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Member since: Sat Jun 23, 2012, 05:03 PM
Number of posts: 3,183

Journal Archives

Where Activists See Gray, Albuquerque Police See Black And White

Sam Costales, a former Albuquerque cop for more than 20 years, says of course there is a gray area.

Back in 2001, Costales was chasing an armed robbery suspect who grabbed a piece of pipe from the back of his truck and came at him. Costales took out his gun.

"I could've shot him," he says. "I had every right to shoot him. But I didn't want to shoot him."

Instead, he put his gun back in the holster, maced the guy and arrested him. "

*Costales says he tried to treat suspects with respect. But other cops yelled at people, beat people up, used their weapons against people and then covered it up, he says.

A lot of this bad behavior is the work of a good-old-boys network, where it's all about who you're related to, says Cassandra Morrison, another former Albuquerque cop of 20 years.

It's about "who you know, who you hang out with, who you smoke cigars with, who you go have a beer with," she says.

If you're in the club, she says, you don't get punished when you act like a cowboy, break the rules and use excessive force. It's a system that won't change until some of those cowboys get punished, she says.

Morrison says she's been told several Albuquerque police officers could be indicted in federal court for previous shootings.

"So I think once those indictments come down, it's gonna be like, 'Uh-oh,' " she says.

In other words, those who are part of the club aren't so invincible. "

Posted by damnedifIknow | Wed Oct 1, 2014, 12:35 AM (0 replies)

Maps Show How Working-Class Neighborhoods Are Disappearing From American Cities

As America has transitioned from a manufacturing economy to a knowledge- and service-based economy, entire neighborhoods and cities have been restructured, according to a recent study by the Martin Prosperity Institute.

American cities today experience distinct class divisions. The "creative class" (tech, law, arts, healthcare, professional jobs) occupies the most economically functional and desirable locations, many of which used to be working-class neighborhoods. The "service class" (lower wage, lower skill jobs like food preparation and retail) live in areas surrounding the creative class. The "blue-collar working class" (factory, manufacturing jobs) has been decimated, and what remains has been relegated to the least desirable places in cities.


Posted by damnedifIknow | Tue Sep 30, 2014, 07:54 PM (0 replies)

The Nation's Police Have a Sex-Discrimination Problem

While conducting its investigations, we implore the Department of Justice to also examine how the gross underrepresentation of women in the Ferguson Police Department -- and in police departments nationwide -- aggravates excessive use of force problems and deteriorating police-community relations.

As I've written previously, research nationally and internationally for more than four decades has found that women police officers not only do the job of policing equally as well as men, but are not as authoritarian in their approach, use force less often, possess better communication skills and are better at defusing potentially violent confrontations than their male counterparts."

The Commission also found deep-rooted sex discrimination and sexist attitudes within the Los Angeles Police Department, concluding that this discrimination aggravated the excessive force problems within the LAPD by creating a disdain for women's less violent approach to policing. Further, that the discrimination was preventing women from achieving equal numbers and reaching the highest ranks within the department.

So, to really get at the problem of police excessive force, the Department of Justice must also, as it examines the impact of racial bias, look at how increasing the numbers of women in policing holds the key to substantially decreasing police violence while also improving police relations with the community."


Posted by damnedifIknow | Tue Sep 30, 2014, 06:58 PM (1 replies)

Battlefield Hardline Dev Responds to Criticisms About Police Militarization

Battlefield Hardline developer Visceral Games has responded to criticisms about the game's depiction of a militarized police force in the wake of real-world issues on the topic making headlines in the United States recently. Creative director Ian Milham told Polygon that Hardline is not meant to be social commentary, but rather a cop drama "romp."

"The issue has come to the forefront in a way we didn't anticipate," Milham said about police militarization in the US and Hardline's representation of it. "But from the beginning, it was something that we had to think about. I think we've tried to choose the scenarios and content we're showing to be responsible, and to be honest about what we're trying and not trying to accomplish with the game."

Milham added that there are no depictions of riots or ways you can harm innocent bystanders in Hardline. Overall, he said he understands the criticisms the game has faced, but explained that things like the debate about whether or not police should have tanks is outside of his purview.

"In our game, you need the tank because you're trying to recover the thing the bad guys have and it makes sense," he said.

Hardline launches in February 2015 for Xbox 360, Xbox One, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, and PC. A beta for the game will be held on all platforms sometime before the end of the year. "

Posted by damnedifIknow | Tue Sep 30, 2014, 02:43 PM (0 replies)

How Do We Make The Issue Of Police Brutality A Campaign Stump Issue?

"What I mean is no more data collection. No more rallies. No more being pacified with Department of Justice investigations, which rarely reach a conclusion (What has the DOJ concluded in the George Zimmerman case? We still don’t know.). No more fighting alone and separate in our own enclaves for justice. Since police misconduct, abuse and brutality are considered serious issues in the community, our national political agendas should represent that interest."

"We should be looking towards candidates, who in addition to their pledges of being tough on crime, are sincere about education reform, and party-lined approved stances on immigrations, gay rights, campaign reform and other special int"erests, treat police misconduct abuse and brutality as major party platforms. We need candidates who speak fluidly, with ideas and solutions to fix the culture of deadly and excessive force, which has been normalized in our nation’s police departments. We should be asking candidates of both and all political parties, particularly those candidates pandering in our spaces and organizations for support, to speak about how they plan to fix procedures, which give police “wider discretion” in the killing of average, particularly unarmed, citizens."

* Independent citizen review boards, mandatory body and dash cam equipment, mandatory physiological testing including testing for any racial and gender bias; the repeal of Stand Your Ground, stop-n-frisk, broken window policies and the passage of tougher penalties for excessive force (even if these laws force challenges up to the Supreme Court), are all just a start on how we can make our local departments responsive to our needs. But it is only going to come if we begin to take the issue of brutality and the protection of our rights more seriously than we have."


Posted by damnedifIknow | Mon Sep 29, 2014, 04:12 PM (5 replies)

Stephen Hawking Says 'There Is No God,' Confirms He's An Atheist

Stephen Hawking says he's an atheist, arguing that science offers a "more convincing explanation" for the origins of the universe and that the miracles of religion "aren't compatible" with scientific fact.

"Before we understood science, it was natural to believe that God created the universe, but now science offers a more convincing explanation," the celebrated physicist said in a video posted by Spanish newspaper El Mundo. "What I meant by 'we would know the mind of God' is we would know everything that God would know if there was a God, but there isn't. I'm an atheist."


Posted by damnedifIknow | Fri Sep 26, 2014, 01:23 PM (15 replies)

The man overseeing Ferguson's public relations convicted of reckless homicide in Tennessee in 2006

Tensions boiled over in Ferguson, Mo. when police clashed with protesters Thursday night, hours after the city's police chief apologized in a video to the family of the teenager shot and killed last month."

The protest was interrupted by a melee with cops, and a video from St. Louis Public Radio showed officers in riot gear tussling - and in one instance using a shield to knock over a bicyclist. There are reports of multiple arrests.

"Every person that has worked for weeks trying to keep the peace is walking around upset and feeling like whatever happens next is justified!" Tweeted protestor Charles Wade. "We are hurt. Tonight was a blatant betrayal. I have no sympathy or empathy for any of the police out here. Not one. #Ferguson"

The latest violence comes two days after two businesses suffered damage as anger simmered over the destruction of the makeshift memorial to Brown, which burned down under suspicious circumstances.

Also Thursday, a report claims the man overseeing Ferguson's public relations in the wake of the Brown shooting once shot and killed an unarmed man."

Devin Sean James, 32, began working for the city two weeks after the Aug. 9 shooting, helping officials handle the media crush and PR backlash. But James was convicted of reckless homicide in Tennessee in 2006, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.

James was behind the police chief's video apology. In it, Jackson said protesters had a right to peacefully assemble. Those words didn't match the scene on Ferguson's streets a few hours later."


Posted by damnedifIknow | Fri Sep 26, 2014, 01:37 AM (4 replies)

Excessive-force trial throws spotlight on notorious Denver jail

For four years, two months and 13 days, Denver’s official rap on Marvin Booker has been that the street preacher died of natural causes in the booking area of the city jail — coincidentally while under a pile of deputies who had handcuffed, nunchucked, choked and Tasered him.

City internal affairs investigators shaped that narrative when they found no wrongdoing by the deputies, even though the excessiveness of their force was plain to see on videotape.

Denver District Attorney Mitch Morrissey chose not to press charges against the officers despite a city autopsy showing Booker’s death was a homicide."

* Videotape shows one deputy, and then a throng of others, grabbing Booker, handcuffing him and shoving him face down onto the floor. For the next few minutes, the gaggle of officers subdue his frail, motionless body with the full force of their much bigger bodies, a chokehold and a stun gun. Several other deputies and medical staff stood watching – nobody appearing on videotape to be outwardly bothered by the prolonged attack. Booker died soon after. "

Posted by damnedifIknow | Mon Sep 22, 2014, 06:10 PM (4 replies)

On Police Brutality & Experiencing Blackness Through My Boyfriend’s Eyes

I think I may have had a small mental break down last week. I knew it was coming, I was all tight with emotion after some of the responses I received on an open letter I wrote to some New York school teachers who wore NYPD shirts to school on the first day of class– in a largely minority school. When I skimmed through the comments section, I noted an almost sheer disregard for the humanity of the men I referred to in the piece who were murdered by police in the streets. Men like Eric Garner, Michael Brown and John Crawford, whose unfair deaths justify the movement against police brutality. A movement intended to end discriminatory judicial practices. One that most certainly should not be opposed by teachers of minority students.

To many White readers, the issue was simple: the NYPD deserved support from teachers, even if they mess up a couple of times. After all, not “all cops are bad” and most of these guys were doing something wrong anyway.

In a conversation about my piece on Twitter, one woman argued that John Crawford deserved to die, because he was carrying a gun at the Beavercreek, Ohio, Walmart store where he was shot multiple times by police. Despite all of the witness accounts that have said the young man was carrying a toy pellet gun (sold at the store) and on the cellphone with his girlfriend at the time of the shooting, Crawford deserved to die"

* Afterwards, I came home to my boyfriend. I fell in love with him about a year ago, before we even met in person. He wrote a comment on an article that I wrote and his words were so powerful and unique that I knew he was the one. And when I saw him for the first time, his caramel skin and pink lips were perfection to me — they still are. Everyone thought I was crazy for falling in love so quickly.

He probably thought I was too, when I got home that night and collapsed next to him sobbing uncontrollably.

“I don’t want you to die,” I said through gasps of air."


Sad that people have to feel this way in 2014 America.
Posted by damnedifIknow | Mon Sep 22, 2014, 11:50 AM (0 replies)

Use of force by police is a local decision, but experts say it should be a last resort

When a teenage driver refused an Independence police officer’s demand to exit a car last weekend, the officer reached for his stun gun, issued a warning and fired.

Though the FBI is investigating whether Officer Timothy N. Runnels used excessive force when he subdued 17-year-old Bryce Masters, it could be months before its answer becomes public.

According to experts, however, using force against an uncooperative but unarmed suspect should be a police officer’s last resort."

“We should be smart enough to look at different avenues,” he said."

* No national policy exists for appropriate use of force by police. Instead, each of the country’s 18,000 police departments sets it own policy."

*“As with any service weapon, officers can misuse (stun guns),” authors wrote in a 2009 report about police use-of-force cases. Stun gun misuse can range from “outright abusive or illegal use” to less obvious cases of officers pulling them “too early in a force incident,” said the report presented to the National Institute of Justice.

Officers need training not only on how to use the weapons, but also on when, experts say."


Posted by damnedifIknow | Sat Sep 20, 2014, 11:49 PM (3 replies)
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