Sunday Reads: Police Brutality! POLICE BRUTALITYYY!Posted: March 1, 2015
Tracy Turnblad: POLICE BRUTALITYYY! POLICE BRUTALITYYYYYY!
Penny Pingleton: POLICE BRUTALITY! POLICE BRUTALITY!
National Lampoon’s Vacation (1983)
Let’s just say I wanted to start the post out with a lighter look at a very dark subject because today’s theme is anything but funny…and if you are in a good mood, you may even think about skipping the first section of this thread…it is just a suggestion.
Starting with this article from Huff Post I’ve saved from over a week ago:
Incidents of police brutality and the use of excessive force continue to grab the headline news across the nation. This is totally shocking considering all of the outrage from the Michael Brown and Eric Garner incidents.
Do some police officers really care about the lives of people of color across the United States? The issue of police brutality is real and the people have scars that tell their stories. Recently, two Philadelphia cops allegedly beat a young man and filled out a report that did not represent what actually occurred. Police officers in Pasco, Washington shot and killed an unarmed man.
Will police brutality ever end in America? When incidents of police brutality or excessive force take place, some police officials brace themselves for protest and then suddenly the protests go away.
What will it take to end police brutality or at least reduce incidents of police brutality by fifty percent across the United States? Specific laws should exist in order to help deter acts of blatant police misconduct. This particular post is not about bashing all police. The majority of police officers are law abiding citizens that really care about people no matter the race, creed, or color. However, when you read stories of how the police in Miami were using photos of African American males for target practice then one would wonder why so many police appear to have no discretion in regards to taking the life of an African American male. There are so many problems and threats going on all across the world. Hopefully the fight to end police brutality will not get lost in transition because more attention is being placed on achieving world peace.
You can read the rest at the link…Tio pleads for group discussion, as a start to finding a solution:
There are so many mothers crying and people dying by the hands of police and gang violence. We must take a stand to be part of the solution and not the problem. By organizing group sessions with police officials and young people across the United States, this could serve as a starting point to help establish better relationship with police and community. We could save lives on both fronts. If police officials were to admit that problems exist with the current policing strategies in communities of color, then this would be the best dialogue in the world. Every positive movement for change starts with the admission of a problem. The entire world is watching how the United States will work on solving this age old problem. Let’s come together to the roundtable of peace and set the stage for ending all forms of violence.
Roundtable of peace?
Sure, how do you think that will work out?
Before you answer, here are some examples of police brutality that have made some news headlines of late:
Remember Jessica Hernandez?
The Medical Examiner’s office in Denver, Colorado, is ruling the death of a 17-year-old female teenager who was shot and killed by police as a homicide.
The report, released on Friday, states that Jessica Hernandez had four gunshot wounds at the time of her death on January 26th. Police say Hernandez was driving a stolen car toward a Denver police officer when that officer and another opened fire on the vehicle. Hernandez was struck twice through the left side of her chest, once in her pelvis, and once on her right thigh, according to the Medical Examiner’s report.
One of the two bullets passing through Hernandez’s chest struck her in both lungs and her heart. In the document, Denver’s Chief Medical Examiner/Coroner, Dr. James L. Caruso, concludes “With the information available to me at this time, the manner of death, in my opinion, is homicide.”
Denver’s coroner declared Jessica Hernandez’s death a homicide in an autopsy report that contradicts statements made by police in the days after she was shot and killed by two police officers.
The 17-year-old girl had been smoking pot and drinking small amounts of alcohol before Denver police officers confronted Hernandez and her stolen car full of teenagers, her autopsy revealed.
The autopsy measured her blood-alcohol content at slightly more than half the legal limit for an adult, the autopsy performed the week after her death revealed.
Four gunshots fired by Officers Daniel Greene and Gabriel Jordan the morning of Jan. 22 reached the 17-year-old girl from outside the driver’s window as her car lurched forward, striking Hernandez’s heart and lung.
Another bullet hit the girl’s hip and thigh.
Each of the bullets was fired from her left side, despite early comments by Denver Police Chief Robert White that one of his officers shot at her as she drove the stolen car toward him in a Denver alleyway.
“The vehicle started driving toward him, which pretty much had him between a car and a brick wall and a fence,” White told the Denver Post last month.
Her death sparked nights of protests against police brutality after her friends shared a conflicting recollection of what happened.
South Carolina deputy is out of a job after using a Taser on a wheelchair-bound 65-year-old man while attempting to arrest his son, reports Fox Carolina.
Pickens County Deputy Steven Ticknor was fired by Sheriff Rick Clark who said the deputy needlessly used his Taser on Parker Mansell Jr. in his home while serving an arrest warrant.
Police and sheriff’s deputies were dispatched to the Mansell home, looking to take 25-year-old Travis Mansell into custody on multiple bench warrants.
Deputies entered the home and attempted to arrest the younger Mansell who reportedly said he wouldn’t return to jail, telling them they would “have to kill him.” During the 15 to 20 minutes the officers spent speaking with Mansell, his father positioned himself in his wheelchair between the deputies and his son.
“I can’t figure out yet why they Tased me, you know,” Parker Mansell said. “They could have killed me, they could have killed me.”
Following an investigation, Clark said it was determined using the stun gun on Travis Mansell was appropriate considering the circumstances, but using it on his father was contrary to Pickens County use of force policy.
Ya think? But hey, this isn’t the only cop using police brutality on a wheelchair bound person.
A video captured at the Broward County Central Bus Terminal in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, shows a police officer approaching an elderly man, who was apparently trying to locate a public restroom.
Ramirez then walks up from behind and grabs the man, who has since been identified as 58-year-old Bruce Laclair, taking hold of his upper arm.
As you can see from the video, Ramirez gives absolutely no warning and does not identify himself as a police officer, prior to walking up behind this guy and grabbing him by the arm.
When LaClair automatically responds by pulling his arm away, the cop shoves him to the ground. The video shows Laclair’s head striking the brick walkway.
LaClair responds after being shoved to the ground:
Pointing a finger at the elderly man, the cop says:
“Relax. I’m telling you right now what’s gonna happen. I’m telling you right now what’s gonna happen. I’m escorting you out right now,”
LeClair, still sitting on the ground tells the officer:
“I want to go pee,”
“You’re not going to go pee,”
Going on to say:
“You’re not supposed to pee here.”
Ramirez then tells LaClair to get up, and again grabs him by the arm.
LaClair, still seated on the ground, puts both hands up.
Seconds later, Ramirez forcefully slaps him across the face so hard it sends him reeling sideways.
Video at link.
I guess LaClair should have told him about uromysitisis poisoning ?
Meanwhile in Chicago:
The Chicago police department operates an off-the-books interrogation compound, rendering Americans unable to be found by family or attorneys while locked inside what lawyers say is the domestic equivalent of a CIA black site.
The facility, a nondescript warehouse on Chicago’s west side known as Homan Square, has long been the scene of secretive work by special police units. Interviews with local attorneys and one protester who spent the better part of a day shackled in Homan Square describe operations that deny access to basic constitutional rights.
- Keeping arrestees out of official booking databases.
- Beating by police, resulting in head wounds.
- Shackling for prolonged periods.
- Denying attorneys access to the “secure” facility.
- Holding people without legal counsel for between 12 and 24 hours, including people as young as 15.
At least one man was found unresponsive in a Homan Square “interview room” and later pronounced dead.
Brian Jacob Church, a protester known as one of the “Nato Three”, was held and questioned at Homan Square in 2012 following a police raid. Officers restrained Church for the better part of a day, denying him access to an attorney, before sending him to a nearby police station to be booked and charged.
“Homan Square is definitely an unusual place,” Church told the Guardian on Friday. “It brings to mind the interrogation facilities they use in the Middle East. The CIA calls them black sites. It’s a domestic black site. When you go in, no one knows what’s happened to you.”
About 200 protesters gathered outside a police facility in Chicago on Saturday, demanding an investigation into a media report denied by police that the site functions as an off-the-books interrogation compound.
British newspaper The Guardian said in a report earlier this week the Chicago Police Department holds suspects and witnesses for long periods of time at a former warehouse called Homan Square, without giving them access to attorneys or phone calls to family and without recording their detention.
The piece was the subject of intense debate in recent days in Chicago, with some criminal justice experts saying it was exaggerated and others giving it credence.
The protest represented an effort by organizers to pressure city leaders to look into the matter.
Allegations that the Chicago Police Department abuses the rights of people that police detain for questioning have been a central element of the notorious police misconduct issues in this city for decades.
From the torture carried out by former Cmdr. Jon Burge in the 1970s and 1980s to the baseless detention of people subsequently robbed by rogue officers of the Special Operations Section less than a decade ago, mistreatment of detainees has been much litigated and extensively covered by Chicago news media outlets in recent years.
So when a British newspaper published a series of articles alleging that the Police Department uses a building on the city’s West Side as a “CIA-style interrogation black site” where detainees disappear for hours on end, many experienced criminal defense and civil rights attorneys were puzzled.
The problems at Homan Square described in the stories published by The Guardian include denying detainees access to their lawyers as well as denying lawyers and family members any information about the whereabouts of their clients and loved ones for hours. But lawyers said such problems have been a widespread issue with the Police Department for decades, not one particular to Homan Square.
Richard Dvorak, a veteran criminal defense attorney, said the problem was widespread, but he was unaware of any issue unique to Homan Square.
“Everything that was described (in the Guardian story) was something that happens every day,” he said. “I think it’s pretty systemic throughout CPD.”
But then the Guardian is up on its investigative journalism…when it comes to the US:
Protesters gathered in Bridgeton, New Jersey on Saturday, to rally against what some see as a biased investigation into the police shooting death of a 36-year-old man in December.
On 30 December, a dashboard camera captured Bridgeton officers Braheme Days and Roger Worley firing a several shots into a black Jaguar less than two minutes into a traffic stop. Jerame Reid, a New Jersey man, was killed.
On Thursday, Days was accused in a federal lawsuit of raping a 22-year-old woman, Bridgeton resident Shakera Brown, for months while threatening to send her to jail, and continuing to so after the alleged abuse had been reported to his superiors. The suit said Brown complained in summer 2014.
After Reid’s death in December, Days and Worley were put on administrative leave, with pay. Three weeks later Jennifer Webb-McRae, head of the Cumberland County prosecutor’s office, which is investigating the shooting, recused herself from the case. Webb-McRae cited personal connections to Days, whom she said she knew “from the community”.
The new allegations against Days are the latest blow for the Cumberland County prosecutor’s office, which recently failed in its attempts to meet voluntary standards set by the New Jersey State Association of Chiefs of Police.
Groups rallying around Reid’s shooting are calling for the New Jersey attorney general to investigate the case. Attorney general John Jay Hoffman, however, has given no indication the state intends to investigate.
More at that link.
Big crowd gathers to protest fatal police shooting in Bridgeton, N.J. | 6abc.com That is the local coverage of the same news story…you see which one is more thorough.
And I will say, New Jersey is not the only one seeing questions raised against police authorities, and prosecutors offices. Take New York…Westchester County.
Former Putnam County sheriff’s investigator Pat Castaldo was indicted Friday morning on three criminal charges Friday related to a July incident in which a shackled prisoner alleged he was beaten.
The indictment charges Castaldo, who retired last year as senior investigator, with filing a false instrument, an E felony; and official misconduct; and attempted assault, both misdemeanors.
Castaldo’ attorney, Andrew Quinn entered a plea of not guilty. He also asked the court to disqualify Putnam County Adam Levy from prosecuting the case.
Quinn argued that Levy had a conflict because Castaldo is a potential witness in Levy’s defamation lawsuit against Putnam Sheriff Donald Smith.
State Supreme Court Justice Robert Neary ordered Castaldo to turn in two firearms. He was then released without bail.
Putnam County paid the suspect, Kenneth DeFreitas, $35,000 last year after he filed a notice of claim alleging police brutality.
DeFreitas was charged for robberies at a supermarket and a bank…and,
According to DeFreitas’ notice of claim, he was lying face down, his hands and feet shackled, when Castaldo began kicking and hitting him. He claimed Castaldo at one point lifted him to his feet and punched him in the kidney.
Schramek, the third-highest ranking officer in the Sheriff’s Office, was also under investigation in the case but was not indicted. He resigned two weeks ago.
The Sheriff’s Office placed the two on “restricted duty” during an internal investigation and referred DeFreitas’ allegations to the FBI, which declined to pursue charges against the two investigators.
The DA’s investigation and grand jury presentation has played out against a backdrop of continued animosity between Levy and Sheriff Don Smith, who each have $5 million defamation lawsuits pending against the other. The Sheriff’s Office has argued that the ongoing feud makes it a conflict of interest for Levy to investigate any sheriff’s employee.
Which is interesting considering….from the same newspaper, News | The Journal News | lohud.com:
Rye police Lt. Robert Falk claims he never read a 2004 report criticizing the aggressiveness of police Officer Anthony Rosace, that the report sat in a sealed envelope in his office for a decade.
But he’s not sure how, if the envelope from Sgt. Alvin Ortiz was never opened, he knew to put it in a manila file folder marked “Caspi,” the last name of a city teenager who claimed Rosace and another officer beat him up during an arrest that year.
Falk’s discovery of the report in December in an old file box delayed the trial of Andrew Caspi’s federal lawsuit. And now U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff has restored the city of Rye, former police Commissioner William Connors and Detective Lt. Joseph Verille to the lawsuit, paving the way for Caspi’s lawyers to renew their arguments that city officials were aware of Rosace’s propensity for overagressiveness and did nothing to stop it.
Oh…this is one that will really piss you off.
Early on Dec. 12, 2004, Caspi, then a 17-year-old Rye resident, was walking on Boston Post Road to meet his father in the middle school parking lot. He was confronted by Rosace, who had responded to a report of a teenager waving a branch at passing traffic. Officers Franco Compagnone and Michael Anfuso soon arrived as well.
Police contend Caspi had been drinking and became belligerent, pushing Compagnone and running off. When Compagnone and Rosace caught up with him, they took him to the ground and handcuffed him. Ortiz was the supervisor that morning and showed up as the officers were taking Caspi to the ground.
Caspi claims they kicked and beat him before he briefly passed out. He suffered a broken bone under his eye, an injured collarbone and loosened teeth.
The criminal charges against Caspi — assault, resisting arrest and obstruction of justice — were eventually dismissed. He filed his $10 million police brutality lawsuit in 2007. The civil trial is now scheduled to begin April 6.
Rosace, Compagnone and Anfuso are named in the lawsuit. But Ortiz, who retired in 2007 and lives in Florida, emphasized in his written reports and a deposition last month that Anfuso played no role in the physical confrontation with Caspi.
Four days after the arrest, Ortiz wrote a report to Falk saying he wished he had gotten to the scene sooner to stop Caspi from getting hurt and that it was the latest incident of Rosace sending a teenager to the emergency room. He said Rosace had anger-management issues and that nobody in the department seemed to want to address that.
The following day Ortiz wrote a more traditional incident report, detailing what he saw at the tail end of the confrontation and leaving out his thoughts about Rosace.
Go to the link to read more about this case, but when you have a cop whose nicknames reference brutal characters in movies…
Ortiz backtracked somewhat from his report. He said he knew specifically of only one other incident in which a teenager was injured by Rosace. He suggested Rosace’s nicknames of “Terminator” and “RoboCop” among Rye teenagers were based more on the officer’s monotone and rigid style. But he did say Rosace had acted like a bully and that he questioned the officer’s credibility and work ethic.
Georgia has it’s own case making headlines: No Charges for Georgia Officer Who Shot Handcuffed Man – ABC News
St. Louis should know better: Video: St. Louis Police Officer Turns Off Dashcam During Traffic Stop | Crooks and Liars
On the other hand, in Seattle: Seattle Police Post Body Cam Videos on YouTube Channel – NBC News.com
There are a couple of generalized articles for you to look at:
Who Faced Police Brutality In February | ThinkProgress This link will give you some other victims of police brutality over the last month…
According to Killed By Police, an online database of fatal encounters between cops and civilians, more than 75 people died at the hands of police in February. Many of the incidents involved violent actions on the part of the deceased, yet fatalities come at a time when tensions between officers and civilians is at a fever pitch. Without question, officers who put their lives on the line to ensure public safety are thrust into high-intensity scenarios, and often have to make split-second decisions. But research shows that mentally ill people and minorities are disproportionately killed — and that fact lies at the heart of national outrage.
Over the past few decades, there’s been a widely-criticized dearth of national data on the number of people killed by officers, and in light of protests and and calls for police reform, the website has become one of the most comprehensive lists to date. However, Killed By Police does not include violent but non-fatal interactions with officers who used excessive force.
Each month, ThinkProgress will roundup some of the egregious cases that drew national attention.
1. Sureshbhai Patel; Madison, AL: A grandfather visiting from India was taking a stroll around his family’s neighborhood, before he was tackled to the ground by Officer Eric Parker. Videos from two dashcams show Parker and Officer Andrew Slaughter (a trainee) ask Patel where he lives several times, even though it is evident that Patel is unable to speak English. Patel points and tries to walk in the direction of his family’s home, before he is handcuffed. After restraining Patel, Parker slams him to the ground. The 57-year-old was partially paralyzed and unable to walk after the incident.
The two officers were allegedly following up on a call they received about an unfamiliar-looking “skinny black guy.” Police Chief Larry Muncey later declared that Parker’s actions were not justified, and Governor Robert Bentley issued a formal apology to the Indian government days later. A civil rights lawsuit against Parker and the City of Madison is pending.
I know it is a downer of a post this morning, but it is almost over.
Is white racism a kind of toxic cloud that drifts over our country, invisible to many or most white-skinned citizens but terrifyingly visible to the black and brown-skinned? We may believe — with good reason — that we are not racists; but does our passivity or indifference to the racism of others make us their enablers? It is stunning to learn that hundreds of millions of dollars are paid out annually in court settlements to victims of police brutality or misconduct — and these millions are paid by taxpayers. In effect, unwittingly, yet not altogether innocently, we are all supporting police brutality and misconduct.
In the late 1990s, while I was being driven back home to Princeton from a literary event in New York City, a New Jersey state police vehicle stopped the car. It was not evident why; the driver had not been speeding or driving erratically, and there was nothing wrong with the Lincoln Town Car.
Two state troopers demanded that the (black) driver show them his driver’s license and the auto registration. They then ordered him to get out of the car. What I could hear of their interrogation was repeated questions: Where are you going? Where do you live? Whose car is this?
No doubt accustomed to being harassed by white law enforcement, the driver answered the questions in a quiet and courteous voice. Yet the officers kept repeating the questions, as if they had some reason to suspect that the driver was lying. Seeing me in the back seat, they walked the driver away from the car, along the shoulder of the highway, and proceeded to interrogate him for what seemed like a very long time — 40 minutes? By this time I had called my husband on my cell phone and told him about the situation — “I don’t know when I will get home,” I remember telling him.
I do remember opening the door of the limousine, thinking that I would stand outside, but one of the troopers yelled angrily at me: “Get back inside that car, lady!”
Whatever they were saying to the black driver, however they might have been threatening him, they did not want a witness. Especially, they did not want a white woman witness.
That is an interesting piece, well written for one thing…whether you agree with the point she is making or not.
At least an update with a favorable ending: 911 operator who told girl to ‘stop whining’ as father died no longer working | theGrio
The sudden and unexplained transfer of longtime state police spokesman Lt. J. Paul Vance shows “a disrespect for state police commanders,” according to a statement Saturday from the union representing state police captains and lieutenants.
“We maintain that Lt. Vance has done his job well,” a union spokesman said, “and we can’t help but believe that [Commissioner Dora Schriro’s] actions in this matter are reflective of her limited understanding of leadership in the public safety field in general and law enforcement specifically.”
State police commander Col. Brian F. Meraviglia has offered no detailed reason behind Vance’s transfer to the department’s traffic unit.
“He is in good health and has not requested this change in assignment at this time and this is not the result of a disciplinary issue,” the union, part of the Connecticut State Employees Association, said. “Additionally, he has been told that he has done an outstanding job in his position, which causes us to wonder why someone would be moved for doing a good job.”
Meraviglia said he ordered the move after consulting with Schriro, commissioner of the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection, which includes the state police.
Y’all may remember my disgust with Vance during the Newtown Shooting.
We have seen Vance Sr. in action during the past few weeks giving information, or should I say…not giving information, during press conferences about the Newtown shooting.
I’ve stated repeatedly that I have a gut feeling about the peculiar attitude of Lt. Vance Sr. at these press conferences. There is something strange about the lack of information coming forward too. As Dak mentioned in a comment a few weeks ago:
….people are trying to understand what caused this to happen or at least what factors contributed to it. The only thing that I’ve noticed about this particular shooting is that the police haven’t been very forthcoming with anything. In some of the other shootings, we had all kinds of people coming forward and the police offered up a lot of different bits and pieces of information. The Head of the State troopers hasn’t been saying anything which leads to all kinds of rumors and speculation as people try to understand how something this horrible could happen. I think it’s just people looking for answers when no information has been forthcoming from the traditional sources. Think of how we knew immediately from the Aurora Mall shooter’s school and the Tuscon Mall shooter’s school and parents about their issues. They both had to even go through the criminal justice system so it’s rather odd that the Connecticut State Police seem so tight about whatever it is they have. Again, I think it’s just rampant speculation because no has come forward with anything concrete. Probably doing the community a lot of injustice and likely the shooter and his mom who both are the sources of all kinds of media rumors.
I got the impression Lt. Vance was very defensive about giving information on the investigation. You can click this link below to review the press conference I am talking about:
Lt. Vance has a defensive attitude about his position as the singular voice of authority for all the various agencies investigating the shootings.
Maybe that has something to with Lt. Vance’s immediate family connection to the man who must approve any lawsuits the shooting victim’s families bring against the state.
Sounds like a conflict of interest to me…
And there is a difference in the tone and substance of the information they are releasing. Take the Columbine shooting, and how that was handled in the press:
In setting himself up as the sole source of reliable information, the state police spokesman was following a well-worn script for getting control of a big, growing story, says Steve Davis, who experienced similar challenges as the official liaison to the media covering the 1999 mass shootings at Columbine High School in Colorado.
‘Brutally Honest’ When Needed
On the day of the Columbine shootings, Davis was on the phone and first realized something was wrong when officers rushed out of the office. Within minutes, he was in a car on his way to the high school, trying to make sense of dozens of early and contradictory reports.
“I know it’s hard to imagine now that it could have been any worse, but there were reports that day that we had as many as eight gunmen in the school. Some were [reportedly] hiding in ductwork,” remembers Davis, who is now the spokesman for the police department in the Denver suburb of Lakewood.
Davis said he told reporters at Columbine, “Look, let’s try to understand that there’s going to be a lot of misinformation here. I will try to confirm it and reconfirm it before I give it to you.”
But Davis said he also was “brutally honest” when needed. “Sometimes I had to tell them, ‘You know what? I do know the answer to your question, but … I can’t release it quite yet.’ “
He set up on-the-hour news conferences to keep reporters informed and control the flow of information.
“A big part of each news conference was just rumor control,” Davis says. But he took all questions and did his best to get timely answers for reporters, he says.
Davis seems to have been genuinely concerned with relaying information to the public, more forthcoming with information and less arrogant with his attitude.
Vance Sr. is an asshole of great proportions.
“The union sees no reason nor are we aware of anything that would have been a just cause transfer of Lt. Vance,” the union stated. “Lt. Vance has garnered the trust of the citizens of Connecticut and has been a voice of calm when significant public safety issues arise. The relationship that he has with our states citizens, elected officials, judicial system and more importantly, the media has been one of trust, accommodation and professionalism. His concern for the victims of crimes is evident in the press releases and statements that he submits, always keeping public safety at the forefront.”
The union touted Vance’s professionalism and service, also noting that “he has obtained international acclaim” after the shooting massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School two years ago in providing “accurate information to the nation as well as the Newtown community during such a sad time.” The union said that Vance “helped keep a calm over the community and provided an air of trust and answers for so many that were seeking it on that fateful day.”
For fucks sake, Vance was a total jerk, and he is a megalomaniac to boot!
All I can think say about this little turn of events:
I don’t know but it looks like the Conn. Police Union is having some serious issues: Aftershocks from racist letter rattle Bridgeport – Connecticut Post
The racist letter typed on city letterhead and distributed through the Police Department is another knock for a department rocked by the recent conviction of two of its veteran officers for an incident of police brutality known locally as the Beardsley Park Stomp.
But it also comes at a time when the city is actively trying to recruit minorities to the Police Department.
Veteran police officers were walking around the department shaking their heads Thursday, one day after a press conference by the Bridgeport Guardians, an organization of minority city police officers and representatives of the National Association of Black Law Enforcement Officers, demanded action be taken against whoever sent the letter.
And along with that, a request for a state police investigation of the incident by Police Chief Joseph Gaudett Jr.
“I’m sick over this,” said one longtime officer. “It’s tough to be a Bridgeport cop today.”
Charles Paris, police union president, said morale in the department is at the lowest level he has ever seen.
“This is a very difficult time to be a police officer and we need all our officers to support each other,” Paris said. “Obviously the union doesn’t condone any mistreatment of any group. We are cooperating with the investigation and once the findings of that investigation comes out, we will react accordingly. But I don’t see there is any racial divide within the department.”
“The chief (Gaudett) asked us to look into it and we assigned our major crime investigators to do so,” said State Police Lt. J. Paul Vance. “But at this point it is just a couple of days old and there is nothing new.”
Higgins is currently working a light duty assignment in the Police Department’s property room.
“Disciplinary charges remain pending against Officer Higgins for violations of department rules and regulations stemming from several cases. Chief Joseph L. Gaudett Jr. has referred the cases to the city Police Commission for a disciplinary hearing,” said Bridgeport police spokesman William Kaempffer.
For many veterans of the department the letter incident bears a striking similarity to an incident in November 2007, also made public at a press conference.
In that case then-police Sgt. Joe Anne Simmons, the wife of Guardians founder Ted Meekins found a noose under her patrol car when she came to work at the Police Department’s Community Services Division on Sylvan Avenue.
Although a $5,000 reward was offered for information leading to an arrest in the incident, the case remains unsolved.
“This incident is a whole other matter and is related to the incident in Beardsley Park, which has now taken on a life of its own,” said Ted Meekins.
What exactly is the Beardsley Park incident?
Video at the link…and while I was looking at those articles, here is one story about reverse police brutality?
The Newtown Police Department‘s handling of an 85-year-old Brookfield man they considered a threat to himself and others has raised constitutional-rights questions about whether the officers should have frisked him before he pulled a gun from his hospital gown and shot a nurse in 2010.
No one realized Lupienski was armed until he opened fire in the hallway of Danbury Hospital the following afternoon.
However, after two years of litigation, proceedings have stalled while a judge decides whether Lupienski was “in custody” under the Newtown Police Department’s arrest policy before he was taken to Danbury Hospital, where he shot Hull three times.
Hull, a Bethel resident and former U.S. Marine, and his wife are seeking $15,000 in damages. Doctors said a bullet that is still lodged in Hull’s sternum was too dangerous to remove, according to court documents. He also has gunshot wounds in his neck and left hand.
Lupienski was charged with first-degree assault, first-degree reckless endangerment, illegal discharge of a firearm and carrying a pistol without a permit.
However, Lupienski died in October 2010 after suffering a major stroke. He was diagnosed with advanced dementia and died just two weeks after being found incompetent to stand trial for shooting Hull.
Hull was shot when Lupienski, who had been admitted to Danbury Hospital the previous day, pulled out a gun while sitting in the eighth-floor cardiac unit. Hull stepped in front of Lupienski to prevent him from shooting others.
Prominent civil rights attorney John Williams criticized the police department’s stance on the issue.
“I think that it’s so cynical,” Williams said. “Police frisk people on far less justification. In a routine street encounter, you get to pat them down. The police are the first to argue it is their right.”
Williams said he would advise Newtown to reach a settlement.
“I am sure there isn’t a 24-hour period that the police department doesn’t do a routine stop-and-frisk,” Williams said.
Yeah, I mean…we got folks up there that have been shot dead for just walking while Hindu…or black….
“The statute states that an officer `may’ take a person into custody,” Blazi said, according to court documents. “It does not state that he `shall’ take a person into custody. In this case, the evidence is that Mr. Lupienski went to the hospital voluntarily after requesting to do so.”
Blazi argued that police officers would have unlawfully searched Lupienski, and frisking him would be “throwing the Constitution right out the window.”
However, Williams disagreed.
“There is no question this constitutes as an arrest under their own guidelines and following the standard due care to pat this guy down,” Williams said.
Under Newtown’s policy, an arrest is the same as placing a person into custody, Hull’s attorney, David Rosen, said in court documents.
Officer Borges, who dealt with Lupienski at the police station, completed a “police examination request” form where the officer signed beneath a statement that said, “it is my belief that the above named person is mentally ill and dangerous to himself, herself or others or gravely disabled and in need of immediate care and treatment.”
Rosen said Lupienski should have been searched if police considered him to be dangerous to himself and to others.
I think Newtown should settle and be done with it.
Whether a particular type of search is deemed reasonable in the eyes of the law is determined by considering the person’s Fourth Amendment rights and legitimate government interests, such as public safety.
“If they keep him there more than roughly five minutes, the Fourth Amendment kicks in,” Williams said. “People who suffer from paranoid schizophrenia are by definition a risk to others.”
I wonder…if Lupienski was black…would they have searched him? What do you think?
I will end this post with a look at “The Notorious R.B.G.” : The Notorious Ruth Bader Ginsburg Brings Harsh SCOTUS Zingers to SNL | Mediaite
“The Notorious R.B.G.” (a.k.a Ruth Bader Ginsburg) made her way to SNL during the “Weekend Update,” with Kate McKinnon doing a hilariously crass impersonation of the eldest Supreme Court justice.
RBG zinged everyone and everything from the state of Alabama, Madonna, and her fellow justices, birthing a new SNL catchphrase in the process: “Ya Gins-burned!”
Video at the link.
Let’s call this a Sunday open thread…I will see if I can find some fun, good time sort of links to put up in the comment section. Have a great day and let us know what you are thinking about today.