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Slaying of Chicago Teen Casts Doubt on Body Cams Holding Police Accountable

Sputnik – 12.12.2015

Although President Barack Obama has pledged $263 million in federal grants to fund body cameras for police departments throughout the country, some still feel the effort will do little to hold officers accountable if they engage in suspicious or unlawful activity.

Lisa Schreibersdorf, executive director of Brooklyn Defender Services, points to the recent case of Laquan McDonald, a 17-year-old who was fatally shot last year by a police officer after he responded to a call about a man with a knife.

An officer’s dashboard camera captured footage of that incident. However, Chicago’s mayor and police commissioner struggled to keep those recordings away from the eyes of the public arguing the footage could interfere with the court case.

Following the efforts of journalists and lawyers, however, a judge finally forced city officials to release the video in November leading to the prosecution of Officer Jason Van Dyke for murder more than a year after the shooting.

“Many have suggested that the prosecution would never have come if the City had succeeded in keeping the video under wraps — an allegation that Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alverez denies, but nevertheless casts doubt on the ability or willingness of the police, prosecutors or even the City administration to hold individual officers accountable unless forced to do so,” Schreibersdorf explained to the Huffington Post.

In many instances, city officials can fight to keep police body-camera footage from being seen by the public and defense attorneys.

In New York City, for example, body-camera recordings legally are categorized as an officer’s file making it difficult for defense attorneys to access it. Police Commissioner Bill Bratton has said that body camera footage would not be released to the public under any circumstances.

“That leaves us in the potential situation of receiving body camera footage only when it serves the NYPD and the prosecution, not when it exonerates our clients or incriminates an officer,” said Schreibersdorf. “Such a scheme favors neither justice nor accountability and is one that we, as public defenders, often the last line of defense against executive power, could never support.”

December 12, 2015 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , , | Leave a comment

NYPD under fire over cop who ‘converted’ to Islam to spy on college students

RT | November 4, 2015

Civil rights activists are speaking out about revelations that an undercover detective with the New York Police Department “converted” to Islam in order to spy on Muslim students at Brooklyn College over a four-year period.

That work led to the recent arrest of two Queens women allegedly involved in a terrorist bomb plot.

The NYPD has already been under fire for running a demographics unit which conducted blanket surveillance of the Muslim community after 9/11 in New York and New Jersey, despite such activity being in violation of the Constitution.

“The problem has been that the courts who are tasked with determining what is and what is not unconstitutional, illegal – and what is and is not entrapment – have been complicit, and have expanded the prosecutorial and police powers to engage in predatory practices against Muslim communities in particular,” human rights attorney Lamis Deek told RT.

“While under law and logic this would be considered entrapment. If you look at the complaint, it is clear this case is entrapment. Unfortunately we are not going to find a court or a judge to do that,” Deek added.

The revelations about the NYPD’s undercover operation came from a Justice Department release announcing the arrest of two Queens women, Noelle Velentzas and Asia Siddiqui, on conspiracy to use a weapon of mass destruction in April 2015. It revealed that a detective from the NYPD’s Intelligence Bureau was heavily involved in bringing the girls to justice and foiling the bomb plot, according to the Gothamist.

“The work of the NYPD’s Intelligence Bureau, its undercover Detective, and its seamless collaboration with the Special Agents and the Detectives of the Joint Terrorism Task Force… should serve as a model for early detection and prevention of terrorist plotting,” said NYPD Commissioner William Bratton in the release.

Deek said that in a case like Velentzas and Siddiqui’s, where the plot is manufactured and orchestrated by a confidential informant – in this case, the officer went by “Mel” – and those working with the informant, law enforcement will make sure that the defendants’ lives are so “infiltrated” and controlled that they behave in a way that ensures they can have no defense.

“The law says that if defendants speak about political issues that relate to the case then [they] are predisposed to engaging in these acts, and that predisposition overcomes [their] defense of entrapment,” said Deek.

The Justice Department alleged the girls had researched how to construct bombs to use as a weapon of mass destruction on American soil. They obtained bomb-making instructions and materials, and used instructions provided by Al-Qaeda’s online magazine.

Deeks said that what is telling about the complaint is that the NYPD informant, Mel, had been working around young people at the college for four years. Yet there was no issue or suspicious activity until she met the two Queens women who were ultimately arrested in July 2014.

“The complaint only lists actions that these two girls took from August onwards, from the time they met this undercover informant and she built a relationship with them,” Deek said. “What we see instead is the Joint Terrorism Task Force informant was in the very least inciting them to engage in these actions that would later lead to their arrest.”

Mother Jones reported that the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force and its use of informants takes a majority share of the Bureau’s budget, requiring $3.3 billion to support a national network of 15,000 informants who are paid $100,000 per case, or who work off criminal or immigration violations.

“The problem with the cases we’re talking about is that defendants would not have done anything if not kicked in the ass by government agents,” says Martin Stolar, a lawyer who represented a man caught in a 2004 sting involving New York’s Herald Square subway station, told Mother Jones. “They’re creating crimes to solve crimes so they can claim a victory in the war on terror.”

On this point, Deek concurs, but she added that while this operation is not effective, it is creating fear.

“What they have done effectively is terrorize the Arab-Muslim-Pakistani communities of New York and the US. People are afraid to talk to each other. They don’t know who is who, and what is what. They are being disciplined and their First Amendment rights are being actively curtailed, so this is a very violative program that mimics tactics … of occupying governments,” Deek said.

November 4, 2015 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Ethnic Cleansing, Full Spectrum Dominance, Islamophobia | , , , | 1 Comment

NYPD Cop Convicted of Falsifying Arrest Report on New York Times Photographer

By Carlos Miller | PINAC | October 15, 2015

An NYPD cop who arrested a New York Times photographer, accusing him of interfering with an investigation by blinding him with his flash, was convicted today on a felony count of falsifying records.

It turned out, Robert Stolarik’s camera did not even have a built-in flash. Nor did he have an external flash on him when arrested.

Not that it would have been illegal.

Nevertheless, New York City police officer Michael Ackermann swore in his arrest report that Stolarik’s repeated use of his flash ended up “blinding him and preventing him from performing his duties.”

He also claimed that Stolarik “violently resisted being handcuffed,” even cutting another officer in the hand during the struggle.

The NYPD also released a statement claiming that Stolarik used his camera to “inadvertently” strike an officer in the face.

The way they described it, Stolarik was an out-of-control madman, using his flash to blind officers before striking them with his camera – just the type of behavior you would expect from a veteran photojournalist with more than two decades of experience.

The truth is, it was the officers who were violent with Stolarik as reported by the New York Times on August 5, 2012, the day after his arrest.

The photographer, Robert Stolarik, 43, who has worked regularly for The Times for more than a decade, was charged with obstructing government administration and with resisting arrest. He was taking photographs of a brewing street fight at McClellan Street and Sheridan Avenue in the Concourse neighborhood.

Mr. Stolarik was taking photographs of the arrest of a teenage girl about 10:30 p.m., when a police officer instructed him to stop doing so. Mr. Stolarik said he identified himself as a journalist for The Times and continued taking pictures. A second officer appeared, grabbed his camera and “slammed” it into his face, he said.

Mr. Stolarik said he asked for the officers’ badge numbers, and the officers then took his cameras and dragged him to the ground; he said that he was kicked in the back and that he received scrapes and bruises to his arms, legs and face.

The Police Department said in a statement that officers had been trying to disperse the crowd and had given “numerous lawful orders” for both the crowd and Mr. Stolarik to move back, but that he tried to push forward, “inadvertently” striking an officer in the face with his camera.

The police said that Mr. Stolarik then “violently resisted being handcuffed” and that, in the process, a second officer was cut on the hand. A video of the episode taken by one of the reporters who was with Mr. Stolarik shows Mr. Stolarik face down on the sidewalk, beneath a huddle of about six officers.

Stolarik ended up spending a night in jail on charges of obstructing government administration and resisting arrest, the usual contempt-of-cop charges issued by NYPD.

Now it’s Ackermann who is facing four years in prison after today’s conviction in a bench trial. He will be sentenced on December 2.

During the trial, Ackermann claimed he made an honest mistake when he lied about Stolarik’s use of the flash.

“I keep going over it and trying to figure out how I could have made that big of a mistake,” he testified, according to the New York Daily News.

What he really meant to say is that he was unable to figure out why the Bronx District Attorney would file charges on him when filing false reports is an everyday occurrence for the NYPD and is usually ignored by prosecutors.

Speaking to reporters outside the courtroom today, Stolarik pointed out the irony in the outcome.

According to Gothamist :

“I’m overwhelmed, and I’m emotional,” and added that the “DA took this case very seriously. Justice has been served. He was comfortable sending me to prison to ruin my career and I think that turned around on him, he was charged with a felony and it ruined his career.”

Ackermann’s career is definitely over. At least with the NYPD, even though he is still officially a cop. He might as well go into fiction writing considering he has a knack for it.

But it would still be surprising if he spends a day in jail. Cops rarely serve time for the crimes they commit, even the ones who commit sexual abuse.

The incident took place on August 4, 2012 as Stolarik was covering the NYPD’s controversial stop-and-frisk routine and came across a group of officers attempting to arrest a 15-year-old girl.

One cop placed her hand in front of his lens to prevent him from shooting. When he showed her his credentials – not that it should matter in public – another cop walked up and shoved the camera into his face.

When he demanded names and badge numbers, several cops pounced on him and began beating and kicking him.

The video recorded by another New York Times reporter that shows him laying underneath a pile of cops apparently has not been released to the public, but we will post it if it is ever released.

After spending the night in jail, it took another three weeks for them to return his camera gear, which included a Nikon D4, as well as his NYPD-issued press credentials, making it impossible for him to continue working during that time.

The National Press Photographers Association, specifically General Counsel Mickey Osterreicher, was instrumental in getting the NYPD to return his items as well as having Ackermann investigated by both the district attorney and internal affairs.

This is what Osterreicher had to say in a statement emailed to Photography is Not a Crime :

I am very pleased to see that justice has been served by the verdict in this case. Robert Stolarik should have never been arrested for exercising his constitutional rights as a journalist cover a story of great public concern. Credit goes to Robert for standing up for his rights and the rights of all of us. I also commend the Bronx District Attorney and ADA Jacoub Pishoy for prosecuting this case. I also think we should acknowledge that the NYPD Internal Affairs Bureau (IAB) took this case very seriously from the start and helped provide some of the evidence needed to obtain this conviction. I hope it will send a clear message to police officers to stop interfering, harassing and arresting citizens and journalists for doing nothing more than photographing or recording on public streets.

We also hope this sends a clear message to the NYPD and the rest of the cops in this country who have long become accustomed to falsifying charges, not only against photographers, but against anybody who dares question their authority – including the ones we wrote about earlier today.

October 16, 2015 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Deception, Full Spectrum Dominance | , | Leave a comment

No Eric Garner or Tamir Rice: FBI fails to adequately count civilian deaths by police

RT | October 16, 2015

An the old saying goes: “lies, damned lies, and statistics.” It may not quite apply to a new FBI report on officer-involved shootings, but the phrase expresses some of the frustrations felt by activists on behalf of the victims who went uncounted.

Released Thursday, the FBI’s figures for police-on-civilian deadly shootings lacked adequate substance and included errors, according to a report by the Guardian. The data was collected on a voluntary basis from local police departments, but 99 percent of them did not volunteer any information.

The FBI counted 439 police killings for the year 2014 based on reports from 224 local law enforcement agencies, of which there are 18,000 in the country. That’s up from 392 homicides reported in 2009, but the number of reporting agencies also increased from 196 in the same year. No trend can be surmised from the data.

Notorious cases, including Eric Garner from New York City, and Ohio’s Tamir Rice and John Crawford, were not included. Information regarding whether or not the victim was armed was also not included. Other methods and mistakes also complicate any goal of arriving at an accurate estimate.

The reason for not including Garner, the man choked to death by an New York Police Department (NYPD) officer, was simply because the NYPD has not participated in such FBI data gathering since 2006. The NYPD, the nation’s largest police force, promises to release details on officers’ deadly use of force next year.

Garner’s daughter, Erica, told the Guardian she was “outraged but not shocked” at this missing tally from the FBI.

“It’s just another part of the cover-up and erasing of his murder from the record,” she said. “It says to the NYPD and the city and state of New York that my father’s life doesn’t matter.”

Rice, the 12-year-old holding an airsoft gun who was shot in under two seconds by Cleveland police, was not included, and neither was Crawford, the man shot by Beavercreek police in a Walmart while holding a BB gun carried by the store. Both police departments did not participate in the FBI report.

Meanwhile, some cases were recorded incorrectly. Darrien Hunt, a 22-year-old killed by Sarasota Springs police in Utah while running away with a replica sword, was listed as the killer even though he was the one who died. A knife or blade was jotted down as the deadly weapon, even though it was a police officer who shot him. Furthermore, the officer and Hunt were described as acquaintances.

The victim’s mother, Susan, told the Guardian, “There has been so much wrong with the entire incident.”

Several outlets are attempting to keep track of police shootings or non-shootings that end in civilian deaths. The Guardian’s “The Counted” aggregates all deaths at the hands of police and has counted 908 so far in 2015. The Washington Post counts 776 shot dead by police this year.

Last week, FBI Director James Comey told a group of politicians and law enforcement officials that in the same way movie tickets are counted or cases of the flu are counted, so should police killings. “It’s ridiculous – embarrassing and ridiculous – that we can’t talk about crime in the same way, especially in the high-stakes incidents when your officers have to use force,” Comey said.

In a separate 2014 FBI report, 1.16 million incidents of violent crime were reported in 2013. Violent crime hadn’t been that low in 35 years. The population has grown nearly one and a half times in that period, but police-on-civilian killings could be a type of violent crime on the rise. Until there are reliable statistics, no one knows.

October 16, 2015 Posted by | Civil Liberties | , , , , | Leave a comment

Minority police officers sue NYPD over illegal arrest quotas

RT | September 2, 2015

A dozen black and Latino police officers are suing the New York Police Department and the city claiming that their bosses forced them to carry out illegal arrest quotas “against their own minority community.” The NYPD has denied ever using quotas.

The class action lawsuit, filed in the Manhattan federal court on Monday, argued that by forcing police officers to comply with the “illegal quota system,” New York City and the NYPD subjected black and Latino cops to unfair evaluations and discipline, according to the New York Post.

The suit also said performance evaluation was not evenly applied to all precincts. Police officers in precincts with lots of minorities had to make more arrests and issue more tickets than officers in “a precinct located in a predominantly white residential area,” the suit states.

The lawsuit cites testimony and news articles dating to 2010 that provide evidence of a quota system under former Police Commissioner Ray Kelly. The suit said quotas have remained under Commissioner Bill Bratton.

“The reality is that one year later, quotas remain alive and well and the NYPD is aggressively pursuing a numbers driven agenda with regard to arrests, tickets and summonses,” the suit reads.

The 12 named plaintiffs in the suit are all black and Latino NYPD officers who claim to have been penalized for reporting and complaining about “the illegal quotas and its racially discriminatory application against the minority community,” the suit states.

The suit alleges that police officers were being forced to make at least one arrest and issue 20 summonses a month.

The top NYPD spokesman told the Post that the department doesn’t use quotas.

“There are no numerical enforcement quotas established by the NYPD,” spokesman Stephen Davis said in a statement, according to the New York Post. “Performance evaluations are conducted for all department employees based on an assessment of their duties, responsibilities and specific conditions of their assignments.”

An NYC Law Department spokesman said the city would evaluate the merits of each of these claims and respond accordingly once they are served.

One of the lead plaintiff’s in the suit is Adhyl Polanco, a Latino police officer who first complained to the media in 2009 about how arrest and summons quotas affected communities of color. He testified in the high-profile federal stop-and-frisk case.

Polanco also filed a separate lawsuit in Brooklyn federal court on Monday against the NYPD and the city, according to the New York Daily News, claiming his whistleblowing about quotas and discrimination has resulted in a sustained campaign of retaliation by fellow police officers and management, including repeated suspensions, promotion denials and suggestions that he was mentally ill.

September 2, 2015 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , , | Leave a comment

Video Shows NYPD Cop Brutalize 11-year-old Girl, Proves that he Lied Under Oath

By Justin Gardner | The Free Thought Project | July 23, 2015

New York, NY — Video has surfaced of a New York City police lieutenant assaulting an 11-year-old girl on a Bronx street corner. The incident happened six months after Eric Garner’s death but is now being brought to light after a battle with the Corporation Counsel of the City of New York.

In the video, the large male cop forced the girl against the wall, then grabs her around the neck and throws her to the pavement, where he back cuffs her before leading her away.

In a sworn statement, the police lieutenant lied about what happened, saying she “and I both slipped and fell to the ground. On the ground [she] continued to flail her arms and thrash her body, preventing me from placing handcuffs on her. We continued to struggle until I was eventually able to place handcuffs on [her].”

As we can see, no one slipped to the ground, and the girl was not flailing and thrashing.  It is pure brutality.  The assault appears to be another example of NYPD harassment in minority communities, perhaps motivated by racism, all too similar to the circumstances leading to Eric Garner’s death.

According to civil rights lawyer Bob Herbst, who is representing the family, the girl was simply an innocent bystander to a situation that could have been resolved peacefully.

“This past February, after school was out for the day, some boys from the school were throwing snowballs at a passing car. When the driver got out to yell at them — and put one of the boys in a headlock — his smartphone fell out of his pocket and another boy picked it up. Upon realizing his phone was gone, the driver chased down one of the boys and threatened to call the police if the phone was not returned, and when it was not forthcoming, he did, apparently using someone else’s phone.

This 6th grader — let’s call her Angie — and a classmate were walking from school to the bus stop when they saw some of this. They were bystanders who had nothing to do with either the snowballs or the phone. But as the police arrived, the girls exchanged words as to whether they should stay to watch, or go, and then took off running for a block before stopping.

The driver — the man in the white jacket with the knapsack in the video — seeing Angie running, suspected — wrongly — that she was part of the group and had his phone. He approached Angie and asked for his phone. She told him she didn’t have his phone.

Shortly thereafter, as the video starts, this police lieutenant crossed the street, motioning for Angie to come toward him, which she did.”

It seems that running away was enough for the enraged cop to brutalize the girl instead of peacefully ascertaining that she did not have the phone.

If this wasn’t enough for the girl’s psyche, the Corporation Counsel of the City of New York (which prosecutes Family Court proceedings) began a juvenile delinquency proceeding against her. This happened one month after the girl’s parents decided to file claims of police assault and battery and the use of excessive force. Since no action was taken against the girl for four months after the arrest, the proceeding raises the suspicion that the Counsel is retaliating after the family said they intended to sue.

Fortunately, the video was preserved by the noble shopkeeper who allowed it to be copied onto the mother’s phone, and this is what proved the cop to be a liar. The obvious unprovoked brutality will force the Counsel to dismiss the case in six months, according to Herbst.

The police lieutenant’s gross abuse of power and the city’s shameful attempt at prosecuting the 6th grade victim has put the girl in a state of psychic distress.

“Her parents report that she now talks and cries in her sleep, and sometimes sleep walks. She is scared of and avoids the police. She does not want to think about or talk about what happened to her. She stays home more, does not like to go outside, and her relationships with friends have changed as she has become more withdrawn.”

July 24, 2015 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Subjugation - Torture | , , , | Leave a comment

NYPD officers slammed autistic teen’s head against concrete – lawsuit

RT | July 10, 2015

A 17-year-old autistic boy was thrown onto the sidewalk by New York City police officers, punched in the face, arrested, hauled to the precinct for questioning and released without charges, according to a lawsuit.

Troy Canales was standing in front of his Bronx home on the night of November 12, 2014, when two officers drove up in a police car demanding to know what he was doing, according to the Manhattan federal court lawsuit.

The lawsuit claims the officers clearly had no training in how to deal with people with special needs when they began questioning Canales, who is able to talk but has a hard time making eye contact with strangers.

“[Canales] was extremely scared, but told the officers that he was just ‘chilling’ and was not doing anything,” the suit stated.

“[The officers] each grabbed the plaintiff’s arms and forcefully threw him down on the sidewalk, smashing his head against the concrete. [The officers] kneed plaintiff in the back and punched him in the face as he screamed to his family for help.”

Canales’ mother and brother came out of the house and saw him cuffed on the ground. They told the police he was autistic but the cops ignored them and took the teenager to the precinct, said the complaint.

Canales was held for an hour until his mother, Alyson Valentine, spoke to the commanding officer, who apologized and said, ‘things like this happen” before releasing the teen.

Police officers had no explanation for the assault or the arrest except to say that one officer “feared for his life” when he spoke to Canales on the sidewalk, according to the lawsuit.

In the wake of the beating, Valentine said her son became reclusive and it took professional therapy to help him go out of the house again.

“Every other house on the block, there’s a child with disability,” Valentine told DNAinfo. “A lot of them don’t come outside that much. If you’re policing the neighborhood, you should know the people.”

A lawyer for Troy Canales, now 18, said the NYPD violated the teen’s civil rights during the November 2014 incident. The federal lawsuit seeks unspecified compensatory and punitive damages, and better training for police officers to deal with people with special needs.

A New York City Law Department spokesman said the suit is under review, reported the New York Post.

July 10, 2015 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

NYPD destroyed evidence in class action lawsuit against department

RT | July 7, 2015

The New York Police Department (NYPD) has destroyed evidence in an ongoing lawsuit against it, which alleges that police use a secret quota system to make arrests, new documents claim.

The class action suit alleges that NYPD Commissioner Raymond Kelly and former Chief of Department Joseph Esposito were secretly applying pressure to officers to issue more arrests after falling short of quotas for traffic offenses and low-level crime, resulting in up to 850,000 wrongful summonses – or written notifications to a party telling them where and when they need to be in court. Some summons cases leave the recipient with a criminal record.

The allegations that a “quota system” for arrests exists at the NYPD are supported by emails, paperwork and text messages. One text message stated:

“We missed seat belt number by 30 last week unacceptable. if need be u guys will go with me 2 traffic stat 2 explain why u missed [sic].”

However, other such records have been destroyed, despite the city agreeing to surrender the information more than a year ago, the New York Post reports, citing a letter filed in the Manhattan federal court by the plaintiffs’ lawyers.

The lawyers claim that they discovered documents by obtaining them from third-party emails, including one of an NYPD captain writing, “This has to stop” when referring to an officer having only one arrest in over 50 hours of overtime.

But when the emails were requested, the city couldn’t produce them, even after searching.

“The production confirms what plaintiffs feared but defendants have repeatedly denied: Defendants have destroyed evidence that is unquestionably relevant to this matter,” plaintiffs’ lawyer Elinor Sutton wrote in a letter, the Post reported.

The letter continues, “It is simply not tenable that Commissioner Kelly and Chief Esposito did not – in the entire period of 2007 through the present – write or receive emails using terms related to the word ‘summons.’”

“The spoliation of this evidence clearly demonstrates Defendants’ bad-faith, grossly negligent, or at least, negligent destruction of relevant documents.”

She added that documents from meetings about crime statistics may have been shredded due to a policy that NYPD officers testified about previously.

The trial is expected to be held early next year.

July 7, 2015 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Corruption, Deception | , , , , , | Leave a comment

NYPD Officer Waited 20 Minutes to Call for Help After “Accidentally” Shooting Akai Gurley

peter-liang-akai-gurley-620x330

By Cassandra Fairbanks | PINAC News | June 25, 2015

The rookie NYPD cop who shot and killed Akai Gurley in a stairwell last year waited almost 20 minutes to report the shooting, refusing to call for or provide medical assistance, as he bickered back and forth with his partner about who should be the one to call their sergeant.

Meanwhile, Gurley lay bleeding on a stairwell with a bullet wound to his chest, still breathing, while his girlfriend ran to a neighbor for help, according to a new document presented this week in the manslaughter trial of New York City police officer Peter Liang.

The statement of facts, presented by the district attorney in rebuttal to a motion from Liang’s defense attorney that the case be dismissed– offers the most detailed account of the shooting to date, describing the rookie officer being more concerned about keeping his job than keeping Gurley alive.

In the minutes after the shooting, Melissa Butler, never having been trained in CPR  before, kneeled over her boyfriend, applying pressure to the wound and administrating CPR as her neighbor remained on the phone with the 911 operator relaying instructions.

The cops, despite being trained in CPR and required as police officers to administer it when needed, stepped around them as they made their way down the stairs, still arguing about who should call the sergeant.

“Hurry up and call,” NYPD police officer Shawn Landau told Liang.

“What’s the address?” Liang asked his partner.

Liang finally reported the shooting at 11:19 p.m., almost 20 minutes after the shooting, estimated to have taken place a little after 11 p.m.

And five minutes after the neighbor had already called 911.

During that time, Liang also texted his union representative in a desperate attempt to save his job.

It all started on November 20, 2014 when Gurley, who was unarmed and not breaking any law, was visiting his girlfriend at the Brooklyn housing project she lived in.

NYPD officers Liang and Landau were on-duty patrolling the housing projects when they entered a darkened stairwell from the eighth floor to make their way downstairs.

Liang pulled out his gun before entering, even though he was not being threatened.

Meanwhile, Gurley and his girlfriend entered from the seventh floor after having waited for an elevator that never arrived.

Seconds later, Liang fired his gun, striking Gurley in the chest. Investigators said the bullet ricocheted off a wall before striking Gurley.

Fearing for their safety, Gurley and Butler ran down two flights of stairs but Gurley collapsed on the fifth-floor stairwell. Butler then ran down to the fourth floor where she knocked on the neighbor’s door for help.

“What the fuck happened,” Landau asked his partner.

“It went off by accident,” Liang responded, who then began repeatedly saying he would be fired.

The document states that Liang reported the shooting at exactly 11:19 and 46 seconds, followed by a series of follow-up reports to dispatch of an “accidental discharge.”

But New York City Police Lieutenant Vitaly Zelekov had already received a report at 11:15 p.m. that a man had been shot in the building, thanks to the neighbor’s call.

Minutes later, Zelekov arrived at the building as numerous other cops were arriving. He reached the fourth-floor landing and spotted Liang, asking him what had happened.

“I shot him accidentally,” Liang told him.

Zelekov took Liang’s gun, secured it in his waistband and made his way up to the fifth floor where he saw Butler attempting mouth-to-mouth resuscitation on Gurley.

Zelekov ordered another officer to relieve Butler, then radioed to dispatch to “rush the bus,” meaning to send an ambulance as soon as possible – the first time that night anybody had requested an ambulance.

That request was logged at 11:21 p.m. and seven seconds. Gurley was pronounced dead at a local hospital at 11:55 p.m.

Liang’s lawyer Stephen Worth told the New York Times that Liang was hyperventilating in the moments following the shooting, and was “too distraught” to help Butler attempt to save Gurley’s life, so therefore, charges should be dismissed.

But Justice Danny K. Chun rejected the motion to drop the charges against Liang, who is facing manslaughter in the second degree, criminally negligent homicide, assault in the second degree, reckless endangerment in the second degree, as well as two counts of official misconduct.

Officer Landau has not been charged for his role in Gurley’s death.

June 27, 2015 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , | 1 Comment

The Rise of the African-American Police State

Post-Modern Slave Patrols

By GARIKAI CHENGU | CounterPunch | May 4, 2015

Black people in America live in a police-state-within-a-state. The African American police state exercises its authority over the Black minority through an oppressive array of modern day lynchings by the police, increasing for-profit mass incarceration and the government sanctioned surveillance and assassination of Black leaders. The African American police state is unquestionably a modern day crime against humanity.

The first modern police forces in America were Slave Patrols and Night Watches, which were both designed to control the behaviors of African Americans.

Historian Victor Kappeler notes that in 1704, the colony of Carolina developed the nation’s first Slave Patrol. Historical literature is clear that prior to the Civil War a legally sanctioned police force existed for the sole purpose of oppressing the slave population and protecting the property and interests of white slave owners. The glaring similarities between the eighteenth century Slave Patrols and modern American police brutality in the Black community are too salient to dismiss or ignore.

America was founded as a slave holding republic and slaves did not take too kindly to being enslaved and they often rebelled, becoming enemy’s of the state. Slave Patrols were created in order to interrogate and persecute Blacks, who were out and about, without any due process or formal investigation. To this day, police do not serve and protect the Black community, they treat Blacks as inherently criminal and sub-human.

Ever since the first police forces were established in America, lynchings have been the linchpin of the African American police state.

The majority of Americans believe that lynchings are an outdated form of racial terrorism, which blighted American society up until the end of the era of Jim Crow laws; however, America’s proclivity towards the unbridled slaughter of African Americans has only worsened over time. The Guardian newspaper recently noted that historians believe that during the late nineteenth and early twentieth century on average two African-Americans were lynched every week.

Compare this with incomplete data compiled by the FBI that shows that a Black person is killed by a white police officer more than twice a week, and it’s clear that police brutality in Black communities is getting worse, not better.

Racial terrorism gave birth to America. It should come as no surprise that the state’s law enforcement agents routinely engage in the terrorism of modern day lynchings.

Traditional lynchings were not preceded by judge, jury or trial and were often for the most trivial of reasons such as talking to a white woman, failing to remove a hat or making a sarcastic grin. Modern day lynchings are also not preceded by due process. Numerous Black children like Tamir Rice have been slaughtered by police for trivialities like playing with a toy gun in public.

Lynching does not necessarily mean hanging. It often included humiliation, torture, burning, dismemberment and castration. A lynching was a quintessential American public ritual that often took place in front of large crowds that sometimes numbered in the thousands. Historian Mark Gado notes that, “onlookers sometimes fired rifles and handguns hundreds of times into the corpse while people cheered and children played during the festivities”.

Sensational American journalism, spared the public no detail no matter how horrible, and in 1899 the Springfield Weekly described a lynching by chronicling how, “the Negro was deprived of his ears, fingers and genital parts of his body. He pleaded pitifully for his life while the mutilation was going on… before the body was cool, it was cut to pieces, the bones crushed into small bits… the Negro’s heart was cut into several pieces, as was also his liver… small pieces of bones went for 25 cents…”. Such graphic accounts were the norm in the South, and photos, were regularly taken of the lynched bodies on display and made into postcards that were sent all over the country.

Nowadays, the broader American public participates in modern day lynchings by sharing videos that go viral of police officers slaying Black men, women and children. By opting not to censor the graphic content of police killing Blacks, today’s videos in the media serve the same purpose as the detailed written accounts of yesteryear by adding to the psychological suffering of the African American. Such viral graphic accounts also desensitize the white community to such an extent that empowers white policemen to do more.

A hallmark of twentieth century fascist police states, such as Italy under Mussolini or Franco’s Spain, is the lack of police accountability for their crimes. In spite of extremely egregious circumstances surrounding all lynchings and many police killings, police are rarely held liable.

The United Nations Human Rights Committee recently issued a report on human rights abuses in the United States which roundly condemned the epidemic of police brutality. It stated: “The Committee is concerned about the still high number of fatal shootings by police which has a disparate impact on African Americans”.

In modern America, the African American police state assassinates the Black victim twice. Once by way of lynching and again to assassinate the victim’s character so as to justify the public execution. All too often a Black victim’s school record, employment status and social media presence are dragged by the media into the court of public opinion, as if any of it has any bearing on whether an agent of the state has the right to lynch a Black U.S. citizen.

Arbitrary arrest and mass incarceration have been quintessential elements of police states from East Germany to Augusto Pinochet’s Chile.

The United States right now incarcerates more African-Americans as a percentage than South Africa did at the height of Apartheid.

A Senate hearing on the Federal Bureau of Prisons reported that the American prison population hovered around 25,000 throughout the 1900s, until the 1980’s when America suddenly experienced a massive increase in the inmate population to over a quarter million. The cause was Ronald Reagan’s War on Drugs which intentionally, and disproportionately targeted Blacks. The War on Drugs is now the African American police state’s main propaganda justification for police brutality and judicial discrimination against Blacks.

One out of three African American males will be arrested and go through the American injustice system at some point in their lives, primarily for nonviolent drug charges, despite studies revealing that white youth use drugs at higher rates than their Black counterparts.

For decades, the African-American crime rate has been falling but Black imprisonment rates have consistently soared. Aside from the War on Drugs, the rise in prison population may have another less publicized cause: gradual privatization of the prison industry, with its profits-over-justice motives. If the beds aren’t filled, states are required to pay the prison companies for the empty space, which means taxpayers are largely left to deal with the bill that might come from lower crime and imprisonment rates.

Private prisons were designed by the rich and for the rich. The for-profit prison system depends on imprisoning Blacks for its survival. Much in the same way the United States was designed.

After all, more Black men are in prison or jail, on probation or parole than were enslaved in 1850 before the Civil War began.

The history of Nazi Germany’s Gestapo has many parallels to what U.S. law enforcement in the Black community has become.

The infamous “stop-and-frisk” policies that allow the New York Police Department to stop you based on suspicion are Nazi-like. Latinos and Blacks make up 84 percent of all those stopped, although they make up respectively 29 and 23 percent of New York City’s population. Furthermore, statistics show that NYPD officers are far more likely to use physical force against Blacks and Latinos during stops.

The Gestapo operated without any judicial review by state imposed law, putting them above the law.

The FBI’s counterintelligence programs (COINTELPRO) of the 1950’s, 60s, and 70s formed one of the most infamous domestic initiatives in U.S. history, targeting Black organizations and individuals whom the FBI saw as threatening the racist, capitalist status quo.

COINTELPRO was a series of covert, and often illegal, government projects aimed at surveying, infiltrating, discrediting, and brutalizing Black communities.

After COINTELPRO director William C. Sullivan concluded in a 1963 memo that Martin Luther King, Jr. was “the most dangerous Negro in the future of this nation,” he wrote: “it may be unrealistic to limit [our actions against King] to legalistic proofs that would stand up in court or before Congressional Committees.”

The FBI waged an intense war against Martin Luther King Jr. The African American police state’s law enforcement agents bugged his hotel rooms, tried to provoke IRS investigations against him, and harassed magazines that published articles about him. In 1999, a civil trial concluded that United States law enforcement agents were responsible for Martin Luther King Jr’s assassination.

The perpetuation of the African American police state is a modern day crime against humanity. The ongoing protests and uprisings in Black communities are a direct and just response to centuries of worsening incarceration, modern day lynchings and systematic second class citizenship. Far from being a “post-racial” nation, American race relations are at a new low. Simmering discontent in Black communities will continue to rise towards a dangerous boiling point unless and until the African American police state is exposed and completely dismantled.

Garikai Chengu is a scholar at Harvard University. Contact him on garikai.chengu@gmail.com

May 4, 2015 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture, Timeless or most popular | , , , , | 2 Comments

Civil Liberty Violations Seen in NYPD Interrogations of Demonstrators

By Noel Brinkerhoff | AllGov | April 30, 2015

The New York City Police Department is back to doing something it was told by the courts decades ago to stop: interrogating demonstrators about their political behavior.

At least a dozen people protesting the decision not to prosecute the police who killed Eric Garner were detained by the NYPD. They later told The New York Times that they were questioned about their political associations and other matters related to their involvement in street protests.

The interrogations could have a chilling effect on Americans lawfully exercising their right to protest and may also put the department in violation of a 1985 consent decree that came out of a federal court case, Handschu v. Special Services Division (pdf), which was supposed to end investigations of political activity.

The recent NYPD actions aren’t the first time it has skirted the legalities of the Handschu settlement. In 2003, the department was rebuked after its Intelligence Division detectives collected information from antiwar protestors such as their school, their membership in organizations and their involvement in past protests.

The Times’ Colin Moynihan wrote that “some civil liberties lawyers say the recent questioning appeared to be substantially similar to the questioning in 2003,” with detectives focusing on political involvement, not criminal behavior.

“When the police investigate political affiliations and political activities, that poses a serious threat to First Amendment rights,” Christopher Dunn, the associate legal director of the New York Civil Liberties Union, told the Times. “The NYPD should stop this immediately.”

To Learn More:

Questioning of Garner Protesters in New York Renews Concerns about Police Practices (by Colin Moynihan, New York Times )

Chicago Police Accused of Running Secret Interrogation Center (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov )

Supreme Court Rules a Suspect’s Silence during Police Interrogation Can be Used against Him (by Noel Brinkerhoff and Danny Biederman, AllGov )

April 30, 2015 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , | Leave a comment

Fear Inc.: Behind the $57 Million Network Fueling Islamophobia in the U.S.

Center for American Progress

In 2011, the Center for American Progress published “Fear, Inc.: The Roots of the Islamophobia Network in America” in order to identify and expose the organizations, scholars, pundits, and activists comprising a tightly linked network that spread misinformation and hateful propaganda about American Muslims and Islam. The report found that seven charitable foundations spent $42.6 million between 2001 and 2009 to support the spread of anti-Muslim rhetoric.

… Islamophobia in the United States takes many shapes and forms. It takes the form of a general climate of fear and anger toward American Muslims, as seen in the “civilization jihad” narrative, the religious right’s rhetoric, and the biased media coverage of the Boston Marathon bombing. It comes out in cynical political efforts to capitalize on this climate of fear, as seen in state-level anti-Sharia bills introduced across the country and in far-right politicians’ grandstanding. And perhaps most dangerously, it manifests itself in institutional policies that view American Muslims as a threat, as seen in the FBI training manuals that profile Islam as a religion of violence. …

February 11, 2015

The Demographics Unit of the New York Police Department, later known as the Zone Assessment Unit, was created with the help of the CIA following the 9/11 attacks to conduct surveillance and monitor Muslims in New York City and the Tri-State Area. However, the Demographics Unit never led to a single terrorism investigation.

In 2011, Associated Press reporters Matt Apuzzo and Adam Goldman won the Pulitzer Prize for revealing that since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, the New York City Police Department had consistently spied on the Muslim community in New York City and the Tri-State Area.

In April 2014 under the leadership of its new commissioner, William J. Bratton, the New York City Police Department announced that it would end its controversial Muslim spying program by ending the Demographics Unit.

In its own public statement on the closing of its Muslim spying program, the NYPD conceded that “it has been determined that much of the same information previously gathered by the [Muslim spying program over the years] may be obtained through direct outreach by the NYPD to the communities concerned” instead of spying on them.

However, less than one month after announcing the end of the NYPD spying program, The New York Times reported that the NYPD has not backed away from other counterterrorism initiatives that it created in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, including recruiting Arab and Muslim men charged with various crimes and trying to convince them to serve as informants on their mosques and local communities.

April 12, 2015 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Islamophobia, Timeless or most popular, Video, Wars for Israel | , , , , , , | 2 Comments