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Naked, Unarmed Black Teen Shot and Killed By Austin Texas Police

Here we go again. How is a slight, unarmed teenager with what would seem to be an obvious mental condition a danger to a Police Officer?

The victim, David Joseph

Austin police: Teen shot by officer identified as David Joseph, 17

12:45 p.m. update: Austin police identified the person shot and killed by an officer on Monday in Northeast Austin as David Joseph, 17.

Police also identified the officer involved in the shooting as Geoffrey Freeman, a veteran officer who joined the force in 2005.

“All of our officer-involved shootings are tragedies,” Austin police Chief of Staff Brian Manley said.

Concurrent investigations are underway, Manley said, including a criminal investigation being conducted by the Special Investigations Unit and the district attorney’s office.

Manley confirmed that Joseph was unarmed when he was shot Monday morning.

Police had responded to a call in the 300 block of Yager Lane that a man was chasing someone through an apartment complex, Manley said. Officer Freeman had been talking to witnesses when he responded to a call nearby in the 12000 block of Natures Bend, he said. There, Freeman encountered Joseph and within seconds of the confrontation, he opened fire, Manley said.

Freeman provided an initial statement at the scene but is expected to provide a more lengthy statement for investigators later this week, Manley said.

Manley declined to talk about whether the victim had any previous police record or a history of mental illnesss.

“Now is not the day,” he said.

Earlier: A man fatally shot Monday by an Austin police sergeant was not armed at the time of the incident, three sources told the American-Statesman and KVUE-TV today.

Officials had said at the scene that they did not know whether the man, who was naked at the time, had a weapon when he was shot in North Austin.

However, the sources, who were not authorized to speak because of the ongoing investigation, said investigators have since confirmed the unidentified man did not have a weapon.

The revelation intensified questions about the officer’s decision to shoot. Austin police have called a noon news conference at Austin police headquarters to discuss the shooting.

The sources said a key issue in the case likely will be the distance between the officer and the man and whether or not the officer can demonstrate that he was in immediate danger.

Most officers in the department also carry stun guns.

The shooting happened about 10:30 a.m. Monday in the 12000 block of Natures Bend in a small neighborhood south of Tech Ridge Boulevard near Yager Lane. Several residents had called police and said that a man was running around the neighborhood and acting erratically.

Both the suspect and officer in the incident are black. Nelson Linder, president of the Austin NAACP, said the incident highlights the need for police to review how they handle similar situations in the future.

“Once again it is very clear that this policy of response to resistance is not being enforced,” Linder said. “They need to rethink this whole approach, especially if there might be mental illness issues.”

Meanwhile, Jim Harrington, the longtime director and founder of the Texas Civil Rights Project who is retiring, condemned the incident in a statement Tuesday.

“It is almost incomprehensible that a young naked man would be considered dangerous such that a police officer would kill him,” he said. The social advocacy group has called for “a full, fair, and open investigation” of the shooting.

“This is the pattern that led to the U.S. Department of Justice investigation a few years back, and it appears that the pattern of police shootings continues,” Harrington said. “We intend to pursue this matter with the Department of Justice once more.”

 
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Posted by on February 9, 2016 in BlackLivesMatter

 

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Distrust of Chicago Police

This article in the Chicago Tribune talks about the Chicago Mayor, Rahm Emmanuel and his inability to fix the Police Department. The real story here though is the shattered relationship between the community and their police department which has failed them at nearly every turn. Wrong question, Trib!

Distrust of Chicago cops helps drive Emanuel’s low approval on crime

…A strong majority of Chicagoans don’t think the city’s cops treat all citizens fairly and believe a cover-up “code of silence” is widespread in the Police Department,…

The survey’s results illustrate a deep-seated distrust of the Chicago Police Department put in stark relief by a series of revelations about the death Laquan McDonald, a black teenager shot 16 times by white Officer Jason Van Dyke in October 2014. Police dashboard-camera video showed McDonald walking away from police when he was shot, but police reports show six officers claimed the teen had moved or turned threateningly toward them.

Prosecutors eventually charged Van Dyke with murder, but not until 13 months later, hours before the court-ordered release of the shooting footage. The chain of events led to weeks of street protests, calls for the mayor’s resignation and a federal civil rights investigation into the Police Department.

The poll found a dim view of the Police Department across racial and ethnic lines. Only 20 percent of voters said they believe city cops treat all citizens fairly, including just 6 percent of African-Americans surveyed.

Just 3 percent of Chicagoans said they don’t believe cops use a code of silence to protect one another, while nearly two-thirds said they think such a code is a widespread problem…

The new poll backs up that perception of unfairness across racial and ethnic lines. One in 3 white voters thought the police were fair to everyone while 53 percent said they were not. Twenty-three percent of Hispanics thought the police were fair to all, while 69 percent did not. Among African-American voters, only 6 percent said cops treat all citizens fairly while 85 percent said they don’t.

Lonnie Morgan is in the latter group. The 63-year-old retired painter said he too often sees officers pull young black men out of cars as they just try to hang out in his neighborhood, Greater Grand Crossing.

“Too many of these officers look at this neighborhood and say, ‘Oh, these are black people,’ and they just don’t care,” said Morgan, a poll respondent. “They come out and have an attitude. You can look at them and they’ve got a nasty scowl on their face. They look at you like you are dirt.”…

Nine in 10 Chicagoans said they believed there’s a code of silence in the department, with just 3 percent saying it didn’t exist. Overall, 64 percent of voters said the code of silence is a widespread problem, while 26 percent said they believe it’s limited to a handful of bad cops.

Among white voters, half said the code of silence was widespread, while 38 percent called it an isolated problem. Just 16 percent of black voters called the code of silence limited, with 79 percent saying it’s widespread….

 

 

 
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Posted by on February 3, 2016 in BlackLivesMatter

 

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Cops Taser Cleaning Woman

Geez… A woman working as a Janitor at a school at night, mopping the floor, hears a noise and looks up and see’s two cops coming toward her with guns drawn.

What would she possibly be worried about?

In Guatemala where she is from – the cops might rape her, or give her a hard time then let her go on with her work…

Here in America the cops might rape her, robe her, smash her face to the ground for no reason, taser her for not understanding English, or shoot her as she set the mop handle against the wall to talk to them confusing the mop with an imaginary gun…And arrest her for no reason costing her her job.

Cops use Taser on cleaning woman after mistaking her for burglar — then charge her with evading arrest

Two Tennessee cops are being criticized for excessive force for Tasering a 36-year-old middle school cleaning woman after they confronted her at night in the otherwise empty school.

Juana Raymundo, originally from Guatemala, has been charged with evading arrest after she ran from the police who thought she was a burglar — despite seeing her cleaning supplies in the hallway — reports the Times Free Press.

According to the police report, Sgt. Jamie Heath and Officer Brian Desmond entered Ooltewah Middle School at 8:30 in the evening earlier this month after noticing a door to the school was left open.

Inspecting the school with their guns drawn, they spotted the cleaning supplies in the hall way before encountering an empty-handed Raymundo who appeared, “nervous and somewhat reserved.”

The officers state that they didn’t point their weapons at the woman as they attempted to question her in both English and rudimentary Spanish — saying she kept repeating “no” as she moved away from them, turning a corner and then running away as Heath yelled at her to stop in Spanish.

According to the two cops, they  chased her through the school’s cafeteria, down a flight of stairs and out the building and into the parking lot where Heath warned her to stop or he would use his Taser

Heath said he then used his Taser as he chased her, causing her to fall to the ground.

The officers state they then called for medical back-up.

Investigators afterward said that Raymundo — who works for an outside cleaning service — has difficulties understanding both English and Spanish.

While the Collegedale Police Department’s use-of-force policy allows officers to move beyond verbal commands when a subject is fleeing, a Nashville attorney who specializes in immigration and civil rights questioned their report by calling it “defensively written.”

“This is a pretty defensively written report,” attorney Andrew Free said. “I wonder if this is the same attention to detail that the officer gives every affidavit of complaint. And if so, why wasn’t there more attention to detail noting whether they identified themselves as they were sweeping the building?”

According to Maria Haberfield, a professor of police science at John Jay University in New York City, she thinks the police went overboard in their use of force.

“This was just an open door,” Haberfield explained. “There wasn’t a report of burglary; there was a report of an open door. The officers didn’t witness any extreme acts of vandalism or see that the computers were ripped out — there has to be some correlation between what they witnessed and the response.”

Collegedale Police Assistant Chief James Hardeman said the department has not received a formal complaint against the officers and declined to comment on the woman’s arrest since her court appearance is still pending.

The Times Free Press reports that Raymundo was released on $750 bail and is expected back in court on March 2.

Notice to particularly stupid Tennessee cops – this is a janitor. They tend to wander around in buildings in the middle of the night…To clean things. You can tell by the cart.

 

 
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Posted by on February 1, 2016 in BlackLivesMatter

 

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Minnesota Cop Encourages Public to Run Over BLM Protesters

Amazing!

“Don’t slow down for any of these idiots who try and block the street.”

A St. Paul, Minnesota police officer has been placed on administrative leave after allegedly telling drivers to run over Black Lives Matter protesters who planned to block traffic as part of a march on Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

Around 1 a.m. on Saturday, a Facebook user named “JM Roth” posted a comment on a Pioneer Press article about the scheduled protest that said: “Run them over. Keep traffic flowing and don’t slow down for any of these idiots who try and block the street.” The comment then suggested how drivers could legally justify hitting protesters with their cars:

Screenshot by Andrew Henderson, via St. Paul Pioneer Press

Andrew Henderson, a local activist who maintains the Minnesota Cop Block Facebook page, first noted and reported the comment, which has since been deleted, to the St. Paul Police Department. In phone conversations he recorded anduploaded to YouTube, Henderson told Saint Paul Police Department officials that the “JM Roth” account belonged to Sergeant Jeffrey M. Rothecker. Henderson said Rothecker had admitted in previous comments that he was “JM Roth.”

St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman and Police Chief Thomas Smith have denounced the comment and announced that an investigation into the matter is underway. Senior Commander Shari Gray, the head of the department’s internal affairs unit, also met with Henderson on Sunday, according to the Pioneer Press.

“There is no room in the Saint Paul Police Department for employees who threaten members of the public,” Coleman said in a statement released on Monday. “If the allegation is true, we will take the strongest possible action allowed under law.”

The St. Paul Police Federation, the union for officers, is representing Rothecker,according to the Star Tribune.

The news comes one year after motorist Jeffrey P. Rice struck a teenage girl who was protesting outside a Minneapolis police station. The girl was part of a November 2014 demonstration that took place after a Ferguson, Missouri grand jury declined to indict the officer who shot and killed Michael Brown. The girl suffered a minor leg injury. Last October, Rice, who is from St. Paul, pleaded guilty to a charge for failing to yield to a pedestrian. He was fined $575 and ordered to attend a driver’s education course….More Here

 
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Posted by on January 28, 2016 in BlackLivesMatter

 

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Another Travesty of Justice Freeing Alabama Cop

Well – the State injustice system has proven again it should by no means be in charge of rendering justice… Yet another case where the Police are not held accountable for criminal actions.

Vicious Attack on unarmed, non-violent Mr Patel, who was guilty of nothing more than walking while brown

Alabama cop paralyzed Indian grandfather; judge throws out case after two racially charged trials

Sureshbahi Patel was walking on the sidewalk outside of his son’s home in an Alabama suburb on the morning of Feb. 6, 2015, minding his own business, when a white police officer approached him, frisked him and threw him to the ground, leaving him paralyzed.

The 57-year-old grandfather had just arrived to the U.S. from a small town in India, and did not understand English. He reportedly said “no English” and repeated the address of his son’s home to the cop as he approached him.

A neighbor had called Madison, Alabama police claiming they saw someone “suspicious” wandering around the neighborhood. They described him a “skinny black guy” who is “walking around close to the garage.”

Hank Sherrod, the family’s attorney, shot back at the allegation, which he insisted was racist. “This is broad daylight, walking down the street. There is nothing suspicious about Mr. Patel other than he has brown skin.”

“He was just walking on the sidewalk as he does all the time,” the man’s son Chirag Patel explained. Chirag noted his father had no health problems before the incident.

The family filed suit against the police officer, Eric Parker. Police dashcam footage clearly shows Parker violently throwing Patel to the ground. He faced up to 10 years in prison on the charge of excessive force and a civil rights charge of deprivation of rights under color of law.

There were two trials for the case. Both ended with a deadlocked jury, and the results were racially charged.

In the first trial, the 10 white male jurors said the cop was innocent, while the two black female jurors said he was guilty.

Defense attorney Robert Tuten began the second trial with comments critics called racist. “When you come to the U.S. we expect you to follow our laws and speak our language,” he said.

“Mr. Patel bears as much responsibility for this as anyone,” the officer’s lawyer insisted.

Tuten defended the Parker’s actions with racially coded language, saying there was no way the cop could have known whether this was a “harmless Indian grandfather walking down Hardiman Place Lane.”

“The government wants you to give Mr. Patel a free pass because he doesn’t speak English,” Tuten told the jury.

Federal prosecutors were preparing for a third trial, but there now will not be one.

Judge Madeline Hughes Haikala threw the case out late Wednesday night, saying “The Government has had two full and fair chances to obtain a conviction; it will not have another.”

The neurosurgeon who operated on Patel said that, after the police attack, he was left unable to walk or grip things with his hands.

 
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Posted by on January 16, 2016 in BlackLivesMatter

 

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The Cat Came Back

Find this one rather amusing as when my first little one was small, she bought her a little cassette tape player with tapes of a number of Children’s songs. Having 2 cats in the household at the time, not surprisingly her favorite was a Raffi Song – “The Cat Came Back”.  If you have had a toddler, then you know that have this sometimes irritating ability to listen to the same song, or watch the same movie time and time again. She played that song over and over – and even would sing it to the rather put upon but tolerant cats.

Beloved ‘SWAT Cat’ returns to police base

For police, it may have been better than winning Powerball.

The beloved “SWAT Cat,” the unofficial mascot of the Boston Police Department’s Special Weapons and Tactics team, arrived back at the agency’s Roxbury base Thursday. The cat had been missing since sometime in late November.

The unexpected return — many feared the cat had been killed or lost forever — marked a homecoming for officers who have become fond of the feline, and even called it a good luck charm.

In December, police had hung fliers and posted notices online in search of the orange, black, and white calico that often lounged and slept atop the officers’ Bearcat — a large armored vehicle parked at the station.

Suesan Williams, who does tailoring work for many of the department’s officers, and helped police care for the cat, said the furry stray was emaciated and looked hungry when it reappeared. She said she suspects the cat may have been trapped somewhere without access to food.

“The minute she got out, for some reason, she went to where she knows her home is,” Williams said.

An officer sent Williams a photo of the cat Thursday morning announcing its triumphant return. She said police are excited that SWAT Cat popped up again, since the animal has become a mainstay at their headquarters.

“It’s a great day,” Williams said. “They love that cat, and take care of her, and she takes care of them. She takes care of the rat and mice population at the base.”

 

 
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Posted by on January 14, 2016 in News

 

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Getting Away With Murder – 10,000 Shootings…13 Convictions

Since 2005, only 13 cops have been convicted of murder. Using this year as a baseline where Police shot over 1,000 citizens…That could be 10,000 shootings in the last decade. We know that a lot of those shootings haven’t exactly been the stereotypical shootout with Bank Robbers. And to update the author of this piece…There is something wrong with this picture.

Here’s How Many Cops Got Convicted Of Murder Last Year For On-Duty Shootings

There’s something strange about this picture.

Many people viewed 2015 as a year of reckoning for police, with continued scrutiny of the use of deadly force spurring momentum for reform. In reality, however, the road to accountability remains a long one.

That point is clearly reflected in the number of police officers who were convicted on murder or manslaughter charges last year for fatally shooting a civilian in the line of duty.

In 2015, that number was zero.

And that’s not unusual. No officers were convicted on such charges in 2014 either.

In fact, since 2005, there have only been 13 officers convicted of murder or manslaughter in fatal on-duty shootings, according to data provided to The Huffington Post by Philip Stinson, an associate professor of criminology at Ohio’s Bowling Green State University. Stinson’s data doesn’t include cases in which civilians died in police custody or were killed by other means, or those in which officers only faced lesser charges.

One of the last successful convictions came in 2013, when Culpeper Town, Virginia, police officer Daniel Harmon-Wright was sentenced to three years in jail for voluntary manslaughter charges in the slaying of Patricia Cook, an unarmed 54-year-old, a year earlier.

On Feb. 9, 2012, Harmon-Wright responded to a suspicious vehicle call and found Cook parked in a local Catholic school parking lot. In court, Harmon-Wright said when he asked Cook for her driver’s license, she rolled up her window, trapping his arm, before beginning to drive away. Harmon-Wright responded by unloading seven rounds into Cook, with fatal shots hitting her in the back and head. But a jury didn’t find the officer’s testimony credible, returning a guilty verdict on three charges in the shooting death. After serving out his sentence, Harmon-Wright was releasedin 2015.

Some officers in these cases have served out yearslong sentences for their crimes. Others were in and out of jail in months. Some even became police officers again. But only a tiny portion of cops who kill while on duty ever face charges for their actions, much less actual punishment.

The inability to convict police on murder or manslaughter charges for fatal on-duty shootings contrasts with a recent increase in prosecution, Stinson said. In 2015, 18 officers faced such charges, a significant increase from an average of around five officers each year over the preceding decade. Many of these cases involved incidents from previous years and have yet to go to trial, but if history is any indicator, it seems unlikely that many of the officers will be convicted.

The tiny number of convictions in fatal police shootings looks even smaller when you consider just how many cases the criminal justice system considers each year. Although there are no reliable government statistics on civilians killed by police, data compiled independently last year by outlets like The Guardian and The Washington Post, or civilian tracker Mapping Police Violence, have led to estimates of roughly 1,000 deadly shootings each year.

Of that total, prosecutors and grand juries around the nation each year have determined that around five of these cases involve misconduct worthy of manslaughter or murder charges. And in the end, the criminal justice system typically concludes that only around one shooting each year is consistent with manslaughter or murder.

This means the overwhelming majority of police shooting cases are ultimately determined to be justified homicides, in which deadly force was used lawfully, often in what police say was an effort to protect an officer’s safety or to prevent harm to the public.

One reason for the lack of prosecution and subsequent conviction begins with the Supreme Court’s legal standard for use of lethal force. According to Graham v. Connor, the landmark 1989 case that established the standard, each “use of force must be judged from the perspective of a reasonable officer on the scene, rather than with the 20/20 vision of hindsight.” The ruling specifically cautions against judging police too harshly for split-second decisions made in “tense, uncertain and rapidly evolving” situations. All of this gives officers plenty of leeway to explain why their actions were legal…Read the rest Here

 
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Posted by on January 13, 2016 in BlackLivesMatter

 

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