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note: pams house blend has issues. i have greatly cut down on my use of them as a result. sometimes though, they are the only blog that I know of that comprehensively reports on certain situations so I will follow them and link them from time to time.

From Pam's House Blend.

Taser happy police state

...The abuse of this device is disproportionately deployed against minorities (surprised, no?). In Houston, an audit found incredible statistics:
Black officers are less likely to use Tasers, but black suspects are more likely to be jolted with the weapons, according to the first city audit of Taser use by Houston Police officers, KPRC Local 2 reported.
...The audit of 2.8 million calls to police from January 2000 to June 30, 2007, found black suspects make up 66.9 percent of all people zapped with the device, despite making up 46 percent of the total incidents and comprising 24.7 percent of the Houston population.
...The report spells out that most officers have only used their Taser one time, but one officer has used his on 13 people, another used it on 12 people. Two officers had shocked nine people each, and four officers had eight Taser incidents each.


* And our neighbors to the north are not immune from the sadism -- 82-year old heart patient Tased in hospital bed. Three Royal Canadian Mounted Police officers apparently couldn't subdue an elderly patient.
* A 56-year-old wheelchair-bound black woman died after being tasered 10 times. "My aunt was basically tortured like an animal or something." said Delafield's nephew, Ryan. Transcript of audio recording.
* In Vermont, Lawrence Fairbrother, 56, was tased in the back by state troopers while in a grand mal seizure. Your blood will run cold when you read what happened:
They found Fairbrother, who had suffered seizures for years, underneath a parked truck, flailing. His medication lay on the ground and Fairbrother, 56, was clawing at the dirt and pulling himself farther under the vehicle. Troopers repeatedly asked Fairbrother to come out from under the pickup, but Fairbrother did not emerge. Troopers dragged him out by his feet and, while he was lying down and seizing, ordered him to put his hands behind his back.
They pulled his left arm behind his back, but when Fairbrother, still shaking, did not respond to an order to move his right arm, Trooper Hugh O'Donnell shot him between the shoulder blades with a Taser stun gun.
"What did I do?" Fairbrother asked, according to court documents.
"That's what we're going to find out," one of the troopers replied.

Judge Rules It's Legal To Taser Someone For DNA Sample, As Long As It's Not Done "Maliciously"



and who will determine the maliciousness thereof?

As long as it is not done "maliciously, or to an excessive extent, or with resulting injury," Niagara County, NY Judge Sara Sheldon Sperrazza ruled that using a Taser to obtain a DNA sample is legally valid. In the case of one Ryan S. Smith, accused of shooting and a gas station robbery:
Smith was handcuffed and sitting on the floor of Niagara Falls Police Headquarters when he was zapped with the 50,000- volt electronic stun gun after he insisted he would not give a DNA sample.
He already had given a sample, a swab of the inside of his cheek, without protest the previous month. But police sent it to the wrong lab, where it was opened and spoiled. Prosecutors who had obtained a court order for the first sample went back to Sperrazza, who signed another order without consulting the defense.
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via: emptywheel

...But the Gates/Crowley moment appears to have been lost without any intelligent discussion of the rampant abuse of police power and authority. Save for the opinions of Jonathan Turley and Jeff Toobin, which were minimized by MSNBC and CNN television coverage, there was precious little recognition by major media outlets of the root point of police power abuse. Well, the scene in the video attached hereto is what happens in a society that refuses to address overreaching authoritarianism and unrestrained police projection. Moms with kids in minivans get Tasered and roughed up. In front of their children. Why? Because the cops can with relative impunity. The "Blue Line" circles the wagons around their fellow officers, prosecutors need their cooperation for prosecution and trials in actual major cases, and politicians are too cravenly worried about their next election to care. As Digby says:
If this is what they do when they have a video camera rolling in their own car, what do you suppose happens when one isn't?
I guess the taser saved the officer the physical effort of hitting her over the head with his baton or shooting her to gain compliance, so that's good.

Dash Cam: Mom tasered in front of her kids in New York

A police officer in the Syracuse, New York, area Tasered a 37-year-old mom repeatedly in front of her children during a routine traffic stop—and then arrested the mom, leaving the children alone in their family minivan for 40 minutes in freezing weather.MORe
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Obama’s First Rendition Looks Very Questionable

If his first publicly known rendition case is any indication, there may well be a legitimate question as to whether Obama's rendition program is even more repulsive than that of George Bush. More evidence will be required for an informed answer, but Obama is off to a very inauspicious beginning. From Scott Horton in an exclusive for Huffington Post:
[I]n a federal court in suburban Washington, a case is unfolding that gives us a practical sense of what an Obama-era rendition looks like.

Raymond Azar, a 45-year-old Lebanese construction manager with a grade school education, is employed by Sima International, a Lebanon-based contractor that does work for the U.S. military in Iraq and Afghanistan. He also has the unlikely distinction of being the first target of a rendition carried out on the Obama watch.

According to court papers, on April 7, 2009, Azar and a Lebanese-American colleague, Dinorah Cobos, were seized by "at least eight" heavily armed FBI agents in Kabul, Afghanistan, where they had traveled for a meeting to discuss the status of one of his company's U.S. government contracts. The trip ended with Azar alighting in manacles from a Gulfstream V executive jet in Manassas, Virginia, where he was formally arrested and charged in a federal antitrust probe.

This rendition involved no black sites and was clearly driven by a desire to get the target quickly before a court. Also unlike renditions of the Bush-era, the target wasn't even a terror suspect; rather, he was suspected of fraud. But in a troubling intimation of the last administration, accusations of torture hover menacingly over the case. According to papers filed by his lawyers, Azar was threatened, subjected to coercive interrogation techniques and induced to sign a confession. Azar claims he was hooded, stripped naked (while being photographed) and subjected to a "body cavity search."
And now, it has gone to the point where we are conducting renditions for alleged contractor fraud. So much for breaking laws to protect the country from terrorism. Meanwhile, what about the contractor fraud from Halliburton and Blackwater and KBR?  Oh yeah.

Amazing isn't it that the US government can snatch Azar at gunpoint, bag him, tag him and fly him to Virginia for minor contracting fraud by his employer, yet they cannot seem to do so much as stop giving bonuses to KBR who kills American soldiers through their reckless disregard. Nor have they bagged and sensory deprived anybody from DynCorp, who has engaged in major fraud on defense contracts in Afghanistan and Iraq. Go figure.

The rot deepens.
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Let Talk about Tasers

Nowadays, the theme of civil liberties seem to be a sub-plot to a James Bond flick rather than "To Kill A Mockingbird." And yet, I think the two are intertwined much more closely that we think. In our apparent acceptance of torture as a legal method of interrogation, the bar of civilized official behavior has been lowered to the point where we are accepting torture in everyday life as if it's nothing. Indeed, we are using it as a form of entertainment. I'm speaking of the ever more common use of the Taser, an electrical device used by police and other authorities to drop its victims to the ground and coerce instant compliance. The videos of various incidents make the rounds on the internet and you can see by the comments at the YouTube site that a large number of Americans find tasering to be a sort of slapstick comedy, the equivalent of someone slipping on a banana peel, with a touch of that authoritarian cruelty that always seems to amuse a certain kind of person. "Don't tase me bro" is a national catch phrase.
Tasers aren't benign however. They kill people. Nobody knows exactly why some people die from being tasered, and they certainly don't know how to tell in advance which ones are at risk. But there have been hundreds of deaths similar to the one below, which nobody can adequately explain:

A Detroit teenager who police say fled a traffic stop Friday died after being subdued with a Taser. He is the second Michigan teen to die following a Taser stun in less than a month. Warren Police say they don't know why the 15-year-old bailed out of a Dodge Stratus he was riding in during the stop on Eight Mile near Schoenherr, leading officers on a half-block chase that ended in an abandoned house on Pelkey in Detroit. The car was stopped for having an expired license plate. In the scuffle, officers shocked the teen one time with a Taser, police said. Shortly after, he became unresponsive and died.
Taser International has successfully defended themselves in lawsuits by attributing the deaths to drug use and if that doesn't work do to the fact that drugs were not present in the victim, they rely on an unrecognized medical condition called "excited delirium", a disease that only afflicts people who die in police custody. Juries apparently find this convincing. Taser has only lost one case.MORE
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Taser Nation<

This one's especially interesting. A baseball fan is drunk and apparently belligerent (clearly the first time in history such a thing has happened. )The police are called to remove him. He argues with the cops for a little over 30 seconds and then it happens:

Since tasers were supposed to be a replacement for deadly force, I can only assume that in the past drunken baseball fans were shot dead for arguing with police. There must be quite a body count.MORE
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The War Against Crime: Explaining Police Misconduct

Tanya Eiserer has an interesting post in the Dallas Morning News crime blog. The post relates to a story she wrote about a Dallas police officer who pepper sprayed a man and a second officer who lied about it to internal affairs investigators. The two officers cooked up a story to explain the use of the pepper spray. A rookie officer who was also present failed to report the incident immediately because he feared retaliation. He eventually told investigators that he saw an officer pepper spray the man without provocation.
The officer who wielded the pepper spray explained why the rookie's account matched the victim's:
"Rookie officers interpret and see things differently than more mature veteran officers."
In other words, rookies in the Dallas Police Department haven't learned to lie to protect other officers. [more ...]

Eiserer nonetheless makes an excellent point when she points to "the idea that police are at war." The war mentality -- the war against drugs, the war against crime -- creates the belief that anything officers do to harm the bad guys is justifiable. After all, it's war, and war isn't pretty. Wars are fought against enemies. Wars produce casualties. Defeating the enemy is the primary goal of a war, and if the enemy is harmed, or the enemy's property is destroyed or taken, that's an acceptable consequence of war.MORE

Throw in racism, sexism, transphobia, homophobia and classism, mix together and we have a really toxic situation
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The Agitator links to more taser atrocities

Police taser man in his bottom after arresting him

Warning: The following story contains graphic details:

BOISE - Two Boise Police officers have been disciplined by the Boise Police Department for "serious" policy violations after a complaint was filed that officers used excessive force during an arrest.

According to the Boise Community Ombudsman's report, in early 2009 police were dispatched to a house on a report of a fight between a man and a woman.

Police say they struggled to get inside the home to speak with the man. When police managed to get inside the home, the suspect was placed in handcuffs. The complainant alleged that he was Tased three times by police - once to his wrist, the second to the small of his back and the third to his buttocks.

Click the following link to listen to a police audio recording from the arrest.

The ombudsman's report states that the suspect was tased only two times after an investigation. One of those tases, however, was in the buttocks.

The use of force "was after he was handcuffed," said Ombudsman Pierce Murphy. "And it was in the most senstive, private areas, and accompanied by threatMORE

Gates Is Lucky Cambridge Doesn’t Tase

Henry Louis Gates is lucky Cambridge Police don’t use tasers. Anywhere else, it might have been different. Seriously, a quick Google News search of the last month alone reveals a barrage of police tasing incidents across the country one more barbaric than the other: grandmas, grandpas, the mentally ill, teens and even children. Some of these taser victims died. One (ok, in Australia) burst into flames, another was left with burns in his anus, and yet another, a 14-year-old girl, got it in the head — running away after a dispute with her mother over a cell phone (caution, graphic).
All — in varying degrees — needed to be “subdued” by police, and were. It is, after all, a most effective tool in that regard, especially when dealing with pregnant women, 16-year-olds with broken backs and 6-year-old boys. After reading news reports dating back to 2004 about the hyper-use of these 50,000-volt zap guns, it’s not difficult to imagine what might have happened if Gates were say, in Boise, and had hurled one more insult, used a few expletives, raised a hand or moved toward Officer James Crowley in a “threatening manner,” much like this guy, who was irate and scary, but nonetheless handcuffed and shackled, when he was Tasered in a Kentucky court on July 22.

When Reason wrote about Tasers in 2005, there were 6,000 law enforcement agencies employing Taser guns. The high-voltage weapons, according to the Amnesty International statistics in the report, “are used on unarmed suspects in 80 percent of the cases, for verbal non-compliance in 36 percent, and for cases involving ‘deadly assault’ only 3 percent of the time.” Today some 14,200 police departments use Tasers, along with countless school districts across the country. In Pennsylvania alone for example, Tasers were employed by police in 122 schools as of June.MORE


Aug. 5th, 2009 06:33 pm
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Protecting Gender Without Cops

When the managers at an ice cream parlor in upstate New York harassed a transgender woman by calling her names and locking the door when she tried to enter the store, the police took action. They arrested the trans woman for trespassing.The Sylvia Rivera Law Project, an organization providing legal services for low-income people and trans people of color, tried to advocate for the woman but couldn’t because the state’s human rights law doesn’t include protections for gender identity. This might change if a proposed state bill passes.

The Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act (known as GENDA) would protect people who are routinely kicked out of housing, fired from jobs and harassed in schools and other public institutions because of their gender expression. The bill has passed the state assembly and is up for a vote on the Senate floor. Thirteen other states and the District of Columbia have already enacted similar legislation. But a group of queer justice organizations is not supporting the bill because it would also add “gender identity and expression” to the list of hate crime offenses and result in longer prison terms. Because the same communities vulnerable to violence face increased policing, it’s a move that would “expose our communities to the inherent racism and classism that is rooted in the criminal justice system,” said Pooja Gehi, staff attorney at the Sylvia Rivera Law Project, which opposes the hate crime portion of the proposed bill.MORE
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Prmotheus 6

Innocence is No Defense

The arrest last month of Professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. did not occur in a vacuum. While his encounter was not with the Harvard University Police Department (he was arrested by a member of the Cambridge force), it was the latest in a series of troubling incidents that have left law-abiding members of the Harvard community feeling as though they were unfairly targeted and humiliated because of their race.

The incident that ultimately led Ms. Faust to establish the committee concerned a black high school student who was working in a youth employment program at Harvard. The Harvard police, responding to a phone call, spotted the youngster attempting to remove a lock from a bicycle. He tried to explain that the bike was his and that his key had broken off in the lock.

One of the officers reportedly pulled a gun and pointed it at the teenager. The frightened youngster said he did not have any photo identification, but he showed the officers his library card. Traumatized, he started to cry at one point. When the boy’s story was eventually confirmed, he was allowed to leave with his bike.MORE


Suspended Boston police officer Barrett sues commissioner, mayor
By Maria Chutchian, Globe Correspondent | August 4, 2009

Justin Barrett, the Boston police officer suspended from the force for his e-mail likening Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates Jr., to a “banana-eating jungle monkey,’’ has filed a lawsuit against the Police Department, police commissioner, and mayor, saying the city violated his civil and due process rights.
The 18-page lawsuit accuses the three parties of “conspiring to intentionally inflict emotional distress and conspiring to intentionally interfere with the property rights, due process rights, and civil rights of the plaintiff.’’...
According to the lawsuit, the mayor and commissioner’s actions caused Barrett pain and suffering, mental anguish, emotional distress, posttraumatic stress, sleeplessness, indignities and embarrassment, degradation, injury to reputation, and restrictions on personal freedom.
Barrett, on the police force for two years, requested that they be enjoined from decreasing, terminating, or withholding any wages. He also asked for money damages to compensate for the emotional and physical pain he suffered, attorney’s fees, and punitive damages.

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via:Promethus 6

In a series of events that Broward Sheriff Al Lamberti called ``an abuse of power'' and ``a tarnish to the badge,'' law enforcement agents arrested one of their own Monday and accused him of sexually assaulting victims -- while in his uniform, in marked vehicles and on the job.
Jonathan Bleiweiss, 29, of Fort Lauderdale, who in March was honored as employee of the year for the Broward Sheriff's Office's Oakland Park District, was booked at 11 a.m. on 14 charges, including sexual battery, false imprisonment and stalking in connection with abusing one of the victims, a 30-year-old male. Bleiweiss was held without bail Monday.
Investigators said Monday they were preparing to file charges involving seven more male victims, and said there might be even more. The alleged victims range in age from 17 to 30, but all have something in common: They are undocumented immigrants, mostly from El Salvador and Mexico, who speak little English.
``I can't think of a worse betrayal of public trust,'' Lamberti told reporters Monday evening, adding: ``The fact is, he preyed on one of our most vulnerable communities.''
read more
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Latino Grandfather, Pregnant Woman Tasered at Baptism — But Don’t Call the Cops Racist [VIDEO]

A Latino family in Manassas, Virginia, is celebrating the baptism of their two young boys, at a party held in their grandfather’s backyard. The police arrive in response to a noise complaint, and ask to see the grandfather’s ID. The family’s account says that he provided it, but the police report say that he refused; both accounts agree that the grandfather was then Tasered three times in rapid succession, on his own property, and then charged with ‘public intoxication.’ The pregnant mother of the two boys ran to help him as he lay on the ground — and was also Tasered, then charged with assaulting a police officer.

I’ll say it again — all parties agree that county police officers arrived at a children’s baptism party being held at a private residence, then Tasered a 55-year-old Bible study teacher three times and Tasered a pregnant woman once, in front of a yard full of kids, including her kids, and family members. Then they read rights. To the grandfather and the pregnant woman. For ‘public intoxication’ and ‘assaulting a police officer,’ respectively. As they lay temporarily paralyzed on the ground.

Can you imagine being one of those two boys, and watching as your own mother, pregnant with your sibling-to-be, is electrocuted by police officers and arrested, for rushing to the side of your grandfather as lay paralyzed on the ground? How would that make you feel about your relationship to the police, as a young Latino man about to grow up in the astonishingly xenophobic state of Virginia?MORE
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Digby sez:

DASH CAM VIDEO: http://www.cnjonline.com/video/?video...
Tucumcari Police Chief Roger Hatcher has been placed on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of an investigation into last weeks Taser shooting of a teenage girl.

Hatcher said he shot two Taser darts at Kailee Martinez, 14, Thursday while responding to a domestic dispute between the girl and her mother. One hit her in the head and the other struck her back.

Martinez said she was released from Albuquerques University of New Mexico Hospital on Sunday following a two-hour surgery to remove one of the darts from her head.

The surgery left her with 18 staples and six stitches.

"I feel good being home," Martinez said Tuesday. "It is a lot better than being in a hospital."

Martinez mother, Stacy Akin, said she drove her daughter to police headquarters after they fought about a cell phone.

Hatcher said the girl walked away from the police station and when he talked with Akin she had a bloody lip and scratches from a fight.MORE

The she links to a guest post on that cesspool of Repubublican crazies known as the Corner, in which a police tells us what we all know already, they are in authority and we all need to sit down and shut up and don't give them any lip. OR ELSE. The next jackass who tells me anything about protecting and serving will get a pile of expletives. Yes, I am that pissed at the mo'.

To make matters worse...Taser International has just announced an improvement to their abomination of a weapon. It can now fire three rounds without needing to be recharged. YIPPEEE!!!! I am sure we will all sleep better at night with this info. And fuck it, while they are at it, why don't they get some federal dollars for that shit, so that law enforcement can continue to torture people with them? I mean, stimulus and all, right?

After all, there are so many people to torture:In Mobile, Alabama this week, policemen used lethal force on Antonio Love, a deaf and mentally disabled man, who would not come out of the bathroom. Because he had a lethal weapon. An umbrella

And in something I should have blogged but managed to forget, which sucks:In the memory of Robert Mitchell can we please stop calling tasers nonlethal force?

Annndddd: Assault on Black Women - Tasered While Black After her toddler Murdered

Immigrants, of course tend to get some of the worst of police violence directed towards them:Homeland Security and racism

Of course, it is no wonder that those same racist, entitled, I-have-a-gun-and-a-badge-so-I-can-do-anything-bastards, pull these shenanigans: a study has found that ICE agents are breaking and entering people's homes to look for illegal immigrants. This because they are under pressure to fulfill their quotas.

The researchers sketch out a harrowing scenario of a typical home invasion:

There is story after story of ICE agents, armed with only an administrative warrant, yelling and banging on doors and then forcing their way into homes in the pre-dawn hours by pushing their way in if residents unlock their doors, and otherwise climbing through windows or kicking in doors. Some residents report being awakened by the presence of armed ICE officers in their bedrooms who illegally gained entry through unlocked doors.

And, finally, we come to Sheriff Arpaio

In case you don't know who Sheriff Joe Arpaio is, he fancies himself as "America's toughest sheriff". By "tough", he means "racist, sexist, and costing Arizona money hand over fist". The Phoenix New Times has an entire archive based on this guy's antics, and it's updated regularly. Highlights of Arpaio's 17-year reign include breaking a woman's arm, crushing a prisoner's larnyx, taping women inmates in the restrooms, some financial funny business and the occasional baby death. MORE

And thats just the start. And why does he get away with his unlawful, illegal, sick twisted cruel fucked up behaviour that has cost the state 43 MILLION DOLLARS in lawsuits? Even though the crime rate hasn't moved?

Well. His district is full of mostly conservative whites. And great many of his victims are suspected illegal immigrants So he is powerful enough, therefore, to quash dissent.

I mean, I thought this was crazy: Sheriff Arpaio has suggested raiding the town of Mesa because the wife of a mayor there had the temerity to say during jury selection that Joe was not her hero..

But this:
The Phoenix New Times ran an investigation of Arpaio's real-estate dealings that included Arpaio's home address, which he argued was possibly a violation of state law. When the paper revealed that it had received an impossibly broad subpoena, demanding, among other things, the Internet records of all visitors to its web site in the previous two and a half years, sheriff's deputies staged late-night raids on the homes of Michael Lacey and James Larkin, executives of Village Voice Media, which owns the New Times. The deputies arrested both men for, they said, violating grand-jury secrecy. (The county attorney declined to prosecute, and it turned out that the subpoenas were issued unlawfully.)
Is fucking nuts. And he's untouchable.

And please please please don't make the mistake of thinking that these are isolated cases. Cut that the fuck out.

EDIT: via:[livejournal.com profile] colorblue a dead on musical selection
Sabac Red Feat. Immortal Technique - Fight Until The End

EDIT:Our whackos in red too?!?!?!?!?
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Police can tase you to get DNA

Raw Story reports:

A judge in Niagra County, New York, ruled Thursday that DNA evidence, obtained only after police applied a Taser to a suspect who refused to provide evidence against himself, may be used by the prosecution because the electric shock was not administered with malice. Judge Sara Sheldon Sperrazza, with this 17-page decision, becomes “the first judge in western civilization to say you can use a Taser to enforce a court order,” defense attorney Patrick Balkin said, according to The Niagara Gazette.
“Note that if Smith is guilty, he’s a pretty bad guy,” interjected The Buffalo News. “He’s charged with shooting a man in the groin after invading his ex-girlfriend’s home, tying up her two children and forcing her to take her to the home of the man he shot. He’s also charged with the shotgun-point robbery of a Niagara Falls gas station. DNA was found at both crime scenes.”
Smith, according to reports, had previously agreed to a court order for a DNA sample. But when authorities accidentally spoiled the sample, forcing them to return to the judge for a second order Sperrazza issued it without consulting the defense counsel, thinking the defendant would not mind.
“Smith did object, reportedly telling officers, ‘I ain’t giving it up. You’re going to have to tase me,’” added Buffalo News.
“Which they did, after consulting with a prosecutor, who either told them to use ‘the minimum force necessary’ (according to police testimony at last month’s court hearing) or ‘any means necessary’ (according to a police report written the day of the incident).”
After tasing Smith, a DNA swab was taken without consent.
“They have now given the Niagara Falls police discretion to Taser anybody anytime they think it’s reasonable,” Smith’s attorney said, according to a separate report in The Buffalo News. “Her decision says you can enforce a court order by force. If you extrapolate that, we no longer have to have child support hearings; you can just Taser the parent.”
In the decision’s text, Sperrazza cited a Wyoming case in which a judge ruled police acted legally when they tased a man in order to force him to open his hand relative to a search.
“The Court is certainly concerned that the purpose of the Taser was to inflict pain, and has seriously considered the argument of the defendant that a line is crossed when such government action is sanctioned,” she wrote. “This Court would immediately condemn and sanction the actions of the police if there was any indication that the Taser was used maliciously, or to an excessive extent, or with resulting injury. The Court is convinced by the evidence presented that the exact opposite of those factors was present in this case.
“The court would not advice the government to systematically utilize pain compliance as a standard tool in future similar circumstances, because of the intense scrutiny the use of such tactics would receive from this Court. However, this case is perhaps best described as the ‘perfect storm’ where the crimes being investigated were egregious, the evidence sought highly probative, the intrusion was minimal, and with a subject who steadfastly refused to comply with a lawful court Order. Further, the officers, armed with the Order issued, repeatedly sought the subject’s compliance, explored alternative methods of obtaining the sample, repeatedly warned the defendant of the consequences of his refusal and took steps to minimize the pain inflicted and the potential for injury. There was no malice or desire to injure the defendant.
The argument is very familiar to teh justification that we used to torture

Shocking Grandma

A great-grandmother from the Hill Country has taken on legal representation after being tasered and jailed for resisting arrest.

Last Monday, 72-year-old Kathryn Winkfein was driving home to Granite Schoals after her bi-weekly shopping trip to Austin when she was pulled over by a Travis County Constable deputy. According to authorities, she'd been doing 60 down a 45-mph construction zone on Highway 71 near Bee Creek.

The officer wrote out a ticket to Winkfein and asked her to sign the stub, explaining that her signature wasn't an admission of guilt, but rather a promise to show up for a future court appearance. Winkfein, allegedly belligerent over the matter, refused to sign and asked the officer to take her to jail.

Further exacerbating the situation, Winkfein then got out of her car and proceeded to direct a litany of choice curse words towards the officer, who at that point told her that she would indeed be going to jail. Winkfein became violent, according to the officer, leaving him no choice but to zap the elderly lady her with his taser.

Winkfein was sent to Travis County Jail and booked for resisting arrest and detention. When interviewed by Fox 7 News, she dismissed the official report as being untrue.

"I wasn't argumentative, I was not combative," she said. "This is a lie. All of this is a lie, pulled away from him I did not."

A spokesman for the Constable office backed up the behavior of the arresting officer, saying that the use of a taser on Winkfein was appropriate.

A List of people who have been killed by taser-wielding law enforcement (410 dead so far)

Tasered while Black
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Iowa, "the English-only State," suspends student for refusing English proficiency test

Lori Phanachone, a senior at Storm Lake High School in northwest Iowa who's spoken English all her life, has been suspended from school for refusing to take an English-language proficiency test.

Phanachone found the English Language Development Assessment, a test required annually of all students considered by the state to be non-English speakers, both "insulting and degrading." This sample question from Iowa's guide for teachers administering the ELDA suggests that her assessment of the test is right:

Sample ELDA question

Lori Phanachone could have aced questions like this in first grade. She says that making her answer them as a high school senior is insulting and degrading.

Phanachone, who told the Storm Lake Pilot Tribune, "I could have aced it in first grade," actually passed the proficiency test as a sophomore, when her family moved to Storm Lake, but after she was told to retake the test the following year she began to see it as discriminatory and answered questions randomly. When she was told to take the test again this year, she refused outright.


Phanachone was born in California and speaks and writes English with native fluency. However her mother is a Laotian immigrant, and she chose to honor that heritage by putting down on her school entrance forms that her first language was Lao. (Even though that is the case, she was able to read those forms in English, and fill them out in English as well – Iowa has no Lao version of the entrance forms, though they are available in Bosnian.)

But Storm Lake administrators are insisting that all students whose first language is not English are required by the federal No Child Left Behind law to take an English proficiency test every year.

Racist liar, pants on fire

Unarmed 73 year old shot dead on his front porch by police, gun moved to make it look like he was threatening them

Yet the Feb. 20 Homer incident was not an isolated case. Across the nation, in four cases in recent months, white police officers have been accused of unprovoked shootings of African Americans in what civil rights leaders say are illustrations of the potentially deadly consequences of racial profiling by police.

In the mostly white Houston suburb of Bellaire, a 23-year-old black man sitting in his own SUV in the driveway of his parents' home was shot and wounded on New Year's Eve by police who mistakenly believed he had stolen the vehicle. The case is under investigation.

In Oakland, a transit police officer has been charged with murder for allegedly shooting an unarmed black man in the back while he was restrained and lying face down on a train platform on New Year's Day.

In New Orleans, nine police officers are under investigation in the New Year's Day death of a 22-year-old black man who was struck by 14 bullets after an undercover team stopped his car. The police say the man raised a gun and fired at them, but the man's family disputes that.

"All the anecdotal information demonstrates that African Americans are the most frequent victims of zealous, inappropriate police activity that often winds up in a shooting," said Reggie Shuford, a senior attorney with the racial justice program at the American Civil Liberties Union. "It's a shoot first, ask questions later approach to policing."

The evidence is not merely anecdotal. The most recent national analysis from the Justice Department's Bureau of Justice Statistics shows that blacks and Hispanics were nearly three times as likely as whites to be searched by police—and blacks were almost four times as likely as whites to be subjected to the use of force.


"People here are afraid of the police," said Terry Willis, vice president of the Homer NAACP branch. "They harass black people, they stop people for no reason and rough them up without charging them with anything."

That is how it should be, responded Russell Mills, Homer's police chief, who noted the high rates of gun and drug arrests in the neighborhood.

"If I see three or four young black men walking down the street, I have to stop them and check their names," said Mills, who is white. "I want them to be afraid every time they see the police that they might get arrested. We're not out there trying to abuse and harass people—we're trying to protect the law-abiding citizens locked behind their doors in fear."MORE
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King County Cops Beat Up Teenage Girl

Artcile on incident, including why she was there

Our Enemies in Blue: Police and Power in America

Balloon juice links to Cato@Liberty, which has the sidespiltting hilarity from Scalia:

The following, from Justice Scalia’s opinion in Hudson, is an absolute joke:
Another development over the past half-century that deters civil-rights violations is the increasing professionalism of police forces, including a new emphasis on internal police discipline. Even as long ago as 1989, we felt it proper to “assume” that unlawful police behavior “would be dealt with appropriately” by the authorities, but we now have increasing evidence that police forces across the United States take the constitutional rights of citizens seriously. There have been “wide ranging reforms in the education, training, and supervision” of police officers (cite omitted).
Moreover, modern police forces are staffed with professionals; it is not credible to assert that internal discipline, which can limit successful careers, will not have a deterrent effect. There is also evidence that the increasing use of various forms of citizen review can enhance police accountability.

They also link to Shredding The Bill of Rights, by Gore Vidal.
Let us not even begin to delve into police and POC relationships. Suffice it say, I don't trust them. I try to avoid them.

See also Womanist Musings bringing the knowledge:

Black women get beat by the police too

LaTanya Haggerty was catching a ride home with her friend when they were pulled over for double parking. Within minutes she lay dead when the officer confused her cell phone with a gun. Though her family received 18 million in a settlement I am sure they would have preferred to have their daughter in their lives. Caroline Sue Botticher, an unarmed African American woman, died after police in West Charlotte, N.C., fired 22 rounds at the car in which she was a passenger when it failed to stop at a police checkpoint in April 1997. There was no evidence to suggest that anyone in the car was armed. Sandra Antor was lucky enough to escape with her life after being pulled over for speeding. She was however yanked out of her car, and wrestled to the ground by Lance Corporal W. H. Beckwith. MORE

While you are at it, see: Georgia On My Mind Now That Police Have Beaten Jimmy Blackwell Blind Trigger Warning: GRAPHIC pic attached.
This man was beaten by Patrol officer Bobby C. Mitchell. He is currently on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of an investigation. Mitchell is 26 years old and Blackwell is 51.
Since Obama has been elected our post racial world has gone an vicious war against black men and the police have been used as their soldiers. Unfortunately there are no witnesses to this brutal beating and the case will come down to Blackwells word against Mitchell, but from the condition of his body how can one doubt that this is clearly a case of abuse of power on the part of a police officer.
According to the Hartwell Sun, the Blackwell family was not allowed to see Jimmy or inquire about his condition until Feb 17. Jamiya the sister of Jimmy Blackwell further states that she was threatened with arrest for asking too many questions.

See also: Did Kathryn Johnson really get justice?
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Ladies and gentlemen, tasers KILL. And they are TORTURE. Taser Int'l is LYING. Police should not be running around with these things

Amnesty International has just published a report showing that, since 2001, 334 people have died in the US during or just after Tasering. Jarrel Gray was a partially deaf 20-year-old black man involved in an argument in the street in Frederick County, Maryland, when the police approached him and ordered him to lie on the ground. He didn't hear them – so they Tasered him. As he lay paralysed on the ground, they told him to show his hands. He couldn't obey. They Tasered him again. Jarrel died in hospital two hours later. Ryan Rich was a 33-year-old medical doctor who had an epileptic seizure while driving his car on a Nevada highway. He crashed into the side of the road. The police smashed a window to get into the car and Ryan woke up, startled. The police officer reacted by Tasering him repeatedly. Only when they were handcuffing him did they notice he was turning blue. He was dead before he got to hospital. The coroner noted dryly that the Taser "probably contributed" to his death. Taser International's brochures claim their weapons have "no after-effects."

There may, in fact, be even more deaths than are recorded. Taser International has responded to medical examiners saying their weapons kill not by changing their weapons, but by suing the medical examiners. After the chief medical examiner of Summit Country, Ohio, ruled that Tasering caused the death of three young men, they sued her, and she was forced to remove the conclusions from her reports. The president of the National Association of Medical Examiners says Taser International's behaviour is "dangerously close to intimidation".MORE

See also:

Excessive force

Capital Offense

Mission Creep

Taser company sues medical examiners who dare to note tasers as the cause of death, and bribes other coroners as well

Taser Incident of the day

Taser Tort
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via:[livejournal.com profile] karynthia
olice Get The Wrong House In Galveston, Allegedly Assault 12-Year-Old Girl

It was a little before 8 at night when the breaker went out at Emily Milburn's home in Galveston. She was busy preparing her children for school the next day, so she asked her 12-year-old daughter, Dymond, to pop outside and turn the switch back on.

As Dymond headed toward the breaker, a blue van drove up and three men jumped out rushing toward her. One of them grabbed her saying, "You're a prostitute. You're coming with me."

Dymond grabbed onto a tree and started screaming, "Daddy, Daddy, Daddy." One of the men covered her mouth. Two of the men beat her about the face and throat.

As it turned out, the three men were plain-clothed Galveston police officers who had been called to the area regarding three white prostitutes soliciting a white man and a black drug dealer.

All this is according to a lawsuit filed in Galveston federal court by Milburn against the officers. The lawsuit alleges that the officers thought Dymond, an African-American, was a hooker due to the "tight shorts" she was wearing, despite not fitting the racial description of any of the female suspects. The police went to the wrong house, two blocks away from the area of the reported illegal activity, Milburn's attorney, Anthony Griffin, tells Hair Balls.

After the incident, Dymond was hospitalized and suffered black eyes as well as throat and ear drum injuries.

Three weeks later, according to the lawsuit, police went to Dymond's school, where she was an honor student, and arrested her for assaulting a public servant. Griffin says the allegations stem from when Dymond fought back against the three men who were trying to take her from her home. The case went to trial, but the judge declared it a mistrial on the first day, says Griffin. The new trial is set for February.MORE

Racist, fucking, filthy.....GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR!
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Via: Pams House Blend
The 'non-lethal' Taser: 400 dead since 2001

Law enforcement agencies in Canada are banning the shock device in the wake of a study by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation:
The study includes a medical analysis that concluded someone shot with a Taser could face as high as a 50 percent chance of cardiac arrest. The Taser company, however, still says its weapons can't kill.
"It is unfortunate that false allegations based on scientifically flawed data can create such uncertainty," Steve Tuttle, a Taser vice president, told The Arizona Republic.
Stories of Taser-related deaths have stacked up over the years, many involving police officers who never realized the harm their Taser could cause.
A man described as "emotionally disturbed" fell to his death after police Tasered him on fire escape. The officers who gave the order took a Glock 9mm from the locker room and shot himself in the head.


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