officers

Baltimore Officers Will Face No Federal Charges in Death of Freddie Gray

WASHINGTON — Six Baltimore police officers will face no federal charges in the death of Freddie Gray, the 25-year-old black man who died of a severe spinal cord injury while in custody, the Justice Department announced on Tuesday.

“After an extensive review of this tragic event, conducted by career prosecutors and investigators, the Justice Department concluded that the evidence is insufficient,” the department said in a statement, adding that it was unable to prove the officers “willfully violated Gray’s civil rights.”

The closure of the criminal civil rights investigation into Mr. Gray’s death, which prompted unrest in Baltimore, a predominantly black city, and a federal examination of its police department’s practices, means that no officers will be held criminally responsible in his death.

Mr. Gray was arrested in April 2015 and charged with illegal possession of a switchblade after running from officers. Following his arrest, he rode in a police van — shackled but unsecured by a seatbelt, as required by police department regulations — and was found unresponsive. He died the following week.

Six officers were charged by the Baltimore state’s attorney with crimes related to Mr. Gray’s death, including manslaughter and murder. All were cleared in those cases as well.

 

“At no time did we ever believe that there was evidence that any of the officers violated anyone’s civil rights or were guilty of violating any federal laws,” Michael E. Davey, a lawyer for the Baltimore Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 3, said in a statement on Tuesday.

In August, the Justice Department issued a blistering report detailing misconduct and the use of excessive force by the city’s Police Department, which is operating under a consent decree — a court-enforceable agreement to enact reforms — entered into during the Obama administration.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions has criticized such agreements, saying they vilify law enforcement and inhibit police officers trying to do their job. Mr. Sessions has called for a sweeping review of such consent decrees, and the Justice Department unsuccessfully sought to delay Baltimore’s implementation of its agreement to overhaul policing practices.
The six officers involved in Mr. Gray’s death still work for the Baltimore Police Department, Nicole Monroe, a spokeswoman, said on Tuesday. Five of them face internal administrative investigations while one, William G. Porter, has been cleared.

“He’s been back on the force, and he’s very relieved,” Joseph Murtha, a lawyer for Mr. Porter, said on Tuesday. “I was always optimistic that at the end of the investigation, they would conclude there’d be no basis for a civil rights investigation.”

The bar for charging police officers with federal civil rights violations is extremely high, and prosecutions are rare.

“These cases are very difficult, obviously — the state prosecution demonstrated that,” A. Dwight Pettit, a Baltimore lawyer who has represented plaintiffs in police brutality cases, said of the investigation into Mr. Gray’s death. “But I expected this to happen, based on the comments of the attorney general and the president himself. The top people in the Justice Department are saying, ‘We’ve got the back of the police.’”

Mr. Pettit referenced President Trump’s remarks in July in which he urged the police not to be “too nice” in transporting suspects. A White House spokesman later called that comment a joke, though many in law enforcement took it seriously and were quick to repudiate any inappropriate use of force.

“What can you expect from an administration that makes those comments?” Mr. Pettit said.

This year, the Justice Department announced similar decisions in two other high-profile civil rights investigations in which men died at the hands of police officers: the shooting death of Alton Sterling, a black man in Louisiana, and the shooting death of James Boyd, a mentally ill man in New Mexico.

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The Waffen-SS Living in Britain: Hitler’s Officers are Still Alive in the UK after being Allowed Entry after WWII

Officers in Adolf Hitler’s Waffen-SS are living in the United Kingdom and drawing government pensions, it has been revealed.

(Daily Mail corrected)

Two Ukrainian members of the Galizien division have admitted their commissions in the unit but denied any illegal activity during the Second World War.

The Waffen-SS was formed in 1933 as a militant organisation that was initially only open to people of Aryan ancestry until 1940 when the rules were relaxed during the war and people of other ethnicities were allowed to join or were conscripted.

It was condemned as “criminal” in the post-war Nuremberg Trials. There are thought to be around 25 Waffen-SS officers and soldiers still living in Britain today.

According to The Sun, Myron Tabora, 90, of Lichfield, Staffordshire, and Ostap Kykawec, 92, of Keighley, West Yorkshire, were both lieutenants in the Galizien.

Retired engineer Mr Tabora told the paper: ‘I never fired a rifle. I went to the Austrian front but I didn’t know of any men committing crimes.’

Mr Kykawec added: ‘I never fought the British and Americans. I fought the Russians. We didn’t take part in any crimes.’

Heinrich Himler inspecting Galizien troops, oversaw the Waffen SS for Hitler

But Jaroslaw Wenger, 93, of Ashton-under-Lyne, Greater Manchester, admitted he ’rounded up’ partisans and ‘took them to the German army police’, but said he did not know what subsequently happened to them.

The men were tracked down by a jew named Dr Stephen Ankier – who has traced the soldiers across the UK and the world.

Dr Ankier made international headlines after he discovered one of the unit’s commanders, Michael Karkoc, living in Minnesota in the USA.

In 2014 One member of Karkoc’s ULS company, a great-grandfather living in a quiet Lancashire street, was named as a former soldier in an SS-led unit during the Second World War.

Mychajlo Ostapenko has lived in Britain for more than 65 years – but documents discovered by Ankier reveal that he served in the feared 31st Punitive Battalion.

When contacted by The Mail on Sunday in 2014, Mr Ostapenko said he could not remember joining the battalion and insisted he had done nothing wrong.

The Galizien division was formed in 1943 and was initially made up of Ukrainian volunteers but later expanded to include Czechoslovakian and Dutch recruits. It also included former camp guards.

Ukranian members of the Volunteer Waffen-SS Division “Galizien”

It was never found guilty of war crimes by any court or tribunal but was falsely accused of slaughtering civilians in Polish villages.

Jewish supremacist Dr Stephen Ankier has criticised British involvement in a war crime inquiry into the Galizien following the war.

He said: “According to war crime inquiry studies British screening during 1947 of the Waffen-SS and Galizien Division held in Rimini was woefully inadequate. Although the Galizien has never been found guilty of war crimes, accusations have persisted for years that they were responsible for atrocities against civilians in Huta Pieniacka and in Nizna Boca. For these Ukrainians, fighting for Nazi Germany rather than Soviet ‘Bolshevik’ Russia was the lesser of two evils. Their hope seems to have been to finish on the winning side and then to gain an independent Ukraine. But being a fragile old man must never be a reason to gift an amnesty to a murderer.”

Scotland Yard reopened an investigation into the division in 2006, but it is understood to have since been closed.

It is believed the UK allowed around 8,000 members of the Waffen-SS Galizien Division to re-settle there after they surrendered, with around 25 still living today.

Trump Likes When C.I.A. Chief Gets Political, but Officers Are Wary

ASPEN, Colo. — Sweating under the hot glare of stage lights, Mike Pompeo, the director of the Central Intelligence Agency, had reached the limits of his patience with questions about Russian interference in the presidential election.

“Just look,” he snapped during the rare public appearance last month at the Aspen Security Forum. “This is the 19th time you all have asked.”

It was, in fact, only the fourth question about Russia that evening. But Mr. Pompeo could be excused for snapping: He runs an agency that is certain Russia meddled in the election, yet serves a president who has dismissed the talk of Russian interference as “fake news” and denounced the investigation into it as a witch hunt.

All C.I.A. directors must balance the political demands of the president they serve with the agency’s avowedly apolitical idea of itself. Yet rarely has a director had to straddle so wide a breach as has Mr. Pompeo, perhaps the most openly political spy chief in a generation — and one of President Trump’s favorite cabinet members.

Unlike past directors, who typically sought to avoid policy discussions, Mr. Pompeo readily joins in when the president asks for his opinion, even on matters far afield of national security, such as health care. And he brings to the table the views of a former congressman first elected in the Tea Partywave of 2010 who staked out ground on the far right of the Republican Party.

While in Congress, Mr. Pompeo argued for domestic surveillance on a wide scale, insisted that waterboarding was not torture and dismissed a hunger strike by detainees at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, as a “political stunt.” He said he believed Hillary Clinton had engaged in covering up the 2012 attacks on the American diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, even after a Republican-led House inquiry found no new evidence to support the claim.Like almost all congressional Republicans, he opposed the Iran nuclear deal negotiated by the Obama administration.

Mr. Pompeo, 53, is just the kind of well-credentialed tough guy Mr. Trump admires. He graduated first in his class from West Point, served as an Army tank officer and went to Harvard Law School. Since arriving at the C.I.A., he has proved eager to push limits, whether they be on covert operations or on calling out the press for what he considers its failings.

Yet the attributes that have endeared Mr. Pompeo to the president — his hawkish politics and eagerness to speak his mind — have been met with a more mixed reception at the C.I.A. The agency sees its role as delivering hard truths that are unvarnished by political preferences, and there are concerns in the intelligence community that Mr. Pompeo’s partisan instincts color his views of contentious issues, such as Russia’s interference in the election or Iran’s nuclear program.

“The big test is going to be when there’s a direct confrontation between the agency and the administration,” said Vince Houghton, a military and intelligence historian who is the curator of the International Spy Museum in Washington.

“If you have another Iraq weapons of mass destruction situation, if there is a direct hit on the agency from a Trump tweet or something,” he continued, “we’ll see whether he’s embraced the C.I.A. culture — and they’ve embraced him back — versus being loyal to Trump.”

Mr. Pompeo appears to be teaching the C.I.A. to embrace its inner Trump. In response to questions for this article, Dean Boyd, a spokesman for the agency, replied that Mr. Pompeo’s “only bias is toward action and winning.”

As a congressmen from Wichita, Kan., the home of Koch Industries, Mr. Pompeo was a favorite of the Koch brothers, the conservative billionaires who run the company. But he can still charm an audience of mixed political views, getting laughs at the Aspen Security Forum by cracking wise about things like “this fuzzy little First Amendment,” while attacking favorite Republican targets like the Obama administration and WikiLeaks (failing to mention that he had once cheered WikiLeaks’ disclosures).

But Mr. Pompeo knows whom not to criticize — namely, Mr. Trump. Since taking over the C.I.A., Mr. Pompeo has gone out of his way to praise what he describes as Mr. Trump’s open-minded approach to intelligence, recasting the president’s churlish mocking of American intelligence agencies as the healthy skepticism of a smart leader.

“The president,” Mr. Pompeo said in a public appearance in April, “is completely prepared to hear things that run counter to the hypothesis.”

Asked how he got along with Mr. Trump, Mr. Pompeo answered effusively. “The relationship is, in my sense, fantastic,” he said then.

Administration officials said the president was so taken with Mr. Pompeo that he insisted that the C.I.A. director personally deliver his daily intelligence briefing when in Washington. (Dan Coates, the director of national intelligence, also takes part.)

“There have been days when I thought we were there, ready to give the brief. I thought, ‘There’s not a chance we’re getting in today,’” Mr. Pompeo said in April. “And you know, each day, we’re in there. It’s like clockwork.”

It is only after the briefing, usually in the late morning or early afternoon, that Mr. Pompeo treks across the Potomac River to C.I.A. headquarters in Langley, Va., where his ready access to Mr. Trump is seen as a positive. The agency sees the president as its main customer, and conventional wisdom in Washington holds that a C.I.A. director is only as powerful as his access to the Oval Office is strong.

“Pompeo’s ability to communicate in a style in which the president is comfortable, it’s probably good news,” said Michael V. Hayden, a former director of both the C.I.A. and the National Security Agency.

“Your job is to tell the president things he does not want to hear,” Mr. Hayden said. “But you’ve got to walk them to the truth — you just can’t slap them in the face with it and run out of the Oval Office.”

Officials say intelligence officers have found Mr. Pompeo to be eager to hear about their work and listen to their concerns. And he has won praise for aggressively pushing to expand espionage and covert operations and promoting veteran officers to senior roles. Last week, he traveled to Kabul to discuss security cooperation with Afghanistan’s leaders, including President Ashraf Ghani, in a country where the C.I.A. works closely with Afghan intelligence and agency paramilitary operatives have spent years hunting terrorists.

Current and former C.I.A. officials, all of whom spoke on the condition of anonymity to protect their careers, said there had been no overt pressure from Mr. Pompeo to shade intelligence on any issue since he took over the agency. But they also said Mr. Pompeo had made little secret of his own opinions — something that could impede the kind of intelligence the agency produced, according to Paul R. Pillar, who spent nearly 30 years at the C.I.A. and is now a fellow at Georgetown University.

“When analysts are preparing their assessments, they can’t blot out of their mind their awareness of what will be welcome and what will be not welcome,” Mr. Pillar said. “There is the hazard of a bias creeping in, even subconsciously.”

Mr. Pompeo is not the first former congressman to run the C.I.A. He follows Leon Panetta, a Democrat, and the Republicans George Bush, who ran the agency in the final year of the Ford administration, and Porter J. Goss. But none of them faced an issue like the Iran deal where they “had taken a very strong view the way Pompeo has” on a matter that the C.I.A. was still wrestling with, Mr. Pillar said.

“None, to my mind, continued to be as outspoken after taking the directorship,” he added.

Mr. Boyd, the agency spokesman, said that on all issues, Mr. Pompeo “has been adamant that C.I.A. officers have the time, space and resources to make sound and unbiased assessments that are delivered to policy makers without fear or favor.”

But Mr. Pompeo’s views were certainly clear last month at Aspen.

Mr. Pompeo went hard at leakers, saying he had moved the C.I.A.’s counterintelligence operations directly under his control in part to combat the problem. He said it was “unconscionable” that The New York Times had published the name of the agency’s Iran operations chief, a senior official who works in Langley but whose identity is classified.

He accused the Obama administration of “inviting” the Russians into Syria, a claim with little traction outside right-wing circles. He also strongly hinted that the United States was considering ways to seek regime change in North Korea. And he all but said Iran had no intention of complying with the nuclear deal.

“Iranian compliance with the nuclear deal is like a bad tenant,” Mr. Pompeo said. “They don’t pay the rent, you call them, and then they send a check and it doesn’t clear. And then the next day there’s this old, tired sofa in the front yard.”

As for Russia’s role in the election, he acknowledged that it had meddled, yet he also played down the significance of the interference because it had meddled before.

“It is true, yeah, of course” the Russians had meddled in the election, he said. “And the one before that, and the one before that. They have been at this a hell of a long time. And I don’t think they have any intention of backing off.”

Officers Won’t Be Charged in Black Man’s Shooting Death in Louisiana

WASHINGTON — Two white police officers will not face federal charges in the fatal shooting of a black man last year in Baton Rouge, La., which caused widespread unrest there. The decision was made with the Trump administration under scrutiny about how it will handle prosecutions in racially charged police shootings, a priority of the Obama administration.

The decision, in the death of Alton B. Sterling, was confirmed Tuesday afternoon by two people familiar with it.

Local officials criticized the Justice Department for not informing them before the news became public. And Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who inherited the Baton Rouge case, is certain to face further attention over how he proceeds in the fatal shooting Saturday of a 15-year-old black student by an officer near Dallas. The officer was fired Tuesday.

The Sterling decision, the Dallas killing and an officer’s guilty plea Tuesday in a fatal 2015 shooting in South Carolina reignited a debate over race and criminal justice that has played out in various ways since Michael Brown was killed nearly three years ago by a police officer in Ferguson, Mo.

Mr. Sessions — who, in the first months of his tenure, ordered a broad review of federal agreements with law enforcement agencies — will oversee the outcomes of other cases, including those surrounding the deaths of Eric Garner, who was placed in a chokehold by a New York police officer, and 12-year-old Tamir Rice in Cleveland.

The bar for charging police officers with federal civil rights violations is extremely high, and prosecutions are rare. Even the Obama administration, which cultivated an aggressive reputation on such cases, declined to prosecute officers in several high-profile killings, most notably the 2014 shooting of Mr. Brown, and it saw challenges in bringing charges in Mr. Sterling’s death.

On Tuesday evening, around the Triple S Food Mart parking lot where Mr. Sterling was killed, people congregated in the same way they did last summer. Mr. Sterling’s face is painted near the entrance, with stuffed animals in front. Signs advertise specials on cigarettes and fried chicken, and another reads, “Stop the Killing.”

“I’m not surprised, because it happens all the time,” said Kosher Weber, 21, an African-American resident of Baton Rouge, her voice cracking in anger. “Where do things go from here? There’s no justice. There’s no nothing.”

Derrick Brody, 45, said: “Over and over again. They kill a human being, and they get away with it, just ’cause they got a blue suit.”

The mayor-president of Baton Rouge, Sharon Weston Broome, expressed outrage that neither she nor Mr. Sterling’s family had been told of the decision not to charge the officers before it was reported by The Washington Post.

“No one in my office or the governor’s office has been notified by the U.S. attorney’s office of a decision or timeline,” she said in a statement. “When I know something, the people of Baton Rouge will know, and we will get through it together.”

L. Chris Stewart and Justin Bamberg, lawyers for Mr. Sterling’s family, confirmed that they had not been told ahead of time.

“We have been promised that we will meet in person with D.O.J. before any announcement is made,” they said in a statement.

In a Twitter post on Tuesday night, the Louisiana attorney general, Jeff Landry, said his office had still not been notified of the Justice Department’s decision. “Our office will not comment until that time,” Mr. Landry wrote.

Representative Barbara Lee, Democrat of California, said Mr. Sterling had been “shot in cold blood” and wrote on Twitter, “The DOJ’s decision not to pursue justice is a travesty.”

A spokesman for the Justice Department declined to comment. A spokeswoman for the Baton Rouge Police Department also declined to comment and would not confirm the employment status of the two officers who had been under investigation, referring inquiries to the Justice Department.

The officers, Blane Salamoni and Howie Lake II, did not respond to phone messages. Both were put on administrative leave last year.

Early on July 5, 2016, Officers Salamoni and Lake responded to a report that a black man in a red shirt selling CDs outside the Triple S Food Mart had threatened the caller with a gun.

In a cellphone video, an officer is seen pushing Mr. Sterling onto the hood of the car and tackling him to the ground. He is held down by the officers as one appears to hold a gun above his chest.

Mr. Sterling had a criminal history, including convictions for battery and illegal possession of a gun, although it was not clear whether the officers knew that.

The video of Mr. Sterling’s death — and one of the fatal shooting of another black man, Philando Castile, by white officers in Minnesota the next day — stoked a debate about race and criminal justice that intensified when a sniper gunned down police officers, killing five, at a demonstration in Dallas on July 7.

That protest was among dozens nationwide in the days after Mr. Sterling’s death. In Baton Rouge alone, more than 100 people were arrested, including DeRay Mckesson, a prominent activist for the Black Lives Matter movement who spent time in jail there on accusations that he ignored instructions to stay out of the road.

About two weeks after Mr. Sterling’s death, a man attacked police officers in Baton Rouge, killing three and wounding three others.

In directing the Justice Department to review its agreements with law enforcement agencies, Mr. Sessions said “the individual misdeeds of bad actors should not impugn” entire departments.

His predecessor, Loretta E. Lynch, released a report in August that illustrated a systemic pattern of discrimination by Baltimore’s Police Department, which had disproportionately stopped and searched black residents. And last summer, President Barack Obama denounced “the racial disparities that exist in our criminal justice system,” while emphasizing that his comments were not an attack on law enforcement itself.

At a confirmation hearing in January, Mr. Sessions expounded on his opposing views, suggesting that civil rights investigations inhibited the police in their duties.

“Law enforcement as a whole has been unfairly maligned and blamed for the actions of a few bad actors and for allegations about police that were not true,” he told the Senate Judiciary Committee.

“Morale has suffered,” he added, noting that in the face of public criticism, more police officers had died on the job. “This is a wake-up call. This must not continue.”

The Justice Department must still decide whether to bring charges in other cases, including the death of Tamir Rice. Officials say that case poses challenges because the boy had a toy gun.

Ms. Lynch authorized prosecutors last year to seek charges in the death of Mr. Garner. Civil rights prosecutors have been presenting evidence before a grand jury in that case. The officer has said his use of force was justified.

Earlier on Tuesday, Michael T. Slager — an officer in South Carolina who was charged by the Justice Department in the fatal shooting of a black man, Walter L. Scott — pleaded guilty to a single count of using excessive force to deprive Mr. Scott of his civil rights, under a plea deal in which officials will not pursue other charges against him.

Mr. Slager — fired from the North Charleston police force after he shot Mr. Scott, who was unarmed and fleeing, in April 2015 — could be sentenced to life in prison after acknowledging that he used deadly force “even though it was objectively unreasonable under the circumstances.”

The Justice Department sought an indictment of Mr. Slager well before Mr. Sterling died, and its lawyers were preparing for trial. On Tuesday, Mr. Sessions said in a news release on the plea that his department would “hold accountable any law enforcement officer who violates the civil rights of our citizens by using excessive force.”

Video the LAPD didn’t want released shows officers laughing and smiling as man dies in custody

http://www.rawstory.com/2016/08/video-the-lapd-didnt-want-released-shows-officers-laughing-and-smiling-as-man-dies-in-custody/

 

Early on the afternoon of June 4, 2012, Vachel Howard was handcuffed to a bench inside the Los Angeles Police Department’s 77th Street Station Jail. He was 56 years old, and had been taken into custody for driving while intoxicated. The grandfather of seven had been strip-searched, and his shirt still hung open. Howard told the officers present that he suffered from schizophrenia. Police suspected he was high on cocaine.

Less than an hour later, Howard was pronounced dead at Good Samaritan Hospital, just miles from the jail. He had been released from the handcuffs, but later subdued by half a dozen officers after he became, by their testimony, “violent and combative.” A coroner eventually listed three contributing causes of death: cocaine intoxication, heart disease, and a chokehold employed by one of the officers.
Two years of litigation followed before, in October of 2015, the city of Los Angeles agreed to pay Howard’s family $2.85 million to settle a wrongful death claim.

The legal fight included dozens of depositions and competing medical opinions and claims of responsibility, all of them publicly filed in federal court in Los Angeles. What never became public, however, were 30 minutes of video showing Howard’s death inside the 77th Street Station Jail — recordings of a sequence of events that had enraged a family and cost Los Angeles taxpayers nearly $3 million. The tapes — recorded by two fixed cameras in the jail — had been filed with the judge in the case, S. James Otero, but when ProPublica requested the footage, Otero’s clerk said he was unsure if the judge still had it, and that the judge’s practice was not to make such material available to the news media. The police department denied a request for any video and the city attorney’s office said it didn’t have the footage.

ProPublica has now obtained copies of the tapes, and is publishing them in the interest of establishing a more complete public record of a controversial and costly death. The videos offer compelling evidence of how Howard died and how police and medical personnel at the jail responded to Howard’s needs in the aftermath of an ultimately deadly jailhouse struggle.
The videos capture Howard in an agitated state on the station house bench. They show the officers shooting him with a Taser while simultaneously tackling him to the ground. For four minutes, six officers are either on top of or surrounding Howard, handcuffing his hands and feet. One officer is atop him, with a knee in his back. Another, at least briefly, can be seen with his arm around Howard’s neck and shoulders. Officers and medical personnel slowly come to realize Howard is in distress. Four different people perform CPR over nine minutes. Finally, emergency medical personnel arrive and work on Howard for another eight minutes. Howard is then wheeled to an ambulance and police tape is used to cordon off the station house floor.

ProPublica contacted Howard’s daughter and her lawyer. Tushana Howard said her father had struggled with drugs for years, but that he did not deserve to die that night in the jail. V. James DeSimone, Tushana Howard’s lawyer, was more blunt.

“Mr. Howard posed no threat whatsoever,” said DeSimone. “He was down on the ground, six officers on top of him, no guns in the nearby vicinity executing a chokehold where there was no threat to the officers or to anybody else. It’s out of policy, it’s unlawful, and in this case it’s murder.”

Officials with the police department and the city attorney’s office would not comment. Neither agency admitted to wrongdoing as part of the settlement. The officer accused of using the chokehold, Juan Romero, was suspended for 22 days. Prosecutors decided not to pursue a case against Romero. In court filings, the police said Howard had tried to bite Romero and defended the officer’s actions.
“Given what were indisputably tense and rapidly evolving circumstances, Officer Romero’s decision to apply and upper body hold on the decedent was justified,” the filing said.

The five-member board that reviewed the fatal encounter between Howard and the police was established in the 1920s. Known as the Board of Police Commissioners, it sets policy for the department and recommends discipline of officers. On April 16, 2013, it reviewed the Howard case and subsequently issued an 18-page summary of its findings. Its detailed analysis noted that some things might have been handled differently — the decision to remove the handcuffs from Howard among them — but determined that, as a matter of policy, only Romero’s chokehold amounted to a violation.

Video recordings have played a central role in heightening the nation’s attention on deadly interactions between the police and the public. They have surfaced in Chicago and New York, North Charleston, S.C., and Cleveland. Some of the videos have served as grim vindication for black communities whose allegations of police misconduct are often meet with skepticism, and whose calls for the punishment of offending officers often go unsatisfied. For their part, the police have argued the disputed episodes are isolated, and some officials have even claimed that the making and sharing of videos have hurt law enforcement’s efforts to fight crime.

Video images such as those involving Howard’s encounter with the LAPD have rarely been seen by Californians. Since the late 1970s, California law has specifically authorized police agencies to keep material involving real or alleged police misconduct secret from the general public. But the question of what police owe the public has been given fresh context as the LAPD moves to become the largest police department in the country to routinely outfit its officers with body cameras. The department so far has said it has no plans to make footage readily available to the public, even after deadly incidents.

The events that led to Howard’s death began with a traffic stop. Officers had seen Howard’s car swerving, crossing a center divide and nearly striking a car in oncoming traffic.

According to his family, Howard had made money restoring old cars and working with his father’s lawn service. He had a history of drug use, but his daughter, Tushana, said she had years ago drawn a line with him. If he was to have a relationship with her children, she said, he would have to kick the drugs. Tushana said her father appeared to make good on the deal.

“He said his family was more important, and he wanted to be there for my kids,” she said.

Tushana Howard said she was surprised to learn her father had cocaine in his system the day he died. Still, she made clear, his relapse hardly warranted his death.

“Someone’s past doesn’t determine who they are in the present and people shouldn’t assume the worst,” she said.

Howard’s initial arrest, however, did not go smoothly, involving a car chase and a tense standoff with officers, one of whom wound up drawing his weapon. Howard had driven off after the initial stop, and according to the commission’s report, officers worried that he had reached under the driver’s side seat for a gun when he again came to a halt. Howard eventually got out of the car and was handcuffed. The two arresting officers noted Howard was sweating profusely, that his speech was repetitive, and that he seemed paranoid, but there was no further drama in the patrol car as they transported him for evaluation and booking.

At the jail, Howard was strip-searched, during which an officer said Howard described himself as a paranoid schizophrenic and indicated that he had not recently been taking his prescribed medication. On one video — there is no accompanying audio for either tape — Howard and several officers can be seen returning to the jail lobby after the search. Howard appears to have been told by an officer to sit on a bench. He sits down and is handcuffed to the bench. He appears agitated and moves constantly while on the bench, turning from left to right and gesturing at officers.

Howard sits on the bench for about 90 seconds before an officer begins to unshackle him. At that point, another officer, Maryann Bunag, enters the camera’s view and un-holsters her stun gun. Howard, who still appears to be talking to officers, is escorted out of the camera’s view. Court records state that Howard was being taken to see a nurse in the dispensary. Howard and the officers are off camera for about 90 seconds.

The report by the board of commissioners said officers claimed Howard became uncooperative and refused to be assessed by a nurse. He was, the officers said, verbally abusive, and had advanced toward the nurse, prompting her to scream. One officer described Howard, 5-foot, 247 pounds, as having been foaming at the mouth during the earlier strip search.

What followed was an extended wrestling match, one that spilled back into the camera’s view. Four officers can be seen grabbing at Howard’s waist and legs. A Taser was employed five times, according to the commission’s report. The officers said Howard was unfazed, often swearing and once removing the Taser probes from his body. The officers reported that at least twice they themselves were exposed to the Taser’s electrical charge.

Once Howard is on the ground, a fifth and sixth officer join the fracas. It is then that Romero alleges Howard tried to bite him. The officers told the commission they feared for their lives.

It is difficult to clearly see Romero in the video. But the commission summed up his actions:

“Detention Officer A placed his right arm around the subject’s neck, with his right bicep pressed into the right side of the subject’s neck, and his right forearm pressed into the left side of the subject’s neck. Detention Officer A cupped his left hand over his right wrist, and applied downward pressure with his bodyweight as the subject tried to push off the floor with his right hand.”

Romero said he applied the hold for only five seconds. He said Howard did not lose consciousness, and that he let go of Howard’s neck once another officer got on top of Howard and put a knee into his back.

Officers eventually handcuff Howard and bind his feet. Officer Richard Fox, 6-foot, 230 pounds, then puts his knee into Howard’s back and keeps it there for about a minute in order to maintain control, and because, he said in a deposition, he was utterly exhausted.

Howard is visibly motionless. One officer uses his feet to move Howard’s feet, but there is no visible response from Howard. About 40 seconds later, a nurse, Irene Rowe, responds to calls from officers and peers over Howard. She walks away to retrieve her stethoscope.

While Rowe is retrieving her stethoscope, officers can be seen laughing and smiling. It is unclear what prompts the chuckling or what is said. When Rowe returns about 50 seconds later she appears to have a hard time assessing Howard because he is lying on his side or stomach. The officers then roll Howard over on his back.

Another 20 seconds pass. Rowe couldn’t hear Howard’s heart, she testified. He wasn’t breathing. Fox makes a 911 call on the radio for an ambulance.

Rowe then begins her first compressions on Howard’s chest, nearly 4 minutes after he was first visibly motionless. The resuscitation effort is interrupted momentarily to allow officers to roll Howard on his side so they could undo his handcuffs and foot restraints. Medical staff and officers, including Romero, spend the next nine minutes compressing Howard’s chest until paramedics arrive. He was never revived. The coroner found hemorrhages and fractured cartilage in Howard’s neck.

Howard, who was affectionately called Big Duck by friends and family because of the way he walked, was laid to rest on June 16, 2012 in Inglewood, California. A number of restored late-model vehicles and their owners were present in tribute at Howard’s funeral. His family filed their lawsuit in March of 2013, asserting that Howard was the victim of abusive treatment and unnecessary use of deadly force in the form of a chokehold.

Across the months of legal sparring, lawyers for the department and the city cited Howard’s obesity, health history and state of delirium as critical to his death. One officer described Howard as super human, akin to the cartoon character the Hulk.

The family said through its lawyer that it had no knowledge of any mental health history for Howard. They blamed the chokehold, and argued that the officers and nurses failed to render aid to Howard in a timely fashion.

“They’re noticeably laughing on the video when they’ve essentially just killed a man and he’s lying at their feet,” said DeSimone, the lawyer for Howard’s daughter, of one moment in the episode.

The LAPD declined requests by ProPublica to speak with the officers involved.

The Board of Commissioners that reviewed the incident included two former U.S. Attorneys, including one who had investigated the infamous Rodney King beating, as well as a civil rights leader and law school dean. Its report offers a detailed chronology, from the traffic stop through Howard’s departure for the hospital from the jail. The board notes that the officers initially failed to broadcast a required alert during the chase, but determined that the circumstances made that understandable. It noted that re-handcuffing Howard after he had been freed from the jail bench “would have been tactically prudent,” but did not amount to a policy violation. It faulted an officer for how she holstered her Taser, but found its repeated use to have been reasonable.

Only Romero was sanctioned in any way. The board noted Howard was on the ground in a controlled position with five officers on top of him and two others monitoring. It said Howard’s attempt to bite Romero did not equate to a deadly threat and did not require the chokehold.

“Given the totality of the circumstances,” the board wrote, “the BOPC found that a detention officer with similar training and experience as detention officer a, while faced with similar circumstances, would not reasonably believe that the subject’s actions presented an imminent threat of serious bodily injury or death. The BOPC found detention officer a’s use of lethal force to be out of policy.”

The penalty was a suspension of 22 days. Romero was soon back on the job.

Earlier this year, California State Sen. Mark Leno put forward a bill that would have given the public more access to police disciplinary records and videos. This was Leno’s second attempt to change the state’s laws pertaining to police misconduct. But Leno’s bill didn’t so much as make it out of committee.

Police officers do important and dangerous work critical to a civil society, and that work is based on trust between law enforcement and the communities they serve, said Leno.

“But the lack of transparency and accountability does not serve the establishment of trust,” he said. “We’re now seeing throughout the country, due to a lack of transparency and an inability for the public to access important information, that that trust is seriously frayed.”

A member of the board that suspended Romero after Howard’s death told the Los Angeles Times last month that the LAPD’s policy on police videos needed to be revisited. The board member said he and his colleagues would look into how other cities are handling police videos.

For Tushana Howard, the lack of transparency by the authorities can wind up diminishing those whose lives have been lost or damaged.

“It sort of says that we don’t matter because we don’t have the badge backing us,” she said. “They matter more than we do. It’s more important for them to go home to their families instead of the people they come in contact with to return to their families as well.”

Dallas Shootings Took Heavy Toll on Officers of the Southwest Division

Inside the inconsolable Dallas Police Department, one squad was particularly shattered by last week’s sniper shootings: the Southwest Division family, where half of the 12 officers served.

Three of the five officers who were killed called the Southwest home: Lorne Ahrens, Michael Krol and Patrick Zammarripa. So do three of the seven who were wounded: Gretchen Rocha, Ivan Saldana and Jorge Barrintos.

Related: Dallas Police Ambush: These Are the Slain Officers

“There are no words” to capture the special bond and the grief among the officers, who formed a team, Maj. Thomas Castro, second in command of the division, said Sunday.

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“It’s just too much,” Castro said, adding: “I personally knew each one of them. They were my go-getters, for a lack of better words.”

Ever since the horrific attack Thursday night, the Southwest has seen a steady stream of visitors from the community it serves. Sunday, they included José and Priscilla De La Garza and their son, Evan.

It was important that “we come shake the hands of the police officers that protect us,” said José De La Garza.

“A lot of times, they don’t get the respect that they deserve,” he said. “One of the biggest things, I think, that stands out to me is that when the bullets were flying, they’re running towards the bullets — not away from them.”

Priscilla De La Garza grew up locally, and while she didn’t know the officers personally, “I feel I’m connected to them in some way,” she said.

“We just said a little prayer for them, and we asked God to be with the families, and, you know, just look over their loved ones,” she said. “They’re going to be truly missed.”

IMAGE: Dallas police Maj. Thomas Castro
Maj. Thomas Castro, second in command of the Dallas police Southwest Division, hugs a well-wisher Sunday at division headquarters. NBC News

For the officers of the Southwest, “this is like losing a family member,” said Don Gieseke, a volunteer chaplain with the nonprofit Crisis Response Ministries.

And as their grief envelops them, many have let the cracks in their hard professional facades show, he said.

It’s hard to get “inside the shell” of a police officer, Gieseke said. “They’re a bit cynical sometimes, and they’re a bit afraid to let their emotions out. But what I saw just blew me away — seasoned veterans hugging each other, openly crying.”

Each has his or her own way to cope, “and we saw every one of them displayed on Friday morning,” he said.

The shootings Thursday occurred as a protest march was drawing to a close in the aftermath of police killings of black men in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and Falcon Heights, Minnesota — events that again laid bare deep suspicions among African-American communities and law enforcement across the country.

Related: Suspect ‘Wanted to Kill White People, Especially White Officers’

But on Sunday, Ministering Evangelist J.K. Hamilton and members of Church of Christ at Mountain View, a prominent African-American congregation in Dallas, made a point of showing their support for their local officers.

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The congregation left memorials at division headquarters and convened a prayer service, where — black hand in white — they prayed for the victims.

“We have a partnership, and sometimes the troubles and woes that happen in society can put a rift in that,” Hamilton said Sunday.

“I’m here to say — with the Mountain View family all here — that this does not put a rift in our relationship with the Southwestern Division,” Hamilton said. “We’re still praying with you and for you. We still intend on partnering with you on making this community, changing the dynamic of this community and making an impact on this community.”

The Officers Who Killed Alton Sterling and Philando Castile May Not Be Punished. Here’s Why.

The deaths of Alton Sterling this week in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and Philando Castile in Falcon Heights, Minnesota have drawn national attention to the killings of black men and women by police officers. And as protests surrounding police brutality continue and the stories of Sterling and Castile remain in the public’s conscience, one of the looming questions is the fate of the officers involved: Will they be punished, at all, for their actions?

The data says most likely not. Despite committing heinous acts while on duty, police officers often receive no punishment, whether from a grand jury or an internal investigation. In fact, 97 percentof police violence cases in 2015 resulted in the officer facing no criminal charges.

In looking at the Baton Rouge Police Department specifically, there are a number of policies and regulations outlined in the BRPD’s police union contract and Louisiana’s police bill of rights that make it difficult for a police officer to be held accountable for actions of misconduct or use of excessive force — even when it results in the death of another person.

The BRPD, which unionized last year, has four policies in place that protect its police officers, two of whom were involved in Sterling’s death. These are the outlined policies, from Check the Police:

  • Restricts/delays interrogations: Officer interrogations are limited to a “reasonable amount of time,” and allows for officers to take breaks to address “personal needs.”
  • Gives officers unfair access to information: Any officer who has been interrogated in an investigation is entitled immediate access to a copy of the entire investigation record.
  • Requires cities pay for misconduct: The city must shoulder the costs of misconduct settlements as well as provide legal defense. The city is also expected to indemnify any officer who is “sued in connection with activities occurring during the course and scope of his employment.”
  • Erases misconduct records: “Sustained” complaints against an officer are erased after 18 months if no similar complaints are filed within that amount of time. Sustained violations are also expunged after five years. However, the removal of these complaints are subject to public records law.

Louisiana’s police bill of rights contains three similar provisions that ensure officer protection even more. There is a 30-day delay in an officer’s interrogation, during which the officer is meant to “secure representation.” During interrogations, officers are allowed breaks that are not offered to civilians. The vukk of rights also gives police officers special access to information similar to what is outlined in the BRPD’s union contract.

The police bill of rights has further guidelines on the erasure of misconduct records, in which an officer can have expunged from his personnel file any exonerated or unsubstantiated formal complaints involving domestic violence, criminal battery, and any violation of other ordinances or state statutes. This action can be done if the complaint was made anonymously and the claims were not substantiated within 12 months of the claim being filed. In addition, if any negative comments are made about an officer, the involved officer must sign off on those comments before they are entered in their personnel file.

LA Police Bill of Rights

CREDIT: CAMPAIGN ZERO

Past reports from the BRPD further show how officers are often not held accountable for violent actions. According to 2014 data, there were 35 use of force complaints internally investigated by the BRPD. Within these complaints, 17 were not sustained, 12 were exonerated, one investigation was terminated, and five complaints were still pending. Not one investigation found that an officer had violated policy nor did any lead to charges against the officer.

In one example, a grand jury investigation spanning from 2011 from 2014 chose not to indict BRPD officer Christopher Magee for shooting and killing Carlos Harris. The shooting took place outside a nightclub, where police had handcuffed Harris’s friend and had asked Harris to move his friend’s car. At first, Harris objected, saying he was intoxicated, but police demanded he drive the car anyways. Harris proceeded to crash into several cars, leading Magee to fire bullets at the car and kill Harris.

The regulations in the BRPD’s union contract and the state’s police bill of rights may have already protected the two officers involved in the fatal shooting of Alton Sterling. The two officers, who have been identified as Howie Lake II and Blane Salamoni, have had four “use of force” complaintsfiled against them. According to internal affairs documents released Thursday, both officers were cleared in all complaints. The complaints came from three black men and a black juvenile, where one of the men was shot by police and the other three suffered injuries during arrests and in a vehicle during a police pursuit.

While there is no specific information found on the police department involved in Castile’s death, Minnesota’s police bill of rights contains three policies that deter the accountability of police officers. For one, officer interrogations are limited to a “reasonable amount of time” and gives breaks that are not also provided to civilians. The bill of rights also says interrogations must be held during an officer’s regularly scheduled work shift, and if they are not, the officer involved must be paid for the interrogation time. Similar to Louisiana’s police bill of rights, Minnesota officers are given immediate access to a complete copy or transcript of the recorded interrogation.

Minnesota’s police bill of rights also gives no discipline power to civilians, stating that a civilian review board, commission, or other oversight body does not have the authority to make a finding or determination in a complaint against a police officer or impose discipline on an officer. A civilian review board is only allowed to make a recommendation. Minnesota’s bill of rights legislation also prohibits any law enforcement agency or unit from releasing the identity of an officer to the public without his consent.

Details of these police union contracts and police bill of rights were compiled by Black Lives Matter activists this past year for Campaign Zero, resulting in a police contracts database called Check the Police. The data outlines ways in which police union contracts and police bill of rights legislation across the country protects officers and makes accountability more difficult.

“Beyond the rhetoric and the stuff they were doing to raise money for officers who had been charged or indicted, the question was: what more were police unions doing on a policy level to protect those officers and block accountability?” Sam Sinyangwe, one of the founders involved with Campaign Zero, told ThinkProgress back in December.

The policies present in Louisiana, Minnesota, and the city of Baton Rouge are reflective of widespread legislation that aids in the protection of police officers. Data from Check the Police, which looked at contracts in 81 major U.S. cities and police bill of rights in all 14 states where one exists, identified six primary areas that contribute to the difficulty of officer accountability: disqualifying misconduct complaints, preventing police officers from being interrogated immediately or restricting how, when, or when they can be interrogated, giving officers access to information civilians do not receive, limiting disciplinary consequences, requiring cities to pay the costs relating to police misconduct, and preventing information on past misconduct from being recorded retained.

The report found that 72 cities and 13 states imposed at least one of these six policies. In 63 cities and 12 states, three or more provisions were in place that proved an obstacle to officer accountability.

“Could You Just Send an Officer?”: Chicago Teen Called 911 Before Being Shot by Cop

A Chicago teen who was fatally shot by police in December had beenlegrier

desperately seeking help on the night his life ended.

Audio recordings prove Quintonio LeGrier made three 911 calls on the night he was fatally shot by police, The Daily Mail reports.

Both LeGrier, 19, and Bettie Jones, 55, were shot and killed as Chicago police responded to a domestic violence call. Police apologized for shooting Jones, a neighbor of LeGrier, who they say was shot accidentally.

LeGrier began calling 911 at 4am to ask that an officer be sent to his home, but did not answer the dispatcher’s questions.  The calls made by LeGrier were only minutes apart.

“..There’s an emergency, can you send an officer?”, LeGrier asks during one call.

“Yes, as soon as you answer these questions…” says the dispatcher.

“There’s an emergency!” LeGrier answered.

“OK, if you can’t answer the questions, I’m going to hang up,” the operator said.

“I need the police!” LeGrier screamed.

“Terminating the call,” the dispatcher said before disconnecting.

The teen made two more unsuccessful calls, then the teen’s father called 911.

“My son has freaked out. I need an officer”, says Antonio LeGrier.

“He’s got a baseball bat in his hand right now,” adds the elder LeGrier.

Officer Robert Rialmo arrived on the scene and fatally shot the younger LeGrier, as well as Jones.

“Frankly it’s outrageous and offensive behavior by the dispatchers,” said attorney Basileios Foutris, who represents LeGrier’s father. “It’s not something that’s appropriate.”

“Every single employee of the City of Chicago Quintonio encountered reacted improperly,” Foutris added. “Either by hanging up on him, or shooting him in the back.”

The Office of Emergency Management and Communications confirmed that the 911 dispatcher is being disciplined over the call.

“Disciplinary proceedings are underway for the call-taker who handled the call at 4:18 a.m. for not following proper protocol,” the statement continued. “Per the CBA, the call-taker will remain in service until the discipline process is complete.”

Protests Erupt After St. Louis Officers Fatally Shoot Mansur Ball-Bey

http://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/protests-erupt-after-st-louis-police-fatally-shoot-mansur-ball-n412921

St. Louis police arrested nine people and deployed tear gas to break up protests that followed the police killing of an 18-year-old man who authorities say pointed a gun at two officers.

Protesters threw glass bottles and bricks at officers and refused to clear the roadway, Chief Sam Dotson told reporters late Wednesday.

Image: Police arrest a man as protesters gathered after a shooting incident in St. Louis
Police arrest a man as protesters gathered after a shooting incident in St. Louis, Missouri on August 19. Kenny Bahr / Reuters

On Wednesday afternoon, according to police, two officers were executing a search warrant at a home in a crime-plagued neighborhood when two armed men fled out the back.

The officers shot Mansur Ball-Bey, 18, after he turned and pointed a gun at them, police said. The second suspect fled, they said. The officers were white; Bell-Bey and the other suspect were black, police said.

Tensions were already high in the St. Louis area after violence erupted around the anniversary of the police shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, a St. Louis suburb.

Image: Police in riot gear stand guard as protesters gather
Police in riot gear stand guard as protesters gather on August 19 in St. Louis. Laurie Skrivan / St. Louis Post-Dispatch via AP

Dotson said that four guns, including a handgun that Ball-Bey was carrying, and crack cocaine were found at the home. Another man and a woman who were inside the home were arrested, he said.

About 150 people gathered in protests near the scene of the shooting. Officers also responded to burglaries near the scene, and a car was set on fire, the police chief said. He blamed the crimes on people seeking “notoriety.

What Really Happened To Freddie Gray

http://www.realjewnews.com/?p=1028
THE JEW-OWNED PRESS would have us believe that Freddie Gray merely made eye contact with police and then fled. 

This prompted, as the Jew spin goes, the cops to ‘pursue, arrest, and murder’ Gray. Cops murder another innocent black.

Bull.

The six cops, 3 blacks and 3 whites, are political prisoners of the Jew agenda to make a martyr out of a black criminal so as to denigrate White Christian society.

Here’s what likely happened to Freddie Gray that the Jews won’t tell you.

Lieutenant Rice and Officers Nero and Miller were on bike patrol near the corner of North Avenue and Mount Street.

Rice sees convicted drug-trafficker Freddie Gray, doubtless on probation or parole, apparently ‘dealing’ in a high drug traffic area.

A guilt-ridden Gray, as soon as he “locks eyes” with Rice, bolts like a rabbit. A short foot pursuit ensues.

There is now “reasonable suspicion” for a field “Terry” stop and detention on Gray.

Gray had an Arrest Record a mile long. Earlier arrests were drug offenses, later ones progressed to show arrests for violent crimes.

Gray resists arrest and starts swinging. The officers grapple him to the ground and prone him to handcuff him, which a combative Gray resists.

Gray is then frisked and a “spring assisted” knife is found in his pocket. There is now “probable cause” for arrest. He’s charged with carrying an illegal weapon.

Rising star state prosecutor Mosby states that the knife was not a switchblade and is lawfulunder Maryland law.

However, Gray was not arrested under the Maryland Criminal Code but under the Baltimore City Code Weapons Violation §59-22 Switch-blade knives.

IN THE PADDY WAGONTHE PADDY WAGON arrives driven by Officer Goodson, a black senior officer with no history of complaints for misconduct or else the Jew media would be screaming it. 

Gray starts kicking the rear doors and Goodson calls for assistance to put leg cuffs on Gray.

Because the cops don’t want to risk getting bitten or head-butted by Gray, he was again not seat-belted to the metal bench.

Goodson, driving solo, then makes a “mystery stop” at what turns out to be a neighborhood food market.

Hearing Goodson leave, Gray stands up to slip his hands, cuffed in the back, down over his butt to bring them to the front, as seen in this example.

As reported, the only evidence of trauma was the spinal cord injury diagnosed at the hospital, not visible from the outside, and later the mark of a bolt matching the paddy wagon’s rear door bolt on the crown of Gray’s head.

Police claim the injury was caused when Gray, standing, slammed into the back of the paddy wagon, apparently breaking his neck with a “mark” he sustained on the top of his head that matches a bolt in the back of the transport van.

There are otherwise no other outward signs of trauma.

In order to receive such a mark on the crown of his head, identified as a particular bolt, Gray was facing the rear door and standing bent over close to 90 degrees at the waist.

With Gray bending forward trying to slip his cuffs down while facing the rear door, a normal acceleration would pitch him headfirst into the door, effectively similar to being dropped on his head. View Entire Story HereHere & Here.

THE SIX COPS are “defendants.” They are “innocent” until proven guilty.

But in ‘get whitey’ JEWmerica, they’re ALREADY proven “guilty.”