Tag Archives: police deaths

Protests Continue Over Killing of Stephon Clark as Autopsy Reveals Officers Shot Him in the Back

“This independent autopsy affirms that Stephon was not a threat to police,” says family’s attorney.

By Andrea Germanos, staff writer for CommonDreams. Published 3-31-2018

Results of an independent autopsy on Friday debunk the police assertion that Stephon Clark was facing and advancing towards the officers. (Photo: Stephen Melkisethian/flickr/cc)

Protests over the deadly police shooting of 22-year-old unarmed Stephon Clark are continuing on Saturday, with a former NBA player set to lead a rally in Sacramento to continue the call for justice and accountability.

“I love Sacramento and this community will always be a part of me,” said Matt Barnes, whose basketball career included playing with the Sacramento Kings. “As the father of two boys, I can’t stay silent on this issue. We clearly need to unite, organize, and act to bring the accountability that is so desperately needed. This rally is the beginning to seeing that change.”

The schedule rally follows four consecutive nights of protests over the March 18 shooting. Continue reading

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Black Lives Matter Supporters Call Attention to Graphic Video of Arizona Shooting

“Consider that Shaver might well be alive if only the Mesa police department had long ago adopted reforms of the sort that Black Lives Matter suggests.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for CommonDreams. Published 12-9-2017

Daniel Shaver, left, was shot to death by Office Philip Brailsford, right, in January 2016. Prominent Black Lives Matter supporters have drawn attention to his death as the latest clear sign that major policing reforms are needed in the U.S. (Photo: @NolanHack/Twitter)

Black Lives Matter activists were among those who used social media on Friday and Saturday to call attention to the case of Daniel Shaver, a 26-year-old man who was shot to death by a police officer in Mesa, Arizona in January 2016.

A disturbing, graphic video of the shooting was released shortly after the officer who killed Shaver, who was white, was acquitted of second-degree murder.

The video shows Shaver following the officer’s instructions to crawl toward him and begging him not to shoot. Continue reading

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Ayotzinapa three years later: new light, few answers

A reconstruction of the events surrounding the disappearances of the 43 Mexican students has highlighted the mistakes authorities commit. Sadly, we may never get to the bottom of what really happened.

By Manuella Libardi. Published 9-26-2017 by openDemocracy

Credit: Forensic Architecture.

The third anniversary of the the disappearance of the 43 Ayotzinapa Rural Teachers’ College students (known as normalistas) in Iguala, Guerrero, Mexico has come and has brought new developments with it.

Forensic Architecture, a London-based agency that conducts research on behalf of international prosecutors, human rights organizations, and political and environmental justice groups, has reconstructed the events of Sept. 26 and 27, 2014, which is presented as a forensic tool for parents, investigators and the general public to further the investigation. The interactive platform depicts a vivid account showing federal and state police agents in the vicinity at the moment when 43 students disappeared from Iguala. Continue reading

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Blue Lives Matter: Police Exceptionalism Leading America Toward Second Civil War

By Claire Bernish. Published 7-23-2016 by The Anti-Media

PORTLAND OREGON - NOV 17: Police in Riot Gear Holding the Line in Downtown Portland Oregon during a Occupy Portland protest on the first anniversary of Occupy Wall Street November 17 2011

PORTLAND OREGON – NOV 17: Police in Riot Gear Holding the Line in Downtown Portland Oregon during a Occupy Portland protest on the first anniversary of Occupy Wall Street November 17 2011

United States — Lurched back and forth in the ever-quickening spiral of an American empire circling the drain, we — as a people — have chosen battle lines on nearly every issue from politics to foreign policy, domestic surveillance to policing.

Thrust back into national focus, the last issue — policing in the U.S. — might even surpass in contention the ongoing race to the White House. And it stands to reason, with the world lashing out against failed globalism in its various nefarious incarnations — largely driven by American exceptionalist military presence nearly everywhere on the planet — the empire sees expediency in heading off a possible insurrection. Continue reading

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Bahamas to Its Citizens Traveling to the US: Beware of out of Control Cops

By Clarice Palmer. Published 7-9-2016 by The Anti-Media

The International Arrivals Hall at Boston Logan International Airport's Terminal E. Photi: hildgrim/flickr/CC

The International Arrivals Hall at Boston Logan International Airport’s Terminal E. Photi: hildgrim/flickr/CC

It appears even foreigners are scared of United States law enforcement.

The Bahamian government is warning its citizens to use extreme caution when traveling to the United States. The recommendation follows the “extrajudicial killings” of blacks, Caribbean outlet Antillean Media Group (AMGreports, “which have spurred increased unrest across America.” Continue reading

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“Why Do You Have to Make These Shootings About Race?” Because They Are

By PM Beers. Published 7-9-2016 by The Anti-Media

#BlackLivesMatter protest in St. Paul- September 2015. Photo: Fibonacci Blue from Minnesota, USA [CC BY 2.0 ], via Wikimedia Commons

#BlackLivesMatter protest in St. Paul – September 2015. Photo: Fibonacci Blue from Minnesota, USA [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Baton Rouge, LA —Why do you always have to make it about race?

Because it IS about race.”

This is a common, growing conversation in the United States.

PolRacismtweet1 Continue reading

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Legal Experts Raise Alarm over Shocking Use of ‘Killer Robot’ in Dallas

‘The fact that the police have a weapon like this…is an example of the militarization of the police and law enforcement—and goes in the wrong direction’

By Nadia Prupis, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 7-8-2016

Dallas Police Chief David Brown giving a press conference on Friday morning. (Screenshot)

Dallas Police Chief David Brown giving a press conference on Friday morning. (Screenshot)

As news emerges that police officers in Dallas, Texas used an armed robot to kill the suspected shooter in Thursday night’s ambush, experts are warning that it represents a sea change in police militarization that only heightens risks to human and constitutional rights.

Dallas Police Chief David Brown said Friday morning during a press conference that police “saw no other option but to use our bomb robot and place a device on its extension for it to detonate” where the suspect had taken refuge in a parking garage as police tried to negotiate with him, adding that he was “deceased as a result of detonating the bomb.” Continue reading

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Israel’s New Open-Fire Rule Authorizes ‘Extra-Judicial Execution’ of Palestinian Youths

Israeli police regulations, previously kept classified, permit preemptive and fatal recourse against suspected stone-throwers

By Lauren McCauley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 7-5-2016

Palestinian teens protesting the murder of Mohammed Abu Khdeir. Photo: Flash 90

Palestinian teens protesting the murder of Mohammed Abu Khdeir. Photo: Flash 90

Israeli police are officially permitted to use deadly force against stone-throwing Palestinian teenagers, according to updated regulations made public on Tuesday by an Israel-based human rights organization.

The new open-fire regulations, revealed by Adalah, a rights organization and legal center that defends Palestinians living in Israel as well as the occupied territories, state that “an officer is permitted to open fire [with live ammunition] directly on an individual who clearly appears to be throwing or is about to throw a firebomb, or who is shooting or is about to shoot fireworks, in order to prevent endangerment.” Continue reading

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FBI’s Own Report Exposes “War on Cops” as Pure Propaganda — It’s the Citizens Who Are in Danger

The objective here, once again, is to penalize rhetoric as a criminal act against a member of a specially protected class. Apparently, the “War on Cops” won’t be won until citizens who criticize them face criminal prosecution for doing so.

Written by William N. Grigg. Published May 18 by Free Thought Project.

Image via Flickr

Image via Flickr

Following a year in which the public was relentlessly barraged with alarmist rhetoric about a “war on cops” and the dreadful impact of the so-called “Ferguson Effect,” official FBI statistics confirm that violent line-of-duty police deaths declined precipitously in 2015.

According to the Bureau:

“Preliminary statistics … show that 41 law enforcement officers were feloniously killed in the line of duty in 2015. This is a decrease of almost 20 percent when compared with the 51 officers killed in 2014.” A greater number of officers (45) suffered fatal injuries in duty-related accidents, 41 of which involved motor vehicles.

Through May 17 of this year, according to the Officer Down Memorial Page, there have been 35 line-of-duty police officer deaths, 21 of which involve violence, such as gunfire or vehicular assault. This suggests that 2016 might see an increase in that grim total, but fortunately that remains only a possibility.

Throughout 2015, law enforcement officials, police unions, and even FBI Director James Comey warned of a “war on cops” that was supposedly an outgrowth of what they called the “Ferguson Effect” – police reluctance to use force because of concerns over negative publicity. On May 10, for instance, Comey reiterated that theme, insisting that the “viral video effect” has changed “the way police may be acting” by inhibiting them from taking assertive action to deal with violent crime. This supposedly leaves police more insecure, thereby emancipating criminals to wreak havoc on under-protected communities.

However, as former Baltimore police officer-turned-police reform advocate Michael Wood Jr. told The Intercept, there are cases in which less aggressive policing has corresponded to a decline in violent crime: Where police don’t treat the public as an enemy to be subdued, the public responds by seeking help, and giving it, in the effort to deter crimes against persons and property.

“Police now for the first time are having to consider the consequences of being brutal, being unethical, and doing things that for the longest time they could do and not be accountable for,” Wood declares. “But that doesn’t make crime happen.”

Comey’s melodramatic statements about a “chill wind blowing through law enforcement,” and reliance on things he has been told “in lots of conversations privately with police leaders” demonstrate that “he is pushing an ideology,” Woods continues. “Comey’s position is that if the armed enforcement wing of the government takes its boot off the neck of the public, just a little, then we will just become killers.”

While fewer police suffered violent deaths last year than in any year since 2013 – when 27 officers were feloniously killed – there is no evidence that the police have been inhibited in the use of deadly force. According to unofficial tabulations, at least 1,200 Americans died in violent encounters with the police last year. Official notice is taken of each of the exceedingly rare instances in which police are violently killed, but there is no official tally of people killed by the police, or accounting for whether each use of lethal force was legally justified.

It is true, as Comey and other law enforcement officials have said, that last year’s murder rate was about eleven percent higher than the year before, as defined by crime statistics gathered in the country’s 30 largest cities. However, as the Brennan Center for Justice points out in its detailed report on the subject, “Even with the 2015 increases, murder rates are roughly the same as they were in 2012”; furthermore, while murder rates were up in 14 of the 30 largest cities, 11 others saw that rate go down last year.

When all documented offenses against persons and property were taken into account, elaborates the Brennan Center, the crime rate for 2015 declined by 1.5 percent.

“It is important to remember just how much crime has fallen in the last 25 years,” underscores the Brennan Center report. “The crime rate is now half what it was in 1990, and almost a quarter (22 percent) less than it was at the turn of the century.”

Since violent on-duty police deaths are vanishingly rare, and crime of all kinds at near-historic lows, what is the real “Ferguson Effect”?

Perhaps the true meaning of that expression is found in the emergence of a movement spearheaded by police unions to define law enforcement as a “specially protected category” for the purposes of “hate crimes” prosecution.

Police officers already enjoy the benefits of “Blue Privilege” – qualified immunity and special consideration in the use of occupational violence. Criminal offenses against police officers are already treated as serious felonies. However, at the urging of police unions and their allies, legislatures in several states are considering bills that would treat violence against police – such as actively resisting arrest – as hate crimes.

Versions of that legislation, which is supported by the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) – the country’s largest police union – have been introduced in Maryland and Louisiana, and as ordinances in several cities. The Louisiana bill, HB 953, would make any offense committed against a person or property because of “actual or perceived … employment as a law enforcement officer or firefighter” a felony punishable by up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine.

An FOP-supported bill in Maryland that would likely serve as a model for federal legislation would make resisting arrest a “hate crime” owing to the identity of the supposed victim. State legislatures elsewhere are considering similar measures, and some municipal governments are enacting resolutions endorsing the FOP’s demand to swaddle police officers in federal “specially protected” status.

In a letter to President Obama, Chuck Canterbury, National President of the armed tax-feeders’ union, demanded that “the current Federal hate crimes law be expanded to include law enforcement officers. This call has gone unanswered and our nation’s law enforcement officers continue to die in the streets.”

Displaying tone-deafness as to what his comments say about the supposed valor of police officers, Canterbury demanded that cops be designated a “specially protected” group who are “hunted and targeted just because of the uniform they wear.” This woeful account of insurgent criminals and besieged cops evolved into a demand that “hate speech” be treated as a federal offense.

“Elected officials are quick to console the families of the fallen and praise us for the difficult and dangerous work that we do every day,” sniffles the FOP commissar. “Yet, too many are silent when the hate speech floods the media with calls for violence against police or demands that police stand down and give them” – Canterbury never defines “them,” interestingly – “`room to destroy.’ The violence will not end until the rhetoric does which is why I have called on Congress and your Administration to work with us to address the surge of violence against police by expanding the Federal hate crimes law to protect police.” (Emphasis added.)

The objective here, once again, is to penalize rhetoric as a criminal act against a member of a specially protected class. Apparently, the “War on Cops” won’t be won until citizens who criticize them face criminal prosecution for doing so.

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