police

“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.

How The Police Manipulate Democracy

Former Metro police captain alleges abuse of power

O’Leary alleges a chief in the department called a closed-door, private meeting of captains in the investigative services division. The chief floated the idea of investigating Commissioner Sisolak—just days after the first time county commissioners rejected the “more cops tax” advanced by Clark County Sheriff Doug Gillespie.

“[Sisolak] was viewed as an obstacle to getting the ‘more cops tax’ and that was very contentious,” O’Leary says. “He’s not very well liked by the Police Department.”

The meeting’s purpose, O’Leary says, was “putting together a group of people who had the expertise of working organized crime to revisit and review some of the things about Commissioner Sisolak from his past.”

“You look at his business associations, his personal associations, his business practices…other sources of information. Are they digging? They’re digging. Yes.”

“Is that unusual? Very,” O’Leary says. “It’s something I’ve never heard we’ve done before; an act of desperation, resentment, anger.”

“There was no doubt in my mind that the inference was to try and bring discredit upon the county commissioner,” O’Leary adds.

Democracy is a word in the Western lexicon seemingly synonymous with good. This is because democracy is the status quo. Even when positions are different — as in the case of major political parties — an agreement on democracy as the form of government exists. The limitations and downfalls of democracy are rarely discussed. And when they are it is only in superficial ways.

A drawback of the representative democracy of the United States is susceptibility to manipulation by law enforcement. This may exist at the level of a rural police department, a metro area, or as high as quasi-military organizations such as the NSA. A small group, even an individual officer, is able to influence the tide of politics by directing his or her legal powers against someone seeking (or holding) government office. An arrest, or even the taint of corruption that comes with an investigation, could end a career.

Nancy Pelosi recently admitted that members of the US Congress were afraid of attempting to regulate the CIA, because the CIA will “come after you.” This is not just a corrupt department or a city. The same form of manipulation is happening at the highest levels of government. The law enforcement apparatus of the United States has grown to the point that it is no longer under the full control of the government, the democracy.

Tales From a Former Undercover Narc (VICE)

How did the violence start?

The drug trade. No, not so much the drug trade, but policing the drug trade. We always had drugs, but we didn’t always have violence in our streets. Back then, there were major drug organizations in the city that divided up different areas among themselves. “That’s your area, this is ours, and if we have problems, we settle them among ourselves.” Violence was bad for business. When the drug war began, though, we started dismantling those organizations. The vacancies that we created were filled by the sons of the men we sent to prison. The sons fought each other over who would fill those vacancies. They went to the street corners, and gangs started developing, and six organizations turned into 600.

So there’s actually an increase in violence after every drug bust?

Yes, that’s exactly right. There’s also an increase in overdoses. People overdose because their dealer got arrested and they have to go to a new dealer. With their old dealer, he always mixes it the same way, so they know what the potency is. Suddenly, though, they’re buying from this new guy and have no idea how potent it is. Too much and they’re dead. The problems of drug use and addiction are real, but the policies of prohibition don’t get rid of them and end up creating a whole bunch of other problems.

Tales From a Former Undercover Narc (VICE)

These Are Cops: Rape, Animal Abuse, Prostitution, & Methamphetamine

Every day there is fresh news about law enforcement officers behaving badly. Maybe they are involved in a controversial shooting or a beating. Perhaps a police officer ends up on trial for corruption. Some are fired, while others go to jail. Most seem to be cleared, either after an internal investigation or a private monetary settlement.

Despite this, the myth of the trustworthy cop persists.

The myth goes like this: police officers are good people. How do we know they are good people? Because they are police officers. They would not be police officers if they were not good people. If it sounds circular, it is circular. Yet, this is the rationale many people have internalized.

We were taught as children to seek a police officer if lost. We are taught as adults to call the police for help. The television has many a popular series depicting police officers as heroes and roguish antiheroes. National identity is tied to the perception of a fair criminal justice system.

The myth persists like a virus.

Well, keep in mind that these are also police officers:

    1. Police Officer Geoffrey Graves, of San Jose, was arrested for taking a domestic violence victim to a hotel, then forcing his way into her room and raping her. He wore his ballistic vest during the rape.
    2. Police Officer Stephen Young, of Boise, confessed to raping a baby. Investigators said that Stephen Young may have also been responsible for the rape and molestation of more than twenty additional infants.
    3. Police Officer Lamin Manneh, of DC, plead guilty to operating a prostitution business, which included enslaving his own teenage wife into prostitution.
    4. Michael J. Wright, a King County Deputy Sheriff who worked with the DEA, was fired for stealing drug evidence and subsequently arrested for selling heroin and methamphetamine.
    5. Shanon Richardson, an employee of the City of Buffalo Police Department, was charged with child abuse and animal cruelty in two unrelated incidents, one involving pit bull fighting dogs.

With the exception of Manneh, these are all current events. And if you follow law enforcement in the news you will encounter similar incidents daily.

The myth of the inherent goodness of police officers is used to justify authority. Society at large feels comfortable ceding power to a man in a uniform. Permitting a stranger to arrest, imprison and kill is soundly rejected.

And yet, police officers are exactly that — strangers. They are men and women, prone to the worst of humanity, just as much as any stranger may be. And the uniform does not assure us that they are good people. Underneath the uniform they are flesh, skin and bones. They have lungs, a liver and a heart. Sustenance is needed for their survival just as it is needed for your own.

And, to paraphrase Shakespeare’s Shylock; if you prick them, they do bleed.

Snitches, Spies and Informers: A Few Resources for Spotting Provocateurs

Stop SnitchingGuides

Agent-provocateurs, Spies and How to Deal With Them

Profiles of Provocateurs

RATS! Your guide to protecting yourself against snitches, informers, informants, agents provocateurs, narcs, finks and similar vermin

Is H/She an Informant? A Ten Point Checklist

News & Examples

How FBI Entrapment Is Inventing ‘Terrorists’ – and Letting Bad Guys Off the Hook

The Long Con: Anatomy of a Two-Year Undercover Sting and What It Has to Do with Law Enforcement’s Habit of Wasting Large Amounts of Money on Investigating People for Their Social Habits and Political Beliefs

Hutaree Leader’s Best Man Was Undercover FBI Agent

The WikiLeaks Mole – How a teenage misfit became the keeper of Julian Assange’s deepest secrets – only to betray him

The Story of A Snitch

New York Police Covertly Join In at Protest Rallies

ACLU wants probe into police-staged DNC protest

Former police informants were behind ‘stop snitching’ campaign

Websites & Resources

Snitching.org

Stop-Snitching.com

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?

Exclusive: Inside the Army Spy Ring & Attempted Entrapment of Peace Activists, Iraq Vets, Anarchists (Democracy Now)

Exclusive: Inside the Army Spy Ring & Attempted Entrapment of Peace Activists, Iraq Vets, Anarchists

The man everyone knew as “John Jacob” was in fact John Towery, a member of the Force Protection Service at Fort Lewis. He also spied on the Industrial Workers of the World and Iraq Veterans Against the War. A newly made public email written by Towery reveals the Army informant was building a multi-agency spying apparatus. The email was sent from Towery using his military account to the FBI, as well as the police departments in Los Angeles, Portland, Eugene, Everett and Spokane. He wrote, “I thought it would be a good idea to develop a leftist/anarchist mini-group for intel sharing and distro.” Meanwhile, evidence has also emerged that the Army informant attempted to entrap at least one peace activist, Glenn Crespo, by attempting to persuade him to purchase guns and learn to shoot. We speak to Crespo and his attorney Larry Hildes, who represents all the activists in the case.

The Normalization of Police Cruelty

A phenomenon I have oft noticed is the shock Europeans express upon their first experience of American policing. This is not police brutality, which describes the excess use of force by law enforcement, but what I would term police cruelty. Police cruelty is the harsh, dismissive or cruel nature of interactions between police officers and the public when no force is used. For example, this viral video of an American police officer interacting with a German tourist for a road violation is police cruelty:

Brutality did not occur — nobody was beat, shot or arrested — but cruelty did occur. Upon stopping the suspect the police officer immediately takes an unprofessional, dismissive and quasi-racist tone; “Do you know what the speed limit is here, Germany boy?” The police officer, clearly attempting to intimidate the tourist, follows up with; “Why are you driving in my country?” But — and this is a serious issue — the worst is when the police officer, in his intimidation attempt, says; “Do you know what happens to nice little boys like you who have to go to jail for reckless driving? Ass will be hurting for a month. I suggest you slow down and do 70. Or you will get violated.”

What?

Ass will be hurting for a month?!

You will get violated?!

This law enforcement officer has just communicated to a German tourist that it is normal for people to be arrested for speeding and anally raped while in custody. Anal rape in police custody! This is, if not police brutality, police cruelty.

However, many Americans would say that the German tourist got off lucky. A quick glimpse at the comments on the video confirm this. Why? Because he was not cited. Despite the fact that he was threatened with anal rape the tourist is perceived, by Americans, to be fortunate it was not worse. This is the normalization of police cruelty in the United States. You are lucky if all that happens to you is a form of sexual intimidation.

Most Americans do not own a passport. Of those who do, few have traveled overseas and fewer have lived in a foreign country. As a result, many Americans believe this type of behavior is the norm for policing worldwide. (Hint: it is not.) When I have shown the American version of COPS, or this very YouTube video, to my European colleagues many are in disbelief. Not disbelief that police officers behave so badly. Disbelief that it is even real. They assume that it is a fictional reality-type show, in the case of COPS. Or they assume that it is a parody. Many do not initially realize that American police officers actually behave this way. They are incredulous. I have to convince them that the videos are real and that American law enforcement does behave this way.

I ran across a recent blog, Le Bon Mot, where a young tourist in France had an experience with pickpockets and French law enforcement. Here is what happened, from her article, titled “That Time I Punched A Cop”:

“OH NO! My wallet is gone!”
“OK. You have been pick-pocketed. Come with me. We must get off the train.”

I had no idea what was happening at this point or who this man was and for all I knew he was in on the whole thing. My mom was in disbelief as I got up to follow the man. We went into the walkway between cars and there, on the ground, was my wallet. Everything was thrown on the floor, but with the exception of the cash, it was all there. I reached down to pick it up, but he snapped it away from me.

“I must keep this.”
“Um, no. Why? That’s mine. Give it back, please.”
“It is evidence.”
“Give it back.”

Then I did what any rational person would do…. I lunged after him to get my wallet.

Before I could get to him, a new man rushed up between us, grabbing me to block my arm. I freaked.

Then, in a moment of absolute clarity, I punched him in the chest…. And then I threw him on the ground.

“I’M A COP! I’M A COP!”

Oh fuck.
“Oh fuck.”

I helped him up and apologized in every English and French way you can think of. It finally sunk in that those two weren’t part of the initial pick-pocketing and might actually be who they said they were. My mom was sitting there, wide-eyed at everything that had just transpired. The cops eventually started laughing and explained they were part of a network to catch pickpockets on trains. Mortification doesn’t even begin to cover how we felt, so we behaved like good tourists and got off the train when they said to (with EVERYONE watching).

Long story short, the police did not brutalize her. They did not respond to her with violence, despite the fact that she punched and tackled a French police officer. Instead, they acted like normal human beings. Everyone laughed it off, the pickpockets were eventually caught and no one had their life ruined as a result.

Imagine the United States of America version. While I can’t prove what would have happened, let’s just say I think it safe to assume that our young tourist in France would have had a very different experience.

Here is another viral video of Australian law enforcement handling the uncooperative suspect of a drunk driving accident:

Contrast the professionalism of the law enforcement officer in this situation with the American officer in the previous video. The suspect is largely uncooperative and refusing to comply. He seems to have crashed into a curb or a park. His car is visibly damaged. And he has a bottle or case of Wild Turkey in the vehicle. The police officer uses a bit of humor, remains calm, stays professional and does all in his power to diffuse the situation.

The officer states; “I request you to accompany me to a police station.” This is important, because as the narrator stated: now that the officer knew who the suspect was the suspect was no longer under arrest. The suspect was not required to return to the police station to give an additional sample for analysis. The suspect had every right to get up and walk away. The police officer states to the suspect; “I need you to make a definitive decision.” He has given the suspect multiple opportunities to opt out of returning to the police station for further analysis. Nonetheless, the suspect does comply.

And here is the kicker: the driver, convicted of this drunk driving accident, was fined $600 dollars, sentenced to four months of community service and had his license revoked (his license had previously been revoked for drunk driving as well – he is a multiple offender) for three years. A penalty far less punitive than a first time DUI/DWI offender in the United States.

These are just a few examples to compare and contrast. In the context of law enforcement, the United States has gone too far. The average DUI/DWI cost in the United States costs between five and six thousand USD, a minimum of one year probation or 45 days in jail. This is for a first time offense. In some states, a second DUI/DWI is a felony. Our Australian suspect, instead of paying a fine and moving on with his life, might be sitting in prison. And our tourist in France may have racked up a felony charge for assaulting a police officer. At the very least, it is not a stretch to assume she would have been detained and held overnight.

This is why I warn potential tourists: be careful if you visit the United States of America, or pick a new holiday destination.

When Should You Shoot A Cop?

When Should You Shoot A Cop? (Video & Comments from CopBlock.org)

 

When Should You Shoot A Cop? (Original Essay by Larken Rose)

To be blunt, if you have the right to do “A,” it means that if someone tries to STOP you from doing “A”–even if he has a badge and a politician’s scribble (“law”) on his side–you have the right to use whatever amount of force is necessary to resist that person. That’s what it means to have an unalienable right. If you have the unalienable right to speak your mind (a la the First Amendment), then you have the right to KILL “government” agents who try to shut you up. If you have the unalienable right to be armed, then you have the right to KILL ”government” agents who try to disarm you. If you have the right to not be subjected to unreasonable searches and seizures, then you have the right to KILL “government” agents who try to inflict those on you.

Citizens Force Cop to Leave Restaurant

manuel ramos killed kelly thomas

Manuel Ramos, the police officer who beat Kelly Thomas to death, forced to leave bar.

This is how you do it. Every time you hear of a police officer who kills a man, shoots a dog or otherwise engages in corruption remember his or her face. Don’t forget their name, where they live or what they look like. If you see them in public, complain. If they enter your bar, force them to leave.

When officers in uniform sit down in your café for coffee an donuts tell them that they are not welcome. No uniforms. No murderers. No state enforcers.

You have the right to refuse service to these individuals. And you have the right to complain to employees, managers and attendants when you see them in public. Shame them from public life. Make it clear that you as individuals will not tolerate these people in your community.

Don’t call the police. Don’t talk to the police. Ostracize anyone involved with law enforcement in any way. Making these people social pariahs, excluding them from public life, is one of the most powerful actions that can be taken to send the message: we will not take this any more.

Cop Who Killed Kelly Thomas Seen in Restaurant, Americans Make Him Leave

Manuel Ramos, the cop seen on video beating Kelly Thomas to death, had to leave a place of business last weekend.

Nationwide outrage was sparked when Ramos and his partner Jay Cicinelli were found “not guilty” of murder, despite beating the mentally ill homeless man to death as he begged for his life.

The action has been met with strong support from thousands across the country.

As a documented murderer and coward, Ramos will certainly face this situation over and over again.

He will be forced to leave establishments, businesses will refuse him service and kick him out, and American citizens will shame him in public.

Many officers commit suicide due to intense stress levels.

“Domestic terrorist.” remarked one commenter.

Another commenter suggested “Maybe he’ll get jumped leaving a place like this someday.”