By Sarah Ryley for ProPublica and the New York Daily News – A wide swath of public officials are calling for change in response to a Daily News and ProPublica investigation about the NYPD’s use of an obscure type of lawsuit to boot hundreds of people from homes. The cases are happening almost exclusively in minority neighborhoods. Several city council members said they were considering amendments and other reforms to safeguard abuses. Council Member Vanessa L. Gibson said the statistics included in the story are “shocking.”
By George Joseph for The Guardian – Contracts between police and city authorities, leaked after hackers breached the website of the country’s biggest law enforcement union, contain guarantees that disciplinary records and complaints made against officers are kept secret or even destroyed. A Guardian analysis of dozens of contracts obtained from the servers of the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) found that more than a third featured clauses allowing – and often mandating – the destruction of records of civilian complaints, departmental investigations, or disciplinary actions after a negotiated period of time.
By Sebastian Murdock for The Huffington Post – The Chicago police officer who fatally shot black teenager Laquan McDonald intentionally damaged his dashcam and never synced his microphone to it. And he’s not the only one. More than 1,800 police maintenance logs first obtained by DNAinfo Chicago show a disturbing trend of Chicago cops intentionally and routinely tampering with their dashcams and mics in an effort to block audio. Jason Van Dyke, the officer charged with fatally shooting 17-year-old McDonald in October 2014, caused “intentional damage” to his dashcam at least once, along with other instances of his dashcam breaking, the logs show.
By Ali Abunimah for the Electronic Intifada. An Israeli court ordered the immediate, unconditional release of Palestinian human rights defender Nasser Nawaja on Thursday, but as of Friday morning he remained in custody. Lawyers are filing a motion against Israeli police for contempt of court. Nawaja, who works as a field researcher for B’Tselem in the occupied West Bank, was picked up as part of an intensifying crackdown on Israeli human rights groups. Butavia, being transported while in police custody, alleges that Israeli police are working hand in hand with Ad Kan. “The people sitting across from me [during interrogation] had Ad Kan forms in their hands,” Butavia states. “They simply received all the questions and the entire interrogation, ready made, from Ad Kan. The Israeli police is working for the Shomron Settlement Committee.” “This is entirely a political arrest. It’s whole purpose is to undermine our activity for human rights in the [occupied] territories and against the crimes and criminals of the occupation,”
By Kevin Gosztola for Shadowproof. Jared Chase is the last member of the “NATO 3,” who remains in prison. Chase suffers from Huntington’s disease and faces additional charges for alleged aggravated battery against a prison guard. He is set to go on trial in April. Chase, Brian Jacob Church and Brent Betterly came to Chicago in May 2012 for protests against NATO. They became known as the “NATO 3” after they were targeted by undercover Chicago police and arrested on May 16. The state of Illinois accused the “NATO 3” of making explosives. On February 7, 2014, after a lengthy trial in which the key role of undercover cops became even more apparent, a jury acquitted the “NATO 3” of all terrorism charges. But they were found guilty of arson-related offenses and “mob action” charges. Betterly, who was released from prison in April 2015, was last with Chase while they were beat up by guards during their arrival at the Stateville prison’s receiving center. During a recent pretrial hearing on December 7, 2015, Chase showed up to court with a black eye and a swollen face. Betterly said he’s lost a considerable amount of weight, perhaps fifty pounds.
By Nick Robins-Early for Huffington Post. While the protests met their initial goal of stopping the urban expansion, demonstrators have been invigorated by the crackdown and have continued to rally against the government. “The complaints of the protesters have now expanded to include the killing of peaceful protesters and decades of marginalization,” Human Rights Watch Horn of Africa researcher Felix Horne told The WorldPost over email. What began as a protest over land rights is now representative of a number of grievances with the government and ruling EPRDF. Ethiopia has seen a period of rapid economic growth in the past 10 years, but its urban and industrial expansion has also resulted in land disputes, corruption and authoritarian crackdowns on opposition groups. As demonstrators increasingly demand solutions for Ethiopia’s many social and political problems, rights groups worry that the unrest and violence will continue.
By Mara H. Gottfried for Twin Cities – A St. Paul police sergeant issued a public apology Wednesday for a Facebook comment to “run them over” about an upcoming Black Lives Matter march, but the mayor and others said they continue to be outraged. Sgt. Jeffrey Rothecker, who is on paid leave from the department and is the subject of an internal affairs investigation, said he is “extremely sorry” and understood “the post was insensitive and wrong.” “My poor choice of words conveyed a message I did not intend and am not proud of,” Rothecker said in a statement.
By Michael Nigro for The Huffington Post – During the Tamir Rice protest in downtown Cleveland, on December 29, 2015, police officer Brian Dorin, after using his cop car to “win” a game-of-chicken versus street protesters, rolled down his window and yelled at a 25-year-old black student-activist, “Do you want to be the next one.” The incident is recounted in my Huffington photo essay published on January 8, 2016. Alana Belle, the student-activist to whom the phrase was directed, has now filed a complaint against Officer Dorin through the Office of Professional Standards (OPS), a civilian run police review board.
By Staff of Police Spies Out of Lives – On Friday 15th January 2016, the Metropolitan Police withdrew their defence in a case brought against them over undercover police relationships. In a significant development at the High Court, the police asked for judgment to be entered against them in respect of the claims for deceit, assault/battery, misfeasance in public office and negligence. The claim had been brought by Kate Wilson, who was deceived into a 2-year relationship with undercover officer Mark Kennedy.
Michael Nigro for The Huffington Post – A Cleveland police cruiser lurches forward into a coterie of protesters and stops dangerously close to hitting a number of us who, along with about 150 others, had taken the streets for a second day in a row since the local grand jury decided not to indict the officers who shot and killed 12-year old Tamir Rice. And then, quite unbelievably, the officer behind the wheel does it again; he continues his odd and unnecessary game of chicken with the protesters. A siren blast. An engine rev. And then the cop bucks his car closer. And then he does it again.
By Ryan Grenoble for Huffington Post. The man, 50-year-old Michael Marshall, was originally arrested on charges of disturbing the peace and trespassing at a motel where he had been staying. Now, nearly two months after the fact, Marshall’s death has been ruled a homicide. A report released Friday by the Denver Office of the Medical Examiner concludes that Marshall died from “complications of positional asphyxia to include aspiration pneumonia due to being physically restrained by law enforcement during an acute psychotic episode.” In other words, Marshall vomited during the incident, and law enforcement officers restrained him in such a manner that he choked on it, going without oxygen for 10 to 15 minutes, his family members told ABC7. Marshall also went into cardiac arrest.
By Hina Shamsi for ACLU – A settlement in our challenge to NYPD surveillance of New York Muslims was announced today, heralding new safeguards to protect against bias-based and unjustified investigations of Muslim and other minority communities. The settlement was announced in Raza v. City of New York, a lawsuit on behalf of three New York Muslims, two mosques, and a Muslim non-profit organization, who alleged they were swept up in the NYPD’s dragnet surveillance of Muslims. The ACLU, the New York Civil Liberties Union, and the CLEAR project at CUNY School of Law filed the suit in 2013.
By Staff of Associated Press – HEMPSTEAD, Texas (AP) — A Texas state trooper who arrested Sandra Bland after a contentious traffic stop last summer was fired Wednesday after being charged with perjury for allegedly lying about his confrontation with the black woman who died three days later in jail. Trooper Brian Encinia claimed in an affidavit that Bland was “combative and uncooperative” after he pulled her over and ordered her out of her car. The grand jury identified that affidavit in charging Encinia with perjury, special prosecutor Shawn McDonald said Wednesday night.
By Staff of Associated Press – CLEVELAND (AP) — The local NAACP wants to see documents from the grand jury that decided not to indict two Cleveland police officers in the fatal shooting of Tamir Rice, a 12-year-old black boy who had a pellet gun. Members of the Cleveland NAACP are seeking transcripts of witness testimony before the grand jury that heard evidence in the 2014 shooting. WJW-TV reports the group voted Tuesday night to push for the documents’ release. Members say they want to see and analyze everything that grand jurors heard in the case.
By Carl Bronski for WSWS – Further information has come to light concerning the Montreal Police Department’s use of agent-provocateurs disguised as “Black Bloc” protestors at a December 18 demonstration against police violence and the anti-austerity policies of the Quebec Liberal government. Initially the police refused to admit that they had infiltrated the protest. But now they are strongly defending the actions of an undercover cop who drew his revolver and threatened protesters who had “outed” him as a police agent provocateur.