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’.
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.”
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?