Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette
If you don’t think you aren’t living in one, you aren’t paying attention.
Shot in the chest by Cleveland police – then handcuffed and fined $100
John Swaine, The Guardian
Last year, Gregory Love was shot by a police officer through the window of his Range Rover. The only person prosecuted was Love himself – but now he’s suing a Cleveland force ordered by the government to change its ways
When a man pointing a Glock pistol approached Gregory Love’s car in downtown Cleveland late one night, Love did the only sensible thing possible, he says: he put up his hands and decided to let the man have what he wanted.
But Vincent Montague shot him in the chest anyway, according to Love, before having the 29-year-old forcibly removed from his silver Range Rover and his hands fastened together behind his back.
Blood from the bullet wound seeped through Love’s white T-shirt. He grew colder, despite the warm June air. “I actually thought I was going to die,” Love told the Guardian. “I felt faint. I saw blood coming from my chest. I thought he was just going to kill me right there.”
Eighteen months later, Love recalls his alleged assailant clearly: he was wearing the uniform of the Cleveland Division of Police. The only person prosecuted following the altercation was Love, who was fined $100 for a traffic violation. Montague was suspended from work for a day.
‘Chaotic and dangerous’ Cleveland police shamed in withering government report
Paul Lewis, The Guardian
Cleveland force accused of using excessive and unreasonable force in hundreds of cases as DoJ appoint independent monitor to oversee reforms
The Cleveland police department under fire over the recent fatal shooting of a 12-year-old boy has engaged in “excessive and unreasonable force” in hundreds of other cases, according to a withering report by the Justice Department that lists examples of officers firing at people who pose no threat and striking them on the head with their weapons.
The cases documented in the report include that of a semi-naked hostage victim who was twice fired at by a police sergeant as he tried to escape his captors, and a 13-year-old who was repeatedly punched in the face while handcuffed in the back of a police car.
Another incident involved a man shot with a Taser while he was was strapped to an ambulance gurney after suffering from seizures. [..]
The report reviewed almost 600 incidents of use of force by Cleveland division of police over three years up to 2013. It detailed incidents of Cleveland police “firing their guns at people who do not pose an immediate threat of death or serious bodily injury” and “hitting people on the head with their guns in circumstances where deadly force is not justified”.
The Justice Department said there were several incidents in which Cleveland police fired at suspects fleeing on foot or in vehicles when they who posed no danger to the officers or anyone else.
No Charges For Cop Who Broke Face Of Handcuffed Woman In Patrol Car
Ahiza Garcia, TPM Livewire
A local prosecutor announced on Friday he would not seek criminal charges against a Seattle police officer who was shown on video throwing a bone-breaking punch at a woman who was handcuffed in the back of a patrol car.
King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg (pictured above), whose office handles felony cases in the area, said he would not seek a felony charge against officer Adley Shepherd, 38, according to the Seattle Times newspaper. [..]
Despite the prosecutor’s decision on Friday, the case is set to be reviewed by the U.S. Justice Department for any possible civil rights violations, according to the Times.
St. Louis Police Pursue Assault Charge Against Youngest Member Of Ferguson Commission
Ryan J. Reilly, Huffington Post
The St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department this week convinced the local prosecutor’s office to charge a prominent young Ferguson protester with misdemeanor assault because he allegedly made fleeting physical contact with a law enforcement official blocking access to St. Louis City Hall during a demonstration last month.
Rasheen Aldridge, a 20-year-old community activist, has been protesting in and around the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson on a regular basis ever since then-police officer Darren Wilson shot and killed 18-year-old Michael Brown on Aug. 9. Last month, Gov. Jay Nixon (D) named him to the Ferguson Commission, a task force intended to address problems in the St. Louis region that were highlighted in the wake of Brown’s death. On Dec. 1, Aldridge was at the White House to meet with President Barack Obama to discuss the relationship between law enforcement and local communities. (He later said he left the meeting “disappointed” with Obama, whom he used to consider his “idol.”) [..]
One video of the alleged misdemeanor assault appears to show Aldridge, in a gray cap, attempting to gain access to St. Louis City Hall along with a number of other demonstrators on Nov. 26, less than 48 hours after the grand jury decision was announced. At the time, the public building was on lockdown because authorities thought someone in the crowd may have had spray paint.
Aldridge — who is just 5 feet 4 inches tall and weighs 110 pounds, according to court documents — seems to be trying to open a City Hall door as a much larger city marshal stands guard. The marshal then appears to shove Aldridge, and the protester’s hand touches and perhaps pushes the official.
Soon after the incident, police in riot gear wielding pepper spray would break up the demonstration around City Hall, claiming that the entire daytime assembly was unlawful because a few demonstrators “made contact” with law enforcement.
And if you think the the special task force created by President Barack Obama is anything but another farce, take a look at the history of Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey who Obama has selected to co-chair the committee
Obama Appoints Notoriously Corrupt Police Commissioner To Improve Cops’ Credibility
By Carey Wedler, AntiMedia
The task force has 90 days to prepare a report and recommendations for the “21st century” problems of policing. But if Obama’s appointment to the task force cannot curb corruption and excessive violence within his own department, it is unlikely he will inspire change at the national level.
This week, President Barack Obama unveiled his plan to deal with police brutality and militarization (which he helped to enable over the course of his presidency). He has ordered $263 million for 50,000 body cameras and called for restrictions and oversight on military equipment.
Though on its face the plan has good intentions, it has already been criticized by activists and the media.
One of the most disingenuous elements of Obama’s master plan is his appointment of Philadelphia Police Commissioner, Charles Ramsey, to chair the “Task Force on 21st Cenutry Policing.” Ramsey is co-chairing the task force with Laurie Robinson, a former assistant attorney general and professor at George Mason University. The force is allegedly responsible for restoring trust and good relations between police officers and communities. [//]
While body cameras and restrictions on military equipment are easy to spin as positive (though the practice of militarization will not be stopped, only “curbed”), it is not as easy to fake credibility for Ramsey. The officer, who is also the president of the Major Cities Chiefs Police Association, runs one of the most corrupt police departments in the nation.
He was once the police chief of Washington, D.C. and has presided over Philadelphia’s department since 2008. Ramsey worked for the Chicago police department for thirty years and is currently a member of the “United States Homeland Security Advisory Council.”
On his watch, a federal investigation into corruption was launched over conspiracy, robbery, extortion, kidnapping and drug dealing. The Philadelphia police were caught ignoring thousands of rape cases to keep their crime numbers low. Before marijuana was decriminalized, Philly police arrested African-Americans for marijuana at an even higher rate than the rest of the country (which is already grossly high). Even after a decriminalization bill was passed this June, Ramsey vowed to continue arrests pursuant to Pennsylvania law. Other cops stole half a million dollars of drug money from suspects.
Philadelphia police are also no strangers to harassment and murder on the job, which is what Obama allegedly seeks to diminish in appointing Ramsey. Ramsey’s cops threaten to beat teenagers. They actually beat all kinds of people – over and over and over. They also indulge in shootings, which occur all too often and shirk accountability.
Most telling, during the initial waves of protest in Ferguson this summer, St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar sought frequent advice from Ramsey on how to handle the situation.
Could Obama have found anyone worse?