Author Topic: Police militarization and excesses  (Read 7392 times)

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Offline VDB

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Offline VDB

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Re: Police militarization and excesses
« Reply #16 on: June 20, 2014, 02:41:17 PM »
ABQ police shoot homeless man in the back after throwing stun grenade at him.

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The horrific encounter, routinely recorded as part of police protocol, is now a key part of an ongoing drama in New Mexico's largest city -- a series of protests against the police and city officials. Federal officials are close to a deal that would have them supervising the Albuquerque Police Department.

Records show that 26 people have been killed by city police in Albuquerque since 2010, a per capita rate of officer-involved deaths higher than New York City and Chicago. Forty people have been wounded by police over the same period of time. So far, the city has paid out $30 million in settlements and officials acknowledge that amount will grow.

In a report written before Boyd's shooting, the U.S. Department of Justice blamed the Police Department for poor training and said "we find that the department engages in a pattern or practice of using excessive force during the course of arrests and other detentions in violation of the Fourth Amendment."
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Offline runawayjimbo

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Re: Police militarization and excesses
« Reply #17 on: June 24, 2014, 11:43:20 AM »
Brutal read

http://www.salon.com/2014/06/24/a_swat_team_blew_a_hole_in_my_2_year_old_son/

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A SWAT team blew a hole in my 2-year-old son
That's right: Officers threw a flashbang grenade in my son's crib -- and left a hole in his chest. It gets worse

After our house burned down in Wisconsin a few months ago, my husband and I packed our four young kids and all our belongings into a gold minivan and drove to my sister-in-law’s place, just outside of Atlanta. On the back windshield, we pasted six stick figures: a dad, a mom, three young girls, and one baby boy.

That minivan was sitting in the front driveway of my sister-in-law’s place the night a SWAT team broke in, looking for a small amount of drugs they thought my husband’s nephew had. Some of my kids’ toys were in the front yard, but the officers claimed they had no way of knowing children might be present. Our whole family was sleeping in the same room, one bed for us, one for the girls, and a crib.

After the SWAT team broke down the door, they threw a flashbang grenade inside. It landed in my son’s crib.

Flashbang grenades were created for soldiers to use during battle. When they explode, the noise is so loud and the flash is so bright that anyone close by is temporarily blinded and deafened. It’s been three weeks since the flashbang exploded next to my sleeping baby, and he’s still covered in burns.

There’s still a hole in his chest that exposes his ribs. At least that’s what I’ve been told; I’m afraid to look.

My husband’s nephew, the one they were looking for, wasn’t there. He doesn’t even live in that house. After breaking down the door, throwing my husband to the ground, and screaming at my children, the officers – armed with M16s – filed through the house like they were playing war. They searched for drugs and never found any.

I heard my baby wailing and asked one of the officers to let me hold him. He screamed at me to sit down and shut up and blocked my view, so I couldn’t see my son. I could see a singed crib. And I could see a pool of blood. The officers yelled at me to calm down and told me my son was fine, that he’d just lost a tooth. It was only hours later when they finally let us drive to the hospital that we found out Bou Bou was in the intensive burn unit and that he’d been placed into a medically induced coma.

For the last three weeks, my husband and I have been sleeping at the hospital. We tell our son that we love him and we’ll never leave him behind. His car seat is still in the minivan, right where it’s always been, and we whisper to him that soon we’ll be taking him home with us.

Every morning, I have to face the reality that my son is fighting for his life. It’s not clear whether he’ll live or die. All of this to find a small amount of drugs?

The only silver lining I can possibly see is that my baby Bou Bou’s story might make us angry enough that we stop accepting brutal SWAT raids as a normal way to fight the “war on drugs.” I know that this has happened to other families, here in Georgia and across the country. I know that SWAT teams are breaking into homes in the middle of the night, more often than not just to serve search warrants in drug cases. I know that too many local cops have stockpiled weapons that were made for soldiers to take to war. And as is usually the case with aggressive policing, I know that people of color and poor people are more likely to be targeted.  I know these things because of the American Civil Liberties Union’s new report, and because I’m working with them to push for restraints on the use of SWAT.

A few nights ago, my 8-year-old woke up in the middle of the night screaming, “No, don’t kill him! You’re hurting my brother! Don’t kill him.” How can I ever make that go away? I used to tell my kids that if they were ever in trouble, they should go to the police for help. Now my kids don’t want to go to sleep at night because they’re afraid the cops will kill them or their family. It’s time to remind the cops that they should be serving and protecting our neighborhoods, not waging war on the people in them.

I pray every minute that I’ll get to hear my son’s laugh again, that I’ll get to watch him eat French fries or hear him sing his favorite song from “Frozen.” I’d give anything to watch him chase after his sisters again. I want justice for my baby, and that means making sure no other family ever has to feel this horrible pain.

Alecia Phonesavanh is the mother of Bounkham Phonesavanh, nicknamed "Baby Bou Bou." She and her family live in Atlanta. For more information about Bou Bou, go to www.justiceforbabyboubou.com.
I'm drunk but that was epuc

fuckin banks man....  people use them shits like woah.

The Line still sucks. Hard.

Offline VDB

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Re: Police militarization and excesses
« Reply #18 on: June 24, 2014, 12:10:02 PM »
Figured I'd give the Habersham County Sheriff's Office another call to check in.


Operator: Habersham County Sheriff's Office.

Me: Hi, I'm looking at your webpage now and I see you have a "Stop Domestic Violence" button on it. I think that's commendable. I understand that usually applies to spouses and domestic partners. Does that apply to children as well?

Operator: *hangs up*


Seriously, fuck these people so very much.
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Offline runawayjimbo

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Re: Police militarization and excesses
« Reply #19 on: June 24, 2014, 12:36:40 PM »
Good. Let the hate flow through you.
I'm drunk but that was epuc

fuckin banks man....  people use them shits like woah.

The Line still sucks. Hard.

Offline VDB

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Re: Police militarization and excesses
« Reply #20 on: June 25, 2014, 01:51:05 PM »
New ACLU report takes a snapshot of police militarization in the United States

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- 62 percent of the SWAT raids surveyed were to conduct searches for drugs.
- Just under 80 percent were to serve a search warrant, meaning eight in 10 SWAT raids were not initiated to apprehend a school shooter, hostage taker, or escaped felon (the common justification for these tactics), but to investigate someone still only suspected of committing a crime.
- In fact, just 7 percent of SWAT raids were “for hostage, barricade, or active shooter scenarios.”
- In at least 36 percent of the SWAT raids studies, no contraband of any kind was found. The report notes that due to incomplete police reports on these raids this figure could be as high as 65 percent.
- SWAT tactics are disproportionately used on people of color.
- 65 percent of SWAT deployments resulted in some sort of forced entry into a private home, by way of a battering ram, boot, or some sort of explosive device. In over half those raids, the police failed to find any sort of weapon, the presence of which was cited as the reason for the violent tactics.
- Ironically (or perhaps not), searches to serve warrants on people suspected of drug crimes were more likely to result in forced entry than raids conducted for other purposes.
- Though often justified for rare incidents like school shootings or terrorist situations, the armored personnel vehicles police departments are getting from the Pentagon and through grants from the Department of Homeland Security are commonly used on drug raids.

Summary and discussion by WaPo's Radley Balko.
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Offline runawayjimbo

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Re: Police militarization and excesses
« Reply #21 on: June 25, 2014, 01:55:27 PM »
Saw that. This part made me LOL/puke in my mouth too.

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Among the excuses police agencies gave the ACLU for not turning over records were that the requested information “contained trade secrets,” that turning over such information could affect the effectiveness of SWAT teams and that the information requested was too broad, would cost too much to produce or wasn’t subject to open-records law. In short, we have police departments that are increasingly using violent, confrontational tactics to break into private homes for increasingly low-level crimes, and they seem to believe that the public has no right to know the specifics of when, how and why those tactics are being used.
I'm drunk but that was epuc

fuckin banks man....  people use them shits like woah.

The Line still sucks. Hard.

Offline VDB

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Re: Police militarization and excesses
« Reply #22 on: June 25, 2014, 01:59:07 PM »
 :frustrated:
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Offline VDB

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Re: Police militarization and excesses
« Reply #23 on: July 02, 2014, 02:30:23 PM »
Truck driver takes trooper to task for speeding:

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Offline runawayjimbo

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Re: Police militarization and excesses
« Reply #24 on: July 07, 2014, 01:08:09 PM »
Balko'd

http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-watch/wp/2014/07/07/meet-jason-westcott-your-latest-needless-inexcusable-drug-war-casualty/

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Meet Jason Westcott, your latest, needless, inexcusable drug war casualty

Add another body to the drug war pile. From the Tampa Bay Times, here is the story of the death of Jason Westcott.
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A man who had partied at Westcott’s home was plotting to rob him. An itinerant motorcycle mechanic, Westcott didn’t have much — two televisions and a handgun that once belonged to his brother were perhaps the most valuable possessions in his 600-square-foot house in Seminole Heights — but he was terrified by his would-be intruder’s threats to kill him.

Police tracked down the suspect and warned him to stay away. Westcott, those close to him said, was left with a word of advice from the investigating officers: If anyone breaks into this house, grab your gun and shoot to kill.

On the night of May 27, as armed men streamed through his front door, Westcott grabbed his gun. But the 29-year-old didn’t have a chance to shoot before he died in a volley of gunfire. And those who killed him weren’t robbers.

They were police officers from the same agency he had enlisted to protect his home.

In the span of a few months, Westcott had become the target of an intensive drug investigation. On that Tuesday in May — a night when he typically baby­sat his sister’s children at his house, according to his mother — he was fatally shot by a Tampa Police Department SWAT team executing a search warrant for marijuana.

Authorities told news reporters who swarmed to the scene that Westcott was dealing drugs and had sold pot multiple times, armed, to undercover Tampa police officers. During the raid, officials said, he “raised his gun and threatened the officers,” who killed him in self-defense.

A month later, newly disclosed information raises questions about the narcotics investigation that led police to Westcott’s door.

So the same police department who warned Westcott that a dangerous man wanted to kill him then sent an armed team of cops into his home in a nighttime raid. We’re told over and over again by police departments that cops do extensive investigations of suspects before conducting these raids. How, then, could Tampa police not have known that Westcott had reported the threats against him a few months earlier? I guess I’m assuming they didn’t know. If they did know, that’s a hell of a lot worse.

And then there’s this:
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Police initially said that the investigation of Westcott’s alleged drug dealing began because of neighbors’ complaints. However, when the Times could find no neighbors who had called police and no records of the complaints, the department revised this assertion, saying the case began with a tip from the same informer who later bought the marijuana.

Revised is a generous word, here. A mistake would be if someone in the department misattributed a statement from one witness to another. Telling the press that a drug investigation that ended with a fatal SWAT raid began because of neighbor complaints when it really began because of a tip from a police informant (who are often paid, or given consideration in their own criminal cases) isn’t a mistake. It’s a lie. It makes the police look as if they were merely obliging a community in need of their protection, not initiating a commando raid based on a tip from a shady source and what looks to have been no corroborating investigation at all.

Ultimately, this violent, volatile raid came after the informant claimed to have bought $200 worth of pot. That’s why Westcott is dead: $200 worth of pot. Friends and neighbors say Westcott and his boyfriend were recreational pot smokers, but hardly major dealers. They were often broke. Their utilities were often disconnected. They just occasionally sold a joint or two to friends. The police found about $2.00 worth of pot the house. There’s no misplaced decimal there. Two dollars.

Tampa police told the paper that there’s nothing wrong with way the agency deals with informants. Chief Jane Castor then added that there was nothing wrong with the use of a tactical team, either.
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“Mr. Westcott lost his life because he aimed a loaded firearm at police officers. You can take the entire marijuana issue out of the picture,” Castor said. “If there’s an indication that there is armed trafficking going on — someone selling narcotics while they are armed or have the ability to use a firearm — then the tactical response team will do the initial entry.”

Note the utter disregard for the threats against Castor. So the police didn’t violate any department policies, and the policies themselves don’t need changing. The only possible conclusion we can draw from this is that the Tampa Bay Police Department believes death is an acceptable outcome for a guy who, at worst, sold $200 worth of pot to an informant.

Police militarization has been all over the news lately, thanks to a recent ACLU report on the topic, and another botched raid in Georgia that badly burned a young boy. Within that coverage, you’ll see plenty of assertions that critics like me are overstating the problem, that we’re just “anti-cop,” and that we exaggerate when we say militarization conditions the police to see citizens — especially low-level drug offenders — not as citizens with rights but as enemies and potential threats. It dehumanizes suspects in the eyes of police. That’s certainly what happened here. The Tampa police gave Westcott’s rights, life, and safety little consideration at all. They sent a SWAT team into his home over $200 worth of pot.

They did this despite the fact that the same agency knew that Westcott had recently been threatened, and would likely respond violently to men breaking into his home. The drug cops and SWAT team either didn’t care, or didn’t bother to take the time to find out — which is just another way of demonstrating that they didn’t care. Drug suspects simply aren’t worth the time it takes for that sort of due diligence.

I’m not being flip here. If the Tampa Police Department thought drug suspects’ lives were worth anything, they either would have actually performed their due diligence in this case, or they would now be disciplining the officers who didn’t. Instead, Chief Castor told the Times that “she has seen no signs that the officers who killed Westcott acted inappropriately.”

This is what happens when cops approach everyday policing with the same tactics, weapons, and mentality that soldiers take to  war. They begin to see suspects as little more than potential threats, not as citizens with rights.

The awful reality here is not that James Westcott died due to a horrible mistake. That would at least be comprehendible. The awful reality is that his death was the predictable result of a series of deliberate policies. In the minds of the Tampa police, Jason Westcott was expendable. Now that he’s dead, he’s just another piece of drug war collateral damage. Just like Eurie Stamps. Or Kathryn Johnston. Or Jonathan Ayers. Or Gonzalo Guizan. Or Isaac Singletary, Tarika Williams, Alberto Sepulveda, Pedro Navarro, Jose Guerena, Trevon Cole, Humbert Henkel, or Ramarley Graham, among others.  There’s no need to reexamine the policies that led to these people dying, because these people simply aren’t that important.

There have been dozens of James Westcotts before this one. And there will be more.
I'm drunk but that was epuc

fuckin banks man....  people use them shits like woah.

The Line still sucks. Hard.

Offline VDB

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Re: Police militarization and excesses
« Reply #25 on: July 11, 2014, 01:26:41 PM »
I just read a story about Westcott. Deplorable.

A bit of good news, I suppose, is this story about a guy in San Antonio who was acquitted by a jury after standing trial for shooting at police who broke into his house to serve a search warrant. Would've been nice if the DA had not opted to pursue charges in the first place, but hey...
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Offline runawayjimbo

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Re: Police militarization and excesses
« Reply #26 on: August 12, 2014, 03:56:55 PM »
Been meaning to post for a couple of days the fucked up shit going on in Ferguson, MO right now. These images (and despicable story) sum it up.

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/13/us/ferguson-police-cite-safety-risk-in-decision-not-to-name-officer-in-shooting.html?smid=tw-nytimes#



I'm drunk but that was epuc

fuckin banks man....  people use them shits like woah.

The Line still sucks. Hard.

Offline VDB

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Offline mbw

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Re: Police militarization and excesses
« Reply #28 on: August 13, 2014, 11:20:39 AM »
Apropos.

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2014/08/08/1320164/-Why-Black-Men-Don-t-Open-Carry#

they should though.  I would like to see a campaign started to arm every single black person in the country, open carry.
we would see some gun control laws pop up all quick like.

Offline emayPhishyCO

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Re: Police militarization and excesses
« Reply #29 on: August 13, 2014, 11:28:29 AM »