Wow! This guy has no business being a cop, and should be PROSECUTED!
Excerpts from the Article:
Termination proceedings have been initiated against a Miami-Dade police officer who struck a woman who he said struck him during an argument at Miami International Airport.
Police director ‘shocked and angered’
A dispatcher told Rodriguez that Anderson was behind a re-booking counter, threatening employees. Rodriguez, when he arrived, saw her “yelling obscenities” at the workers, Rodriguez wrote in the arrest affidavit.
Woman driving near protests says LAPD foam round injured her, files $10-million claim – Non Lethal Force – kra
Any alternative to lethal force is progress, but police still should show restraint whenever possible. This woman may have a valid claim; the courts will determine that.
Excerpts from the Article:
A woman who was at a Los Angeles intersection near a protest over the killing of George Floyd filed a legal claim Monday, alleging she was struck in the head by a foam bullet fired by Los Angeles police, leaving her with stitches, a fractured cheekbone and a brain injury. Jasmine Morales, 26, spent nine days hospitalized at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and is seeking $10 million from the city of Los Angeles for injuries she suffered during the May 30 incident, according to the claim.
The projectile, likely a 40-millimeter hard foam round, flew in through her open driver’s side window near the Grove about 8 p.m. as she was driving to a Target store, according to the legal filing and her lawyers. The impact nearly knocked Morales unconscious, according to her claim. Neama Rahmani, one of her lawyers, said that based on eyewitness accounts, the officer had fired the projectile from inside a police car.
Morales’ attorney said she was traveling through the area and was not a part of the protests.“For an officer in a black-and-white to shoot a nearby driver in the face is not tactical police work so much as a drive-by shooting,” Rahmani, a former federal prosecutor, said. The claim, the required legal precursor to a lawsuit, alleges the LAPD officer clearly violated department guidelines for using such force.
Photographs Morales’ attorneys said were taken in the aftermath show the left side of Morales’ face bloody and bruised with a wound on her temple and a black eye. Morales, according to the claim, never heard any warning or order from the officers, and protesters were not around her Toyota but were nearby. The incident unfolded as a protest in the Fairfax district escalated into violence, with officers using batons and firing hard foam rounds into the crowd, some of whom set fire to parked police cars.
Morales required 20 stitches, and the Los Angeles resident suffered a fractured cheekbone, traumatic brain injury, bruising and impaired vision, the legal claim said. Morales was released from the hospital June 8, according to Rahmani. “In brain injury cases, she could get better in a matter of weeks or suffer lifelong impacts,” Rahmani said. Houman Sayaghi, another of Morales’ attorneys, said the foam projectile did not fall into the car after it struck his client, but he hopes video footage from surrounding security cameras, including a nearby bank, will help reconstruct events.
During the protests May 30, Los Angeles police deployed a “40-millimeter Less-Lethal Launcher” using single-shot hard foam projectiles. It is a device the LAPD and other police agencies claim allows for more precise targeting of violent suspects, thereby reducing the risk of serious injuries caused by other “less-lethal” alternatives.
But Rahmani said that an officer firing the weapon at a motorist is clearly an indiscriminate use of force against a person who posed absolutely no threat and was nothing but an innocent bystander passing through the area.
The civilian Los Angeles Police Commission and its inspector general’s office have said they will review all complaints of excessive force against the department.
An LAPD spokeswoman previously said the department is reviewing use of the 40-millimeter launcher and plans to release the findings “at a later time.”
In the wake of multiple accusations of indiscriminate fire by officers, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said he had directed the LAPD to “minimize” use of the less-lethal weapons when dealing with peaceful protesters.
A Times review of dozens of instances of police force during protests over the police killing of Floyd found that demonstrators suffered a range of injuries at the hands of the LAPD, including minor bruising from baton strikes and falls as police skirmish lines advanced, and serious injuries to some protesters’ genitals and heads from foam and sponge bullets and beanbags being launched into crowds, sometimes from close range.
A 2017 analysis of 1,984 people struck by rubber or plastic bullets found that 3% were killed and 15% permanently injured. The peer-reviewed study, published in the journal BMJ Open, reviewed 30 years of scientific papers worldwide on injuries from kinetic impact projectiles, or KIPs, which include rubber-coated bullets, beanbag rounds, sponge rounds and others.
Dr. Rohini Haar, the study’s lead author and an emergency room physician, told The Times that the so-called sponge rounds fired by the 40-millimeter launcher had not reduced problems.
The Whole Story is in the L A Times.
This is old news, but the EFFECT of it is more important now than ever. tRump is a disaster for criminal justice in many ways … from his use of private prisons (which Obama, wisely, was phasing out) to his total incompetence with the issues. He does not care about meaningful reform, does not care about individuals’ rights, and is as “lost in space”on criminal justice as he is on many other issues!
Remember, justice is the result sought. B4 this move by Sessions, the D OJ had significant clout to help lead toward that end. Not anymore.
Excerpts from the Article:
President Donald Trump’s decision in May 2018 to disband a National Security Council unit focused on preventing pandemics flew largely under the radar — until the coronavirus began its deadly march across the globe. Now, it’s the subject of widespread attention.
There’s a similar story unfolding around a different and less-noted decision made six months later by outgoing U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, one that’s now a key backdrop to the protests against police abuse of Black Americans that have swept the nation following the death last month of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis officers.
In November 2018, shortly before he left office, Sessions signed a memo restricting U.S. Department of Justice investigations into alleged abuse in local police departments. Such past probes — in Ferguson, Mo., Baltimore, Newark, N.J., Detroit and beyond — had followed high-profile killings by police. Sessions’ move followed an 18-month review he’d ordered of all previous probes, some of them dating back decades.
Sessions’ decision significantly weakened a federal oversight tool the Department of Justice had used since 1994 to investigate allegations of police abuse and to force reforms through court-ordered consent decrees — sometimes the only viable route for causing systemic change in municipal police departments.
Sessions’ move set higher hurdles to start DOJ investigations of new claims of abuse, with more complex and difficult criteria. In formal resolutions, the Detroit Board of Police Commissioners and their counterparts in other cities urged Sessions not to weaken the federal controls, to no avail. His successor, Attorney General William Barr, has kept those changes in place.
The FBI and DOJ are investigating Floyd’s death, but in light of Barr’s continuing restrictions, a broader probe of the entire Minneapolis police force is uncertain.
It worked in Detroit
In Detroit, a Free Press series about local police shootings of civilians sparked a DOJ probe that began in December 2000. The subsequent 30-month investigation focused on allegations of excessive force, illegal dragnet arrests and mistreatment of prisoners.
The investigation produced two June 2003 consent decrees that placed the Detroit Police Department under the supervision of a federal monitor to track compliance with 175 reforms. Key changes modified the department’s detention procedures and arrest criteria, along with the circumstances in which officers could use forceful restraint and fire or even point their weapons. Others revised use-of-force policies and training, putting an emphasis on de-escalation.
Detroit Police Chief Jerry Oliver, right, looks on during a 2003 press conference as U.S. Attorney Jeffrey Collins announces an agreement on two court-backed consent decrees that will force the DPD to cease practices that led to civil rights abuses. Also pictured are Assistant Attorney General Ralph Boyd and Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick. With more than 200 citizen complaints having languished for years, the agreement compelled DPD to complete thorough internal probes of alleged police misconduct in a timely fashion.
The consent decrees were in effect until August 2014, followed by a two-year transition period to full freedom from federal oversight. Judith Levy, now a federal judge based in Ann Arbor, played a leading role in overseeing implementation of the police reforms as an assistant U.S. attorney in Detroit working in the office’s civil rights section. “Reforms were adopted, and they became Detroit Police Department policy,” Levy said in an interview. “It was painful, it was long, it was expensive, but we got it done. Of course, it’s way more expensive (for police) to shoot people and pay them in settlements.”
“It does affect morale, but it affects morale because too often police departments don’t want to change,” Levy said. “And perhaps the fact that it affects police morale speaks volumes about how concerned we ought to be about police culture. That’s the last reason to back off.”
“We are using the tools that we have,” he said in an interview earlier this month. “Where we think that things need to be investigated, we investigate them.”
While Schneider acknowledged that his office has received complaints about police, he repeatedly declined to say whether there are any current investigations based on those complaints. He pointed to a separate probe instead.
There’s literally no way to tell if any local police departments are under investigation. A DOJ website on the conduct of law enforcement agencies invites readers to click on links to see “results of our work.” But the page has not been updated since Sept. 4, 2017.
Former Detroit Deputy Mayor Saul Green was the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan when the DOJ probe of the city police department began in late 2000. He and then-Mayor Dennis Archer had gone to Washington and argued for an investigation.
“Based on a series of police events relative to the use of force and deaths in holding cells, the decision was made to request that DOJ start an investigation,” Green said in an interview.
Among the signs that the DOJ probe and subsequent consent decrees produced results are a significant drop in lawsuits against the police department and reduced city payouts for abuse, the Detroit News reported earlier this month.
Even before the Detroit police department emerged from oversight, conditions improved. There were fewer fatal shootings of suspects and fewer false arrests, and fewer deaths in police holding cells, the Free Press reported. The number of holding-cell deaths also decreased, according to Bridge Magazine.
“It has had a beneficial effect in Detroit. I don’t think there’s any question about it,” Green said in an interview. “The police force is better trained, and they’re implementing the policies they’ve been trained upon. The result is you get policing that’s more equitable with fewer instances where citizens are harmed.”
Green, however, believes that such federal oversight doesn’t tackle broader social problems that police often are compelled to address.
“With all this talk about ‘defunding the police,’ what they’re really talking about is funding organizations that can address the hard problems police are really bad at,” he said. “Issues like mental health. They’re not trained in that. Homelessness is another issue they should not have to respond to. There’s a whole myriad of issues that police are called on to solve that they’re not trained in.”
During the protests over Floyd’s death, Detroit has not seen the looting, burned cars, damaged buildings or shootings of police that other cities have experienced.
Levy sees a clear link between the consent decree that reined in the police department here and the city’s relative lack of violence in recent weeks. And so she regrets that other police departments can’t benefit from the kind of DOJ investigation, thanks to Sessions and Barr that forced Detroit police to tackle deep-rooted problems.
“It’s too much work now if they use force,” she said. “Our consent decree redefined use of force. Now if you take your weapon out of the holster and acquire a target — any target, person, dog or house — you have to write a report justifying it. Cops don’t like to fill out paperwork.”
Because it is so long overdue! Most cops are good cops, but I have been raising hell about abuses for 14 years. Major changes are coming. 🙂
Excerpts from the Article:
Most Americans believe that change must be made to law enforcement across the nation and that reforms are needed to reduce police brutality against Black Americans, a poll released Monday found.
Among the ideas embraced by many of those polled June 18-22 by Ipsos on behalf of Public Agenda and USA TODAY:
• Force officers to reapply for their jobs to help weed out bad cops.
• Limit the scope of policing to focus on serious and violent crimes.
• Cut off police departments’ ability to buy military gear.
Those reforms are in addition to widespread and bipartisan support for more training on de-escalation tactics and racial biases, as well as numerous reforms aimed at increasing transparency.
The poll surveyed 1,113 U.S. adults as a part of the Hidden Common Ground initiative, which focuses on agreement and disagreement on solutions to tough public problems. The online poll has a credibility interval, akin to a margin of error, of plus or minus 3.3 percentage points for all respondents.
The data comes after weeks of nationwide protests calling for racial equality and an end to police brutality. In respondent Lallage Carouthers’ 83 years, she has never seen such far-reaching attention on the issues.
An African American woman living in Shelby, North Carolina, she can remember the end of segregation – her daughter’s school integrating and a federal mandate that her nursing unit do the same.
But today, Americans’ reckoning with racial inequality is extending to even historical symbols of slavery and racism, especially Confederate statues. It’s unlike anything Carouthers has seen.
Cases of police brutality that have attracted national attention and protesting don’t happen in isolation – “It’s a problem with the whole system,” she said. Someone had to hire the officers, after all.
About three in four people surveyed say racial bias against Black Americans is a serious problem in the U.S. Slightly fewer say it’s a problem in their community.
Asked whether racism is a problem with individuals or society, respondents were more likely to say both. More than half said major changes or a total redesign were needed.
“Some officers will profile Black people. … I know I can get away with more things as a white person than a Black person could,” Yismo Rosenberg of Houston told USA TODAY. He believes poor training among officers is probably to blame.
The poll found several reforms that focused around training and diversity in policing had support from three-quarters or more of respondents: requiring all officers to undergo training on de-escalation tactics to avoid the use of force, requiring all officers to undergo training on how to be less racially biased and recruiting more Black Americans to become police officers.
Even more popular: transparency reforms. Nine in 10 respondents supported having officers wear body cameras, 8 in 10 supported requiring police departments to publicly report all incidents involving the use of force within 72 hours, and nearly as many supported creating a national public database of officers who have used excessive force – and prohibiting other jurisdictions from rehiring them.
More extreme forms of police reform have varying levels of support, often with partisan divides. But the poll found two major reforms were supported by more than half of poll-takers: focusing policing on serious or violent crimes and requiring all police officers to reapply for their jobs, hiring back and retraining only the most qualified.
The poll identified several specific examples of responsibilities that more than half of respondents thought could be done by other professionals rather than police: sending social workers and EMTs to respond to mental health, substance use and domestic violence issues, assigning social workers and counselors to monitor school safety, and using cameras, drones and other technologies to enforce traffic laws. Democrats were more likely to support these reductions to officers’ responsibilities.
The poll also documented support for police was common, with nearly three-quarters of respondents saying disrespect of police officers was a serious problem and about half saying police budgets should stay the same or increase.
Reducing funding to police departments, a rallying cry for many protesters, received support from about one-third of respondents.
22 Camden protestors won’t face prosecution – Good for Kathy! Good for Delaware! – kra Letter to Editor – PUBLISHED!
My friend, Kathy Jennings, Delaware’s AG, shows once again how an Attorney General should behave, and proves that she is the best AG we have had in a long, long time. I have known her for decades, and I have known many of her predecessors. Not only did Ms. Jennings do the right thing in dropping these charges, but she did it the right way: after thorough review of the facts and thoughtful discussion with all involved.
Protesters have every right to demand reforms, and they should. And critical to the goal of FAIRNESS, is the understanding by authorities that this is not criminal.
Excerpts from the Article:
Seeking expanded common ground in a time of ample social unrest, Delaware’s attorney general announced on Wednesday that 22 people arrested during a June 9 protest in Camden will not be prosecuted.
AG Kathy Jennings said the determination followed evidence review including videos and photos from the scene, 911 recordings, dispatch records and police reports. Citizen generated video that was reviewed was posted online at attorneygeneral.delaware.gov.
Also, Justice Department officials had several hours of meetings with Dover- and Camden-area protesters, police and community advocates to gain greater perspective on their viewpoints, AG Jennings said. “We discussed the disparate role of race that pervades America — no more or less with prosecutors and police than in all corners of our society,” the attorney general said. “We heard compassion and empathy for the community. But what struck me was their overlapping message: everyone — protesters and police — wants the same things. Equal treatment under the law. A decent life for their families. A fair chance at the American Dream.”
Ultimately, despite demands to investigate police and prosecute protesters, the attorney general said neither action would assist in building better overall relations between the community and law enforcement. “I may be demonized equally by those who push criminal convictions against protesters who were aggressive but non-violent, or against police who made arrests,” AG Jennings said.
“Perhaps this is as good a sign as any that we must put June 9 behind us and find common ground.” Dover Police Chief Thomas Johnson Jr. met with the attorney general on Tuesday afternoon “and agreed it was in the best interest of our community to move forward and work together to make positive changes in our community.
“We look forward to working with government leaders and community stakeholders to improve our community,” spokesman Master Cpl. Mark Hoffman said.
On Wednesday, the Disrupt to Focus group which includes, among others, those taken into custody during the Camden protest, issued a statement that read, in part:
“During detainment, several officers antagonized protesters by insisting that they had been waiting for the opportunity to detain our group. During the three weeks of protesting, we never intended to endanger the public. According to the Attorney General, we should not have been arrested for acts of civil disobedience which is contradictory to the statements made by arresting officers that the arrest was ordered by the AG.
At the top of the news release was another quote from Dr. King:
“We must develop and maintain the capacity to forgive. He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love …
“There is some good in the worst of us and some evil in the best of us. When we discover this, we are less prone to hate our enemies.” Since the incident, AG Jennings said she knew of no arrests or physical harm as peaceful protests have continued statewide.
“Police departments up and down our state — including Dover Police — have taken unprecedented action to increase transparency,” she said.
“Our governor used his executive powers to bring important reforms to Delaware State Police. And the General Assembly is moving reform bills as we speak.”
The AG did note vandalism to the Delaware State Police Law Enforcement Memorial and Delaware Law Enforcement Memorial, both in Dover. Describing the actions as “reprehensible” she vowed to prosecute those responsible.
According to the Associated Press, 20 persons were charged with four separate disorderly conduct offenses involving refusing to disperse, obstructing vehicular traffic, obstructing pedestrian traffic and “fighting or violent tumultuous or threatening behavior.”
Four individuals were also charged with resisting arrest, and three with hindering prosecution.
One of those taken into custody was Dover Post reporter Andre Lamar, who live-streamed the incident on Facebook and questioned why officers were arresting people; he repeatedly yelled, “I’m with the press!” as officers took him into custody, the AP reported. AG Jennings’ office said Mr. Lamar had been with the protesters for several protests “sometimes in his personal capacity, other times as a reporter.” Dover Police said drone footage shows that Mr. Lamar did not put on his press credential lanyard until after police started making arrests, and that an officer rushed him after seeing Mr. Lamar rummaging through his backpack, not knowing that he was a journalist or what was in the backpack, the AP reported.
The DOJ detailed findings in its review including:
• The two weeks of protests were mostly peaceful displays of civil disobedience. Law enforcement had fielded numerous 911 calls over several days from residents concerned about particular protest tactics (for example, being surrounded in a parking lot with children in the car). Dover Police and the protesters had met on multiple occasions.
• On June 9, approximately 50 protesters were permitted to walk on U.S. 13 and in the median. The protesters marched in the northbound and southbound lanes for about 25 minutes, with police officers escorting some of the protesters. Traffic was blocked for the most part during this time, as an act of civil disobedience, to commemorate the time George Floyd was pinned to the ground with an officer’s knee on his neck as he lay dying.
• In the hour or so before the arrests, the only tense moments between police and protesters were when police were attempting to allow some cars on U.S. 13 to move around the protesters. Otherwise, the protest to that point was similar to peaceful demonstrations that we’ve seen all over our state.
• No protesters were arrested for protesting in the roadway. That is consistent with DOJ’s advice to the agencies: that no one should be arrested for civil disobedience, and police should step in only when public safety is endangered.
• While protesters were proceeding down U.S. 13, a Dover officer entered his patrol vehicle with the intent of closing down a nearby intersection so that the protesters could continue on the highway.
One of the protesters stood in front of the patrol car and refused to allow him to proceed (DOJ said it is not aware of any video of this particular interaction, so the facts come from interviews and police reports). When the officer exited his vehicle and began talking with the protester, a second protester approached him and, according to police witnesses, “began to use profanity towards [him]” prompting an order for both protesters to move so that the officer could move his vehicle.
• After they would not move, officers began to place the second protester under arrest. At this point, according to police, several protesters “began running in our direction. Protesters approached officers and [were] attempting to prevent the arrest” of other protesters.
The police report continues, “Due to the overwhelming possibility of injury and violence to everyone,” the officer used his radio to call a 10-40 (officer in trouble). Police officers are trained, when they hear another officer call a “10-40” on the radio, to respond immediately to the scene and render assistance to the officer in trouble. At that point, officers and protesters were rushing to the area of the original arrest, and several protesters were arrested.
The latter portion of these events, showing protesters running toward the officers, is shown on video.
• After the 10-40 call, officers began detaining protesters in the immediate vicinity, attempting to keep others away, and moved several across U.S. 13 into the median.
• Officers also arrested Mr. Lamar, who had been with the protesters for several protests (sometimes in his personal capacity, other times as a reporter, the DOJ said).
The AG said upon learning that a person with press credentials was arrested, a request was made to Delaware State Police to release him immediately.
See my Letter to Editor here: https://wilmingtonnewsjournal-de.newsmemory.com/?token=2e81d54b80a5baf91d0867dd9392dffe&cnum=2717809&fod=1111111STD-0&selDate=20200626&licenseType=paid_subscriber&
Letter to Editor – by kra
The right people at the right time
Donna Mitchell, city manager of my hometown — Dover — proves the importance of having the right person in the job. Her action in allocating funds for further police training could save/improve many lives.
Mitchell did not dilly-dally. She acted swiftly at a critical time — these are indeed critical times for our nation — to do the right thing.
Her shoes will be hard to fill when she departs her post this fall.
Meanwhile, my friend, Kathy Jennings, Delaware’s attorney general, shows once again how an Attorney General should behave, and proves that she is the best AG we have had in a long, long time. I have known her for decades, and I have known many of her predecessors. Not only did Jennings do the right thing in dropping charges against Dover-area protesters who were arrested in Camden earlier this month, but she did it the right way: after a thorough review of the facts and thoughtful discussion with all involved.
Protesters have every right to demand reforms, and they should. And critical to the goal of fairness is the understanding by authorities that this is not criminal.
Prosecutors everywhere, federal and state, could learn a thing or two from our AG.
— Ken Abraham, Dover
Qualified immunity should see the dustbin of history! It makes it nearly impossible for those abused by police to win a civil suit against them. This judge gets it.
Excerpts from the Article:
George Floyd’s unconscionable killing has properly brought renewed attention to the Supreme Court’s doctrine of “qualified immunity,” which shields law enforcement officers from civil lawsuits alleging excessive force. The judge-made law of qualified immunity subverts the Civil Rights Act of 1871, which Congress intended to provide remedies for constitutional violations perpetrated by state officers. Eliminating the defense of qualified immunity would improve our administration of justice and promote the public’s confidence and trust in the integrity of the judicial system.
I am not alone in my concerns about qualified immunity. Commentators — and justices — from across the ideological spectrum rightly contend that this doctrine has wandered far afield from the text of the Civil Rights Act. That landmark statute, enacted during Reconstruction, allows individuals to bring civil actions against state actors — including state and local law enforcement officers — for violating their constitutional rights. But two lines of Supreme Court precedent have rendered qualified immunity an increasingly insurmountable obstacle to individuals seeking legal redress for violations of their constitutional rights.
First, the Supreme Court has ratcheted up the standard a plaintiff must meet to bring a claim by requiring the plaintiff to show that the violation of his or her constitutional rights was “clearly established.” This means a plaintiff must demonstrate that the law enforcement officer’s challenged conduct was virtually identical to the facts of a previous Supreme Court or Court of Appeals decision finding a constitutional violation. The slightest factual variations can render a constitutional right not “clearly established” — meaning that the officer faces no civil liability for the violation.
Second, the Supreme Court has allowed, and even encouraged, lower courts to dismiss cases once they determine that a law enforcement officer’s challenged conduct did not violate a “clearly established” constitutional right — without ever deciding whether the conduct did in fact violate the Constitution. As a consequence, there are few judicial decisions against which to measure whether a law enforcement officer’s conduct amounted to a “clearly established” violation of constitutional rights.
In effect, those who allege that police officers have used excessive force are trapped in a never-ending self-fulfilling prophecy: They cannot sue officers who harm them because the harmful conduct has never been “clearly established” as a constitutional violation in a factually similar case. But because so many cases are dismissed without addressing whether the challenged conduct was in fact a constitutional violation, it is rarely “clearly established” that there was a violation.
This cycle prevents plaintiffs from pursuing their claims, gives officers little guidance on the contours of individuals’ rights and excuses ever more egregious conduct from liability. There are, of course, other avenues for punishing police misconduct, including criminal prosecutions of officers, but criminal cases can be difficult to bring and win, and in any event civil lawsuits can add an important layer of consequence and deterrence.
Congress enacted the Civil Rights Act to deter the unlawful use of excessive force by law enforcement officers. It provides that police officers and other officials “shall be liable” for “the deprivation of any rights” secured by the Constitution. The Supreme Court’s creation and expansion of qualified immunity not only diminishes the law’s intended effect; it also harms individuals who are booted out of court before they can ever bring claims of excessive force before a jury.
And it strains the separation of powers. By creating a defense unmoored from the text, the Supreme Court has undermined Congress’s intent to provide remedies to those whose rights have been violated.
When the judiciary effectively nullifies congressional legislation specifically designed to provide a remedy to those who have been subjected to constitutional violations, it necessarily moves our society closer to a Hobbesian state ungoverned by predictable rules. Violence and looting are neither constitutionally protected nor morally acceptable. But when the judiciary strips individuals’ constitutional rights of legal protection — when, for example, law enforcement officers can take lives unjustifiably, without legal consequence — it can be expected that the public will take matters into its own hands.
In my work as a judge, I follow the decisions of the Supreme Court because judges apply the law as it is, not as they believe it should be. The Framers embodied that concept by carefully and thoughtfully drafting each of the Constitution’s 7,600 words with the intention and expectation that the judiciary — the branch constitutionally entrusted and obligated to interpret the Constitution — would give effect to each and every one. We, as judges, must uphold that obligation. When we fail to do so, our communities bear the consequences.
My friend, Kathy Jennings, now A G of Delaware, strikes again with words of wisdom. I print her Commentary submission in its entirety, highlighting some parts.
Commentary from Kathy Jennings:
Thousands of Americans have poured into the town squares and city streets across our state and nation to protest George Floyd’s horrifying, senseless killing under the knee of a Minneapolis police officer.
Americans know the protests are not solely about George Floyd. We know they are a reckoning with something that has been broken in our country from its inception. They’re a reaction against the complicity of American institutions – and indeed, of Americans – in a system of black and brown repression that continues to pervade every corner of our society: from police brutality and criminal justice outcomes to economic opportunity, life expectancy and the effects of COVID-19.
Protest is righteously in our DNA as Americans. From the destruction of British property in Boston Harbor, to the civil rights movement, to today’s protests over systemic racism, mass protest is an indispensable instrument of progress when more conventional institutions fall short.
And yet, despite how endemic it is to our civic culture, protest makes us uncomfortable – and that discomfort is the point. Even though the nonviolent acts of civil disobedience that Martin Luther King Jr. and others carried out in the 1950s and 1960s are held today to be the holy grail of peaceful protest, polls from that time show that the American public believed the movement’s methods were more harmful than helpful to the cause of integration. They were wrong. Discomfort is a feature, not an accident. The very point of protest is to remove us from our comfort zones and to confront us with conversations we’ve avoided or ignored.
As an attorney and a longtime prosecutor, I also believe in the rule of law. And we are confronted with questions today – not least in the Department of Justice – about when protest violates the rule of law and how we answer that violation.
By and large, police throughout Delaware have shown excellent restraint by giving protesters room to demonstrate peacefully, while also making selective arrests when serious crimes were committed. With demonstrations in Delaware now entering their fourth week – and with disturbing examples of brutality against demonstrators in other states – our law enforcement’s rank and file deserve credit for knowing the wisdom of restraint.
Some of what’s come to light since the Camden protest raises legitimate questions. Prosecutors are actively reviewing all videos in the custody of the police departments that were present in Camden, and we are examining video that was sent to us by the public, including protesters. We’re also reviewing every arrest of every protester, both in the Camden incident and in protests throughout the state.
I have already spoken out about some of what occurred in Camden – I do not believe, for instance, that a photojournalist should have been detained and I was vocal in my insistence on his release from police custody – and I will have more to say about the demonstration when our review of the evidence is complete.
For now, I will say this: What happened in Camden clearly struck at something larger than the individual acts of any protester or police officer. This is a conversation about trust, about civil rights, about accountability and about the relationship between law enforcement and the community. It is not an indictment of every police officer to acknowledge that we need to recalibrate that relationship, just as it was not an indictment of every prosecutor or every judge when we set out to reform the criminal justice system.
On Friday, I met separately with both protesters and the Dover Police Department for several hours. I’ll continue to do everything in my power to help bridge the conversation between protesters and law enforcement. This is a time of incredible tension, but for many of us, it is also a time of hope for mutual understanding, healing and ultimately progress. The road ahead can lead to real growth for all of us, as a state and as a nation, but it will require some hard conversations. My personal hope is to see people of good faith come together to have those conversations and ultimately to effect and inform the change that we so desperately need.
And for all the good work that individual officers and departments do – and I am keenly familiar with that work – it is clear to many that the time for change is here. I was glad to see, and proud to endorse, the Delaware Black Caucus’ commitment to what I hope is only the beginning of a larger reform effort. And I continue to advocate for reasonable steps to ensure accountability for bad actors, giving the public greater buy-in and oversight of the police and honoring the public’s trust without penalizing good police officers.
I’ve called for 15 reform efforts inside the DOJ and in the Delaware Code, including an objective use-of-force standard, a statewide civilian review board, universal body cameras and a state law parallel to the federal law prohibiting the deprivation of civil rights. I’ve discussed them with law enforcement, with reform advocates and with policymakers, and there is broad common ground. These policies will not cure systemic racism or undo 400 years of oppression, but they would be tremendously beneficial steps forward for our state; they will not be easy to pass, but oftentimes, the right things to do are also the hardest; and they will not bring back George Floyd, Breonna Taylor or any of the lives lost to excessive force, but they may prevent these tragedies from reoccurring.
Kathy Jennings is attorney general of Delaware.
The Whole Story:
Acts such as done by this idiot accomplish nothing. As a deterrent, he should get the maximum fine. Moreover, it is important to remember that most cops are good cops. READ
Remember the Good Cops- Most Cops ARE the Good Cops! = http://www.citizensforcriminaljustice.net/remember-good-cops-cops-good-cops/
Excerpts from the Article:
A 42-year-old Camden man accused of taking an ax to the back of a neck of a police officer memorial in Dover early Friday morning has been arrested, Dover Police said. They arrested him after finding evidence at the scene and watching video surveillance, according to police. Kyle Bullock was arrested for vandalizing a police memorial in Dover.
Police said Kyle Bullock left his cell phone at the scene where they found an ax, a vandalized statue of an officer kneeling, and two urine-soaked Delaware state flags. Shortly after 5:30 a.m. police discovered the damage to the memorial located on Martin Luther King Boulevard.
Police said Bullock came to the scene asking officers if they had seen his missing cell phone. They claim he lied and told officers he lost it while participating in a protest earlier that day.
Dover Police said that Bullock was seen around protest activity, which had been going on in Dover since May 31, but that he was never with the group of protesters. Police also said that he was disorderly with them and that protesters told them he was not a part of the protesting group.
Delaware’s law enforcement memorial, which was erected in 2010 to honor the state’s fallen law enforcement officers, was axed Friday morning and two state flags “soaked” in urine were left nearby, Dover police said.
Officers arrested Bullock Friday night and charged him with a single county of felony criminal mischief. He was committed to Sussex Correctional Institution on $5,100 cash bond.
We sure need more transparency here. The laws must change!
Excerpts from the Article:
If a police officer in your community has a history of misconduct, can you find out about it? It depends where you live.
WNYC spoke to attorneys and experts in all 50 states and reviewed relevant statutes and court cases to get a national picture of a local issue. We found that a police officer’s disciplinary history is effectively confidential in almost half of US states.
In some of these states, the law explicitly exempts these records from public view. In others, records are secret in practice because police departments routinely withhold them under vague legal standards or in spite of court precedents.
Records are CONFIDENTIAL in 23 states.
Records have LIMITED availability in 15 states.
Records are PUBLIC in 12 states.
Minneapolis police chief takes on union, promises change The Minneapolis Police Department is withdrawing from police union contract negotiations
This is what is needed, in departments nationwide. READ what I wrote about police unions years ago: Editorial Submission or Letter to Editor – Reform Police Contracts! – 1/10/16
Excerpts from the Article:
The Minneapolis Police Department will withdraw from police union contract negotiations, Chief Medaria Arradondo said Wednesday, as he announced initial steps in what he said would be transformational reforms to the agency in the wake of George Floyd’s death.
Faced with calls from activists and a majority of City Council members to dismantle or defund the department, Arradondo also said he would use a new system to identify problem officers early and intervene.
“We will have a police department that our communities view as legitimate, trusting and working with their best interests at heart,” he said at a news conference more than two weeks after Floyd died after a white officer pressed his knee into the handcuffed black man’s neck even after he stopped moving and pleading for air.
Advisers will look for ways to restructure the contract to provide more transparency and flexibility, he said. The review will look at critical incident protocols, use of force, and disciplinary protocols, including grievances and arbitration, among other things. “This work must be transformational, but I must do it right,” Arradondo said.
The union’s contract expired on Dec. 31 but remains in effect until there is a new one. Talks began in October and eventually included a state mediator; the last discussion was in early March, when the coronavirus led to talks breaking off.
Union President Bob Kroll didn’t immediately return messages.
Arradondo fired the four officers who were at the scene of the encounter with Floyd the day after his death. Chauvin is charged with second-degree murder, third-degree murder and manslaughter, and the other three officers are charged with aiding and abetting.
One of those officers, Thomas Lane, posted bail of $750,000 and was released Wednesday with conditions. Chauvin, J. Kueng and Tou Thao remained in custody.
“Nobody’s saying defund safety,” Ellison said. “What they’re doing is they’re challenging the 19th, 20th century model of how we deliver safety … how it’s not really working very well and coming up with alternatives.”
Arradondo, the city’s first African American police chief, joined the Minneapolis Police Department in 1989 as a patrol officer, working his way up to precinct inspector and head of the Internal Affairs Unit, which investigates officer misconduct allegations. Along the way, he and four other black officers successfully sued the department for discrimination in promotions, pay and discipline.
He was promoted to assistant chief in early 2017, then became chief later that year, after Harteau was fired for the way she handled the fatal police shooting of Justine Ruszczyk Damond, an Australian native who had called 911 to report a possible sexual assault behind her home.
Many hoped Arradondo could alter the culture of a department that critics said too frequently used excessive force and discriminated against people of color. Arradondo made some quick changes, including toughening the department’s policy on use of body cameras. But critics have said more needs to be done.