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Police Criminality – 3 Officers a Day are Arrested for Crimes

We know from reporting that began by Pew Research, that Police Officers commit on the average of 7-8 crimes a day, although the majority of these are minor. For the first time, a study has been done which tracks serious crimes, requiring a legal response of something beyond just administrative punishment. That study has revealed that the nation’s 765,000 Police Officers commit about 1,100 crimes a year for which they are arrested. The real number is likely an order of magnitude greater, as the likelihood of an officer being arrested by his fellow officers, or convicted by complicit local prosecutors is orders of magnitude lower than the civilian population. Many are allowed to resign, and just move to another jurisdiction. When the case does make it to the arrest stage, the actual conviction rate is higher than for the civilian population. I would suggest that is because of the hesitancy to arrest unless the case is iron clad.

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Study finds police officers arrested 1,100 times per year, or 3 per day, nationwide

So far this month, two New York City police commanders have been arrested on corruption allegations, an officer in Killeen, Tex., was accused of sexually assaulting a female driver, a Philadelphia police officer was charged with extortion of a drug dealer, and an officer in Hono­lulu was accused of raping a 14-year-old girl.

Such sporadic news accounts of police officers being arrested led one group of researchers to a question: How much crime do police officers commit?  No one was keeping track, much as no one was tracking how often police officers shoot and kill civilians, although both may involve use of police power and abuse of public trust.

Now there is an answer: Police officers are arrested about 1,100 times a year, or roughly three officers charged every day, according to a new national study. The most common crimes were simple assault, drunken driving and aggravated assault, and significant numbers of sex crimes were also found. About 72 percent of officers charged are convicted, more than 40 percent of the crimes are committed on duty, and nearly 95 percent of the officers charged are men.

The study is thought to be the first-ever nationwide look at police crime, and was conducted by researchers at Bowling Green State University through a grant from the Justice Department’s National Institute of Justice. The research covered seven years, 2005 to 2011, and sought to quantify not only the prevalence of police officers arrested across the country, but also how law enforcement agencies discipline officers who are arrested and how officer arrests might correlate with other forms of misconduct.policearrest1

For example, the study found that 22 percent of the officers arrested had been named as defendants in a federal civil rights lawsuit at some point in their careers, unrelated to their arrest case. The authors suggest that police agencies analyzing such suits “could potentially lead to new and improved mechanisms to identify and mitigate various forms of police misconduct.”

In the seven years of the study, the researchers compiled 6,724 cases, or about 960 cases per year, involving about 792 officers per year — 674 officers were arrested more than once. But the study has continued beyond 2011, and lead researcher Philip M. Stinson at Bowling Green said the number of cases now averages about 1,100 arrests per year.

“Police crimes are not uncommon,” Stinson concluded. “Our data directly contradicts some of the prevailing assumptions and the proposition that only a small group of rotten apples perpetrate the vast majority of police crime.” Although nearly 60 percent of the crimes “occurred when the officer was technically off-duty,” Stinson wrote, “a significant portion of these so-called off-duty crimes also lies within the context of police work and the perpetrator’s role as a police officer, including instances where off-duty officers flash a badge, an official weapon, or otherwise use their power, authority, and the respect afforded to them as a means to commit crime.”…Read the Rest Here

 
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Posted by on June 22, 2016 in BlackLivesMatter

 

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Oakland Police Department Implodes

A major city Police Department which has been though 3 Police Chiefs in as many weeks…

“Oakland, we got a problem.”

Third Oakland Police Chief Out In Just Over A Week

The department is wrapped up in sex and racism scandals.

The troubled police force in Oakland, California, saw its third police chief resign in just over a week on Friday as investigations into sexual misconduct and racist text messages continued to roil the department.

Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf told a Friday evening news conference that acting police chief Paul Figueroa resigned his duties, a mere two days after he was appointed to replace Ben Fairow as the department’s top cop.

“I want to assure the citizens of Oakland that we are hell-bent on rooting out this disgusting culture,” Schaaf said angrily, calling the environment in the department “toxic” and “macho.”

Schaaf has declined to provide details about the ongoing investigation into allegations of sexual misconduct against the department, claiming that releasing information could impede the probe and possible charges.

The local East Bay Express newspaper reported last Friday that as many as 21 officers from the Oakland police department and other area law enforcement agencies had sex with a teenage sex worker, including some while she was underage.

The newspaper based its report on interviews with the woman, elected officials, Oakland police sources as well as documents. Other media outlets have since published similar accounts.

Schaaf did acknowledge on Friday that an unrelated investigation was underway into the sharing of racist text messages by some black officers. Local broadcaster NBC Bay Area reported some of the messages contained racial slurs and images of the Ku Klux Klan.

Schaaf said she would not appoint another acting chief and command staff would instead report to City Administrator Sabrina Landreth.

“I feel that this is an appropriate time to place civilian oversight over this police department,” she said.

Former Oakland Police Chief Sean Whent, who had headed the department since May 2013 and was heralded by Schaaf for recent declines in shootings and murders, resigned last Thursday. Schaaf declined to elaborate on the move aside from saying Whent made a “personal choice.”

Schaaf replaced Whent with Ben Fairow, but changed course and removed him on Wednesday, saying only that she received “information” that made her question whether he could lead the department.

The news comes just days after the release of a Stanford University study on the department, which found that African American men were four times more likely to be searched during police traffic stops than whites and were more likely to be handcuffed even if they were not arrested.

 

 
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Posted by on June 20, 2016 in BlackLivesMatter

 

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Bringing Racist Policing to It’s Knees in Cleveland

Not sure why the Republicans chose to have their convention in Cleveland – but with the atmosphre created by their current candidate it’s going to be one hell of a mess.

In the meantime, in the city whose police murdered Tamir Rice and got away with it…There is change afoot.

The Preacher Who Took on the Police

Cop shootings have torn apart Cleveland. Jawanza Colvin says the way to heal the city is to root out racism from the legal system.

CLEVELAND — One night in February, a black preacher put the prosecutors on trial.

It had been two months since the prosecutor’s office in Cleveland’s Cuyahoga County persuaded a grand jury not to indict a white police officer who had shot and killed Tamir Rice, a 12-year-old boy, in a city park.

Now the prosecutor was running for reelection, and with the primary a month away, the Rev. Jawanza Karriem Lightfoot Colvin saw an opportunity to indict a judicial system that he had come to believe was rigged against black people. He and the activist group he co-founded summoned the two candidates—embattled county prosecutor Tim McGinty and challenger Mike O’Malley—to a forum at a synagogue in a Cleveland suburb.

There, Colvin thundered like judge, jury and executioner: “If you were young, poor, a minority of color, or one who lived in the city, you were profiled, arrested, charged, indicted, convicted and sentenced at an alarming, disproportionate level.” His preacher’s cadence brought the crowd of 1,000 at the Anshe Chesed Fairmount Temple to its feet—black and white, Jewish and Christian.

“We want action now! We want change now! We want reform now!” Colvin proclaimed. “Not next year, not next election! Not ’til the next death, the next tragedy, the next trial, the next press conference! We want it now!”

He had to wait just four weeks. McGinty lost the primary on March 15, all but assuring O’Malley of election in November. The vote further raised the local profile of a young religious leader who has vaulted to prominence in the wake of the Tamir Rice case. Some in this key city in a crucial swing state see what he has accomplished on an issue that has embroiled the entire country and predict that it might propel Colvin onto the national political stage.

Colvin, 41, is the pastor of Olivet Institutional Baptist Church, a large and storied African-American congregation in Cleveland, and he has taken a very different and far more aggressive approach to activism than older black ministers from the civil-rights generation. As co-founder of Greater Cleveland Congregations, a five-year-old community organizing group, Colvin has built alliances across majority-white Cuyahoga County on social justice issues. After Rice’s death and a damning report from the U.S. Justice Department, Colvin stood nearly alone among the city’s politically involved black ministers in challenging Frank Jackson, Cleveland’s popular African-American mayor, and publicly pressuring City Hall for changes in how Cleveland is policed.

“I would’ve liked to see bolder leadership,” Colvin says. “I think we undershot what true change looks like.”

When the 2,472 delegates, 15,000 media and 30,000 assorted other dignitaries, lobbyists and staff arrive next month for the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, they’ll be greeted by untold numbers of protesters. The Rev. Colvin, who plans to join two marches on the first day, will be at the center of the action, pushing an agenda of judicial reform that is gaining more national attention, even acceptance in conservative circles. But conventiongoers should expect to be challenged, even shocked, by Colvin’s message.

“The criminal justice system,” Colvin says, “in many respects, has replaced slavery.”…Read the Rest Here

 

 
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Posted by on June 17, 2016 in BlackLivesMatter

 

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Corey Jones’ Murderer Charged with “First Degree Murder” By Grand Jury and Arrested

Last October, after playing a gig, musician Cory Jones’ car broke down. He called his brother to pick him up, and a Tow Truck to haul his car away. While waiting by the curbside was accosted by Palm Beach Gardens Police Department officer Norman Raja and shot 6 times. Jones died at the scene. There was no evidence that Jones had committed any crime, was armed, or resisted. Raja was dismissed from the force.

Former Florida Cop Faces Charges in Shooting Death of Musician Corey Jones

The former Palm Beach Gardens Police Department officer who fatally shot 31-year-old musician Corey Jones on a Florida highway in October has been arrested, according to authorities.

A grand jury found that Nouman Raja’s use of force was not justified, said Dave Aronberg, state attorney for the 15th Judicial Circuit, which covers all of Palm Beach County.

Raja subsequently faces two felony charges: one count of manslaughter by culpable negligence, punishable by up to 15 years in prison, and one count of attempted first-degree murder with a firearm, punishable by up to life in prison, Aronberg said.

Raja, 32, was arrested and taken into custody today, Aronberg said. He could not comment further since the case is now pending.

In the early morning hours of Oct. 18, Jones was stranded with car troubles on I-95 in Palm Beach Gardens when Raja pulled up around 3:15 a.m. to “investigate what he believed to be an abandoned vehicle,” according to police.

When Raja exited the vehicle, he was confronted by an armed subject, police said in a statement. Raja shot Jones “as a result of the confrontation,” police said, killing him.

Phone records showed that Jones had requested roadside assistance at 1:44 a.m., according to a probable cause affidavit released by Aronberg’s office today. Almost an hour later, after the technician was unable to get his vehicle started, Jones told a bandmate that he was unwilling to leave her car for fear that his drum equipment may be stolen, the affidavit states. His bandmate drove away at 2:45 a.m. and was the last person to see Jones alive before Raja arrived on the scene.

Jones was on another call with roadside assistance when Raja arrived, and the exchange was recorded on the line, the affidavit states. After asking Jones if he was “good” more than once, Raja told him to get his “[expletive] hands up” twice before firing three gunshots in rapid succession, according to the affidavit. The call center operator that Jones was on the phone with could then be heard saying, “Oh my gosh!” while the sounds of pinging car door chimes rang in the background.

Raja was on duty at the time but was wearing sneakers, jeans, a tan T-shirt and tan baseball cap with the letters “CAT” stitched in red, according to the affidavit. He was driving a white Ford cargo van, the affidavit says. There had been a problem with late-night car burglaries in the area, and Raja was assigned to conduct surveillance on large parking lots that night, his immediate supervisor told investigators.

Raja was told to wear his tactical vest with police markings on it while he worked on the assignment “for safety reasons,” his supervisor said, according to the affidavit. Raja was not wearing the vest when he exited his car, the affidavit states.

About 33 seconds after the shooting, Raja used his personal cell phone to call 911, according to the affidavit. As the call connected, but before the operator could answer, Raja could be heard yelling “drop that [expletive] gun right now!” Raja then gave his location and said he had shot a person, requesting fire-rescue. He said he “lost contact” with the the person, which means he did not know where the person was located, according to the affidavit.

Raja described the person as a “black male wearing all black, dreads,” according to the affidavit. Raja said that he gave him commands after identifying himself, and that the man turned and pointed the gun at him and then started running.

Raja told the dispatcher he shot the man and that he had been “hit,” meaning shot “at least three to four times,” according to the affidavit.

Raja was placed on paid administrative leave following the shooting. He was eventually fired from the Palm Beach Gardens Police Department.

Additional officers then responded to the scene and found Jones’ body about 192 feet from the back of his car. A handgun was not found near Jones’ body, but instead about 72 feet from the rear of Jones’ vehicle, the affidavit says. He had purchased the gun three days before the shooting, and the box it was purchased in was found inside the car, police said.

Raja fired six shots at Jones with his personal Glock .40 caliber pistol, the affidavit states, because his department-issued firearm was in its holster inside the van.

Palm Beach County Medical Examiner Gertrude Juste ruled Jones’ death a homicide caused by a gunshot wound to his chest, according to the affidavit.

 
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Posted by on June 1, 2016 in BlackLivesMatter, The New Jim Crow

 

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Rooter-Tooter Oklahoma Ride Along Wannabe Cop Gets 4 Years for Manslaughter

4 Years is a bit light in my view (I was thinking 6-10) – but at 74, this guy might not make it out of prison. And there is no freaking way a “Reserve Deputy” should be carrying a gun/.

Former Oklahoma ‘pay-to-play’ deputy Robert Bates sentenced to four years for manslaughter

A former Oklahoma reserve deputy convicted in the fatal shooting of an unarmed man being subdued by regular deputies last year was sentenced on Tuesday to four years in prison for second-degree manslaughter.

Robert Bates, an insurance executive who volunteered as a reserve sheriff’s deputy in Tulsa County, was found guilty in April of the charge stemming from the 2015 death of Eric Harris.Bates, 74, will receive credit for time already served. He has been held at the Tulsa Jail since his conviction.

Lawyers for Bates said he thought he had a Taser rather than a gun in hand when he fired at Harris, 44. But prosecutors said Bates’ actions were tantamount to professional negligence.

The shooting, captured on video, was one in a series that raised questions of racial bias in U.S. policing. Bates is white and Harris, who was fleeing from deputies in Tulsa during a sting targeting illegal gun sales, was African-American.

 
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Posted by on May 31, 2016 in BlackLivesMatter

 

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Former “Cop of the Year” Gets Life For Child Predation

“Blue Lives Matter”? How about children? I imagine this guy got away with a lot of crimes because he was a cop. Police are not immune to any of the foibles of the human condition – including the most evil and dastardly. Which is why there needs to be a fair and open system of accountability.

Michael Harding (l) receiving “Officer of the Year”.

Former Fla. “Officer of the Year” sentenced in child porn case

A former police officer who in 2011 was the “Officer of the Year” in his department was sentenced Monday to life in prison for producing and distributing child pornography, reports CBS Miami.

Michael Harding pleaded guilty in February to three counts of possession and distribution of material involving sexual exploitation of minors, attempting to coerce and enticing a minor to engage in sexual activity and production of child pornography.

Harding, who won the “Officer of the Year” award for his work as a Port St. Lucie Police Department officer, posted pictures and videos to a chat room depicting children engaging in sexually explicit acts on multiple occasions in 2015, according to court documents.

On Sept. 22, homeland security agents executed a federal search warrant at Harding’s home and seized his computer, cell phone and a thumb drive. An analysis found they contained hundreds of pictures and videos of children engaged in sex acts with adults.

Harding, 28, also attempted to coerce and entice a minor to engage in sexual activity over the internet. Chat messages stored on his phone show a conversation he had with another person in which both people claimed to have custody of children who they would trade for sexual activity, documents say.

According to court records, Harding used his cellphone to shoot a video depicting his sexual contact with a child under the age of 12. Chat messages also located on the phone corroborated that the image on the phone depicted the abuse of the minor child.

 
 

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The Waco Horror, and Its Aftermath

Lynching in the South was a method not only t maintain white supremacy, but to intimidate and blackmail the local minority populations into staying in line. The result of lynchings in the early 1900’s for a lot of the South was the Great Black Migration, and the loss of a large part of their workforce. One of the most violent lynchings was that of Jesse Washington in Waco Texas.

Around sundown of May 8, 1916, Lucy Fryer, the wife of a well regarded cotton farmer, was found bludgeoned to death in the doorway of her seed house. Jesse Washington, who was illiterate and branded “feeble-minded”, confessed to the murder.

Soon after a jury found him guilty, a crowd of 2,000 men seized Washington, chained him, beat him and dragged him to the town square, where he was burned.

His fingers were amputated for souvenirs and his fingernails taken for keepsakes. Finally all that was left was a charred torso, but Washington’s body parts were put in a bag so they could be dragged through downtown.

About 15,000 people, half of Waco’s population, had gathered to watch the lynching.

 

A mob gathers around to watch the lynching of Jesse Washington.

The “Waco Horror” still reverberates, 100 years later

Mary Pearson doesn’t need to be reminded of Jesse Washington’s lynching.

The Robinson resident grew up hearing the stories from her grandmother, a relative of the 17-year-old farmhand who was tortured to death on Waco’s town square a century ago last Sunday. The moral was never precisely stated, but the horror has stuck with Pearson all her 67 years.

Just after the boy received a death sentence for murdering his white employer, a mob seized him and dragged him to City Hall, where they doused him with coal oil and hanged him over a pile of burning wooden crates. They carved his charred body into souvenirs and dragged it around town.

But even more troubling for Pearson was what didn’t happen: Law enforcement didn’t intervene in the lynching, nor did anyone in a crowd of 15,000 spectators.

“All the folks were standing around, most of them were white, and nobody said anything, nobody stood up to try to do anything,” Pearson said in an interview with the Waco Tribune-Herald after a recent proclamation by Waco’s mayor condemning the lynching. “It’s a hurt and frustration even to think about it. … It can cause me a heavy depression.

“Every time I think about it, I get really angry and I have to ask the Lord to help me.”

White Waco spent most of the 20th century trying to forget the atrocity, dubbed the “Waco Horror” by the national press. The incident stood as a turning point in national anti-lynching efforts and helped bring to prominence the NAACP, the nation’s oldest civil rights organization. But the atrocity received no mention in local history books until the late 1960s and was largely ignored or downplayed locally until 1998, when Councilman Lawrence Johnson publicly called for a memorial to “atone” for the lynching.

Meanwhile, the story survived on the frequency of a whisper in corners of the black community, in the form of legends and admonitions to sons and daughters.

Forgetting became impossible in the mid-2000s, when a series of books, exhibits and news articles brought the incident again to national attention. In 2006, the Waco City Council and McLennan County commissioners passed a general condemnation of the area’s lynching past.

The Community Race Relations Coalition and the NAACP have headed an effort to commemorate the centennial this spring with a lecture series, a march and a push to get a state historical marker for the lynching. The observances culminated with a “town hall” meeting at the Bledsoe-Miller Community Center.

The centennial is not meant to reopen old racial wounds or cast blame on anyone now living, said Peaches Henry, a McLennan Community College assistant English professor and president of the Waco NAACP. Rather, it’s an opportunity to bring whites and blacks together to reflect on a difficult shared history.

“Here’s the importance of history: It allows us to remind ourselves of both the good and the bad, and then to correct our course,” she said.

Henry said the city and county resolution against lynching a decade ago was a good start. The question of Washington’s innocence or guilt aside, Henry said city and county leaders failed to uphold the rule of law and were complicit in a heinous crime of torture.

The recent proclamation by Mayor Malcolm Duncan Jr. went further and specifically referred to the “heinous lynching of Jesse Washington.”

“It’s important to call the names of those who were wronged,” Henry said. “The same was true of the woman (Lucy Fryer) who was murdered. She was someone’s mother, sister and cousin. She was also important. For the council to offer a proclamation naming Jesse Washington is very significant. It means that in the public record he is no longer invisible.”

Those involved in the commemorations say burying the past doesn’t keep it from haunting the present.

Scheherazade Perkins, 64, a member of the race relations board, grew up in Waco and graduated from the black A.J. Moore High School in 1969. She never heard of the lynching until she was an adult, but it helped explain anxieties she heard when she was growing up.

“Obviously there is much that has been done, much progress that has been made,” Perkins said. “But there are processes that still go on, an unspoken terror that still exists, that makes people want to stay under the radar. It makes them hesitant to come forward with concerns for fear that they will be not only labeled but mistreated.

“Some of that lingers, not only with the older people who were right on the fringes of the atrocity, but with those who pass the same sentiment down: ‘Boy, you need to watch your mouth, because you never know.’ ”

The centennial comes at a time of national debate and unrest over police killings of unarmed black males, such as Freddie Gray in Baltimore; Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri; and 12-year-old Tamir Rice in Cleveland. A Washington Post investigation found that 40 percent of unarmed men shot and killed by police in 2015 were black, even though black men make up only 6 percent of the population.

Henry, the local NAACP president, said she has high regard for Waco police leadership, but she still has anxieties for her own son, an Eagle Scout and college junior, wherever he goes.

“There’s the talk that every young African-American man receives: When you get pulled over, keep your hands on the steering wheel,” she said. “You never make a move without letting the officer know.

“There’s nothing about my son when he is walking or driving down the street that can protect him.”

It’s a more subtle version of the same fear that African-Americans had a century ago, Henry said…Read the Rest Here

 

 
 

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