Wednesday, March 27, 2013

D.A.'s Office Complicit In Brutality Coverup

I try to be as unbiased as possible when it comes to cases of police brutality. Indeed, I have made several posts here defending the police even when they have acted violently, because I understand that it is a difficult job and at times it does in fact require violence to get the job done. I am not squeamish and I am not prone to knee-jerk reactions. I have seen things from both sides of the line, having been both first-responder and victim of a vicious assault by police.

I must say though, that at the end of the day, I have little sympathy for police and the job they do when I hear stories like this one. This is not just about a few bad apples beating the crap out of innocent civilians. This is about institutionalized corruption and brutality. Let's check out the video, and I will continue below.

So we see there are two separate incidents here to discuss. In the first, we see police beat, tase, and strangle a woman who is handcuffed in the back of the police cruiser. Personally, I can't think of any legitimate reason why police should be beating on anyone in handcuffs. I can understand that suspects in cuffs can still be unruly and do things like start spitting in the backseat and so forth. I can see how that would make a police officer angry, but it really still does not excuse beating up a suspect in a punitive manner. It certainly does not excuse using the taser on someone, and it absolutely does not excuse choking a woman. Here in NY State, choking a woman is a crime in and of itself, aside from standard assault-type charges.

New strangulation statute proving an effective tool for law enforcement

Imagine for a moment that what you saw there was a man beating on his wife in that manner. If the public were to see something of that nature there would be absolute outrage in a community, calling for all sorts of horrible things be done to a man who would dare to do something like that to a woman. But because it is a police officer doing this to a suspect, the public is apathetic, as if in a trance, or even openly defend the actions of police in cases like this. But this wasn't just one officer either, it was two. Two powerful men beating the crap out of a woman in the back seat of a car in the middle of the night. Is there really any excuse for that?

With the new strangulation law on the books, I find it hard to believe that a man would be excused for simply choking a woman even if she came at him with a kitchen knife screaming bloody murder, much less pummeling and tasing a woman. Certainly there would be no excuse whatsoever for a man to do this to a defenseless, unarmed woman restrained in handcuffs, unless he was a cop of course.

Next we see the case of a man who had his rib cage crushed in for the crime of not understanding a police order. Instead of putting his hands behind his back as instructed, he puts his hands in the air. A typical reaction really for anyone who watches television and instinctively thinks "hands up" if they are ever in trouble with the police. It is also quite easy for a police officer to take a suspect into custody from that position. You simply snap the cuff on one wrist, guide the suspects arm down toward the buttocks, do the same with a firm grasp on the other arm, and lock the second wrist into the open cuff. Easy as that, suspect in custody.

Instead, one officer decided to body slam the suspect to the concrete, while the other decides to use a knee to blow out the man's ribcage. And of course, no police beating would be complete without the application of the taser a few times. Even if the man had been a little unruly, a bit uncooperative, not fully understanding what was happening, there was nothing there to show he was being violent, or to warrant that level of force that we saw used against him.

As a general rule, the police are expected to follow the Use of Force Continuum. Not every department uses the same model, and the standards are not universal among the different models, but generally speaking the principle is to only apply that force which is necessary to safely bring a suspect into custody. As safely as possible for the officer and the suspect I might add. I saw nothing in that video which showed the suspect was assaultive in any way. If there was intentional resistance at all, it appears to have been passive. I didn't see any active resistance as in attempts to break free or flee. Even if that were the case, once the suspect was down, that should have been the extent of the force necessary to pull the suspects arms behind his back and get the cuffs on. Tasing him and breaking five ribs is clearly an excessive use of force in this case.

So what we have seen there, yet again, are a few more instances of gratuitous, unwarranted violence by police against a civilian. Almost every day we see a new video of this nature pop up on YouTube, but we are still expected to believe that these are all "isolated" incidents, the work of  "a few bad apples." Never mind that thousands of cases like this never make it to the light of day. More often than not, the victim is not lucky enough to have a video camera rolling when they are pummeled by police. And without a tape, there is little chance of finding a lawyer who will bother to handle your case. Even with a tape, it is clearly an uphill battle to hold the police accountable for their crimes.

In one instance linked here, a reporter was facing 21 years in prison for airing an excessive force complaint. He was subsequently convicted on three felony counts of violating wiretapping laws, for posting the content on YouTube.

In another incident, a man was arrested and had his head split open by police simply because he asked for a complaint form.

Time and time again I have heard people say something along the lines of "well, if a bad cop does something to you, you should report it to their supervisor." The notion that a civilian can find justice when they are the victim of a crime at the hands of police, or that police will be held accountable for such crimes, is false. How could we possibly expect an officer's supervisor to take such a complaint seriously, when we see what happened in those two incidents above in the main video? The police charged the victims of their brutal assault with a crime, resisting arrest. Not just one "bad apple" but three police officers in these two incidents alone, not only covering for one another but actually participating in the violence. Their supervisors, right on up to the chief of police were well aware of what was on those tapes, yet the charges against the victims stood, and the officers were not held accountable in any way. Beyond the police department protecting their own, the county district attorney's office also saw the tapes, and failed in their duty to even investigate, much less to actually prosecute those officers for the brutal assaults.

How many other cases has the DA's office refused to prosecute over the years, simply because the perpetrators were police officers? How complicit is the top brass in any department, in any county, even in any state, in covering up crimes committed by cops? How many thousands, even millions of people have been viciously beaten, wrongfully prosecuted, and even killed by police, without anyone ever being held accountable and without justice ever being served?

Ladies and gentleman, this is not about running down the police for the sake of running down the police. This is the reality of the totalitarian police-state we now live in. The boys in blue today are no better than the "brown shirt" terrorists who put the Nazis in power. It makes no difference if you are a trouble-maker or an innocent person just going about your business. Any one of you reading this could find yourself, or a loved one, being beaten in the back of a police car in the middle of the night, having your rib cage shattered along some lonely road by a few thug cops, or worse, and there isn't a damn thing you can do about it.


No sooner had I posted this article, another story popped up that just goes to prove that police can literally get away with murder even when they are caught and prosecuted.

Cop Made Chief After Negligent Homicide Conviction

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