There has been an accusation that the video was edited, which the Waller County Police deny.
There has been an accusation that the video was edited, which the Waller County Police deny.
Sandra Bland died in police custody this past Monday. Visiting Texas from Chicago to interview for a college job at her alma mater of Prairie View A&M, she was pulled over for a routine traffic violation (failure to use her turn signal). Everything from that point forward screams racism and foul play, including her death in the Waller County jail Monday.
The first red flag is that Bland was officially arrested on Friday for assaulting a police officer. What we see from a bystander video is her telling the officers she is in pain and cannot hear after her head was slammed on the ground by the male arresting officer. The video is below.
We have now learned that Waller County Sheriff Glenn Smith, who made the first public comments about Bland’s in-custody death, was suspended for documented cases of racismwhen he was chief of police in Hempstead, Texas, in 2007. After serving his suspension, more complaints of racism came in, and Smith was actually fired as chief of police in Hempstead:
Council members are reviewing video of four arrests and detentions over the past month. The officers and police chief, who are the targets of the complaints, are white. Some residents are calling for a third of the city’s 15 person police force to be suspended, disciplined, or fired.
Allegations of racism have led to the Hempstead police chief being suspended and ordered to take anger management classes.
The Hempstead city council has been reviewing the case since last week and finally came to a decision at around 2am Tuesday. A number of residents have come forward with claims of racism by at least four white police officers.
The council reviewed the complaints, along with videotapes before making their decision to punish Chief Glen Smith. Some say it wasn’t enough. The chief says he respects the decision.
“My action during the arrest did not meet professionalism as it should with language and I’m not above policy and procedure, no more than any officer of this city,” said Chief Smith.
It would seem that once a law enforcement officer—a chief of police no less—is suspended and then fired for racism and abuse, his ability to serve in law enforcement would cease.
A trooper who pulled over and later arrested a woman found dead in her jail cell was put on desk duty Friday for violating procedures, the Texas Department of Public Safety said.
Sandra Bland, 28, was arrested July 10, and after spending the weekend in the Waller County jail, she was found hanged in her cell Monday. Harris County’s medical examiner said the death was a suicide, but Bland’s family disputes the finding.
The FBI has joined the Texas Rangers in investigating the circumstances surrounding her death. The state Public Safety Department and Waller County district attorney have requested that the FBI conduct a forensic analysis on video footage from the incident.
In arresting Bland, the trooper “violated the department’s procedures regarding traffic stops and the department’s courtesy policy,” state public safety officials said Friday without specifying what procedures the trooper, whose name has not been released, had violated…
…But Elton Mathis, Waller County district attorney, said Friday that no cameras were in the jail cell where she was found dead. Cameras monitoring the hall outside her cell show no one entered or left it between the time she last spoke with deputies through an intercom system and when her body was discovered
“It appears she had used a trash bag to hang herself from a partition in the ceiling, which was used to give inmates privacy,” said Mathis, who also said Bland seems to have been the only female incarcerated in the jail at the time.
The Texas Commission on Jail Standards cited Waller County jail Thursday for not properly monitoring inmates but wouldn’t say whether its citation is related to Bland’s death. All inmates must be observed once every 60 minutes, and any inmate deemed suicidal must be observed in person every 30 minutes, Executive Director Brandon Wood said.
Smith said Thursday that jailers used an intercom to check on Bland less than an hour before she was found dead.
Sandra was arrested after being stopped for not properly signalling a lane change – a standard DWB harassment scenario. In the arrest video, she is heard telling the Officers that they had slammed her head to the ground so hard, she couldn’t hear, which would seem to be good reason to have her checked out by a Medical Professional, prior to incarcerating her. In another video being circulated she can be heard telling the Officer to “keep his %**& hands off of her”. Which raises the question of why, for a minor traffic stop, which should have at worst, wound up in a ticket…Was the cop manhandling her?
As usual in every one of these cases, the racist right has gone into full defense mode of the cops, the first step of which is to “dirty up” the image of the victim. You know, the usual – ‘He was a thug”, “He had a rap sheet a mile long”, “He was violent”. Or in this case because the victim is a black woman – “She was mentally ill”, “She resisted arrest”…
Now, I saw the inside of a few jail cells back in the ’60’s demonstrating for Civil Rights or against the Vietnam War…
And for the life of me I don’t remember the sometimes nice, sometime not deputies conveniently leaving a rope over in the corner with a convenient metal bar across the ceiling, or a plastic bag with which the prisoner could suffocate themselves…
Big City…Big Crime. Corruption on the part of Civil employees is a threat in any government. When it is the Police though, it has an impact on community trust and impacts the ability of the good cops to do their job.
The District of Columbia has more policemen per capita than any city in the world. Between the dozen or so local and Federal Police Departments (FBI, Secret Service, Customs, ATF, etc), quasi police organizations such as the Federal Protective Service, the Transit Police guarding the city’s bus and subway system, and a host of private police guarding various buildings and facilities – there are actually enough police in DC to station one on every street corner in the city…several times over. During the riots of 1968 after MLK was assassinated, they actually did that with some small help from the National Guard.
Police officials in the nation’s capital have been facing recent questions about headline-making arrests — not of hardened street criminals but of their own officers.
In a single month, one District of Columbia police officer was accused of taking semi-nude pictures of a 15-year-old runaway and another was charged with running a prostitution operation involving teenage girls. A third was indicted on an attempted murder charge, accused of striking his wife in the head with a light fixture.
Police say the arrests aren’t representative of the entire department, which includes about 4,500 officers and civilian employees. Still, more than 100 officers in the last five years have been arrested on charges ranging from traffic offenses to murder to money laundering, and the latest instances have increased concerns about training, supervision and accountability. The D.C. Council has set a hearing to discuss the problem and Police Chief Cathy Lanier has met with residents to assuage fears of a misbehaving department.
“We don’t think we have a department out of control, and I think that oftentimes is the image that is portrayed,” she said in an interview, noting that the majority of arrests are not for on-duty corruption but instead involve off-duty misconduct that is harder to police.
The hearing Friday will focus on how applicants are screened and what services are available to prevent alcohol abuse and domestic violence, two prevalent problems, said Councilmember Tommy Wells, who chairs the public safety committee.
“I think it’s extremely important that the public have confidence in our police force and we’ve had three high-profile cases of serious police misconduct, albeit generally off-duty,” Wells said.
Police department figures show the arrests of about 110 police officers, for both on- and off-duty conduct, since 2009. Many of the arrests involved traffic violations or involved cases that were dropped or ended in acquittal.
Among the most serious cases was Richmond Phillips, who received life without parole last year for the slayings of his mistress and baby daughter. Wendel Palmer was convicted last year of sexually abusing a girl who participated in his church choir, while Kenneth Furr received a 14-month sentence for an armed altercation that began after prosecutors say he solicited sex from a transgender prostitute.
Lanier has said many of the arrested officers were brought onto the force during a time of lax hiring standards and wouldn’t be qualified to serve today. She said that in some cases the arbitration process has required the department to rehire officers it fired. She said the department has dramatically tightened its recruitment practices to mandate polygraph exams and that only one of about 25 applicants is now hired.
The department also tracks warning signs like missed commitments and abuse of sick leave. And it requires officers to report off-duty arrests, which Lanier contends can make the numbers look worse than in cities that lack that requirement.
“I feel comfortable that our recruiting process, the background screening we do, is as tight as we can get,” Lanier said at the meeting. “But I also realize that there are people that are on the police department that came through at a time when there was not that strict background (check), and those are the people that we want to make sure that if they are involved in misconduct, that we weed those people out.”
But resident Khadijah Tribble, 42, told the chief she was unconvinced the misconduct was isolated.
“Aren’t these trends troubling and isn’t it worth our due diligence to do a thorough, independent investigation of this trend?” Tribble said in an interview.
Robert Kane, the director of the Drexel University criminal justice program who has studied police misconduct, said the number of arrests wasn’t necessarily shocking for a big-city police department.
At least 43 New York City police officers are known to have been arrested between 2011 and 2013 on charges including gun-running, drunken driving, perjury, a ticket-fixing scam and a cannibalism plot. A Los Angeles police officer was charged with stomping a handcuffed woman who later lost consciousness and died. Dozens of Memphis, Tenn., officers have been arrested in recent years.
Kane said that on-duty police misconduct can be reliably defined, off-duty misbehavior by officers is studied less often.
“We know what factors explain police misconduct, when police officers stop people and extort money from them,” he said. “What do we know about officers who walk into a liquor store when off-duty and rob it at gunpoint for some beer?”
In D.C., the first of the recent arrests was on December 2 when officer Marc Washington was charged with taking semi-nude pictures while on-duty of a teenage runaway who had just returned home. Authorities say after responding to the girl’s apartment, he directed her into her bedroom and told her to undress so he could photograph injuries. He was arrested after the girl alerted her mother, who contacted police. Soon after being released from jail, Washington was dead from an apparent suicide.
The following week brought the off-duty arrest of Linwood Barnhill Jr., a 24-year-veteran who was charged after police came to his apartment and found a 16-year-old girl who had been reported missing. The girl told police Barnhill had photographed her and offered to pay her to have sex with other men, allegations also made by a second teenager. His lawyer says Barnhill never threatened anyone.
Lanier acknowledged the arrests, especially for on-duty conduct, have shaken the department. But she said she hopes the sight of handcuffed officers sends a message to other officers who would break the law.
“We would like the officers to know that if there’s somebody in our midst that is committing criminal conduct and we become aware of it, we will lock them up,” Lanier said. “We don’t need somebody else to lock them up. We will lock you up.”
Proving that the Tea Party didn’t quite get every nutcase in America elected last term…
And the possible impact of watching one too many Twilight reruns.
This is another datapoint in why we, as a country – need to get a hell of a lot better on access to, and treatment of mental illness in our midst. Up to and including re-establishing long term facilities supporting the poor and middle class. Conservative “saint” Raygun kicked the mentally ill out of hospitals and onto the street as homeless, and the country has been paying a high toll for that bit of conservative “logic” ever since.
GERMANTOWN, Md. (WUSA9) — A mother killed two of her own children while performing an exorcism in Germantown, Md., police said.
Montgomery County police have charged two women for murder in the Friday deaths of a 1-year-old boy and 2-year-old girl.
Zakieya Latrice Avery, the mother of the children is charged with two counts of first-degree murder for the killings, and two counts of attempted first-degree murder, as two other children remain hospitalized after Friday’s attack. Avery, 28, of the 19000 block of Cherry Bend Drive in Germantown, is being held without bond.
Monifa Denise Sanford, 21, who was also at the scene, has been released from the hospital and has been charged with two counts of first-degree murder for the deaths of the two kids and two counts of attempted murder for two children who are still in the hospital. She is also being held without bond.
Police identified the deceased children as Norell N. Harris, a 1-year-old male, and Zyana Z. Harris, a 2-year-old female.
The hospitalized children are identified as Taniya Harris, a 5-year-old female, and Martello Harris, a 8-year-old male.
People have laid down flowers, candles, and teddy bears in front of the home where the two children were killed and the two others were injured. A vigil was held Saturday night to remember the small children who were stabbed to death.
“It’s kind of horrifying for any father, any grandfather,” State’s Attorney John McCarthy said Friday. “These are hard cases,” he said, his voice breaking.
There has been no update on the condition of Taniya or Martello.
Hmmm… Seems like the Right Reverend also swings a mean left shoe…
This one eventually is headed for a train wreck.
Megachurch pastor Creflo Dollar was arrested in suburban Atlanta for an alleged assault on his 15-year-old daughter, police said Friday.
Deputies in Georgia’s Fayette County responded to a call about a domestic disturbance about 1 a.m. Friday. Dollar’s daughter said she argued with her father over attending a party, said Investigator Brent Rowan of the Fayette County Sheriff’s Office.
The daughter says the argument got physical.
She told the deputies that her father charged her, put his hands around her throat and began to choke her, according to a police report. She said he then slammed her to the ground, punched her and beat her with his shoe.
Dollar’s daughter was able to get away and dial 911, Rowan said. Read the rest of this entry »
Damn – “Street Pirates” for relatives…
Two people have been charged with extortion after police detectives say they arrested the pair for trying to sell what they said was embarrassing information about Stevie Wonder.
The duo, Alpha Lorenzo Walker and his girlfriend Tamara Eileen Diaz, have been jailed since their arrest on May 2. Both have pleaded not guilty and are scheduled to appear in court on May 16 for a hearing in which a judge will decide whether there is enough evidence for them to stand trial.
According to a felony complaint, Walker and Diaz attempted to obtain money from the Grammy-winning musician, who is identified by his birth name, Steveland Morris. An email message sent to Wonder’s studio was not immediately returned Friday.
Walker, 38, was on probation at the time of his arrest after pleading no contest to grand theft in May 2011. A judge issued a suspended three-year prison sentence in that case and he is due in court for a probation violation hearing May 31.
District attorney’s spokeswoman Jane Robison says Walker contacted Wonder’s representatives claiming to have embarrassing information about the musician. Detectives organized a sting and the pair were arrested. Police did not release additional details about their investigation Friday.
Walker identifies himself as Wonder’s nephew and is being held without bail because of another case.
Diaz’s bail is set at $95,000. Both are being represented by public defenders, who did not immediately return calls for comment.
Diaz was placed on three years of probation after pleading no contest in February 2011 to possession of marijuana with the intent to sell, court records show.
The case was first reported Friday by celebrity website TMZ.
The major risk of terrorist attack in the United States isn’t from Al Quaeda…
It’s from right wing whack jobs.
This is the second group caught trying to weaponize Ricin, a deadly poison made from the Castor bean which can be used as a poor man’s chemical weapon –
Ten alleged members of a white supremacist group training near Orlando and Disney World for a “race war” have been rounded up in a series of arrests in central Florida, authorities said on Tuesday.
The arrests were based on evidence from a confidential informant who infiltrated the neo-Nazi organization known as the American Front 17 months ago, according to an arrest affidavit.
“The American Front (AF) is a military-styled, anti-Semitic, white supremacist, skinhead organization and is known as a domestic terrorist organization,” the affidavit said.
It said the group’s alleged local ringleader, Marcus Faella, 39, had been “planning and preparing the AF for what he believes to be an inevitable race war” and had stated “his intent … to kill Jews, immigrants and other minorities.”
Faella operated a heavily fortified paramilitary training center for the AF on his isolated property in St. Cloud, Florida, 11 miles from the Walt Disney World theme parks, according to the affidavit.
It said he recently had been plotting a disturbance at Orlando City Hall and a confrontation against a rival skinhead group in coastal Melbourne in a bid to garner media attention, but had also been experimenting with the potential manufacture of the biological toxin ricin. Read the rest of this entry »