Showing posts with label Police-Crime. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Police-Crime. Show all posts

March 1, 2018

Miami Cop Allowed to Resign on Rape Case Goes After His Accuser, She Became EaSyPrey


On Our Tenth Year Anniversary 2008-2018




The detective prematurely ejaculated on her clothing, she says, pointed to his penis and told her to “suck it.



Sitting in an unmarked police car in a dark lot outside her Allapattah apartment, Sara was crying and shaking uncontrollably. The dashboard clock glowed 2 a.m. Three weeks earlier, she had called 911 to report that her boyfriend had violently raped her.

Now she was the victim of another sexual assault. But this time her attacker was Miami Police Det. Michel Toro, the lead investigator who had promised to arrest her attacker. As he put a finger inside her and she sobbed, he suddenly stopped and asked if he’d “done anything wrong,” she says. 

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Sarah decided not to confront him. She had already ignored the creepy texts Toro had been sending for days and the hugs and kisses he had pressured her to accept every time he visited to talk about her rape case.

“I wish I could find the right words to explain how I felt at that moment. It was almost like, I’m aware I’m alive because I can feel myself breathing, but the rest of my body is paralyzed,” Sarah says. “Besides... there was no one else to turn to. So I had to hope that he does what he’s supposed to do, just pull his finger out and do his job.”

But according to Sarah, Toro’s assaults grew only bolder after that first attack February 12, 2016. Over the next two weeks, the detective raped her four more times in her apartment, she says, penetrating her vagina with his penis while on duty and wearing his police-issued gun and radio.

I had to hope that he does what he’s supposed to do, just pull his finger out and do his job.”
When Sarah finally found the clarity to report the detective, MPD’s internal affairs investigators collected DNA, cell-phone records, and surveillance footage that all verified he had regularly had sex with her while he was on duty. By June 2016, IA had found probable cause to believe Toro had broken multiple state laws, including sexual assault and pressuring her into sex through his power as a detective.

But when investigators took the case to Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle, her office allowed Toro to quietly resign with no criminal charges. When they reached this agreement — despite hints that Toro's behavior had been troubling in the past — Sarah’s worst fear was realized: Her boyfriend’s charges were also dropped.

“I tried to hang myself when I learned that [my boyfriend] wouldn’t be charged,” says Sarah, who provided New Times with records verifying an extended stay in a mental health facility after the incident. (New Times is not publishing her real name in keeping with our policy of protecting the identity of sexual assault victims.)

But prosecutors say they had no choice. They paint Sarah as an unreliable accuser. A hospital test performed two days after she said her boyfriend had raped her came back negative, and friends they interviewed cast doubt on her story that he had violently attacked her. Prosecutors say that although Toro clearly had sex with Sarah multiple times, it would have been nearly impossible to prove to a jury that it wasn't consensual.

“The only evidence available in this matter is the victim's testimony, however, her credibility would be easily attacked by a defense attorney,” Assistant State Attorney Johnette Hardiman wrote in a close-out memo clearing the boyfriend of criminal charges. “The fact that the lead detective, in this case, took advantage of the victim is reprehensible, but would unfortunately also serve to detract from the victim's credibility.”

But Toro’s story, which has never before been reported, raises new questions for MPD and Fernandez Rundle, who has never charged an officer with an on-duty killing (though she has charged cops with rape). It also shines a spotlight on the queasy area of police officers having sex with witnesses and victims under the officers' influence. Though Florida bans cops from engaging in sex with anyone in their custody, the law doesn't cover cases such as Sarah's in which a cop has sex with a witness or victim.

“The fact that the lead detective, in this case, took advantage of the victim is reprehensible, but would unfortunately also serve to detract from the victim's credibility.” 

Before her story imploded in violence and police misconduct, Sarah had lived an international life of intrigue. Born in England in 1972 to a Southeast Asian mother and a British father, she was raised in Germany and later moved to the Caribbean. With a lilting accent, caramel-skinned good looks, and a deep, melodic voice, Sarah built a career as a popular radio host on several islands. She had three children along the way and began regularly traveling to the United States for media work in 1999.

A few years ago, she met a Trinidad-born airline employee who was based in Miami. In 2015 — with her children grown and living back in Europe — she moved to South Florida to live with him. The relationship was stable, she says until they took a ten-day trip to Trinidad. When they returned, her boyfriend was agitated. And on January 22, 2016, something snapped: As she was getting ready for bed, he attacked, raping her anally while she screamed for help.

Sarah says she went into shock. “I was very traumatized. I was waking up in panic, and I couldn’t breathe,” she says. “And I didn’t really know where to go. I always heard that medical care here in the U.S. is expensive. I’m thinking, How much will they want for me to visit an ER?”

So she waited two days before going to Jackson’s rape treatment center, where counselors pressed her to call the police. But she was leery.

“In the Caribbean, the way it works, since I was living with this guy and all my stuff was there, they’re just going to tell me I have to leave,” she says. “I’m thinking, Where the heck can I go in this state? So I didn’t say anything to the police.”

On January 29, a week after the attack, a social worker finally convinced her the cops could help. Her boyfriend had disappeared after the attack, Sarah says, but was still texting her regularly. She says she feared he would return and hurt her again. So she relented, and that afternoon a team from MPD’s Special Victims Unit interviewed her and took photos.

The next day, Toro showed up at her apartment. The young Cuban-American detective had close-cropped hair and wore a leather jacket. He told Sarah his backstory: Born in Havana, he moved to Miami with his mother. In 2005, he found work as a guard in Miami-Dade’s prison system. He spent six years there before joining MPD in September 2011, working as a street cop until September 2015, when he joined the SVU.

Sarah felt better after that meeting. But when he returned the next day, she says, Toro began acting inappropriately. “On the second visit, he said, ‘You know, you really look like you need a hug,’” she says. “Every time he would come after that, he’d insist on giving me a hug and kissing me on the cheek.”

Then the texts started. On February 4, he texted Sarah to warn that sexual assault charges were unlikely but that he was hopeful to make a domestic battery case against her boyfriend. The next day, he texted, “All u need is a nice message to put you to sleep.” Over the next week, he sent a barrage of texts, telling her that she would fall in love with him, offering to “warm her up” and promising to “bite soft, kiss, and lick” her from “head to toe.”

Toro seemed to know it was wrong to hit on Sarah, who says she was barely functional while suffering from a posttraumatic stress disorder.

He admitted her vulnerability in a text: “Your such a beautiful and attractive woman and I’m handling your case, which it’s not to professional from my part if I tell u those things and your mind is not in the right place to even accept those comments from me,” he wrote. “But I just wanted to let you know that I’m someone you can trust. Because I really care about what you're going thru. [sic]”

Sarah knew his behavior was wrong, but she felt trapped. He was the only investigator assigned to her case, and she was terrified that her boyfriend could come back any moment. She wanted him locked up.
“That’s the horrible thing with my emotional state at the time. I didn’t know how to process it,” she says. “It’s him and him alone dealing with the case.”

So when Toro’s insistent texts and hugs turned into an outright sexual assault in his parked car early February 12, Sarah felt “paralyzed.” She didn’t know who to turn to, and the last thing she wanted was for the case against her boyfriend to collapse. She hoped that her crying had warned Toro. But hours later, he texted her a shirtless photo of himself and wrote, “You know, I still smell like you.”

Toro, who worked the night shift, returned the next day just before 5 a.m., supposedly to talk about the case. But once he was inside her apartment, he began grabbing her breasts and vagina. This time, Toro exposed his penis and tried to penetrate her. “I can’t do it!” Sarah says she yelled. The detective prematurely ejaculated on her clothing, she says, pointed to his penis, and told her to “suck it.” When she said no, he cleaned up and left.

Sarah was terrified, she later told investigators. She even texted him to apologize for not orally pleasuring him “in an attempt to not upset Detective Toro and keep him from adversely affecting the investigation into her pending sexual battery case.”

The detective prematurely ejaculated on her clothing, she says, pointed to his penis and told her to “suck it.” 

On February 16, Toro delivered for Sarah. The boyfriend was arrested and charged with felony sexual battery. But the detective warned her that he still had to produce the evidence to convict him. Toro had powerful leverage over the emotionally battered woman. Soon, she says, he used it again.

On February 21, he again showed up at her apartment. Sarah knew what he wanted. As she later told investigators, she had “psychologically prepared” herself to have sex with the cop. Toro showed up at 2:54 in the morning, dressed in a shirt and tie with his radio, gun, and badge attached to his belt. He had sex with her three times that morning, leaving his clothes on each time because he was on duty and “it would take him too long to get dressed if he got a call,” she remembers.

With the criminal case still pending against her boyfriend, Sarah had no intention of turning in Toro. But then she began going to counseling classes, which she says caused her to question what the detective was doing.

Six days after Toro raped her three times, she says, she was waiting for coffee at a Starbucks when she noticed a female officer nearby. Sarah made a snap decision: “I didn’t spell everything out but kind of told her what had happened,” she explains. “She said, ‘You need to tell the police about this. I’ll go with you.’”

The officer drove Sarah to MPD’s internal affairs bureau. Sarah spoke for several hours to investigators, who took a sworn statement and opened an investigation into Toro's behavior.

Toro had a relatively clean record, his record shows. He had been arrested for petty shoplifting in 1997 before he found work as a prison guard. In December 2015, he had been cited after Hialeah Police were called to the scene of an argument he was having with the mother of one of his children. He was supposed to be on duty at the time. His only other citations were for missing traffic court several times.

But on the anonymous online police message board LEO Affairs, there were warnings about Toro as early as 2014. One post warned he was fond of “sending pictures of his *** to every female he comes across,” while another wrote that “if IA is really up to it, they should look into Toro cellphone & see all those wonderful pictures he sends of his mini-**** and how he tries to [hit on] anything wearing a bra to the point of harassment.”

With Sarah's complaint in hand, investigators moved quickly. They collected clothing that Toro had ejaculated onto and the text messages from her phone. On March 3, IA obtained a court order for Toro’s cell-phone records — with FBI help, they turned up location data that showed the detective traveling to Sarah’s apartment the dates she said she’d been assaulted. The data also showed Toro was spending “prolonged periods of time” in her apartment when he was supposed to be on duty. And video surveillance confirmed he had stayed for hours the three dates Sarah said she had been raped.

IA did find a red flag while investigating Sarah’s claims — a concern that matched prosecutors' worries about her credibility. A retired MPD lieutenant, Marlene Hines, said she was concerned about Sarah’s story. Hines had met Sarah years earlier on a trip to the Caribbean, and the two became friends. She claimed Sarah had falsely accused a boyfriend of sexual assault and another man of stabbing her in a fight. Hines was worried Sarah might be doing the same to Toro because she wanted legal protection to stay in the United States.

Sarah says she has no idea why Hines would tell the police that story. “I believed we were friends. I still don’t know why she would tell them that,” she says. Sarah says she had been assaulted by a previous partner; in the stabbing case, she provided documents to New Times suggesting that, in fact, the man had been found guilty in 2006.

But Hines' concerns weren’t enough to derail IA’s case. After all, the evidence was virtually airtight against Toro. On June 21, IA closed its case, finding that Toro had broken at least 11 departmental policies and that there was evidence he had broken the two Florida laws. They recommended he be fired, and they took their investigation to Rundle’s office.

But Hardiman, the assistant state attorney, had already elected not to proceed with the case against Sarah's boyfriend. The state's three-month investigation had poked holes in her claims, Hardiman later wrote in a close-out memo. Doctors at Jackson found no evidence that she'd been raped anally (though she did wait two days to go). What's more, they interviewed a roommate who said Sarah had been planning a wedding with her boyfriend and then had become erratic after he called it off. Prosecutors also talked to another acquaintance who warned that Sarah wasn't reliable before concluding they had no case. “There was no DNA evidence, nor any injuries,” Hardiman wrote in a July 1, 2016 memo. “There were no witnesses to corroborate her statement.”

Hardiman and a team of prosecutors broke the news to Sarah in person June 15. She was “visibly distraught,” Hardiman wrote, but “did not seem as concerned with the outcome of this investigation as she was with the other serious problems she was experiencing,” such as the lack of a job or a place to stay in Miami.

But Sarah says the news was a crushing blow. On June 23, according to records, she provided New Times, she checked into a psychiatric facility, listing “suicidal thoughts” as a primary symptom. She spent more than two months there, she says, under nearly constant watch and treatment.

She lost complete contact with her relatives abroad, who became concerned when she stopped responding to Facebook messages and texts. But she says she had no idea how to explain to them what had happened.

“How do you tell someone that on the phone?” she says. “[My boyfriend] attacked me. They’d be like, ‘What do you mean — he beat you up?’ It’s hard enough to tell someone you were raped, but then the police officer... no one knew.”

Finally, more than a month after her suicide attempt, one of her daughters in Europe reached her by phone. “That’s when she learned not just about the first assault but also about the detective afterward,” Sarah says. “She said, ‘Mom, why didn’t you talk to me?’”

Worst of all, she says, prosecutors never let her know that six days after clearing her boyfriend of rape, they had also negotiated terms with Toro: If he gave up his state certification and resigned, they wouldn’t charge him. Toro quickly agreed and the next day submitted his resignation.

Prosecutors say Sarah's credibility issues would have made it impossible to prosecute the case against Toro. But Sarah's attorney, Adam Horowitz, says they never even interviewed her about the detective's assaults. 
“The fact that she wasn’t consulted on the deal with Toro is unbelievable,” he says. “Crime victims should be able to weigh in on a decision like that.” 

Worst of all, she says prosecutors never let her know that six days after clearing her boyfriend of rape, they'd also negotiated terms with Toro 

Sarah is still in therapy and has applied for a U visa, which is granted to victims of violent crime so she can find work in the United States. “I have really bad flashbacks all the time,” she says. “I used to travel very extensively, mostly alone... and now I have trouble crossing the street.”

She says she decided to speak about her story because she worries Toro could do what many other disgraced cops have done: move to another state, get recertified, and abuse his power again. She also hopes MPD reconsiders its rules and requires more than one detective to be in the room with sexual assault victims at all times.

“I think they give officers too much power,” she says. “I know maybe they’re stretched for personnel, but in such a sensitive thing... they need to have someone else in the room.”

November 16, 2017

How A Gay Killing Changed Australia






Dr George Duncan
CRIMESTOPPERS
Image captionDr. George Duncan was 41 when he drowned in Adelaide in 1972

We saw how the killing of Milk in California had an impact in that state but also the country. The same for Martin L.King and the Kennedy's. These people were killed because they were out front with their beliefs and were honest about how they wanted change. Before them, no one had said the same things in public which caused some people's intelligence to be blinded by their hatred. If intelligence was playing its role instead of hate towards gays and blacks they would have realized that what they were trying to quiet was now getting a megaphone everywhere. Killers of ideas are either just plain ignorant or so blinded by hate they can't see ahead of their killings what is going to do to what these victims/heroes were saying. 
Nothing like the spotlight to bring out the dirt and corruption on those paid to destroy corruption and enforce fairness towards all. Some people, particularly in institutions with lots of power, get the idea their jobs is to prosecute, not to find the defective link and bring it to the justice through the system of Courts, lawyers and prosecutors. 
Just recently you had a cam showing cops in Los Angeles CA. putting drugs in a man's wallet to have an excuse to arrest him. What was going through their minds? Who is ultimately responsible? We are because we elect the politicians that give the police their guns and shields and more important their training. Many times training is rushed through because they want to fill vacancies quick other times not enough importance is given how the police are supposed to enforce and never prosecute or punish an individual. We see that the worse the crime the better those perps get treated. Why? The spotlight is on them and is a pity that there is very little light to see what cops do on their shifts: For instance, in NYC the police is allowed to turn off their new given cams. Right from the start, a new program to safeguard the cop and the public is blinded by having a policy taken over by bad one. We put a band on it so it can't see. They confuse good public relations by seeing the cams but we don't know if they are working or not. This is something I could not do working in an office in midtown. I was on live video from the time I came into the time I left minus bathroom breaks. What was  I guarding? Tests which is important but is not life-saving nor life taking nor reputation squasher.      Adam Gonzalez🦊

On Wednesday, Australia learned the result of a national vote that showed decisive support for legalizing same-sex marriage. The discussion over changing the law has been one of the most hotly debated issues in the nation's recent social and political history.
But the death of a university lecturer in Adelaide 45 years ago led to an even more fundamental change for Australia's gay community. Jamie Duncan reports.
In the foyer of the University of Adelaide's law faculty building, a photograph of a sober-looking man wearing dark-rimmed glasses stares out at posters backing a "yes" vote on Australia's same-sex marriage postal survey.
The scene is a symbol of evolving social debate in Australia. The photograph below is part of a memorial to Dr. George Duncan, a gay law lecturer at the university who is 1972 was killed a stone's throw away at a riverbank in an attack suspected to have been committed by police officers.
The crime, still unpunished, revolted mainstream Australia and led the state of South Australia (SA) to become the first national jurisdiction to decriminalize homosexuality.

Tragic return

Dr. Duncan, born in London in 1930, moved to Melbourne with his parents at seven.
He studied classical philology at the University of Melbourne but did not complete the course because he contracted tuberculosis in 1950. Later, Dr. Duncan earned degrees in arts and law at St John's College, Cambridge, before completing a Ph.D. at the University of Bristol.
A practicing Anglican, he returned to Australia to lecture in law at the University of Adelaide, starting on 25 March 1972.
Less than two months later, Dr. Duncan was dead. He was 41. In 1970s Adelaide, homosexuality was illegal and the southern bank of the River Torrens in the heart of the city was a well-known meeting spot for gay people.
The bank drops sharply below tree-lined Victoria Drive, the northern boundary of the University of Adelaide. It's out of sight from homes north of the river and riverside paths were deserted at night.
Around 23:00 on 10 May 1972, a gang of men confronted Dr. Duncan and another man, Roger James, on the southern bank, near a footbridge.
Both men were thrown into the water but Dr. Duncan could not swim and drowned.
Mr. James suffered a broken ankle in the attack. He crawled up to Victoria Drive. A passing motorist took him to hospital. He later refused to identify the attackers.
Shortly after police retrieved Dr. Duncan's body, a TV news crew arrived. Incredibly, police placed the body back in the river and dragged it out again for the camera. 
In the days following his death, rumors began circulating that members of the police vice squad were responsible, but witnesses feared for their lives.
South Australian Premier Don Dunstan offered protection for anyone who came forward. No-one did.

Case gathers profile

A coroner's inquest began on 7 June 1972, at which two members of the vice squad refused to answer questions. They and a third detective were suspended and later resigned.
A 1972 newspaper report on the death of Dr George Duncan, also showing a coroner and police chiefs, none of whom were suspected in the death
 A 1972 newspaper front page. No-one pictured was suspected in Dr. Duncan's death
By then, the case, the possibility of police involvement and a broader discussion about attitudes to homosexuality were making headlines around Australia.
Amid the charged political atmosphere, Mr. Dunstan authorized police to call in detectives from New Scotland Yard.
Meanwhile, Murray Hill, a lawmaker, tabled a bill in the state's ultra-conservative Legislative Council to decriminalize homosexual activity between consenting adult men.
It was drafted by two junior solicitors - his son, Robert, and colleague John Cummins.
Robert Hill, later an Australian government minister, said the bill was his father's reaction to a discriminatory law that by 1972 lagged well behind community values. 
"I guess it surprised some people because in many ways [Murray Hill] was a quite conservative chap, but he was progressive in others, particularly in anti-discrimination," Robert Hill told the BBC.
The bill passed, but further amendments later in 1972 destroyed its intent.
Mr. Hill said the public reaction to Dr. Duncan's death was strong. 
"It started a debate about how the police were behaving in relation to homosexuals around the Torrens," Mr. Hill said, adding that suspicion of police involvement increased over time.
"And it added some momentum to the debate about decriminalization. It had started before at a fairly low tempo, but when the public became aware of what happened disbelief turned to anger and general community anger pushed the debate along."
Community disquiet spread around Australia as gay rights rallies in the big cities pushed for reform. 
The inquest found that Dr. Duncan died from violence inflicted by unknown persons. A subsequent police investigation also failed to identify suspects.



Image copyright  





A memorial plaque was erected at the top of the riverbank beside the footbridge to mark the 30th anniversary of Dr Duncan's death.
 A memorial plaque erected near the river to mark the 30th anniversary oDr. Duncan's death


The case revealed the previously little-known practice among a few police officers of terrorizing gay men by the Torrens. Mr. Hill said the brutality made the general public uncomfortable.
In October 1972, the British detectives called into the case delivered their final report, which was never released, and the SA Crown Solicitor decreed no charges would result, further fuelling the case for change and turning Dr. Duncan into a symbol for gay rights advocates.
A second decriminalization bill introduced by another lawmaker, Peter Duncan, was defeated twice, but the same bill passed in 1975.
It was far from the end of the matter.

'Cover-up'

In July 1985, a former vice squad member, Mick O'Shea, told an Adelaide newspaper that there had been a cover-up to protect three other squad members who he said killed Dr Duncan.
In February 1986, the three were charged with his manslaughter. Only two faced trial, and in September 1988 both were acquitted. A police taskforce on the case was disbanded in 1990 with no prospect of identifying other suspects.
Decriminalisation of male homosexuality had passed in all states and territories bar one by 1990. Tasmania clung to its anti-homosexual laws until May 1997 - passed only when gay activists threatened a court challenge to the laws.
Long-time gay rights activist and same-sex marriage campaigner Rodney Croome were at the heart of the fight in Tasmania.
He said Dr. Duncan is an inspiration for gay rights.
"For people like me who became part of the movement for decriminalization a generation after that, it was a pivotal moment in that historical narrative that we all became a part of," Mr. Croome told the BBC.
"It was often cited by people from that earlier generation - not just people from Adelaide, but people from all over Australia - as a turning point, a key moment that revealed the depth of our oppression and the need for our emancipation." Mr Croome said he sees parallels between broad support for decriminalizing homosexuality following Dr. Duncan's death and the same-sex marriage debate in Australia today. 
But he believes the political debate is vastly different, believing that there is an "element that sees empathy as weakness and refuses to empathize with LGBTI people, instead wanting to portray us as aggressors, and a threat to democracy and civilization."
Opponents of same-sex marriage in Australia's debate have consistently argued that they are protecting traditional values and religious freedoms. Anti-reform lobby groups have said changing the law could have negative consequences for children.
Mr. Hill said today's same-sex marriage debate is also a fight for equality, but the 1970s debate was colored by Dr. Duncan's horrific death and the fact that harmless acts between consenting men were considered criminal.
"You can argue that same-sex marriage is a further progressive reform, but I think it was a fundamentally different sort of debate, and I think the horrific story of what happened to Dr. Duncan played a key part in contributing to almost a demand that the law change," he said.
SA Police still offers an A$200,000 (£120,000; $150,000) reward for information leading to a conviction in the case.
Author Jamie Duncan and Dr. George Duncan are not related.

February 12, 2017

Paris Protests Turn Violent Over Police Rape of Young Black Man






Sporadic clashes broke out Saturday in the Paris suburb of Bobigny, where some 2,000 people had gathered to protest against police brutality and the alleged rape of a 22-year-old man by an officer wielding a truncheon.

Demonstrators held placards reading “police rapes” and “police kills innocents” as they rallied outside the Bobigny courthouse, north-east of the French capital, surrounded by a large contingent of riot police.

While the rally was mostly peaceful, reporters at the scene said clashes broke out after a handful of protesters hurled projectiles at police and several vehicles were set alight, including a van belonging to RTL radio station. Officers responded with tear gas.

Earlier in the day, four people were arrested in the Mediterranean port city of Marseille on the sidelines of another march against police violence, officials said. Similar protests took place in other French cities, including Toulouse and Orléans.


The unrest in Bobigny follows several nights of violence in Paris' northern outskirts, triggered by the brutal arrest last week of a black man identified only as Theo, in the nearby suburb of Aulnay-sous-Bois.

The youth worker suffered such severe injuries to his rectum during the arrest that he needed major emergency surgery and remains in hospital.

One policeman has been placed under investigation for rape, suspected of deliberately shoving a truncheon into the young man’s rectum.

Three other officers have been charged with “deliberate violence in a group”.

On Thursday, police sources said their own investigation into the incident had concluded that the injuries were not inflicted intentionally.

The case has revived past controversies over the relationship between police and immigrant communities in France’s rundown suburbs, where police are regularly accused of discrimination and brutality.

In 2005, the death of two teenagers who were electrocuted while hiding from police in an electricity substation sparked weeks of riots in France. Around 10,000 cars were burned and 6,000 people were arrested.

The latest case comes in the midst of a presidential election campaign and follows the death of 24-year-old Adama Traore in police custody in another Parisian suburb last year.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP)

February 9, 2017

Thousands Demonstrate in Paris After Black Man Raped, Beaten by Cops



 One officer has been charged over the alleged rape while three others have been charged over use of excessive force




Demonstrators have taken to the streets in and around Paris to protest the alleged beating and rape of a black man by French police.
The unrest has gone on nearly a week, and "rioters have clashed with police and have set fire to trash cans, cars and a nursery school," reported Jake Cigainero for NPR's Newscast unit.
Four police officers have been suspended and charged in connection with the incident, according to a statement by the French Interior Ministry. Three face assault charges and one faces a charge of rape.
The victim, referred to by officials as “Theo," gave the BBC a graphic account of what he says happened to him.
The BBC reported Theo said he left his house last Thursday evening and found himself in the middle of a police operation targeting drug dealers:
"Theo said he was sodomized with a truncheon, as well as racially abused, spat at and beaten around his genitals," the broadcaster reported. "He has undergone emergency surgery for severe anal injuries, and has been declared unfit for work for 60 days.
" 'I fell on to my stomach, I had no strength left,' he said.
“He was then sprayed with tear gas around the head and in the mouth and hit over the head." 




 On Tuesday, French President Francois Hollande visited Theo in the hospital, and later praising his dignity in a tweet, which included a photo of Hollande by his bedside.
CNN reported that police arrested 26 people on Wednesday, according to a spokesperson for the local prefecture in the suburb of Seine-Saint-Denis northeast of Paris, where the incident occurred.
Those arrests followed two previous nights of demonstrations in the region, CNN reported:
"A few miles away, near Paris' Ménilmontant metro station, several hundred demonstrators gathered to protest police violence. Authorities say 17 people were arrested in Aulnay-sous-Bois on Tuesday night, after protesters torched garbage bins and vehicles.
"Videos shared on social media showed clashes between riot police and youths as fires burned in the streets. Police fired warning shots into the air to disperse the crowd, according to French reports.
"On Monday, hundreds of peaceful protesters marched in the same northern suburb. Demonstrators carried banners reading 'Justice for Theo' past a nearby building that had 'police, rapists' written on it in graffiti."

Police block a street as people gather to protest police on Feb. 8.
Geoffroy Van Der Hasselt/AFP/Getty Images
Stephane Troussel, the president of the General Council of the Seine-Saint-Denis region, said the incident brought up "numerous questions," reported German broadcaster Deutsche Welle.
"Although thousands of police are doing their work properly...too many arrests end in nightmares for some young people. The image of the Republic is being tarnished,” Troussel said.
npr.org

November 28, 2016

Police Homophobia in Manchester, London May Have Caused Many Young Gay Lives






In 2001, when I joined the police, homophobia was rife. In the Greater Manchester force I heard the word “queer” often, mainly from sergeants about prisoners. And when I came out to my senior officer, he told me he couldn’t condone what I did “as a homosexual”. In a secret document my chief superintendent wrote that he had considered moving me because of “concerns over victimisation resulting from PC Maxwell’s sexual orientation”.
For many straight cops, being gay was seen as unnatural. I moved stations and continued to police other gay men under outdated laws, with me and my colleagues often looking for gay men on the canal towpath we could punish for sex acts. Seniors officers directed us to do this because, they said, these men were causing a public nuisance. 
So when I think about the case of Stephen Port – who was last week convicted of murdering four young gay men, whose killings detectives failed to link despite obvious clues – the notion of institutionalised homophobia is at the forefront of my mind. How much were officers’ judgments blinded by the so-called “lifestyle choice” of the victims?
Friends of Port’s victims have spoken about their experiences of being brushed off by the police. Many LGBT people don’t report incidents or hate crimes to the force for this very reason.
When I transferred from Manchester to London as a detective after seven years I thought lessons had been learned about diversity following the Stephen Lawrence inquiry. However, though people knew they could no longer outwardly use homophobic language in the workplace, they found other ways to express their disdain and prejudice.
I recently received a message from a gay officer who told me he was suffering homophobia within Scotland Yard. After giving him advice, I then saw him publicly praise the force for its gay tolerance. This is why any call for a public inquiry into the Port investigation will fail miserably, because LGBT people in the police will undermine it.
I became unwell with depression because of homophobia and racism in the police. I took the difficult decision of taking the police commissioner to an employment tribunal, but the force were furious with me. The court ruled I had been subjected to discrimination, harassment and victimisation based on my sexuality and race. The police then appealed against the judgment. I lost my job. An appeal judge upheld my complaints.
Only this month a gay man, David Cary, won compensation from the Met after a nine-year battle over its failure to investigate homophobic abuse claims against him. In response to this, citing my own case against the force, the Met said: “The way the organisation deals with homophobic crime and our internal practices and policies have changed dramatically since 2013.” After the Port case, can they really say that?
Members of the public told officers that the bodies of two young men being found in the same place was crucial, yet they were dismissed as not being important to the investigation – Port then went on to kill his fourth victim. If the bodies of two straight people were found in exactly the same place, weeks apart, would that not raise concerns that a pattern was emerging? How many deaths and attacks could have been avoided? 
The police didn’t create the monster that is Port, but they did have a responsibility to investigate his crimes properly. The system, riddled with institutional homophobia as it is, needs to be dealt with.
When I challenged homophobia in the Met, not a single gay officer or LGBT organisation stood alongside me. Afterwards, I watched as the police commissioner mingled with gay celebrities and charities at an awards ceremony. A picture of inclusiveness was presented, to refute the notion that the force was homophobic. I recognize the game, but imagine how it feels to watch this, for those who have been mistreated by the force because of their sexuality. 

August 30, 2016

NYC Gay Man Victim of Hate Crime and Initial “We Don’t Care” by Cop on the Beat






New York City resident and Chicago-native Omar Villalobos was taking a stroll in Manhattan with a friend when he said he heard a man shout a gay slur. 

"Before I could even look up, he struck me right in the forehead, splitting about two-and-a-half inches of a cut above my right eyebrow," Villalobos told NBC OUT. "I put my hand over my right eyebrow, and blood just comes down into my hand." 
 
Upset and injured, Villalobos said he sought assistance from nearby police officers but didn't receive the response he expected. When he reported what had happened, he said one of the officers said, "Go find someone who cares. We're here for terrorist attacks, not homeless people." 
When asked for a comment, an NYPD spokesperson told NBC OUT via email, "On Saturday August 20th at 1655 hours the victim was at 42 Street when an unknown male 40-50 made anti-gay statements and then punched the victim in the eye. He received 6 stitches to his eye. Hate Crime Task Force is investigating and IAB is looking into the incident.” 

"We're still in a country where people are seeing violence based on sexuality and gender identity," Sheryl Chestnut, Director of Community Organizing and Public Advocacy at the Anti-Violence Project, told NBC OUT. She added “street-based" violence against the LGBTQ community is still a "fairly common occurrence." 

The Anti-Violence Project has found there is underreporting of anti-LGBTQ violence in New York, and Chestnut said feeling unsafe about going to police is one reason for this. Survivors of this type of violence often go to LGBTQ organizations to seek out assistance and resources. 

ALAMIN YOHANNES

April 14, 2016

59 Bullets to Death by Gentrification


“We get the police we deserve. They are a microcosm of the people it serves”

 Alex Nieto, a 28-year-old Latino man fatally shot by San Francisco police in March 2014. The police officers accused in the killing claimed that Nieto pointed a stun gun at them, which they mistook for a pistol. Officers Richard Schiff, Nathan Chew, Roger Morse and Lt. Jason Sawyer fired dozens of shots at Nieto. According to the medical examiner, he was hit by at least 10 bullets. Last month, a jury unanimously found that the police did not use excessive force in responding to Nieto. Nieto’s family had filed a federal wrongful death civil lawsuit in August 2014, arguing in court that Nieto did not act aggressively and was carrying the weapon for his job as a security guard. We speak with Adriana Camarena, a writer, community advocate and co-founder of the Justice for Alex Nieto Coalition; and author Rebecca Solnit, who wrote a piece for The Guardian headlined "Death by gentrification: the killing that shamed San Francisco." Camarena also talks about last week’s San Francisco police killing of a homeless man, Luis Gongora, within 30 seconds of their arrival.

April 18, 2015

The Government Wont Track Police Killings but we Do


                                                                               
 Michael Brown Laying in pavement 4 hrs after being shot

Like many Americans, Sam Sinyangwe had a lot of unanswered questions after black teen Michael Brown was shot and killed in Ferguson, Missouri, last summer by a white police officer. The 24-year-old knew unarmed black people were being killed by police across the country, but he didn’t know how many, or where it happened the most.
There is no comprehensive national database of police killings. As a data scientist and activist, Sinyangwe wondered how advocates and policy makers could engage in any sort of meaningful conversation without those basic facts. On top of professional curiosity, Brown’s death hit home for Sinyangwe, who kicked around soccer balls growing up in the Florida neighborhood where Trayvon Martin was killed by gunfire.
“As a young black man, I felt unsafe,” Sinyangwe told TakePart. “This was happening everywhere—not just in Ferguson. Yet we didn’t really have the data to show how widespread this issue was, and how black people in particular are being targeted by police violence.”
 Sinyangwe turned to the numbers that did exist. As a policy analyst at PolicyLink in Oakland, California, a research institute that works to advance economic and social justice, he is no stranger to data sets. He started with deaths tracked by the Bureau of Justice Statistics and the FBI but found that they significantly undercounted the victims, excluded location, and didn’t always include race. He overlaid the two data sets and then turned to crowdsourced databases created by journalists and advocates who were disturbed by the lack of data collected by the government, such as Fatal Encounters and Killed by Police. While existing sites offered a richer variety of information than government sources, they didn’t encompass as many incidents as Sinyangwe hoped to track, and some of the sites weren’t coded by race.
So he and fellow activists DeRay McKesson and Johnetta Elzie, whom he met on Twitter, took on the task of sifting through the combined records to recheck and code every entry. After a few months, Mapping Police Violence was born. The project covers “90 percent of the universe of police killings according to the best research available out there,” Sinyangwe said, including whether or not the victim was armed or unarmed. Last year, the project found, 304 black people were killed by the police; 101 of them were unarmed.

(Infographic: Courtesy MappingPoliceViolence.org)
Americans have become familiar with many names of unarmed black people who died at the hands of police in recent months—from Eric Garner to Tanisha Anderson and Walter Scott—but the project shows there are other deaths that get little attention. In Detroit, for example, the police department doesn’t release the names of victims of police killings. The same goes for Houston. Sinyangwe and his collaborators were left to rely on media reports, which they believe resulted in an undercount of victims. Their hope is that people on the ground in these areas will reach out and help them fill in the blanks.
The numbers they do have paint a grim picture. Black people nationwide are three times more likely to be killed by police, but the odds vary by location. In St. Louis, a black person is five times more likely to be killed by police than in New York. In Oklahoma, if you’re black, you’re 10 times more likely to be killed by police than if you live in Virginia. Sinyangwe plans to reach out to state coordinators that submit this data to the FBI to tell them what they’ve missed.


“Place matters,” Sinyangwe told TakePart. “A black person in St. Louis is more likely to be killed by police than by dying in a traffic accident. This is the level of violence that folks are experiencing, and they have every reason to be afraid.”
The project has already garnered the attention of data experts like those led by elections expert Nate Silver at FiveThirtyEight, and Sinyangwe has appeared on CNN to share his team’s work. They plan to collect and map data back to 2011, with data broken down by city and eventually zip code for a more focused analysis. By highlighting the difference in rates of police violence in certain locations, they hope to motivate elected officials and others to work for measurable change.
Sinyangwe hopes the project will spur a discussion about why the government didn’t collect the data in the first place.
“If I could do this in several months, why haven’t they collected this data?” he said. “This is more than a question of legislation; this is a question of political will.”
Rebecca McCray is a TakePart staff writer covering criminal justice and legal issues. 
She is based in New York.  Takepart.com

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