Posts Tagged ‘Police brutality’


(For the last few months we’ve been running the best posts from years past, posts that will be new to most of our subscribers. This one is from 2013. We’ll be posting more blasts from the past for the next several months, and will intersperse them with new material.)

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Yesterday I was talking with a friend, one of my band mates, and mentioned that the (Tucson) cops had beaten my neighbor across the street, arrested him, and charged him with assaulting an officer and resisting arrest. (Why, yes, how did you guess? I don’t live in a gated community.)

My friend then mentioned that Tucson cops had beaten one of his coworkers so badly a few weeks ago that the guy ended up with traumatic brain injury and a speech impediment. (And, yes, now that you ask, the coworker is Mexican.)

He lived in an apartment on the south side, and heard his next door neighbor beating his girlfriend. He intervened and got in a fight with the neighbor. At that point, the cops arrived, and the beaten neighbor woman claimed my friend’s coworker had assaulted her and her boyfriend. This enraged my friend’s coworker, he went verbally ballistic, and out came the truncheons. Following the beating the cops gave him, they charged him with assaulting an officer (no cops were injured, of course) and resisting arrest.

Because of the brain injury he sustained, my pal’s beaten coworker is now suing the police and the city. This incident could cost the city (meaning the city’s taxpayers) hundreds of thousands and perhaps over a million bucks.

But this is nothing new. Back in the 1970s, eight Tucson cops beat a political-activist friend of mine and charged him with — ta-da — assaulting an officer, resisting arrest, and aggravated assault. (None of the cops were injured, of course, and the only evidence was the testimony of the cops.) The county attorney brought the case to trial, and all of the cops perjured themselves. Fortunately, the victim had a good attorney who picked apart the cops’ testimony revealing numerous irreconcilable inconsistencies, and he was acquitted. The victim never received any compensation, and none of the cops were ever charged with perjury or conspiracy.

While I lived in San Francisco in the 1980s, a friend of mine who was carrying her one-year-old baby encountered two SF cops beating a guy, who was down on the ground, with truncheons near the entrance to the 24th Street BART station. She yelled at them to stop, and they maced her and the baby. You can guess what they charged her with.

In the same city in 1992, another friend of mine–Keith McHenry, a well known activist, who was under surveillance by the cops–was beaten so badly at a demonstration that he needed reconstructive facial surgery. Again, it’s not hard to guess who got charged–my friend or the cop who smashed in his face–and with what.

How do cops get away with such brutal crap? There are several reasons. The first is that they have all the resources of the state behind them, while their victims are usually poor. The second is that the cops are normally buddy-buddy with prosecutors. The third is that witnesses are often afraid of the cops and reluctant to come forward. (Here in Tucson, some witnesses and victims are undocumented immigrants, who for good reason rarely come forward.) The fourth reason is related to the third–that the only witnesses to beating incidents who testify are very often only the cops themselves. A fifth reason is that police routinely perjure themselves. (Nobody has less respect for the law than cops. Even “good cops” routinely perjure themselves to protect their brutal colleagues, because of peer pressure.) And a sixth reason is that juries tend to skew toward older white people — in other words, people who are likely to believe cops and are not likely to be sympathetic to black, brown, or poor white beating victims — and the state’s attorneys always do their best to get such juries. As a defense attorney once told a friend, prosecutors always try to get “Mormons and morons” seated on juries in police beating cases–people gullible enough to believe the testimony of cops.

Because of all this, it’s very difficult for victims to win police brutality cases. A few years ago an attorney who sometimes handles such cases showed me a large blow-up photo he had used in court. It showed the swollen, battered face of one of his clients. The police had beaten him with a long (D-cell) metal flashlight so badly that they caved in one of the victim’s eye sockets and then charged him with (Do I even need to mention this?) assaulting an officer and resisting arrest. The victim lost the brutality case.

I’ve seen proposals recently that cops wear helmet cameras to record everything they do. This is being sold as a crime-fighting move. It’s a good idea, but I doubt that it will have any effect on crime other than  reducing crime committed by the cops themselves. And then only if there’s no way for the cops to turn the cameras off. But even if supposedly constant-recording helmet cams become standard, how much do you want to bet that they won’t many, many times “malfunction” in assaulting-an-officer / resisting-arrest cases?


(Yesterday we published the Spanish-language version of this piece detailing the beating of Venezuelan anarchist Gianni Humberto Scovino by would-be Venezuelan dictator Nicolás Maduro’s militarized national police. Here’s the translation.

As you can see from the attached video, the beating was deliberate and entirely unprovoked. Our Venezuelan comrades promise another piece on the arrest and torture of Venezuelan anarchists by the “revolutionary” Maduro regime; we’ll publish it as soon as we receive it, first in Spanish and then in English after we translate it.)

Gianni Humberto Scovino being beaten by Venezuelan police

Gianni Scovino is a young man of 33 with Asperger’s syndrome and a member of the Turtle Foundation (Fundación La Tortuga [http://www.fundacionlatortuga.org/]), a participant in the punk scene, and an anarchist media activist using materials from El Libertario [Venezuela’s primary anarchist periodical] on his Youtube channel (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCt5E7TuSaxrHPyoXF07LlZg/videos), where he puts up videos in both Spanish and English.

On July 13, he was savagely assaulted by members of the Bolivarian National Police (Policía Nacional Bolivariana [PNB]) and the Bolivarian National Guard (Guardia Nacional Bolivariana [GNB]) in the parking lot of the Grand Central Commercial Dairy Plaza (Centro Comercial Plaza Mayor de Lecherías) in the state of Anzoátegui while he was on a recycling run for the Turtle Foundation. A video of the attack is available on Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p5e5NDx7Ues

[Translator’s note: The Chávez regime and now its successor, the Maduro regime, refer to themselves as “Bolivarian,” in an attempt to paint themselves as the successors of Simon Bolivar, the leader of the 19th-century uprising against Spanish colonialism.]

Gianni Humberto Scovino in hospital after being beaten by Venezuelan police

After being brutally beaten by the PNB and GNB with nightsticks and with  shields used as battering rams, he was held for 36 hours at Detachment 521 of the Command of Zone 521 of the GNB, before being transferred to a medical facility for treatment. At present he’s recovering in the Hospital of the Venezuelan Institute of Social Insurance.

Those responsible for the attack on Gianni are GNB first sergeants Osmel Zambrano Márquez and Joel José Díaz Carreño, and second sergeants Julio César Gómez Mata and José Gregorio Trébol Pinto, as well as the PNB attaché Luis Ramón Cova León and PNB officials Xavier Alexander Díaz Salazar, Elio Antonio Díaz Maigua and José Alejandro Villegas Olivero.

The violent assault suffered by Gianni is symptomatic of the constant violence in Venezuela for the last 100 days, in which, since April 1, more than 3,500 people have been detained, an incalculable number have been injured, and there have been police raids on civil and residential sites. Thus far 303 Venezuelan civilians have gone before military tribunals. And more than 100 people have been killed.

We’re making an international call to our overseas anarchist comrades for solidarity in the face of the attacks on the people of Venezuela during this uprising of the people. Silence is complicity with a dictatorship that oppresses, tortures, and jails anarchists.

Let indignation become rage against the oppressor!

With Gianni and all of the Venezuelans rising against the regime, we remain the anarchists in the popular uprising.

 

Some of the Youtube videos from Gianni Scovino:


We put up our 1,000th post about three weeks ago. Since then, we’ve been looking through everything we’ve posted, and have been putting up “best of” lists in our most popular categories.

This is the ninth of our first-1,000 “best of” lists. We’ve already posted the Science Fiction, HumorMusicInterviews, AtheismEconomics, Science/Skepticism, and Addictions lists, and will shortly be putting up our final “best of”: Religion.

Here, we’ve folded three categories (Anarchism, Libertarianism, and Politics) into this post because of the relative paucity of posts on Anarchism and Libertarianism. We hope you’ll enjoy at least some of these posts.

Anarchism

Libertarianism

Politics


Hi folks,

It’s been a good year so far for Internet weirdness. Since we know you want the entertaining stuff, we’ll start you off with the useful stuff instead. Think of it as digital broccoli.

If you’ve been wondering what Glenn Greenwald has been up to since he left The Guardian, wonder no more. He’s working as one of the co-editors (along with Laura Poitras and Jeremy Scahill) of The Intercept, the site funded by eBay founder Pierre Omidyar. In addition to being the platform for release of further documents from Edward Snowden, The Intercept is an excellent source of news/analysis on terrorism, and government spying, persecution of whistleblowers, and suppression of dissent.

The Free Thought Project is the place to go to for news of police brutality and corruption.

And now what you’ve been waiting for . . . . .

It’s a bit late in the day for this one, but it’s been a while since we ran an Internet crap post, so . . .  There are all too many “best of [insert year]” lists every December, and it’s generally best to avoid them. But, speaking of insertion, there’s always Deadspin’s annual What Did We Get Stuck Up Our Rectums This Year? list. It’s compiled from hospital emergency room reports and includes items inserted not just in rectums but in all orifices. As a bonus Deadspin includes links to previous years’ lists.

Then there’s cracked.com’s 23 Most Devastating Insults from All History, presented here in de-slided form courtesy of clusterfake.net’s deslidifier.

And if you think all of the “country” crap on the radio sounds alike, you’re right. Saving Country Music has a good piece on the topic, Mashup Illustrates How Many Country Hits Are All the Same Song.  It contains a link to Nashville songwriter Greg Todd’s Mind Blowing Six Song Country Mashup, in which Todd took six country hits from the last few years, tweaked their tempos and pitch in Pro Tools (recording and editing software), and combined them all into one song, including a “3 guitarists, 1 solo” section and an over-a-minute concluding section where all six songs play at once. Not to be missed.

Finally, we have two weird-new items from–where else?–Florida:

No one trolls like the shock troops of atheism, Satanists. Fresh from the Ten Commandments/Baphomet statue controversy in Oklahoma, Satanists succeeded in having a holiday season display put up in the state capitol in Florida. Of course, Christians couldn’t stand this, and one of them was responsible for this piece in the Tallahassee Democrat, Woman arrested in attack on Satanic Temple display. As a bonus, the article includes photos of the wonderfully cheesy display and of the woman who vandalized it, and who looks about like you’d expect someone wearing a “Catholic Warrior” T-shirt to look.

And–yes!–on the second day of January, we already had the Weird New Story of the Year: Guy Trashes “Spiritual” Girlfriend’s Car After Granny Dildo Sex Prophecy. We doubt that anything will top this in the next 11-plus months, but if anything does, there’s no need to guess its probable state of origin. As fark.com noted when linking to the story, “This is why we have a Florida tag.”

For now, that’s all folks.

Y’all come back now, ya hear?


by Chaz Bufe, publisher See Sharp Press

Six years into his presidency, after betraying the people who elected him time after time, in almost every particular, Barack Obama has finally done something right: he’s called for police to wear body cameras.

This would go a long way toward reducing crimes (committed by the cops). I’ve talked about police terrorism, violence, and crime in previous posts, and the brutality yours truly and my friends and neighbors have been subjected to. So, for once, bravo Obama–too bad it only took you six years to propose this. Let’s see if action follows. As Hillary Clinton–who I despise as much as I despise Obama–said, “he gives a great speech”; again, we’ll see if action follows.

I’m sitting here listening to “Democracy Now,” and they’re talking only about “communities of color.” Yes, the police fuck over black and brown people more than they do white people. No argument there. But here in Tucson’s Keeling ‘hood, which The Arizona Daily Star calls a “hardscrabble neighborhood,” damn near everybody hates the cops, including the white folks. (My white friends in the neighborhood are all bikers, and the police screw with them mercilessly.) Damn near everybody here looks upon the cops as an occupying army, who can (and do) get away with murder.

So, for once,  bravo Obama. Let’s reduce crime. Let’s have the cops wear body cams.


Assaulting an OfficerASSAULTING AN OFFICER, ger. The legal charge leveled against an unarmed, 150-pound, half-beaten-to-death or dead citizen subjected to “reasonable force” by uninjured policemen–when the only witnesses to the act are other policemen. “Reasonable” measures include shots to the back of the head. Synonym: “Resisting Arrest.”

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–from the revised and expanded edition of The American Heretic’s Dictionary, the best modern successor to Ambrose Bierce’s Devil’s Dictionary