Proper Treatment. Daily Brickbats (2010-10-11):
Michelle Schreiner is a diabetic and her blood sugar was dangerously low, so a friend called 911. For some reason, dispatch sent a police officer as well as paramedics to her Gresham, Oregon, home. When they got there, Schreiner was holding a syringe filled with insulin and drifting in and...
The police are here to keep you safe.
Last month AOL News ran an anecdotal Data-less Trend Story about city governments in small towns firing the city government police force in order to cope with budget crunches. I’d like to know what the actual data here is; typically, cash-strapped city governments react by cutting everything except police and jails. If governments’ financing crises are finally leading them to reduce the number of police patrolling city streets, that’s surprisingly good news. Most of the towns mentioned are very small towns — with populations ranging from about 700 to 4,500. The outlier, Maywood, California, has about 30,000 people living in the town (with a whopping 4 murders in 2008! twice the national average!). Apparently part of the reason they fired the police department was because a lot of the city government’s $450,000 budget deficit, and its trouble securing insurance, came from
lawsuits, many involving the police. Government employees and hangers-on are going nuts about all of this. After the vote in Maywood, ex-City Treasurer Lizeth Sandoval told the city council
You single-handedly destroyed the city, by which she means that they outsourced the city government. (You won’t find any burned-out buildings, torn-up streets, or dead bodies; the places and people in the city of Maywood, California are still right where they were, going on as happily as they were before; the only things
destroyed were the government jobs of tax-eaters like City Treasurer Lizeth Sandoval.) Jim Pasco, national executive director of the Fraternal Order of Pigs, said that decisions to fire local police were
penny wise and pound foolish, because sheriff’s departments and state police will be spread thin patrolling larger areas, and no amount is too much to spend on city cops, because
The absolute threshold responsibility of a government at any level is to ensure the safety of its citizens.
For example, consider local hero Officer Bryan Yant, liar and killer for the Las Vegas Metro police department, who by making up lies to obtain fraudulent search warrants and by violently breaking into citizens’ homes late at night, where he ensures the safety of Las Vegas’s citizens by kicking down doors and shooting unarmed black men with his AR-15 assault rifle, based on
furtive motions and
a glimmer or something shiny that nobody but Officer Bryan Yant ever saw, and which is plainly contradicted by forensic evidence related to the angle of the shot. Local government in Las Vegas has fulfilled is threshold responsibility by once again ensuring the safety of Officer Bryan Yant from any legal consequences for shooting innocent, unarmed men in the head during a hyperviolent raid to investigate a completely nonviolent, victimless
crime, all of it based on demonstrable falsehoods and mistaken identity — oops! my bad! All of which should free Officer Bryan Yant up for a fourth Internal Investigation, in which his government colleagues will once again either exonerate him or let him off without any criminal penalties, for lying and fabricating fictitious search and arrest warrants in at least one other drug investigation involving another hyperviolent late night home raid. The polite term in local media for Officer Bryan Yant’s work ensuring the safety of Las Vegas citizens is
sloppy. A better term would be
fraudulent and lethally violent. How much safer does it make you feel that this lying, killing 4-time winner is still a fully-paid member of the Las Vegas Metro police force?
Meanwhile, in El Reno, Oklahoma, government police officers are ensuring the safety of El Reno citizens by forcing their way into an 86-year-old bed-ridden grandmother’s home on a
wellness check, and then, if she should object to 10 armed strangers busting into her house, by stepping on her oxygen hose and torturing her with electrical shocks in her own bed, until she passes out from the pain. El Reno Police Chief Ken Brown justified this use of extreme violence against an elderly woman who could not possibly have physically harmed anybody more than a couple feet away from her on the grounds that she was holding a kitchen knife, and she told officers
She was in control of her life. Thus,
Police were forced [sic!] to use a Taser on the woman until she could be forced into a hospital psychoprison — not because she was actually charged with any crime, of course, but so that she could be cured of her deranged and dangerous belief that she was in control of her own life.
Meanwhile, in New York, New York, Officer Patrick Pogan, a government police officer working for the New York city government, ensured the safety of New York citizens by body-slamming an unarmed bicyclist to the ground for trying to avoid hitting him, and then lying about it in his police reports, where he claimed that his victim was trying to ram into him, rather than swerving around him. His government colleague Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Maxwell Wiley, in turn, fulfilled his threshold obligation by ensuring that this lying violent thug would face absolutely no criminal consequences whatsoever for the crimes that he had been convicted of.
Also, in New York, New York, government cop Detective Louis J. Eppolito ensured the safety of New York citizens by taking a second job as an informant and hit-man for the Luchese crime family. He took a special interest in ensuring the safety of Brian Gibbs by framing him for murder — among other things, making up fictional witness statements, threatening witnesses in order to get testimony against Gibbs, withholding evidence that would have proven Gibbs’s evidence, and torturing Gibbs himself until he extracted a false confession. Brian Gibbs lost 19 years of his life locked in prison. The New York Police Department spent years fulfilling its threshold obligation to keep Detective Louis J. Eppolito safe from any consequences for his violent crimes, even though — years before he tortured and framed Brian Gibbs — they had direct evidence that he was working for the Mafia (including having his fingerprints on police reports he had handed off to a fellow gangster). The Incident was, of course, Internally Investigated, and Detective Eppolito was let off without even facing any administrative disciplinary actions. Which freed him up to go on murdering and imprisoning innocent people for the mob. The city government in New York still officially maintains that Brian Gibbs is guilty of murder. However, they’ve decided to sign a $9,900,000 settlement; dedicated public servants that they are, they will send the bill to innocent New York City taxpayers who had nothing to do with the crimes committed against Brian Gibbs.
Meanwhile, in Sebastian County, Arkansas, government
drug investigators are ensuring the safety of citizens by staging heavily armed, late-night raids on citizens’ houses, where they threaten the lives of everyone in the house, including sleeping babies — without bothering to check the address on the mailbox to see whether they are actually even forcing their way into the right house. (Oops! My bad!) Then, after releasing their innocent victims from the shackles they had forced them into, the cops they went down the street to the
right house, where they broke into somebody else’s home, threatened three other innocent people’s lives, and forced them into cages at gunpoint, for the completely nonviolent
offense of having marijuana.
Meanwhile, in Universal City, Texas, government police are ensuring the safety of citizens by surrounding innocent women and children in their cars, pointing guns at them and screaming at them to put their hands up, and then forcing their way into the car before they realize — oops! our bad! — that they had the wrong car and the wrong people, and were threatening the lives of a black woman with three children who had nothing to do with the white man they were trying to ambush. Since government police never face any consequences whatsoever for their fuck-ups, no matter how high-stakes, violent, reckless, traumatic or dangerous to the safety of innocent citizens, the police department is waving it off as
an unfortunate coincidence. They refer to the use of such high-stakes, violent tactics in uncertain situations, with incomplete information, to terrify and overwhelm innocent women and children, as
doing our jobs, and publicly state that
We would not change what we did. Of course they wouldn’t; who’s going to make them?
Meanwhile, in Tavares, Florida, government police are ensuring the safety of citizens by interrogating and then arresting Latina women who are not suspected of any crime, for not
giving her name fast enough or producing identification papers on demand. The government police officer told his victim that she had to provide ID because he needed to put her name
in a database. When she said she needed to go to the car to get it, the cop arrested her for resisting arrest and had her locked in a jail cell for 5 hours.
Meanwhile, in Hamilton, Ontario, government police are ensuring the safety of citizens by staging hyperviolent drug raids, forcing their way into apartments at gunpoint, forcing the citizens in them to the floor, then slamming their faces into the floor and kicking them when they try to explain that the cops have the wrong address. Po Lo Hay’s safety was ensured so good and hard that he ended up with stitches above his eye, a bloody nose, welts, and a broken rib.
Meanwhile, in Bridgewater, England, government police are ensuring the safety of citizens by threatening them with electrical torture devices and then accidentally hitting them with a 50,000 volt electric shock to their genitals, in the course of an unnecessary traffic stop intended to investigate whether or not they were committing the completely nonviolent
offense of driving without government-mandated corporate car insurance. For accidentally inflicting the worst pain that this innocent man has ever been subjected to in his life, government cops are offering an
Oops! Our bad!
I sure am glad that government cops are out there to ensure our safety, and local governments are there to extract tax dollars to force us all, on threat of prison, to pay for this
threshold obligation. If government cops weren’t there to harass, threaten, torture, frame, jail or kill innocent citizens, all with complete legal impunity so long as they can shout an
Oops! My bad! that some fellow cop or other government employee will believe, who would keep us all safe?
From the West Australian government’s police force comes this story of a team of government cops using tasers to haze and punish other cops. Because there’s nothing like hazing to reinforce a culture of hypermasculine violence, and nothing like electrical torture to brutalize your victims into unit cohesion:
Two senior West Australian police officers have been stood down and two others sidelined amid allegations they Tasered junior officers as part of an initiation ritual at the Rockingham Police Station south of Perth.
It’s understood the unlawful practice had become part of subculture within a team of uniformed officers at the Rockingham Police Station. Tasers were being used as a punishment or initiation ritual. Officers, some of them senior, were drive stunning other staff with the guns delivering a shock without deploying the probes.
It’s believed there were multiple victims, some of them female officers, over a number of months.
— Sue Short, Australian Broadcasting Corporation (2010-07-14): Police investigate reports of taser initiation ritual
Russell Armstrong, a rep from the pigs’ union, has this to say:
We’re disappointed that it’s happened, it’s an isolated incident, but we are supporting the officers and we are cooperating with internal investigators.
After all, nothing says
isolated incident like
multiple victims and
part of a subculture within a team of uniformed officers. Anyway, while the Incident is being Internally Investigated, Armstrong wants you to know that, when an investigation uncovers a gang of abusive government cops who get their jollies by torturing victims with high-voltate, paralyzingly painful electric shocks, he would
certainly hope that [the Police Commissioner] doesn’t sack any police officer over this incident.
The Los Angeles Police Protective League Board of Directors, on their understanding of
This time it was a Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals panel, essentially ruling that unless an officer is
actually under physical attack, he/she cannot use a Taser to subdue a suspect. And, for good measure,
these starry-eyed jurists, who probably have never been in a physical fight in their lives, opined that police
officers should not fear irrational suspects defying officer commands as long as the suspect stays 15 feet
from the officer.
As every street cop knows, any suspect within 15 feet who is actively resisting verbal commands is a
threat to officer safety.
If a suspect complies with an officer’s commands, the use of force or a weapon is unnecessary. When a
suspect fails to comply with verbal commands, it means the situation is rapidly escalating and some form of
force will be required to gain compliance.
— Los Angeles Police Protective League Board of Directors, lapd.com: The Official Blog of the Los Angeles Police Protective League (2009-12-30): The Ninth Circuit’s year-end ‘gift’ to law enforcement
(Via William N. Grigg.)
Officer William Salyers, Officer Lauren Bacha, Officer Zachery Moody, Officer George Romero, Officer Deborah Dennison, and Officer Bryan Wood. Chattanooga Police Department, Chattanooga, Tennessee. A young black man named Alonzo Heyward was drunk and extremely upset after a late-night party. He grabbed a rifle and pointed at himself late at night and started talking about killing himself. His family and his girlfriend were trying to talk him down like civilized people do when someone is not in his right mind and threatening to hurt himself; unfortunately, in the meantime, some bystanders saw what was happening and they called in the Chattanooga city government’s police force — who proceeded to Take Control Of The Situation by means of escalating belligerence, by surrounding Heyward, by pointing guns at him, by hollering orders, and then — when he didn’t snap to and immediately obey their bellowed commands — by tasering him down to the ground. And then lighting him up with 59 shots after he’d already been knocked to the ground when he moved to get up.
they felt threatened by the way he moved his rifle after he’d already been knocked to the ground by a 50,000-volt electric shock. The three non-cop witnesses on the scene (Heyward’s father, his girlfriend, and a neighbor) say they never saw Alonzo Heyward threaten to hurt anyone other than himself. They also say that Heyward was lying prone on the porch on top of the rifle when the cops first opened fire. While the cops were stopping to reload — they fired three volleys of gunfire before they decided Heyward was dead enough — the non-cop witnesses say they heard Alonzo Heyward ask the cops
Why are you shooting me? Since he certainly never posed a threat to anyone other than himself before the cops showed up, and almost certainly posed no threat to the cops, either, in spite of their belligerent escalation of the situation, it’s a good question.
Meanwhile, the six cops who lit up Alonzo Heyward — Officer William Salyers, Officer Lauren Bacha, Officer Zachery Moody, Officer George Romero, Officer Deborah Dennison, and Officer Bryan Wood — were given a seven day paid vacation by the Chattanooga city government’s police force (so that they could take some time to see a shrink at taxpayer expense). They are now back on the streets. The boss cops insist that their hired muscle acted properly; Police Chief Freeman Cooper told a Chattanooga radio station that the hail of bullets used to mow down Alonzo Heyward shows that
our people did what we trained them to do. No doubt. Eugene O’Donnell, a former government cop and government prosecutor who now teaches up-and-coming government cops how to be cops at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice [sic] in New York City, defended the hail of gunfire, saying that there is no
magic number of shots to fire and that
Unfortunately this is replicated all over the country. (Well, yeah.)
When you send the police they bring deadly force with them. They come armed and they come predisposed to use force. No doubt. Which is precisely why legally unaccountable, heavily-armed twitchy government cops shouldn’t be sent into volatile situations where a person hasn’t threatened to harm anyone other than himself.