As I have said many times over the years: “Sometimes good policing means letting a suspect escape.” This article reminds us that racism is all too common in policing, and throughout the criminal justice system.
Excerpts from the Article:
Sometimes good policing means letting a suspect escape. When officers instead pursue a fleeing suspect and end up killing him, prosecutors can face a difficult question: Was the killing justified? Yet another district attorney has answered this question the wrong way — revealing once again how Black lives not mattering is embedded in routine practices by police and prosecutors.
Seven law enforcement officers went to Andrew Brown Jr.’s home in Elizabeth City, N.C., to execute arrest and search warrants for nonviolent drug crimes. The cops found Brown in his car; 44 seconds later, they shot him dead — in the back of the head.
Pasquotank District Attorney Andrew Womble, announced this week that none of the officers would face charges. He claimed that Brown was using his car as a “deadly weapon, steering it toward officers.” That “apparent danger,” even though no officers were injured, was enough to justify the use of deadly force, Womble asserted.
Leave aside that Womble has objected to the release of all the body cam videos, a move that does not inspire confidence in his fairness. Cherry-picking what evidence the public can see is the opposite of transparency. Leave aside that while Womble claimed the body cam video showed Brown steering his car toward the officers, some of the reporters who viewed it said the video depicted Brown moving the car in a way to avoid hitting anybody. Leave aside that Womble rejected the common sense calls from Brown’s family and the North Carolina governor to recuse himself, because he works with the same officers who he had to decide whether to prosecute.
What’s clear is that this death did not need to happen. Two officers positioned themselves in front of Brown’s car, and then used their vulnerability as an excuse to kill him. Womble claimed the police were “duty-bound to stand their ground, carry through on the performance of their duties and take Andrew Brown into custody.” This “dead or alive” mentality may be the law of old western movies, but the Constitution does not support it.
Just because someone resists arrest or tries to escape police custody does not entitle the police to kill. The law requires police act reasonably, in light of all the circumstances, including the crime the person is suspected of, and the danger he poses.
The reasonable thing, in this case, would be for the cops to get out of the way and let Brown escape. They could have arrested him another time; they knew where he lived and what his car looked like. Brown was wanted for nonviolent drug offenses, hardly a crime that justifies killing a suspect to prevent him from escaping.
If you don’t believe me, believe the Pasquotank County Sheriff’s Office manual, which advises, “Shots fired at or from a moving vehicle involve additional considerations and risks now rarely effective. When feasible, deputies should take reasonable steps to move out of the path when approaching a vehicle instead of discharging a firearm at the vehicle or any of its occupants.”
Womble said this was an “administrative policy” that had no bearing on his decision not to prosecute the officers.
This is sadly typical of how routine police practices devalue the lives of Black and Brown people. Recall the tragedy of Breonna Taylor, an unarmed Black woman killed by Louisville police during a botched search warrant raid of her apartment. Or Daunte Wright, killed in April during a routine traffic stop when police tried to arrest him on an outstanding warrant.
Every day the police confront people who do not feel like being arrested. Suspects should cooperate and fight the case in court, but if they make the bad decision to flee, they do not automatically deserve to die. No one disputes that police officers, like anybody else, should have the right to self-defense when lives are at risk. But the license to kill carries the responsibility to promote the sanctity of every life.
There are so many outstanding arrests warrants in the United States that no one is able to count them all. The numbers we know are astounding: In Ferguson, Mo., in one year, courts issued almost 33,000 warrants — in a city whose population was 21,000. In New York City, in 2016, there were 1.4 million, the majority for quality of life offenses such as riding a bicycle on the sidewalk or being in a park after closing time. In New Jersey, there are 2.5 million outstanding warrants.
The three officers who fired the shots that killed Andrew Brown Jr. are back on the force. The sheriff says they will be “retrained.” Their continued service as law enforcement officers is an insult to the memory of Brown, and a clear and present danger to the citizens they are supposed to protect. The failure to prosecute means yet another Black victim of police violence is denied equal protection of law.
The police told the medical people that Mr. Greene died when his car hit a tree … but the doctor at the ER noted that taser prongs were stuck in his back, writing “does not add up”!
The feds no doubt will be bringing some charges, just as they should. We cannot tolerate such racism and lies!
Here is an UPDATE. Some video now is available. Video shows Black man beaten – 2019 arrest in La. subject of a federal investigation
Excerpts from the Article:
Federal authorities are investigating the death of a Black man during what Louisiana State Police described as a struggle to take him into custody following a rural police chase last year, officials told The Associated Press.
The death of 49-year-old Ronald Greene remains shrouded in secrecy because state police have declined to release body camera footage related to the May 2019 chase north of Monroe, La. Troopers say it began when Greene failed to stop for an unspecified traffic violation.
Greene’s death drew new attention after his family filed a wrongful death lawsuit this year, alleging state troopers “brutalized” Greene and “left him beaten, bloodied and in cardiac arrest” before covering up his actual cause of death.
Greene’s family said authorities initially said Greene died after crashing into a tree but omitted what state police now acknowledge was a “struggle” preceding his death. The lawsuit, drawing on witness accounts, alleges officers pinned Greene to the ground and used a stun gun on him, even after he apologized for leading them on a chase.
Greene’s mother, Mona Hardin, said her family has not been able to grieve because so many questions remain unresolved. She said her son was a well-liked barber who lived in West Monroe and had a “giving spirit.”
“This has gutted our family,” Ms. Hardin told the AP. “How do people live with themselves after doing something like this?”
The investigation comes amid heightened racial tensions within Louisiana State Police, an agency that has been plagued by misconduct cases in recent years. Earlier this month, Gov. John Bel Edwards, a Democrat, said it was “unacceptable” that the police had failed to discipline a trooper who was caught on camera using a racial slur on duty.
The handling of Greene’s death has eroded the agency’s credibility even further, said Eugene W. Collins, president of the Baton Rouge branch of the NAACP, the nation’s oldest civil rights organization.
“The public has a right to know what happened to Mr. Greene that day,” he said, “and the concealing of this information by the Louisiana State Police is not only disgusting but immoral.”
State police spokesperson Capt. Chavez Cammon said the agency is “cooperating with federal officials” even as it conducts its own internal investigation.
Two law enforcement officials familiar with the case said Louisiana State Police are investigating whether one of the responding troopers improperly turned off his body camera during Greene’s arrest. They spoke to the AP on the condition of anonymity to discuss an ongoing investigation.
Mr. Edwards “is aware of the investigation and expects that there will be a comprehensive and fair evaluation of the facts,” spokesperson Shauna Sanford wrote in an email. “He has not seen the video.”
Greene’s death was ruled accidental and attributed to cardiac arrest, said Renee Smith, the Union Parish coroner who was not in office when that determination was made. Ms. Smith said her office’s file on Greene attributed his death to a car crash and makes no mention of a struggle with police.
“The physical evidence we’ve been able to review is inconsistent with the manner of death that they’ve described,” said Lee Merritt, a prominent civil rights lawyer representing Greene’s family.
Local prosecutors did not bring charges against the responding troopers but referred Greene’s death to the U.S. Justice Department for a civil rights investigation, said Laurie James, first assistant district attorney in Union Parish.
Asked for his reaction to footage of Greene’s death, John Belton, the Union Parish district attorney, said it would be “inappropriate for me to comment because of the ongoing federal investigation.”
The FBI declined to comment. The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Shreveport confirmed the federal investigation into Greene’s death but declined to comment further.
State police have released few details about Greene’s death. A crash report says troopers attempted to pull him over for an unspecified traffic violation shortly after midnight on May 10, 2019, about 30 miles south of the Arkansas state line. Greene “refused to stop,” the report says, and “a pursuit ensued.”
A single-page police report released by the police says the chase ended when Greene crashed his vehicle.
“Greene was taken into custody after resisting arrest and a struggle with Troopers,” the report says, adding that he “became unresponsive” and died on the way to a hospital. The report doesn’t describe any use of force by troopers.
Greene’s family contends the crash was not serious enough to account for his fatal injuries. Their lawsuit says his vehicle “did not make impact with a tree and his airbag did not deploy.”
Greene “was not injured and could walk, speak and otherwise function in a healthy manner after the crash,” the lawsuit says, adding an autopsy found cuts and “blunt-force injuries” to Greene’s head and face.
“Obviously, the bodycam footage is critical,” said Mark Maguire, a Philadelphia attorney also representing Greene’s family.
Dewey Beach police are getting ‘remote handcuffs’ for arrests. Could other Delaware agencies be next?
These are a good idea. You don’t need to hurt people to maintain law and order.
Excerpts from the Article:
Pepper spray, an expandable steel baton and a Taser.
Those are the nonlethal options that a typical Delaware police officer will have on his or her belt when responding to someone who is resisting arrest.
But all those options cause pain. That’s why the Dewey Beach Police Department is trying an alternative.
Dewey Beach police will be one of the first agencies in the state to use BolaWrap. Promoted as “remote handcuffs,” this tool acts almost like a lasso by shooting out Kevlar ropes that wrap around the subject’s arms or legs. Two small hooks on the end of the cords grab the person’s clothing or latch onto the cord to fully wrap and restrain the person.
In a resort town that sees its fair share of intoxicated and disorderly people in the summer, Dewey Beach police officers frequently deploy stun guns. BolaWrap gives officers another option to arrest someone without pain, said Sgt. Cliff Dempsey, spokesperson for the Dewey Beach Police Department.
“If it works, this could be revolutionary to Dewey,” Dempsey said.
Dewey Beach Police Chief Sam Mackert said he participated in a demonstration of BolaWrap and he “felt no pain at all when it wrapped me up.”
The town commissioners and mayor voted unanimously on Friday to use up to $15,000 to cover the cost of the devices, cartridges and training for officers.
This money comes from the 2019 sale of more than 2,000 military surplus items that the town received through the Law Enforcement Support Office, or LESO Program. Mayor Dale Cooke said the town made a commitment to use the funds from that auction solely for the Police Department.
Town Manager Bill Zolper said the cost for 10 devices and all the related equipment and training will be about $12,000. While he said that may sound like a lot, the effort will be worth it to show that the town and its Police Department are moving away from using pain for compliance.
“When you look at what’s happening to towns and cities across the country with the current (use-of-force) lawsuits, I think it’s very little to spend to try to bring a product to our folks, that if they use it once a year, it’s going to be worth it,” he said.
This decision comes at a time when police agencies in Delaware and nationwide have been reevaluating use-of-force policies and the weapons they use for compliance.
Studies, like one published in the National Institute of Justice Journal in 2010, show that less-lethal weapons like pepper spray and stun guns can reduce injuries to both the suspect and the officer.
At one point, many police departments opted to use stun guns instead of pepper spray, said Jamie Leonard, president of the Delaware Fraternal Order of Police. Now, these agencies are bringing back pepper spray in addition to stun guns – a trend that lines up with this effort to give officers more non-lethal options.
“There’s no one that signs up to take this job that wants to have to be engaged in a deadly force situation. I can assure you that,” Leonard said. “If there’s an opportunity where we can mitigate that possibility, then we’re going to take it.”
EVERY jurisdiction in the nation should do this! I have been saying that for years. With all of the killings by police, more and more will.
Lawmakers on Thursday announced they are filing a bill that would require all police officers in Delaware to wear body cameras.
House Bill 195 by Rep. Sherry Dorsey Walker, D-Wilmington, would require all police officers and certain employees from the Department of Correction and Department of Services for Children, Youth and Their Families to wear the cameras.
The governor, the attorney general, the Statehouse’s majority party, activists and police support the statewide body camera mandate — all but ensuring it’s a done deal in Delaware. Lawmakers are likely to pass the bill before the legislative session ends June 30.
On Thursday, Attorney General Kathy Jennings called the body camera policy a “top priority” in building trust and accountability in policing.
The state Department of Justice hopes to have cameras on all officers sometime in 2022, though an exact timeline is so far unclear.
Officials expect the bill to be approved and funding for the program to be secured by July, and then the state will start the bidding process for camera manufacturers, according to Chief Deputy Attorney General Alex Mackler.
According to the proposal, the Council on Police Training would create rules for the use of the cameras for police — including whether to let members of the public see the footage. The council would have to present the rules to the attorney general by January 15.
Jennings supports public access to footage, except in certain circumstances such as interviews with children or sexual assault victims.
“There has to be some type of filter…that protects the rights of those people who, by statute, are guaranteed that protection,” Jennings said.
These police disciplinary records should be made public information! As you can see, the unions are a problem. Police and prison guard unions spend millions of dollars lobbying against needed reforms.
Excerpts from the Article:
Lawmakers in more than 20 states have considered bills this year to make the disciplinary records of police officers public or to share them with other agencies, a push that comes amid high-profile deaths at the hands of law enforcement. About 20 states still largely prohibit their release, however.
Supporters of greater transparency say it could help improve police accountability, build trust with the community and prevent officers with disciplinary problems who leave one department from being hired by another.
Opponents say the release of such records could harm the reputations of officers with only minor infractions or even put them in danger. They also argue that disciplinary actions are part of personnel records, which are exempt from state open records laws.
But amid growing nationwide protests against alleged excessive force by police officers, at least 16 states have contemplated measures to release such records, or summaries of them, publicly. Another eight have discussed making the records accessible to other law enforcement agencies.
In Utah, Republican Gov. Spencer Cox signed a bill in March providing legal immunity to law enforcement agencies that share background information about former employees with other agencies looking to hire. State Sen. Jani Iwamoto, a Democrat in the GOP-dominated Legislature, introduced the legislation in response to the case of a University of Utah officer who resigned while being investigated for allegedly sharing explicit photographs of a victim in an alleged extortion case who was later killed. The officer was later hired by police in Logan, Utah, who did not know about the probe.
“We want people to feel that they can report a bad cop,” said Iwamoto, who also successfully sponsored another bill to ensure that police disciplinary investigations are completed even if an officer resigns while one is in progress. Without legislation in place, lawyers advised police departments not to share disciplinary records lest they be sued, Iwamoto said.
In North Carolina’s Republican-controlled legislature, lawmakers want to create a confidential database from which law enforcement agencies in the state can track all disciplinary actions to prevent officers from hiding past problems when looking for a new job.
“We enable agencies to better screen individuals … so that we can weed out who the bad apples are,” said Republican state Sen. Danny Britt.
Under an expansive police reform bill Britt is sponsoring, authorities also would track all use of force by officers resulting in serious injury or death. And the legislation would create an “early warning system” to collect data on citizens’ complaints and any transgressions with the aim of correcting an officer’s behavior before it leads to a deadly outcome.
Maryland has gone further, approving the release of records related to formal misconduct complaints. The Democrat-controlled Legislature overrode a veto by Republican Gov. Larry Hogan, who objected to the public release of complaints that haven’t been substantiated. Supporters contend the public has a right to see how police departments investigate complaints against officers.
The proposals come amid a national reckoning over the killings of Black people at the hands of police. Efforts to get access to police disciplinary records have increased along with public awareness of the issue, which has grown since the 2014 shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, said Rachel Moran, an associate professor and founder of the Criminal and Juvenile Defense Clinic at the University of St. Thomas School of Law in Minneapolis.
In Maryland, the move is part of a sweeping police reform package that was prompted by the 2018 death of Anton Black, a 19-year-old African American who died in a rural Maryland town after officers pinned him to the ground for more than five minutes as they handcuffed him and shackled his legs.
One of the officers, Thomas Webster, had nearly 30 use-of-force complaints lodged against him while previously working in neighboring Delaware. Webster also had been charged with second-degree assault in that state for allegedly kicking a Black man in the head, but was acquitted in 2015.
Anton Black’s sister, LaToya Holley, said she hopes the new law translates into quicker answers for the families of anyone who dies at the hands of police.
“They need to work on trust,” she said of law enforcement. “There isn’t that much trust in the community.”
In 2018, California lawmakers voted to allow public access to records of officer shootings and other major uses of force. New York lawmakers last year repealed a law that had blocked public disclosure of disciplinary records for police officers, firefighters and correctional officers. Hawaii took similar action, allowing the public to learn the details of more than 80 cases of unwarranted assault and more than 100 cases of officers filing false reports or covering up infractions.
In New Jersey last year, state Attorney General Gurbir Grewal, without waiting for legislation, ordered local and state police to release the names and summaries of disciplinary records of officers who had been fired, demoted or suspended for more than five days. Grewal said the information was needed to promote community trust and police accountability amid protests against the death of George Floyd in Minnesota.
For their part, members of New Jersey’s Democrat-controlled legislature considered but have failed to pass a bill this year to make police records public, though an early warning system of the kind being considered by North Carolina is already in place.
Meanwhile, nothing has come of Grewal’s order yet because of a legal challenge by law enforcement unions. They argue that personnel records are exempt under state open records laws, and that officers and their families could be put at risk if they are made public. They also object to releasing information about past confidential disciplinary agreements for problems such as drinking and domestic violence.
Pat Colligan, president of the New Jersey State Policemen’s Benevolent Association, said many officers who have dealt with problems like that have gone on to have good careers. Colligan said he would support the release of records only for major infractions, such as excessive force and civil rights violations, from now on.
He also would like to see the state’s early warning system be given a chance to provide officers with help or weed out those not meant to wear a badge.
“People have to stop assuming every officer is a problem officer,” he said.
The Whole Story:
Group advocates for those arrested in wake of law enforcement killing of Andrew Brown Jr.; protests continue for day 11
Tonight (5/3/21) police are arresting protesters earlier than ever in the evening.
These protests must continue until we learn the TRUTH of why cops shot Andrew Brown. DEMAND TRANSPARENCY!
All of the hiding of their body cam film is BULLSHIT!
Excerpts from the Article:
A social justice group held a press conference on Saturday in Elizabeth City to advocate for protesters arrested in the wake of the law enforcement killing of Andrew Brown Jr. and to make several demands.
Rev. Curtis Gatewood, founder of “Stop Killing Us Solutions Campaign,” was among the speakers. He was one of several protesters arrested and wanted to clear up misconceptions.
He said he sat down on the streets of Elizabeth City at 8 p.m. earlier this week because he says it was his way to protest an “unjust law,” meaning the curfew. The curfew originally started Monday at 8 p.m. and was later extended from midnight to 6 a.m.
He said the curfew put in place was unnecessary because all protests have been peaceful, and that it infringes on the First Amendment.
Gatewood, who was also joined by former Elizabeth City State student and local business owner Addonis Jones and others, also called for the elimination of no-knock warrants and a national registry of law enforcement officers who’ve been fired for previous offenses at other precincts.
“I’m doing this for all those children out there who look like me or will look like me one day. I did that for them because if don’t nobody do it, our same kids will keep dying,” Jones said.
Jones also is calling for psychological evaluations for police officers.
The group is pushing for the release of bodycam footage in the case and the suspension of all seven deputies involved in the raid in which Brown was killed. 3 who fired their weapons are still on administrative leave but four who did not have been reinstated.
The bodycam footage in the case was delayed from public release this week for at least 30 days. The district attorney in the case, Andrew Womble, claims video shows Brown’s car making contact with deputies before they fired. The family believes that wasn’t the case and have called Brown’s death an execution.
The group also demanded that law enforcement officers staying at Elizabeth City State University housing leave, calling the decision to house the officers an escalation. ECSU said Friday that 13 officers that were being housed there were moving off-campus.
The press conference came a day the North Carolina ACLU and other civil rights groups sent a letter to Elizabeth City officials, saying a new requirement that permits need to be filed to hold protests violates the First Amendment. The group also demanded for Elizabeth City to lift its midnight curfew.
The North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation is leading the investigation, and the FBI has also opened its own probe.
Protests started in Elizabeth City around 5:30 p.m Saturday. Protesters began outside the Pasquotank County Public Safety Office.
At least 100 people were involved in the march.
Protester Denita Latta drove all the way down to Elizabeth City from Philadelphia to participate in the protests. She’s an Elizabeth City State University alum and brought a sign reading “Genocide by status quo.” She said she made the sign 10 years ago after Trayvon Martin was killed. It’s the same old song. It’s the same old song. We’re still doing this. And I just can’t stop. I have three Black sons, so every day that I wake up, it could be one of them,” she said.
Latta — who now lives in Delaware — echoed what Jones and others said during the press conference Saturday afternoon. She wants to see federal changes in policing requirements.
Protesters, escorted by Elizabeth City police, chanted “release the tapes” as they marched to the Waterfront area Saturday night.
By 9:30 p.m., there was a police presence by the bridge connecting Pasquotank and Camden counties. Elizabeth City police had blocked Water Street and Colonial Avenue after some protesters tried to block the bridge.
A different group of protesters then returned by 10:20 p.m. and were standing off against police at the start of the bridge. NC state troopers were waiting across the bridge.
Some protesters has dispersed by 11 p.m.
BELOW: Video from day 10 of protests in Elizabeth City.
As it should be. We need more judges like this, rather than tRumpster idiot governors who want to make it legal to kill peaceful protesters!
District Judge Algenon L. Marbley wrote that “some of the members of the Columbus Police Department had no regard for the rights secured by (the First Amendment of the Constitution) this bedrock principle of American democracy. This case is the sad tale of police officers, clothed with the awesome power of the state, run amok.”
Excerpts from the Article:
A federal judge in Columbus granted a preliminary injunction Friday against the Columbus Division of Police, barring officers’ use of tear gas, pepper spray, wooden bullets and other so-called “non-lethal force” against nonviolent protesters.
In a decision favoring 26 protesters who said they were brutalized by officers during demonstrations last year, Chief U.S. District Judge Algenon L. Marbley wrote that “some of the members of the Columbus Police Department had no regard for the rights secured by (the First Amendment of the Constitution) this bedrock principle of American democracy. This case is the sad tale of police officers, clothed with the awesome power of the state, run amok.”
Marbley, who opened his 88-page decision Friday with a quote from Martin Luther King Jr., also barred police from inflicting “pain or punishment to deter nonviolent protesters” — those who “are chanting, verbally confronting police, sitting, holding their hands up when approaching police, occupying streets or sidewalks, and/or passively resisting police orders.”
The ruling requires Columbus police to ensure that body and vehicle cameras “are in good working order and used during every interaction” with nonviolent protesters, and that officers’ badge numbers and/or identity cards are clearly displayed “even when riot gear is worn.”
John Marshall, lead attorney for plaintiffs in the case, said the decision “will have a significant impact on the ability of the Columbus police to inflict violence against lawful protesters.”
“We captured through eye-witness testimony and by combing through thousands of hours of video, including body cams, what really happened on the streets of Columbus during the Black Lives Matter protests,” Marshall said. “And what really happened was that the police vindictively attacked lawful and peaceful protesters, we believe, because they were protesting against the very violence that the police have long inflicted on communities of color.”
A request for comment from Columbus police made through the Department of Public Safety was met with a prepared statement from Mayor Andrew J. Ginther, who said that the city last summer “was faced with extraordinary circumstances not seen in more than two decades. Today’s ruling tells us we fell short in our response.
“We have already implemented changes that address most, if not all, of the orders in the court’s decision so that residents can feel safe in expressing their First Amendment rights in a nonviolent way,” Ginther said, referring to rules the city imposed that had limited use of non-lethal force to situations where officers were directly threatened with physical violence.
“The changes we made last summer have been evident in many protest events that followed, without confrontation or incident. We are committed to continuing to reform policing in Columbus to not only meet, but exceed, the community’s expectations.”
City Attorney Zach Klein said in a prepared statement that the city respected the judge’s decision.
“We have always believed that nonviolent, peaceful protesters must be respected, and unnecessary and excessive force must not be used against them,” Klein said. “This is reflected in our efforts to change police policies regarding the use of chemical agents and further underscores the need to welcome the Department of Justice to help change the way Columbus polices.”
The protesters sued the city in U.S. District Court in Columbus, saying that they were brutalized by Columbus police during protests following the May 25, death of George Floyd last year at the hands of Minneapolis Police officer Derek Chauvin, who was recently convicted of murder in the case.
Racial injustice protests over Floyd’s death began in Columbus on May 28 and continued into June and July. Plaintiffs said in court filings that they were “dedicated to nonviolent protest, including civil disobedience of traffic, parade and mass-gathering regulations to generate urgent widespread public attention to the historic and continuing police violence directed overwhelmingly at communities and people of color condoned by mostly white police supervisors and administrators,” according to documents.
Much of the118-page complaint, filed in September, described in detail incidents of what the plaintiffs say was police brutality against nonviolent protesters. The filing included photos of bloody gashes, broken bones and large bruises caused by wooden bullets or from protesters being thrown to the ground by officers, plaintiffs alleged.
Attorneys for the officers and other defendants countered that the city supports peaceful and lawful protest and already “prohibits unjust or prejudicial treatment based on race or color as well as the use of excessive or punitive force.”
They reiterated in court filings the policies and procedures in place to protect and prioritize citizens’ right to “peacefully and lawfully protest” and “prohibit police from retaliating against protesters based on their speech and from using excessive and punitive force.”
They also noted that the city has revised policies, including changes to the city code and charter, to address issues raised in the lawsuit and that “sizable protests pertaining to allegations of police brutality” have taken place in Columbus “with no uses of force at all.”
Plaintiffs asked the court to issue an injunction barring Columbus police from using pepper spray, wooden bullets and other non-lethal weapons against nonviolent protesters, plus compensation for how they were treated by officers.
Similar lawsuits were filed elsewhere. A federal judge restricted Los Angeles police from using projectile launchers against protesters. A similar decision was issued by a federal judge in Oregon.
More than 800 complaints related to police actions during the Columbus protests were submitted to the city. A subsequent investigation by BakerHostetler, the local law firm hired by the city, resulted in 49 reports, though only eight involved sustained allegations and one resulted in discipline. That officer was given documented counseling for not filing the proper paperwork.
The city also hired a retired FBI agent to investigate any potential criminal misconduct by officers during last year’s protests. To date, no charges have been filed.
Additionally, the city commissioned a $250,000 review of police response during last year’s protests by former U.S. Attorney Carter Stewart and the John Glenn College of Public Affairs at Ohio State University and offer recommendations for improvement.
Judge Marbley’s decision Friday included a “History of Policing,” tracing the development and racial underpinnings of law enforcement agencies and practices in the United States from colonial times onward.
The list included formal “slave patrols” in the South during the 1800s; post-Civil War Black Codes and Jim Crow laws and other policies that targeted people of color and immigrants.
The judge described police handling of civil rights protests, writing, “… peaceful protests for civil rights were met with police violence and arrests, fire hoses, and dog attacks. Riots that erupted after instances of police brutality or discrimination occurred with regularity in American cities during the 1960s.”
In addition, Marbley wrote about more-recent incidents, including the “brutal police beating of Rodney King in 1991” and Floyd’s murder last year.
He recounted Columbus police crowd control policies and practices for the use of tear gas, pepper spray, wooden bullets and other munitions, as well as plaintiffs’ descriptions of how they were treated during protests in May and June.
“It is understandable why an officer might take personally profane and provocative chants,” Marbley wrote. “But what is not comprehensible is why she would then let that dictate her treatment of individuals exercising their First Amendment right, no matter how unkind their chants and signs might be. What separates our nation from some others is the ability to criticize our leaders and those bearing the imprimatur of state authority without fear of retribution. Typically, police are the ones who protect and ensure that this cherished right remains unencumbered. That is not what occurred last summer.”
He added later: “Plaintiffs allege that throughout last summer’s protests, they were peacefully observing, providing medical aid, or protesting when Defendants, often clad in riot gear, exercised an indiscriminate use of chemical irritants, physical force, and other weapons.”
The ruling does not completely ban the use of force by police, when warranted.
“The relief that plaintiffs request leaves open all lawful options for police to use reasonable force when necessary to defend against a threat and to make arrests when supported by probable cause,” Marbley wrote. “And any possible benefit police officers could gain from deploying chemical agents, projectiles, or striking weapons against demonstrators who pose no threat and are not resisting lawful commands is outweighed by the irreparable harm peaceful protestors could face.”
Marbley also wrote that protests against police brutality continue: “Protests are inherently ongoing, and it is often difficult to tell where one protest ends and the next begins. There is nothing in the record that indicates that upon another protest, plaintiffs will not experience further constitutional deprivations and physical harm at the hands of the police. Indeed, plaintiffs and witnesses have attended multiple protests and were twice subject to problematic police treatment.”
Ohio officials release more body cam video of fatal police shooting of Black teen and urge community to await the facts
I have read the reports and seen all the videos available, and it certainly seems to me that this shooting was justified!
Excerpts from the Article:
Columbus, Ohio, officials released additional body camera video on Wednesday of a police officer fatally shooting a Black teen who charged two females with a knife.
“We don’t yet have all of the facts but we do know that a 16-year-old girl, a child of this community, tragically died last night,” Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther told reporters.
“Bottom line: Did Ma’Khia Bryant need to die yesterday?” he added. “How did we get here? This is a failure on the part of our community. Some are guilty but all of us are responsible.”
Police body cam video shows Ma’Khia Bryant charging a young woman with a knife Tuesday before she was shot by officer in Columbus, Ohio.
Police identified the officer who fired the shots as Nicholas Reardon, who was hired in December 2019. The officer is off street duty pending an investigation. Calls seeking comment from the police union have not been returned.
Hundreds gathered in different sections of Columbus throughout the day as they headed toward police headquarters.
In a series of clips from police body camera video, the girl is seen holding a knife during a tussle with another young woman. An officer arrived at the scene and opened fire when the girl appeared to attempt to stab a second woman.
In the video, one officer is heard asking, “Where is she hit?” The officer starts lifesaving measures. “Stay with us,” he tells the girl, asking bystanders her name. “Stay with us, Ma’Khia,” he implored.
Officials asked the community to wait for all the facts to come out.
In Tuesday’s shooting, police received a call at 4:32 p.m. indicating “females were there trying to stab them and put their hands on them,” Columbus Interim Police Chief Michael Woods said.
The video shows a teen quickly move toward another girl with what appears to be a knife, and the girl falls to the ground. The officer yells, “Hey, hey, hey, hey. Get down!” before she appears to lunge at a second girl with the knife, according to the video. The officer tells her to “Get Down! Get down! Get down! Get down!” and then fires four shots in the direction of the teenager.
The Whole Story
Folks celebrated nationwide, because this was not about one case, it was not about one decision, it was not about one cop. It was about far too many cops killing people unjustifiably, for decades, with no accountability.
Guilty. Guilty. Guilty.
New Yorkers breathed easily after jurors hundreds of miles away rendered that verdict against Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis cop who murdered George Floyd.
Moments after Chauvin was found guilty on all counts, celebrations unfolded in a spring day in New York City.
At Barclays Center — where raucous, thousands-strong protests occurred nightly last spring — a relatively subdued demonstration began Tuesday. When it began there were almost as many reporters as demonstrators, but the group gathered enough strength to march and close down a lane of Flatbush Avenue.
“Whose streets? Our streets,” they chanted.
Other demonstrations peacefully unfolded in Times Square, across the Manhattan Bridge and elsewhere in New York City.
No Knock warrants almost never are needed and should be banned. Here is another reminder of why!
Excerpts From the Article:
You would think Breonna Taylor’s death would have seen no-knock warrants quickly banned nationwide and cops being more proactive about making sure they’re actually targeting the right places when using one. Yeah, nah. A retired corrections officer had her home raided last month by narcotics officers in the New York Police Department.
According to the New York Daily News, Debra Cottingham, 58, was home alone in the early morning hours of March 19 when she heard her screen door open and a battering ram begin to bang on her door. Before she could even get downstairs, the cops were at her bedroom door. They handcuffed her and made her wait downstairs while they searched the house.
“I said, ‘You’re dealing with me like it’s a crackhouse,’ and the officer said, ‘It is a crackhouse,’” Cottingham told the Daily News. ’’I never shook so much in my life. I was the only woman here. To watch all them men, officers, run through here, I was terrified.”
Cottingham legally owns two guns and told the Daily News she would’ve been within her rights to grab a gun to protect herself from an intruder. “What would have happened? I asked them that — nobody said anything. It could have been another Breonna Taylor situation,” Cottingham told the Daily News.
The cops were there to find her boyfriend’s 26-year-old son, who Cottingham said she hasn’t seen in nearly three years. She explained to the news outlet that she kicked him out of their home because he stole from her and he was involved with drugs and gang activity.
Before executing these no-knock warrants, cops are expected to do their due diligence in casing out the residence. They’re supposed to gather intel about who lives in the home, what firearms training they have, and there also needs to be credible evidence that criminal activity is occuring in the home.
Clearly, these cops didn’t do any of that because if they had they would’ve realized that ol’ boy hadn’t been in Cottingham’s home for years, and that Cottingham herself is a retired city corrections officer who briefly worked with the NYPD.
The Daily News tried to contact Novonil Chowdhury, the officer who obtained the warrant, and Detective Sekou Bourne about the raid but received no response. The NYPD has also not spoken on the warrant.
From the New York Daily News:
Bourne has been the subject of 21 complaints to the Civilian Complaint Review Board, with the watchdog agency substantiating nine of the 42 total allegations of wrongdoing in those complaints. He lost 15 days in one excessive force case and 15 more in a case for which he was found guilty of an improper stop-and-frisk and house search, as well as abuse of authority.
Bourne is also named in 10 lawsuits from civilians against the city and NYPD, one pending plus nine that have settled for a total of $440,000.
Cottingham has filed a complaint with the Internal Affairs Bureau and the Civilian Complaint Review Board.
A bill was introduced in the New York state legislature last year that would severely limit no-knock warrants to only being used for violent criminals and terrorists; banning them from use in drug cases. Clearly, they need to get on passing that sooner rather than later because this situation is disturbingly similar to what happened with Taylor. Cottingham told the news outlet that she has been jumpy since the raid and has continually had flashbacks.