brutality

“Just Doing Their Job” – A Selection of April’s Bad Cops

In the war on Jolly Ranchers, a New York Police Officer arrested a man for being in possession Jolly Ranchers candy, claiming that it was methamphetamine based on his “professional training in the identification of methamphetamine.” He also seemingly lied about doing a field test – he claimed that a chemical-based field test demonstrated that the candy was, in fact, methamphetamine. The NYPD is being sued.

Meanwhile, a Russell County Sheriff’s Deputy, Brandon Williams, has been arrested for trafficking synthetic marijuana. He was allegedly found with 1.5 pounds of the “spice” drug in his home.

A former police officer with the Bloomfield and Genoa City Police Department, Aaron E. Henson, was arrested for stealing cash from the bond box at the Geona City Police Department. And Assistant Sheriff Rick Marshall, a candidate for Sheriff in Nye County, Nevada, has been arrested for stealing campaign signs. The campaign signs, opposing Marshall’s candidacy, bore the slogan, “Anybody But Rick Marshall.” Assistant Sheriff Rick Marshall was charged with conspiracy, theft and resisting arrest. And despite the dishonesty and mud slinging in politics, it turns out that “Anybody But Rick Marshall” may go down in history as the most honest campaign slogan ever.

In a classic example of testilying, a criminal justice colloquialism for institutionalized police perjury, five Illinois police officers have been caught lying on the stand when a video was produced proving their testimony to be false. This is not rare nor an isolated incident. In the words of former New York judge Lorin Duckman; “cops lie all the time.” The case was dismissed. Officer Jim Horn, Officer Vince Morgan, Officer William Pruente, Sgt. James Padar, and Sgt. Theresa Urbanowski have all been named in a lawsuit by the falsely accused. They are all officers with the Chicago narcotics unit.

In Rankin County, Mississippi, Sheriff’s Deputy Chris Smith and his wife were found dead. It is being investigated as a potential murder-suicide. Ten days previous, police officers were called to Smith’s residence for a domestic dispute. Meanwhile, in Toronto, Officer James Forcillo, who was previously charged with second-degree murder, is back on the job.

Officer Nicholas Hogan, from Tukwila, Washington, quit his police job after being targeted in an internal investigation over the use of excessive force, only to be immediately hired by the Snoqualmie Police Department. Hogan, former Tukwila Police Chief David Haynes and a third unnamed officer are all still defendants in an excessive force civil suit. Lesson learned: the door is always open for a bad cop.

In Houston, Texas, officer Marcos Carrion was suspended and faces federal charges for his role in providing a police escort to Mexican drug cartels. He is free on bail. And former Detective Stevie Billups, from Columbus, Ohio, was charged with attempted distribution of heroin, carrying a firearm during a drug-trafficking crime and money laundering. He plead guilty to attempted distribution of heroin and the rest of the charges were dropped. He was formerly a police officer for 22 years.

A former Major of the Greene County Sheriff’s Office, Eric Spicer, of Beavercreek, Ohio, has been charged with forging documents to obtain an illegal machine gun. He allegedly claimed that the machine gun would be used for “official law enforcement purposes.” Spicer has a sordid history with the Green County Sheriff’s Office. He was terminated after an internal investigation of a dispute where then-Sheriff’s Major Spicer shot and killed a man.

In a case that shuttered the entire Berthoud Police Department, Officer Jeremy Yachik pleaded guilty to abuse of a 15-year-old girl. Court records state that the abuse — nothing short of torture — was severe and occurred for many years, including choking her to unconsciousness, sealing her in a dark room and force-feeding her the notoriously hot peppers known as “ghost peppers.” Despite the severity of the crime, the defence is seeking no jail time and the prosecution has refused to recommend a jail sentence. Meanwhile, in West Sacramento, California, former police officer Sergio Alvarez was found guilty of 18 counts of rape, kidnapping and forced oral sex. Many of these attacks occurred while he was on duty, in uniform and in the back of his own police cruiser.

Hamilton County Sheriff’s Deputy John Kamphaus, of Kenton County, Kentucky, has been arrested in a Catch A Predator style sting where he believed he was meeting a 15-year-old girl for sex. He has been a part of the Sheriff’s Office for approximately 15 years. And in Atlanta, Georgia, DeKalb County Sheriff Deputy Keenan Notae was arrested for the rape and aggravated sodomy of a 19-year-old girl.

Three convicted felons with ties to organized crime — former Stone Park Police Chiefs Seymour Sapoznik and former Police Chief Harry Testa, as well as former Mayor Robert Natale — will retain their lucrative pensions despite their felony convictions. They will also retain their seats on the pension board, ensuring that corrupt police officers and politicians are protected regardless of any illegal, unjust or immoral behaviour they engage in. This is not uncommon in law enforcement. Even when police officers are convicted of crimes, many continue to receive pensions after they are terminated.

“Just A Few Bad Apples”

From time to time, I browse articles and save acts of law enforcement abuse. However, this is just a small sample. There are entire websites, such as CopBlock, or forums such as Reddit’s Bad_Cop_No_Donut that chronicle just as many abuses on a daily basis. Thus, it is important to realize that it is not “just a few bad apples.” We’ve seen here that police officers are capable of every type of crime imaginable. Many many be involved in impulsive, petty crime, such as the individual accused of stealing money from the bond box. Others may be deeply entrenched in violent drug cartels, such as the Houston officer accused of trafficking. Many are serious sex criminals. A few, murderers. And, perhaps worst of all, some retain powerful political positions despite previous criminal convictions and ties to the Mafia.

“A few bad apples” is a myth. The apples are not bad. The entire tree is bad. The leaves, the branches, the trunk, the roots — even the soil — is bad. This is not the result of individual officers acting out. It is the result of systemic and institutionalized corruption. The laws excuse and favour law enforcement officers, giving them preferential treatment when accused of a crime. If they are convicted the laws favour them with lenient sentencing.

The problem is not corrupt cops, but a rotten criminal justice system from the leaves to the stem: politicians who make the laws, courts that interpret the laws, prosecutors that bring charges and, finally, police officers who enforce the laws. This is what allows a culture of police corruption to thrive.

Many take a superficial view. They consider it a win if a single police officer is jailed, or if a new law is passed under the guise of “reform.” However, reform is not real. Reform is political jargon used to placate the masses. You cannot reform a system that has never worked. The system must be torn down and replaced by a new one. This is the only way we will ever see an end to the pervasive abuse at the hands of violent men in uniforms.

Criminal Justice Corruption Roundup – March 6

In the land of law enforcement, Alvin Brook, a former Mukwonago, Wisconsin police officer, was fired in 2010 for falsifying field sobriety tests. He also committed a bank robbery in 2010 with his police department issued radio and firearm. Johnny Ray Bridges, a police officer from Detroit, was hit with an assortment of charges involving a dispute where he punched and kicked a woman, as well as fired his weapon into the air. Alec Eugene Taylor, a police officer from Baltimore, strangled his girlfriend’s puppy and sent her a picture of it. The dog defecated on the carpet and Taylor lost control. Narcotics officer Julio M. Cerpa, from Jacksonville, Florida, was arrested for shoplifting a supplement from a gym. And Reginald Wilson, an officer from Whitehouse, New York, was caught with a hidden camera committing a vehicle burglary. This goes to show that police officers are not beyond committing serious, petty and/or impulsive crimes.

In the land of evidence and forensics, Stephen Palmer, a crime lab employee from Anchorage, Alaska, was charged with six felonies including tampering with physical evidence. And Richard T. Callery, the Chief Medical Examiner of Delaware, was suspended due to missing drug evidence. Callery oversees the the state drug lab in Delaware. This should make you question physical evidence on trial. Even if the science is sound, it is susceptible to human corruption. Officer Jeremy Felder, who participated in an illegal search and falsification of paperwork, was also arrested in Lakewood, New Jersey.

In the land of authority and power, Lt. Col. Joseph Morse, a leading prosecutor for sexual assault crimes in the US Army, has been suspended due to allegations that he sexually assaulted a female attorney. This follows the recent sacking of almost 600 US soldiers after a sexual assault review. William Adams, the Texas judge previously suspended for lashing his own daughter, was rejected in the Republican primary. Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Sinclair admitted guilt on three charges, but will still face further charges surrounding allegations that he forced a female captain to perform oral sex on him. Sinclair could be sentenced to life in prison. And the Michigan Supreme Court will decide if Circuit Judge Bruce Morrow will face discipline for various breaches of conduct.

Following up in the courts and other legal disputes, a former inmate in Warren, Michigan, reached a settlement in a case where her hair was forcibly cut off by a Warren police officer. The officer was fired as a result of the incident. John McClave, a former police officer who was fired for driving his patrol car while drunk, is suing to have his job returned. In his lawsuit he lists additional police corruption as a reason for why his job should be returned; an officer who killed his wife and an officer who sexually assaulted another undercover agent are both still receiving benefits, so he should be allowed to have his job back. Logic, eh? And 16 retired police officers have been arrested for benefits fraud in relation to the September 11 terrorist attacks. This is an additional 16; previously 30 other firefighters and police officers were arrested in a similar investigation.

And in the land of major corruption, seven police officers — including two police chiefs — were arrested in King City, California. At the small King City Police Department, a station of only 17 people, a criminal conspiracy was uncovered. Officers were impounding cars confiscated from poor Hispanics, illegal immigrants and individuals who spoke poor English. They would sell the vehicles for a profit. Chief Bruce Miller, former chief Baldiviez, officer Mario Mottu Sr., officer Jaime Andrade, Sgt. Bobby Carrillo, and Sgt. Mark Baker were among those arrested, along with the brother of Bruce Miller.

This is not even all. We’ve also got the Galveston PD accused of Mardi Gras beatings, Texas police officers stealing signs from the homeless, the drunk Detroit police officer who tried to flee the scene of a crash, and the former police detective now in jail for obstructing a tax fraud case.

Why We Never Call The Police (For Anything, Ever)

Yet another example of why more people refuse to call the police. Even if your intent is good, even if you are a witness, you may become a victim at the hands of those you trust to protect you.

Support Your Local Slave Patrol (by William Norman Grigg at LewRockwell.com)

Phyllis Bear, a convenience store clerk from Arizona, called the police after a customer threatened her. The disgruntled patron, seeking to purchase a money order, handed Bear several bills that were rejected by the store’s automated safe. Suspecting that the cash was counterfeit, Bear told him to come back later to speak with a manager.

The man had left by the time the cops arrived, and Bear was swamped at the register. Offended that she was serving paying customers rather than rendering proper deference to an emissary of the State, one of the officers arrested Bear for “obstructing government operations,” handcuffed her, and stuffed her in the back of his cruiser.

A few minutes later, while the officer was on the radio reporting the abduction, his small-boned captive took the opportunity to extract one of her hands from the cuffs, reach through the window, and start opening the back door from the outside. The infuriated captor yanked the door open and demanded that the victim extend her hands to be re-shackled. When Bear refused to comply, the officer reached into the back seat and ripped her from the vehicle, causing her to lose her balance and stumble into the second officer.

Bear, who had called the police in the tragically mistaken belief that they would help her, was charged with three felonies: “obstruction” – refusal to stiff-arm customers in order to attend to an impatient cop; “escape” – daring to pull her hand out of the shackles that had been placed upon her without lawful cause; and “aggravated assault” – impermissible contact with the sanctified personage of a police officer as a result of being violently dragged out of the car by the “victim’s” comrade.

How Can the People Be Protected From the Police? (John Whitehead)

“We live in a small, rural town. Moved here in 1961. I don’t remember what year the State Troopers moved a headquarters into our town. Our young people were plagued with tickets for even the smallest offense. Troopers had to get their limits for the month. People make jokes about that, but it has been true. Every kid I knew was getting ticketed for something. But now it is so much worse. I raised my kids to respect police. If they did something wrong and got caught, they deserved it and should take their punishment. But now I have no respect for the police. I feel threatened and fearful of them. They are aggressive and intimidating. They lie and are abusive, and we do not know how to fight them. I am not a minority here, but people are afraid if they speak out they will be targeted. We are just a small town. I just don’t care anymore if they do target me. I am afraid they are going to kill someone.” – letter from a 60-year-old grandmother

How Can the People Be Protected From the Police?