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

July 18, 2018

AGAIN! This Time Portland: Hater Spewing Assaults to a Gay Couple{Police Do NOTHING}

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TRUDY DRAGOON
Wendy and Trudy Dragoon were crossing a street in their Southeast neighborhood of Brentwood-Darlington yesterday evening around 7:30 when they heard an engine rev nearby. They turned to see a truck speeding towards them. The couple ran onto the sidewalk to watch the truck whip by, do a U-turn, and park in front of a nearby home. Three men exited the vehicle, including a skinny 20-something who had been yelling out the window at the women as the truck drove by. 
"He got out of the car and said something about 'Beating the shit out of fucking dykes,'" says Wendy. When Trudy crossed the street to where the truck was parked to confront the man, Wendy began filming using her cell phone. 
In a video that's since been uploaded to Facebook, the man is seen throwing up his fists at Trudy, who stands patiently in front of him. He doesn't swing. But he does go on to call her a "gay pride-ass bitch" and a number of other homophobic and sexist slurs. 
"You think you scare me? You're a fucking woman," says the man, as his friends start unloading some bags from the truck and bringing them into the house. "I'll spit in your face… I'll literally put you to fucking sleep."
The man’s friends, one of whom tells Trudy he owns the neighboring house, attempts to separate the man from Trudy by standing between them.
At the end of the 3-minute-long video, a police officer on patrol happens to drive by and asks the group what's going on.

"He's harassing me," says Trudy.
"She won't get off my property," says the first man.
Then the video cuts out. In a interview with the Mercury, Wendy Dragoon filled in the rest of the story. Wendy said that the Portland police officer told Trudy to "just ignore them."
"I was like, 'Absolutely not,'" Wendy recalls telling the officer. "I said, 'This is harassment. This has to be a hate crime.'" 
But according to Dragoon, the officer allegedly told the couple that unless the man was physically violent, it wasn't a hate crime. 
"He actually said, 'Being mean to you isn't against the law,'" Dragoon says.
That’s not necessarily the case. Under Oregon's hate crime law, a person can be charged with a second-degree misdemeanor if they:
Intentionally, because of the person’s perception of race, color, religion, sexual orientation, disability or national origin... subjects the other person to alarm by threatening:
(A) To inflict serious physical injury upon or to commit a felony affecting the other person, or a member of the person’s family
Based on the video, yesterday's incident seems to fit this description. 
According to Christopher Burley, spokesperson for the Portland Police Bureau (PPB), the unnamed officer said he "advised the groups to avoid one another and they separated." Because the incident "is an open investigation," Burley is unable to comment more specifically regarding the officer's response.
"I was not present at the time of the incident and a video does not necessarily convey everything that was occurring at the time of this incident," wrote Burley in an email to the Mercury. He said the Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office may further investigate the video.
The evening incident continued into the early morning hours, according to the Dragoons. Wendy says that around midnight, she and Trudy were awakened by loud fireworks coming from the same property where the truck had parked. They walked outside to confirm, and discovered another neighbor already outside on the phone, reporting the late-night fireworks show to the police. The neighbor allegedly told the police dispatch that the suspects had been harassing Trudy and Wendy earlier. 
Three officers showed up, including the same one from earlier. Again, Dragoon says she tried to explain to the two new officers that they had been harassed by a man on the property earlier. This time, Dragoon says, one of the other officers asked, "But how do you know its a hate crime? How is he supposed to know you're gay?" 
"And that was it," Dragoon says. "They clearly weren't there to help us."
Dragoon believes the owners of the property are new to the neighborhood—she doesn't recall seeing them before yesterday. She says she often walks by the house with her two kids, since it's on the way to Dairy Queen. 
"I don't feel safe in my home anymore. It wouldn't take them long to find out where we live," she says.
This isn’t the only recent incident involving Portland police officers allegedly ignoring allegations of a hate crime.
In June, a woman reported that a man had yelled homophobic slurs at her and beat up her brother while they were leaving Portland's Pride Festival. According to her, one of the reporting officers claimed it wasn't a hate crime because her brother was straight. PPB officers, however, have argued that the state law that addresses these crimes doesn't allow them to fully pursue alleged hate crimes. 
While PPB's Burley can't comment on yesterday's event, he did acknowledge the underlying problem: "The Police Bureau is aware that speech, such as the speech present in this video, instills fear in members of our community."
***
For the latest protests, rallies, and activist events, check out the Mercury's Resistance Calendar.

September 19, 2017

LGBT Student Shot, Killed by Campus Police Because He Would Not Drop a Knife




IN ATLANTA}} The attorney representing the family of a Georgia Tech student who was shot and killed by campus police late Saturday night is wondering why authorities didn't de-escalate the situation by non-lethal measures.
The family of Scout Schultz, 21, has hired trial attorney L. Chris Stewart to represent them.
The Georgia Bureau of Investigation has taken over the case, which happened when, according to the bureau, police responded to a 911 call at an 8th Street dorm about a person with a knife and a gun at 11:17 pm.
When officers arrived, they made contact with Schultz, who officers said was armed with a knife. Officers said they made multiple attempts to get Schultz to drop the knife, but that Schultz was not cooperative, and would not comply with the officers' commands. 
They said Schultz advanced on the officers with the knife. When Schultz continued to advance and would not drop the knife, one of the officers fired, striking Schultz. 
Schultz was transported to Grady Memorial Hospital in downtown Atlanta and died there. 
Schultz was a fourth-year computer engineering student and president of Georgia Tech's Pride Alliance. 
According to a family spokesperson, Stewart, who will hold a media briefing on Monday, is wondering why police didn't use non-lethal force to respond, and also wants to know if the officers who responded had any training to deal with mentally impaired subjects.
Stewart is managing partner of Stewart, Seay and Felton. Late last week, Stewart announced his firm had filed a lawsuit against a College Park mental health facility in connection with a teenage sexual assault that allegedly happened back in February.
The Pride Alliance released a statement Sunday afternoon: 

Dear Pride Alliance members,
As you might have heard, last night we lost our President, Scout Schultz. We are all deeply saddened by what has occurred. They have been the driving force behind Pride Alliance for the past two years. They pushed us to do more events and a larger variety events, and we would not be the organization we are known as without their constant hard work and dedication. Their leadership allowed us to create change across campus and in the Atlanta community. Scout always reminded us to think critically about the intersection of identities and how a multitude of factors play into one's experience on Tech's campus and beyond.
We love you Scout and we will continue to push for change.
You can watch a viewer-submitted video from Maxim Mints of the incident below. It stops before the actual shooting itself. If you wish to watch the entire video that includes the shooting, please click on the link provided. In both instances, viewer discretion is strongly cautioned.
About 20 minutes later, the school informed students that there was no longer a threat on campus.

The GBI is continuing their investigation. Once they have concluded their inquest, the results will be presented to the Fulton County District Attorney's office for review and any additional action.

Chanel 11, Atlanta
11alive.com 



 Scout Schultz, 21yo


March 28, 2017

Men Who Seem Gay R Entrapment Prey For Port Authority Cops









Port Authority cops target men who seem gay or androgynous and arrest them on false charges of public masturbation and exposure at the city’s bus terminal, a new class-action lawsuit claims.

The cops have been falsely arresting men for years to increase “quality of life” arrest statistics, says the suit, which was filed in federal court in Manhattan on Monday.

Cops spy on men who seems “gay or non-gender conforming” through the slats in the privacy dividers in the man’s bathroom and then lie and say that the men are touching themselves, according to the suit and plaintiff attorney Ross Kramer.

“It’s an absolutely unacceptable use of police power,” said Kramer. “They go into public restrooms and have plainclothed officer stare at people and then accuse men who they believe to be gay of engaging in lewd behavior. It pads their arrests stats by preying on a vulnerable group of people.”

One man who was arrested says he even heard other officers congratulate the cop who busted him, calling him “the gay whisperer” because of the large amount of seemingly homosexual men he cuffed.

The Port Authority cops look for men who seem gay or effeminate based on the way they carried themselves or clothing or jewelry believed to be “non-masculine,” the suit says.

The practice goes back to at least 2004, when Port Authority cops arrested Alejandro Martinez, accusing him of masturbating in public. Martinez was found not guilty and was awarded “substantial damages,” but the cops still continue the practice of arresting men for lewdness without probable cause, said Kramer.

“We want an injunction against this unlawful and unconstitutional practice that’s been going on for years,” said Kramer.

The attorneys are still collecting evidence, but they believe that “many, many men” have been targeted for false arrest by Port Authority cops, said Kramer.

Port Authority police spokesman Joe Pentangelo declined to comment on the suit, saying the agency doesn’t talk about pending cases.

July 12, 2016

Racial Discrepancies of Police Stops















Protests have erupted across the nation following the deaths of two black men by police last week, as well as the killing of five police officers during a protest in Dallas. One of the men killed by a police officer, Philando Castile of Minnesota, was fatally shot during a traffic stop because the officer thought Castile was going to use his gun in order to harm the officer.

Include the following visualizations to illustrate the racial disparities in traffic stops in Minnesota.






March 31, 2016

US Killings by Police by Race/Interactive


Image result for jamar clark                                                                           
                                                                                                             








 Prosecutors announced Wednesday that the two white police officers involved in the shooting of an unarmed black man, Jamar Clark, will not face charges. Although members of the community have said that Clark was handcuffed when shot, the police have disputed this claim and attorney Mike Freeman has decided that the shooting was justified. Freeman had the final decision in filing charges against the officers, as a grand jury was not involved.
Included in the following visualization to show a breakdown of the number of people killed by police in the United States by race. Use curser over graph



September 12, 2015

The Officer who Tackled Blake is Famous for Civilian Complaints-Also The Twins-


                                                                    
 Plainclothes cop(Gothamist pic.)

 James Frascatore, the plainclothes NYPD officer who tackled retired tennis star James Blake to the ground outside of his midtown hotel on Wednesday afternoon and handcuffed him without explantation, has a lengthy record of civilian complaints, according to a WNYC police misconduct investigation from last winter.  
According to WNYC  After the incident, Frascatore reportedly lied under oath.
Q> Why does it take 7 complaints and one as serious as perjury and still the officer remains undercover, on duty, working the streets of New York in Manhattan. WHY? How many does it take for someone to say may be lets bring charges and have a judge or jury decide?…oh I forgot..this is a a mother of a strong union…how about desk duty with a last warning? (adamfoxie)
Frascatore racked up five civilian complaints over the course of seven months in 2013. In one instance, Frascatore arrested a woman for allegedly failing to quickly turn over a bicycle they had deemed evidence. After that incident, Frascatore reportedly lied under oath.  
Audio of the bicycle arrest is featured in WNYC's original report on Frascatore. Nafeesah Hines can be heard speaking to Frascatore, who has just arrested her boyfriend, Warren Diggs, for riding his bike on the sidewalk. Frascatore does not provide his name or shield number when Hines asks for it. (According to Blake, when Frascatore tackled him on Wednesday, the officer did not have a visible badge, nor did he identify himself.)
"Could you back up a little bit? Because I feel threatened," Hines says on the cellphone recording. 
"No," says Frascatore. "I'm about to come in your house to take the bike. Is this what you want your kids to witness? That's fine." Her children are heard crying in the background. 
Frascatore's complaint record was not enough to place him on modified duty—until the highly publicized incident involving Blake, a formerly nationally-ranked tennis star. The officer has since been assigned desk work. 
                                                                     
 They look very similar but the question remains of the treatment that a NYC police office will offer a suspect  and as it turns out the man the cop was looking for was also innocent. Had this famous player not been taken down like a  suspect or anybody else would we be talking about this? This is not an isolated incident and one most understand by watching other police take downs, this is the way these cops operate and sometimes they kill the suspect if it’s not someone healthy enough to take the trauma of one man or a few coming down on them. Does it matter that these two guys have a similar smile or not since they are both black??(Adam Gonzalez)
  Yesterday afternoon, TMZ obtained a photograph of the suspect Frascatore and his fellow officers were looking to arrest on Wednesday, as part of an ongoing investigation into the purchase of cellphones using "fraudulent cards." "They look like twins," Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce told CBS.  
Earlier Thursday, Police Commissioner Bratton also emphasized the physical similarities between the two suspects, using their appearance as leverage to argue that the forceful arrest had no racial undertones (Blake is African American, and all five arresting officers are white). "Let's put that nonsense to rest right now, race has nothing to do with this," he said. "We have a witness who identified Mr. Blake as an individual who he had sold a phone to and had been given a false credit card."
The NYPD's stance on the matter has been met with skepticism from Blake's family members. "If James had looked European I don't think the violence perpetrated by the officer would have been the same," Blake's stepmother Linda Blake told the News on Thursday. “All they had to do was go up to him and say, 'Excuse me sir, could I see some identification.'" 
After a day of conflicting accounts—Bratton said he was trying to contact Blake and apologize, Blake pointed out that it wasn't very difficult to find his contact information, and that the NYPD must not be trying very hard—the NYPD released a statement yesterday afternoon assuring that Bratton had made contact. 
"I spoke to Mr. Blake a short time ago and personally apologized for yesterday’s incident," he said, without further elaboration. 
"I'd like the apology to be more in terms of James as an illustration of excessive force used on men of color for non-violent crimes," Linda Blake responded publicly.
In the meantime, Patrolmen's Benevolent Association President Patrick Lynch issued a statement in response to Bratton's decision to put Frascatore on desk duty. "We agree with the Police Commissioner that the first story is never the whole story and believe that placing this officer on modified duty is premature and unwarranted," he said. "No police officer should ever face punitive action before a complete review of the facts." 
Shortly after Wednesday's incident, Bratton told reporters that Frascatore had been placed on modified duty following review of hotel surveillance footage. Frascatore himself did not come forward. “My concern is that after the release, there’s department protocols that should have been followed but apparently were not,” Bratton said. "Mr. Blake has made a number of comments to the press. That’s how we became aware of the matter.”
Officer Boyce told CBS that the man Blake was mistaken for, whose name has not been released, has also been deemed “innocent of all wrongdoing."
This story for most parts was written by EMMA WHITFORD and the story appeared on Gothamist

June 9, 2015

Will Curbing Police Militarization Produce Trust?


 
Is a ban on military gear enough to change police attitudes?
When President Obama announced the ban Monday on state and local police obtaining military gear — including grenade launchers, tracked armored vehicles, bayonets and large-caliber weapons and ammunition — he did so hoping that the move, in part, would help society deal honestly and openly with issues of race.
"We've seen how militarized gear can sometimes give people a feeling like there's an occupying force as opposed to a force that's part of the community that's protecting them and serving them," the president said during a speech in Camden, N.J.
"If we as a society aren't willing to deal honestly with issues of race," Obama added in his call for change, "then we can't just expect police departments to solve these problems."
But after at least four incidents in the span of two years involving police killing young, unarmed black men, a question quickly surfaced on social media after the speech: How can simply limiting equipment given to police change an aggressive approach to black communities that existed long before the practice of militarizing departments?
Instead, many across the country are placing stock in additional approaches to improve police-community relations, such as the use of cameras and changing the racial makeup of departments. More than half of blacks (64%) and half of whites say police departments should reflect the racial makeup of the communities they serve, according to an April Economist/YouGov Poll. Support for body cameras on police is even higher among whites, with 89% either strongly supporting or somewhat supporting the measure.
Below, social media responses to USA TODAY Opinion's #tellusatoday questions, parts of the national Twitter conversation, interactive graphics and your chance to join the conversation:
Militarization

May 14, 2015

Photographer Curses Cops refuses search walks away




051215submit3.jpegShawn Thomas
In a startling show of restraint, a pair of NYPD officers decided to deescalate a confrontation with a photographer who angrily refused to submit to a bag search last week. Gadfly and frequent NYPD videographer Shawn Thomas documented the brief encounter with his cell phone; he tells us it happened last Thursday afternoon, in Fort Greene. 
According to Thomas, the video was taken after he spent the day following various cops who were on what Thomas considers a "binge"—making many minor arrests in succession, within a contained geographic area. "I was going around recording them," he said. Twenty minutes after Thomas documented a littering ticket, two officers approached him. 
One of the officers repeatedly asked to see the contents of Thomas's bag. Thomas refused, adding that the officers should "honor their fucking oath" and only search him with probable cause. After some argument, Thomas angrily directed a racial slur at one of the cops and walked away cursing, without interference. (Using profanity in front of police officers is also not a crime.)
On Saturday morning, Thomas uploaded a short cut of the incident to YouTube. In the 7 second version, first the cop on the left says, "Sir, what you got in that bag?" To which Thomas replies, "None of your fuckin' business: That's what I got in the bag." The cop immediately says "All right" and turns away. For good measure Thomas adds, "Honor your oath, scumbag." 
A caption to the video on Thomas's YouTube page elaborates: 
Common scene: You're walking down the street and the NYPD pulls up and jumps out. "What's that?", "Can I see some I.D.", and you are left felling powerless and abused. 
Stand up, Flex Your Rights. Tell that cop to Fuck-Off!
They are only interested in numbers, not justice, not fighting crime.
Call the Scumbags out, tell them to fuck off.
AlterNet posited, "This just may be the fastest we have ever seen a cop get shut down." 
However, Thomas tells us he did not intend for this particular video to get such a strong response. In fact, he only uploaded it to Youtube in order to fix the orientation, since the video was taken on his cell phone. His initial plan was to only share the video on Facebook, where he uses privacy settings to share content only with his Facebook friends. 
Thomas believes that the officers only backed off because Thomas is known in the NYPD for his police-monitoring videos. He told us that during Thursday's incident, the officer on the right said "That's him" to the officer on the left, prompting them to drop the matter. According to Thomas, "They know me by name now." He added in a comment on his YouTube page, "Apparently it's me, not just what I said. I've been experiencing this phenomenon recently. Where police recognize me, even though I've never had contact with them before." 
In the 27-second version uploaded on Sunday, Thomas captures an interaction between the officers, just before they turn away. The caption to the video reads, "NYPD Officer want to know what's in the bag. He's seeking to do an unlawful search and possibly make an unlawful arrest. However, his partner is aware of a guy who will fight them in court and win." 
Even though he thinks that he got special treatment, Thomas believes that both clips send an important message. "What I'm trying to convey to people," he said, "is that they don't have to submit." 
Thomas has been arrested multiple times while filming police in public, an activity which is legal as long as it does not directly interfere with enforcement activity. Despite this, NYC cops have a habit of threatening and arresting bystanders who film them, even after the NYPD explicitly reminded officers in a department-wide memo that the public is permitted to photograph them.
Story and pictures appeared today on Gothamist

April 30, 2015

Student Accused of Brklyn Bge Rioting Fell in Maze of a Police” Witch Hunt”




150429GarciaBrooklynBridge.jpgMaria Garcia spent three and a half months facing charges for her supposed involvement in a brawl between police and protesters on the Brooklyn Bridge before prosecutors acknowledged they didn't have enough evidence to proceed. Police probably aren't fans of her hoodie paying homage to Assata Shakur, who busted out of prison and fled to Cuba after being convicted of murdering a New Jersey state trooper. Shakur maintains her innocence. (Ariela Rothstein)
Maria Garcia was in a cell inside the NYPD's 5th Precinct station house in Chinatown, and the detectives seated just beyond the bars were playing the same video again and again. 
"They would play the video and look at me and say, 'Yeah, you seem calm now, but you seem very agitated in the video,'" she remembers. "And I was just like, 'You're making a mistake. That's not me. I wasn't there.' And then the detective would continue to play it over and over, and they would look at me and just confirm what they were thinking."
It was Dec. 19th, six days after a melee on the Brooklyn Bridge between police and anti-police brutality protesters, which left one lieutenant with a broken nose. What the police with Garcia were thinking was that she was Female Suspect #1, one of six people whose blurry images had been grabbed from a YouTube video of the bridge altercation and plastered on Wanted posters offering a $12,000 reward. That morning, she said she was at home, working on a final paper for her doctoral geography studies at Rutgers University, when an unknown number called her phone, and someone rang her doorbell and knocked, all at once. She went to the door, and about a dozen officers were waiting outside, she said.  
The cops asked if she lived alone, and were confused when she said she did. Their warrant listed her husband Zachary Campbell, though she said they told her it was a special warrant and they couldn't show it to her. She and Campbell are separated and live apart from each other.
"Then they handcuffed me and started telling me that I must have been waiting for this day to come," she said. "And I had no idea what they were talking about."
Garcia works two jobs, as an event planner for the Queens Museum, and as a worker-owner in an interpreter and translator cooperative. She's also a social-justice activist and full-time student. She spent the day of her arrest locked up, first at the 7th Precinct stationhouse on the Lower East Side, then at the 5th, being interrogated on and off. She remembers telling the officers that she wanted a lawyer. She said she didn't answer questions—there were a lot about Campbell—but that she told the detectives what she had done the afternoon and evening of Dec. 13th, and who they could verify it with.
Still, they kept showing the video, saying they knew she was lying, that they knew she was on the bridge.
"I got really scared because I wasn't sure what they were going to make up about me," she said. 
She said she wasn't allowed a phone call until 3 p.m., five and a half hours after her arrest. When her attorney arrived another three hours later, he says police barred him from coming upstairs to meet her, for about 40 minutes. She spent the night in the Tombs, was arraigned on charges of resisting arrest, rioting and obstructing governmental administration, and got out on $7,500 bail.
December 13th had all the makings of an unmemorable day. Garcia went to work at the Queens Museum, as she did two days a week, then met a friend for dinner at a Peruvian restaurant on Northern Boulevard, then caught a ride to a friend's house in Woodside to do homework. She said that she was aware there was a protest happening that afternoon, but that she was so busy she didn't know what time.
She related her whereabouts to the detectives and told them who was there with her, but she said instead of simply checking out the alibi, the investigators set out to prove her guilt. They turned up at her work, at her friends' jobs, and at a co-worker's mother's house in New Jersey, flashing stills from the video everywhere they went. 
"It was like a big witch hunt," Garcia said.
Prosecutors repeatedly asked for more time to investigate, and in the meantime Garcia's life was on hold. Because the police seized her computers, she had to scramble to rewrite her final papers without her notes, and she took incomplete grades for some classes. Stressed out by the weight of the criminal case, she went on unpaid leave from her jobs.
Cardozo Law School's Criminal Defense Clinic took the case pro bono, and law students, led by her lawyer, clinic director Jonathan Oberman, worked long hours to recreate the day she spent far from the Brooklyn Bridge.
"It's always very difficult to prove a negative," Oberman said. "But from the inception of the case we felt that there was conclusive and powerful evidence that demonstrated she was never on the Brooklyn Bridge."
The clinic collected statements from Queens Museum coworkers, retrieved surveillance footage from the Peruvian restaurant, timestamped 6:10 pm, and provided prosecutors with the license plate number of the car she rode in, to be run through the license-plate readers the police has set up at every East River crossing. The scanners showed the car had never entered Manhattan. Another helpful bit of evidence was the outfit she was wearing in the video, which didn't match Female Suspect #1's black peacoat and red scarf. The clothing was listed in the police's search warrant and didn't turn up at her house, either. Timestamps on her computer showed she was writing into the night.
Oberman described, for the sake of prosecutorial argument, a universe in which Garcia could be guilty:
It's always theoretically possible to imagine that at 6:10 pm, like some character out of a Marvel comic book, Ms. Garcia dipped into a phone booth, changed clothes, sprinted to a subway, got on the subway, got into Manhattan, met a group of people, marched onto the Brooklyn Bridge, all in an hour and 10 minutes—and that she cleverly left her laptop with people who knew her passwords, who could therefore log in for the explicit purpose of cleverly, brilliantly creating a faux-alibi. But short of that, there was no plausible or reasonable hypothesis except that she was at an identified apartment, in an identified building in Queens.
The Manhattan District Attorney's Office finally agreed to drop the charges on March 31st. Oberman said he thinks that the massive amount of attention given to the case, and to the Black Lives Matter movement, made prosecutors move especially slowly before tossing the case. He faulted NYPD brass and police unions for trying to use the bridge fight to discredit the protests over the handling of the Eric Garner and Michael Brown cases.
"I take the rule of law seriously, and I thought that the post-Ferguson, post-Staten Island demonstrations that were occurring in New York and elsewhere in the country were overwhelmingly peaceful and respectful," Oberman said. "I thought using an unfortunate incident by what appeared to be a splinter group in a blatant way to reshape and redefine the narrative that was otherwise so critically important ... was a troubling aspect of the case."
As for Garcia, she is back at work and school, having sustained herself during her time out of work with the help of favors and money from friends and activists. She said she has not been to a protest since her legal trouble began, and that she is having trouble concentrating as a result of all the stress.
"I'm a very nervous person now." she said. 
She declined to talk about how well she knows the five people still facing charges, or if she has spoken to them lately, but said she hopes they avoid jail time.
Asked what she would say to a detective who interrogated her, given the chance, she was conflicted.
"He should have listened to what I was telling him," she said, then paused. "I don’t know if I want to talk to him actually. I would tell everybody to not talk to the police.”

February 2, 2014

NYC’s Mayor De Blasio Reforms “ Stop and Frisk”

 




After a long public debate and legal battle over the NYPD's habit of stopping and frisking people on the street - aka "Stop-and-Frisk" - new Mayor Bill de Blasio made good on his campaign pledge to reform the program.

De Blasio criticized the police practice that his Republican predecessor Michael Bloomberg had often defended, saying Stop-and-Frisk had targeted minority groups.

“We’re here today to turn the page on one of the most divisive problems in our city,” de Blasio said at a news briefing. “We believe in ending the overuse of stop-and-frisk that has unfairly targeted young African-American and Latino men.”

According to the New York-based Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR), a plaintiff against the program, more than 80 percent of 4.3 million searchers over nine years were preformed on African-Americans and Latinos.

A major reform is the three-year appointment of a monitor to supervise changes intended to end discrimination. Communities that had be affected by Stop-and-Frisk may help shape new policy.  

While mayor, Bloomberg had appealed Federal District Court Judge Shira Scheindlin's ruling, which said the NYPD's Stop-and-Frisk tactics were unconstitutional since it was “a policy of indirect racial profiling.” However, newly elected Mayor de Blasio withdrew the City's appeal in the Floyd v. City of New York case.

“Today is the beginning of a long-overdue process: The reform of the NYPD to end illegal and racially discriminatory policing," said Vincent Warren, executive director of CCR, in a statement.

"For too long, communities of color have felt under siege by the police, and young Black and Latino men have disproportionately been the target. We are glad to have reached an agreement with the City and commend Mayor de Blasio for promising to drop the appeal and embracing reform. We are eager to finally begin creating real change,” Warren added. 

Another group that had fought Stop-and-Frisk, the New York Civil Liberties Union, said: "We believe in the good will and good intention of the new administration and look forward to working together to make New York City a place where the police protect both safety and individual rights.” 

But the fight over Stop-and-Frisk is not finished.

New York City has asked the appeals court to send Bloomberg's challenge to a lower court. And Some police unions have requested permission to appeal the case without the city, and could file a response next month.

December 11, 2013

The Militarization of The Police { The Warrior Cop}




THE FOUNDERS WOULD HAVE BEEN APPALLED AT THE IDEA OF A TEAM OF POLICE, DRESSED AND ARMED LIKE SOLDIERS, BREAKING INTO PRIVATE HOMES IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT.

  

What happened to friendly   neighborhood cops? The drug and terror wars happened. Via Oregon DOT/Flickr     }}}}}
In the monthly e-newsletter for the Justice Department's Community Oriented Police Services (COPS) program, Senior Policy Analyst Karl Bickel sounds the alarm about the militarization of America's domestic police forces. Here's his conclusion:
Police chiefs and sheriffs may want to ask themselves—if after hiring officers in the spirit of adventure, who have been exposed to action oriented police dramas since their youth, and sending them to an academy patterned after a military boot camp, then dressing them in black battle dress uniforms and turning them loose in a subculture steeped in an “us versus them” outlook toward those they serve and protect, while prosecuting the war on crime, war on drugs, and now a war on terrorism—is there any realistic hope of institutionalizing community policing as an operational philosophy?
Given that a number of federal agencies are responsible for incentivizing and providing the hardware for police militarization, it's interesting -- and encouraging - to see a federal agency publish a piece like this. I suppose if there were a federal agency that would publish it, it would be COPS, which promotes a style of policing that's in direct contradiction to the trend Bickel, and I, and others, find troubling.
Community policing should be the antithesis of militarization. It puts cops directly into the community, where they walk beats, attend neighborhood meetings, and know the names of the high school principals and business owners in the areas they serve. The idea is to give the cops a stake in these communities, so they're seen by the communities -- and see themselves -- as citizens protecting and serving other citizens, not enforcers fighting wars on crime, or drugs, or terrorism.
But it's also worth noting that while its aims are certainly noble, the federal COPS program itself has contributed to the problem. It's another example of good intentions not necessarily producing unintended consequences. If you'll permit the indulgence ofquoting from my own book:
In 1994 Clinton started a new grant program under the Justice Department called Community Oriented Policing Services, or COPS. For its inaugural year, Clinton and leaders in Congress (most notably Sen. Joe Biden) funded it with $148.4 million. The next year funding jumped to $1.42 billion, and it stayed in the neighborhood of $1.5 billion through 1999. COPS grants were mostly intended to go to police departments to hire new police officers, ostensibly for the purpose of implementing more community-oriented policing strategies.
The problem was that there was no universal definition of community policing. Most law enforcement officials and academics agree that community policing is a more proactive approach to policing than call-and-response, but within that general agreement is a huge range of approaches.
The style of community policing embraced by officials like [reform oriented police chiefs Nick] Pastore and [Norm] Stamper aims to make police a helpful presence in the community, not an occupying presence. But theirs is not the only way to be proactive about law enforcement. Street sweeps, occupation-like control of neighborhoods, SWAT raids, and aggressive anti-gang policies are also proactive . . .
One of the first to notice what was going on was Portland journalist Paul Richmond. “The unfortunate truth about community policing as it is currently being implemented is that it is anything but community based,” Richmond wrote in a 1997 article for the alternative newspaper PDXS. Instead, he wrote, in Portland the grants had resulted in “increased militarization of the police force.” . . .
[Criminologist Peter] Kraska found that when most law enforcement officials heard “community policing,” they thought of the militarized zero- tolerance model. To them the idea of a police agency simultaneously militarizing and implementing community policing policies was perfectly reasonable.
In fact, two out of three departments Kraska surveyed said their SWAT team was actually part of their community policing strategy. Surprising as that may seem at first glance, it went hand in hand with the increasing use of these tactical teams for routine patrols.
In 2001 a Madison Capital Times investigation found that sixty- five of Wisconsin’s eighty-three local SWAT teams had come into being since 1980—twenty-eight of them since 1996, and sixteen in just the previous year. In other words, more than half of the state’s SWAT teams had popped up since the inaugural year of the COPS program. The newer tactical units had sprung up in absurdly small jurisdictions like Forest County (population 9,950), Mukwonago (7,519), and Rice Lake (8,320). Many of the agents who populated these new SWAT teams, the paper found, had been hired with COPS grants. A local criminologist was incredulous: “Community policing initiatives and stockpiling weapons and grenade launchers are totally incompatible.”
Perhaps that was true in theory, but not in how community policing was being practiced.
All of that said, the COPS program is a favorite of Vice President Biden. (He claims credit for helping to create it.) And re-funding the program was one of Obama's campaign promises in 2008. If the agency has or can get the ear of the White House, perhaps folks like Bickel can convince the Obama administration to end the Pentagon’s giveaway of military gear to police departments across the country, cut the DHS grants that go toward purchasing even more military-like gear, or stop the federal grants and asset forfeiture policies that encourage the use of SWAT teams to serve warrants for nonviolent drug crimes.

By Radley Balko

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