Spokane Police Abuses: Past to Present

The People of Spokane vs. Law Enforcement Abuse, Impunity, Corruption, and Cover-up

Information needed regarding police abuses in Spokane

Posted by Arroyoribera on February 9, 2012

It would be useful to have people with knowledge of abuses by the Spokane Police Department to share that information here. One of the uses would be to share it with the US Department of Justice (DOJ), the Center for Justice and local organizations such as SPARC (Spokane Police Accountability and Reform Coalition) and PJALS (Peace and Justice Action League) to further the cause of preventing further abuses and tragedies at the hands of the Spokane Police.

Please feel free to provide that information to me by posting a comment below. Comments do not post automatically but must be approved by me. Therefore, if you state that you don’t want the comment posted, I will not post it. Please let me know in what ways the information can be shared and I will respect that. If you have incident or report numbers, names or other information that you would like shared with the DOJ or others, please send that as well.

Posted in History of SPD Abuses | Leave a Comment »

Who killed Pastor Scott?

Posted by Arroyoribera on September 3, 2010

Question: Who killed Pastor W. Scott Creech in the parking lot of his business in the Spokane Valley on August 25, 2010?

Answer: One of Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich’s deputies, Brian Hirzel, who was allowed to go on vacation immediately after the killing and before being interviewed about the events. And, of course, the Sheriff’s finest is being interviewed by the Spokane Police Department’s finest so we all know that true justice is just around the corner.

More important perhaps is the need for a thorough going look at our law enforcement and just exactly why they conduct themselves in the ways they do. What is their mentality? What is their training? Why is everyone from a 74-year-old pastor to a pre-teen girl at risk of death, maiming or abuse in any encounter with these individuals?

Let’s start by looking at this photo:

(Photo from Spokane County Sheriff website)i

(photo from Spokane County Sheriff’s website — August 8, 2007)

Do you really want these guys prowling your parking lot or manhandling your daughter if she has a bit too much to drink on high school graduation night?

There are a few other photos at the link below.

http://spokanepoliceabuses.wordpress.com/weaponry/

And here is a history (admittedly incomplete) of Spokane area law enforcement abuses — http://spokanepoliceabuses.wordpress.com/abuse-laying-out-the-case/

Next to his smiling photo on the Spokane County Sheriff’s website, Knezovich published these increasingly absurd words:

(quote) Your Spokane County Sheriff’s Office consistently invests available resources toward community-wide safety and security, economic viability and the positive, nationwide reputation of our County.

We do so by providing a highly-trained, dedicated team of professionals, working in partnership with our community, through utilizing their unique talents and skills in conjunction with new technology and research based criminal justice training. (end quote)

For Pastor Scott, like so many others in the Spokane County area, there is neither safety nor security nor justice. Clearly, the technology is of little positive use, the research and the mentality it spawns are flawed, and the leadership is on the wrong side of the line that divides our community from those who would bring death, terror and sorrow to our families and neighborhoods.

And as for “the positive, nationwide reputation of our County” to which Sheriff Knezovich refers, one can only ask with all due respect, “What has Ozzie been smoking?”

Posted in License to Kill, Lies Damn Lies and ..., Spokane LE Personalities, Stop it. You're killin' me., Terrorism in Spokane, Trained to Kill, Unanswered Questions, Urgent Call, War Abroad & At Home, Weaponry--SPD/SCSO | 1 Comment »

Freedom of Speech in Spokane — ACLU and CFJ

Posted by Arroyoribera on August 29, 2010

Settlement Protects Freedom of Speech at Spokane Transit Plaza

March 25, 2004

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the Center for Justice (CFJ) have reached an agreement with the Spokane Transit Authority to protect freedom of speech at the Plaza in downtown Spokane. The agreement settles a lawsuit challenging restrictions on free speech at Plaza sidewalks that the groups filed on behalf of Donald Ausderau, a Christian minister, and the Peace and Justice Action League of Spokane. The suit was filed in U.S. District Court in Spokane in June 2003.

“Public sidewalks have traditionally served as public forums for free speech. People who wish to exercise their rights will now be able to do so without having to get the government’s permission beforehand,” said ACLU staff attorney Aaron Caplan.

“The Plaza sidewalks are a central gathering point for the Spokane community. We are pleased that the Spokane Transit Authority has revised its policies to ensure an open forum for dialogue by citizens and community groups. We appreciate the Authority’s willingness to reach a constructive agreement that recognizes the importance of free speech while honoring the Authority’s mission to serve public transportation needs,” said CFJ attorney David Blair-Loy.

The settlement allows speakers, leafleters, musicians, and other people who ordinarily use city sidewalks without a permit to use Plaza sidewalks without a permit, too. Their activities will not be limited to any particular time period. Previously, the Transit Authority required anyone who wanted to engage in a “public communication activity” on the sidewalk outside the Plaza building to get a permit in advance, and the permit was good for a maximum of five hours a week. The settlement narrows the policy’s application to persons or groups who set up a table, chairs, or similar apparatus. Under the settlement, the Authority may require speakers to stay 10 feet away from bus exits and from passengers standing in line for a bus or waiting on a bench, unless the speaker is invited to come closer.

Donald Ausderau is a Spokane resident and minister who wishes to speak to the public about religious and social issues on the public sidewalk outside the Plaza. The Peace and Justice Action League of Spokane is a nonprofit membership organization devoted to involving individuals and local communities in building the foundations for a just and nonviolent world. The group seeks to hand out leaflets and gather signatures about political and social issues on the sidewalk outside the Plaza.

http://www.aclu-wa.org/news/settlement-protects-freedom-speech-spokane-transit-plaza

Posted in Free Speech, Know Your Rights, Law, No Sir Officer ____, Protest and Free Speech, Speech in public spaces | Leave a Comment »

Know Your Rights — Tin Soldiers and Nixon’s Coming

Posted by Arroyoribera on July 20, 2010

[Author's note: Having just had the opportunity to spend some time this evening with my good friend, Michael Lyons, and in his honor, I am taking the opportunity to reprint this piece I wrote a month after Spokane Police and the multi-agency Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF) attacked a group of young people on July 4, 2007 in Spokane's Riverfront Park. I encourage people to study this case and consider its implications for protest, freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, and public ownership of public space. I also encourage people to understand the abuses of power by the Spokane Police in hiding evidence in the case as well as the roles of the city prosecutor's office and Spokane Police administrators in the cover-up and spinning of the facts. Finally, I encourage people to watch the entire still relevant short video on the Kent State shooting. As the expression goes in Spanish, "Prohibido olvidar" -- "Forgetting is forbidden."]

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KNOW YOUR RIGHTS — TIN SOLDIERS AND NIXON’S COMING

What is the theme unifying abuses by increasingly militarized police departments, pervasive media lies and ruling class complicity, military brutality abroad, corporate war profiteering, stunning cowardice by the U.S. Congress, and near total passivity by the overall U.S. population? It is our dishonesty and complicity in the face of U.S. imperialism, manifested by illegal invasions, brutal military occupations, and gross human rights abuses, as well as saber-rattling in many parts of the world.

Over the years I have been very clear about one thing with anyone who has asked me about my activism. What drives my beliefs and actions is anti-imperialism.

What is imperialism?

Imperialism is best known by its fruits.

Imperialism is a Vietnamese girl running down a highway in 1972, her naked body burning with napalm.

Imperialism is the naked bodies of Iraqi boys and girls and men and women at Abu Ghraib sodomized by U.S. troops and intelligence personnel in 2004.

Imperialism is the naked bodies of young children all over the world year after year being washed before they are buried after starving in a world of plenty, a world where the U.S. dominates all major international institutions and routinely blocks actions desired by the rest of the planet.

Imperialism is a disgraced United States of America, unable to justify its actions to its own citizens or to the peoples and nations of the world, a U.S. resorting to spying on its own citizens and torturing the citizens of the rest of the world.

When Alberto Gonzales comes to Spokane to share “sensitive, top secret” information with the Spokane Police and other law enforcement agencies, it is Nixon and John Mitchell all over again.

When it is revealed that Spokane is a key link in human rights abuses and torture being committed by the U.S. around the world, it is My Lai all over again.

When young people march to Riverfront Park and in the midst of peaceful protest are attacked by Spokane Police , it is Kent State all over again.

In my opinion, when people begin to defy authority on the streets all over the U.S., it signals a coming confrontation. As Oliver Tambo said, “The people’s patience is not eternal”.

Hear it coming?

1970 is in the air again.

Tin Soldiers and Nixon Coming. Remembering Ohio.

“Ohio” — Neil Young Lyrics Analysis

[To the individual who wrote stating that it is hyperbole on my part to suggest that 4th of July in Riverfront Park is comparable to Kent State, I have the following comments...

1) I stand by that.

2) The global capitalist/imperialist system run from Langley, Wall Street, the Pentagon, and the White House reaches periodic moments of minor and of severe crisis. We are currently at a moment of such severe crisis.

3) What happened on the 4th of July 2007 in Riverfront Park was just one of many police state actions around the country against free speech, protest, and activism.

Here is the equation for the mathematically challenged:

Combine 4th of July 2007 Spokane with FBI spying on Spokane activists, torture masters operating out of the American Legion Building on Washington Street in downtown Spokane, Alberto Gonzales meeting secretly with Spokane law enforcement, the arming of the Spokane Police with 100 AR-15s and other military weaponry, and the majority Democrats caving in to a Republican president on pro-war and civil-liberties-curtailing legislation. Now multiply that by a hundred U.S. cities the size of Spokane or larger and...voila!

Tin Soldiers and Nixon's Coming.

So the writer does not buy my analysis? No problem.

It's not for sale anyways.

Hasta la victoria siempre! ]

Posted in History of SPD Abuses | Leave a Comment »

Just exactly who is Anne Kirkpatrick? Annie Got Her Gun now tries to get out of town

Posted by Arroyoribera on July 4, 2010

[Note by author: For readers who may consider the words that follow in this post to be harsh and unfair, consider that even the elegant, upscale Spokane Couer d'Alene Living Magazine, in the Lilacs and Lemons section of its March 2010 issue, gave Chief Kirkpatrick a lemon and reprimanded her, saying basically that if she is so busy making plans to leave Spokane in the midst of such a crucial period in city and police history, she should darn well hurry up and get the heck out of Dodge, I mean Spokaloo.]

Listening to a recent KYRS Thin Air Community Radio morning news piece by Don Gronning (6/22/10 podcast), one is struck by the most recent persona of the always strutting, full-of-attitude Anne Kirkpatrick. The sassy southern gal, who arrived in Spokane nearly four years ago with her slick little one-girl show from the south, replete with meaningless but media-savvy slogans like “You lie, you die” and a repertoire of song and dance (literally) at the ready for any and all occasions, apparently has at least one more routine up her sleeve as she — like a teenager graduating from high school — desperately seeks a way out of Spokaloo.

So what is that persona? A new and improved Chief Anne Kirkpatrick who, despite previous statements to the contrary, appears to be headed out of town.

And naked. Well, not naked exactly but definitely devoid of her long characteristic Southern accent. (Seriously, listen to Gronning’s 6/22/10 podcast.) Besides, in the south — like Abilene and Shreveport where I used to live, or Memphis, Tennessee where Anne was born and raised — we say “neck-id”.

Apparently the “Ya’ll come back now, here?” phony southern drawl worked as part of the dog and pony show the chief put on to get us Okies in Spokaloo to hire her as chief under a previous mayor and city council. But it appears she decided that it wasn’t going to make her any friends or influence any people in the sophisticated environment of Seattle. So she is suddenly accentless, a sophisticated and independent woman, itinerant again and forced to strike out on her own. Maybe she should take Doug Clark’s advice and take her bopping and jiving back to Memphis. Or how about Mabton, Washington, population 1891.

All of this after a long string of that bad luck: 1) the Guild stabbed her in the back, 2) she still can’t shake Tony Bamonte off that same back, 3) Councilman Jon Snyder could not get his slip-shod, loop-hole filled version of the Ombudsman Ordinance passed in 30 minutes as he proposed he could in the wee hours of the morning of June 22, 2010, after over-whelming public testimony in favor of a more tightly-written, forceful ordinance to move a blatantly out-of-control police force closer to effective citizen oversight and control, 4) the Grand Jury and FBI noose tightened around the necks of her lying officers and administrators, 5) Ombudsman Tim Burns himself finally stood up and said, “Hell yeah, I’ll take some of that independent oversight”, and 6) the people of Spokane, who had made common cause with many a citizen abused or murdered by the police, and in the process made themselves heard over and over and over again for years, combined a powerful community coalition with public participation and turnout that would not succumb to old fashion tactics of “bait and switch” in the writing of legislation nor to agenda-stacking designed to run out the clock on democratic participation.

Unfortunate for Anne, even after giving it that old Tennessee try in the open competitive portion of the Seattle hiring process and after a private “perhaps I still got that old charm” approach via e-mail to Seattle’s Mayor, Seattle didn’t buy the song and dance.

Besides, can you imagine this “Chief” — who okayed tasering Josh Levy off the Monroe Street Bridge to his death yet in Gronning’s podcast defends tasers like a shameless East Sprague used car saleswoman — dealing with the sorts of complicated human dramas and dilemmas that a Seattle would present her? Or how about having Chief Kirkpatrick in charge of the sophisticated political and social environment of one of the most dynamic and liberal cities in the U.S., the same Chief Kirkpatrick whose boys and girls in blue botched every aspect (from initial provocation to evidence suppression) of the July 4, 2007 police riot in Riverfront Park — being in charge of a police department in a world class city like Seattle? Can you imagine how much worse the 1999 WTO police repression would have been or what she would do with officers punching teenaged girls in the face or kicking and stomping an innocent immigrant?

Gigs up, Lil’ Annie…

(Come to think of it, maybe the gig is not up after all. As I understand it, former Spokane Police Internal Affairs official Jim Faddis is looking for a spoons player for his jugband, the Prairie Flyers. Some will recall that Faddis and the notorious officer Dan Torok used pseudonyms while blogging at Frank Sennett’s Spokesman-Review Hard 7 blog in the summer of 2007. Faddis, under the pseudonym of Kevin, along with Torok and others SPD plants defended the SPD at the height of public outrage over the Firehouse Sex Scandal, the 4th of July “near police riot”, the arrests of protestors Dan Treecraft and Rebecca Lamb, and the killings of Otto Zehm, Jerome Alford and Eagle Michael, as well as the non-fatal shootings of Shonto Pete and Sean Fitzpatrick, not to mention controversial incidents involving SPD officers John Elam, Jonothan Smith, David Freitag, and Jay Mehring. The killings of Otto Zehm and Jerome Alford involved Torok and Faddis’s department was involved in investigating most of the other incidents. The chief would no doubt be a fine addition to Faddis’s band. Come to think of it, if someone could teach Spokane county prosecutor Steve Tucker to play a washboard and city attorney Rocky Trepieddi to play the cowbell…

[See also Educating the Chief - It's Spokane, not Spokaloo]

____________________________________________________________

[Excerpt below from The Seattle Times article Biographies of the 11 SPD chief candidates: Here are short biographies on the semifinalists for Seattle police chief

Anne Kirkpatrick

Chief of police, Spokane

Anne Kirkpatrick, 50, who previously served as police chief in Ellensburg and Federal Way before joining the Spokane department in 2006, has carved out a reputation as a no-nonsense chief and strong believer in community outreach. She announced her intention to seek the Seattle job in February when she told Spokane officials she had applied for the position.

The Spokesman-Review reported that Kirkpatrick applied last year to be San Francisco’s police chief but downplayed her action by saying that as a woman leading a large department she is often recruited. The job went to another candidate.

The Spokesman-Review reported that, while support for Kirkpatrick has been mixed on the police force, she enjoys broad support from city leaders, who credit her with making officers more accountable and improving ties to the community.

In April, union leaders representing the Spokane Police Department’s officers said a majority of the Spokane Police Guild’s 268 members voted no-confidence in the “office” of the police chief, but didn’t disclose the vote tally, The Spokesman-Review reported.

But the department’s lieutenants and captains gave her a vote of approval after learning of the union’s vote.

The following excerpt from a Spokesman-Review article at the time of Spokane’s search for a new chief reported on the Chief’s 5 “Cardinal Rules” which apparently after the hanky-panky of the Jason Uberagua case and the police lying in the Zehm case must have referred to the Memphis Redbirds, the minor league affilitate of the St. Louis Cardinals —

She landed at Green River Community College, teaching criminal justice for two years. Then a retiring Ellensburg police chief called and asked her if she’d apply for his job.

“God’s timing and God’s hand involved,” Kirkpatrick says of the surprise call. “And I’m glad, because I have to admit I wanted to go back.”

Soon, she was running a 30-member department. And that’s where she launched her five cardinal rules.

“They’re character-based,” she said of the rules. “People are going to make mistakes. But character-based mistakes are not tolerable.”

The rules: No harassing, bullying or discriminatory language, “including zero tolerance of male white-bashing.” No lying. No abuse of authority. No insubordination. And nothing that causes lack of trust in the department, such as sex on duty or failing to take a rape report.

One former officer and her attorney, however, contend Kirkpatrick applies those rules unevenly.

Former Federal Way officer Jessica Nelson was fired for what Kirkpatrick concluded was insubordination and lying about misuse of a department computer. Nelson maintains that it was a miscommunication – and that other officers were lightly disciplined for far worse offenses.

Nelson’s Portland attorney, Beth Allen, said that officers were suspended for a few days, “if that,” for allegedly sexually harassing other officers, discharging a firearm in the station and having a detainee escape from a police car.

Posted in Educating the Chief, Ethics, FBI in Spokane, Freedom to Fascism, History of SPD Abuses, Independent Oversight, Jason Oakley and the FBI, Lies Damn Lies and ..., Photographic Evidence, Protest and Free Speech, Spokane LE Personalities, Spokane Police Guild, Spokane taser, Stop it. You're killin' me., Tasers, Yes ma'am Chief | 3 Comments »

Spokane City Press Release on Ombudsman Ordinance

Posted by Arroyoribera on July 2, 2010

(To read the ordinance fought for by the people of Spokane, approved by the Spokane City Council and to be signed by the Mayor, go to ORDC34609.pdf)

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Mayor to Sign Updated Ombudsman Ordinance; Commends Council and Community for Work

Release Date: 6/29/2010 4:45:00 PM
Contact: Marlene Feist,
(509) 625-6740

Spokane Mayor Mary Verner today said she will sign the ordinance adopted by the Spokane City Council on Monday, June 28, that updates the authorities and responsibilities of the City’s Police Ombudsman.

“I want to commend the City Council, the City Attorney’s Office, and the community members who worked so diligently to find a path ahead on this important issue,” the Mayor said. “For me, the creation of the Ombudsman office always has been about devising a comprehensive system of civilian oversight that provides accountability and ultimately earns the trust of citizens. Today, we have an improved system.”

Under the revised ordinance provides the Office of Police Ombudsman with independent investigatory authority and requires the office provide closing reports about complaints. These reports will include a summary of the OPO’s conclusions and recommendations regarding revision of policies, procedures, or training.

The revised ordinance also clarifies ambiguous language and formalizes that complaints can originate with the Police Department’s Internal Affairs Unit or with the Ombudsman.

Attached is the revised ordinance. Additional information about the Office of Police Ombudsman is found at SpokaneOmbudsman.org.

ORDC34609.pdf

Posted in Educating the Chief, In Collective Self-Defense, Independent Oversight, Know Your Rights, Law, Solutions | Leave a Comment »

S-R Letters in Support of Independent Police Oversight

Posted by Arroyoribera on July 2, 2010

Spokesman-Review
Letters to the editor
July 1, 2010

Trust tied to independence

I agree with Bob Apple the ombudsman needs power to investigate. The police force investigating themselves does not work to restore trust in the police. Only independent investigations will do that.

Most police have nothing to fear. Those who overstep and use more force than necessary should have everything to worry about. Now, unfortunately, they act with impunity. Support good police; get rid of the rotten ones.

John A. Perkins
Spokane

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Protectors or threats?

Upon reading Bill Morlin’s June 27 account of the late Beverly Saruwatari’s encounter with the Spokane Police Department on June 7, 2009, a reasonable person can legitimately react with disgust toward the SPD and could conclude that us citizens of Spokane need protection from the SPD at least as much as we need protection by the SPD.

The plethora of evidence about ongoing and apparent police misconduct clearly indicates that someone other than the SPD should be reviewing their abuse of our fellow citizens. Although I applaud City Councilman Bob Apple’s clear statement that “someone other than police should be involved in reviewing” the epidemic of SPD misconduct I assert that a police ombudsman, whatever their powers, is now insufficient for this task.

The SPD has lost the respect and support of so many law-abiding citizens that direct accountability to us citizens is the most viable pathway toward healing what is now a broken bond between the SPD and our community. Us law-abiding citizens cannot continue idly observing this renegade agency terrorizing our fellow human beings – silence is the voice of complicity. We citizens of Spokane must demand direct citizen oversight of the SPD now.

Ed Byrnes
Spokane

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Police Guild too influential

I am 77 years old and a native of Spokane. I have known and become friends with many members of the Spokane Police Department, and I have the utmost respect for who they are and what they represent.
I have read and heard of many heroic deeds and misdeeds performed by them. But what I don’t understand is how did the Police Guild get so powerful that City Councilman Steve Corker said we would be fighting these labor issues for years (“Ombudsman gains power,” June 29)? Even if the enhanced ombudsman oversight is approved. I thought the citizens of Spokane, managed by the City Council, paid the salaries of the police, not the Spokane Police Guild. It looks to me like the cart has gotten ahead of the horse and we the citizens of Spokane are the ones who are paying the piper.

Not being an attorney, thank God, I don’t know if Mr. Corker is correct, but if he is, chalk up another one for the legal profession. I can only hope he is wrong and truth and honor and the citizens of Spokane will prevail.

James A. Nelson
Spokane

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Cloud darkens police success

The Spokane Police Department is a mystery to me. Great response by officers and others to the shooting at Hoopfest Saturday. The cloud hanging over the department unfortunately overshadows this good work.

The cloud is characterized by the handling of the Otto Zehm and Bev Saruwatari cases. Bev Saruwatari was a friend of mine. I knew her as a fellow educator and teacher of my granddaughter. I am ashamed of the police treatment of her. These situations and others are an embarrasment to us all.

The department apparently has a select bunch of “cowboys,” lacking in common sense and decency that operate as if Spokane is still the wild west. They harass the public in spite of the facts and feel safe because any internal affairs investigation will find their actions “proper.”
We are afraid to take them on. Are we powerless to make any change in this sad state of affairs?

Lynn Jones
Spokane

Posted in History of SPD Abuses | Leave a Comment »

Testimony: SPD murder of Tyrone Thomas on 8/6/01

Posted by Arroyoribera on June 30, 2010

Following is the powerful testimony of Terri Anderson about the 2001 murder of Tyrone Thomas by the Spokane Police. Anderson spoke these personal words at the June 21, 2010 Spokane City Council meeting at which 65 people remained until nearly midnight to testify against the long history of human rights abuses and deaths committed by the corrupt and out-of-control Spokane Police Department.

Just before Anderson and nearly two dozen citizens testified against these abuses, and after sitting through hours of other council business, Chief of Police Anne Kirkpatrick and Mayor Mary Vernor abandoned the Council chambers and went home. Faced with this unprecedented and persistent public movement against her abusive police force, the Chief returned June 28, 2010, to verbally murder Tyrone Thomas again and to carry out a character assassination of Anderson. (Note: Councilman Jon Snyder supported the Chief’s actions in his blog post on 6/30/10 and in other statements).

Nevertheless, Chief Kirkpatrick failed in her dishonest attempt to influence the Council, when it voted 7-0 in favor a new and strengthen ordinance on police oversight and civilian control of the Spokane Police Department.

Here are Anderson’s powerful words in remembrance of Tyrone and in favor of strengthened police oversight:

Hello, my name is Terri Anderson and this is the second time I am standing here to ask you to pass an ordinance that will give independent investigative authority to the Office of Police Ombudsman. I have had the opportunity to speak to each of you tell you that we need real and meaningful oversight of police misconduct. But I have never told you why.

In August 2001 I was working at Spokane Community College in Multicultural Student Services. I was looking forward to a new school year and preparing my work study students for their new job responsibilities. One of those students was Tyrone Thomas. I knew Tyrone because he had served as president of the Black Student Union and later served on the Associated Student Council at SCC. He was a successful and committed student nearing the end of his studies in the Invasive Cardiac Technology program, a challenging program where he achieved outstanding grades and was looking forward to a promising future with a career in the health care industry.

That all ended on August 6, 2001 when he was shot and killed by two Spokane police officers in downtown Spokane. The days that followed were heart breaking. Students who had taken the summer off from school were pouring in my office because they had to talk to someone about the loss of their friend and fellow classmate. What troubled us the most was the way the police portrayed him and the description of the events that led to his death. It didn’t make sense to those of us who knew him. A staff member recalled seeing him in class almost immediately before the fatal shooting. Something didn’t seem right.

We were also troubled by the fact that he was shot in the back while fleeing the police and turned down a hallway where he collapsed. Even though a witness saw him through a glass door and told the officers that he was down and bleeding, severely injured but still alive, those officers would not allow emergency medical help into the building for nearly an hour. When help was finally allowed in, Tyrone had bled to death. The bullets did not hit any vital organs. He just bled to death.

After the students and I attended a memorial service for Tyrone at the Jesus is the Answer Church where he attended, the students asked me to help them in getting some answers to questions we had about Tyrone’s death. We went to the NAACP and asked for help. The president at the time arranged a meeting between the Chief of Police Roger Bragdon and us. He gave us an implausible explanation about the bullet entry in Tyrone’s back and an equally implausible and heartless explanation why they let him bleed to death with an ambulance sitting on the sidewalk just outside the building where he had been shot. There was no ombudsman at that time, there was no one we could go to that could conduct an independent investigation.

Of course those officers were cleared of any wrong doing through an internal investigation and several months later they received a commendation of valor. For what? For shooting a man in the back and allowing him to bleed to death alone in a hallway after an eye witness told them he was down and injured with emergency medical help minutes, maybe even seconds away?

That is why we need independent investigations for complaints of police misconduct and critical incidents. I care about Tyrone Thomas. Students, faculty and staff at SCC cared about Tyrone. We all care about Tyrone, about Eagle Michael, Otto Zehm, Josh Levy, Jerome Alford and the many others who have been killed and injured by the Spokane police. You should care about them, too.

This ordinance is just a first step. But it must be an honest ordinance that mandates action, and not one that just uses the right words. I will always wonder if we had true, meaningful, independent oversight of police conduct when Tyrone was shot, maybe, just maybe the officers would have thought about it, and they would have allowed the emergency medical help in the building and Tyrone would be alive today.

Thank you very much.

Posted in Educating the Chief, History of SPD Abuses, In Collective Self-Defense, Independent Oversight, Lies Damn Lies and ..., Racism, Testimonies, Unanswered Questions, Yes ma'am Chief | 1 Comment »

URGENT: Final Council Vote on Ombudsman Powers? Monday, June 28 at 6:00 p.m.

Posted by Arroyoribera on June 28, 2010

If you haven’t had a chance, please read yesterday’s front page Spokesman Review article about Bev Saruwatari and her family. It is another sad story about the tragic consequences of the abuse of authority and excessive use of force by the Spokane police. This is what happens when the police investigate themselves. Our sympathies and thoughts are with Travis Melcher, the remaining son of Bev who is seeking justice and understanding.

Please support Travis and all of the other victims and families who have suffered the consequences of police misconduct by attending your last chance (hopefully) to tell city council to pass an ordinance to give independent investigative authority to the Office of Police Ombudsman tomorrow, Monday, June 28 at 6:00 p.m. in the Council Chambers of City Hall located at the corner of Post St. and Spokane Falls Blvd.

Posted in History of SPD Abuses | Leave a Comment »

Spokane Ombudsman Ordinance Postponed

Posted by takayanagisan on June 23, 2010

In the wee hours of the morning of June 22, 2010, Spokane City Council members decided they needed one more week to decide on an ordinance that will give independent investigative authority to the Office of Police Ombudsman. Council member Bob Apple introduced the original ordinance on May 10 and the matter was deferred until May 24 for a vote. After listening to over 20 members of the public, many who told of personal experiences of police brutality and racially biased policing, council members voted to table the vote for four more weeks until the June 21 meeting. Then, on June 14, an alternative ordinance was introduced by Council members Amber Waldref, Richard Rush and Jon Snyder that substantially weakened the independent investigative authority sought by the first ordinance but was written to conform to language that was negotiated with the Police Guild establishing the Office of Police Ombudsman in the existing ordinance. If that didn’t confuse the public enough to give up, council member Richard Rush and Jon Snyder brought forward yet a third version of the ordinance midway through the meeting on June 21.

All of the political manipulation did not deter the more than 80 people in attendance to urge passage of an ordinance that will give real and meaningful oversight over police misconduct. It didn’t matter that nobody really understood why it took three versions of an ordinance, a confidential memo from city legal, and sitting through five hours of the council agenda. By the time the ordinance came up for discussion it was well after 11:00 p.m. and 65 people remained. 28 people testified in favor of an ordinance that nobody seemed to know was before the council for a vote. Neither did the council, it seems. When it was all over, it was near 1:00 a.m. and the council voted 5-1 to postpone the vote until June 28. What will happen next? Stay tuned to the next exciting episode of the hottest new Spokane soap, “As the Ordinance Turns.”

For additional detailed information on the hearing and copies of versions of the rapidly changing proposed ordinance, please read “Groaning Toward Dawn” at the Center for Justice website.

Also the coverage of the hearing can be found at the Spokesman-Review website.

Video of the June 21, 2010 council meeting and the public testimony on it can be viewed on the City of Spokane’s website. Click on City Council Meetings and then click on City Council Meeting Part 2 June 21st, 2010.

Posted in Corruption, Educating the Chief, History of SPD Abuses, Independent Oversight, Law, Spokane Police Guild, Testimonies, Videos | Leave a Comment »

End Spokane Police Abuse — Hold Them Accountable

Posted by Arroyoribera on June 12, 2010

End Spokane Police Abuses — Flyer pdf

End Spokane Police Abuses — Flyer Word<img

Posted in History of SPD Abuses, In Collective Self-Defense, Spokane Police Guild, Testimonies, Unanswered Questions, Urgent Call | Leave a Comment »

Tell Your Story of Police Abuse in Spokane

Posted by Arroyoribera on June 12, 2010

Members of the Spokane community active in police oversight are gathering stories to strengthen the case that the citizens of Spokane are in need of real and meaningful oversight of the Spokane Police Department.

Some very powerful community stories were told at the May 24, 2010 City Council meeting. Those testimonies can be viewed at the City of Spokane website. Go to this link:

http://www.spokanecity.org/services/citycable5/streamingmedia/

Then click on “City Council Meetings” and, finally, click on “May 24, 2010″. Allow the video to load completely so that the full functionality is available (which can take several minutes at least depending on your connection) and then go 100 minutes into the proceedings (somewhat short of half way through the video).

Despite a history of years of abuses, corruption, and killings of citizens, there continue to be members of the Spokane community, the media and the city government who express the view that the Spokane Police require no independent oversight.

We are inviting community members to write a few paragraphs describing what has occurred to you or friends and family at the hands of the Spokane Police Department (the city of Spokane). Details are important, in particular, locations because we intend to put them on a map and present it to the City Council on June 21.

As you decide whether or not to identify yourself in your comment, please keep in mind that we will be presenting these stories to the City Council as part of our effort to show them the extent of abuses in our community.

Posted in Educating the Chief, History of SPD Abuses, Independent Oversight, Statistics, Testimonies | 1 Comment »

Attend Council Vote on Oversight of Police Misconduct – Monday, June 21, 2010 @ 6 PM

Posted by Arroyoribera on June 8, 2010

The Spokane City Council will vote Monday, June 21, 2010 at 6 PM in the Spokane City Hall Council Chambers, at the corner of Post and Spoakne Falls Boulevard, on an ordinance to expand the duties of the Office of Police Ombudsman to include independent investigation and mandatory reporting of complaints of police misconduct and all critical incidents (i.e., use of deadly force).

The ordinance was introduced on May 10, 2010 by council member Bob Apple and the originally scheduled vote on May 17 was deferred one week to May 24. Following two hours of riveting testimoney by community members sharing their experiences of abuse at the hands of the Spoakne Police, council president Joe Shogun announced that there was new information and that more time would be required. The new information was a confidential memo from the City Legal Department which was shared with some of the council member but has not been released publicly.

The participation of the community in this process is critical. Please attend this important city council meeting on June 21st at 6 PM. If you are unable to attend, please consider recruiting a friend or family member in your place.

Posted in History of SPD Abuses | Leave a Comment »

Police Lies — Officer Dan Torok and the SPD

Posted by Arroyoribera on April 19, 2010

A short primer, “When to Lie and How,” if brought out in an attractive and not too expensive a form, would no doubt command a large scale, and would prove of real practical service to many earnest and deep-thinking people.

– Source: Oscar Wilde, “The Decay of Lying”

The document does not name any officers but indicates that “one or more” of those named in the $2.9 million civil suit are being investigated for potentially obstructing justice. That list includes Nicks, Ferguson, and Officers Steven Braun, Zack Dahle, Erin Raleigh, Dan Torok, Ron Voeller and Jason Uberuaga.

– Source: Spokesman Review, “Zehm grand jury to hear evidence police changed testimony, Feds: Accounts of fatal encounter altered” http://www.spokesman.com/stories/2010/apr/15/feds-testimony-altered/

Posted in History of SPD Abuses | Leave a Comment »

Tyrone Thomas – shot in the back by Spokane Police – August 6, 2001

Posted by Arroyoribera on April 1, 2010

On August 6, 2001, Tyrone Thomas, an African American student at Spokane Community College, was shot and killed by Spokane Police in a downtown office building. The police accused Thomas of shooting directly at them and that they shot back in self defense. However, the bullet entered Mr. Thomas’s back as he fled down a hallway and turned down a corridor. A local attorney walking through the building was able to see Thomas through a glass door but was unable to render assistance because the door was locked. The witness, not knowing that police officers shot the victim, reported seeing the injured Thomas and told the officers to get medical assistance immediately because he was still alive and was losing blood rapidly. Police officers would not allow emergency medical assistance for more than a half an hour. Even though the victim had been reported as incapacitated and severely injured, police officers claimed a need to have a SWAT team clear the area before they would allow emergency medical personnel into the building. Though the bullet did not hit any vital organs, Tyrone Thomas bled to death in the corridor. It was reported that if medical assistance had been provided immediately Mr. Thomas would more than likely have lived. Several months later, in the midst of controversy that has endured to this day, the Spokane Police Department awarded the two officers (Shane Oien and James Erickson) involved in shooting Tyrone Thomas in the back with its highest award, the Medal of Valor. Thomas’s death was one of those that generated great outrage in the community, resulting in public meetings with then-Police Chief Roger Bragdon but no actions to curb police abuses nor impunity nor, of course, any effective community oversight of the police.

(This is one of numerous deaths not included on the original timeline that forms the backbone of this blog. The information on the death of Tyrone Thomas was sent to me by a key activist in Spokane’s police accountability movement. Though I myself have not been very active of late, I invites the entire community to e-mail him at SpokanePoliceAbuses@gmail.com with additional cases of deaths, abuses, crimes, corruption, and impunity which mark the Spokane Police Departments history and have left our community fearing for the safety of our law-abiding children, family members, and friends. Please contribute to this project with ideas, articles, links, format ideas, etc.)

Posted in History of SPD Abuses, License to Kill, Racism | Leave a Comment »

Spokane Police have pals on high — Sheriff Knezovich former union rep

Posted by Arroyoribera on January 9, 2010

Spokesman-Review

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Letters to the editor

Police have pals on high

For years we’ve heard about our local law enforcement’s disrespectful performance. It’s the citizens of the city and county at fault.

Chief Anne Kirkpatrick serves under the elected mayor and we elected Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich. We ultimately end up with supervisors that represent their employees’ interests, not the public’s interest. Taxpayers will likely learn that Chief Kirkpatrick’s actions were incorrect on how she fired Officer Brad Thoma. Negligent or deliberate, we will never know, but Kirkpatrick looks good in the public’s eye while providing an avenue for Officer Thoma to benefit as others have in the past.

Sheriff Knezovich was the former union representative for the sheriff’s union. He defended co-workers’ ridiculous actions from discipline. Then we elect him the top supervisor.

We need to realize why the union that represents the Spokane County sheriff’s deputies supports Sheriff Knezovich for re-election. They know where their meal ticket is.

The voters need to wake up and control these repeat actions before Chief Kirkpatrick and Sheriff Knezovich suggest that all Spokane city and county law enforcement cars have ignition interlock devices as standard equipment. In November 2010, help clean up our local law enforcement.

Allan Margitan
Nine Mile Falls

Source: http://www.spokesmanreview.com/opinion/letter.asp?ID=21445

Posted in History of SPD Abuses | Leave a Comment »

Spokane Repression of Free Speech — Oct 20, 2009

Posted by Arroyoribera on October 18, 2009

On Tuesday October 20, 2009, the political discussion group “Need To Know”
will host Malcolm Haworth, who will speak of pivotal events in Spokane
one hundred years ago.

In the fall of 1909, Spokane police arrested 500 of the Industrial
Workers of the World (IWW or Wobblies) following the arrest of
Elizabeth Gurley Flynn for freely speaking downtown, in what became
one of the most seminal events in American political/labor history.

Hear how Spokane residents rallied around their songs from prison, the
daily marches of prisoners with the blanketing of food and flowers in
their path. Learn of key people, places, and the aftermath of the
street protests that won the day for labor rights and free speech.

Malcolm Haworth has a master’s in history from EWU and has researched
the IWW in Spokane in 1909, and beyond.

This will be on Tuesday October 20th at 6:30 pm at Emmanuel Lutheran
Church at 314 South Spruce St., on the west side of Coeur d’Alene
Park in Browne’s Addition.

Refreshments (including a batch of One World’s Everything Cookies)
will be provided.

For more information you may call 327-7119.

To subscribe to Need To Know, send email to
needtoknow-subscribe@googlegroups.com

To unsubscribe from Need To Know, send email to needtoknow-unsubscribe@googlegroups.com
For more options, visit this group at http://groups.google.com/group/needtoknow?hl=en
-~———-~—-~—-~—-~——~—-~——~–~—

Posted in History of SPD Abuses | Leave a Comment »

October 22 Coalition

Posted by Arroyoribera on October 10, 2009

The October 22nd Coalition to Stop Police Brutality, Repression and the Criminalization of a Generation has been mobilizing every year since 1996 for a National Day of Protest on October 22nd, bringing together those under the gun and those not under the gun as a powerful voice to expose the epidemic of police brutality.

The Coalition also works on the Stolen Lives Project, which documents cases of killings by law enforcement agents nationwide. The second edition of the Stole n Lives book documents over 2000 cases in the 1990′s alone. (available for $15 from Amazon.com or from the National Office.)

Research and collection of data in preparation for a second volume continues, and volunteers for researching or editing are welcomed.

Contact the National Office of October 22nd at:

Info@october22.org or 1-888-NOBRUTALITY (or 347 586 1773)

http://www.october22.org

October 22nd Coalition
P.O. Box 2627
New York, N.Y. 10009

To donate funds, make check out to: IFCO/October 22,
and mail to: October 22, PO Box 2627, New York, NY 10009

MISSION STATEMENT OF THE OCTOBER 22nd COALITION TO STOP POLICE BRUTALITY, REPRESSION AND THE CRIMINALIZATION OF A GENERATION:

Founded June 14, 1996,

The National Day of Protest was initiated by a diverse coalition of organizations and individuals. We came together out of our concern that the peoples resistance to Police Brutality needed to be taken to a higher level nationwide.

The National Day of Protest aims to bring forward a powerful, visible, national protest against police brutality and the criminalization of a generation. It aims to expose the state’s repressive program. It aims to bring forward those most directly under the gun of Police Brutality AND to also reach into all parts of the society–bringing forward others to stand in the fight against this official brutality. And the National Day of Protest aims to strengthen the peoples’ organized capacity for resistance in a variety of ways.

Posted in History of SPD Abuses | Leave a Comment »

Wanted — Photos of Spokane surveillance cameras

Posted by Arroyoribera on August 3, 2009

(Originally posted at the Spokane Hidden Police Cameras blog.)

The e-mail address spokanehiddenpolicecameras@gmail.com
is now working.

If you have photos in .jpeg or other common formats of surveillance cameras used by local law enforcement, please attach them to an e-mail and send them with a description (detailed is better than brief but anything is appreciated) of the exact location, observations, and comments, as well as your opinions and thoughts about surveillance cameras, privacy infringement, the Spokane Police, etc. It would be useful to provide multiple photos, i.e., close ups of the camera, photos which provide an idea of the area around the camera in particular those which indicate the position in reference to known landmarks or identifiable objects, etc. If you prefer to be unidentified or to be identified by a pseudonym, please let me know.

Suggestions for videos to include in the Vodopod in the left column as well as coordinates to include camera locations in the Platial map also located in the left column.

In addition, the author of this WordPress blog is also the author of the SpokanePoliceAbuses blog. Anyone who would like to help update the chronology posted on that site may send text for inclusion in that chronology which has not been updated for more than a year. Additional blog posts, photos and videos from community members are welcome. I will not commit that I will post them without possible editing but will engage in an exchange about any suggested changes by e-mail with the author. I will attribute the article to its author. The only objective is to bring forth information about the Spokane Police for the benefit of the community and to assist in the development of a will on the part of our community leaders to bring an end, once and for all, to the impunity enjoyed by the Spokane Police Department and its personnel.

If this information is especially interesting to you, you might consider subscribing to the blog at the top of the right hand column.

–(This article was written by David Brookbank)

[Your suggestions on improving this blog or on editing this article as well as your comments are appreciated at SpokaneHiddenPoliceCameras@gmail.com]

Posted in History of SPD Abuses | Leave a Comment »

Call to Community Action — Surveillance in Spokane

Posted by Arroyoribera on July 27, 2009

(Originally published at Spokane Hidden Police Cameras)

Remotely operated surveillance cameras with remote recording capacity are being set up all over Spokane under questionable legal authority.

Remotely operated surveillance cameras with remote recording capacity are being set up all over Spokane under questionable legal authority.

The Spokane Police Department — tied to numerous cases in recent years of corruption, killing, sex crimes, and human rights abuses committed by a number of Spokane police ‘officers’ — is now deeply involved in spying on the Spokane community. Hidden cameras used by the Spokane Police Department are appearing around the community and will be used extensively for the “Independence Day” events at Riverfront Park on July 4, 2009, per Spokane Public Radio’s Amanda Loder (KPBX/KSFC). These cameras have the capacity for remote viewing and for recording.

[Podcast of 07/01/2007 report on hidden police cameras by Spokane Public Radio's Amanda Loder -- "Riverfront Park visitors may be on candid camera on July 4"]

The purpose of this blog is locate, identify, disclose, and monitor the use of these cameras by the Spokane Police Department, as well as other law enforcement. It is well known that the Spokane Police Department acts as part of an FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force and in that capacity has engaged in surveillance, provocation, and attacks on the public, specifically on July 4, 2007, in Riverfront Park.

The blog will also serve for tracking and exploring the legal issues involved in police spying. As citizens of Spokane, we know that we have been ill served for decades by our mayors and and city council when it comes to authority over and oversight of the Spokane Police Department and its secretive and authoritarian leadership.

This is a request for assistance in developing this site. Please send the location of these camera. Among many other locations, there are several in Manito Park and there are others in Riverfront Park.

Ideas on the layout for this WordPress blog, topics, widgets, etc are greatly appreciated. Photos of cameras, detailed descriptions of locations, etc. will allow for the mapping and tracking of police espionage.

Locations of cameras can be posted on the Platial map on the left side of the page. Vodopod videos on the subject of surveillance of episode of police repression (such as the murder of Otto Zehm and the July 4, 2007 police attack on gathered youth) can be posted as well as documentaries on surveillance and civil liberties.

It is important to remember that Spokane is already home to rather “spooky” people — i.e., spies — being the home of a SERE training facility which has brought to this community the likes of CIA psychologists Jessen and Mitchell who reverse engineered survival techniques to create “better” torture techniques for the Bush regimes war on the world. In addition, a number of Defense Department and CIA related companies operate in Spokane, not to mention mercenary outfits such as Blackwater (which recently attempted to camouflage its operations and reputation by changing its name to Xe, pronounced “Zee”).

We know from the reporting of Spokesman-Review reporters Bill Morlin and Karen Dorn Steele that the FBI has infiltrated local organizations and spied on groups like PJALS, Food not Bombs, and other groups. The Spokane Police violated the constitutional rights of protesters at the West Central Community Center in 2007 with the arbitrary and capricious designation of “free speech zones” during the visit by Alberto Gonzales to Spokane just before he resigned in disgrace.

Like the people of Honduras facing a coup today, like the people of Venezuela facing a coup in April 2002, like the people of Iraq and Afghanistan facing illegal invasion and occupation, like the people of so many places in the world facing arbitrary and spurious claims to “needs of the government” to infringe rights and intrude on privacy of people in a democratic country, it is urgently important that we the people of Spokane not quietly submit to the authority of a police department with a thick file of abuses against the people of this city.

Please participate in this project in the way you see fit.

Please write to SpokaneHiddenPoliceCameras@gmail.com with ideas on links, photos, maps, articles, etc.

[Thanks to the young people of Spokane who inspired this blog by expressing their outrage and sense of violation of their basic human and constitutional rights at the fact that cameras are being set up in parks -- such as Manito -- where generations of Spokane youth and their families have enjoyed all the activities of youth without high tech modern surveillance.]

–(This article was written by David Brookbank)

[Your suggestions on improving this blog or on editing this article as well as your comments are appreciated at SpokaneHiddenPoliceCameras@gmail.com]

Posted in History of SPD Abuses | Leave a Comment »

Small dogs vs. human beings and civil rights

Posted by Arroyoribera on July 9, 2009

Coincidentally, the day after I started a new blog — Spokane Hidden Police Cameras – a story hit the airwaves in Spokane. It told of the kind of brutal crime that makes one stop and wonder what has happened to humanity. The sort of story about which people comment to total strangers on the bus or in the lunch room at work. The type of incident which leaves many clear in a belief that “of course surveillance cameras are a good thing”.

On Wednesday, July 1, 2009, in our fare town, someone grabbed a dog named Cocoa Butter out of a car near the Spokane City Hall and threw the little Shih Tzu up against the brick building, seriously injuring, though not killing, the animal. A hidden camera of the Spokane Police Department caught the crime on video. Thank goodness. Due to the cameras, a suspect is being sought by Spokane Police and an arrest is likely. In any future prosecution of the suspect, Michael Jones, age 20, the video will obviously be of importance. Jones faces charges of 1st Degree Animal Cruelty, a Class C Felony.

On March 18, 2006, in our fare town, seven Spokane Police officers participated in a brutal crime against a totally innocent young man, Otto Zehm. Store cameras caught the horrendous crime on video. Thank goodness. Still, two days later, Zehm, a gentle though mentally ill young man, died in a Spokane hospital without ever regaining consciousness. Despite the cameras, no arrests have been made and a successful prosecution is doubtful, notwithstanding the grand jury indictment on the June 22, 2009 of Officer Karl Thompson. (In fact, the taxpayers of Spokane are on the hook for at least $200,000 for the legal defense of Thompson who is now on paid leave). In the video, Thompson, within 16 seconds of entering the store, initiated the first baton blow on Zehm, the start of an assault by police which did not end until he had been further beaten, tasered, hogtied, and suffocated. The result of the assault on Zehm was what the county coroner on May 30, 2006, ruled a homicide with the cause of death being reported as “lack of oxygen to the brain due to heart failure while being restrained on his stomach.”

[Watch the Zehm store video footage, listen to the 911 call, and hear the police radio traffic at http://www.khq.com/global/story.asp?S=5153579 ]

The two stories — one involving a brutally beaten small dog and the other a much more severally beaten and brutalized defenseless and innocent man — raise a number of questions about the use of surveillance cameras by law enforcement. These questions should be looked at closely and intensely considered about before the people of Spokane or any community quietly and easily accept the slow creep of police state surveillance practices.

In the case of Zehm, the cameras in question were not controlled by the police. However, the use of the video was. Initially, access to the video material was denied to the public and the media. From the very start, the legal system — the police chief, the deputy chief, and the prosecutor’s office — successfully attempted to control the material and the public’s perception of the crime. All immediately began to spin, distort, and lie about the information contained on the video tape. Eventually, at first under pseudonyms and pretending to be civilians, the most vocal and unrepentant of the officers involved in the murder of Zehm, Officer Dan Torok, and certain ranking officers on the force began to participate in public forums — Frank Sennett’s Hard 7 blog and other Spokesman Review blogs — as if the impunity that law enforcement has long held in Spokane was a matter of certainty in this outrageous crime as well. Sadly, the people of Spokane largely played along with script, being incapable of mounting the sort of response that most decent communities manage to put together when such a tragedy occurs to a gentle soul like Zehm — a small but prominent public memorial of candles, photos, flowers, and tears at a spot near the scene of the tragedy.

So what does this have to do with surveillance cameras? Little. However it provides a starting point for looking at abuse of authority and the sacred pubic trust in the context of the modern police state and its use of highly sophisticated technologies which violate privacy and operate around the clock. In the Zehm case, the Spokane Police Department could not be trusted to use the technology with the kind of integrity which the public has a right to expect and which the sacred nature of constitutional protections demands.

An isolated case? Not in the least.

Besides the Zehm case, at least four other recent cases come to mind. Readers of this blog are invited to comment here and/or e-mail me at spokanehiddenpolicecameras@gmail.com to remind me of other incidents. These four are:

1) The Firehouse Sex Scandal
2) The July 4, 2007 Riverfront Park episode
3) The June 2007 Alberto Gonzalez visit
4) The Uberagua sex crime

In brief, here is the relevant aspect of each of these incidents.

The Firehouse Sex Scandal — In 2006, two Spokane Police Detectives ordered a Spokane fireman to destroy the evidence of a crime from his digital camera. The fireman, who was eventually forced to resign, had taken photographs while having sex on-duty with a minor girl in a Spokane city firehouse. The detectives — in a staggering act of corruption and lying — subsequently argued in their own defense that they were protecting the privacy of the girl. In fact, they were acting on the age old prerogative to protect members of the fraternity of power by illegal means, i.e., covering up, falsifying, lying, and, in this case, and destroying evidence. In summary, Spokane Police, when given the opportunity to use photographic technology in furtherance of the public order, used it to subvert the public good and to achieve the ends of their own subculture, their own fraternity of power.

The Uberagua sex crime — On October 11, 2007, a purportedly “respected” member of the Spokane Police Department and deputized member of a DEA Drug Task Force, allegedly raped a woman at a Spokane valley bar while on a drinking break with Spokane County Sheriff’s Deputies. He also photographed her breasts. As one would expect, the woman subsequently recanted the rape. One can easily imagine the sympathetic response she no doubt received from Uberagua’s fellow law “enforcement” officers “investigating” the matter. The taxpayer paid Uberagua’s salary for many months after the incident. Many issues come to mind beyond just the question of exactly happened between Uberagua and the woman: her state of sobriety or non-sobriety at the time, the power differential involved, the question of Uberagua judgment and his fitness for the force, the fact that he was driving a SPD vehicle while under the influence, etc. And then there is that camera. What was Uberagua doing taking a picture of the woman’s breasts? Evidence of crime or evidence of a conquest to share with Sheriff and DEA Task Force buddies?

The July 4, 2007 Riverfront Park incident — On this infamous day when the country celebrates to a degree not warranted by its history of hypocrisies and abuses, seventeen irreverent but lawful young people were provoked, assaulted and arrested in what Gonzaga University professor of philosophy Tom Jeannot called “a near police riot”. In reality, this incident is a case study of police misuse of power. A long list of concerns come to mind from issues of infiltration and spying, to improper training and misunderstanding of the public’s right to public space and constitution freedoms all the way to police provocation and police lying in their reports of events. However, the most important part of this incident in terms of the use of surveillance cameras did not surface until 10 months later when a courageous young man — Michael Lyons — went to court against the Spokane Police Department and the City of Spokane to defend himself against misdemeanor charges of riot. Just as the trial was about to begin on May 5, 2008, a Spokane Police employee raced into the courtroom and announced that, lo and behold, some video footage of the July 4 events had suddenly “been discovered” and handed the DVD of the footage over to the court. The outraged judge dismissed the case, ironically denying the opportunity for the multiple injustices of July 4 to come before the court and the public. In fact, it is possible that faced with the disclosure of the extent of police misconduct and espionage against legally assembled citizens, the police chose to trash the case and provoke a miscarriage by turning over hidden evidence at the last moment. The Spokesman-Review in an article on 5/19/2008 reported that the videos taken by the Spokane Police and other law enforcement under the direction of the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force did not back the police account of the events of July 4, 2007.

So the issue is not whether or not cameras placed all over the city by Chief Kirkpatrick’s happy band of homicidal sex offenders will actually catch people in the act of committing a crime or picking their noses, but whether or not the Chief — not without her own ethical challenges — and a police department with a long history of corrupt and criminal conduct should be entrusted in any way with unilateral powers to place and control cameras where ever and whenever they choose and, subsequently, to determine whether to use that information in a lawful and constitutional manner.

Any reading of the history of the Spokane Police Department leads to the conclusion that in the current configuration of its chain of authority, a chain from which the people of Spokane are excluded and without effective oversight, the Spokane Police can not and should not be permitted to exercise control over cameras in the public commons.

In conclusion, do you want the likes of SPD officers Jim Faddis, Dan Torok, and Jay Mehrig (with a jug band, two homicides, and a threat to kill a wife among the three of them) to have video footage of your wife, or daughter, or teenage children, or yourself, footage taken, at their whim and with their defective sense of right and wrong, with the hidden cameras increasingly proliferating across our little corner of what was once upon a time called the “land of the free”?

(This article was written by David Brookbank)

[Your suggestions on editing this article or corrections are appreciated at SpokaneHiddenPoliceCameras@gmail.com]

Posted in History of SPD Abuses | Leave a Comment »

Police try to coopt Environmentalist (Audio/Transcript — The Guadrian)

Posted by Arroyoribera on May 20, 2009

From Jim Camden’s May 25, 2007 report in the Spokesman-Review, as well as police actions against protesters at Alberto Gonzales’s June 27, 2007 visit to Spokane, and the Independence day (July 4) 2007 attack by JTTF directed law enforcement on protesting youth, we know that Spokane Police and other law enforcement units engage in espionage, infiltration, provocation, illegal withholding of evidence, and lying in their dealings with citizens in Spokane.

Direct action environmentalist Matilda “Tilly” Gifford recorded British police intelligence agents as they attempted to convince her to sell out her convictions, her comrades, her cause, and the planet.

This and remarkable information on the Guardian link listed at the end of this post are very informative and indicative of the critical state of “democracy” in fascist Europe and North America.

Listen to Tilly in her recorded conversation with two British intelligence police and read along with the transcripts.

Tape and transcript 1
‘We don’t discuss money, we don’t talk salaries’ Police try to recruit Matilda ‘Tilly’ Gifford, an environmental campaigner with the direct action group Plane Stupid, as an informant.

Tape and transcript 2
‘UK plc can afford more than 20 quid’

Tape and transcript 3

‘We work for the intelligence community section’


Surveillance
— The Guardian series on surveillance in the United Kingdom.

Posted in FBI in Spokane, Freedom to Fascism, History of SPD Abuses, Know Your Rights, Protest, Protest and Free Speech, Spokane Police vs. Youth, Surveillance Society | Leave a Comment »

Lies encouraged in police Special Investigations Unit — 60 Minutes, June 1, 2008

Posted by Arroyoribera on May 31, 2008

Chicago Cop: Lies Were Encouraged

May 30, 2008

(CBS) Indicted Chicago police officer Keith Herrera says his superiors knew and encouraged him to lie on reports so questionable arrests would stand up in court.

In his first interview, Herrera, who also admits to stealing money, takes Katie Couric inside the Special Operations Section, an elite group of officers, some of whom he says profited during their quest to take criminals off the streets in one of the city’s largest police scandals.

The report will be broadcast on 60 Minutes this Sunday, June 1, at 7 p.m. ET/PT.

Herrera and six fellow SOS members were charged with crimes including armed robbery and aggravated kidnapping – many against suspected drug dealers. They have all pled not guilty. They are also accused of routinely lying on police reports. “Creative writing was a certain term that bosses used to make sure that the job got done,” he says. His bosses, says Herrera, wanted the cases to stick in court. “I didn’t just pick up a pen and just learn how to [lie on reports]. Bosses, guys that I work with who were older than I was…It’s taught to you,” he tells Couric.

The SOS mission was to get drugs and guns off the street, he says, “at any cost.”

Getting the job done often entailed breaking the rules, says Herrera. He describes to Couric a hypothetical scenario where to make a case stick against a gunman who tossed his weapon, a cop would lie in the police report and say that the gun never left the man’s hand. “Do you want that guy…that just shot somebody to not go to jail because he threw the gun? Or do you want him to go to jail because he never let the gun out of his hand?” asks Herrera. “I know what I’ve got to do.”

Pressed by Couric that his implication was that few or no officers went by the book, Herrera responds, “Maybe [some obey the rules]. This isn’t…Podunk, Iowa. This is the city of Chicago….You’ve got to do a job,” he says. And he says he was told he was doing a good job. “I got high-fives and honorable mentions and department commendations,” says Herrera.

Eventually, Herrera tells Couric, he went way over the line, sometimes taking money stolen from suspects. Herrera rationalized his first cut of illicit money. “I’m going to go tell a supervisor? No. And you just tell yourself it’s not going to happen again…No one is going to know,” he tells Couric. It did happen again and often, says Herrera. According to prosecutors, SOS members stole hundreds of thousands of dollars.

On these raids and in the unit’s street work there was a senior officer in SOS, Jerry Finnigan, who, though not a sergeant was effectively “in charge” says Herrera. Officer Finnigan was indicted with the rest and accused of being their ringleader. He was once an idol of Herrera’s. “To me he was like Superman,” he tells Couric. But, he says, Finnigan went too far. According to Herrera, Finnigan came to him last summer with a plan to deal with two former colleagues set to testify against them. “Jerry Finnigan decided that they didn’t need to be breathing anymore,” says Herrera.

This was a tipping point for Herrera and a moment to seize some kind of redemption. “I don’t have my star or my gun, but I’m still a cop. I’m going to stop you from doing this,” he says he thought at the time. He went to the FBI, who gave him a device to record Finnigan. On the recording, says Herrera, “he called [the alleged murder plot] a ‘paint job.’ He just said ‘some really good painters [would do the killing]. We’d never have to paint again,’” Herrera says Finnigan told him. Herrera says Finnigan even spoke of killing two more former Chicago cops from SOS. Finnigan was charged by federal prosecutors with planning a murder for hire based on Herrera’s recordings – a charge Finnigan denies.

Chicago Police Superintendent Jody Weis, brought in to stabilize the department after the SOS scandal, says Herrera’s story of street misconduct rings true. “I think there probably was an atmosphere…. ‘Maybe we are breaking the laws, but look what we’ve accomplished.’ They lost their way and it saddens me,” he tells Couric. Of the charge that supervisors knew and encouraged the misconduct, “That is horrific in my eyes,” says Weis.

Chicago Mayor Richard Daley acknowledges the taint on his police department left by the SOS indictments, but says his officers primarily help the public. “It could be 10 or 15 or 20 [misconduct incidents] but every day we’re answering thousands of calls….You don’t allow a series of things to overcome the police mission of serving and protecting the people of the city of Chicago,” he tells Couric.

Produced by Tanya Simon, Andrew Metz and Michael Radutzky
© MMVIII, CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Posted in Corruption, Ethics, Independent Oversight, Know Your Rights, Lies Damn Lies and ..., Testimonies, Unanswered Questions | Leave a Comment »

Former Spokane Police Officer and Military SpecialOps veteran replaces non-Spanish speaking member of Governor’s Hispanic Commission

Posted by Arroyoribera on May 31, 2008

The Washington State Hispanic Commission has chosen to replace its non-Spanish-speaking northeastern Washington representative (covering Spokane and surrounding counties) with a veteran cop and military special ops “expert”. Bob Cepeda is a former Spokane Police Officer and comes to the Governor’s Hispanic Commission at a time when the Spokane Police Department is involved in extensive controversies including unresolved killings of disable individuals, illegal strip searches of minority individuals, spying and civil liberties abuses, and charges of corruption and abuse of authority, as well as the recent forced resignation of a Hispanic member of the Spokane Police Advisory Committee due to accusations of corruption against her. The presence of Cepeda on the Governor’s Commission should be cause for concern given his extensive connections within various police and military agencies, as well as for the intense focus of the commission on gangs, a topic championed by the commission’s former chairwoman, Yvonne Morton-Lopez. Now chairwoman of the Washington State Human Rights Commission, Morton-Lopez has continued to press the focus towards gangs, a topic which in a state where minorities are grossly under-represented in law enforcement is fraught with serious dangers for communities of color. Why did the Governor consider a career cop to be the appropriate representative on her committee in this moment? When will the Governor consider someone who is actually from the community to be a “commissioner”?

http://www.cha.wa.gov/english/yvonne.shtml

Bob Cepeda

Ex-Spokane Police Officer and Military Special Ops named to Washington State Hispanic Commission

Counties: Ferry, Lincoln, Pend Oreille, Spokane and Stevens

(Term Expires 8/01/08 – 1st Term)

Work: Gonzaga University

502 East Boone

Spokane, WA 99258

Telephone: 509-323-3998

Email: cepeda@gonzaga.edu

Commissioner Cepeda is a born and raised native of New York City (Harlem) who currently resides in Spokane with his family.

Mr. Cepeda has over twenty five years experience working in the criminal justice field and seventeen years in military special operations. He is a current consultant and trainer on gangs, terrorism, ethics, crime prevention, and use of force issues. He is a subject-matter expert with the Washington State Criminal Justice Training Commission.

________________________________________________________________________________________________

(translation to Spanish by David Brookbank)

Comisión Hispana del estado de Washington reemplace a Comisionada quien no habla español con ex-policía de Spokane

La Gobernadora del estado de Washington ha nombrado al ex-policía y militar de carera Bob Cepeda como representante de la Comisión Hispana, reemplazando a la ex-comisionada Yvonne Morton-Lopez — quien no habla español — en el noreste del estado de Washington y Spokane.  Cepeda, ex-policía de la ciudad de Spokane y ‘experto’ en operaciones militares especiales, llega a la comisión en un momento en que la policía de Spokane esta involucrada en extensas controversias, incluyendo homicidios no resueltos de individuos incapacitados, cateos ilegales de minorías, espionaje y violaciones de derechos civiles, y cargos de corrupción y abuso de autoridad, igual como el caso reciente de la renuncia obligatoria de un miembro hispano del Comité de Asesoría Policíaca por acusaciones de corrupción en su contra. La presencia de Cepeda en la comisión de la Gobernadora ha de ser causa de preocupación dado a sus extensos vínculos dentro de varias agencias policíacas y militares, igual como su enfoque intenso en pandillas, un tema promovido en gran parte por la ex-presidenta y representante del noreste en la Comision Hispana, Yvonne Morton-Lopez. Ahora como presidenta de la Comisión de Derecho Humanos del estado de Washington, Morton-Lopez ha seguido enfocándose en el tema de pandillas, un tema lleno de peligros serios para las comunidades minoritarias, especialmente en un estado en donde las minorías culturales y raciales son severamente sub-representadas en las agencias policíacas locales, estatales y federales. Por que nuestra Gobernadora consideró un policía de carera apropiada para esta región en este momento? Cuando va a considerar la Gobernadora una persona de veras de la comunidad apropiada para ser “comisionado” o “comisionada”?

Posted in Corruption, Espanol, Ethics, Gangs?, History of SPD Abuses, Know Your Rights, Photographic Evidence, Racism, Unanswered Questions | Leave a Comment »

Northwest Gang Investigators in Spokane, May 19-22, 2008

Posted by Arroyoribera on April 30, 2008

So-called “gang experts” from the Northwest Gang Investigators Association will invade Spokane from May 19 to May 22, 2008, bringing their ever blessed light to shine upon the allegedly serious problem of gangs in Spokane.

It is especially disturbing to see this organization coming to Spokane at this time given the fact that Spokane Police Department is facing a severe crisis of corruption, misconduct, improperly and incompletely investigated police homicides against civilians, a practice of counter-suits against citizens who complain, and an ongoing history of racism in police hiring and policing of the community.

May god help us!

One might recall how in late September 2007 the collective anti-gang brain trust of Spokane — the Gang Enforcement Team (GET) — was involved in a widely publicized scandal as a result of their dissemination of patently false information about a “three-day gang enforcement focus”. The ATF and the GET widely touted their reported “success” in rounding up 70 plus gang members and associates as well as a large amount of weaponry. As it turns out there was only one gun and a handful of gang involved individuals charged with any crime. What was portrayed as a massive anti-gang bust was revealed to be a hoax involving publication of false data and a large scale effort to seed the media with false information. The GET is composed of the Spokane Police Department, Spokane County Sheriff’s Office, Washington State Patrol, ATF, FBI, and other unnamed government agencies.

Not surprisingly, the restricted-attendance event has been promoted by Yvonne Morton-Lopez, the non-Spanish-speaking chairwoman of Governor Chris Gregoire’s Commission on Hispanic Affairs (CHA). Organizations such as the CHA and the Spokane Human Rights Commission have been at the forefront of organizations promoting “forums” on gangs run by the Spokane Police Department, COPS, and the Gang Enforcement Team.

At recent GET forums in Spokane, presenters have taken already unsubstantiated numbers on gang membership in Spokane and inflated them by 25%, claiming for example that the supposed 900 gang members in Spokane is now 1200.

In an environment of police abuses — corruption, violence against members of minority groups, lack of civilian oversight — and in a community with a significant history of racism, organizations such as the Morton-Lopez’s Commission on Hispanic Affairs and Terry Goetz’s Spokane Human Rights Commission are acting extremely irresponsibly and jeopardizing their organizations’ credibility as defenders of the rights of Spokane’s small minority populations.

(Note: Morton-Lopez has recently been named the head of the Washington State Human Rights Commission. It will be interesting to see how she promotes law enforcement interests and their questionable practices from that position.)

Despite evidence which counters the claims of law enforcement and those such as Morton-Lopez about gangs in Spokane, the campaign goes on.  Crime is down in Spokane, according to the police and FBI, despite SPD Corporal Lee’s best efforts to spin the statistics.  And that is with 25 less officers than the comparison year of 2004. Yet, the GET and the COPS program continue to promote their Gang Seminars in the community despite the questionable information presented by GET team members.

http://www.nwgia.com/downloads/2008spring_nwgiaconference-reg.pdf

Posted in All-white SPD?, Gangs?, Independent Oversight, Law, Lies Damn Lies and ..., Spokane Police vs. Youth, Trained to Kill, Unanswered Questions, War Abroad & At Home | Leave a Comment »

Two Separate Societies: One in Prison, One Not — (Op-ed: Washinton Post)

Posted by Arroyoribera on April 20, 2008

washingtonpost.com

Two Separate Societies: One in Prison, One Not

By Marie Gottschalk

Tuesday, April 15, 2008; Page A15

Forty years ago, the Kerner Commission concluded in its landmark study of the causes of racial disturbances in the United States in the 1960s: “Our nation is moving toward two societies, one black, one white — separate and unequal.” Today we are still moving toward two societies: one incarcerated and one not. The Pew Center on the States released a study in February showing that for the first time in this country’s history, more than one in every 100 adults is in jail or prison. According to the Justice Department, 7 million people — or one in every 32 adults — are either incarcerated, on parole or probation or under some other form of state or local supervision.

These figures understate the disproportionate impact that this bold and unprecedented social experiment has had on certain groups in U.S. society. Today one in nine young black men is behind bars. African Americans now comprise more than half of all prisoners, up from a third three decades ago.

Sen. James Webb (D-Va.) held a remarkable set of hearings last October on mass incarceration in the United States. In his opening statement, Webb noted that “the United States has embarked on one of the largest public policy experiments in our history, yet this experiment remains shockingly absent from public debate.”

The leading presidential candidates have not identified mass imprisonment as a central issue, even though it is arguably the country’s top civil rights concern. Many of today’s crime control policies fundamentally impede the economic, political and social advancement of the most disadvantaged blacks and members of other minority groups. Prison leaves them less likely to find gainful employment, vote, participate in other civic activities and maintain ties with their families and communities.

Congress recognized some of these barriers recently when, after years of delay, it approved and sent to the White House the Second Chance Act, which President Bush signed into law last week. This legislation seeks to ease the reentry of prisoners into society by providing modest increases in support for mentoring programs, drug treatment, job training and education.

Bruce Western of Harvard soberly concludes in his landmark book “Punishment and Inequality in America” that mass imprisonment has erased many of the “gains to African American citizenship hard won by the civil rights movement.” Sen. Barack Obama glancingly made some similar points in an address at Howard University last September. But he generally has not focused on the perils of mass incarceration. Neither has Sen. Hillary Clinton, though the $4 billion anti-crime package she unveiled last week did call for elimination of the federal mandatory five-year sentence for minor crack cocaine violations. As for Sen. John McCain, civil rights and criminal justice policy are not among the 15 issues the Republican nominee highlights on his Web site. But America’s space program did make the top 15.

At the hearings last fall, Webb underscored a basic truth sidelined in most discussions of crime and punishment: The explosion of the prison population wasn’t driven so much by an increase in crime as by the way we chose to respond to crime. Even former president Bill Clinton, whose administration was an accomplice in the largest prison buildup in U.S. history, conceded in a keynote address at a University of Pennsylvania symposium in February commemorating the Kerner anniversary: “Most of the people who went to prison should have been let out a long time ago.”

A change of heart by Bill Clinton and other public figures will not be enough to reverse the prison boom. In rare instances, public officials have been moved by strong personal beliefs to empty their prisons. During his brief tenure as Britain‘s home secretary early in the 20th century, Winston Churchill expressed deep skepticism about what could be achieved through incarceration, and he began releasing prisoners. Political leadership has been critical for major reductions in incarceration in other countries. But in many cases, the public and experts on criminal justice had to push politicians to begin emptying their prisons and jails.

It is a national disgrace that the U.S. incarceration rate is five to 12 times that of other industrialized countries as well as being the highest in the world. As Churchill once said, “The mood and temper of the public in regard to the treatment of crime and criminals is one of the most unfailing tests of the civilization of any country.”

Marie Gottschalk, an associate political science professor at the University of Pennsylvania, is author of ” The Prison and the Gallows: The Politics of Mass Incarceration in America.”

Posted in War Abroad & At Home | Leave a Comment »

North Central High counselor working hard on behalf of U.S. military recruiters

Posted by Arroyoribera on March 23, 2008

Jane Umphrey, a counselor at Spokane’s North Central High School, has been hard at work on behalf of U.S. military recruiters. Here (click here for PDF file) are some documents obtained through a Freedom of Information Request to Spokane School District 81 in September 2005 and January 2007.

The letter from Russell J. Vaucher from the U.S. Army Recruiting Battalion in Seattle dated 10/4/04 was sent to North Central High School and subsequently e-mailed by the District to all schools on 12/3/04. Vaucher included Section 9528 of HR 1 (“No Child Left Behind” Act) which request schools to “provide, on a request made by military recruiters or an institution of higher education, access to secondary school students’ names, addresses, and telephone numbers”. As you will note in Vaucher’s letter, he request specific formats for providing the information to Joseph/Jenkins@usarec.army.mil.

This request for names of Spokane District 81 student information was made in the midst of a period of massive violations of law and policy by U.S. military recruiters. By May 2005 the extent of the violations and abuses was international news and the military had shut down recruiting for a day to attempt to get a handle on the abuses.

Department of the Army Recruitment Letter to North Central High School 10-4-2004 and related documents

U.S. military recruiter misconduct is a very well established fact and has been criminally prosecuted on multiple occasions during this illegal invasion, occupation and brutalization of Iraq. The extent of the abuses was extensively documented in May 2007 (read 2007) by Nashville’s WTVF. The WTVF website includes, among many other print and video resources, a 30-minute documentary “Dishonorable Deceptions” on the recruitment of the mentally ill.

A couple years ago, U.S. military recruiters in Spokane attempted to recruit a legal Latin American immigrant out of a Spokane-area school. This kid has a 68 IQ, suffered a stroke at birth, and was in special education. His parents do not speak English. They had the nerve to visit the kid at school and at his home. After his parents complained to me, I contacted the recruiter and told him that he could certainly continue his efforts if he chose to but, if he did so, he would face being accused and hopefully charged. That was the last the family heard of him.

In addition, there is this e-mail by Frank Shaffery, the U.S. Army Recruiting Command’s deputy director of recruiting operations.
http://www.newschannel5.com/Global/story.asp?S=6488309&nav=menu374_2_2

“Established cases” is only a small reflection of the actually extent of the problem. Again, the U.S. Government Accounting Office (GAO) report in August 2006 which stated, “available service data show that between fiscal years 2004 and 2005, allegations and service-identified incidents of recruiter wrongdoing increased, collectively, from 4,400 cases to 6,600 cases; substantiated cases increased from just over 400 to almost 630 cases; and criminal violations more than doubled from just over 30 to almost 70 cases.”
http://www.gao.gov/highlights/d06846high.pdf

You will note the words “service-identified incidents” in the GAO report and you will note the number of substantiated cases increasing to a number almost double that which you present. Search the web and talk to real people in our community and you find many more allegations. No one has to doubt that the military and the Bush administration have little interest in substantiating and investigating the extent of the violations. Suffice it to say that it did not take more than a few weeks for the first major exposes on the issues before the US military took the unprecedented step of shutting down recruitment for a day to try to correct its rotten, criminal (again see the GAO stats) recruitment efforts.

Ignorant as they may be of the realities of the Middle East and of modern warfare, the U.S. president and his “chickenhawk” minions are sufficiently astute to understand that a draft would constitute the collapse of the entire house of cards and would have us once again have us remembering Kent State.
http://spokanepoliceabuses.wordpress.com/2007/08/06/know-your-rights-tin-soldiers-and-nixons-coming/

The U.S. military utilizes tens of thousands of mercenaries — US and foreign — in Iraq. The military is severely broken. They are desperate for cannon fodder and are engaged in an ongoing campaign of false advertising.

Be assured that additional recruitment scandals will be forthcoming, as the abuses are occurring even as we write.
The public will continue to respond to the abuses and will legitimately continue to focus on recruiters and their superiors, all of whom are paid by the taxpayer and are subject to law.

More important than the numbers of abuses by U.S. military recruiters is the type of abuses they have engaged in. We are talking not just about misleading and exaggeration. We are talking about rape, forgery, and other sorts of crimes. As this August 20, 2006, report discloses:

(quote) More than 100 young women who expressed interest in joining the military in the past year were preyed upon sexually by their recruiters. Women were raped on recruiting office couches, assaulted in government cars and groped en route to entrance exams. A six-month Associated Press investigation found that more than 80 military recruiters were disciplined last year for sexual misconduct with potential enlistees. The cases occurred across all branches of the military and in all regions of the country. (end quote)
http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2006/08/19/national/main1913849.shtml

Even with the number of 630, this is not insignificant. A May 5, 2005, New York Times report found that 1 in 5 recruiters was under investigation.
http://rncwatch.typepad.com/counterrecruiter/2005/05/one_in_five_rec.html
If you do not want to get to the NY Times article via a counter-recruitment blog (though this one has great resources), go directly to the NY Times article.
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/05/03/national/03recruit.html?ex=1272772800&en=cb1c8ef720824a5d&ei=5088&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss
http://www.quakerhouse.org/Recruiter-Abuses-03.htm

Again, I believe it is important to frame this recruitment scandal in the context of a growing list of scandals related to the U.S. defeat and fiasco in Iraq — 1) the original lies and deceptions used to convince the world and justify the invasion; 2) the cover-ups related to U.S. war crimes; 3) the thefts and maladministration of billions by U.S. forces, contractors, and companies; 4) the lies to soldiers, families and countries about the circumstances of deaths, such as those of Pat Tillman in Afghanistan and the lies about the story of Jessica Lynch and the death of her fellow soldiers; and many, many other scandals, some yet to come to light.
http://www.salon.com/opinion/feature/2008/03/19/iraq_five/

Those who seek to defend this Bush/Neo-Con fiasco will always find themselves behind the fact that it is destined to be described as one of the biggest military fiasco in human history — and perhaps at the top of the list. The final consequences of the war are yet to be known. Will it lead to collapse of the U.S. economy? Will it lead to a nuclear confrontation in the Middle East? How many thousands and tens of thousands of U.S. troops will return home to kill themselves, live with mental illness, and destroy the lives of their families? How far will the image and power of the U.S. decline? Time will tell. In the meantime, facts point to a greatly diminished U.S. and a legacy equal to that of the U.S. defeat in Vietnam. How long will we be subject to the apologists?

Posted in Freedom to Fascism, Know Your Rights, Lies Damn Lies and ..., Surveillance Society, Unanswered Questions, US Military abuses, War Abroad & At Home | Leave a Comment »

Police say they use taser on non-violent people

Posted by Arroyoribera on March 13, 2008

http://noworldsystem.com/2008/03/11/police-say-they-use-tasers-on-non-violent-people/

Police say they use Tasers on non-violent people
Internal documents show the weapon has been employed simply to get some suspects do what they are told

The Vancouver Sun
March 8, 2008

Vancouver police regularly use Tasers to subdue people who are unarmed and non-violent, according to internal reports released by the force.

On Friday, in response to a Freedom of Information request, VPD published on its website details of the about 150 times officers drew their Tasers from 2002 to early 2007.

The more than 70 pages of reports include cases where the electric shock weapon was drawn from its holster but not fired.

The reports cover cases in which the Taser was fired at a suspect from a distance and cases where it was used in “drive stun” mode — where a shock is administered by holding the device directly against a suspect.

The reports indicate that, in most cases in which Vancouver officers fired the Taser from a distance, the person was acting violently — from fighting with officers to threatening themselves or others with a weapon.

“[Officers] observed the male stabbing himself in the stomach with a pen,” reads one report from 2006. “When [officers] challenged the suspect, he ran at them and the [Taser] was fired. The suspect immediately fell to the ground and was handcuffed.”

However, in a number of cases, police used the Taser as soon as someone displayed a “fighting stance” or simply to get a non-violent suspect to do what they were told.

“Suspect fled from plainclothes members and resisted arrest when caught. Suspect was taken to the ground but refused to allow [officers] to handcuff him and held his arms underneath his body,” reads one report from 2006. “Strikes and open hand techniques were attempted but the suspect was still resisting. A [Taser] drive stun was applied to the suspect’s lower back and the suspect was then handcuffed.”

Jason Gratl, president of the B.C. Civil Liberties Association, said he was troubled to see Vancouver police are using the Taser as a compliance tool.

“The officers seem content to Taser individuals for lack of compliance with verbal commands or aggressive posturing,” said Gratl. “It is dead certain from these reports that Tasers are not merely an alternative to the use of sidearms but are used in practice as a convenient tool to gain physical control over individuals.”

There is debate over whether the Taser should be used to get non-violent suspects to comply with police orders.

In December, Paul Kennedy, head of the RCMP’s Commission for Public Complaints, published a report saying Tasers were used too often and recommended police use them only against suspects who are being “combative” or “posing a risk of death or grievous bodily harm” to themselves or others.

VPD Const. Jana McGuiness said the force believes the Taser is sometimes the safest option for controlling someone who is resisting arrest. “The problem is when you have a subject resisting to that degree, your chances of injuring yourself or that person escalates,” she said. “The Taser allows [police] to gain control with the minimum amount of injury to themselves or the suspect.”

According to the VPD, suicide attempts were an issue in about one in five Taser deployments and drugs or alcohol were a factor in one in three.

Ohio: Travellers Threatened With Arrest In Storm
http://abclocal.go.com/kabc/story?section=weather&id=6008531&pt=print
Japanese coastguard ’shot’ whaling activist
http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment..rc=rss&feed=networkfront

Chicago Links School Cameras to Police Squad Cars
http://www.chicagotribune.com..meras-07mar07,1,4279778,print.story

Britain Makes Camera That Sees Under Clothes
http://www.reuters.com/article/newsOne/idUSL0926757420080309

Britain Building Stealth DNA Database
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/li..528857&in_page_id=1770

Posted in Independent Oversight, Prison Industrial Complex, Surveillance Society, Tasers, Unanswered Questions, War Abroad & At Home | Leave a Comment »

URGENT CALL — Spokane Campaign Against Violence Motivated by Hate

Posted by Arroyoribera on March 11, 2008

A CAMPAIGN AGAINST VIOLENCE MOTIVATED BY HATE

Working together to address the increase in random acts of violence against homeless individuals in our community. We hope as a community we can put an end to this appalling and frightening trend.

Central United Methodist Church

518 W 3rd

Tuesday March 18, 2:00 pm

Please RSVP with

Holly Jean Chilinski

Shalom Ministries

Shalom30@qwestoffice.net

(509) 455-9019

*********************************

http://www.spokesmanreview.com/media/video/?ID=844 http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2003089027_webhomeless27.html  http://thegimpparade.blogspot.com/search?q=spokane  http://thegimpparade.blogspot.com/2006/07/disabled-homeless-man-set-afire-after.html

 

Posted in Ethics, In Collective Self-Defense, Know Your Rights, Racism, Solutions, Testimonies, Urgent Call | Leave a Comment »

Spokane Police Complaint Forms

Posted by Arroyoribera on March 11, 2008

The first two are police internal affairs forms described by Spokane Police Internal Affairs Sgt. Jim Faddis as “unnecessary”.  They were obtained from by me from Sgt. Faddis and a colleague at the Police Internal Affairs Office located at the time in the Monroe Court Building in downtown Spokane.  Faddis had initially refused to provide the documents but when I told him that I would simply file a public disclosure request and then sue if they were not released, he hand them to me.

Spokane Police Internal Affairs Form 1

Spokane Police Internal Affairs Form 2

The second two are the front and back of a form that SPD reluctantly developed in a couple years ago after persistent demands from the community.

How to File a Complaint about Spokane Police Misconduct 1

How to File a Complaint about Spokane Police Misconduct 2

Posted in History of SPD Abuses | Leave a Comment »

 
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