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Member since: Sat Jun 23, 2012, 06:03 PM
Number of posts: 3,183

Journal Archives

Inmates Aren’t the Only Victims of the Prison-Industrial Complex

Prison-reform advocates tend to focus on the plight of those behind bars. But the enforcers of this draconian system are victims as well."

The worst part of Dave’s job as a death-row guard happened early morning on the day of an execution. After taking the inmate for his final shower and instructing him to change his clothes for his last visit with his family, Dave would bring him back to his cell. Officers would then escort him in handcuffs to a prison van, which would take him from the Polunsky Unit in the east Texas town of Livingston to the death chamber at another prison in Huntsville, forty miles away.

“They have that look—like they know what’s coming,” Dave (not his real name) says. “Man, it’s hard to look at them in the eyes.”

*But serving as a cog in a machine whose ultimate aim is to destroy human life takes a toll. After eight-and-a-half years working on death row, Dave started having nightmares. He suffered from high blood pressure. “Even the younger guys get high blood pressure working there,” he says. “There were times I’d get to the entrance [of the prison], go through screening and do an about-turn, go back into the parking lot and call in sick.” So Dave transferred from death row."

*“Prison functions in entirely the opposite way from the small, healthy family or community,” says Frank Ochberg, a psychiatrist who sat on the panel that went on to define post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in the 1970s and who has served as an expert witness for countless inmates on death row. “It does to a human being what a zoo does to a wild animal.”

Posted by damnedifIknow | Wed Sep 17, 2014, 12:38 PM (4 replies)

Report: Law enforcement in Los Angeles County kills one person every week

A new study from the Los Angeles Youth Justice Coalition depicts a stunning level of cop-on-civilian violence"

For the first time in a long while, the mainstream of American society is thinking and talking about the use of lethal force by officers of the law — even if the nation lacks a reliable database through which it could analyze the problem. Most of the focus has been on the behavior of law enforcement officers in Missouri and New York City, a new report makes a compelling and chilling case that the severity of the issue in the greater Los Angeles area is greater than we think.

Produced by the Los Angeles Youth Justice Coalition (YJC), an activist organization that focuses on how often and why police decide to use lethal force, the study, entitled “Don’t Shoot to Kill,” claims that since the year 2000 alone, 589 people were killed by law enforcement in Los Angeles County. Since just 2007, the number killed has been 315. Overall, that’s about 1 death per-week, YJC says, with the rate of homicidal force increasing during periods that saw an overall decrease in homicide crime."

*The YJC report offers a number of detailed recommendations to help reduce police and community violence. It calls on U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to launch a civil rights investigation into officer-involved shootings and the use of force countywide. "


Posted by damnedifIknow | Wed Sep 17, 2014, 10:41 AM (1 replies)

Is Obedience the Only Way to Avoid Police Brutality?

“Maybe you shouldn’t just be obedient,” Reginald Jones-Sawyer, Sr. told the crowd. Instead of just teaching children to be meek and compliant with law enforcement, “maybe we should start teaching our young sons to ask for IDs—ask them to remember names and badge numbers" when they're stopped by police. Maybe we should all be more vigilant, he said.

“When you see our young people stopped, you stop and start recording what you see," he said. Let members of law enforcement know that their every move will be scrutinized. "Obviously," though, "with the flash off"—the police don't need another excuse to shoot.

I didn’t expect Jones-Sawyer, a Democratic member of the California State Assembly, to sound like such a firebrand when I first showed up to the hearing on police violence organized by the California and Hawaii chapters of the NAACP. He’s a politician and his job is to legislate, to diffuse community anger over out-of-control police by channeling it into non-binding resolutions and stern floor speeches. But speaking to me in the lobby of the California African American Museum in Los Angeles—after I assured him I do not work for a porn site—he said that what he really wants to do is “start a grassroots effort to combat [police brutality].”

* Right now, we’re acting like victims,” Jones-Sawyer told me. Indeed, he taught his own children to be passive around police to stay alive; to keep their hands at “ten o'clock and two o'clock on the steering wheel, look forward, don’t make any sudden moves.” But one day, he said, his oldest son challenged him: "Why's the responsibility on us to not get beaten and killed by police? Shouldn’t it be on the police to stop brutalizing us?"

His answer was glib, but not wrong: "Because you could die." But it did get him thinking"

Posted by damnedifIknow | Tue Sep 16, 2014, 11:52 AM (10 replies)

Police Officer Caught On Camera Savagely Beating Girlfriend – Not Facing Arrest

Video at link: http://www.mintpressnews.com/police-officer-caught-on-camera-savagely-beating-girlfriend-not-facing-arrest/196570/
Posted by damnedifIknow | Tue Sep 16, 2014, 10:30 AM (5 replies)

Vietnam urged to tackle "alarming" rate of police abuse

(Reuters) - Abuses by Vietnam's powerful police force are occurring at an alarming rate, a rights group said on Tuesday and it urged the government to rein-in offenders and create bodies to investigate complaints of beatings, torture and killings.

Tracking four years of alleged abuse of suspects in custody, the New York-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) said Vietnam's Communist government needed to recognise the scale of the problem and urgently initiate police reforms."

Minister of Public Security Tran Dai Quang last week said during a hearing of the justice committee of Vietnam's parliament that action was being taken against policemen accused of abuses and cases had risen from 2011 to the end of last year.

Quang said that of the 828 police accused of "infringing upon judicial activities", 23 were charged with using corporal punishment. Quang did not disclose if any had been jailed.

Robertson described the hearing as remarkable but said far more needed to be done.

"For now, it's clear that the Vietnam police are mostly getting away with these abuses," he said. "

At least we aren't alone.

Posted by damnedifIknow | Tue Sep 16, 2014, 08:55 AM (0 replies)

Teen In Critical Condition After Police Use Taser On Him

Witnesses to a police stop in Missouri say cops used excessive force when they used a Taser on a 17-year-old boy who is now reportedly in critical condition.

"You could tell the kid was going into convulsions," witness Michelle Baker told Fox4kc.com. "[The cop] turned him over and his head was dangling ... and he had blood coming out."

*The driver ... refused to roll down the window," Schmdley said. "The officer was able to get the door open. The driver refused to get out of the vehicle. A struggle ensued [and] a Taser was employed by the officer."

Masters' friend, 17-year-old Curtis Martes, told Fox4kc.com that he was on his porch when the traffic stop occurred and heard Masters tell the officer he was unable to roll the window down.

"I hear[d] him say ... 'I can't roll down my window [because] it's broke,'" Martes told Fox4kc.com.

In a separate interview with KCTV, Martes said Masters' father is an officer with the Kansas City Police Department.

Masters was transported to CenterPoint hospital, where he reportedly remains listed in critical condition Monday, with swelling in his brain."

Posted by damnedifIknow | Mon Sep 15, 2014, 02:27 PM (10 replies)

Police Brutality In America, From Rodney King To Michael Brown

Amadou Diallo. Rodney King. Timothy Thomas. Looking at where we are today in the weeks after the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, it can feel like nothing has changed in the way we police the police.

Many things haven’t. Juries acquitted police. Cops got their jobs back. And brutality happened again.

Some things have gotten worse. Like police militarization.

But some things have gotten better, or are still moving toward reform in the wake of a prominent brutality incident. A history of these incidents reveals that some major recent police reforms got their start after highly publicized episodes of police violence. But it was only after years or decades and dogged, persistent community-building that some progress started to manifest."

* Los Angeles was the original militarizer of police, even before the federal government started handing out left-over or used weapons, and before the height of the War on Drugs.

“The LAPD was the godfather of that kind of militaristic response,”

*And police accountability remains one of the most sticky problems. A 2008 Cincinnati Enquirer review found that while 35 police officers were fired over a 20-year period, 19 of the 25 who appealed the decision to an arbitrator got their jobs back, "

Posted by damnedifIknow | Sun Sep 14, 2014, 11:50 AM (0 replies)

This is What Happens to “Good Cops” Who Expose Corruption in their Departments

Detective Joe Crystal became a target of intimidation for his entire department after testifying against other officers in a misconduct case. Following his testimony, he received threats from other officers, and even found a dead rat on his car one day.

“He saw a wrong and decided he couldn’t live with himself and did the right thing and was punished, I think that’s just unbelievable,” Nicholas Panteleakis, Crystal’s lawyer said.

“They don’t care about anything but saving their money and saving their hide. It’s absolutely ridiculous with what this man has gone through. One, it lets the Baltimore City police know they were wrong, know that they’ve done numerous things against him that were wrong,” Panteleakis added"

Posted by damnedifIknow | Thu Sep 11, 2014, 12:09 AM (10 replies)

Black Lawyers to Challenge Police Brutality in 25 Cities

WASHINGTON (NNPA) – In an effort to combat police brutality in the Black community, the National Bar Association (NBA) recently announced plans to file open records requests in 25 cities to study allegations of police misconduct.

Pamela Meanes, president of the Black lawyers and judges group, said that the NBA was already making plans for a nationwide campaign to fight police brutality when Michael Brown, an unarmed Black teenager was shot and killed by Darren Wilson, a White police officer following a controversial midday confrontation in a Ferguson, Mo.

Meanes called police brutality the new civil rights issue of this era, an issue that disproportionately impacts the Black community."

* The lawyers group will file open records requests in Birmingham, Ala.; Little Rock, Ark.; Phoenix; Los Angeles; San Jose, Calif., Washington, D.C.; Jacksonville, Fla.; Miami; Atlanta; Chicago; Louisville, Ky.; Baltimore; Detroit; Kanas City, Mo.; St. Louis, Mo.; Charlotte, N.C.; Las Vegas; New York City; Cleveland, Ohio, Memphis, Tenn., Philadelphia; Dallas; Houston; San Antonio, Texas, and Milwaukee, Wis.

In a press release about the open records requests, the group said it will not only seek information about “the number of individuals who have been killed, racially profiled, wrongfully arrested and/or injured while pursued or in police custody, but also comprehensive data from crime scenes, including “video and photographic evidence related to any alleged and/or proven misconduct by current or former employees,” as well background information on officers involved in the incidents.

Not only will the NBA present their findings to the public, but the group also plans to compile its research and forward the data over to the attorney general’s office.

Meanes said that the group’s ultimate goal is to have a conversation with Attorney General Eric Holder and to ask him, and in some cases, demand that he seize police departments or take over some investigations that are going on in states or run concurrent investigations."

Posted by damnedifIknow | Mon Sep 8, 2014, 02:57 PM (16 replies)

Private Prison Stocks Soar As Companies Cash In On Incarcerated Immigrants

Share prices for two of the largest private prison firms have spiked sharply since an influx of unaccompanied migrant children crossing the border was reported this summer. And some investors in GEO Group and Corrections Corporation of America are seizing on the opportunity for more profit from incarceration, according to recent comments to CNN Money.

“Investors see this as an opportunity. This is a potentially untapped market that will have very strong demand,” activist investor Alex Friedmann told CNN Money.

Both firms, which house prisoners through private sector contracts with the government, have arrangements with federal agencies to detain immigrants. Since July 30, CCA’s stock has increased 8.5 percent, and GEO’s has increased 7 percent. "

*Last year, filings showed GEO Group hired a lobbyist to influence federal immigration legislation, despite promises not to do so. And over the past 12 years, GEO has spent at least $4.2 million on direct, reported political contributions, in addition to other contributions by affiliated political action committees, according to data compiled by the National Institute on Money and Politics. A 2012 Associated Press report found that GEO and the two other largest private prison firms had spent $45 million on campaign donations and lobbyists over the course of ten years. "

Posted by damnedifIknow | Wed Sep 3, 2014, 09:33 PM (5 replies)
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