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Posts tagged Men in Uniform

Men in Uniform: Corporal Keil Joseph Cronauer and Lance Corporal Christopher Charles Stanzel, United States Marine Corps. Savannah, Georgia.

In Savannah, Georgia, Corporal Keil Joseph Cronauer and Lance Corporal Christopher Charles Stanzel, two government soldiers working for the United States Marine Corps, sucker-punched a gay man from behind as he was walking away, and then beat him unconscious, for allegedly winking at them. (The Marines, in their defense, claim that they beat him half to death because he might have been coming onto them.) Their victim, Kieran Daly, is recovering in the hospital from bruising to his brain.

A gay man was attacked by two Marines in Savannah, Georgia, reportedly because the soldiers thought that he was “winking” at them.

Kieran Daly was struck in the back of the head shortly before 4:00 a.m. on June 12, following an altercation with the two Marines, reported the local newspaper the Savannah Morning News that same day. A police officer saw the Marines running, then received word of the incident, the article said. The officer investigated the scene where Daly lay on the ground being given CPR by his friends, and then chased after and arrested the Marines, identified as Keil Cronauer, 22, and Christopher Stanzel, 23.

The Marines said that Daly had come on to them, saying sexually suggestive things and following close behind them; but their story was contradicted by witnesses who said that the Marines accused Daly of winking at them.

Daly suffered bruising to the brain, but was talking to the media from the hospital later that day. The guy thought I was winking at him, Daly recounted. I told him, I was squinting, man… I’m tired. Daly added that, the last thing I remember is walking away. I remember the feeling of getting hit, but I only kind of remember it. According to witnesses, one of the Marines punched the back of Daly’s head as he was walking away.

— Kilian Melloy, edge (2010-06-16): Outrage Mounts After 2 Marines Viciously Beat Gay Man in Savanah, Ga.

Here is how the government police responded to this hyperviolent gay-bashing by a couple of government soldiers (their colleagues in the trade of unhinged government violence):

Although there were multiple eye-witnesses who confirmed that the attack was unprovoked, local police authorities charged the men with a misdemeanor and released them into the custody of military police.

— Action alert from Georgia Equality, quoted by Kilian Melloy, edge (2010-06-16): Outrage Mounts After 2 Marines Viciously Beat Gay Man in Savanah, Ga.

(Care to take bets on whether two gay men would be charged with misdemeanor battery right now if they had singled out a young Marine for harassment on the street, attacked him from behind and then beat him unconscious and put him in the hospital with head trauma?)

But, never to fear. The military has them in custody and is assuring us that the Incident will be Internally Investigated. Hear the reassuring words of Colonel David Robinson, Commanding Officer, MAG-31, and know that the guilty will be held accountable. Or, at least, some reports will damn well be made consistent.

Although this certainly does not justify the actions of the Marine who punched the individual, it is important for us to consider both sides of the story, said Col David Robinson, Commanding Officer, MAG-31. As with most incidents there are multiple perspectives, accounts and recollections. The facts of this isolated incident will come out through investigations by civilian and military authorities.

Although the initial reports from the arresting officer and the media coverage of the incident are widely disparate, we are committed to resolving the inconsistencies between the reports, added Robinson.

— Quoted in Kilian Melloy, edge (2010-06-16): Outrage Mounts After 2 Marines Viciously Beat Gay Man in Savanah, Ga.

Boldface mine.

Ah yes; Consider Both Sides; and remember, above all, that this is Yet Another Isolated Incident. Isolated, just like all the others (trigger warning).

What we’re actually dealing with here is an entrenched and institutionalized culture of violent masculinity, in which young men are taken away and set apart, to bond with each other around killing and through over-the-top violent hypermasculinity; where, like many other spaces where over-the-top violent hypermasculinity is encouraged, it’s often expressed through homophobic hostility and celebrations of torture and sexualized violence; where these men trained to see themselves as becoming stand-up men through their dutiful practice of violence on command from other men; where they are constantly told that they can do no wrong and that Their Country will Honor Them for their unrelenting brutality; and after which they are constantly treated as a special class apart, with an entirely separate system of policing and law, deserving special honors, special protection, and also special consideration and kid-glove handling by fellow soldiers and government police, when they turn around inflict that violence on innocent people.

When men in uniform are encouraged to see their manhood in violence, and violence as essential to their manhood, and when government insulates its trained killers, over and over again, from accountability for their violence, you are going to see that violence acted out on the people that masculinity targets: on women, on lesbians, on gay men. The problem here isn’t the apples. It’s the damn barrel.

See also:

Men In Uniform (Cont’d). Officer James Vernon Clayton, North Las Vegas Police Department, North Las Vegas, Nevada

Trigger warning. Briefly describes the crimes of a male police officer working for the North Las Vegas city government, who, while in uniform, harassed and attempted to sexually assault several women that he forced to pull over.

Officer James Vernon Clayton, North Las Vegas Police Department, North Las Vegas, Nevada.

From Tuesday’s Las Vegas Sun, Officer James Vernon Clayton, a three year veteran ex-cop formerly working for the North Las Vegas Police Department, repeatedly used the power of his badge and gun in order to pull women over, sexually harass the women he was holding captive, pull down his pants and show his dick off to them against their will, used threats of false arrest to grope at least one woman under the excuse of a pat search, and to try to extort sexual favors by threatening them with legal retaliation if they wouldn’t. He did this to at least five women that we know of, while on duty, in uniform, in his police cruiser, and heavily armed. So the boss cops with the North Las Vegas city government gave him a six month paid vacation; then the government prosecutor cut a deal with him so he could plead guilty to five misdemeanors — none of them sex offenses. The government prosecutors wanted this serial sexual predator to spend four months in jail; the government judge accepting this plea decided to give him three years’ probation instead, and told him to pay off the government to the tune of $5,000. The women he harassed, intimidated and coerced[1] will, of course, get nothing.

The government prosecutor had this to say, about the case:

From the onset of this case, what the state found most disturbing is here’s an individual charged with our public safety — we’ve blindly given him our trust to protect community, we’ve given him a badge, and he’s vitiated all of that, including blemishing his department, Chief Deputy District Attorney Stacy Kollins said.

— Quoted by Cara McCoy, Las Vegas Sun (2010-05-18): Ex-officer who sought sexual favors during traffic stops sentenced

Well, sure, except that you ought to speak only for yourself — I never gave Officer James Vernon Clayton a badge or my trust, and neither did much of anyone else outside of the North Las Vegas city government. But that said, perhaps what you ought to learn is that it’s foolish to blindly give your trust to men with guns and uniforms, and dangerous to create an environment in which they wield incredible power over ordinary citizens, with a reliable expectation that even if they get caught, they will never face any serious personal consequences for their violent and abusive actions. Until you figure that out, expect your blind trust to keep getting vitiated, over and over again, by men who use those weapons and that unaccountable power to stalk, harass, and assault the women who they force under their power.

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. If it weren’t for the regime of State violence that late-night patrol officers exercise, as part and parcel of their legal duties, against women in prostitution, it would have been that much harder for Gonzales and Munoz to imagine that they could use their patrol as an opportunity to stalk young women, or to then try to make their victim complicit in the rape by forcing her to pretend that the rape was in fact consensual sex for money. 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 — although it certainly does require that. 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:

  1. [1]Who chose not to speak out at the sentencing hearing, because they were afraid of retaliation from the would-be rapist who the judge then proceeded to turn loose.

Men In Uniform: Officer Gabriel Villareal, San Antonio, TX

    <p><a href="http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/reason/DailyBrickbats/~3/o9S5rBHeAOg/hot-pursuit">Hot Pursuit. <cite>Daily Brickbats</cite> (2010-04-27)</a>:</p><blockquote><q>San Antonio, Texas, police say Officer Gabriel Villareal has been suspended indefinitely, but they refuse to say why. However, a woman, who was not identified by local media, says he showed up at her door one day saying he was responding to a 911 call. She said she hadn't called....</q></blockquote>

In which Officer Gabriel Villareal, stalker in uniform, uses his powers as a police officer to hunt down a San Antonio woman’s address, barge in on her unannounced, and harass her in her own home. If you or I used our own private resources to pull a stunt like that, we’d be prime candidates for a restraining order and might well end up arrested on stalking or menacing charges. When Men In Uniform use their own far more extensive resources, as well as the implicit threat of their legal and physical powers, to inflict their unwanted attentions on unwilling women, suddenly it’s a private administrative matter, to be handled behind closed doors by the Department.

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