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The Lawlessness of the Ferguson Police Department - Some Officers Still Not Wearing Name Tags

Still not complying with either Department regulations or DOJ demands
Crime • Views: 9,025

Two DOJ letters weren’t enough.

FPD regulations aren’t enough.

The FPD keeps flouting their own rules and regulations, let alone the DOJ letters requiring that all officers comply with Department rules and common sense, and have IDs showing at all time on duty. The fact that they’re not displaying their names shows that they do not want their identities easily known and that they may think that they can act with impunity against a community still angry that the officer who shot and killed an unarmed man, Michael Brown has not been indicted, let alone arrested and charged in that killing.

The Department has repeatedly shown a disregard for the law, including what information was released in relation to the shooting, how the investigation was being handled, and even the identity of the officer involved, his injuries, and other factual evidence that was gathered at the scene.

This is not only reckless disregard for the law, but shows just how lawless this organization is. Ferguson deserves better, and that includes everyone from the mayor to the city council (which includes a former who-should-be-disgraced FPD officer who was involved in another excessive force incident), to the police chief and the officers of the Department itself.

Note too that the Department of Justice issued one of the letters in response to officers wearing bracelets stating “I am Darren Wilson,” which is precisely the wrong message you want to send to the community grieving over the death of Brown, and where eyewitness accounts essentially concur that Wilson not only used excessive force, but engaged in an extrajudicial killing of Brown. They are, in effect, saying that they would do the same thing — and implying that Wilson did nothing wrong.

If you scratch deeper, you’d probably find the same problems with other Greater St. Louis area police departments, including the county police.

A house cleaning will not be sufficient. The rot and stink is too far entrenched for a hodgepodge firing of a couple of officials.

And that also means that Ferguson residents (and those elsewhere in the STL area) have to vote - and vote in every election to see all these folks gone. Antonio French has a big job ahead of him, but he can’t do the lifting alone. It takes time, a GOTV effort, and sustained efforts beyond just this election cycle.

UPDATE at 9/29/14 10:54:32 am by Charles Johnson

Right Wing Parrots Launch Into Fear-Mongering Bigoted Frenzy Over Oklahoma Workplace Murder

Dependably bigoted
Crime • Views: 23,699

The entire right wing blogosphere is in a frenzy of anti-Muslim bigotry over this awful story out of Oklahoma: Suspect in Co-Worker’s Beheading Was Recently Released From Probation.

A 2010 booking photo of Alton Nolen from the Logan County Sheriff’s Office in Oklahoma.

A man suspected of beheading a woman he worked with and stabbing another was a convicted felon who had been released from probation this year, Oklahoma corrections officials confirmed Thursday.

Alton Nolen, 30, was released from probation in April, earlier than the original 2017 date, said Jerry Massie, a spokesman for the Oklahoma Department of Corrections.

Nolen has a string of convictions from 2011, including marijuana possession, escape from detention, assault and battery on a police officer and possession of cocaine with intent to distribute, according to records from state corrections officials.

FBI and police in Moore, Okla., are investigating the incident, which occurred at about 4 p.m. Thursday at the Vaughan Foods plant, Sgt. Jeremy Lewis of the Moore Police Department told The Times on Friday. Nolen was shot during the attack and is hospitalized, according to authorities.

Why are the right wing blogs fear-mongering like rabid weasels over this? Because Nolen reportedly is a recent convert to Islam. That’s all it takes for them to label him a “Muslim terrorist” and start screeching about Muslims in general supporting terrorism.

But the story is sadly straightforward — Nolen was fired from his job, and angry about it. He had a long history of criminal behavior, including assault, and he took out his anger on his co-workers like many disgruntled former employees before him. Pointing at Islam as his motivation is nothing but sheer bigotry, especially coming from the crowd that invariably excuses gun violence as “mental illness” when it’s committed by a white person.

And by the way, here’s another detail from this story that seems to be omitted from the right wing’s shrieking fear frenzy:

According to the department’s database, Nolen had “Jesus Christ” tattooed across his chest…

Really? So would it be fair then for me to label this as an act of “Christian terrorism?”

Of course not. And that’s the point.

UPDATE at 9/27/14 1:53:17 pm by Charles Johnson

As an example of the right wing’s sheer bigoted craziness, hate-monger Jim Hoft, the Dumbest Man on the Internet, has posted about this story no fewer than seven times so far:

MUSLIM BEHEADS WOMAN in Oklahoma Food Plant - Tried to Convert Coworkers (Video) | the Gateway Pundit
Muslim Convert Beheads Office Worker at OK Food Plant - Police Release 911 Calls (Video) | the Gateway Pundit
POLICE: MOORE MUSLIM BEHEADING Had Nothing to Do With TERRORISM - Just Random Workplace Beheading | the Gateway Pundit
BREAKING: Muslims Shout “Praise Allah!” Surround OK Police Following Press Conference on Beheading | the Gateway Pundit
MUSLIM BEHEADER ALTON NOLEN Was “Shouting Islamic Phrases” During Bloodbath | the Gateway Pundit
OK Muslim Beheader Jah’Keem Yisrael Tied to Terror Leader Awlaki and Al-Qaeda | the Gateway Pundit
Ex-Muslim Says Beheader’s Mosque in Oklahoma Taught Caliphate, Destruction of US & Israel | the Gateway Pundit

Horrifying Police Dashcam Video: Hands Up, Don’t Shoot… In South Carolina

Crime • Views: 15,159

Horrifying video from South Carolina of a white trooper gunning down a black motorist after the officer asks the man for license and registration. Note how the trooper continues to shoot at the man after his hands are in the air…

Fortunately, the motorist survived and the officer has been fired and is now facing felony charges.

latimes.com

Youtube Video

The trooper is claiming, natch, that he feared for his life.

Who’s Behind the GoFundMe Crowd-Funding Pages for Darren Wilson?

Crime • Views: 34,197

In the days since Darren Wilson was named as the officer involved in the shooting of an unarmed Mike Brown, someone established a GoFundMe for raising funds for Wilson’s likely defense fund.

Other folks have already shown their true intentions in the hate filled comments supporting Wilson. People donated $25, $50, or more to the Wilson fund, and some expressed all manner of racial hatred and vitriol at Brown and those who are seeking justice for the shooting of an unarmed black man.

This is just a small sample, before the site took these comments down:

GoFundMe responded, not by taking down the fundraising site, but by eliminating the comments that highlighted the hate.

Continue reading…

The Troubling Treatment of Journalists During Ferguson Coverage

Law enforcement seems to be going out of its way to harass, detain, and arrest journalists covering events in Ferguson
Crime • Views: 31,443

The law enforcement response to the shooting death of Michael Brown at the hands of Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson has been troubling in all aspects, but the local police (including Ferguson PD, St. Louis County Police, and other agencies) treatment of journalists is especially so.

Journalists are being harassed at every opportunity. They’ve been harassed while in private stores. They’ve been gassed/smoked out of their location shots by trigger-happy county police. They’ve been detained and arrested - all because they’re covering the events as they’re unfolding.

But remember, it’s the community that is engaging in violence. Right.

We cannot and should not ignore law enforcement’s excessive use of force, and singling out journalists for harassment and arrest.

This is hardly an isolated case in Ferguson.

Continue reading…

Ferguson: Down the Rabbit Hole

How lies, obfuscation, and misleading information are making a bad situation in Ferguson worse
Crime • Views: 23,198

Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson can’t get out of his own way. In his rush to paint Mike Brown as a strong arm robber, he’s released video that the Department of Justice considered incendiary and unrelated to the FOIA requests made by the press and other interested parties. In fact, the video appears to be only a portion of the overall incident in Ferguson Market and Liquor.

There is a significantly longer video that shows that there was much more involved here. And none of it rises to the level of a strong arm robbery. Rather, this is at worst shoplifting or petit larceny given that the amount that was allegedly taken was less than $50.

The tweet shows a longer video, but the store representatives confirmed that although a theft occurred, they chose not to pursue a criminal report (it was a customer in the store who called police - not the store employee).

The store owner wasn’t going ahead with charges, but that’s not dispositive. He might fear repercussions against him and his business (which has already been targeted by looters) and instead was likely to treat it as a shrinkage loss, rather than pursue a police investigation.

It’s much more dispositive that the Ferguson Police aren’t charging Dorian Johnson with any crimes, even though he was with Brown and appears to have taken some of the tobacco products (cigarellos) given to him by Brown on their way out of the store.

Yet, all of the video does nothing to shed light on why Mike Brown was approached by Officer Darren Wilson. That’s according to Chief Jackson himself. Chief Jackson has repeatedly stated that the only reason that Wilson approached Brown and Johnson was because they were walking in the street. It had nothing to do with the incident in the store.

Chief Jackson allowed his Department to issue a video that had only a tenuous relationship to the incident leading to Brown’s death, all while claiming that is was not related. Highway Patrol Chief Ron Johnson and the Department of Justice both thought as much - that this was unrelated to the events (and Chief Johnson was blind-sided by the release, learning of it only after the media did). Both knew and understood that the release of the video would only cause even more tensions and fingers pointed at a Department intent to cast aspersions on the man whom Officer Wilson killed.

It’s enough to make your head spin.

And yet, this is just the beginning.

This is a Department that is more interested in protecting itself than protecting the public or cleaning up its act. This is a Department that has no problem allowing the officer who shot and killed Brown to leave town. Far from attempting to gather all the pertinent information and interview all the relevant witnesses, the county prosecutors and the Ferguson PD and county police have appeared to engage in a haphazard approach to gathering the critical information. That’s even though criminal justice experts would caution law enforcement agencies to interview witnesses as quickly as possible so as to get the accounts down in writing. It’s as though the agencies involved at the local level are trying to put barriers up to a proper investigation.

This is a Department that had no problem in increasing tensions by withholding key information and details relating to the Brown investigation. Some of the information is justifiably withheld under Missouri Rev. Stat. 610.100. However, they’re using the shield as a club to thwart any look at the actions by the Department.

It’s no wonder that so many people are petitioning for a special prosecutor to handle the case instead of the county prosecutor, who has already indicated how he didn’t like how Gov. Jay Nixon put the highway patrol in charge of the security situation because the county police were using such heavy handed techniques. The prosecutor, Bob McCulloch, has long and deep ties with the police departments, and appears to put those ties ahead of seeing justice done. For instance:

In 2001, two undercover drug officers from Dellwood shot and killed two men on the parking lot of a Jack in the Box in north St. Louis County. The officers said the suspects, who had prior felony convictions for drug and assault offenses, tried to escape arrest and then drove toward the officers.

A subsequent federal investigation showed that the men were unarmed and that their car had not moved forward when the officers fired 21 shots and killed the suspects, Earl Murray and Ronald Beasley. The probe, however, also concluded that because the officers feared for their safety, the shootings were justified.

McCulloch didn’t prosecute the officers. He specifically drew the ire of defense lawyers and protesters, who had been holding demonstrations and threatened to block Highway 40,when he said of Murray and Beasley, “These guys were bums.”

This is just part of the reason why the Department of Justice is carrying out its own investigations. It’s why they’re going ahead with their own autopsy (and that appears to be in addition to the family calling in noted pathologist Dr. Michael Baden to carry out one as well).

No one who is an impartial third party is willing to trust anything coming out of the Ferguson PD and St. Louis County police, let alone the county prosecutor. That’s quite telling.

Here’s the thing though. There are multiple events from Mike Brown being shot through today that indicate that the local police forces operating in Ferguson have engaged in excessive force. There’s a way to reduce the incidence, and in the process save taxpayers and the community billions of dollars a year in costs. It involves requiring all officers on patrol to wear cameras. This not only protects the public, but the officers from baseless claims.

Over the last decade, claims against cities and counties across the country stemming from police incidents amounted to $22 billion. The special counsel to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department recently reported that between January 2013 and April 2014, 132 cases of excessive force against the department were closed by settlements or court verdicts, totaling $12,175,000. The largest payout in fiscal 2012-2013 was a jury award of $6 million, settled by the County for $3.9 million. The plaintiff in that case claimed that two deputies escalated a traffic stop into violence, pepper-spraying him, punching him in the head, kneeing him in the face, and slamming his head into the pavement. And don’t forget the attorneys’ fees that are often a key driver in the decision of whether or not to settle or proceed to litigation. In Los Angeles County, for every dollar spent on a payout in fiscal 2012, another dollar was spent on the lawyers, amounting to $43 million. Communities policed by officers wearing BWCs will see a dramatic decrease in litigation and the costs associated with it.

I’ve noted this before - it gives law enforcement the ability to learn from events on the ground - what to do and what not to do. And the costs are minimal compared to the gear that law enforcement agencies get handed down to them from the federal government (all the armored vehicles, helicopters, sniper gear, body armor, etc., which is ostensibly for protecting communities from a terrorism threat or mass casualty event and could potentially serve a legitimate purpose has instead been used to bloat budgets and prop up department requests for even more funds).

English Professor Thrown to the Ground and Arrested for Jaywalking

It happened on May 20th. Remember? Something recently reminded me of this incident.
Crime • Views: 18,035
Ersula Ore. Photo from Phoenix New Times.

A jaywalking rarely makes national news, but the arrest of Arizona professor Ersula Ore has done just that.

What began as a walk home from classes at Arizona State University ended with police charging the professor with assault.

The English professor was walking in the middle of a Tempe, Arizona, street one evening last month when a campus police officer stopped her. The incident escalated, and she was handcuffed and landed on the pavement.

Appearing Monday on CNN’s “New Day,” Ore was asked about her own words and actions in the incident and replied, “I think I did what I was supposed to do. I was respectful. I asked for clarification. I asked to be treated with respect, and that was it.”

[…]

Read the whole CNN story here: Arizona Professor’s Jaywalking Arrest Gets Out of Hand

The police officer in the case was put on paid administrative leave.

An Arizona State University police officer whose arrest of an ASU professor in May has drawn national attention is now on leave, and the university has asked the FBI to review whether any civil-rights violations occurred during the arrest, according to an ASU statement.

The statement issued Wednesday said that Officer Stewart Ferrin has been placed on paid administrative leave. It went on to say that it asked the FBI for its assistance although a preliminary investigation by the police department determined Ferrin “did not engage in racial profiling or use excessive force.”

[…]

The rest of that article is here, and there is video of Professor Ore relating part of what happened.

Professor Ore pleaded guilty to resisting arrest and was sentenced to probation.

[…]

“Personally I’m wondering what about me seemed to be a threat, so much so that it warranted an officer touching me and violating me,” Ore said before Superior Court Commissioner Julie Mata. “I am hurt, upset, angry and humiliated. I deal with fears on a regularly hourly basis -they wake me up at night.”

Ore said she had a moment of weakness questioning the arrest, but felt that she could no longer trust whether those in uniform were there to help or hurt her.

[…]

Ore was visibly upset following the sentencing, with Roby thanking supporters outside the courtroom on her behalf. She said she was disappointed the proposed one day of supervised probation was not granted.

“I would have liked to see that but the reality is nine months of probation—as long as someone is successful—can very easily turn into four,” Roby said. “We do believe that her constitutional civil rights were violated and we’re not going to let that go.”

Further coverage in the Phoenix New Times revealed possible consequences to the campus police department, but the department denied the personnel changes were related to this case.

Two weeks of bad publicity received by ASU was followed by the unexpected departures of ASU Police Chief John Pickens and Assistant Chief James Hardina. ASU claimed, unbelievably, that the departures had nothing to do with Ore.

[…]

With Ferrin on leave, the departures of ASU’s top brass unexplained, and the FBI investigation unfinished, you can expect to hear some more in the near future on this widely publicized case.

I have not found any more recent information.

I am posting this now because of the parallels to the killing of Mike Brown in Ferguson, MO. Thankfully, Professor Ore received only minor injuries. Someone posting on a police officers’ forum said of the officer involved: ‘I’m surprised he didn’t shoot her. He probably would have somehow been within his rights.’ That post is dated July 7, 2014. I wonder whether there is any change in that perspective now. I doubt it.

I jaywalk all the time, but I’m white. If I were black, my life would be totally different. Even if I were better educated (Ersula Ore has a PhD) and better employed (I’m a bike mechanic), as a black person, I would not have the privilege of jaywalking all over the place. And that’s just a minor part of how my life would be different.

I almost posted this under ‘Culture’ instead of ‘Crime’, because it’s the culture that needs to be fixed. Police culture most urgently, but the whole culture needs to learn respect for all parts of itself. So many people claim to love America, while they hate their fellow Americans. We need to love people, not a mythological construct of a nation.

Acts, Omissions, and What We Actually Know About the Ferguson PD and Mike Brown Case

There’s a whole lot to sort through, and much of it isn’t good
Crime • Views: 21,591

Michael Brown is dead. This much we know. How and why he died at the hands of a Ferguson police officer, now identified as 6 year veteran of the force Darren Wilson, is still unclear.

The Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson released some records “relating” to the case, but they primarily relate to an incident earlier in the day. The incident occurred at Ferguson Market and Liquor on West Florissant Avenue where they allege Brown and another man, Dorian Johnson, appeared to have stolen Swishers (packages of tobacco products). The location is some distance from where the fatal encounter occurred.

There are lots of discrepancies in the time line and facts proffered by the Ferguson PD. Where are the packages of Swishers that were allegedly stolen? If they weren’t on Brown, were they in Johnson’s possession (the friend who witnessed events)? The Department’s own statements say that Johnson isn’t a suspect and wont be charged, so that undermines the perception that Johnson was an accomplice of some kind of criminal act at the store.

As the STL Post Dispatch reports, the Ferguson Police Department isn’t charging Johnson:

In an interview with MSNBC shortly after the report was released, Johnson’s lawyer also said that Brown had taken cigars from the store.

“We see that there’s tape, that they claim they got a tape that shows there was some sort of strong-armed robbery,” the attorney, Freeman Bosley, told MSNBC. “We need to see that tape. My client did tell us and told the FBI that they went into the store. He told FBI that he did take cigarillos, he told that to the DOJ and the St. Louis County Police.”

Asked whether Dorian Johnson will be charged, Ferguson Police Chief Tom Jackson said today, “No. We determined he didn’t steal anything or use force.”

So, if the report claims that Brown handed something to Johnson, and Brown didn’t pay for it, then that would be a larceny, with Johnson the accomplice for receiving the property that didn’t belong to him. But they’re not charging him? In other words, the police report contains sufficient discrepancies that would undermine even the robbery claims against Brown.

Continue reading…

Five Children and One Adult Dead in Yet Another Mass Shooting in Texas, Mainstream Media Ignore It

Horrific
Crime • Views: 29,418

If you’re watching one of the mainstream cable channels, you probably haven’t heard about this horrific mass shooting in Spring, Texas; the mass media seem completely uninterested: 5 Children, 1 Adult Shot Dead in Spring Subdivision; SWAT Standoff Underway With Shooter.

SPRING, Texas - Six people were shot dead, including five children, Wednesday afternoon in north Harris County, according to Harris County Pct. 4 deputies.

The incident happened at a home in the 700 block of Leaflet in the Enchanted Oaks subdivision.

Deputies responded to a shooting and found the victims. Life Flight was called to the scene.

The victims were ages five to 40. Five children and one adult died.

Another Mass Shooting in Las Vegas: “Tell the Police the Revolution Has Begun”

Local news reports suspect was middle-aged white man
Crime • Views: 29,244

Meanwhile in Las Vegas, we have another mass shooting by apparent anti-government lunatics; a report at KTNV: Two Suspects Dead After Police Shooting at Walmart Near Nellis and Stewart - www.ktnv.com.

Two police officers were said to have been shot after two suspects took their guns and ammunition a local Cici’s Pizza near Nellis and Stewart. They were taken to University Medical Center. Their condition is currently unknown.

The two suspects allegedly yelled ‘This is a revolution’ as they left the restaurant and headed to Walmart.

When the suspects entered Walmart, they shot and killed one citizen before going to the back of the store and engaging what officers called a suicide pact.

More details from KLAS-TV: UPDATE: Police Source: 1 Officer Dead, Following Shooting Near N - 8 News NOW.

Police say witnesses told them the suspects took the police officers’ gear and, as they were walking out of the restaurant after the shooting, they said, “tell the police the revolution has begun.”

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