Posts tagged St. Paul

The Police Beat

  • Officer Justin Barrett. Boston, Massachusetts. The Boston Police Commissioner recently suspended and moved to fire Boston patrol cop Officer Justin Barrett, after being forwarded a racist-ass e-mail that Barret wrote in response to Yvonne Abraham’s Boston Globe column criticizing Sergeant James Crowley for his stupid arrest of Henry Louis Gates. All the news stories have mentioned how Barrett stated I am not a racist, but I am [prejudiced] towards people who are stupid and repeatedly described Gates as a banana-eating jungle monkey. Some also mentioned active patrol cop Barret’s statement that, had he been in Crowley’s place, he not only would have arrested Gates but would have pepper-sprayed him in the face. None of the mainstream media articles I’ve read so far have mentioned that active patrol cop Officer Justin Barrett also complains that Your defense [4th paragraph] of Gates while he is on the phone while being confronted [INDEED] with a police officer is assuming he has rights when considered a suspect. He is a suspect and will always be a suspect. (Brackets in original; emphasis mine.) Or that, alongside the violent racism and explicit totalitarianism, he adds some crude misogyny, writing to the immediate target of his letter, Yvonne Abraham, that You are a hot little bird with minimal experiences in a harsh field. … You have no business writing for a US newspaper nevermind detailing and analyzing half truths. You should serve me coffee and donuts on Sunday morning. He later repeats the joke about coffee and says that you just need to get slapped. Officer Justin Barrett, when not a racist, sexist, police-statist patrol cop, is also a veteran of the United States government’s Army; he felt comfortable forwarding his racist, sexist, police-statist e-mail to a few of his buddies in the Boston police force and several of his buddies in the Army National Guard. Since the story hit, Barrett has complained to the media that in the uproar over his repeated use of the phrase banana-eating jungle monkey, People are making it about race. It is not about race, and that, although he made a poor choice of words, I didn’t mean it in a racist way. I treat everyone with dignity and respect. His lawyer says that he plans to fight to hold onto his cop job at the upcoming hearing.

  • Disorderly conduct. Patrolman Robert Lang, Patrolman Jared Bock, and Patrolman Shawn Panchick. Brackenridge, Pennsylvania. Three white patrol cops in Pennsylvania are being investigated by another local government’s cops in response to allegations that they beat and robbed a three black teenagers who they arbitrarily commanded (why?) to clear off of a friend’s front porch where they were hanging out late at night. I don’t know whether or not the allegations of robbery are true — one of the victims, Kyle Dudley, claims that he was beat down and robbed of his watch and money by a group of cops possibly different from the three who originally responded to the call, which makes it hard to compare stories — but I do know that, whether or not those allegations are true, the story that the cops all agreed on for their report is more than enough reason to call their conduct belligerent, violent and stupid. Cops have exactly no business singling out black teenagers to be hassled, or for forcing them down and arresting them on a disorderly conduct beef simply for refusing to obey arbitrary bellowed commands that they leave a private residence where they have been invited to hang out with their friends, or a neighborhood where they are hanging out on public property. And once again, it is clear that disorderly conduct charges are the sheepdogs’ favorite threat for making that the sheep stay just where they’ve been herded, regardless of whether or not anyone is actually doing anything that would threaten anyone’s rights even in the slightest.

  • Cops are here to keep us safe. (Cont’d.) By sideswiping our cars while they tear down the road at 20 mph over the posted speed limit with no lights and no sirens on. Then by concealing information or flat-out lying in the accident report and to the media about how fast they were going, until they finally reveal, a couple days later, that the accident was, after all, clearly the fault of the cop’s speeding. Where have I seen that before…? I guess his victim is lucky that he wasn’t doing 100; if he had gotten himself hurt or killed in the crash he caused, she probably would have been arrested for reckless driving and smeared as a cop-killer all over the local papers.

  • Fun for ages 7 to 70. Unnamed patrol officer, Knoxville, Tennessee, and Deputy Chris Beize. Austin, Texas. In Knoxville, a government cop, who had important business to do Investigating reports of some neighbor kids getting into a fight, has been accused of trying to coerce a 7 year old boy into talking more candidly by handcuffing the child and cussing him out, while the boy was crying and asking for his mother. The 7-year-old was not involved in the fighting and was never suspected of, or charged with, any crime. Officials refuse to so much as disclose this dedicated public servant’s name, but they promise that the matter is being Internally Investigated.

    Meanwhile, in Texas, Deputy Chris Beize tasered Kathryn Winkfein, a 72-year-old great-grandmother, twice during a routine traffic stop, after she refused to sign a ticket and he decided to escalate the situation by ordering her out of her car, instead of just mailing the damn thing to her home address. Beize claims that she swore at him (which is not a crime) and that she pushed him into oncoming traffic (no she didn’t; the dashcam video clearly shows that he lunged over and grabbed her and shoved her back several feet, when she tried to de-escalate the situation by sidestepping him to get back to her truck). Then he blasted her with a 50,000-volt electric shock from the taser, and then tasered her again while she was lying on the ground. Then he arrested her for resisting arrest. His superior officers in the paramilitary chain of command have defended Beize’s hollering belligerence, physical assault, and torture by repeated electrical shocks, against an unarmed, 4′11″, 72-year-old great-grandmother who never threatened any physical harm and was guilty of nothing more than a moving violation and contempt of cop, as an appropriate reaction to a dangerous situation. By the by, when Beize is not busy shocking the hell out of elderly women, he is a taser instructor for the local police.

  • Officer Morris Taylor. Springfield, Missouri. Officer Morris Taylor, a cop formerly on the Springfield, Missouri city government’s police force, is facing misdemeanor assault charges for beating John Sedersten, a prisoner under his authority, after Sedersten had been restrained and booked in the Greene County Jail. The story’s in the news because Sedersten, the victim of the beating, recently decided not to testify against Taylor in the criminal case, on advice from his attorneys, because of the danger that his testimony will open him up to lines of questioning that the government can use against him in his pending criminal cases. Sedersten is pursuing a separate civil lawsuit against Officer Morris Taylor for the beating; apparently he’s just not particularly interested in working closely with the same government office that is trying to lock him up in other cases, particularly not for so minor a vindication as a misdemeanor assault conviction. Even without his testimony, apparently portions of the assault are recorded on video.

    Besides having spent 11 years in local government police forces, Officer Morris Taylor also has experience in dealing with prisoners from working as a government soldier in the U.S. government’s war and occupation in Iraq.

  • Deputy Marcus Smith. San Joaquin County, California. San Joaquin County Sheriff’s deputies stopped a car on a routine traffic stop near Manteca; Charles Inderbitzen was riding in the car. Inderbitzen was ex-con out on parole, and believed that he had a warrant out on him, so he got nervous around the cops. He tried to leave the scene without the cops’ permission; even though the police had no reason whatever, at this point, to suspect that he had committed any crime, or even (since he was not the one driving the car) of even the most minor civil infraction. But government cops in America aren’t actually interested in dealing with crimes; they are interested in targeting suspects, and are more than willing to summarily declare you a suspect sort of guy based solely on your failure to follow their arbitrary bellowed commands, or your decision to try to leave the scene when they are present. So a gang of police chased Inderbitzen down, cornered him in a back yard, drew their guns on him, and ordered him to get on his knees and put his hands on his head. After Inderbitzen complied with their orders, with several cops pointing guns at him and while physically at their mercy, Deputy Marcus Smith hopped the fence, kicked Charles Inderbitzen in the gut, punched him in the back of the head, kicked him two more times in the stomach, and then punched him about 5 or 10 more times until Inderbitzen was beaten unconscious. I guess he’s lucky they didn’t taser him to death instead.

  • Oops. Our bad. Deputy Matthew Paul. Seattle, Washington. Christopher Harris was trying to get away from a group of King’s County police (or rather, a gang of beefy, heavily armed strangers, dressed all in black, who didn’t bother to identify themselves before they started hollering and chasing after him late at night). Turns out he didn’t actually do anything wrong (they were chasing him because a witness fingered him as having been involved in a bar fight; the witness was wrong). But rather than risking the possibility that someone possibly might get away from the cops (even when he had no way of knowing they were cops, who had every right to leave the scene, who posed no physical threat to anybody, and who, at the very worst, was suspected of some minor-league drunken fighting), Deputy Matthew Paul, who outweighed his victim by about 100 pounds, decided to put an end to things by waiting until Christopher Harris slowed down to a walk, and then body-tackling him so hard that he knocked him eight feet into a wall, slamming Harris’s head into the concrete so hard it put him into a coma. The story’s in the news because Deputy Matthew Paul’s coworkers in the King County government’s prosecutor’s office have announced that, as far as they’re concerned, Deputy Matthew Paul did not violate Christopher Harris’s rights and the only personal consequence that Deputy Matthew Paul will face, for putting his falsely accused, completely unarmed and physically harmless victim on life-support, is having been given a paid vacation from his job for a while during the investigation. According to the county government, It’s a tragic incident. Well, oops. I guess he’s lucky they didn’t just shoot him in the back instead.

  • Non-Lethal Force (Cont’d.) Unnamed officer, Officer Debra Lynn Indovina-Akerly and Officer Charles Watson. Swissvale, Pennsylvania. Last summer, a 37 year old unarmed black man named Andre DeMon Thomas was extrajudicially electrocuted by a gang of three Swissvale cops, who tortured him with three 50,000-volt electric shocks, handcuffed him, and, after he was handcuffed, kicked him, punched him, and crushed him until he vomited, passed out, and died. They were electrocuting him, incidentally, For His Own Good, after he begged neighbors to call the cops to help him out. He was unarmed; he wasn’t acting aggressively; none of the neighbors felt threatened by him; he was never at any point charged with any crime at all by anyone; he seemed disoriented and terrified, and he wanted the cops there to keep him safe. But in cop-think, being terrified and disoriented means acting erratic, and acting erratic in the judgment of a cop, even if you pose no threat to anyone and even if you have not been so much as accused of committing a crime and even if you are yourself seeking help, is reason enough for you to get Served and Protected good and hard until you are physically subdued. Or dead, whichever comes first. [And]((http://radgeek.com/gt/2009/06/22/the-police-beat-3/) yet again, it became necessary to kill Dre Thomas in order to save him. The case is in the news again because the family has filed a lawsuit and the coroner’s autopsy report, which revealed deep and widespread bruising all over Thomas’s body, contradicts the Medical Examiner’s initial report absolving the cops and claiming that Thomas died from a mythical made-up condition called agitated delirium.

  • Gang cops (Cont’d.). Gang Strike Force, Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota. Seven victims of racist shakedowns by a multi-agency paramilitary Gang Strike Force in the Twin Cities have filed suit against the members of the Strike Force, the city governments that put it together, and the boss cops who commanded it. The Strike Force was permanently shut down earlier this month after repeated complaints about the cops on it making improper seizures, which is to say armed robberies under color of law, of money and property from innocent people with no connection to gang activity, but who happened to be immigrants (hence easy targets). If only we had some warning, had some way of knowing, that an elite gang police unit with an unlimited mandate, overwhelming force, and extremely broad legal powers to roust people and take their property with minimal legal accountability, might end up just acting like the baddest gangsters on the block. But who could possibly have foreseen that? It’s not like anything like this has ever happened before.

  • Detective Keith Alfaro. San Antonio, Texas. A couple years ago Detective Keith Alfaro of the San Antonio police department got himself involved in what the media at the time dignified as a poolside scuffle with a teenager. By which they meant that he punched an 18 year old girl in the face, then, after he knocked her down, got on top of her, put her in a chokehold, and, according to an unrelated witness, pummeled her black and blue while she was on the ground. After Alfaro ran away from the Sheriff’s Deputies who responded to a call, Vaughn had to be taken to the hospital; she still couldn’t open her jaw for weeks after the attack. The reason he did this was that she told him to put out a cigar he was smoking; the community pool had a no-smoking rule. Tamara Vaughn claims she asked him politely; Alfaro claims she copped an attitude, got up in his face, dared to say some vulgar words in his hearing, and tried to swipe the cigar out of his mouth. Apparently, even if we grant his story to be true, Detective Keith Alfaro believes that that’s good enough reason for a grown-ass man to throw the first punch, then beat the living hell out of an 18 year old girl while she’s lying on the ground, and that doing so was totally defensive … It was her own actions that forced me to take those measures. Perhaps that’s also what forced him to answer her request that he not smoke a cigar at a non-smoking pool by telling her to take that East Side attitude back over there; maybe that’s also what forced him to call her a nigger and a half-breed while he was beating the hell out of her, or to tell Vaughn, who is a lesbian, that You wanna look like a man, I’m gonna treat you like a man.. Detective Keith Alfaro testified that his problem was not with her race but with her attitude (you know, the East Side kind), and that She though she was talking to a child, … She thought she was talking to someone she could bully — not an adult family man. Apparently Detective Keith Alfaro believes that an adult family man deals with tense social situations by punching 18 year old girls in the face and dislocating their jaws. In any case, this adult family man bragged in an online profile for an Ultimate Fighting website about his countless street KO’s.

    The story is in the news again because Keith Alfaro finally ended up going to trial this year on a misdemeanor assault rap, along with some resisting and evading arrest for having run away from the Bexar County Sheriff’s deputies. And just today, after the judge refused to allow Bexar County prosecutors to tell the jury about the online bragging about street fights, or about the numerous existing complaints against Alfaro in his internal affairs file (complaints which, of course, never endangered his position with the San Antonio Police Department, until he got into a fight on another police agency’s turf), the jury voted to acquit Alfaro on the assault beef. They convicted him on the misdemeanor evading and resisting arrest charges, because apparently busting up an 18 year old girl’s jaw is OK, but they’ll be damned if they’ll let anyone get away from the po-po.

  • Rapists on patrol. Officer Feliciano Sanchez, Los Angeles, California. (Possible trigger warning.)

    Officer Feliciano Sanchez, formerly hired muscle for Los Angeles County’s Bell Police Department, recently plead guilty to using his police powers to abduct a woman he had detained on a traffic stop, drive her to an isolated location, and then flashed his gun and coerced sex from her before he would let her free. Bell Police Department Captain Anthony Miranda says he is shocked to hear that a male cop might use his government-granted legal powers and his arsenal of deadly weapons to intimidate and violently coerce sex from women who come under his power. He says that he’s in disbelief because he’s never heard of such a thing before. Well, I’m not. I have.

  • 18 shots for running a stop-sign. Officer James Arnold. Fort Wayne, Indiana. The city government in Fort Wayne, Indiana just spent $335,000 of other people’s money in order to cover Office James Arnold’s ass after he shot an unarmed immigrant named José Baudilio Lemus-Rodriguez 18 times, after Lemus-Rodriguez refused to pull over for a routine traffic stop for running a stop sign.

    Fort Wayne Police Officer James Arnold, by the way, was just four months on the force when he lit up Lemus-Rodriguez’s car; before that, he had years of combat experience as a United States government Marine fighting for the U.S. government’s occupation and counter-insurgency operations in both Iraq and Afghanistan.

    Allen County Prosecutor Karen Richards refused to file any criminal charges; the city hired on a PR flack to declare Arnold’s actions objectively reasonable. The city’s main concern in settling the family’s lawsuit, besides using taxpayer money to cover Officer James Arnold from any personal legal liability for his lethal actions, is apparently as a bribe to ensure that the objective video record of the objectively reasonable shooting remains permanently concealed from the public.

New Jersey ALL

ALLy Darian Worden mentioned organizing a New Jersey chapter a while back of the Alliance of the Libertarian Left. Now that he’s freshly returned from taking to the streets in St. Paul, he announced today that New Jersey ALL has entered the world of the webbed at nj.libertarianleft.org.

For a sample of what they’ve been working on, here’s a flyer they used to spread the good news about Direct Action and Mutual Aid to burned-out Ron Paul supporters in St. Paul:

Freedom in chains! Dissent in cages!

The two party system has failed to uphold liberty. The electoral process has failed to restore liberty.

Participating in elections is playing on the tyrants’ turf by the tyrants’ rules. It is an attempt to wring liberty from a system that is set up to keep the people in chains.

So what is a liberty lover to do? Fortunately there are many approaches. The following suggestions overlap each other and provide effective methods of fighting government oppression.

Think Direct Action – Bypass the rigged political system and instead organize the people to affect the changes you wish to see.

Think Market Based Alternatives – A system of voluntary trade and cooperation is not only more just and productive than statist intervention, but when economic activity is focused on undermining the state, the power of true entrepreneurs can destroy the system of political power and privilege.

Think Mutual Aid – Individuals cooperate for mutual gain and help each other with no centralized control. Looking out for each other is participatory insurance for a free world.

Think Civil Disobedience – Why do you have a conscience if you were not meant to use it? Whether confrontational or not, civil disobedience can be effective at gaining a little liberty now and a lot of liberty tomorrow.

Think Communication – Alternative media and information campaigns can bypass the press and go straight to the people, or exploit the press for liberty’s gain.

Instead of working within the system, why not work on building a new society within the shell of the old? Together we can build a society of liberty, where the rights of every individual to life, liberty, and justly acquired property are respected and upheld regardless of race, religion, trade, orientation, or geographical origin.

Free the Markets – Free the People

Agora! Anarchy! Action!

all-left.net

agorism.info

mutualist.org

There’s a ready-to-print PDF of the flyer

While you’re at it, also check out ready-to-print PDF of the counter-recruitment flyer that they are posting in the New Jersey area.

And here’s some of what they’re working on now:

Activities

Our current projects include loitering law street theater and literature distibution, and counter-recruitment flyering. We are also looking to expand our activist base from its humble beginnings.

Get Involved

To get involved or to just learn more, contact us at nj.libertarianleft (at) gmail.com

— From nj.libertarianleft.org

Welcome to the Revolution, New Jersey ALLies!

As a sidebar, I will mention that the subdomain name and the hosting space are being provided by, well, me. Which I bring up as a way to segue into mentioning that if you (yes, you, gentle reader) happen to be organizing a local ALL chapter, and are in need of a subdomain name (in the format ____.libertarianleft.org), or in need of web hosting, or in need of both, then contact me. While traffic remains relatively low, the hosting will be free. If in the course of the Revoution traffic should spike to the point that I need to upgrade my servers or Internet connection to handle it, I would just ask a nominal fee to help handle the costs—certainly less than anything you’d get from buying a commercial web hosting plan. Solidarity economy and all that, don’t you know.

The words of St. Paul

Here’s a recent dispatch from United Liberty (2008-08-30): Operation St. Paul. Boldface added.

The Western Standard is reporting that Dr. Paul’s followers have been hard at work, preparing the twin cities for the influx of RNC delegates. Determined to get the Texas Congressman’s message out there, Operation St. Paul was set in motion. Part of the push is in the form of billboards, such as this, showcased in the Minneapolis area.

Dr. Paul’s message of freedom is a powerful one, and The Revolution: A Manifesto has become to the Freedom Fighter what a gospel tract is to an evangelical Christian.

Oh, come on. Y’all are making this too easy. It’s so obvious that it’s hardly even fun anymore.

Here's a Cultural Revolution-era propaganda poster of workers thrusting copies of the Little Red Book into the air, with Ron Paul's head photoshopped onto the cover.

Hold high the great red banner of Ron Paul Thought—thoroughly smash the rotting counterrevolutionary revisionist line in Constitutional law!

See also:

In fifteen words or fewer: On Blaming the Victim

From the New York Times (2008-09-01): As Throngs of Protesters Hit Streets, Dozens Are Arrested After Clashes:

Elsewhere in St. Paul, a prominent Democratic Party strategist, Donna Brazile, was hit by pepper spray while trying to walk around protesters outside the convention hall, Ms. Brazile said in an interview.

I got a strong whiff — just toxic — and my head and throat are still hurting, said Ms. Brazile, who appears on CNN as a political analyst. I’ll avoid the protesters tomorrow.

Wouldn’t it have been more to the point for her to avoid the cops?

See also:

Our Dear Leader

Hey, remember back when MoveOn used to be an anti-war group?

I mean, sure, they’ve always been more than a little too entangled with Democratic Party politicking. And, yeah, they never articulated any particular vision for ways to address the issue except by fundraising, electioneering, voter registration, and periodic useless petitions. But remember back when they used to focus on bringing hardball political tactics to bear on sitting incumbents, to try to prevent the war, or later, to try to end the occupation? When they really identified with, and worked together with, a lot of activists and organizers in the anti-war movement? When they at least put out the occasional real zinger in an anti-war ad or online video?

Now, while the anti-war movement finds itself facing down pepper spray, tear gas, concussion grenades, and rubber bullets in the streets of St. Paul; while antiwar activists are imprisoned without charge or threatened with over 7 years in prison on completely bogus terrorist conspiracy charges; while MoveOn itself can’t be bothered to say a damned thing about it, not even to condemn the heavy-handed attacks on activists and the obvious disregard for basic civil liberties on the part of the Ramsey County sheriff’s department—well. We shouldn’t be too hard on them. They’re busy right now and they have their own great way to make a difference. I know because they sent me an e-mail about it. Their great way to make a difference is getting 50,000 or more people to wear this t-shirt:

The shirt has a giant head of Barack Obama staring off to the horizon, with OBAMA printed in big block letters underneath.

¡Hasta la Obamarquía siempre!

From: Peter Koechley, MoveOn.org Political Action
To: Charles Johnson
Date: September 2, 2008
Subject: Your Obama shirt

Can you donate at least $12 today to help get this program going right away? If you do, we’ll send you a free Obama T-shirt: . . . These high-quality, union-printed American Apparel shirts feel great, they look great, and they’re a great way to make a difference. . . .

From: Peter Koechley, MoveOn.org Political Action
To: Charles Johnson
Date: September 3, 2008
Subject: 50,000 Obama shirts?

. . . Can you help us put our organizers on the ground and reach our goal of 50,000 T-shirts? Click here to chip in $12 so we can send you a free Obama T-shirt:

. . .

Thanks for all you do. [sic—R.G.]

—Peter

When your starry-eyed messianic enthusiasm, hitched up to your self-satisfied professional-class Progressivism, along with a crew of robotic partisan hacks and apparatchiks, has ended up in a creepy theo-electoral cult of personality that really defies satire — because all that needs to be done is to point at you, just as you are, too obvious to even bother parodying — well, then, I guess it really is time to MoveOn.