Posts tagged Utah

Rapists on patrol (#6) / Men in Uniform (#4)

Trigger warning. This post includes narrative descriptions of sexual violence, sexual coercion, assaults, stalking, and harassment by police officers against women, men, and children, including several cases of extreme violence. It may be triggering for past experiences of sexual assault. It is certain to be extremely grim reading for anyone.

All of these news stories appeared in my feed reader at some point within the past month and a half. There are actually about four or five more on my list that I could have included (mostly domestic violence assaults), but I had to give up because I’ve been working on this for about twelve hours now and I cannot stand to type up even one more case tonight.

1. Officer Thomas Tolstoy, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Cont’d.)

You may remember Officer Thomas Tolstoy, the serial rapist on Officer Jeffrey Cujdik’s elite narco-police shake-down squad, who, besides participating in repeated evidence-less paramilitary drug raids, also repeatedly took the opportunity to pull women aside during these hyperviolent home invasions and sexually assault them. The police department’s response to three independent complaints from April 2008 to February 2009 was to temporarily place Tolstoy on desk duty (from October 2008 to January 2009), then put him back on the street to do more drug raids with Cujdik. The other stories about Cujdik’s wolfpack appeared in local newspapers in March 2009; Tolstoy was finally put back on desk duty in May 2009. Meanwhile, while Tolstoy is rewarded for his sexual assaults with an easy desk job, he continues to receive not only his regular salary of $57,800, but also thousands of dollars in overtime pay for sitting his ass on a court-house bench while the DA extends subpoenas on tainted drug cases in which he will almost certainly never testify. The bill for maintaining Tolstoy in the lifestyle to which he has become accustomed will, of course, be sent along to Philadelphia taxpayers, including Tolstoy’s three known victims. Deputy District Attorney John Delaney explains that the D.A.’s office continues to issue these money-wasting subpoenas on dead-end cases because We want to maintain the status quo. No doubt.

2. Police Chief Michael Classey, Atlantic Beach, Florida.

The city government in Atlantic Beach, Florida hired a lawyer, allegedly to investigate charges that chief Michael Classey had forced unwanted sexual contact on a female officer, Renee Jackson, who works sex crimes for the department. Instead, the lawyer put together a legal brief to defend the city from a lawsuit for sexual harassment — a charge that Jackson never made. Both the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Department and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement have refused to investigate the charges. Professional courtesy, I guess.

3. Deputy Gary C. Handley, Rogers County Sheriff’s Office, Rogers County, Oklahoma.

Earlier this month, Deputy Gary C. Handley turned himself in to face charges on one county of sexual battery for forcing unwanted inappropriate touching on a female courthouse employee.

4. Officer Jeffrey John Sung. San Francisco Police Department. San Francisco, California.

Earlier this month, veteran San Francisco motorcycle officer Jeffrey John Sung plead not guilty to charges for sexual battery and false imprisonment without violence [sic] for grabbing a female friend in her home, forcing unwanted groping on her while he talked about having sex with her, and refusing to let her leave when she tried to get away. When the victim managed to break free and call a relative for help, he ran away and left on his government-issue police motorcycle. Sung’s lawyer has told the media that it was a misunderstanding of sorts.

5. Officer Roberto Pagan. Staten Island, New York.

Roberto Pagan, a patrol cop working for city government police on Staten Island, was suspended without pay last week after he started choking his girlfriend and then punched her in the eye during an argument on a public street. He has been suspended without pay and is facing misdemeanor charges; since he is a cop, this batterer was released on his own recognizance pending trial.

6. Officer Johnnie K. Hicks. Newport News, Virginia.

Last week, Johnnie K. Hicks, a cop working for the Newport News city government’s police force on the South Preinct High Impact Patrol Unit, was arrested for assaulting a woman in her home around 2:00am and brandishing a gun. While the Incident is being Internally Investigated by his coworkers, Hicks is being given a paid vacation at taxpayer expense.

7. Deputy Brian Gillespie. Broward Sheriff’s Office. Oakland Park, Florida.

Last week, Deputy Brian Gillespie, a cop patrolling turf in Oakland Park, Florida for the Broward County government’s sheriff’s office, was arrested and charged with domestic violence battery after he grabbed his wife’s arm during an argument, in order to force her not to leave the house without his permission, and then punched her several times and threw her down two steps onto the floor. This dangerous batterer has been given a paid vacation, at taxpayer expense, while under investigation, and was released from jail on a $250 bond.

8. Chief Deputy David E. Gidley. Tucker County Sheriff’s Department. Tucker County, West Virginia.

Earlier this month, while he was on duty and in police uniform, Chief Deputy David E. Gidley, a cop working for the Tucker County government’s police force, drove out in his police car to confront his estranged wife; in the course of an argument, he grabbed her by the arm hard enough to leave marks, and then chased her around her car while waving his ASP tactical baton and beating on her car with it. Unhinged wife-beater Chief Deputy David Gidley has been arraigned on misdemeanor assault and domestic battery charges, and has been released on a $600 personal recognizance bond.

9. Police Chief Robert Peterson. Maysville Police Department, Maysville, Oklahoma.

Earlier this month, the Maysville city government decided to fire boss cop Robert Peterson, the chief of their government police force, after witnesses (including two fellow cops) saw him slap his girlfriend in the face during an argument outside of their apartment.

10. Police Chief Anthony Batts. Oakland Police Department. Oakland, California.

In California, on the other hand, city governments don’t even maintain those minimal standards. Anthony Batts, formerly a cop working for the Long Beach city government’s police department, had at least four crime reports taken against him for domestic violence charges in the cities of Long Beach, San Pedro, and San Diego. At one point he gave his then-wife, Laura Richardson-Batts, a black eye; she later sought refuge in a friend’s house to get away from him. That didn’t stop Batts from being promoted by the Long Beach city government to chief of police, and once he was, he put the domestic violence reports under lock and key in the police chief’s office and altered reports to conceal their contents. Other cops working under him kept copies of the originals and used the reports to blackmail Batts to insulate themselves from disciplinary actions during a scandal over unprofessional conduct and retaliation and vandalism against whistleblowers within the department. Batts’s domestic violence history has caused him problems in securing FBI security clearances and in maintaining his permit to carry a firearm. None of which, of course, has stopped the corrupt wife-beater Anthony Batts from being named chief of police for the city government in Oakland, California.

11. Officer Ronald Montgomery. Tulsa Police Department. Bixby, Oklahoma.

Officer Ronald Montgomery, a cop working for the Tulsa city government’s police force, was arrested earlier this month for allegedly beating his wife and pointing his government-issued gun at her during an argument in front of their infant son and 8-year-old daughter. His wife went to the hospital with bruising and swelling to her arm and wrist; Officer Ronald Montgomery claims that he had not touched her during the argument. This dangerous batterer, who beat a woman and pointed a loaded gun at her during an argument, is currently roaming free on $11,500 bond.

12. Police Officer Sam Parker. Lafayette Police Department. Lafayette, Georgia.

Sam Parker, a cop formerly working for the Lafayette city government’s police force, is currently on trial on charges he abducted and murdered his ex-wife, Theresa Parker. The story this past Friday was that a former coworker, a Lafayette cop named Stacey Meeks, testified that Officer Sam Parker spent years openly bragging about killing people while on the job, and kept trophies to show off from people he had killed, such as the lethal bullet and crime scene photos from the killing. According to Meeks, Officer Sam Parker also carried a loaded weapon to the Grand Jury and said he planned to go out in a hail of bullets rather than get arrested if the jury voted to indict. After another Incident in 2003 where Officer Sam Parker fired off his gun on the job, several shrinks ruled him homicidal; Officer Sam Parker bragged about that with his coworkers, too. He also repeatedly watch Officer Sam Parker use chokeholds to take people down while on the job. None of this deranged, attention-seeking, hyperviolent behavior seems to have endangered his position with the Lafayette city government’s Police Department, or to have caused any legal consequences whatsoever for Officer Sam Parker; I wouldn’t be surprised if he expected no more consequences when he went on to murder his wife.

13. Officer Jared Rohrig, Orange Police Department, Orange, Connecticut.

In Milford, Connecticut, Officer Jared Rohrig, a cop working for the Orange city government’s police force, posed as his twin brother Joe to deceive his girlfriend into having sex with him. She realized while they were having sex that he wasn’t Joe, and tried to get up and leave, so he grabbed her by the arms, threw her down, and forced her to continue having sex with him while she cried and struggled to push him off of her. The woman reported the rape to the government police three days later; Rohrig was given a paid vacation from his job starting the next day pending the result of an Internal Investigation.

14. Officer Matthew Raymond, Eliot, Maine.

In Maine, Officer Matthew Raymond was allowed to take a two-month-long paid vacation (to keep getting paid while using up vacation and sick time) before finally losing his job yesterday, so that he could continue to extract his $45,000/year regular salary from perfectly innocent Eliot taxpayers, while awaiting trial on charges of domestic violence stalking against his ex-lover. Besides common stalking behaviors like showing up constantly at her hous, tracking her whereabouts, and incessantly calling her wherever she went, Officer Matthew Raymond also specifically used his legal privileges as a police officer to intimidate her and facilitate the stalking. After she moved out and went to live in another town to get away from him, he parked his marked police cruiser outside her house at least 68 times within a two-month period. He also used his police car, and his legal powers of detention and arrest, to force her to pull her car over so that he could ask her to come back to him.

15. Officer Jeffrey Luff. Bakersfield Police Department. Bakersfield, California.

Last month, Officer Jeffrey Luff was arrested and charged with misdemeanor battery and misdemeanor sexual battery committed while in uniform and on duty. He went out on a call to break up a loud party, which turned out to be a lingerie party; he then drove out to an after-party later that night and picked up two women there who he offered to drive back to where the first party had been. Then he took opportunity to grab one of the women’s buttocks and genitals without her permission.

16. State Trooper Derek S. Snavely, West Virginia State Police, Jefferson West Virginia.

Last November, State Trooper Derek S. Snavely pulled a woman on a chickenshit traffic stop (the claim is that she was driving left of the center line). He used the threat of a bogus DUI arrest (which would have cost the woman her job) and getting her car towed to detain her, force her to kiss him and unbutton her blouse, and then take him back to her house, where he repeatedly raped her. The story’s in the news now because his victim recently filed a civil-rights lawsuit after State Police Internally Investigated the Incident and the government prosecutor decided — in spite of records from home surveillance cameras and text messages sent by Trooper Derek S. Snavely to his victim’s cell phone — not to press any criminal charges.

17. Unnamed officer. Dunbar Police Department, Dunbar, West Virginia.

A woman in her 20s has come forward, through a public statement from her lawyer, with allegations that a police officer working for the Dunbar city government’s police force used intimidation and the threat of legal charges to force her to have sex with him, after pulling her over on a routine traffic stop. (She had been caught driving on a suspended license before the stop. The cop threatened her with charges on the traffic violations unless she would have sex with him, and then drove her to a dark remote location, where she was afraid for her safety not to comply.) The city government refuses to confirm whether or not the police force is investigating the report. As it happens, Sergeant R. O. Conley is currently on administrative leave with pay for an indefinite period, which is to say a mandatory paid vacation, but the city government refuses to say in public whether or not Conley is the cop accused of the rape.

18. Unnamed deputy. Bexar County Sheriff’s Office. San Antonio, Texas.

Earlier this month, n unnamed Bexar County sheriff’s deputy used his uniform and gun to pull a woman aside while she was walking down the street on the south side of San Antonio. He claimed (falsely) that she had an outstanding warrant for her arrest, and ordered her to get into his patrol car. Then he drove back to her house and then he grabbed her by the neck and forced her to have sex with him. As of the most recent news reports I could find (from about a week ago), the survivor had bruises around her neck, had been hospitalized for her injuries, and was being treated in a hospital psych ward for post-traumatic stress. The deputy, who was caught naked on the survivor’s couch by the San Antonio city government’s police, claims that the sexual relationship was consensual. So far, the San Antonio city government has filed no charges against the rapist deputy, although his own bosses at the Bexar County government’s Sheriff’s Office have forced him to take a vacation from his job while he is under investigation.

19. Deputy Donald A. Harder III. Saratoga County Sheriff’s Office, Edinburg, New York.

Last week, Deputy Donald A. Harder III, a cop working for the Saratoga County government’s Sheriff’s office, was released on $25,000 bond after being arrested for forcing sex on a 27-year-old woman in his patrol car while on duty on a patrol car, armed, and in full police uniform. According to the Sheriff’s office, his victim believed she had to comply [with his demands for sex] because she was in the vehicle and he was in uniform.. Before raping women on the Saratoga County government’s police force, Deputy Donald Harder was a Marine working for the United States in its invasion and occupation of Iraq.

20. Officer Cleveland Reynolds. Birmingham Police Department, Birmingham, Alabama.

Last month in Alabama, Cleveland Reynolds, a cop working the 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. patrol shift for the Birmingham city government’s police force, was arrested for repeatedly raping a 23 year old woman while he was out on duty. Pending the outcome of the trial, Reynolds is being given a paid vacation at taxpayer expense.

21. Officer Perry Young. Birmingham Police Department, Birmingham, Alabama.

Also last month in Alabama, Officer Perry Young, a patrol cop who formerly worked for the Birmingham city government’s police force, finally went to jail for forcing a 19-year-old woman to have sex with him while he was on duty, armed, and in uniform, after he used his legal powers to force her into his custody and took her to a remote location to force sex on her.

22. Deputy Jonathan Bleiweiss. Broward Sheriff’s Office, Oakland Park, Florida.

In addition to wife-beater Deputy Brian Gillespie, the town of Oakland Park, Florida is also patrolled by serial-rapist Deputy Jonathan Bleiweiss, who repeatedly used his uniform and his legal privileges as a government police officer to target Latino men on routine traffic stops or bike stops, roust them out of their cars or off their bikes, force them to show identification, and then, if he found that they were undocumented immigrants — therefore legally vulnerable easy targets — threw them down against his patrol car, forced them to submit to frisking, grabbed their penises during the search, propositioned them in Spanish, and then forced them to have sex with him in his patrol car under the threat of being arrested or reported to ICE for imprisonment and deportation. He repeatedly demanded phone numbers after raping the men in his custody, which he would later use to stalk his victims and try to arrange future encounters. Bleiweiss is known to have assaulted at least eight different undocumented Mexican and Salvadorean immigrants ranging in age from 17 to 30 years old. The Internal Investigation into Bleiweiss’s targeting of legally vulnerable men for serial rape began in early April when the boss of one of the victims approached police with a report — but Deputy Jonathan Bleiweiss was allowed to continue patrolling his regular turf for three more months while under investigation, during which time (beginning April 23) he repeatedly assaulted and later stalked at least one more undocumented Mexican immigrant who he had hunted down while out on patrol. Deputy Jonathan Bleiweiss was finally moved to a desk job and then later suspended without pay in July. His boss, Broward Sheriff Al Lamberti, says they were giving an accused serial rapist on active patrol duty the benefit of the doubt until they completed their investigation. The case is likely to be difficult for government lawyers to prosecute because Deputy Jonathan Bleiweiss deliberately targeted undocumented Latino immigrants for his serial rapes; his lawyer has already used their undocumented status to smear the victims in court, and given that all of the victims face a standing threat of being arrested, imprisoned, and deported by the United States government’s federal immigration cops if they come into contact with the government criminal justice system, [many of the victims have been extremely reluctant to come forward to the government police or to testify in a government court]((http://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/broward/sfl-bso-deputy-arrested-sex-abuse,0,1484852.story).

23. Officer Billy Ray White. Louisville Metro Police Department, Louisville Kentucky.

In 2006, serial rapist Officer Billy Ray White, of the Louisville Metro Police Department, was found guilty of raping a woman at gunpoint in front of her 9 month old daughter of threatening to kill her if she reported it, and of using the threat of jail to coerce sex from another woman that he had arrested. The story is in the news again because an appeals court judge recently threw out Billy Ray White’s conviction and ordered a new trial, on the grounds (1) that the coerced sexual relationship with a woman he had arrested, conducted under the threat of imprisonment, was in some sense of the word consensual (?) and so different enough from the forcible rape that the joinder of the cases as impermissibly prejudicial, and (2) that the trial judge should not have allowed testimony from several women about Officer Billy Ray White’s repeated and insistent use of his badge and uniform to stalk and try coerce sex from them after an arrest. According to Honorable government judge Thomas B. Wine, evidence that the Officer Billy Ray White, a heavily-armed, legally-privileged enforcer for the state, while acting in uniform and under color of authority over women under his legal power, was constantly on the prowl to use his uniform in furtherance of his lust, has little probative value in determining whether or not the man had a propensity to force sex on unwilling women. As a result of the reversal of the conviction, the new trial judge, rather than scheduling a trial date, told the government prosecutor to cut a plea bargain with White; they eventually agreed that this serial-rapist would cop a plea, get sentenced to time served, and get back out on the street.

24. Officer Julian Steele, Cincinnati, Ohio.

In Ohio, Cincinnati city government cop Julian Steele falsely arrested and imprisoned a teenage boy while investigating a robbery. Then he used this bogus imprisonment to force the boy’s mother to have sex with him in order to get her boy released from jail. Remarkably, the county government is actually calling this exactly what it is by charging Steele with 10 felony counts including abduction, extortion, sexual battery and rape.

25. Officer Jesus Sanchez and the Lorain Police Department. Lorain, Ohio.

A woman named Sarah Long recently came forward with a lawsuit against the city government governing Lorain, Ohio after the city government and its hired police department repeatedly ignored complaints that Officer Jesus Sanchez, a 28-year veteran cop working for their police force, repeatedly forced kisses on her, groped her, stalked her, made phone calls every day threatening her safety, and used the power of his badge and his legal privileges as a police officer to force her to pull over her car and deal with him 15 to 20 times. When Long complained about this pattern of harassment and the use of legal power to facilitate sexual violence, nothing happened; when she finally forced the issue by talking to the federal government’s Department of Justice and filing a civil lawsuit, Sanchez was charged with menacing by stalking. After he was convicted, the penalty for singling out a woman for unwanted sexual contact, imprisoning her in her own home, and using police powers to make her constantly afraid for her safety was 60 days in jail. During his trial, Sanchez’s defense lawyer said that he had been disciplined … by Lorain police years ago for his stalking and sexual coercion — purely administrative discipline which, of course, resulted in no legal consequences whatosever for Sanchez for six years, until the lawsuit forced the issue. Sanchez was allowed to retire from the police force after his trial in spite of his conviction. The story is in the news again because Sanchez, and fellow retired cop Dennis Davis, recently filed statements in Long’s lawsuit stating that pervasive harassment, sexual abuse and rape against women had been well-known and tolerated by the boss cops for years. Sanchez himself stated in his affadavit that I have observed what I believe is a pervasive pattern of sexual misconduct by Lorain police officers committed while they are on duty. The Department persistently ignored these reports. I believed that nothing would happen to me as a result of my sexual advances …. The primary reason I made sexual advances …. while on duty was my knowledge of the City’s policy of tolerating such conduct and deliberate indifference toward such conduct by on-duty police officers. Retired cop Dennis Davis stated in his affadavit that other cops working for the Lorain city government’s police force repeatedly forced nonconsensual sexual misconduct on women while on duty and that It appeared to me that Lorain police officers engaged in this misconduct without receiving meaningful discipline to the best of my knowledge. Boss cop Cel Rivera admitted that he had handled 30 complaints relating to non-consensual sexual contact involving a police officer and a third-party since he took the job in 1994. Court documents list numerous other incidents of alleged misconduct by other officers, including stalking, forced sexual encounters, armed threats and other behavior he contends shows a pattern of ignoring misconduct by Lorain police over the years.

26. Officer Timothy Gerek, Jr. Lorain Police Department, Lorain, Ohio.

One of those cops working for the city government in Lorain was Timothy Gerek, Jr., who was indicted in 2002 for beating and then raping his estranged wife in December 2001. Gerek threatened to murder their children if his wife left him or if she called police. When she told government prosecutors that she was too afraid to testify against Officer Timothy Gerek Jr. in court — while he was violating the protection order that required him to stay away from her and her children — the prosecutors decided to offer Gerek a plea-bargain that dropped the rape charge and reduced the domestic violence charge to misdemeanor assault. When Gerek accepted the bargain and plead guilty, this rapist and wife-beater was sentenced to a year of probation and ordered to pay a $500 fine to the county government. Some years later, Gerek tried to pull strings to try to get prior criminal charges expunged from his record, including getting the record of his misdemeanor assault charge from the beating and rape in 2002 sealed. If he had succeeded in getting the record sealed, it would have eliminated the public record of his agreement never to work in law enforcement again.

27. Officer Stanley Marrero. Lorain Police Department. Lorraine, Ohio.

Another cop working for the Lorain city government’s police force, who was frequenty mentioned in those complaints was Officer Stanley Marrero, was accused of raping a woman while responding to a call at her home in 1993. Then he was accused of using a routine traffic stop in 1995 to hit on the woman he was detaining, ask her personal questions and get her phone number, which he later called at 4:00 in the morning. The Incident was Internally Investigated and Marrero was exonerated. In 2003, another woman filed a complaint that Officer Stanley Marrero had followed her while on duty and in uniform and asked her personal questions. The Incident was Internally Investigated and he was ordered to leave her alone, with no further consequences. In 2000, when Officer Stanley Marrero was sent out to a woman’s house on a domestic violence call in 2000, allegedly to help keep her safe from an abusive husband, he took the opportunity to use his legal powers to order her husband to leave, then, once he had her alone, forced the traumatized domestic violence victim to have sex with him. When the woman filed a complaint with the police department, they Internally Investigated, pressed no charges against Officer Stanley Marrero, and gave him a 3 day suspension. In 2006, Officer Stanley Marrero was finally arrested and sentenced to 60 days in the county jail for public indecency, dereliction of duty, and intimidation of a witness after forcing sex on two different women while on duty and after forced his way into an acquaintance’s neighbor’s house under cover of an investigation, exposed himself to her and demanded oral sex from her, and then, after she refused and unleashed her dog to defend herself, threatened her with retaliation and arrest if she told anyone what happened. Officer Stanley Marrero is only now, finally, being investigated for the rape in 1993. When he was finally convicted in 2006, after years of acting with impunity as a stalker and serial rapist under color of legal authority, the judge in the case, Edward Zaleski, said The evidence appears overwhelming. Mr. Marrero, police scare the hell out of me. They sure scare the hell out of most people.

28. Deputy William Hatfield. Pike County Sheriff’s Office. Pike County, Kentucky.

In Kentucky, William Bill Hatfield, a volunteer sheriff’s deputy working for the Pike County government’s sheriff’s office in return for gas money, a gun, and power, used that power to sexually assault a woman he had forced to the side of the road and detained for a routine stop.

29. Officer Dewayne Curtis Hart. Pittsburgh Police Department. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Back in 2007, Dewayne Curtis Hart, a cop working for the Pittsburgh city government’s police force, went out on a burglary call at a woman’s house; a few minutes after he left, he came back, told the burglary victim that there was a warrant for her arrest on a robbery charge, threatened to arrest her, and then used the threat to forcibly undress and fondle her, then force her to fondle him. The story is in the news again because Officer Dewayne Curtis Hart’s trial on the sexual assault charges was recently delayed until October; meanwhile, while the charges are still pending, the Pittsburgh city government’s personnel refuses to say whether or not this accused rapist cop is still on the job.

30. Trooper Carlos Torres. Washington State Patrol.

Back in June 2005, a Washington State Trooper named Carlos Torres forced a woman to pull over on the highway on suspicion of drunk driving, placed her under arrest and forced her into his patrol car to give her a blood test, then drove her to a weigh station to be picked up by her fiance. (She wanted her fiance to pick her up at the jail; Trooper Carlos Torres refused, and forced her to go with him to the weigh station.) The whole time he asked her invasive personal questions about oral and anal sex; then, while keeping her locked in the back of his patrol car at the weigh station, he demanded her to undress and forcibly fondled her through the divider in his patrol car. The story is in the news again because Trooper Carlos Torres recently made an unsuccessful attempt to get a custodial sexual misconduct charge thrown out on the grounds that his victim was not in fact being detained by him while she was locked in the backseat of his patrol car with no ability to open the doors or windows and no way to get out without his permission, after he had already forced her to get into the car against her will.

31. Deputy Police Chief Jody Beaudry, Mulberry Police Department, Mulberry Florida.

Back in 2004, a 40-year-old man Jody Beaudry, a cop working for the Mulberry, Florida city government’s police force, used his position as a police officer to threaten to revoke a 16-year-old girl’s probation, and used this threat of arrest and jail to force her to have sex with him. By the time he was arrested in 2008, he had been promoted to Deputy Police Chief. The story’s in the news because he just recently plead guilty to unlawful sexual activity with a minor, a crime which may put him in jail for up to 7 years in prison. (The crime that he actually committed, by using the threat of retaliation and his powers of arrest to commit sexual battery, is, under Florida state law, a first-degree felony punishable by up to 30 years in prison.)

32. Patrol Deputy Michael Jared Boulware, Sumter County Sheriff’s Office, Wedgefield, South Carolina.

26-year-old Deputy Michael Jared Boulware is out on bond awaiting trial for sexually assaulting a 14 year old girl. According to the government prosecutor, who asked the judge to deny bail, the victim is extremely upset and worried he will locate her. According to his defense attorney, the fact that Boulware is a former cop is supposed to provide a reason for lowering bond. Actually, I think it’s a reason for thinking that he’s potentially more dangerous to the victim.

33. Kevin Yuhas, Streator Police Department, Streator, Illinois.

Earlier this month, Kevin Yuhas, a 42-year-old 911 dispatcher working for the Streator, Illinois city government’s police force, was arrested in Wisconsin for inviting a 14-year-old boy into his home, plying the boy with 10 to 15 shots of hard liquor, and then raping him. Yuhas admits that he invited the boy over and got him drunk, but can’t remember anything that came after.

34. Officer James Stackhouse. Nashville Metro Police Department. Nashville, Tennessee.

Earlier this month, Officer James Stackhouse, a cop working for the Nashville local government’s Metro Police Department, was forced out of his job as a result of an ongoing investigation into allegations that he had an inappropriate sexual relationship with a 12-year-old girl in Clay County.

35. Donald Silcott. Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office. Jacksonville, Florida.

Earlier this month, veteran police officer Donald Silcott, an evidence technician working for the county government’s Sheriff’s office was arrested for sexually assaulting a teenage girl in his home. The victim was taken to the hospital after she was found crying on a doorstep holding a photo of Silcott and a note with his name, address, and the date of the incident. The girl, apparently distraught and terrified, hid in the bushes and asked the woman who found her to dial 911 so she could be taken to the hospital. According to the arrest report, they performed a rape kit and recovered DNA evidence at the hospital.

36. Officer Aaron L. Jones. Harrington Police Department, Harrington, Delaware.

Aaron L. Jones, a 40-year-old cop working for the Harrington city government’s police force, was arrested earlier this month for having sex with a minor female who was staying in his home. Jones was released on a $2,500 unsecured bond and the government police have put him on a paid vacation from his job while they investigate the charges.

37. Officer Todd Spikes. Florala, Alabama Police Department. Florala, Alabama.

After driving to Flagler Beach for what he thought was a meet-up for sex with a 13 year old girl he met on the Internet, Officer Todd Spikes, a cop working for the Florala, Alabama city government’s police force was exposed as a sexual predator on national television and arrested in December 2006. The case is in the news again because government prosecutors recently offered their former colleague Todd Spikes a plea bargain which would give him probation with no prison time. Spikes turned the offer down, because it would have required him to register as a sex offender.

38. Officer Todd Lengsfield, Newnan Police Deartment, Newnan, Georgia.

Earlier this month, Officer Todd Lengsfield, a 34-year-old cop working for the Newnan, Georgia city government’s police force, was arrested for having sex with a 15-year-old girl. His bosses were tipped off by inappropriate contact with the girl using a government-issued cell phone. A blogger at eXaminer.com claims that the story is a reason why Parents have to be careful with children and technology. Actually, it sounds to me like a reason parents and children have to be careful around cops.

39. Officer Luke Morrison, Henderson Police Department, Henderson, Nevada.

You may remember Officer Luke Morrison of Henderson, Nevada for the time when he shot and killed a distraught Albanian ice-cream truck driver after she had already been knocked to the ground with a taser. Before lighting up Deshira Selimaj for the Henderson city government’s police force, Officer Luke Morrison was a former soldier who fought in the United States government’s army’s war and occupation in Iraq. Anyway, it turns out that when Officer Luke Morrison is not busy gunning down middle-aged women with no legal consequences, he also enjoys sleeping with 15 year old girls. Commenter lv2gen on the Las Vegas Sun website wants us to know that A few bad apples don’t mean every cop is dirty.

40. Officer Nathan Amosa. Hurricane Police Department, Hurricane, Utah.

Last year, Officer Nathan Amosa, a cop working for the Hurricane, Utah city government’s police force, responded to a call from a distraught mother and went to her house, allegedly to help her find her missing child, who had wandered away. Instead, he threatened to cite her for child neglect and have the government take her child away from her unless she would have sex with him. The victim says that she felt she had to do what he demanded because of the threat against her child and because Officer Nathan Amosa was in uniform and had a gun. After raping her, Officer Nathan Amosa later went on to intimidate his victim at a local grocery store. This rape is dignified by the news media as an on-duty sex episode; the story is in the news again because the government prosecutor and government judge agreed to let Officer Nathan Amosa — who had been charged with forcible sodomy and two counts of forcible sex abuse — plead no-contest to a charge of custodial sexual relations,, for which he will spend 60 days in county jail and get three years’ probation. According to the government prosecutor, this confessed rapist will get only 60 days in jail (and, because custodial sexual relations convictions don’t require it, will not be required to register as a sex offender) because he is a cop and (therefore?) because he believes that it would have been difficult to prove the victim did not consent. During sentencing, the government prosecutor told the government judge that If this was anyone other than a police officer, we would not even be here. No doubt. Over at the Desert News website, a commenter going by Cops wants us to know that There’s a lot of great cops out there and just a few high-profile incidents like this that can give them all a bad name.

41. Officer Anthony Rollins. Anchorage Police Department, Anchorage, Alaska.

Last month in Alaska, Officer Anthony Rollins, a 13 year veteran of the Anchorage city government’s police force was arrested on 10 charges of sexual assault for raping at least 6 women that he encountered while on patrol and lured into his police car, from March 2006 to April 2009. This serial rapist, who repeatedly used the power of his uniform and his legal privileges to force sex on unwilling women (including at least one rape committed at a police substation) was finally arrested after a local anti-rape group approached the police department in April, and during the investigation five more women came forward to report sexual assaults. The investigation is ongoing and more survivors may yet come forward. Meanwhile, although unwilling Anchorage taxpayers were forced to pay Anthony Rollins over $142,892 last year for his unrequested services as a patrol officer, and were forced to pay him $78,668 this year prior to his arrest, and have been forced to pay him and his wife (who also works for the city government’s police department) over $1,100,000 over the last five years, this millionaire government cop has been declared indigent by the government judge handling his trial, so that innocent Alaska taxpayers, including his six victims will be forced to pay for a government-appointed defense lawyer for his trial. Rollins’s former boss, Anchorage boss cop Rob Heun, issued an angry statement to the press in which he called Rollins’s career as a serial rapist aberrant and detestable. Well, I certainly agree with him about the latter.

42. Officer Kenneth Moreno and Officer Franklin Mata. New York Police Department. New York, New York.

Last December in New York, a pair of cops working for the city government’s police force responded to a 911 call from a cab driver about a woman he had driven home who had gotten sick from being extremely drunk. They showed up around 1:00am, allegedly to help her get home safely; instead they decided to make up a cover about their whereabouts, go back to the apartment, and rape her while she was half-conscious, violently sick, and physically helpless. (Apartment security cameras show them returning to the apartment; Officer Kenneth Moreno was recorded on the phone admitting to the victim that he had sex with her.) NYPD boss cop Ray Kelly — who knew about the case for months before any charges were filed or any allegations made public, and who didn’t even suspend the cops accused until the charges hit the newsmedia — claims that The allegations are so egregious here that its imperative that I speak out. This is a shocking aberration in stark contrast to the good work that the members of the New York City Police Department do every day.

Yeah, a huge fucking aberration. Just like all the others.

Back in Anchorage, when a reporter asked him how serial-rapist Anthony Rollins could get away with attacking at least six women while he was out on patrol over a period of three years before the police began an investigation, boss cop Rob Heun responded that there was nothing other police could have done about Rollins because No policy or procedure is going to preclude anybody who wants to break it to do just that … This is a matter of behavior — just like no law will preclude anyone from breaking the law. Of course it is true that any written law or policy can be broken, but the problem here is not just the laws that are being broken; it’s the laws that are being followed, government laws which create an institutional environment of entitled privilege, and which give any male cop who happens to be a sexual predator an arsenal of legally-sanctioned weapons and immense unaccountable power over any woman or man who he wants to place under his power while out on patrol. As I said in December 2007 about a case involving several male patrol cops in San Antonio:

What as at stake here has a lot to do with the individual crimes of three cops, and it’s good to know that the police department is taking that very seriously. But while excoriating these three cops for their personal wickedness, this kind of approach also marginalizes and dismisses any attempt at a serious discussion of the institutional context that made these crimes possible — the fact that each of these three men worked out of the same office on the same shift, the way that policing is organized, the internal culture of their own office and of the police department as a whole, and the way that the so-called criminal justice system gives cops immense power over, and minimal accountability towards, the people that they are professedly trying to protect. It strains belief to claim that when a rape gang is being run out of one shift at a single police station, there’s not something deeply and systematically wrong with that station. If it weren’t for the routine power of well-armed cops in uniform, it would have been much harder for Victor Gonzales, Anthony Munoz, or Raymond Ramos to force their victims into their custody or to credibly threaten them in order to extort sex. … And if it weren’t for the way in which they can all too often rely on buddies in the precinct or elsewhere in the force to back them up, no matter how egregiously violent they may be, it would have been much harder for any of them to believe that they were entitled to, or could get away with, sexually torturing women while on patrol, while in full uniform, using their coercive power as cops.

A serious effort to respond to these crimes doesn’t just require individual blame or personal accountability …. It also requires a demand for fundamental institutional and legal reform. If police serve a valuable social function, then they can serve it without paramilitary forms of organization, without special legal privileges to order peaceful people around and force innocent people into custody, and without government entitlements to use all kinds of violence without any accountability to their victims. What we have now is not civil policing, but rather a bunch of heavily armed, violently macho, institutionally privileged gangsters in blue.

— GT 2007-12-21: Rapists on patrol

See also:

The Police Beat

  • Police torture in the U.K. Metropolitan Police Department. London, England. Narcs working for the London city government’s Metropolitan Police force are under investigation for allegedly waterboarding prisoners in order to coerce evidence in an interrogation for a marijuana case.

  • Botched SWAT raid. Officer Allen Hill. North Richland Hills, DFW, Texas. In 1999, a paramilitary SWAT squad stormed a house in North Richland Hills (a little city near Fort Worth) based on a search warrant based on a confidential informant’s uncorroborated claim that the house was full of marijuana. When a bunch of heavily armed strangers broke down his door and stormed into his house, Troy James Davis allegedly grabbed a gun and pointed it at the home invaders. (His mother believes that the gun was planted by police. I don’t care whether it was or not; a man’s got a right to defend his home when armed strangers bust their way through the door.) The cops gunned him down. Turns out there were no drugs anywhere in the house. Turns out that the warrant was based on a completely unvetted e-mailed tip from an anonymous snitch. Even the cop who gunned Troy Davis down now says it was a wrongful death and he never should have been there. Now, ten years later, after a long lawsuit, the city government has settled up with the victim’s parents for $100,000. They will, of course, send along the bill for this murder to a bunch of innocent North Richland Hills taxpayers, who had nothing to do with it.

  • Rapists on patrol, (cont’d.) Officer Thomas Tolstoy, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Officer Thomas Tolstoy, a narc in Officer Jeffrey Cujdik’s increasingly notorious shake-down squad, used the opportunity of his team’s repeated evidence-less hyperviolent paramilitary drug raids to repeatedly pull women in the houses being raided into side rooms in order to sexually assault them [possible trigger warning]. At least two women have come forward independently so far to testify against Tolstoy. Tolstoy has not yet been charged with any crime; the department’s response so far has been to reassign this accused serial rapist to an easy desk job for the past three weeks. (Via Radley Balko 2009-06-02; as Balko says, If these were normal citizens, and not cops, they’d have been indicted by now.)

  • Officer Anthony Abbate. Chicago, Illinois. Officer Anthony Abbate has finally been convicted of aggravated battery by a Chicago judge. Abbate was caught on video throwing, punching, and kicking a 26-year-old woman named Karolina Obrycka. She was tending bar when Abbate, who was drunk and off duty, tried to shove his way behind the bar to steal a drink after she refused to serve him anymore. After she told him to move and he refused, Obrycka tried to shove him back out from behind the bar. So Abbate beat the living hell out of her, and then called it self-defense when he came up for trial. Well, why not? After all, he hit his little head, and he only had, what, about 125 pounds on her? Abbate waived his right to a jury trial, knowing that out-of-control agents of the State have much better chances with a government judge; he was initially charged with 15 different counts, all of which but one were dropped in the course of the two-day trial. Had he been on the clock rather than drunk out of his mind when he did the battering, that one would almost surely have been dropped, too. We know this because of…

  • She fell. (Cont’d.) Officer Wayne Simoes. Yonkers, New York. See William Grigg, Pro Libertate (2009-05-30): Just a Child With A Temper [Trigger warning. Includes graphic images of and video of Irma Marquez’s injuries, suffered at the hands of a male police officer.] In which the male State once again once again assumes the role of a stereotypical abusive husband. A 44 year old woman named Irma Marquez tries to get a look to see if her niece, who was injured in a fight that had just been broken up, is O.K. The medical worker on the scene shoved her away; she stumbled back into the cops. At which point Officer Wayne Simoes tries to wrench her arm behind her back in order to arrest her (for what?); she tries to shake his hand off of her arm, and he responds by picking her up and body-slamming this drunken middle-aged woman face-first into the floor, then jamming his knee onto her back and cuffing her in order to arrest her for disorderly conduct and interfering. [Trigger warning.]

    The story is in the news again because a jury just recently voted to acquit Officer Wayne Simoes on all charges.

  • Bashers on patrol. Brooklyn, New York. In Crown Heights last month, a gang of cops rolled out to investigate a call about unruly and intoxicated people outside a night-club. When J.G. (Jeanette Grey, a 31 year old black lesbian) and Tiffany Jimenez (a 19 year old Latina lesbian) heard the noise outside and ran out to see if their friends were O.K., the cops (who were busy ordering bystanders to disperse when the two left the club) then grabbed them (for interfering, or whatever), slammed them to the ground, beat the two women with nightsticks while they tried to surrender, shouting You fuckin’ bitch-ass dyke and We are having some dyke pussy in here tonight during the beating, and then arrested them for resisting arrest. The NYPD assures us that the complaint is being internally investigated.

  • Now they want a task force. Officer Andrew Dunton. New York, New York. Meanwhile, also in New York, David Patterson, arbitrary Governor over the state of New York, wants a high-profile special political task force to investigate the fatal shooting of an innocent black man by a couple of NYPD cops while the man was trying to use his handgun to protect himself from a criminal trying to break into his car. The cops had a history (1, 2 of repeated civilian complaints [sic] year after year. Wonder why Patterson would put his neck out to demand this high-profile independent task force instead of the usual internal investigation? Oh, yeah, because the victim was an off-duty cop.

  • Warminster Police Department. Warminster Heights, Pennsylvania. Rich Pietras, Bucks County Courier Times (2009-05-29): Moms complain of excessive force by police. Lydia Isaac’s car got clipped in a hit-and-run and she pulled into a laundromat parking lot to confront the man who did it. The argument got heated and the cops got called. While they were busy Investigating, Lydia’s son 13-year-old son Marc Isaac got on his cell phone to call his dad to let him know what happened. The cops ordered Marc to wait where he was; when he continued walking, trying to explain that he was on the phone with his dad, five of the cops grabbed him, slammed him down onto the hood of his mom’s car, and then, while this 13-year-old boy was being physically restrained by five grown-ass men, beat him on the side of the head with a flashlight or baton, and then maced him.

  • Officer Kristen Johnson, Officer Nicholas Webster, Officer Robert Buquo, Officer Glenn Pearson, an Lieutenant Lynn Young. Mesa, Arizona. Four Mesa police officers and a lieutenant are under separate internal investigations. In the one case which has grabbed all the headlines, a woman miscarried a 12-to-14-week pregnancy in a motel room; when the manager called 911 and three cops showed up, they reckoned the most appropriate thing to do with a woman grieving the loss of her baby was to arrest the father on some drug charges and then wrap up the miscarried fetus and flush it down the motel room toilet. Meanwhile, Officer Nichoas Webster is being Internally Investigated after he was caught on tape slamming a hand-cuffed man’s head against the trunk of his police car and then slamming him into a chain-link fence. This Dangerous Individual was being transported to jail on suspicion of urinating in public and jaywalkinng.

  • Sergeant Mark Crowe, et al. Bryan County, Georgia. Back in April, Tommy Lee Williams was working out in his grandmother’s yard when a white narc named Mark Crowe (then a deputy for the county government’s sheriff) rolled up and started hassling him, repeatedly calling him Leroy. (Crowe claims that he thought Mr. Williams was someone else, an old classmate of his. Crowe was in the neighborhood on other business, and apparently not in uniform at the time, so as far as Mr. Williams knew Crowe was just some random stranger yelling Hey Leroy at him while he was trying to get some yard work done.) Mr. Williams asked Crowe why he was messing with him, and then told him to go away. According to Mr. Williams and other witnesses, Crowe responded by going off on a tirade against Williams, calling him boy and nigger along the way.

    According to Crowe himself, Mr. Williams responded to the exchange of words by cussing Crowe out from the private property of his grandmother’s front yard, and then approached his car, at which point Crowe decided to arrest Mr. Williams for the non-crime of cussing at a police officer who hassles you. Then Crowe tied to grab Williams, and when Williams struggled, eventually called in two of his gang buddies to pull Williams down into a ditch, hold him down, handcuffed him, pepper-sprayed him, beat him in the head with fists and batons, and tasered him. When Williams’ family and neighbors tried to get the cops to stop this gang beat-down, five of them, including his 81-year-old grandmother, were arrested on charges from obstruction of police to terroristic threats. The cops also seized the cell phones they were using to take photos of what was happening. This rampaging police riot against an 81 year old woman and an unarmed man who was being held down by three heavily-armed cops is of course dignified as a melee by the local papers.

    The six victims of this racist police rampage filed suit in the county Superior Court, then withdrew and re-filed the suit in federal court after the local court refused to order the police accused of participating in the beating from patrolling the neighborhood where their victims live. In any case, all this is in the news again because, in the meantime, the city government of Pembroke decided to appoint Sergeant Mark Crowe as chief of their police force.

  • Tallman Street, New Bedford, Massachusetts. Speaking of racial slurs and melees, in New Bedford, Mass., a gang of over a dozen cops stormed a poor, mostly-Latino neighborhood on Tallman Street in pursuit of a single young man, Jonathan Natal, for allegedly riding a minibike with no helmet and without a license. When he didn’t stop on command, they chased him; when he ran off on foot and hopped into nearby backyards, they called in 12 more cops and shoving people to the ground, knocking down doors, storming houses, calling the residents spics and yelling at them to shut the fuck up along the way. When they found Jonathan Natal in a stairwell, they arrested him and beat him black and blue while he tried to surrender. (The cops say he raised his arms, which apparently they took as a sign that he wanted a fight. Of course, if you don’t raise your arms when the cops come at you, they’re liable to shoot you.) Evelyn Natal, Jonathan’s 38 year old mother, was arrested while she was standing on her porch trying to find out what was happening to her son. When people gathered on public streets to observe what the cops were doing, and had the temerity to verbally berate police on public property, the cops ordered them to disperse. When people in the neighborhood started filming the police rampage on cell phone cameras, the cops slammed them to the ground and snatched the cell phones. When Jolanda Rivera, an 18 year old young woman, walked towards the cops, they slammed her to the ground and arrested her for disturbing the peace. When Louis Natal, a 22 year old young man, ran away from the cops, a gang of the cops chased him down, slammed him to the ground, and started punching him over and over again. (I guess he’s lucky they didn’t kill him for running away.) When his father, Luis Natal, 49, tried to find out what was happening to his son, they arrested him, beat him up, and pepper-sprayed him. When John Hernandez refused to let cops into his house without a warrant, they forced their way in, beat him up, and arrested him for disorderly conduct and interfering with a police officer. In the end, the cops arrested 14 people in the course of this police rampage. Once again, this one-sided assault, in which a large group of people observed and verbally berated police officers who were storming through public and private property, and the police responded by yelling racial slurs, breaking down doors, breaking down doors, invading houses, handcuffing people, holding them down and beating the hell out of them, torturing them with pepper spray, forcibly arresting them whether they moved towards officers, away from officers, or just stayed put in their own homes, etc., etc., etc., is described as a melee and a near-riot (referring to the berating of the bystanders, not the massive violence of the heavily-armed police) by the local papers. City Councilor Steven Martins, alleged representative of the people living on Tallman Street on the arbitrary Council over the city of New Bedford, explains it all by saying They were back there, chasing that individual [sic], because he went to that neighborhood. And other people got involved when they shouldn’t. A police sergeant assigned to the North End station told the papers that folks in the neighborhood get upset when the police try to crack the whip a little or enforce the laws.

    Here’s a little history quiz for the day. Historically, in the U.S., what kind of social relationship is associated with cracking the whip in order to get people to fall in line with what you want them to be doing?

  • NOPD Tactical Unit. New Orleans, Louisiana. In New Orleans, cops working for a tactical unit of the city government’s police force kicked in the door of a house after midnight in order to serve a warrant on Leonard Dillon, who the police suspect of conspiring to murder a witness in an upcoming trial. After breaking down the door and shouting commands to come out, they grabbed Dillon’s 15 year old nephew, forced him down, and handcuffed him. When they got their hands on Leonard Dillon, they handcuffed him, knocked him down, and then, while he was handcuffed, began kicking him in the crotch while he was restrained. When his nephew tried to look over at what was happening, the cops kicked him in the jaw so hard that he had to be sent to the children’s hospital later with facial lacerations. After Dillon was arrested the cops he had to be hospitalized for broken bones in his face, a lacerated liver, and damage to his testicles so severe that he had to undergo surgery. The cops claim that they took him down while he was resisting and trying to get a gun to use against them; Dillon denies it; but in either case, whatever he was trying to do, how is this kind of savage beat-down once he has already been restrained, justified by anything resembling self-defense? The NOPD say that an internal investigation is underway; meanwhile, last week, the NOPD also took the time to hold a public press conference to praise the work of the warrant squad.

  • Salt Lake County Sheriff’s Department, Salt Lake County, Utah. Two years ago, a Salt Lake County couple had some coworkers over to their house for a work party to get a video presentation done. It ran late; they got to drinking while they worked; they got a bit loud; they started singing karaoke. The couple’s 16 year old kid complained over the phone to a friend that he couldn’t sleep. The friend then decided that the best thing to do would be to call the police. The county sheriff then sent out six deputies, to do some servin’ and protectin’ by investigating a noise complaint (about noise that only people inside the house were complaining about?). When Stephen M. Perry refused to let police inside his house without a warrant, the Gangsters in Blue forced their way in through the door, pepper-sprayed Perry and two of his guests, and repeatedly tortured the same two guests with a taser. Then these out-of-control hyperviolent thugs, who stormed a house without a warrant over a noise complaint, used repeated pain compliance to torture innocent people for asserting their right to be secure in their home from busybody police, and then proceeded to arrest their three victims on charges of disorderly conduct (in their own home?), resisting arrest (arrest for what?), and assault on police.

    A jury threw out all of the charges against Perry and his guests. They then filed suit against the six deputies for excessive force and violation of their civil rights in the warrantless search. The story is in the news because the Salt Lake County government has decided to cover the cost of a $60,000 settlement for these deputies’ out-of-control violence. Public servants that they are, they will, of course, send the bill to county taxpayers who had nothing to do with this rampage. Meanwhile, Salt Lake County Sheriff’s Lt. Don Hutson said an internal affairs investigation found no violation of policies by the officers.

    What do you think that says about the policies?

  • Internal investigations. New Jersey. The ACLU has filed a report documenting that the numerical majority of New Jersey’s local police departments violate New Jersey’s legal requirements for handling so-called civilian complaints. 63% of local police agencies demand, in violation of state law, that complaints be submitted in person (so that victims of police violence have to go down to the police station in order to lodge a complaint); 49% do not allow anonymous complaints. 79% of agencies refuse to accept complaints filed by a minor without back-up from an adult; in 50 cases over the past 10 years, the investigators never even bothered to interview the person who made the complaint. Morris County Prosecutor Robert Bianchi says that the guidelines exist because a complaint process can do either of two things: Is it a shield for police misconduct? … Or is it … doing what it’s supposed to be doing? I dunno; I’m inclined to say that, in most cases, the answer is that it’s both; the only reason you’d think there’s a distinction here is if you had some odd ideas about what, in the eyes of the State, this kind of process is supposed to be doing.

  • Yet Another Isolated Incident. Officer Joseph J. Rios III. Passaic, New Jersey. In Passaic, New Jersey, a 49 year old black man named Ronnie Holloway was walking down the street minding his own business. It was a warm night and he had his sweatshirt open, showing part of his chest and belly. A cop car rolled up to the street corner and the cops yelled at him from out the car, ordering him to zip it up his jacket.

    When he didn’t promptly respond to this arbitrary bellowed command, Officer Joseph J. Rios III got out of the car, grabbed ahold of Holloway, repeatedly slammed him into the ground and against the hood of the car, and punched him in the head over and over again, and then got out his baton and started beating his victim in the ribs with it, all while Holloway made no move of any kind to fight back or resist in any way at any point. A nearby restaurant’s surveillance camera recorded the beating; it also recorded his gang-sister, Officer Erica Rivera, standing around, doing nothing, then turning her back on the beating and walking away to call in some backup (!), rather than lifting one finger to stop this sustained assault on a defenseless man who had committed no crime. [Possible trigger warning. Raw footage shows extreme violence against an unarmed, non-resisting man.]

    Then, when the gang of other cops rolled up, they arrested the victim of this relentless beating for resisting arrest, disorderly conduct and wandering for the purpose of obtaining controlled dangerous substances. In an opinion piece on the beating by Jerry DeMarco wonders how they got resisting arrest from a man who can be seen never to have lifted one finger to physically resist anything; a fellow Passaic County officer writes in to clarify that, quote-unquote:

    For the record, ‘Resisting Arrest’ is not just when a subject is fighting an Officer. Refusing to obey verbal commands, stiffening your body, putting your hands in your pocket, lowering your center of gravity, assuming a fighting stance, possessing a menacing demeanor on your face, refusing to get/stay on the ground (Instead, he got back up), while saying [something threatening], in a totality of the circumstances, regardless if he was fighting the male Officer or not, more than constitutes Resisting Arrest!

    In other words, according to at least one active member of the Passaic County police force, you can be arrested for resisting arrest simply for refusing to obey an arbitrary order from any police officer, or indeed if the cop just doesn’t like your posture or your demeanor.

    Meanwhile, DeMarco himself, although disturbed by the beating, insists that Passaic police beating is an isolated incident, period [sic] and that A speeded-up video of a cop beating a seemingly defenseless man doesn’t prove law enforcement nationwide is unleashed and barbaric.

    True enough, but all the other fucking cases nation-wide, do.

When every fucking week brings another story of a Few More Bad Apples causing Yet Another Isolated Incident, and the police themselves invariably do everything in their power to justify, ignore, cover up, excuse, or minimize the violence, even in defiance of the evidence of the senses and no matter how obviously harmless or helpless the victim may be — when cops routinely act on the understanding that they have an unchecked plenary right to issue arbitrary commands to civilians and to arrest, beat, and torture people for disobedience or just for shouting some unkind words at a cop — when the only possible recourse is to lodge a complaint with the cops own colleagues, who, every week, shrug off these relentless assaults and rapes committed by their officers using their government-issued arsenal of small weapons and the color of their legal authority to an internal investigation, — and when, even under the best possible circumstances, the main outcome of such an investigation is that the cop responsible will be given a vacation or possibly lose their job, while the city government steps in to shield them from any personal civil liability for their crimes by offering some money taken right out of the pockets of working folks who had nothing to do with the crime — it beggars belief to keep on claiming that there’s no systemic problem here, that cops ought to be given every benefit of the doubt, or blanket condemnations of policing in major American cities are somehow a sign of hastiness or unfair prejudice against good cops. The plain fact is that what we have here is one of two things: either a professionalized system of violent control which tacitly permits and encourages cops to exercise this kind of rampant, repeated, intense, unrepentant, and unaccountable abuse against powerless people—or else a system which has clearly demonstrated that it can do nothing effectual to prevent it. In either case, it is unfit to exist.

See also:

Last train headed West: R.I.P. Utah Phillips

Sad news today. From UtahPhillips.org:

May 24, 2008

Folksinger, Storyteller, Railroad Tramp Utah Phillips Dead at 73

Nevada City, California:

Utah Phillips, a seminal figure in American folk music who performed extensively and tirelessly for audiences on two continents for 38 years, died Friday of congestive heart failure in Nevada City, California a small town in the Sierra Nevada mountains where he lived for the last 21 years with his wife, Joanna Robinson, a freelance editor.

Born Bruce Duncan Phillips on May 15, 1935 in Cleveland, Ohio, he was the son of labor organizers. Whether through this early influence or an early life that was not always tranquil or easy, by his twenties Phillips demonstrated a lifelong concern with the living conditions of working people. He was a proud member of the Industrial Workers of the World, popularly known as the Wobblies, an organizational artifact of early twentieth-century labor struggles that has seen renewed interest and growth in membership in the last decade, not in small part due to his efforts to popularize it.

Phillips served as an Army private during the Korean War, an experience he would later refer to as the turning point of his life. Deeply affected by the devastation and human misery he had witnessed, upon his return to the United States he began drifting, riding freight trains around the country. His struggle would be familiar today, when the difficulties of returning combat veterans are more widely understood, but in the late fifties Phillips was left to work them out for himself. Destitute and drinking, Phillips got off a freight train in Salt Lake City and wound up at the Joe Hill House, a homeless shelter operated by the anarchist Ammon Hennacy, a member of the Catholic Worker movement and associate of Dorothy Day.

Phillips credited Hennacy and other social reformers he referred to as his elders with having provided a philosophical framework around which he later constructed songs and stories he intended as a template his audiences could employ to understand their own political and working lives. They were often hilarious, sometimes sad, but never shallow.

He made me understand that music must be more than cotton candy for the ears, said John McCutcheon, a nationally-known folksinger and close friend.

In the creation of his performing persona and work, Phillips drew from influences as diverse as Borscht Belt comedian Myron Cohen, folksingers Woody Guthrie and Pete Seeger, and Country stars Hank Williams and T. Texas Tyler.

A stint as an archivist for the State of Utah in the 1960s taught Phillips the discipline of historical research; beneath the simplest and most folksy of his songs was a rigorous attention to detail and a strong and carefully-crafted narrative structure. He was a voracious reader in a surprising variety of fields.

Meanwhile, Phillips was working at Hennacy’s Joe Hill house. In 1968 he ran for a seat in the U.S. Senate on the Peace and Freedom Party ticket. The race was won by a Republican candidate, and Phillips was seen by some Democrats as having split the vote. He subsequently lost his job with the State of Utah, a process he described as blacklisting.

Phillips left Utah for Saratoga Springs, New York, where he was welcomed into a lively community of folk performers centered at the Caffé Lena, operated by Lena Spencer.

It was the coffeehouse, the place to perform. Everybody went there. She fed everybody, said John Che Greenwood, a fellow performer and friend.

Over the span of the nearly four decades that followed, Phillips worked in what he referred to as the Trade, developing an audience of hundreds of thousands and performing in large and small cities throughout the United States, Canada, and Europe. His performing partners included Rosalie Sorrels, Kate Wolf, John McCutcheon and Ani DiFranco.

He was like an alchemist, said Sorrels, He took the stories of working people and railroad bums and he built them into work that was influenced by writers like Thomas Wolfe, but then he gave it back, he put it in language so the people whom the songs and stories were about still had them, still owned them. He didn’t believe in stealing culture from the people it was about.

A single from Phillips’s first record, Moose Turd Pie, a rollicking story about working on a railroad track gang, saw extensive airplay in 1973. From then on, Phillips had work on the road. His extensive writing and recording career included two albums with Ani DiFranco which earned a Grammy nomination. Phillips’s songs were performed and recorded by Emmylou Harris, Waylon Jennings, Joan Baez, Tom Waits, Joe Ely and others. He was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Folk Alliance in 1997.

Phillips, something of a perfectionist, claimed that he never lost his stage fright before performances. He didn’t want to lose it, he said; it kept him improving.

Phillips began suffering from the effects of chronic heart disease in 2004, and as his illness kept him off the road at times, he started a nationally syndicated folk-music radio show, Loafer’s Glory, produced at KVMR-FM and started a homeless shelter in his rural home county, where down-on-their-luck men and women were sleeping under the manzanita brush at the edge of town. Hospitality House opened in 2005 and continues to house 25 to 30 guests a night. In this way, Phillips returned to the work of his mentor Hennacy in the last four years of his life.

Phillips died at home, in bed, in his sleep, next to his wife. He is survived by his son Duncan and daughter-in-law Bobette of Salt Lake City, son Brendan of Olympia, Washington; daughter Morrigan Belle of Washington, D.C.; stepson Nicholas Tomb of Monterrey, California; stepson and daughter-in-law Ian Durfee and Mary Creasey of Davis, California; brothers David Phillips of Fairfield, California, Ed Phillips of Cleveland, Ohio and Stuart Cohen of Los Angeles; sister Deborah Cohen of Lisbon, Portugal; and a grandchild, Brendan. He was preceded in death by his father Edwin Phillips and mother Kathleen, and his stepfather, Syd Cohen.

The family requests memorial donations to Hospitality House, P.O. Box 3223, Grass Valley, California 95945 (530) 271-7144
http://www.hospitalityhouseshelter.org

Jordan Fisher Smith and Molly Fisk

Utah Phillips is the reason I became a Wobbly. He’s also a big part of the reason that I got as interested as I got in the anarchists and the labor radicals of the early 20th century. It’s a much poorer world now that we no longer have his voice among us; the only consolation, if there is any, is how much richer it is from having had it all these years.

The old songs, these old stories… why tell them? What do they mean?

When I went to high school—that’s about as far as I got—reading my U.S. history textbook, well I got the history of the ruling class; I got the history of the generals and the industrialists and the Presidents who didn’t get caught. How about you?

I got the history of the people who owned the wealth of the country, but none of the history of the people who created it… you know? So when I went out to get my first job, I went out armed with someone else’s class background. They never gave me any tools to understand, or to begin to control the condition of my labor.

And that was deliberate, wasn’t it? Huh? They didn’t want me to know this. That’s why this stuff isn’t taught in the history books. We’re not supposed to know it, to understand that. No. If I wanted the true history of where I came from, as a member of the working class, I had to go to my elders. Many of them, their best working years before pensions or Social Security, gave their whole lives to the mines, to the wheat harvests, to the logging camps, to the railroad. Got nothing for it—just fetched up on the skids, living on short money, mostly drunk all the time. But they lived those extraordinary lives that can never be lived again. And in the living of them, they gave me a history that is more profound, more beautiful, more powerful, more passionate, and ultimately more useful, than the best damn history book I ever read.

As I have said so often before, the long memory is the most radical idea in America….

— Utah Phillips, The Long Memory, on Fellow Workers (recorded with Ani DiFranco)

Mark Twain said, Those of you who are inclined to worry have the widest selection in history. Why complain? Try to do something about it…. You know, it’s going on nine months now since I decided that I was going to declare that I am a candidate for the presidency of the United States. Oh yes: I’m going to run. … So I created my own party. It’s called the Sloth and Indolence Party, and I am running as an anarchist candidate, in the best sense of that word. I have studied the presidency carefully; I have seen that our best presidents were the do-nothing presidents: Millard Fillmore, Warren G. Harding…. When you have a president who does things, we are all in serious trouble. If he does anything at all—if he gets up at night to go to the bathroom—somehow, mystically, trouble will ensue. I guarantee that if I am elected, I will take over the White House, hang out, shoot pool, scratch my ass, and not do a damn thing. Which is to say, if you want something done, don’t come to do it for you; you’ve got to get together and figure out how to do it yourselves. Is that a deal?

— Utah Phillips (1996), Candidacy, on The Past Didn’t Go Anywhere (recorded with Ani DiFranco).

I spend a lot of time these days going to demonstrations and vigils, talking to people who support the war. They can be pretty threatening. But I always find there are people there–and I don’t mean policemen, but there are people there who will protect you. I don’t go there to shout or to lecture, but to ask questions. Real questions. Questions I really need answers to.

When I joined the Army, it was kind of like somebody that I had been brought up to respect, wearing a suit and a tie, and maybe a little older, in my neighborhood. Think about yourself in your neighborhood, and this happened to you. He walked up to me, put his arm around my shoulder, and said, See that fellow on the corner there? He’s really evil, and has got to be killed. Now, you trust me; you’ll go do it for me, won’t you? Now, the reasons are a little complicated; I won’t bother to explain, but you go and do it for me, will you?

Well, if somebody did that to you in your neighborhood, you’d think it was foolish. You wouldn’t do it. Well, what makes it more reasonable to do it on the other side of the world? That’s one question.

Well, now hook it into this. If I was to go down into the middle of your town, and bomb a house, and then shoot the people coming out in flames, the newspapers would say, Homicidal Maniac! The cops would come and they’d drag me away; they’d say You’re responsible for that! The judge’d say, You’re responsible for that; the jury’d say You’re responsible for that! and they would give me the hot squat or put me away for years and years and years, you see? But now exactly the same behavior, sanctioned by the State, could get me a medal and elected to Congress. Exactly the same behavior. I want the people I’m talking to to reconcile that contradiction for themselves, and for me.

The third question–well I take that one a lot to peace people. There’s a lot of moral ambiguity going on around here, with the peace people who say, Well, we’ve got to support the troops, and then wear the yellow ribbon, and wrap themselves in the flag. They say, Well, we don’t want what happened to the Vietnam vets to happen to these vets when they come home–people getting spit on. Well, I think it’s terrible to spit on anybody. I think that’s a consummate act of violence. And it’s a terrible mistake, and I’m really sorry that happened. But what did happen? Song My happened; My Lai happened; the defoliation of a country happened; tons of pesticides happened; 30,000 MIAs in Vietnam happened. And it unhinged some people–made them real mad. And what really, really made them mad, was the denial of personal responsibility–saying, I was made to do it; I was told to do it; I was doing my duty; I was serving my country. Well, we’ve already talked about that.

Now, it is morally ambiguous to wrap yourself in the flag and to wear those ribbons. And it borders on moral cowardice. I don’t mean to sound stern; well, yes I do, but what does the Nuremberg declaration say? There’s no superior order that can cancel your conscience. Nations will be judged by the standard of the individual. Look, the President makes choices. The Congress makes choices. The Chief of Staff makes choices. The officers make choices. All those choices percolate down to the individual trooper with his finger on the trigger. The individual private with his thumb on the button that drops the bomb. If that trigger doesn’t get pulled, if that button doesn’t get pushed, all those other choices vanish as if they never were. They’re meaningless. So what is the critical choice? What is the one we’ve got to think about and get to? And, friends, if that trigger gets pulled–if that button gets pushed, and that dropped bomb falls–and you say I support the troops, you’re an accomplice. I don’t want to be an accomplice; do you?

And I don’t want to dehumanize anyone. I don’t want to take away anybody’s humanity. Humans are able to make moral decisions–moral, ethical decisions. What do we tell the trooper who pulls the trigger, or the soldier who turns the wheel that releases oil into the Persian Gulf, that they’re not responsible–just following orders, just doing their duty, have no choice–bypassing them, making them a part of the machine, we deny them their humanity, their responsibility for their actions and the consequences of those actions. Look, I’ve been a soldier. I don’t want any moral loophole. I need to take personal responsibility for my actions. And if we don’t learn how to do this, we’re going to keep on going to war again, and again, and again.

— Utah Phillips (1992): from The Violence Within, I’ve Got To Know

There I am in Spookaloo, city of magic, city of light, ensconced upon my front porch in broad daylight — long about noon, my rising time — drinking something of a potable beverage, playing my guitar, long after everybody else in the neighborhood has packed up their lunchbox and gone off down to Kaiser Aluminum to put in their shift. This enrages my neighbors. One in particular across the road, little retired banker fella, has been known to cannonball his rotundity across the road, and stand there and publicly berate me for my sloth and indolence.

Why don’t you get a job? he says. Lot of you heard that, I’ll bet.

Now, me being hip to the Socratic method, fires back a question. Why?

Why? he says, taken aback. If you had a job you could make three, four, five dollars an hour.

I said Why? I asked, pursuing the same tack.

He said, Hell, you make three, four, five dollars an hour, you could open a savings account, save up some of that money. I said, Why?

He said, Well, you save up enough of that money, young fella, pretty soon you’ll never have to work another day in your life.

I said, Hell, that’s what I’m doing right now!

—Utah Phillips (1984), in the middle of his performance of Hallelujah, I’m a Bum! on We Have Fed You All A Thousand Years

Cops are here to protect you.

Cops are here to protect you by looking in on an upset young man who locked himself in a room with a small kitchen knife, then drilling a hole in the wall and spraying pepper spray to force him out from the room when he wouldn’t come out voluntarily, then shooting him to death when the pepper spraying forced him out of the room, because he brought out the small kitchen knife that he had taken in with him.

All for his own good, of course. It became necessary to destroy Scott Rockwell in order to save him.

Cops are here to protect you by using handcuffing and arrest to put an end any argument. Even if you’re a firefighter who’s busy trying to rescue an auto accident victim.

Cops are here to protect you by dumping you out of your wheelchair onto the jailhouse floor, and breaking two of your ribs. Just to make sure you weren’t lying, when you told them you can’t stand up because you’re paralyzed from the shoulders down.

Cops are here to protect you using pain compliance, for example hitting you with 50,000-volt electric shocks at least three different times to make you do what they tell you to do, even when you pose no threat of violence to anyone, when you already have your hands cuffed behind your back, and when you are already surrounded or even pinned down to the ground by three armed professionals.

Cops are here to protect you by pinning a 13 year old boy to the ground and choking him for the crime of skateboarding. Then grabbing a teenaged girl in a chokehold for trying to walk away from the scene. Then wrestling down another teenaged boy who tried to protect her from getting manhandled. Then arresting the lot of them on the grounds that failing to immediately obey a cop’s arbitrary orders is a violation of city ordinances against disorderly conduct.

Cops are here to protect you by threatening a 14 year old boy with juvi for backtalk, threatening to smack your mouth for attitude, wrestling him to the ground to steal his skateboards, screaming in the boy’s face for being addressed as dude, and then turning around to threaten another teenager who happens to be filming their professional conduct.

Cops are here to protect you by trashing your college art project and threatening to beat the hell out of you for using public space in ways that confuse and enrage them.

Please note that if you or I or anyone else without a badge and a gun acted like this, the people around us would more or less universally conclude that we’re belligerent and dangerous lunatics. In fact, if you or I or anyone else without a badge and a gun acted like this, and it was caught on camera, we would soon be in jail for on a charge of assault and battery. When someone with a badge and a gun acts like this, and it’s caught on camera, with a very few exceptions, the worst that ever happens is that they might get fired. The most common response from the powers that be is either to do nothing at all, or else to give the pig a paid vacation and a verbal reprimand. Meanwhile, state legislators propose laws to withhold records of the abuse as classified information for reasons of state security. Fellow cops and freelance sado-fascist blowhards can all be counted on to make up any excuse at all, even in defiance of the clear evidence of their senses, in order to get the pig off the hook, no matter how obviously out-of-control the cop may be and no matter how obviously harmless or helpless his victim.

The mainstream newsmedia writes stories with clauses like this:

The skateboarders, who were violating a city ordinance, are claiming police brutality and some say the pictures back up their claim.

The video shows a 13-year-old being held to the ground by his throat. It also shows a girl being held in what appears to be a chokehold.

— KTHV Little Rock: Video Brings Controversy To Police Department

Other cops say things like this:

Hot Springs Police Department spokesman McCrary Means says, If a subject becomes confrontational, the officer has a right to defend himself. There are certain steps: first of all a verbal command. Like I said, if that subject becomes combative, that officer needs to do all he can do to get that subject under control.

— KTHV Little Rock: Video Brings Controversy To Police Department

Please note that Hot Springs Police Department spokesman McCrary Means believes that police officers have a right to grab you and beat the hell out of you in order to defend themselves against a verbal confrontation.

And freelance police-enabling blowhards write in with letters like this:

In regard to the YouTube video in which the Baltimore police officer seems to go overboard in his actions regarding a teenage skateboarder, I’d point out that teenage boys typically resent authority, often continue to do the wrong thing even after repeated instructions to stop and are, in general, a minor menace to society until they grow out of their teenage years.

When they’re doing something wrong, you can ask them to stop over and over again, and they’ll often simply ignore you until you get loud or otherwise assert your authority.

As the uncle of two teenage boys, I have no doubt that the officer reacted in a normal manner and that he should not be subject to disciplinary action.

Jerry Fletcher
Waldorf

And:

When YouTube recently showed a video of a teenage skateboarder being manhandled by a Baltimore police officer, public reaction was swift and severe.

Mayor Sheila Dixon called him a bad apple and the officer was immediately suspended.

I find this rush to judgment without a complete investigation disturbing, especially as the alleged victim had little more than his feelings hurt.

Police officers put their lives on the line every day, and the lack of public support for these men and women, especially from the mayor’s office, is an embarrassment.

Might it be possible that these kids were just punks harassing a veteran officer? And if these upstanding skater dudes were so in the right, why didn’t they file a complaint against the officer?

Let’s hear the whole story before destroying the career of a dedicated public servant.

E. Mitchell Arion
Goldsboro

If E. Mitchell Arion hasn’t watched the video that he speaks so confidently about, then why keep talking about it when he doesn’t know what he’s talking about? If, on the other hand, he has actually watched the video, he must believe that this hollering uniformed thug is in fact a dedicated public servant whose precious career needs to be handled with kid gloves, even though he watched Officer Salvatore Rivieri going up to one of the people he is supposedly serving, screaming in his face, ordering him around, insulting him, telling him to shut up, threatening him, grabbing him, wrestling him down, shoving him back down to the ground, robbing him of his private property, lecturing him, and getting up in his face about the proper titles to use when the kid addresses his putative servant.

It takes an awfully special kind of dedicated servant to treat you like that.

(Hat tips to Lew, Balko, Anthony Gregory #1, Anthony Gregory #2, Bill Anderson, Anthony Gregory #3, Anthony Gregory #4.)

Further reading:

What a shock.

Let’s review.

The nearly 10-minute video clip, which has drawn nothing but negative comments toward the trooper on YouTube, shows Gardner approaching Massey’s SUV and asking for his driver’s license and registration. Massey asks how fast he was going, which prompts Gardner to repeat his request.

I need your driver’s license and registration — right now, the trooper says.

Massey continues to question Gardner about the posted speed limit and how fast he was going but hands over his papers. The trooper walks back to his car.

Gardner returns to the SUV and tells Massey he’s being cited for speeding. On the video, Massey can be heard refusing to sign the ticket and demanding that the trooper take him back and show him the 40 mph speed limit sign.

What you’re going to do — if you’re giving me a ticket — in the first place, you’re going to tell me why … Massey says.

For speeding, the trooper interjects.

… and second of all we’re going to go look for that 40 mph sign, Massey says.

Well you’re going to sign this first, Gardner says.

No I am not. I’m not signing anything. Massey says.

Gardner tells Massey to hop out of the car, then walks back to the hood of his patrol car, setting down his ticket book. Massey is close behind the trooper pointing toward the 40 mph speed limit sign he’d passed just before being pulled over.

Turn around. Put your hands behind your back, Gardner says. He repeats the command a second time as he draws his Taser and takes a step back.

The trooper points the Taser at Massey who stares incredulously at him.

What the hell is wrong with you? Massey asks.

Gardner repeats the command to turn around two more times as Massey, with part of his right hand in his pants pocket, starts to walk back toward his SUV.

What the heck’s wrong with you? Massey can be heard asking as Gardner fires his Taser into Massey’s back. Immobilized by the weapon’s 50,000 volts, Massey falls backward, striking his head on the highway. The impact caused a cut on Massey’s scalp.

Massey’s wife Lauren, who was seven months pregnant at the time, gets out of the SUV screaming and is ordered to get back in the vehicle or risk being arrested. Gardner handcuffs Massey and leaves him on the side of the highway while he goes to talk to Massey’s wife.

He’s fine. I Tasered him because he did not follow my instructions, Gardner explains to the audibly upset woman.

You had no right to do that! she responds. You had no right to do that!

While Gardner is still talking to Lauren Massey, her husband gets to his feet and approaches the trooper from behind. Gardner takes the handcuffed man back toward his patrol car and again orders Lauren Massey to stay in her vehicle or risk being arrested.

Officer you’re a little bit excited. You need to calm yourself down, Jared Massey tells Gardner before being put into the trooper’s patrol car where he continues to demand an explanation for his arrest.

— Geoff Liesik, Deseret Morning News (2007-11-21): Trooper’s Taser use pops up on YouTube

Cops in America are heavily armed and trained to be bullies. They routinely force their way into situations they have no business being in, use violence first and ask questions later, and pass off even the most egregious forms of violence against harmless or helpless people as self-defense or as the necessary means to accomplish a completely unnecessary goal. In order to stay in control of the situation, they have no trouble electrifying small children, alleged salad-bar thieves, pregnant women possibly guilty of a minor traffic violation, or an already prone and helpless student who may have been guilty of using the computer lab without proper papers on hand. They are willing to pepper spray lawyers for asking inconvenient questions and to beat up teenaged girls for not cleaning up enough birthday cake or being out too late at night. It hardly matters if you are an 82 year old woman supposedly benefiting from a care check, or if you are sound asleep in your own home, or if you are unable to move due to a medical condition, or if the cops attack you within 25 seconds of entering the room, while you are standing quietly against the wall with your arms at your sides. It hardly even matters if you die. What a cop can always count on is that, no matter how senselessly he escalates the use of violence and no matter how obviously innocent or helpless his victims are, he can count on his buddies to clap him on the back and he can count on his bosses to repeat any lie and make any excuse in order to find that Official Procedures were followed. As long as Official Procedures were followed, of course, any form of brutality or violence is therefore passed off as OK ….

Note that Gardner never, at any point in the video, claimed that anything that Massey did in the encounter was threatening or that he felt he had to defend himself. He explicitly stated, over and over again, to Jared Massey, to his wife, and to a fellow cop, not that the reason for his actions was self-defense, but that it was to coerce compliance. Gardner also never told Massey that he was under arrest until after knocking Massey to the ground with his taser. However, cop enablers are not about to let the mere evidence of their senses get in the way of fabricating excuses for police violence …

— GT 2007-11-27: Law and Orders #3: John Gardner of the Utah Highway Patrol tasers Jared Massey in front of his family for questioning why he was pulled over

Some days, I really hate being right.

Utah taser probe: Trooper acted reasonably

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A Utah trooper who used a Taser to subdue a stubborn motorist who was walking away from him during a traffic stop felt threatened and acted reasonably, state officials said Friday.

Trooper Jon Gardner remains on leave, primarily for his safety, after numerous anonymous threats were made against him, said Supt. Lance Davenport of the Utah Highway Patrol.

Gardner twice zapped [sic] Jared Massey with a Taser when the driver walked away and refused to sign a speeding ticket on Sept. 14. The incident was recorded on Gardner’s dashboard camera. Massey filed a public-records request and posted the video on YouTube, which said it has been viewed more than 1 million times.

We found that Trooper Gardner’s actions were lawful and reasonable under the circumstances, Davenport said at a news conference, joined by Scott Duncan, commissioner of the UHP’s parent agency, the Utah Department of Public Safety.

The investigation was conducted by officials in the Department of Public Safety, which oversees the highway patrol. The officials have asked the Utah attorney general’s office to also review the case to determine if laws were broken.

Massey was not at the news conference and could not immediately be reached for comment.

The video showed Massey arguing about whether he was exceeding the speed limit on U.S. 40 in eastern Utah. Massey got out and walked to the rear of his vehicle. The trooper pulled out his Taser when the driver tried to return to his seat.

Massey shrieked, fell and said: Officer, I really don’t know what you’re doing.

Face down! Face down! Put your hands behind your back, Gardner said.

— USA Today (2007-11-30): Utah taser probe: Trooper acted reasonably

This seems to be more or less how most cops seem to think that all their conversations with the public that they serve and protect should go.

When Massey’s wife emerged from the passenger side, the trooper ordered her to get back in — or you’re going to jail, too. Moments later, when another officer arrived, one of them said, Oh, he took a ride with the Taser.

Davenport said that comment was inappropriate.

— USA Today (2007-11-30): Utah taser probe: Trooper acted reasonably

Well, that’s mighty white of him.

Officials said Gardner could have issued the ticket without Massey’s signature.

The investigation found use of the Taser was justified because Massey had turned his back and put a hand near his pocket, Davenport said.

For a law-enforcement officer, that is a very, very scary situation, he said.

Nonetheless, the trooper now realizes that other options were available, Davenport said.

— USA Today (2007-11-30): Utah taser probe: Trooper acted reasonably

Remember that at no point in the encounter did Gardner ever claim that he used the taser because he felt threatened or because he believed that Massey was reaching for a piece. In fact, he explained several times why he used the taser, to Massey, to Massey’s wife, and to another cop, and every time he said the reason was that Massey didn’t follow instructions. I’m sure he just forgot to mention that he feared for his life, too. It’s wonderful how a gang of cops investigating possible after-the-fact excuses for another cop’s use of violence can jog the memory.

However, once we strip out the self-serving lies, note that we are left with the following:

Officials said Gardner could have issued the ticket without Massey’s signature.

… Nonetheless, the trooper now realizes that other options were available, Davenport said.

Let’s review.

Officials said Gardner could have issued the ticket without Massey’s signature.

… Nonetheless, the trooper now realizes that other options were available, Davenport said.

And there you have it. In the view of the Utah Highway Patrol, it is lawful and reasonable to torture you with 50,000-volts of electricity in order to force you to comply with their orders, even when those orders are completely unnecessary and even when other options are available.

What a shock.

(Story via Strike the Root and no authority 2007-12-01.)

Further reading: