Hell bells: We are at war with the police

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Good afternoon:

NBC News is reporting this morning that Officer Timothy A. Loehmann, 26, who shot and killed 12-year-old Tamir Rice in a park in Cleveland resigned from his former job as a police officer in Independence, a Cleveland suburb.

[Loehman] quit his $42,157-a-year job as a patrolman in training on Dec. 3, 2012 — just a day after he graduated from the Cleveland Heights Police Academy and less than five months after he was hired in July 2012.

In a November 2012 memo, Deputy Chief Jim Polak recommended that Loehmann be dismissed. He cited a report from a firearms instructor who said Loehmann showed up for training “distracted,” “weepy” and unable to “communicate clear thoughts,” as a result of which, “his handgun performance was dismal.”

“Due to this dangerous loss of composure during live range training and his inability to manage this personal stress, I do not believe Ptl. Loehmann shows the maturity needed to work in our employment,” Polak wrote on Nov. 29. “I do not believe time, nor training, will be able to change or correct the deficiencies.”

Five days later, Loehmann resigned.

He was hired by the Cleveland Police Department in May, 2014.

According to the security camera video of the shooting, Loehman fired his gun within two seconds of arriving at the scene in response to a 911 call about someone waving a gun. Rice was sitting on a bench with the pellet gun in his waistband when they pulled up and stopped. The two officers claimed that he reached for it when he stood up. Loehman shot him twice in the abdomen. He died the next day in the hospital.

Meanwhile, last night Attorney General Eric Holder announced that Loretta Lynch, the United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York and President Obama’s nomination to replace Mr. Holder, will be investigating the Eric Garner homicide to determine whether to prosecute NYPD Officer Daniel Pantaleo and other NYPD officers for violating his civil rights.

Whether anything will come of that investigation remains to be seen.

President Obama wants to outfit police officers with body cameras, which seems like a good idea until you consider that the Staten Island grand jury inexplicably decided not to indict Pantaleo despite the video showing him choking out an unresisting Eric Garner as he complains 11 times stating “I can’t breathe.” NYPD prohibited the use of choke-holds in 1992 and the medical examiner listed the cause of death as asphyxiation caused by the choke hold and chest compression caused by officers sitting on him.

Also, a trial jury acquitted officers Ramos and Cicinelli of murdering an unresisting Kelly Thomas, despite a video showing them beating him to death.

And then there are the cops who turn off their cameras before they kill someone. Consider, for example, the case of Albuquerque police officer Jeremy Dear, who shot and killed a 19-year-old woman last April, was terminated yesterday for turning his camera off.

Joseph Kolb of Reuters has the story.

The officer, Jeremy Dear, had been under scrutiny because his uniform camera was not turned on during the April 21 incident in which he shot a woman who was stopped on suspicion of vehicle theft after he said she pointed a gun at him.

Police Chief Gorden Eden said in a statement the officer was fired for “insubordination and untruthfulness” over the uniform camera issue after an internal probe, but stopped short of linking the firing to the circumstances of the shooting itself.

Dear has not been charged in the incident.

President Obama also selected Philadelphia Police Chief Charles Ramsay as one of two co-chairs of a commission to demilitarize police. The commission seems like a good idea until you consider that, according to this Reuters report, Chief Ramsay,

is known for leading repeated bloody and abusive crackdowns on protesters when he was Washington, D.C.’s chief a decade ago, according to a civil rights attorney who won millions in damages for 100s of citizens attacked by D.C. police.

“If the president’s idea of reforming policing practices includes mass false arrests, brutality, and the eviscerating of civil rights, then Ramsey’s his man. That’s Charles Ramsey’s legacy in D.C.,” said Mara Verheyden-Hilliard, Executive Director of the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund (PCJF), speaking of the ex-D.C. chief and current Philadelphia Police Commissioner. “Obama should immediately rescind his appointment of Commissioner Ramsey, who is a mass violator of civil rights and civil liberties.”

Picking the national leader in militarized policing does not appear to be a very good idea, especially since the president made no commitment to recover the weapons of war from the police.

Seems like we have an epidemic of police killing civilians. How big is the problem?

We do not know. The FBI reported that police killed 461 civilians last year, which is the highest number of killings ever reported. However, the Atlanta Black Star reports that actual number probably is significantly higher because police departments are not required to report civilian deaths and many do not, including some of the biggest urban police departments.

A major reason for this epidemic of killings is many police officers regard themselves as members of a military occupation force and we the people are the enemy.

Salon reports,

The ACLU has issued a 100-page document, “War Comes Home: The Excessive Militarization of American Policing,” that notes: “Across the country, heavily armed Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) teams are forcing their way into people’s homes in the middle of the night, often deploying explosive devices such as flashbang grenades to temporarily blind and deafen residents, simply to serve a search warrant on the suspicion that someone may be in possession of a small amount of drugs. Neighborhoods are not war zones, and our police officers should not be treating us like wartime enemies … American policing has become unnecessarily and dangerously militarized, in large part through federal programs that have armed state and local law enforcement agencies with the weapons and tactics of war, with almost no public discussion or oversight.”

These same data and sentiments are found in an article that ran in the New York Times: “During the Obama administration, according to Pentagon data, police departments have received tens of thousands of machine guns; nearly 200,000 ammunition magazines; thousands of pieces of camouflage and night-vision equipment; and hundreds of silencers, armored cars and aircraft. The equipment has been added to the armories of police departments that already look and act like military units. Police SWAT teams are now deployed tens of thousands of times each year, increasingly for routine jobs.”

Hells bells: We are at war with the police.

36 Responses to Hell bells: We are at war with the police

  1. Greg Beasley says:

    Just last week I was walking up to the 7-11 nearby and saw two cop cars and they were searching a school employee’s car in the parking lot. The cops left before I was walking by and before the woman went into the school she told me they illegally searched her. She was White and so am I. I’ve had cops come onto my own property and talk smack to me because I didn’t come to the door before when they felt like coming to question me for a crime in my neighborhood that I had absolutely nothing to do with. I even had my house raided because they claimed I was selling drugs but didn’t have anything. They put guns to my head and my handicapped mother. They almost shot my poor Saint Bernard too. If you are reading my story, it is easy to see why people hate cops.

    • MDX says:

      I had a gun pointed at me by an undercover cop who claimed I had thrown a snowball at his car. In actuality, he had driven over a pothole that was hidden by the snow falling and the loud thump was the suspension bottoming out. After I told him that, he thought it was suspicious for me to be out walking at 7PM during a snow storm. Really??? Detroit was/is a very ugly looking city during the bleak winter months. So the bright white snow sparkling in the street lights falling on the worn bleakscape creates an aesthetic scene. When one has no money, the simple pleasures keep one sane. But no, the cops have to roust the “animals” just chilling out and having fun. This was about 35 years ago and I am sorry to see that things have not changed or are worse.

  2. Malisha says:

    So here are the arguments I have heard against indicting or charging Pantaleo for killing Garner:

    1. Garner was committing a crime;
    2. Garner did not respond appropriately to discipline;
    3. Garner was fat;
    4. Garner was out of shape;
    5. Garner had it coming.

    Remember what Mike Brown was blamed for?

    1. Brown had committed a crime (no evidence);
    2. Brown did not respond appropriately to being ordered to walk on the sidewalk;
    3. Brown was big;
    4. Brown was like the Incredible Hulk;
    5. Brown had it coming.

    Remember Trayvon Martin?

    1. Trayvon Martin had been expelled from school;
    2. Trayvon Martin “mouthed off”;
    3. Trayvon Martin was phenomenally strong;
    4. Trayvon Martin was interested in mixed martial arts;
    5. Trayvon Martin had it coming.

    Do we need to keep this list going indefinitely?

    What SHOULD an African American Male BE LIKE? In order to not “have it coming”?

    1. He must be perfect and not even subject to guesswork about his possible imperfection.
    2. He must be obedient, obsequious and meek at all times.
    3. He must be small and puny;
    4. He must be weak and unable to defend himself.
    5. He must not try to defend himself in any way.

    Yeah, that’s the ticket.

    • a2nite says:

      @ Malisha

      America hate black people, all of us.

      They (evil stupid white) people love oppressing not white people.

      Many evil white people have to justify killing black people even if it’s superficial.

      America is ok with murdering black men because it was created for evil 1%er white supremacy & oppression. What do evil white people care as long as they can control stupid working class white people. That’s why black people are here, so that stupid white people hate us & do what evil rich people want.

  3. so jaded says:

    Ramsey Orta, the man that videoed Eric garner’s murder was interviewed by NYT. He said grand jury had already made up their minds before the hearing. They kept asking him questions like: are u a criminal, did u video cops as payback, why did u not tell E.G. to stop selling loonies etc. Half of them were not paying attention. They were txt or having private cinversations with their neighbors. They were hostile towards him. Lasted 10 minutes should of lasted 30.
    Professor is that how it is supposed to b?

  4. Malisha says:

    EVERY St. Louis officer who wore an “I am Darren Wilson” bracelet needs to be off the police force and declared unfit for police work ANYWHERE. Every one of them was in essence declaring that:

    (a) He (or she) was such a wuss that he would feel like a five year old fighting The Incredible Hulk if he ever had to subdue a suspect his own size;

    (b) He (or she) would not think it inappropriate to fire off 11 bullets in public at someone who was both unarmed and already wounded; and

    (c) He (or she) did not think it reflected badly on the police force, although obviously, the fact that Wilson resigned makes it obvious that it DID SO.

    Nobody who put that bracelet on should still be in police work.

  5. Robert says:

    Meanwhile, over at FDL, Peter Van Buren is posting, first, that the cop who killed Eric Gardner was ‘acquitted’ (no commenters batted an eye, one even asked why I complained) second, and front-paged is a post that says;

    “The system works exactly the way it is supposed to work.”

    All vague, defective and faulty exposition of what is admittedly a difficult, but not incomprehensible topic.

    IMHO, the issue has to be understood as the result of the intentional behavior of corrupt individuals, not the result of faulty law.

  6. Malisha says:

    I don’t think we are at a war with the police so much as we are involved in a protracted class war that we deny, that we pretend is not happening, and that is intense and ugly. And like domestic violence it is ALWAYS there, hiding behind every other socioeconomic transaction. And the police are the “boots on the ground” [read “boots on your neck”] in this war. And we are in a police state that does not even admit it exists. And have always been, just in invisible ways.

    Once I became somewhat familiar with the court system (to my dismay and mental horror) I used to say:

    You can avoid the manifest prison if you will remain inside a virtual prison at all times.

    That is, as some recent comments have shown, even “liberal” thinkers agree that those without power must be really “nice” to get away with not being bullied.

    • a2nite says:

      @ Malisha:

      You’re right. The police are tools of the evil 1%. We are under siege from the greedy rotten rich. I think these protests are bringing some light to economic disparities as well.

  7. JJ says:

    What I would like to see is an education program fo.r the public. What do we do during police interactions. Retired police person said that when we say “You’re under arrest!”, you put your hands behind your back i.e. submit to authority. Apparently Eric put his hands up and tried to remain standing when police were taking him down. He also added that they took him down because of Eric’s size. So “Size matters”.
    Either Eric didn’t know the police rules and struggled to remain standing or Eric just refused to submit to authority. If Eric knew the rules, then he would know that upon arrest his rights and defense begin with the words “I want an attorney.”
    We as the public need to know what we’re supposed to do when a policemen APPEARS to be acting inappropriately or way too aggressively.
    What do we say when the policeman asks, “Do you know why I stopped you?” I’d like to say, “If you don’t know, then why did you stop me?” Police person probably wouldn’t enjoy my humor. When can you tell a police person “Chill.” How can the public have a good interaction with police, even if they broke the law.

    • a2nite says:

      @JJ
      Mr. Garner had had enough. How much oppression is ok before we have had enough?

      That’s the problem. Getting arrested once, whatever.

      Being arrested over 20 times is too much & for what selling cigarettes without paying the taxes. Have the police killed moonshiners who sell alcohol without paying taxes? I think not.

      The citizenry especially black & brown persons are fed up with vein oppressed by “their employees”. He was unarmed.

      Enough of the excusing police for lack of restraint and respect.

      Why aren’t they catching violent criminals instead of harassing people on the street? It’s an easy bust which they use to fill up jails. The criminal injustice system is perverse it its application & outcomes.

      #FTP

      • Malisha says:

        The police, and those of us who are generally resentful, hostile and/or racist, often decide that their being “fed up” with someone’s behavior or “attitude” is reason enough for criminalization, leading to targeted harassment, leading to killing while, all the while, believing it to have been earned. How often do we hear, “I’m fed up with…” whatever the disapproved behavior or attitude may be. It may not even be unlawful. Once a person (like Fogen, even without a badge) has elevated himself to the position of proper judge of the conduct of others, and has assured himself of his righteousness as a controller of others’ behaviors, there is a VERY short trip from there to being a physical bully, if the “controller” has a gun. And we know that defiance of any “orders” from a bully is an “automatically-criminalized act” on the part of the armed bully.

        • a2nite says:

          @ Malisha

          Yeah, the evil white supremacist power structure makes it so.

          Evil Fogen could get away with murder because he was white enough & the evil police saw that he was one of them.

          #FTP
          #FWP(f**k white privilege)

    • Malisha says:

      Let’s see, it couldn’t be that hard to “have a good interaction with the police, even if [you] broke the law.” After all a total-failure-dunce-idiot-moron-fool-liar-punk did it on February 26, 2012 in Sanford Florida after gunning down an innocent child holding candy in a public place at 7:00 p.m. All Fogen had to do was to get up off the body of his victim and say, “I shot him” and he got treated very well, in fact, had a wonderful interaction with police, who testified about how much they believed him and how he was a great guy. So it shouldn’t be hard to do. 👿

  8. Malisha says:

    I was visiting a friend in the hospital this evening and on the way home got pulled over. As the cop approached the car I was thinking ten things at once. (And I’m not even Black!) It was an inconsequential issue and he was perfectly polite and professional (after all, I’m white) but it was a very bad experience.

    We cannot really think of police as our protectors any more. If ever we could.

    • MDX says:

      It can get pretty scary, if you fit a profile.

      My last stop was around the year 2008, on I-75, heading out of Detroit.

      I was in the left lane passing a long slug line of heavy trucks when I saw a cop car coming up on me. So I, hit the turn indicator and cut right behind a truck to let him pass. The next thing you know, he gets behind me, flashes lights and we pull over to the shoulder.

      So I open the drivers side window and wait for him to arrive, This is where it got creepy. The cop approaches the right side of my car and starts loudly banging on the window, thus startling my father who was in the early stages of dimentia. When I got out of my side to establish communication, he put his hands on his gun and ordered me to approach with hands up.

      He then asks why I pulled to right and I told him it was to let him pass.

      He then asks why I have an out of state plate and where I had been and where I was going.

      I told him my father had dimentia and could not take a plane or drive by himself to visit DC.

      He then claimed the reason I was pulled over was that I was following that truck too close – not true.

      I surmise the real reason is that drug dealers in Detroit hire old white people to act as couriers and we fit that profile because, if memory serves me, he had seen us get on I-75 from an entrance in the city – I had taken my pop to see his old home.

      My point is that the War on Drugs creates a lot of problems that need not be.

      It is the stupidest thing going.

      Millions of men high on booze or beer, smoking will watch an NFL game and claim that some player caught with ganja is a thug druggie. And then the game will cut to a Captain Morgan’s commercial.

      Captain Morgan was famous for robbing, raping and looting Spanish town Jamaica.

  9. Two sides to a story says:

    Yes we are, though this war is but one front in a much larger war against corporate fascism.

  10. MDX says:

    IMO, the best analogy of the African American situation in the USA is to the Irish under the heel of the English.

    This is a quote from Bobby Sands:

    There can never be peace in Ireland until the foreign, oppressive British presence is removed, leaving all the Irish people as a unit to control their own affairs and determine their own destinies as a sovereign people, free in mind and body, separate and distinct physically, culturally and economically.

    I have altered the above text to fit the USA:

    There can never be peace for Black people until the alien, oppressive police presence is removed, leaving all the Black people as a unit to control their own affairs and determine their own destinies as a sovereign people, free in mind and body, separate and distinct physically, culturally and economically.

  11. a2nite says:

    Like the war from white people, we’re losing because they can kill us.

    They have & can kill us because they have permission from the evil white supremacist 1% power structure.

    #FTP, evil in America is winning because America was created for evil from the beginning.

  12. bettykath says:

    A good place to see the transcript, police reports, photos presented to gj in Ferguson.

    http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2014/11/25/us/evidence-released-in-michael-brown-case.html?_r=3

  13. Malisha says:

    If I were a decent police officer right about now, I would be going around looking for FREE speaking engagements in which I would be ADVOCATING a regulated police attitude (with a daily merit/demerit system) in which I would — FIRST and right off the bat — apologize for those of my fellow officers who had violated the rights of citizens and SECOND — state that I wanted all police officers involved in the recent spate of citizen-killings PROSECUTED in speedy and public trials. I would specifically name every officer who had recently made the news for killing unarmed citizens and say I wanted the to be tried in courts of law, with their own defenses, but not dismissed from prosecution by secret “Star Chamber” grand jury proceedings. I would also model for the audience a stance I believe officers should take when approaching suspects and especially suspects who are brown, black, “other,” female, or in some way physically disadvantaged. I would be ashamed that the honor I wanted to adhere to my position and uniform was besmirched by these Nazi Brown-shirts infesting our neighborhoods and these cover-up liars and thugs protecting them from the proper workings of justice.

    Just sayin.

  14. Malisha says:

    Daniel Mosco and Eric: Please check back to the prior thread for a quick update from me. Thanks.

  15. Here’s a CNN Report about the Cleveland Police Department.

  16. MDX says:

    The cop who applied the choke hold to Garner has a rather ugly history involving men’s nether regions:

    http://michronicleonline.com/2014/07/31/nyc-cop-who-killed-eric-garner-with-chokehold-once-slapped-black-mens-genitals/

    “The New York Police Department officer who killed Eric Garner with chokehold had once pulled down two black men’s pants in an illegal search and slapped their penises and testicles, the media has learned, forcing the department to pay out thousands of dollars…”

      • MDX says:

        Funny how the media will go out of its way to find any dirt on the victims of a cop and, once found, keep repeating it over and over.

        Now, why are they not playing up the fact that Panteleo is a budding musician specializing in the skin flute or sax and bone.

        I have no respect for a coward who sneaks up behind a man and applies a choke hold.

    • Malisha says:

      So the taxpayers purchased Eric Garner’s murder — paying UP FRONT and against their will (in most cases) — by having the State ante up $30,000 to cover the bad behavior of a cop who should never have been permitted to go back on the street with his gun and shield after that event. The idea is that IF an individual cop does not pay the price for his individual bad behavior, then obviously, HE has no reason to STOP or even moderate his bad behavior. Every time a power-grab (especially one that humiliates or hurts someone) is rewarded, it is blessed with progeny, and every generation worsens.

      • MDX says:

        If I remember correctly, a group of particularly vile authoritarian thugs had a fixation on the body parts of those they demeaned as animals.

        What was that line Colonel Klink used to spout off ad nauseam?

        Ach so.

        “Good, law abiding Germans have nothing to fear from the Gestapo”

        And another line that Frank Burns used in the MASH TV show:

        “It is only by blindly submitting to authority that we can truly be free”

        But there are better lines.

        Charlie Chaplin, who was run out of the USA by the Reich Wing:

        Soldiers! don’t give yourselves to brutes – men who despise you – enslave you – who regiment your lives – tell you what to do – what to think and what to feel! Who drill you – diet you – treat you like cattle, use you as cannon fodder. Don’t give yourselves to these unnatural men – machine men with machine minds and machine hearts! You are not machines! You are not cattle! You are men! You have the love of humanity in your hearts! You don’t hate! Only the unloved hate – the unloved and the unnatural! Soldiers! Don’t fight for slavery! Fight for liberty!

        Or the great Father French, my algebra teacher:

        “What are you? A man or a mouse?”

  17. This is absolutely amazing. Just when I think it can’t get any worse ….

  18. Breaking news from Reuters: Justice Department finds Cleveland police systematically engaged in excessive use of force.

  19. sparger says:

    Its worth noting what the officer said happened in the Tamir Rice case didn’t happen at all. I guess he didn’t realize there were video cameras at the park. Not that that means anything. Cleveland is going to have to pay out a lot of money for hiring this idiot that a small city police dept fired.

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