By Ali Afshar for Human Development Project. California – You may or may not know that the incidence and relapse rates of schizophrenia in African-Caribbean males in Western countries has been reported as being much higher than equivalent white male cohorts. This knowledge was forefront in my mind when I saw a man in his twenties muttering to himself, handcuffed and surrounded by 4 white male police officers on El Camino, in Northern California. As a physician, I have a duty (shit, I swore an actual oath) to preserve the health of all humans. There was no way I was going to drive past this situation without making sure that guy was going to be fine. As I pulled over to ask if the gentleman was OK, I was immediately threatened with a ticket for blocking traffic. I re-parked my car legally and returned. My exact words were “I want to help to make sure this guy is OK”. The officers were aggressive and angry, instantly.
By Stephanie Woodard for In These Times. SUQUAMISH TRIBE DESCENDANT JEANETTA RILEY, A 34-YEAR-OLD MOTHER OF FOUR, LAY FACEDOWN ON A SANDPOINT, IDAHO, STREET. One minute earlier, three police officers had arrived, summoned by staff at a nearby hospital. Her husband had sought help there because Riley—homeless, pregnant and with a history of mental illness—was threatening suicide. Riley had a knife in her right hand and was sitting in the couple’s parked van. Wearing body armor and armed with an assault rifle and Glock pistols, the officers quickly closed in on Riley—one moving down the sidewalk toward the van, the other two crossing the roadway. They shouted instructions at her—to walk toward them, show them her hands. Cursing them, she refused.
By Carla Herreria for Huffington Post. City council members in Greensboro, North Carolina voted this week to strip the law enforcement credentials of a police officer who is accused of violently arresting a man sitting on his porch after body camera footage of the arrest was made public. The council voted unanimously Monday to permanently sanction Officer Travis Cole for using excessive force during the June arrest. The body camera footage shows Cole roughly throwing Dejuan Yourse to the floor of the porch and punching him as Yourse waited for his mom to come home and let him into the house, according to local news WREG. The council pushed for criminal charges against Cole, but the district attorney refused, saying he wouldn’t “rehash the same evidence,” the Greensboro News & Record reported.
By Erica Snipes-Garner for Alternet. NYPD Officer Daniel Pantaleo killed my father, Eric B. Garner, on July 17, 2014. The idea that Pantaleo receives a substantial increase in pay after murdering my father and no one noticed is silly. Someone knew about this. This was Mayor Bill de Blasio’s bonus for a job well done and de Blasio has put his political future on the line to defend this corrupt institution. This underscores why we need transparency, the Right To Know Act, and a permanent special prosecutor. This also underscores why de Blasio is fighting tooth and nail to hide the disciplinary records of this killer cop on payroll. He already knows what we do not. As long as police officers like Daniel Pantaleo and Michael Zak are on the force and reporting to work in the 120th precinct and getting bonuses for corruption, we can never be serious about healing and building relationships with the community.
By Sarah Ravani for the San Francisco Chronicle. Protesters chained themselves together and blocked the main gates of the Alameda County Fairgrounds in Pleasanton Friday morning to demonstrate their opposition to the Urban Shield police training and expo scheduled there this weekend. About 10 demonstrators chained themselves together and formed a line in front of the gates on Pleasanton Avenue, but police attending the expo and training exercises were able to get into the fairgrounds through other entrances. Twenty demonstrators were arrested and later booked at the Santa Rita Jail in Dublin on suspicion of blocking traffic and failing to disperse, said Sgt. Ray Kelly, a spokesman for the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office. He said all were expected to be released Friday evening.
By John Zangas for DC Media Group. U.S. District Court Judge James Boasberg on Monday ordered parties involved in a standoff over the Dakota Access Pipeline to appear in court on September 6 to hear a motion for an emergency injunction. Tuesday’s hearing is expected to address the desecration of the burial sites which led to a dog attack incident. The same judge had declared at an August 24 hearing that he would issue a decision on a motion for a permanent injunction on work near the Reservation no later than September 9. “On Saturday, Dakota Access Pipeline and Energy Transfer Partners brazenly used bulldozers to destroy our burial sites, prayer sites and culturally significant artifacts,” said Dave Archambault II, Chairman Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, in a press release on Sunday. “They did this on a holiday weekend, one day after we filed court papers identifying these sacred sites. The desecration of these ancient places has already caused the Standing Rock Sioux irreparable harm. We’re asking the court to halt this path of destruction,” he said. The standoff escalated when a private security firm, contracted by Dakota Access Pipeline, LLC brought in a team of attack dogs to hold a line against water protectors.
By Aviva Shen for Think Progress. A video of Security Resource Officer Ben Fields yanking a teenage girl from her desk and throwing her across the room shocked the internet and inspired investigations into South Carolina’s use of police in schools. But on Friday, after 11 months of investigating, prosecutors announced they would not be pursuing criminal charges against the officer. Fields was fired in October for his conduct, which the sheriff said at the time made him “want to throw up.” About 100 students at Spring Valley High protested his firing. Other students had reportedly nicknamed him “Officer Slam,” because he had a reputation for violence.
By American Civil Liberties Union of Wisconsin. “The Milwaukee Police Department has once again demonstrated its preference for occupation, excessive force and belligerence over genuine engagement, civil dialog, and de-escalation,” said Larry Dupuis, Legal Director of the ACLU of Wisconsin. “People have a right to stand on a street corner – to observe and record the police, as Jarrett was doing, or for any other reason. Unfortunately, rather than protecting people and their rights, law enforcement in this community all too often engages in the sort of destructive behavior to which Jarrett and Jonathan were subjected last night. Although no one deserves to be treated like this, the police made the mistake this time of abusing people who were in a position to insist on their rights.” Jarrett English said, “The situation was confusing, because I really did not know what I was being arrested for. It was embarrassing and dehumanizing . . . ”
By Milen Mehari for Other Worlds – When the police pulled their guns on my mother, I reached for my phone and told her to be calm and do as they say. My parents and I had just been swarmed by police cars, sirens blaring, as we drove on I-64 through Virginia. Shock and fear consumed my family as we came to a stop and were ordered out of the vehicle at gun point. A third car even showed up to stop traffic.
By Larry Greenemeier for Scientific American. At a time when police across the U.S. are being watched warily by the citizens they serve, many departments are embracing wearable cameras to document their interactions with the public. Police and rights activists alike had hoped recording incidents on patrol would help discourage violence against officers as well as increase transparency in how police treat citizens. But a report released this week questions how much law enforcement agencies are telling the public about the use of the cameras—and the footage they collect. The latest body-worn camera scorecard from the The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, working with technology and policy consulting firm Upturn, examined 50 U.S. police departments and pronounced them lacking in most of the study’s eight criteria. These benchmarks include how well police protect the privacy of those they record, whether officers are allowed to review footage before filing their reports, how long the footage is retained and whether civilians can view footage in which they appear.
By Sebastian Murdock for Huffington Post. Chicago police on Friday released video that shows the moments right before they fatally shot an unarmed black teen last week. Paul O’Neal, 18, was shot in the back while fleeing from officers last Thursday night after allegedly stealing a Jaguar in the Chicago suburb of Bolingbrook. Body camera footage released Friday shows an officer firing rounds into the vehicle as it swiped cop cars. Officers can be seen then giving chase to O’Neal on foot. The teen hopped a fence into a residential back yard, where he was shot multiple times in the back. Police said the officer who killed O’Neal did not have a working body camera, according to ABC 7. “Bitch-ass motherfucker,” an officer can be heard saying as he delivers a kick to O’Neal, who lies motionless on the ground. Other officers yell at the teen to put his hands behind his back. “They shot at us too, right?” an officer can be heard asking. O’Neal did not have a gun on him.
By Elizabeth Preza for AlterNet – Officials in Texas are investigating two Austin police officers after video surfaced of a brutal arrest of an African-American elementary school teacher during a traffic stop that culminated in one officer telling her police are wary of black people because of their “violent tendencies.” The Austin American-Statesman obtained video of the June 2015 incident, which shows a routine traffic stop develop into a violent altercation as Officer Bryan Richter pulls 26-year-old Breaion King from the driver’s seat and throws her onto the ground.
By William N. Grigg for the Free Thought Project. Yanez underwent a 20-hour seminar on “Street Survival” taught by Illinois-based Calibre Press, which teaches courses on the subject to police officers nationwide. The company’s “Street Survival Seminar” overview displays a monomaniacal focus on that most important of all policy considerations, “officer safety.” It treats every police encounter as a combat situation in which only one life truly matters – that of the government’s armed emissary, not that of the citizen who is supposedly being protected and served by him. A brief video excerpt from a “Street Survival” course shows a presenter lecturing officers about the need to visualize shooting someone as part of the “Psychological Game” necessary to “win” encounters with what trainees are told is an implacably hostile public. “That’s winning, ladies and gentlemen,” he declares.
By Samuel Sinyangwe for Medium. This week, a new study reported by the New York Times made waves in the ongoing national discourse on race and policing. “Surprising New Evidence Shows Bias in Police Use of Force but Not in Shootings,” the headline read. The study’s most striking — and most reported — finding was that officers were about 24% less likely to shoot at black people compared to whites in what the researcher defined as similar situations. Upon further inspection, there are a number of issues that call this finding into question. First, this headline-grabbing result is based on data from one police department — Houston. That means that the most audacious conclusion this study can hope to offer is that racial bias may not explain shootings by Houston police. But even that conclusion is suspect. First, it’s clear in looking at the data that Houston police department uses deadly force against black people at significantly higher rates than their white counterparts. For example, since 2013, 57% of people killed by Houston police have been black despite black people comprising only 25% of Houston’s population.
By Mercy Yang for Reader Supported News. As the deaths of Philando Castile and Alton Sterling at the hands of police officers stir up national debate on law enforcement practices, a new database unveils hundreds of Chicago Police Department misconduct lawsuit settlements between 2012 and 2015 ― costing a whopping $210 million in total and revealing yet another financial burden on taxpayers. “Settling for Misconduct,” an extensive database from The Chicago Reporter published this week, highlights allegations of Chicago’s excessive policing methods, ranging from false arrest to unwarranted killing, particularly in Latino and black communities, leading to 655 settlements in four years. Multimillion-dollar police misconduct settlements, such as the one stemming from the killing of Chicago teenager Laquan McDonald, tend to garner national attention. But the database reveals that the City of Chicago pays much smaller sums of money to plaintiffs on an average of every other day. The average payment was just $36,000.