Recent Developments in Killed by Police Cases: Good, Bad, and Suspect

(Damn, I hadn’t wanted to write up more of this stuff so soon; when will it ever slow down, much less…stop? Become unnecessary or rare?)

First, some measure of justice:  (h/t Alice X):

‘In Historic Police Brutality Case, Family of Homeless Denver Pastor Killed in Custody Awarded $4.6M’, DemocracyNow!

Meet Marvin Booker speaking on July 4, 2007. He was murdered by five Denver sheriff’s deputies in 2010; keep a hankie handy. The deputies were never charged or disciplined.

From Atlantblackstar.com:

Booker’s death came as a result of the deputies’ mind-blowingly inhumane treatment of the frail 56-year-old: they used a Taser on him while he was handcuffed, then put him in a sleeper hold and laid on top of him.

Denver’s medical examiner ruled the death a homicide, saying it was caused by cardiorespiratory arrest during restraint. Other factors in his death were emphysema, an enlarged heart and recent cocaine use, according to the medical examiner. [snip]

Booker’s struggle with the deputies was initiated, according to other inmates, when Booker was ordered to sit down in the jail’s booking area but instead moved to collect his shoes, which he had taken off earlier to be more comfortable. He was in jail because he had been arrested on an outstanding warrant for drug possession.

But the deputies said Booker was cursing and refusing to follow orders, which apparently required them to use a Taser and sleeper hold on the frail man. Thomas Rice, a lawyer representing the city of Denver, told jurors the actions taken by the deputies were in line with the sheriff department’s policies for handling a combative inmate.’

Memorials to Mr. Booker’s murder by police often featured…shoes. Financial awards in wrongful death lawsuits aren’t justice, but they are at least some measure of justice.  

From Amy Goodman at the above link:

In July, Sheriff Gary Wilson resigned after Denver agreed to pay $3.3 million to settle another federal jail abuse lawsuit by a former prisoner over a beating. It was the largest payout in Denver history to settle a civil rights case—until the Booker case, which the city refused to settle.’

Justice for the murder of a black teenager but not by police

From the Guardian: ‘‘Michael Dunn sentenced to life without parole for killing of Florida teenager’: Dunn given maximum possible sentence plus 90 years for killing of 17-year-old Jordan Davis and three attempted murders in ‘loud music’ dispute

‘At his murder trial that ended on 1 October, Dunn admitted firing 10 shots into the youths’ Dodge Durango during the altercation over loud music blaring from the SUV parked alongside his car. Even though he fired the final shots as the vehicle sped away, he claimed he was acting in self-defence because Davis, he said, had brandished a gun and moved to attack him after refusing to turn the volume down. Police found no weapon and witnesses said they never saw one.

Dunn maintained his innocence during a brief address to the court on Friday, in which he repeated the claim he made at his trial that he felt his life was in danger.

Judge Russell Healey sentenced him to serve maximum prison terms on all counts: life without parole for the first-degree murder of Davis, three consecutive 30-year sentences for the attempted second-degree murder of the teenager’s friends, who were in the car with him, and an additional 15 years for shooting into a moving vehicle. You may remember that Dunn had claimed that Davis had pointed a gun at him through the car’s window. No witnesses saw a gun, and no gun was found at or near the scene. Masoninblue had been covering the trial and retrial here. The sentence will at least of some comfort to Davis’s family and friends, I’m sure.

Killer Kop (Charles) Kleinert’s trial was postponed for the fourth time since his indictment on manslaughter charges for murdering Larry Jackson, Jr.

The grand jury indicted Charles Kleinert on May 12, ruling: “… that Kleinert:

“did then and there recklessly cause the death of Larry Jackson by striking and by attempting to strike Larry Jackson with the defendant’s hand while holding a loaded firearm. The indictment also said that Kleinert created a “substantial and unjustifiable risk” in his attempt to seize Jackson while holding a loaded firearm.” Manslaughter is a second degree felony. If found guilty, Kleinert faces prison time of 2-20 years and a fine not to exceed $10,000. More on that strangely worded indictment later.

On July 26, police were investigating a robbery at the Benchmark Bank during business hours. When Larry Eugene Jackson, Jr. tried to enter the bank, he discovered the doors were locked. Detective Kleinert, smelling a rat, fled after the pre-suspect, but falling behind, he commandeered a citizen’s car in the process. Under a nearby bridge, Jackson and Kleinert struggled, where Kleinert beat him, breaking his ribs and perforating his colon. He then placed his gun to the back of Larry’s neck and pulled the trigger.

From MyFoxAustin, Oct. 1:

‘A local grassroots organization is pushing the Travis County District Attorney’s office for a speedier prosecutor of a former APD officer. The People’s Task Force was protesting in front of the courthouse today.

Organizers say today would have been the pre-trial hearing for former Detective Charles Kleinert but it was reset for the fourth time. Kleinert was indicted for manslaughter this year for the July 2013 shooting death of Larry Jackson, Jr.

Protestors held signs like “Rosemary Stop Stalling,” referring to DA Rosemary Lehmberg, and “No Plea Deal.”

Lucian Villasenor with People’s Task Force says,”We’re really confident, because when you look at this case, it’s such a blatant miscarriage of justice.”

In August, the City of Austin approved a $1.25 million dollar settlement for Jackson’s children.’

Yes: no plea deal, Rosemary! (And if wishes were horses, beggars would…)

The Suspicious (h/t Ruth Calvo)

From CNN: ‘Report: Michael Brown’s blood found on Officer Darren Wilson’s gun, car’

‘Forensic tests have found the blood of Michael Brown on the gun, uniform and police cruiser belonging to Officer Darren Wilson, who fatally shot the unarmed teen two months ago, The New York Times reported. FBI forensic tests showed the gun was fired twice in the car, with one bullet hitting Brown’s arm while the second one missed, the newspaper said.

In addition to Wilson’s uniform and gun, forensic tests found the teen’s blood on the interior door panel of his car, The Times said.’

How very convenient that after all these weeks since Brown was virtually lynched on Aug. 9, the FBI offers this forensic evidence on October 17. But it gets even creepier that it matches Wilson’s leaked testimony to the Grand Jury. Jeez, color me skeptical.  No, scrap that: Wilson will never be indicted, and they’re just itchin’ for riots in Ferguson and across the land.

From the NY Times:

‘WASHINGTON — The police officer who fatally shot Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., two months ago has told investigators that he was pinned in his vehicle and in fear for his life as he struggled over his gun with Mr. Brown, according to government officials briefed on the federal civil rights investigation into the matter.

The officer, Darren Wilson, has told the authorities that during the scuffle, Mr. Brown reached for the gun. It was fired twice in the car, according to forensics tests performed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The first bullet struck Mr. Brown in the arm; the second bullet missed.’

Then he spoke of all the damage Brown had done to his face, of which there has never been any evidence. Wilson had testified to the Grand Jury in September, most sources saying that he’d wanted his day in court, and that of course, no testimony was required from him.

You’ll no doubt love this bit:

‘The officials said that while the federal investigation was continuing, the evidence so far did not support civil rights charges against Officer Wilson. To press charges, the Justice Department would need to clear a high bar, proving that Officer Wilson willfully violated Mr. Brown’s civil rights when he shot him.

The account of Officer Wilson’s version of events did not come from the Ferguson Police Department or from officials whose activities are being investigated as part of the civil rights inquiry.’

Well, there it is; the campaign is complete (I mean: the evidence speaks for itself, eh?)

The trolls are going nuts on the #Ferguson Twitter Account, of course.

Brown’s attorney has been quoted as saying that even if something did happen in the ar, it doesn’t change the fact that when a suspect’s hands are up in the air, it’s supposed to cause a ‘reset button’ in the cop. The Times at least does say:

‘This is the first public account of Officer Wilson’s testimony to investigators, but it does not explain why, after he emerged from his vehicle, he fired at Mr. Brown multiple times. It contradicts some witness accounts, and it will not calm those who have been demanding to know why an unarmed man was shot a total of six times.’

I’m just about out of time, and haven’t quite enough time to bring up the VonDerrit Meyers killing, given that the RiverfrontTimes has reported: ‘Police: Gunshot Residue Proves Vonderrit Myers Jr. Shot at St. Louis Cop’. Again, is there any reason to police the reports? It’s pretty hard to, at this point. Oh, yes the Twitterverse is full of trolls braying their delight.

But before you credit these forensic results, do peek into this piece by Shaun King at Daily Kos: Why does the St. Louis PD keep changing their story about the killing of VonDerrit Myers?’ He traces the constantly evolving story from the Ferguson Police on Twitter and Chief Dotson at the Gawker, and uses a few Tweets from Ferguson citizen journalists to flesh out the many conflicting stories.

But please, spend the ten minutes to listen to Glen Ford on actual community policing (again, h/t Alice X; thank you).

From TRNN: ‘On his return from Ferguson, Glen Ford of the Black Agenda Report says we must implement people-powered community control of the police’, Oct 13, 2014

This may be one of the ‘PR marketing device’ sorts that was passed recently by the Albuquerque City Council. ‘The Good, the Bad and the Ugly: Albuquerque’s New Civilian Police Oversight Agency’ (from La Jicarita)

Oh, and the Killed by Police on Facebook website corporate news reports of ‘the killed’ totaling 1624 since May 1, 2013.

David Correia has Tweeted that the Albuquerque Police Investigation on the murder of James Boyd is out (1000 pages), and that they and the FBI are calling it ‘justified’.
March 16, 2014, Albuquerque Police killed a homeless and mentally ill man named James Boyd, in the foothills on the eastern edge of town, while he was in the act of surrendering, after a long standoff. Real-time helmet cam video of the shooting, provided by APD. The video clearly shows what happened, including audio. APD Chief Eden thinks the shooting was justified. Graphic video is here.

(Cross-posted at My.firedoglake.com)

2 responses to “Recent Developments in Killed by Police Cases: Good, Bad, and Suspect

  1. Wendye

    Happy October 22nd. National Anti-Police Brutality Day. I will be attending our yearly anti police brutality march tonite. Oh it is also the wedding anniversary of myself and the poor, beleaguered Mrs Michael Cavlan. LOL

  2. good on you, michael cavlan! wish i had the wherew1ithall to attend one. and happy anniversary to you and miz beleaguered! i’d just given the site to someone at fdl wondering how to help, and am toying with the idea of putting up a post, but i really am just plum worn out today. it seems there are no twitter hashtags to follow along, mainly facebook groups, which i don’t do. some events are evening, some will be on the 25th, it looks like.

    here, i’ll send you one of my favorite love songs, dear. my; this is the only version that hasn’t been blocked… it will be more appropriate if miz is still with her mama…

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