An Alaskan journalist's perspective on local and national issues

Posts tagged ‘Police’

Cop Kills Unarmed Naked College Student?

Boy, it’s almost getting hard to take this stuff seriously, isn’t it?  I mean, how can this possibly be real?  What kind of cop in his right mind would shoot a naked college student?  Here’s the story

In south Alabama, a college student, named Gil Collar, was doing as college students are want to do, and was running around naked.  Hopefully this wasn’t the result of a stupid Frat pledge or some other dumb thing.  However, this student found his away to a police station.  He was banging on the doors there, and an officer came out.  According to the officer, when he came out, the kid adopted a fighting stance.  The officer claims to have repeatedly tried to back off and “diffuse the situation,” but the kid just kept coming.  It was then that the officer’s next course of action was to draw his gun and kill the kid.  Yeah…this explanation is as bogus as it sounds.

First, let’s look at the facts.  This is a 130lb college student.  He is butt-naked, and has no weapons on him.  He is banging on a police station window at 1 in the morning.  He supposedly took a fighting stance when a cop comes out after he was banging on a window.  This officer, who probably not only had a gun on him, but probably had a taser, or a baton, or some mace, and also his fists (which come equipped with hours upon hours of hand-to-hand combat training), shot and killed this kid.  Seeing the problems?

How could this officer have felt that his life was in danger?  This is a well-trained cop going up against a naked kid.  That is not only ridiculous, it is down-right silly.  And as you can imagine, this story that is filled with plot-holes has not been well-received by the community.  They think that it is just as bogus as this particular blogger.

There is no way, unless this was some idiot rookie who didn’t know that all that training can actually be used for something, this story makes no sense.  And of course, the “horrible” punishment for an officer who appears to have killed someone for no good reason is that he has been put on paid leave while they investigate.  These cases almost universally favor the cops, so you can bet that the officer won’t be punished in any significant way.  In fact, he is probably going to walk away unscathed, as police almost always do.

We have talked about this before, but it bears repeating – something needs to be done about the cops!  Are are giving thugs uniforms, badges, guns, and almost complete legal immunity.  These are a class of people who have no fear of the hammer coming down on them.  That has to go!  We need oversight on these guys!

Every week, it seems, we are hearing stories about the police killing people’s pets, like in Missouri, where the cops killed the family dog, pepper-sprayed the puppies, and were going to kill the puppies, all during what was supposed to be a marijuana bust (and they only found a bag, which was enough for a misdemeanor charge).  And the murdering of pets is nothing new.  There is a blog where it is documented when police kill a family’s animals.

There are a lot of states in this country where people are getting in trouble for filming the police.  That’s interesting.  Why would the police not want to be filmed?  Could it be because they don’t want their thuggish tactics and their blatant abuse of power getting out.

A warning to all cops – you are now being watched.  You are now in the public eye.  You are not safe.  The internet knows who you are, and the internet does not forgive and forget.  The internet will still be here tomorrow.  The public is wise to your game, and we are going to fight back.

We. Are. Watching you.

Something America Forgot: Absolute Power Corrupts

It is very true, you know.  The people of this country seem to have totally forgotten that having unlimited power and virtually no oversight is a guaranteed way to breed corruption.  But why does that matter?  What effect does it have on the world right now?  Well, to answer that question, one has to look at the police forces of America.  In this post, several stories of police corruption are going to show this very contention.

The first story is from New York City.  The story goes that a black man named Jatik Reed.  He was stopped by cops, claiming that they saw him smoking marijuana, and had a bag that supposedly had Crack residue inside of it.  The police then claim that he threw a punch at them, so they proceeded to brutally assault him.  Of course, video footage was released showing that this was an unprovoked attack.

All over the country, the police are filmed doing stuff like this, but one interesting reaction was during the case in Florida.  Police surrounded the parked car of Raymond Herisse.  They fire at his car with abandon, killing him and wounding several bystanders.  One witness describes that the police were shooting until their guns were empty.  With a half-dozen cops shooting the standard-issue Glock pistol that police are issued, that is a potential of 90 rounds going into the car of a man who is parked and from all evidence, never shot back or opened fire.  It was a revenge-killing.

The reason that this story is important is because one man filmed the cops with his phone.  When the police saw this, they went over and took the phone from him, smashing it on the ground.  Luckily, the footage survived of the police murdering this man because this man who filmed them was quick enough to hide the SIM card in his mouth, even as the cops assaulted him and took his camera.

All over this country, stories come up of the police arresting people and even sometimes charging them with crimes for filming them breaking the laws that they are trying to protect.  It is a right that is guaranteed that the average citizen can film the police, as a measure of ensuring justice, but the bigger question is – what is it that they want to hide?

Perhaps it is stories like one that happened in Fulton, Missouri.  The SWAT police there raided a house, looking for drugs, and decided that they would shoot the family dog.  When it got off of its chain, the police shot the dog six times with their pistols, and twice with shotguns.  But the story doesn’t end there.  The police went over to the puppies of this dog, who were in a cage.  They pepper-sprayed the puppies, and the were even about to shoot them.  Of course, they only found enough marijuana in this man’s house to get him a misdemeanor charge.  Pepper-spraying puppies, for a misdemeanor.

That’s another thing – murdering a family’s pet is nothing new.  There is an entire blog that shows the instances where the police have murdered a family dog.  But what would have happened had the cops who pepper-sprayed the puppies gotten filmed?  What would have been their punishment?  Well, in all likelihood, nothing.  They wouldn’t have gotten punished at all.

It can’t be denied that there is little to no fire that the police in this country’s feet are being held to.  It is every week that a story comes out of some cop who arrests a girl for “abusing 911” when her dad was having a seisure, or brutally assaulting somebody on the street, or pepper-spraying puppies.  These cops do these things, and little to nothing happens to them.  In fact, the legal system of this country is complicit in this abuse of power

For those who deny that, here is another story.  In the city of Philadelphia, there was a police officer named Michael Paige.  He forced a man, named James Harris, to give him oral sex in his police cruiser.  When charges were pressed against him, the judge came to the decision that Harris was lying, and that this was consensual sex that he was claiming was sexual assault.  This cop forces a man to perform oral sex, and he has no punishment whatsoever.  The legal system is absolutely in favor of this abuse.

Finally, a story from all over the country.  Police are seizing people’s assets, not even charging them with anything.  They pick targets who are poor enough so that they can be reasonably sure that this person will not fight back against them.  They take their stuff and auction it off to make money.

America has created a culture where we are giving badges and guns to people, requring very little training for them.  They are given nearly-infinite authority over other people, and are now being affirmed that the hammer of justice will not come down on them when they do something wrong.  Why do people think that such a position wouldn’t attract some total and complete deranged lunatics?  Why do they think that there wouldn’t be a large number of people in that profession who are sociopaths, looking to exercise their authority over others?

Absolute power corrupts.  This is something history has taught us.  And yet, we are not hearing anything from the public.  When one comes onto a website and says something, or video footage is released, what is the reaction?  For the most part, blind compliance.  People simply choose not to listen to it, or claim, “it’s just a few bad apples.”

The problem goes deeper than that, and until we get some oversight on the cops, and hold their feet to the fire, this kind of rampant abuse will continue, and Officer Paige will force more men to blow him.  More puppies will get pepper-sprayed.  And more people will get beaten on the side of the road for no reason.

Of course, they will do that, with the parents of all the children saying, “the police officer is your friend.”

Peace out,

Lefty

Internet Justice for Trayvon Martin?

Well, the truth may never truly be explained about what happened to Trayvon Martin.  The one piece of evidence that has been determined is that Zimmerman’s story is a complete farce.  This man lied outright about being in danger, and the world knows it.  But he still walks free.  This man is getting away with murder.

Or is he?

Enter the internet.  This lovely domain where all ideas are welcome, and anybody can voice an opinion.  Along with the internet has come a new form of group-mentality.  The mentality is that the group comes to consensus about something, and it spreads.  For things like this, when an injustice is committed, it spreads across the internet, and from there, the bulk of the people are able to get involved.

So what does that mean for Zimmerman?  That means that the internet has crucified this man.  Rightly so.  Regardless of the truth, Zimmerman is a murderer.  He killed this kid, who was screaming, in cold blood.  These are now facts, now that the 911 tapes have been released.  Like wildfire, it spread across the internet, and the entire blogosphere and mediasphere has come alive.

There’s a new saying – what enters the internet is forever.  Sarah Palin, the quitter governor of my state, found this out herself after that Gabby Giffords shooting.  A graphic she had on her Twitter got her the lambasting and ridicule of all reasonable people.  For good reason, it was incredibly inappropriate.  But it’s proof that she is forever tarred and feathered to the public, and she lost any and all remaining credibility.  (what little she had left)

What does this mean for Zimmerman?  It maens that the rest of his life, this is going to follow him around.  In the racist communities of Florida, it probably won’t.  But his face is known, now.  He is a pariah of racism and murder.  He escape justice from the legal system, however, he will never escape the hatred of the internet, and since the internet is so key in our lives, he will never escape hatred.

To go anywhere and receive looks of hatred.  To know that never will you be welcome, truly welcome, anywhere, because the people will know that you are a cold-blooded murderer.  To never have a home that you can truly belong to.  Perhaps that is a greater justice than any jail cell could ever have been for Zimmerman.

Another place this justice goes is toward the cops.  They are complicit in lying for this man.  Their version of events is that George Zimmerman was screaming.  Why?  Was he scared of Skittles?  They are terrifying, I know, but this kid was unarmed.  The screams are from Trayvon.  You know this because the screams suddenly stop after he is shot.

The internet has also shown the pathetic either open racism, or open corruption of the cops.  It’s becoming more and more a trend that America has no love for the police.  Where once the children were told that the officer if their friend, they are now told that the officer is not to be trusted.  For good reason, too.  They officer isn’t to be trusted.  The cops know all of what has happened here, and yet, they have (so far as I know) done nothing.  They have sat back and watched this play out.

But the internet has crucified them too.  It’s almost beautiful how social justice is becoming more powerful than official justice.  You got to jail, so what?  You kill a kid, you’re known forever as a murderer who killed a guy who was trying to bring Skittles home to his brother.  His brother probably got upset that his Skittles were late, not knowing that the man who was going to bring them to him is lying dead in the street.

It’s a beautiful day for online justice.  A beautiful day.  This is something that needs to grow, because if the police won’t do the right thing, and show these people for who they are, we have to.  Now, I am not arguing for vigilante justice.  That won’t get us anywhere.  I am arguing for something worse – social outcast syndrome.  Make them never feel welcome anywhere.  Being alone, now that’s true punishment.  And hopefully, it will last forever.

That’s how we can avenge Trayvon Martin’s death.

Peace out,

Lefty

It is starting to look like the police want a war

Watching the Occupy protests across the country is getting a little harder for a person to do without wondering what exactly the thinking of the leaders of this country is when they have people who are supposed to lead it, and lead it peacefully, are having cops who are given free-reign and told that they will not have any consequences violently putting down peaceful protests.

All of the actions against the Occupy protesters have been for bad reasoning.  The clearing of Zucotti Park was because of some worthless litter laws.  As YouTube vlogger TJ Kincaid put it

I mean, maybe it’s just me, and maybe I’m crazy, but I just feel like a local litter ordinance should take a backseat to the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America.

The reasoning behind the police and their attack against the Occupy protestors is getting stretched.  But they keep at it.  They keep pepper-spraying crowds.  They keep attacking innocent people.  They keep using “non-lethal” force against people who have done nothing wrong.  It is getting to the point in this country where it looks like the police want these peaceful protests to become violent, so they can just kill all the protesters off.

There was a segment that Rachel Maddow did on her show where she looked at all the new “non-lethal” weapons that the military has invented.  A lot of military-grade weaponry is being used against the protesters!  What is going on here?  If the police are using military weapons, it looks more and more like they want a war.  They want those they are attacking to fight back.

It is a critical flaw that has never been addressed in this country – how we are giving people who have had very little training, and have no real credential or any other significant requirements the power to have power over others and to be accountable to no one.  They are given power over people who have no power, and throughout this nation’s history, this power has been abused.

Perhaps the best example is at UC Davis this last week.  Two cops walk up to eleven students who are sitting on the ground and start macing them.  They have an unprovoked attack against them, and immediately, the other cops jump up and defend them.

It was for the safety of the officers and the arrestees, so they could get out, so we could leave!”

That was a quote from Chief Annette Spicuzza.  That is a lie.  It is an outright lie.  Take a look at the picture to the right.  Does it look like this guy who is mercilessly attacking these students is surrounded?  Does he feel trapped?  No.  That’s an outright lie.  But this is how it always works.  It is how it worked in the case of Anthony Bologna, and it is how it is working here.  The police face no real charges when they abuse their mandate to protect and serve.  They never feel the hammer of the law come down on them.  The fact is the police have demonstrated why they are not the protectors of the people.  They are thugs who are above the law.

And more and more, it is looking like they want a war.  There was a great quote by John F. Kennedy which seems to describe what is looking to happen in this country.

Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.”

And that is what it looks like is going to happen now.  Why don’t the leaders of this country understand this?  President Obama has been oddly silent about this peaceful revolution since when he came on and said that we shouldn’t blame all the bankers for what has happened in this country.  Now, he is nowhere to be found.  He once promised that if we weren’t content with the situation and we decided to protest, he would put on a pair of shoes and go out into the streets with them.  But he is nowhere to be found.

This government had better figure things out fast, because if you put down peace for too long, JFK was right, it does turn violent.

Peace out,

Lefty

Occupy Together vs. The Police

There is a rather dark concept that is coming up all over the country.  Here in Alaska, we have had several protests here.  Alas, while unable to make it to the events because of prior engagements, we are paying close attention to the protests here in Anchorage.  There are even protests in our hometown of Wasilla, which is pretty impressive, considering how Wasilla seems to be mostly Tea Party conservatives.  Of course, Alaska hasn’t had the big problems that these movements are having down in the states.

While this movement is becoming the largest global protest that there is, there is one group who are clearly showing where their colors stand – the police.  The law seems to be siding with the corporate elite of this country.  Arrests have been going on ever since the beginning of this endeavor.  Mayor Bloomberg of New York is on a campaign to shut this whole thing down.  It is part of a growing battle between the people who are being oppressed, and their oppressors.

The police clearly are standing with the oppressors.  From the arrests that were made at the beginning, to the fact that the cops who are abusing these people do not suffer any justice.  There was one cop, Anthony Bologna, who pepper sprayed a bunch of protestors.  The video of him doing this went viral, and of course, he is completely innocent.  The punishment that he received was less than a slap on the wrist.  It was a joke.  He loses some vacation days, and some pay.  Well whoop-tee-doo.  He attacks a bunch of defenseless peaceful protestors, along with other cops, and he doesn’t suffer for it.  And he doesn’t feel bad, what’s more.

I did not intend to spray the women…I acted with the best intentions.  I was shell-shocked when the video went viral.  But if I could turn back the clock, I’d do things the same way.”

That is Anthony Bologna in an article he did in The New York Post.  He is guilty as sin of basically macing a bunch of women who were not outside the law, and he doesn’t feel a bit of remorse about it, nor does he feel the hammer of the law.  It is becoming clearer and clearer that the police believe themselves to be above the law.  They believe themselves to be immune from justice.  So far, they seem to be right.  The police are thugs who work for the system, and not only do they work for the system, but they break the law in doing so.

The Fourth Amendment states specifically that people are protected from unlawful searches and seizures.  They are arresting people left and right, often with no charge at all.  There was the man who was approaching the cops, arms in the air, in the universal symbol for coming in peace, and the cops threw him to the ground and arrested him.  Unprovoked, unreasonable, and he suffered for it.

If we don’t have rule of law that curtails arbitrary police power, then our democracy becomes a sham.”

That was from an interview with Dr. Cornel West during an interview on Martin Bashir on MSNBC.  He is absolutely right.  The police more and more are showing that they believe that they can do whatever they want, and they don’t have to suffer for their crimes.

In Utah, there was a group of people who was dancing at a football game.  It was a traditional Maori dance that was done in the postgame.  The police attacked them with pepper spray.  Their reasoning – they were blocking the players for leaving the field.  According to all witnesses to the event, that line of reasoning is false.  These dancers were not a risk, and the cops decided to pepper-spray them, along with several fans in the stands, causing people to run from the place.

And these are just a few examples.  Occupy Wall Street is the example that is getting the most attention right now, but the fact is that the lack of accountability that the police has is something that affects us all.  Eventually, it won’t be just in New York City.  It will be in Anchorage, Wasilla, and other places as well, when the public finally realizes what the right thing is to do.  However, this must continue.

Groups like Anonymous are with Occupy Together, and so are several celebrities.  It is time for us to stand together as a people, and to demand accountability, not just from the financial institution, but also from the people who own them.

Perhaps Anonymous should close this article –

In just a little over a week, Occupy initiatives has sprung up in over 30 cities.  This is now bigger than you and me.  It is a collective 99% that will no longer stand for the corruption, greed, and inequality that is rampant within our governing bodies.”

Peace out,

Lefty

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