relied on the service when riots broke out in Baltimore in April 2015 following the death of black man Freddie Gray while in police custody. 
"In some cases, police officers were even able to run social media photos through facial recognition technology to discover rioters with outstanding warrants and arrest them directly from the crowd," the Geofeedia case study said.  
Baltimore County police spokeswoman Elise Armacost praised Geofeedia as a "valuable law enforcement tool," and said in an email to NBC News that it can be used during cases of school threats and criminal investigations.  
"There is no difference between a detective who reads someone's open source tweets and a detective who hears someone say something on an incident scene," Armacost said. "Law enforcement has an obligation to use available tools to gather information critical to public safety." 
She added that the Baltimore County Police Department is assessing whether to continue its contract with Geofeedia given the clamp down by social media platforms. 
T.J. Smith, a spokesman for the Baltimore city police, said his department will also review its contract with Geofeedia and evaluate whether it remains effective. The city has an $18,000 a year contract, The Baltimore Sun reported
While Geofeedia may now be cut off from some of the popular social media networks, activists are worried that there aren't enough safeguards from barring them in the future. 
The web-focused racial justice group Color Of Change called on Twitter and Facebook to do more. 
“Facebook and especially Twitter have built their brands on the backs of Black users," campaign director Brandi Collins said in a statement, adding, "Both companies need to immediately develop publicly accessible policies that prevent these types of harmful deals from happening again in the future."

ERIK ORTIZ
nbcnews.com

September 20, 2016

Tulsa Police Officer Kills Unarmed Motorist with Hands Up(Graphic Warning)





Dash cam footage shows the fatal police shooting of Terence Crutcher in Tulsa, Oklahoma. WARNING: Video contains graphic footage. Viewer discretion is advised. Video by Mic

Terence Crutcher, a Tulsa, Oklahoma, man who was fatally shot by a police officer last week, was not armed, nor was a weapon found in his SUV, the city’s police chief said Monday.

Police Chief Chuck Jordan said no weapon was recovered from the scene of the shooting, after a white officer shot and killed the 40-year-old black man. Jordan didn’t volunteer more details about the shooting.

Following Monday’s news conference, the Tulsa Police Department released the dash cam video of the confrontation, Tulsa World reported(WARNING: Video above contains graphic footage.)

Responding to reports of a stalled vehicle Friday night, two officers found Crutcher nearby his vehicle, police spokeswoman Jeanne MacKenzie said at a news conference Saturday. MacKenzie said Crutcher failed to follow repeated commands from the officers.

“As [the officers] got closer to the vehicle, [Crutcher] reached inside the vehicle and at that time there was a Taser deployment and a short time later there was one shot fired,” she told reporters.
Crutcher later died that night at a local hospital.

On Sunday, police identified Betty Shelby as the officer who shot her weapon, Tulsa World reported. Officer Tyler Turnbough deployed his Taser.

In one of the videos released today, Crutcher can be seen with his hands up as he walks toward his SUV as several officers approach him. However, once Crutcher appears to put his hands on the vehicle, it’s difficult to make out what is happening as the officers surround him.
At one point, Crutcher can be seen collapsing to the ground. Overheard in the video is police radio chatter that says, “I think he may have just been Tasered.” Shortly after, someone is heard saying “Shots fired,” a statement that’s repeated on the police radio as well.

In another video from Tulsa police’s helicopter camera, someone is heard saying that Crutcher looked like a “bad dude.”
WARNING: Video contains graphic footage. Viewer discretion is advised. Video by Tulsa World
The Justice Department said today it has opened a civil rights probe into the shooting, after the Tulsa police chief contacted the agency over the weekend to help with the investigation.

Tulsa police released the video footage of the shooting to select community leaders and family members prior to its release to the public.

Crutcher’s sister, Tiffany, has demanded that criminal charges by filed against the officer who took her brother’s life. Tiffany has also asked for peaceful protests following Crutcher’s death, the Associated Press reported.

Damario Solomon-Simmons, the family’s lawyer, said the footage showed that Crutcher didn’t make any sudden movements. Solomon-Simmons also questioned some of the claims made in police statements about the timing of Crutcher’s death.

 On Sunday, Rodney Goss, a pastor in north Tulsa who was able to view the footage beforehand, told Tulsa World that Crutcher’s “hands were in the air from all views.”
After an officer shot Crutcher, “a couple minutes it appears, but it seemed like a lifetime, went by before anyone actually checked with him as far as pulse — as far as whatever the case may be,” he added.

 
pbs.org/newshour/rundown/tulsa-police




July 20, 2016

State Troopers Charged with Assault After Beating Motorist


 
In this scene from video shot from a news helicopter, officers from several departments converge on Richard Simone after he was subdued outside his truck on a dead-end street in Nashua following a two-state chase. (REUTERS)    


Authorities in New Hampshire arrested two state troopers Tuesday and charged them with assault for their actions during a violent arrest captured on video earlier this year.

After a long police chase that began in Massachusetts and ended in New Hampshire, at least two officers were seen on the video repeatedly punching the driver who had led the pursuit.

After video of the May 11 incident began to spread online, Joseph Foster, the New Hampshire attorney general, launched a criminal investigation into the episode. New Hampshire State Police and Massachusetts State Police each pulled a trooper involved in the incident from duty while the investigation was carried out.

Foster said Joseph Flynn, 32, of the Massachusetts State Police, and Andrew Monaco, 31, of the New Hampshire State Police were arrested and charged with simple assault for their use of force during the arrest. Flynn was charged with two counts of simple assault, while Monaco was charged with three counts of simple assault.

The car chase began when police in Holden, Mass., tried to stop a pickup truck driven by Richard Simone of Worcester, according to the Massachusetts State Police. Simone, 50, was the subject of warrants for assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, larceny and failure to stop for officers, authorities said.

— Mark Berman

CONNECTICUT
Father, son must testify about drones
A federal judge has ordered a father and his teenage son to testify under oath at depositions and hand over documents about drones shown in online videos firing a gun and deploying a flamethrower in their back yard.

Judge Jeffrey Meyer ruled Monday in the case of Bret Haughwout and his son, Austin Haughwout, 19, who have refused to comply with Federal Aviation Administration subpoenas seeking their testimony and documents. The judge ordered them to comply within 30 days.

Austin Haughwout uploaded the videos to his YouTube channel last year. One video, viewed nearly 3.8 million times, shows a flying drone equipped with a handgun firing rounds. Another video, viewed nearly 600,000 times, shows a flying drone with a flamethrower lighting up a spit-roasting Thanksgiving turkey.

Federal prosecutors, on behalf of the FAA, argued the subpoenas are part of a legitimate investigation into potential violations of FAA regulations banning people from operating “aircraft” in a reckless manner.

The Haughwouts’ lawyer, Mario Cerame, told the judge in New Haven that the subpoenas violate their constitutional right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures and questioned the agency’s authority to regulate recreational drones.

— Associated Press

Crane crash halts traffic on New York bridge: A huge crane toppled off the new Tappan Zee Bridge under construction north of New York City and collapsed across the busy span it is replacing, halting traffic Tuesday afternoon on the key Hudson River crossing. No cars were hit by the crane’s arm as it came down about noon, but Rockland County Executive Ed Day wrote on Twitter that three people sustained minor injuries when vehicles swerved and stopped to avoid the wreckage. The Coast Guard said the crane’s operator was rescued from the water after the collapse.

Sewage spill closes beaches around Los Angeles: At least 1.5 million gallons of sewage spewed from a 90-year-old pipe that burst in an industrial area near downtown Los Angeles, leading beaches to close 20 miles downriver in Long Beach, officials said Tuesday. The top of the 60-inch underground sewer pipe collapsed Monday afternoon, causing a blockage and forcing it to overflow and belch a stinky sludge onto streets and into drains that flow into the concrete-bottomed Los Angeles River. Workers stopped the spill in a commercial district filled with warehouses about 11 p.m., said Heather Johnson of L.A.’s Bureau of Sanitation.

Alaska mountain goat drowns after being crowded out by tourists: A mountain goat drowned after photo-taking onlookers crowded the wild animal at a boat harbor in Seward, Alaska, and it leaped from rocks into the ocean, an official said Tuesday. The animal swam out into Resurrection Bay but was unable to climb back onto the rocks due to the people standing there gawking at it, which led to it drowning on Saturday, Alaska state troopers said in an online dispatch.

— From news services

June 23, 2016

Toronto Police Chief to Make Apology for Raids at Gay Baths in 1981




                                                                         


Toronto’s police chief is set to make a historic apology on Wednesday for a string of raids on gay bathhouses in 1981 – a watershed for gay rights in Canada and the catalyst for Toronto’s annual pride parade which is now one of the biggest celebrations of its kind in the world.

On 5 February 1981, 286 men were arrested on charges of prostitution and indecency when uniformed and plainclothes police officers stormed four of the largest gay bathhouses in the city.

It remains one of the largest mass arrests in Canadian history, but the raids are now better remembered as the country’s equivalent to the Stonewall riots.

“Gay people realized that they had to band together, they had to get political, and they had to stand up for their rights,” said Ron Rosenes, who was 33 when he was arrested at the Romans II bathhouse that night.

“I was alone in my room when all of a sudden all hell broke loose,” he told the Guardian. “I heard the police knocking on doors and they came to my door and basically bashed it in. And I was brusquely and roughly escorted to the front of the building.”

He was handed a summons to appear in court, and allowed to dress and go home, but still remembers it as a traumatic experience.

Most charges under the country’s “bawdy house” laws were later either dropped or dismissed, but many of the men outed by the police that night had their lives ruined, Rosenes said.

“I had it easier than a lot of the men who weren’t out of the closet, weren’t supported by friends and family like me, and who were at other bathhouses where there was a lot more violence,” he said.

Widely perceived as a deliberate attempt by police to silence gay activism in Toronto, the raids instead galvanized the gay community and its allies.

Around 3,000 protesters took to the streets the next night in a hastily organized protest against the arrests and police harassment.

Ken Popert, who at the time worked for the now defunct gay newspaper the Body Politic, said the raids marked a turning point for what had previously been a fractured community.
“I was actually dreading going to the demonstration that night because I was expecting the usual bedraggled 150 familiar faces,” he said. “But when I arrived there were already a thousand people there – the sidewalks were overflowing.”

Toronto’s police chief, Mark Saunders, is expected to apologize to the city’s LGBT community in a speech on Wednesday afternoon.

Dennis Findlay, president of the Gay and Lesbian Archives, was among a group of activists who approached Saunders a few months ago suggesting the police apologize.

“It’s long overdue but it is most appropriate,” he said.

But Findlay said Wednesday’s apology is just a first step in improving the force’s relationship with marginalized communities throughout Canada’s largest city.

“How do they deal with the trans community? How do they deal with the black community? How do they deal with the aboriginal community? That’s the shortlist,” he said.

“They have to start working with the communities who are minorities within our society, work with them on how to move forward so they don’t continue to make these stupid mistakes.”

Saunders is also expected to apologize for a raid in 2000 by several police officers on an all-female bathhouse event, which led to an Ontario Human Rights Commission settlement in 2005 that included sensitivity training for all Toronto police officers on gay and lesbian issues.

Canada decriminalized homosexuality in 1969, but it was only in 1996 the country’s LGBT community gained federal protection against discrimination under the Canadian Human Rights Act. Ontario added sexual orientation to its human rights code in 1986.


June 21, 2016

Justice Sotomayor Boiling Over Minority Dissent on Authorizing Illegal Searches



                                                                         


In a so-far-sleepy Supreme Court term, Justice Sonia Sotomayor let loose a scorching dissent in a case involving the Fourth Amendment and police conduct on Monday. The majority opinion, Sotomayor wrote, "says that your body is subject to invasion while courts excuse the violation of your rights." 

Justice Clarence Thomas wrote the court's opinion on behalf of five justices, including all of the other Republican appointees and Democratic appointee Justice Stephen Breyer. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg joined most of Sotomayor's dissent, as well as a separate dissent by Justice Elena Kagan. 

Sotomayor's remarkably direct dissent went far beyond the specific question of the case, tapping directly into the zeitgeist of the Black Lives Matter movement and criminal justice reform. It cites the Department of Justice's report from Ferguson, Missouri, on police misconduct and books like Michelle Alexander's "The New Jim Crow," Ta-Nehisi Coates' "Between the World and Me" and James Baldwin's 1963 classic "The Fire Next Time." 

 Of people "routinely targeted by the police," Sotomayor wrote, "Until their voices matter too, our justice system will continue to be anything but." 

The case concerns Edward Strieff, who was stopped while leaving a house a police officer was watching on suspicion of drug activity. When the officer discovered Strieff had an outstanding warrant for a minor traffic violation, he searched Strieff and found methamphetamine. The court had to decide whether the drugs found on Strieff could be used as evidence or whether such evidence was disqualified by the Fourth Amendment's prohibition on "unreasonable searches and seizures." 

Evidence in the Strieff case, Thomas wrote for the majority, was "admissible because the officer's discovery of the arrest warrant attenuated the connection between the unlawful stop and the evidence seized incident to arrest." 

Sotomayor retorted, "The Court today holds that the discovery of a warrant for an unpaid parking ticket will forgive a police officer's violation of your Fourth Amendment rights. Do not be soothed by the opinion's technical language: This case allows the police to stop you on the street, demand your identification, and check it for outstanding traffic warrants — even if you are doing nothing wrong." 

Early in her career, Sotomayor worked as a prosecutor in Manhattan — not exactly the redoubt of the soft on crime. Still, she wrote, in the only portion of the dissenting opinion Ginsburg didn't join, "Writing only for myself, and drawing on my professional experiences, I would add that unlawful 'stops' have severe consequences much greater than the inconvenience suggested by the name." 

She added that the fact that the officer did in fact find drugs on Strieff didn't matter: "A basic principle lies at the heart of the Fourth Amendment: Two wrongs don't make a right." 

She described at length all the encroachments a police officer can lawfully make on an individual, from invasive physical searches to handcuffing to a lasting arrest record. 

Strieff is white, Sotomayor noted, but that doesn't mean racial profiling isn't at the heart of this case. "The white defendant in this case shows that anyone's dignity can be violated in this manner … But it is no secret that people of color are disproportionate victims of this type of scrutiny … For generations, black and brown parents have given their children 'the talk' — instructing them never to run down the street; always keep your hands where they can be seen; do not even think of talking back to a stranger — all out of fear of how an officer with a gun will react to them." 

Validating “the talk" under color of law, Sotomayor concluded, "implies that you are not a citizen of a democracy but the subject of a carceral state, just waiting to be cataloged."                                                                      



IRIN CARMON NBC

June 12, 2016

When Lawyer Shows up in Court in China: ‘He Better have clean underwear’


 
A photo showing Wu Liangshu in a ripped shirt and trousers
Mr Wu was allegedly assaulted by three officers inside a courtroom, in front of two judges who rejected his request to file a case in the district court of Nanning
 Plenty of Chinese lawyers have been harassed, detained, even jailed in China but the photograph of one with his clothes reportedly torn off him by police has drawn plenty of attention in China.
Wu Liangshu stood in the Qingxiu District Court wearing the remnants of his suit with his bare leg and underpants showing. 
He and other lawyers were telling court officials that he had been assaulted by three officers inside a courtroom in front of two judges who also happened to reject his request to file a case in the district court of Nanning in Guangxi Province.
Mr Wu was offered a new set of clothes but he knew the power of what he was about to do. "No thanks," he said.
The lawyer then walked out the front door of the court complex carrying his court materials, with a pen still stuck in the top pocket of his ripped open shirt.
He was then photographed outside the building. 
It was a simple act of defiance.
If his goal was to draw attention to what happened to him and what Chinese lawyers face every day then it worked.
Wu Liangshu told the BBC: "I wasn't shocked. I have heard plenty of weird and violent stories of things happening to lawyers in China but I didn't expect it to happen to me".
The officers, on the other hand, say that he refused to hand over his mobile phone when they asked for it. They had accused him of making illegal recordings of court officials.
BBC

May 25, 2016

Cops Seem to be Lying about Beating a Gay Man at a Pride Party at Home





The cops accused of beating up a Brooklyn man at his gay pride house party are changing their stories, the victim’s lawyer says.
Jabbar Campbell was busted on trumped-up charges three years ago, when homophobic cops brutally beat him before a failed attempt to trash his reputation, his lawyer says.
With Campbell now acquitted on all counts, the Daily News has learned the officers in his case provided testimony contradicting both their initial version of the arrest — and their fellow cops.
“The officers involved in this case lied about what happened,” lawyer Eric Subin told the Daily News. “It’s been one lie after another.”
Campbell, who has endured a dozen surgeries since his Jan. 13, 2013, arrest, views the police now as barely better than the people they put behind bars.
“It’s frightening to think about, really,” said Campbell, 35.
The initial police version of the arrest was simple: Campbell was arrested at his gay pride house party in Crown Heights because he shoved a sergeant and resisted arrest. Campbell was injured as police used necessary force to subdue him.
But the tale went topsy-turvy when the cops were questioned by Campbell’s attorney.


NYC PAPERS OUT. Social media use restricted to low res file max 184 x 128 pixels and 72 dpi

Jabbar Campbell at his previous home at 1313 Sterling Place in Brooklyn on Wednesday April 27, 2016 where he was beaten by police during a party he was hosting three years ago.

 (SUSAN WATTS/NEW YORK DAILY NEWS)
Sgt. Juan Moreno, the supervisor at the scene, provided various sets of facts — sometimes offering different explanations moments apart.
“Listen, I don’t remember the details,” he told Subin during a deposition.
The self-described “sexually liberated” Campbell, who had no criminal record, was throwing a pride party for about 80 friends at his Sterling Place home when cops were called. Police came and left the home at one point, issuing a warning to keep the noise down.
A short time later, at about 3 a.m., police returned and claimed they were told by a man outside that his brother was held captive inside the house. 
As police moved toward the front door, Moreno was seen on surveillance video climbing atop a railing — and then turning the camera lens away from the entrance.
The sergeant later said that when he peered through the door’s window he saw three men, including Campbell, adjusting their waistbands as if they were armed. Moving the lens was done only to deprive the trio of a possible tactical advantage, he insisted.
What happened next depends on the account. Campbell said he descended the stairs amid the commotion and heard Moreno yell “Get him!” and was beaten senseless. The cops mocked him with anti-gay slurs, searched his home without a warrant and arrested him on bogus charges.
Police said Campbell swung his arms wildly, screaming and yelling, as he shoved the muscular Moreno into a hallway wall.
But Campbell was not charged with assault. Instead, he was busted for resisting arrest, obstructing governmental administration, disorderly conduct, and possession of both marijuana and Ecstasy.
The mysterious brother, if he existed, was never found. Campbell said he had no drugs on him, and those charges were dismissed as he awaited trial on the other counts.
On March 1, 2013, just a few days before the start of the trial, three Brooklyn North Narcotics cops appeared at his home to investigate a complaint of marijuana trafficking.
Subin and Campbell believe the case was concocted by police in a bid to enter Campbell's home and dig up some dirt.
Campbell wasn't home, but his roommates and some friends were.


Police came and left Campbell's home at one point, issuing a warning to keep the noise down.

Police came and left Campbell's home at one point, issuing a warning to keep the noise down.

 (HANDOUT)
No drugs were recovered, though the supervising officer, Capt. Stephen Espinoza said he spied a small ziplock bag of marijuana on a table, and
a man sitting with his back to the door and holding a marijuana joint. The video instead showed the man working at a bank of electronic equipment — without any drugs.
Espinoza refused to back down, even after seeing the video.
"Would you agree with me that the gentleman was not smoking marijuana?" Subin asked during a deposition.
"I agree the video doesn't show it," Espinoza responded. "I would say the video footage is at a certain angle and I distinctly recall before entering the apartment observing the individual smoking a marijuana cigarette at the computer."
Subin said the video also contradicts the contention of another officer, Jonas Bazile. The cop claimed in his deposition that police didn't enter the upstairs apartment until he tried unsuccessfully to determine who lived there — first by speaking with one of the men at the door, then by shouting out to others inside.
"I believed they were trespassers," Bazile said in his deposition.
 "The video doesn't show anyone at the door talking to Officer Bazile," Subin told the News. "The video shows the officers just walking in."
After Campbell filed a CCRB complaint against the narcotics cops, the agency substantiated the allegation that Espinoza approved an unjustified apartment search. The captain was eventually docked 7 vacation days.
Testifying about the house party bust, Officer Michael McManus admitted in his deposition that he was wrong to say in a sworn criminal complaint that he saw Campbell push Moreno — and that he spoke to the man who alleged his brother was a prisoner inside.
It was Moreno — and Moreno only — who alleged Campbell shoved him and claimed to have heard about the man's brother, McManus contended.
“I was a brand new cop,” McManus said. “I definitely made some mistakes in that affidavit.”
Espinoza, Bazile, Moreno and McManus either refused comment or didn’t respond to a request for comment.
Asked if the Law Department has notified police about various testimony discrepancies, an NYPD spokesman said only that there was no Internal Affairs investigation. The Law Department declined comment when asked if it had contacted the NYPD.

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