Spring Police State News Part III

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In large part, this diary will focus on trends and policies, whether de facto or official, plus a few examples and a few new cases.  I’ll readily admit that I’ve lost track a bit about which stories I’ve highlighted already, so please bear with me. I apologize if it’s a bit of a mess given it’s across three Word docs.

No charges for Minnesota officers in police-involved deaths since 2000’, startribune.com, March 30

“Since 2000, at least 143 people in Minnesota have died after being shot, Tased or restrained by a police officer. To date, not a single officer has been charged in any of those deaths.

In 134 decisions, a grand jury, county attorney or the U.S. attorney determined there wasn’t probable cause of a crime being committed.

Decisions not to charge or indict an officer are often interpreted to mean the officer was justified in using deadly force under state statute, which says it’s legal if the officer felt they or a bystander were at risk of being killed or seriously hurt.

In Ramsey County people serving on a grand jury are instructed that they don’t have to return an indictment, even if they do find probable cause of a crime, if they think the charges would not result in a conviction at trial.

Five recent fatal police shootings in Minnesota remain under investigation. A grand jury decision is expected shortly in the case of Derek Wolfsteller, a mentally ill man that Plymouth police Officer Amy Therkelsen shot in the head last summer when he reportedly grabbed for her gun in an Arby’s.”

AtlantaBlackStar.com, April 6: ‘Minneapolis BLM Activists, NAACP Demand to Reopen #JamarClark Case with Special Prosecutor

“Monday, Minneapolis BLM and the NAACP released a joint statement:

“Mike Freeman spent thirty minutes demonizing Jamar Clark and invalidating community accounts of what transpired,” the statement said. “Mike Freeman basically functioned as a defense attorney for the police, and not as a prosecutor for the people.” [snip]

“The conjoined group of activists wanted to also set the record straight about the alleged victim Ray Ann Hayes. Freeman stated that Hayes was the woman Jamar Clark allegedly abused last November. However, Hayes stated publicly that she was not in a relationship with Clark and that she was not abused in any way.”

Hat/Tip juliania, from the SFreporter.com, ‘Puff of Smoke: How the justice system was designed to clear the cop who killed Jeanette Anaya’.

jeanette anaya

Jeff Proctor’s written the piece from the Anya family’s point of view, and along the way he righteously indicts the Santa Fe version of Grand Juries as ‘investigative’ with no holds barred.  It’s long, but worthy of reading when or if you have the time.  Here’s his capsule of the assassination by cop:

“New Mexico State Police Officer Oliver Wilson, who had been on the force a year and a half, tried to pull Jeanette over on a highly questionable traffic violation—so questionable that Santa Fe police refused to join the ensuing pursuit. Jeanette didn’t stop. Instead, she led Wilson on a chase across surface streets and through residential Santa Fe. The pursuit ended when Jeanette slowed down, and Wilson used his police car to spin her silver Honda Accord around. Then, Wilson got out and fired 16 shots at Jeanette’s car. One of the bullets went through the side of Jeanette’s head; another struck the top of her back. Wilson’s story about the shooting didn’t completely square with a video captured on the dashboard camera of his patrol car, or with the version of events described by the passenger in Jeanette’s car. Wilson’s fellow state police officers quickly finished a criminal investigation of the shooting, with no assistance from other agencies, and then passed it along to the district attorney, an elected official whose success depends largely on cooperation from police as witnesses in court prosecutions.”

The ‘puff of smoke’ verbiage came oh, so heart-rendingly and poignantly, at the beginning of the piece:

“When Teresa Anaya heard the words “grand jury,” she felt hope for the first time since a heavy knock on her door two months prior. She welcomed the words—and the hope—because they arrived amid a growing darkness that gripped her family in a way nothing ever had. A grand jury couldn’t recover what the Anayas lost, but it could, they believed, clear a path for justice. Eventually, the words “grand jury” would become weightless symbols of a system Teresa believes betrayed her family. And the hope would disappear like a puff of gun smoke, back into the darkness that began to gather with that knock on the door. A pair of New Mexico State Police officers in plain clothes arrived at Teresa and Jake Anaya’s Bellamah neighborhood home on the morning of Nov. 7, 2013. Their 39-year-old daughter, Jeanette Anaya, had been shot by police, the officers said. As Jeanette’s father sat mostly silent, her mother responded with an escalating torrent of tears and screams. “Where is she?” Teresa demanded of the officers. “Is she going to be OK?” Jeanette was not going to be OK. She was dead.”

Santa Fe Reporter and New Mexico in Depth went over the GJ transcript and conducted a series of interviews for this exposé, and what they found was not pretty.  For fifteen years the Santa Fe DAs have no targets, nor are they asked to indict anyone for a crime.  In this case, the DA was 1st Judicial Democrat Angela Pacheco, who resigned in June, claiming her early retirement had nothing to do with this case.  Here’s the core of what the transcript showed:

“Twelve people testified before the grand jury. Ten of them, including Wilson, were state police officers. Jeremy Muñoz, who was riding with Jeanette the night of the shooting, testified. So did a Santa Fe police lieutenant. Pacheco’s presentation was built almost exclusively around the state police investigation.

Early testimony came from State Police Academy and use-of-force instructors. Among other points, she asked them to talk about “force science,” a highly controversial policing philosophy that teaches officers to act quickly in tense situations. Force science and its developer, psychology professor William Lewinski, have played a role in clearing hundreds of police officers around the country in use-of-force cases.”

Yes, we know only too well how effective those ‘experts’ on ‘best police procedures’ can be.  From a graphic in Proctor’s story:

16 Bullets fired from Wilson’s gun as Jeanette drove away

7 Hours of testimony to an investigative grand jury

48 Minutes of deliberation to find the shooting justified

“Prosecutors in Albuquerque used investigative grand juries in police shooting cases for more than 20 years. A series of news stories about the process prompted judges to suspend its use indefinitely. The judges cited the appearance that prosecutors weren’t impartial in the presentations and said the district attorney’s office had no legal authority to conduct them.”

And between Jan. 1, 2014 and Jan. 1, 2015 ABQ cops killed 28 citizens.  In a precursor to the #BLM, local activists spent long hours protesting, being jailed, and agitating for the DoJ, which eventually found a pattern of ‘excessive force’.

Further ways for ‘prosecutors’ to ensure no charges are brought.

Observer.com: Activists Launch #CLOSErikers Campaign to Close Rikers Island

“This is not about shutting down a facility, it’s about repairing communities” says JLUSA founder

“There have been attempts to force the closure of the Rikers Island jail for years, but Glenn Martin thinks that the failed efforts so far have been missing a key ingredient: “the community’s voice.”

That’s why Mr. Martin, the founder of JustLeadershipUSA (JLUSA) has put together #CLOSErikers, a group formed by 58 community, faith-based, and criminal justice reform organizations, which launched its campaign with a rally on the steps of City Hall yesterday.

Discussion over the fate of the city’s notorious jail has flared up in recent weeks with calls from figures such as Governor Andrew Cuomo to close the complex, located on the island just northwest of the LaGuardia airport.”

Breathtaking statistic:

From the WaPo: ‘No jail time for Peter Liang, the former NYPD officer who fatally shot Akai Gurley’

“Although Liang was convicted of manslaughter in February, state Supreme Court Justice Danny Chun said at a hearing Tuesday that he was reducing that conviction to criminally negligent homicide and sentencing the former officer to five years probation and 800 hours of community service.

Given the defendant’s background and how remorseful he is, it would not be necessary to incarcerate the defendant to have a just sentence in this case,” Chun said during the hearing, according to the Associated Press. [snip]

“Prosecutors contended, however, that Liang had fired his gun recklessly and did not provide appropriate medical aid to Gurley.”

You may remember that Liang’s first call in the stairway was to his union rep immediately after the shooting.

From the Guardian: ‘Fatal LAPD shooting of homeless man was unjustified, police commission says’; Commission rejected claim that the officer shot Brendon Glenn because he grabbed a pistol, putting more pressure on district attorney to charge the officer

Killed by Police on Facebook notes: More than 3,400 US citizens have been killed since May 1, 2013.  Ooof, that sucks; now you have to join Facebook to read there.

At what point will the police be found totally illegitimate?

10 responses to “Spring Police State News Part III

  1. i’m zonked for the day; g’ night.

  2. what is it, like 93% of criminal convictions are obtained via plea bargain, aka, coerced confession? is that statistic correct on the @observer twitter post? 85% at riker’s have not been convicted of anything? 1 person is too many, but that’s a pretty eye-popping stat.

    as w/the drone program under obama vs. the torture program under w., killing folks is cheaper than prison.

    • i don’t know that the statistic is true, but yes, few cases go to court. pleas are far less expensive, cooerced or otherwise. now that miranda’s been partially gutted, who knows what confessions are extracted before an arrestee knows they should just STFU.

      lots of them are in for broken windows arrests (nits grow into lice stuff), small quantities of cannabis, tra la la…and loads have no money for bail, and the court system is so backed up lots have been waiting for years for a date to be set.

      i looked it up, and 18-yr-old kalief browder became the poster child for that: three years before court, and the charges were dropped. he tried to commit suicide several times along the way. he claimed that the guards ‘starved him’ as punishment for those attempts.

      on the hashtag, they’re saying it costs $167,000/yr to ‘house’ inmates, but oooh-la-la: they’re using solitary less often. that does appear to be so, from what i’ve read. but imagine being in that hell-hole w/ no recourse save for acting out, submitting to all, or killing oneself.

      ha; cuomo likes the idea of more modern and smaller prisons; i like the alderman’s idea, myself. reduce the population to near zero, tear the place down. and fuck billy bratton. i forget how many PDs he’s ‘advised’ or served as chief. yup, a real humdinger he is.

      drones are cheaper. ouch.

      on edit: i zipped down the closerikers account, and found this, too, from that alderman:

      “As she looks for ways to shut down Rikers Island, City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito wants to shed more light on troubles inside the city’s jails by mandating public reports on lawsuits against the Department of Correction.

      Mark-Viverito is set to introduce a bill next week to require two reports a year detailing how many lawsuits the department has been slapped with and how they were resolved.

      They’d also have to list the name, rank, and years of service of individual correction officers who get sued — and flag whether they’ve been hit with other civil actions, revealing potential problem guards who get sued the most.”

      • “we will need our prison space for the purely political element” (or something like that) minister of the interior, rationalizing how the ludovico treatment is ok for the “truly criminal”, right before Alex offers himself for “treatment,” in (yes, kubrick’s version of) A Clockwork Orange. if we only put the political criminal into solitary and give the rest a taste of “treatment”! we could have our prison pop down to 2.5 million in no time!

        the coercion of plea bargaining always involves confession for reduced sentence. in jail with looming bail.

        • ay yi yi; i can’t recall how long ago i read ‘clockwork orange’; how prescient. how many of those two and a half million are political prisoners? dhs metrics say any dissident is a terr’ist, yes? (only the dangerous ones’, of course).

          come to think of it, i wonder how many are in ACA prisons?

          i’m not sure if this will work, but i put in an arun gupta treatment on #democracy sping at the tag end of the #laNuitDebout post, and he’s almost as disenchanted as you and i. of course, he was there... ;-)

  3. Thanks, wendye. The SF Reporter is a free weekly, or I wouldn’t have seen that piece. These days newspapers are out of my price range. But kudos to them for doing that analysis and to you for compressing it here. Well done on both fronts.

    • i really appreciated your sending it, juliania, and also that i could find it online, as reading dead tree is pretty beyond mine eyes’ capabilities any more. it’s a fine piece, and i’m glad you think i compressed it well, even though it’s frustrating that i have to copy/paste so much now.

      to think that even ABQ finally stopped using GJs as ‘investigative bodies’ or whatever….but better wouldn’t melt in miz pacheco’s mouth, would it? (grrrr). so many devious ploys exist to make sure killer kops aren’t either prosecuted, or are allowed to claim ‘my life’ (or the life of the public) was under threat (as per 2 scotus decisions), aided by experts in ‘best police practices’. james boyd’s killers trial was of that nature.

      found another ‘in custody’ (eventual, slow) death one before the white window at killed by police on facebook came fully up the page. but it’s hard not to conclude that for some cops, it’s almost sport, and that is sick beyond belief. and yes, i watched all the available footage, as i felt brave enough to peer into the abyss today.

  4. from RT: ‘Baltimore cops sued over brutality, unlawful arrests during Freddie Gray protests’

    the plaintiffs’ claims are ghastly; video is included. they are asking for a measly $75,000 each.

    “One former Baltimore PD sergeant who blew the whistle on the agency’s alleged corruption and excessive use of force policies, Michael Wood, told RT that even though Commissioner Batts has been replaced, “It doesn’t seem like much has changed.”
    “\“Everyone is a Freddie Gray here,” he said. “That was the final straw that made a lot of us understand that we had to stand up for justice, and that the oppression has been going on here for a long time.”

    and i’ll bring prince’s Baltimore again, as he was found dead today; efforts to revive him failed. Rest in Power, Prince. dvid bowie died in january; may you meet in the afterlife and rawk the stars with sound!

    jayzus, speaking of broken necks, who knows what happened in the room off-camera when some large collection of Lake County jail cops say happened as they were trying to book 51-yr-old eugene gruber for ‘disorderly conduct’…in a shower room??? Oh, yes, they claim they were forced to pepper spray him and take him down (in a chokehold? i’d reckon so). but the two vicious cretins who dragged him to get a photograph, dragged him back again, once seemed to pick him up by the head…thought he was faking, as did the jail nurse.

    the chicago tribune: ‘Prosecutor: Inmate paralyzed for 24 hours before hospitalized’; yes, he died not long afterward

    the (knuckle) draggers we charge with ‘official misconduct’; one has died, the other could get two years in prison, might get probation. trial testimony was due to resume today. wanna bet?

    • nice prince video.
      h/t to commies at wsws for reviewing this album today. this song is about wash. d.c.

      • mr. wd ays it needs moar cowbell. ;-) i’d seen the still frame, but realizzed i didn’t know pj harvey. and they’re runnin’ candidates for prez. i remember white covering labor issues, not the other so much.

        kool choir, eh? yow!

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