Spokane Police Abuses: Past to Present

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

Archive for the ‘All-white SPD?’ Category

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 »

WACOPS — Another All-White Washington State Law Enforcement Organization?

Posted by Arroyoribera on February 9, 2008

All-White Washington Council of Police and Sheriffs (WACOPS)

Photo from the home page of the Washington Council of Police and Sheriffs ( WACOPS ) website.

Also revealing (or scary depending on your perspective on the documented and pervasive history of racism in law enforcement) are these photos of the executives and staff of WACOPS.

Another picture of the all-white staff and executives of WACOPS is found on the cover of the WACOPS Shield & Star Publication.

This should not be surprising but is certain cause for concern and worthy of public scrutiny.

This are links to other information on the nearly all-white nature of other police organizations and police departments in the state of Washington:

All-white Spokane Police Department?

All-White Washington State Tactical Officers Association (WSTOA)

Posted in All-white SPD?, Corruption, Photographic Evidence, Racism, Unanswered Questions | Leave a Comment »

Are Racist Cops Better Organized Than We Thought?

Posted by Arroyoribera on February 1, 2008

[Note from SpokanePoliceAbuses blogmeister: Hopefully those at Spokane’s so-called “progressive” radio station KYRS – Thin Air Community Radio who are discussing airing a radio show hosted by racist ex-LA cop Mark Fuhrman are paying attention to information like this.]

Are Racist Cops Better Organized Than We Thought?

This is just chilling:

INSIDE the locker of a narcotics cop, Philadelphia police officials recently made a shocking discovery: A cartoon of a man, half as an officer in uniform and half as a Klansman with the words: “Blue By Day – White By Night. White Power,” according to police officials.

…Schweizer, 33, joined the force in June 1997 and makes $54,794 a year, city payroll records show. He became part of the elite Narcotics Strike Force about six years ago. As an undercover, plainclothes cop who worked day and night shifts, Schweizer was part of a surveillance team that watched drug buys and locked up hundreds of suspected drug dealers. He frequently testified in court as a witness for prosecutors. [Philadelphia Daily News]

Racial disparities abound in the war on drugs, but most analysis of the drug war’s disparate impact focuses on institutional bias. Rarely are we confronted with such a disturbing window into the racist mindset of an individual officer. Such beliefs render one thoroughly unqualified to carry out law-enforcement duties in any capacity and raise serious questions about this officer’s past actions.

More troubling, however, is the possibility that Schweizer is just the tip of the iceberg. Is he a cartoonist? Did he draw the thing himself, or is there a larger organization that produces and markets police-themed racist merchandise to a clientele of closeted white supremacist police officers? I don’t know the answer, but this poster sounds like a logo for something very creepy.

Of course, this is just one anecdotal incident, but when such revelations occur within an institution with such a hideously rich tradition of racial bias, it certainly doesn’t feel like a coincidence. It is an unflattering portrait of our criminal justice system that adherents to such ideology are able to assimilate within it. Indeed, had he merely possessed the wisdom to keep racist cartoons out if his locker, this officer would still be hard at work filling our prisons with young black and Hispanic drug offenders.

Posted in All-white SPD?, Educating the Chief, History of SPD Abuses, Independent Oversight, Racism, Spokane LE Personalities, Unanswered Questions | Leave a Comment »

Up 40% year-to-date

Posted by Arroyoribera on January 20, 2008

Usage statistics for this blog show readership up 40% year-to-date. On-line just 6 months, SpokanePoliceAbuses will go over 20,000 hits in the next couple days and reached a single week high with a day remaining in the week.

Whether it is satellite imagery of the CIA’s SERE Torture Training facility outside Spokane, video of police brutality and arbitrary exercise of repressive powers by the Spokane Police Department, or links to SPD officers such as bodybuilding undercover SPD cop Mel Tramell or recently fired SPD cop and deputized federal drug task force member Jason Uberuaga (alleged rapist), you will find information on it here.

Want to see pictures of weaponry in the militarized arsenal of the Spokane area law enforcement? You will find it here.

Concerned about Spokane Police officers blogging under pseudonyms and phony names on Spokesman-Review blogs? Get the story and analysis at SpokanePoliceAbuses.

Not aware that Spokane was the site of mass civil action and brutal repression against the likes of Elizabeth Gurley-Flynn in 1909?

Did not know that martial law was declared in Spokane by the federal government in 1917? Click here.

Concerned about possible ethical issues involving Spokane Police Chief Anne Kirkpatrick? Read more.

Information on those matters and more can be found here at SpokanePoliceAbuses.wordpress.com

Want to know more about Spokane area law enforcement “personalities of note” such as Ron “Rocketsbrain” Wright, Mark Fuhrman, Alan Chertok, and Andrew “Skip” Pavlischak?

Looking for statistics, reports and information for your own investigations and efforts to bring to Spokane Police Department under civilian oversight?

Concerned about the unresolved homicide-by-cops of Otto Zehm?

Disturbed by the involvement of FBI agent Jason Oakley in the spying on and infiltrating of local activist organizations? See also FBI Watchlist — Spokane Edition.

There are also numerous videos, some related to the Spokane Police Department such as “You Honkey, We Drinkey — or Officer Brownlee’s Excellent Adventures” and those related to the Police Riot against Youth in Riverfront Park on 7/4/07.

However, there are many other videos. Want to see the infamous UCLA tasering video, or the tasering of the University of Florida student who attempted to address Sen. John Kerry, or the Polish man tasered and killed in the Vancouver International Airport?

These videos are evidence of the danger of misuse of tasers by poorly trained, unskilled, and out-of-control police officers. They are also evidence of the lie of freedom and democracy in North American which rapidly being disclosed to the people of the world by citizen journalists armed with cameras, cell phones, and recording devices.

David Brookbank — owner, administrator and author of the SpokanePoliceAbuses blog — believes that there is an intimate and demonstrable connection between abuses of police power in Spokane, Washington, and the unrelenting imperialist brutalization of the globe by the government of the United States. As a result, this blog also hosts a number of articles, commentaries, photographs, links, and videos related directly to fascism, imperialism, Iraq, Vietnam, Nixon, Bush, anti-war protest, U.S. government spying and lying, and numerous other subjects.

Thus one will find here music videos, some with commentary, such as Call it Democracy, Welcome to 1984, Ohio, and La Coartada.

A favorite video of mine is “What it’s like” by Everlast, presented in the context of a Spokane Police Officer’s statement to a community health worker: “I have a job to do. I have to get these shit bags out of the park”.

There are documentary clips such as Naomi Klein’s Shock Doctrine, U.S. government waterboarding training videos, and Ward Churchill on Perpetual War: State Sponsored Terrorism.

Please visit this site frequently. Send the link to those you know looking to bring accountability to the Spokane Police Department and those abusing power around the world.

And finally, please send your suggestions, leads, and comments to me at spokanepoliceabuses@gmail.com

Posted in All-white SPD?, Educating the Chief, FBI in Spokane, Freedom to Fascism, History of SPD Abuses, In Collective Self-Defense, Independent Oversight, Jason Oakley and the FBI, License to Kill, Lies Damn Lies and ..., Photographic Evidence, Protest and Free Speech, Spokane LE Personalities, Statistics, Unanswered Questions, Videos, War Abroad & At Home, Weaponry--SPD/SCSO | Leave a Comment »

The War Against Us All — Immortal Technique with Mumia Abu Jamal

Posted by Arroyoribera on December 3, 2007

the war against us all

 


“the war against us all. this war in iraq isn’t the end, it’s the beginning of wars to come. all around the world, at the whim of the neo-cons in the white house. this is the bush doctrine come to life. war. war. and more war. war brought to you by the big corporate masters who run the show. this isn’t just a war on iraqi’s, or afghani’s, or even arabs or muslims. it is ultimately a war on us all. that’s because the billions and billions of dollars that are being spent on this war, the cost of tanks, rocketry, bullets, and yes, even salaries for the 125,000 plus troops is money that will never be spent on education. on health care. on the reconstruction of crumbling public housing. or to train and place the millions of workers who had lost manufacturing jobs in the past 3 years alone. the war in iraq, is in reality, a war against the nation’s workers and the poor. who are getting less and less. while the big defense industries are making a killing, literally. what’s next? iran? syria? north korea? venezuela? we’ve already seen the corporate media play megaphone to the white house to build and promote a war based on lies. war is utilized by the imperialists, first and foremost, to crush internal enemies. we’re seeing the truth of his insight when we see the sad state of american education. the rush of seniors to buy affordable medications from the canadians, because american drugs are just too expensive. the threatened privatization of social security, and the wave of repression that comes with an increasingly militarized police. this is a war on all of us. and the struggle against war is really a struggle for better life, for the millions of folks who are in need here in this country. the fight against the war is really to fight for your own interests. not the false interests of the defense industries, or the corporate media, or the white house. down with the wars for empire, from death row, this is mumia abu-jamal.”(Music: Immortal Technique with Mumia Abu Jamal)

http://www.freemumia.org/index.html

Posted in All-white SPD?, Freedom to Fascism, In Collective Self-Defense, Know Your Rights, Protest and Free Speech, Videos, War Abroad & At Home | Leave a Comment »

Ladies and gentleman, yourrrrrrrr Spokane Police Department (Take 1)

Posted by Arroyoribera on November 11, 2007

I must admit that to me it was quite a shock.

In September 2006, Spokane, Washington — our fair town — had just hired this upbeat, lively woman to be our police chief…

Chief Anne Kirkpatrick — September 2006

Imagine my surprise to learn that in May 2007, the city of Spokane had an apparently different woman as police chief. This lady…

Chief Anne Kirkpatrick — May 2007

An imposter?

Perhaps.

Or maybe just a mere mortal finding out for herself that what Rick Mendoza of the Spokane Police Advisory Committee publicly called “the best police department in the United States” is far from it.

Call it a long string of that bad luck if you want.

But I will tell you one thing for certain.

I’d still rather have Anne Kirkpatrick — be it the September 2006 model or the May 2007 model — as Spokane police chief than this man…

Al Odenthal

http://www.spokesmanreview.com/local/story.asp?ID=59295&page=all

On August 11, 2000, Spokane Assistant Police Chief Al Odenthal (and at one point a candidate for the new police chief position) intervened with SPD officers so that instead of arresting and jailing his daughter, they would instead release her. After an internal investigation, Odenthal was suspended for five days at a cost of about $2000 in wages.

In March 2005 Odenthal made arrangements for the Spokane Police Department to purchase a warehouse from former SPD captain Chuck Crabtree using the real estate services of former assistant police chief John Sullivan. Just two years earlier in 2003 Odenthal’s boss, Chief Roger Bragdon, had pled for lenient sentencing of Crabtree’s son, Jim, who was convicted of crack cocaine possession and dealing as well as vehicular assault stemming from a 2001 incident which nearly killed Sgt Earl Howerton. Jim Crabtree was a Spokane County sheriff’s deputy who became a drug-dealer.

Because of what Mayor Dennis called Deputy Chief Odenthal’s “botched” investigation, it initially appeared that a Spokane Fireman involved in photographing a minor girl in a Spokane firehouse could not be legally prosecuted, since SPD officer told the fireman to delete the photos. Incredibly and — as if he thinks the citizens of Spokane are absolute idiots — deputy chief Odenthal noted that prosecutors investigating the incident “found no intent by the officers to impair or obstruct the investigation.” Fortunately, the city is revisiting the case. Unfortunately, the case was been assigned to Odenthal’s fellow assistant police chief Bruce Richards (former chief of detectives) meaning he will be investigating one of his own.

Posted in All-white SPD?, Educating the Chief, Spokane LE Personalities, Yes ma'am Chief | Leave a Comment »

Working up from the streets — Rev. Greg Boyle on Word For Word

Posted by Arroyoribera on November 2, 2007

“Gang members are not our enemies. They are our children. And if we do not help them, no one will.” — The mother of a former gang member speaking about the work of Father Greg J. Boyle, S.J.

“It is not about service provider or service recipient. It’s about us belonging to each other”. — Father Greg Boyle

(Click here to Listen to this brilliant, entertaining and inspirational speech by Father Greg Boyle, founder of Homeboy Industries)

In recent presentations by the Spokane Police Department, the expression has been used on more than one occasion, “we are not going to police ourselves out of gang problems“. To be honest, what was said was, “YOU are not going to police yourselves out of gang problems”, as if the solution lay only with the community minus law enforcement.

Nevertheless, the truth of this message — that we will not succeed in dealing with any gang problems Spokane may have, nor any other social problems we have unless we begin “working up from the street” — is the message of Jesuit priest Greg Boyle, founder of Homeboy Industries in Los Angeles.

Rev. Greg Boyle  

November 2, 2007

Working up from the streets — Homeboy Industries

Rev. Greg Boyle is the founder of Los Angeles-based Homeboy Industries, an organization that gives jobs to young men and women who agree to give up the gang life. They make T-shirts and tacos, do maintenance and landscaping work, and in the process Boyle says they find a sense of self-worth. Rev. Boyle described his mission to “plan futures, not funerals” in an Oct. 25 speech in Minneapolis.

http://download.publicradio.org/podcast/wordforword/2007/11/02_wordforword_64.mp3

Homeboy Industries

Word for Word from American Public Media

Posted in All-white SPD?, Educating the Chief, Gangs?, History of SPD Abuses, Solutions | Leave a Comment »

Diversity at the Spokane Police Department

Posted by Arroyoribera on October 13, 2007

Because I believe that the issue of diversity (rather the lack of it in all aspects of life in Spokane) is so crucial, I have combined three prior posts on the Spokane Police and its lack of diversity. I believe it is especially important to look at this reality now as the SPD engages in its factually unsubstantiated gang propaganda campaign. And for a perspective on the same issue of lack of diversity in law enforcement on a statewide basis, check out All-White Washington State Tactical Officers Association (WSTOA)

All-White Spokane Police Department? Or just all-white recruitment?

Posted by Arroyoribera on 18th September 2007

 

These photos are from the Spokane Police Recruitment announcement on their web page.

Some dozen and a half photos posted on the recruitment page of the Spokane Police Department website show about 71 white officers and approximately 5 non-white officers. That is a seven percent ratio, under-representing the minority population in Spokane by at least 30%.

(If you click repeatedly on the refresh button on your browser you will eventually work your way through the photos.)

The contact for applications is Sgt. Chuck Reisenauer, recent past President of the Spokane Police Guild.

This link will take you to other posts from the All-White SPD category at the SpokanePoliceAbuses blog.

http://spokanepoliceabuses.wordpress.com/category/all-white-spd/

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Photos of All-White Spokane Police Department from Spokane Police Guild Website

Posted by Arroyoribera on 18th July 2007

 

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All-White Spokane Police Department?

Posted by Arroyoribera on 28th July 2007

 

It would appear again that the Spokane Police Department is an all-white police force.

The photos on the Spokane Police Guild website point to that possibility (see slide show in prior entry at this same blogsite).

So does the new newsletter put out by Chief of Police Ann Kirkpatrick. Everyone portrayed, everyone commended, everyone awarded, everyone promoted is white.

Spokane Police Department Newsletter

One should not be surprised by this. Leaving aside the issue of the town’s history of blatant racism, it is one of the whitest per capita cities in the United States. In fact, per 1994 census data, it was the second whitest city per capita for all cities in the U.S. its size or larger. In other words, of all the cities in the U.S. the size of Spokane or larger, only Lincoln, Nebraska had fewer minorities per every hundred people than Spokane.

All-White Spokane Police Department

Posted in All-white SPD?, Educating the Chief, Gangs?, History of SPD Abuses, Photographic Evidence | Leave a Comment »

All-White Washington State Tactical Officers Association (WSTOA)

Posted by Arroyoribera on October 3, 2007

[Evidence — Washington State Tactical Officers Association’s all-white Executive Board and District Representatives, including Spokane County Sheriff’s Deputy Jeremy Jeske.]

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As anyone knows who has looked at the way police discuss gangs and crime, the discussion is rife with statements like “the law is color blind” and “gangs and crime are not limited to any race or gender”.

Really? Have you ever been to a gang enforcement presentation by the Spokane Police Department? Have you ever looked at the Spokane Police Department website or publications?

The composition of the audience, presenter, the organizers, and the representatives of sponsoring organizations were overwhelmingly white. Who is talking to whom about what?

It is important to look at such statements as “the law is color blind”.

One does not hear that expression often if you are in a community of color. That is not what people of color say about law enforcement and the “justice” system.

Of course, it is what one hears from the purportedly “color blind” legal system when it is either attempting to defend itself against allegations of racism or from the actual law enforcement personnel attempting to justify their overwhelming presence in poor and minority communities.

Posts here have already looked at the way the Spokane Police Department likes to conceive of itself as well as the way that it presents itself to the public on its website and in other contexts.

The same should be asked of other law enforcement in the state of Washington. Who do they represent? Who do they recruit? Who do they protect? Whose side are they on? What sort of crime do they focus on?

Perhaps one of the best ways to get some perspective on these questions and the answers to them is to look at powder cocaine vs. crack cocaine. Studying this drug — cocaine — in these two forms and the differences in which crimes related to them are policed and adjudicated is a study in disparities of economic, class, racial and political justice in the US today. Much has been written over the real life consequences for individual, communities, and society as a whole as a result of an analysis of the differences between the policing techniques and sentencing guidelines used to deal with each. This ACLU report is but one of a multitude of studies and analyzes.

Take a look at the Washington State Tactical Officers Association

Do you see any women? Do you see any African-Americans? Do you think there are many bilingual/bicultural individuals? Does this look like a group of guys that would be very inclined towards or good at Community-Oriented Policing?

Who is training whom for what?

Who is preparing for what against whom when and where?

Are they planning to serve in your community or against just one neighborhood of your community or perhaps go to work for Blackwater in Iraq?

You tell me…..

And now, ladies and gentleman, your 99.9% white/100% male Washington State Tactical Officers Association!

http://www.wstoa.org/training.html (Click on slide show below for 38 photos from the WSTOA website.)

Or perhaps go to work for Blackwater in Iraq… or New Orleans, or Detroit, or Venezuela, or Guatemala, or you tell me.

(In fact, major international mercenary outfits such as Triple Canopy and Blackwater USA — among many others — are sponsors of the Washington State Tactical Officers Association).

Posted in All-white SPD?, Freedom to Fascism, Independent Oversight, License to Kill, Photographic Evidence, Trained to Kill, Unanswered Questions, War Abroad & At Home | Leave a Comment »

The Spokane 17–Defending Freedom–Power to the People–July 4, 2007

Posted by Arroyoribera on September 30, 2007

Legal defense teams are hard at work in Spokane on the behalf of the Spokane 17. These seventeen young people were arrested on July 4, 2007, following a coordinated action against them by the Spokane Police TAC* Team. (*See the end of this post for important information about the TAC unit).

Four and a half years into an illegal war of aggression and occupation by the United States government against the people of Iraq — a war which has cost $500 billion, 3800 U.S. lives, and in excess of half a million Iraqi lives — it is important to begin to look at this and other incidents in a broader historical context.

The 1960 and early 1970s in the United States were characterized by intensive efforts by local and state police departments, the FBI, CIA, Treasury Department and military intelligence to repress the activities of a wide array of organizations and individuals involved in the exploration of personal freedoms, the challenging of the status quo, and opposition to militarism, war, and political deceit. Much of this activity occurred as part of COINTELPRO operations and domestic CIA activities against U.S. citizens.

Much has been written on the mechanisms of state oppression. Noam Chomsky’s Domestic Terrorism: Notes on the State System of Oppression addresses “the effectiveness of the system of controls that has been in force for many years, the activities of the FBI being only the spearhead for far more extensive, substantial, and effective — if more low-keyed — measures enforced throughout American society.”

In this piece, Chomsky writes:

(quote) Given the historical context, it is entirely natural that the beginnings of protest and organization in the early 1960s set the apparatus of (state) repression into operation once again, in the manner described above and elsewhere. Nor is it surprising that American liberalism looked the other way, until the repression struck home under Nixon; and even then, it is important to emphasize once again, indignation was largely restricted to Nixon’s crimes, insignificant in comparison to the revelations of the same period. (end quote)

Chomsky analysis makes reference to the January 2, 1920 “Palmer raids”, which resulted in the arrest of nearly 4,000 (10,000 by other accounts) anarchists and other radicals. Chomsky describes US Attorney General Alexander Palmer as…

(quote) … a liberal and progressive. His purpose was “to tear out the radical seeds that have entangled American ideas in their poisonous theories.” His belief that the state has the authority to prevent these seeds from germinating is within the general framework of American liberalism. The mass media, the schools, and the universities defend ideological orthodoxy in their own, generally successful, ways. When a threat to reigning dogma is perceived, the state is entitled to act. (end quote)

The events of July 4, 2007, in Spokane were just one incident out of many around the country since the start of the U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq. And they will not be the last.

At the same time that we frame these events in a current national and international context, it is also important to view them within the history of Spokane and the actions of the Spokane City government and its police agents.

(quote) On November 2, 1909, the city government at Spokane, Washington, started to arrest the speakers of the I. W. W. (International Workers of the World) for holding street meetings. The locals at that point decided to fight the city and force it to allow the organization to hold street meetings. The fight lasted up to the first of March following, and resulted in compelling the city to pass a law allowing street speaking. Over 500 men and women went to jail during the free speech fight. Two hundred went on a hunger strike that lasted from 11 to 13 days, and then went from 30 to 45 days on bread and water; two ounces of bread per day. Four members lost their lives as a result of the treatment accorded them in this fight. (end quote) http://www.iww.org/cic/history/V_St_John.html

As the Spokane community prepares for the legal defense of these brave young people who on July 4, 2007, acted out of moral conviction and who represent informed American values and traditions, we are well advised to renew and deepen our sense of history as well as our perception of the threats we face if we fail to rise to occasion of defending our basic freedoms.

History simply keeps repeating itself. Facts and ideologies vary and the circumstances mask themselves in the idiosyncrasies of communities, individuals and historical contexts. The powers-that-be will ride this current wave of American imperialism and international lawlessness for as long as a cowed, distracted, and de-politicized public allows it.

Each local uprising, each act of collective resistance, and each moment of courage in the face of state power and societal complacency is to be defended, is to be celebrated, and is to be carefully protected from the efforts to distort it, to re-write it, and to demonize it.

For a number of reasons, I think it is an appropriate moment to re-visit the Trial of the Chicago 7 (which was the Chicago 8 until Bobby Seale of the Black Panther Party was given a separate trial). The last of the three links following is the testimony of Abbie Hoffman.

http://www.law.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/ftrials/Chicago7/chicago7.html

http://www.law.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/ftrials/Chicago7/Account.html

http://www.law.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/ftrials/Chicago7/Hoffman.html

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* Spokane Police Department Tactical (TAC) Team

The TAC Team is a unit specializing in crowd management (e.g., at demonstrations, rock concerts, special events, etc.) and civil disturbance response and control. The unit consists of 36 officers, 1 sergeant, and one lieutenant. Currently, the SPD TAC Team is the only team from a Washington agency providing instruction through the Washington State Training Commission on riot control tactics and civil disturbance tactics. (For an article on the TAC unit, their January 13, 2007 training at Finch Elementary School, and photos of some 21 all-white TAC members, as well as their Lieutenant, Lt. Dave McGovern, please see page 4 of Chief Ann Kirkpatrick’s February 2007 Newsletter.)

 

Question: Given the events in Riverfront Park on July 4, 2007, and the unjustifiable conduct of the Spokane Police Department TAC Team, why would the SPD’s TAC Team — according to the Spokane Police Department website — be “the only team from a Washington agency providing instruction through the Washington State Training Commission (WSTC) on riot control tactics and civil disturbance tactics”?

I call on Washington State Governor Christine Gregoire, State Attorney General Rob McKenna, Washington State Senator Lisa Brown and other Spokane area legislators to demand an immediate investigation of the WSTC’s continued use of the Spokane Police Department TAC Team for such trainings.

Furthermore, given the fact that the SPD TAC Team has been conducting such trainings, there should be an immediate investigation of the impact upon the performance of police units and individual police personnel throughout the state who have received such training from the SPD TAC, as well as the impact on the public in specific instances in which SPD TAC-trained units and/or personnel have engaged the public with these so-called “riot control tactics and civil disturbance tactics”.

The people of Spokane are involved in an epic struggle to bring a renegade and unrepentant police department under civilian control. Given the atrocities committed by SPD officers over the last several years, elected officials such as Governor Gregoire, Attorney General McKenna, and Senator Lisa Brown, as well as organizations such as the ACLU, the Washington State Human Rights Commission, and the Spokane Human Rights Commission can no longer silently sit out this struggle without suffering the shame and discredit associated with closing their eyes to evident violations of the public trust.

SpokanePoliceAbuses.wordpress.com will continue to provide additional information on the SPD/TAC Team as well as past SPD/TAC members who now work as law enforcement consultants and trainers around the US and world — such as Andrew “Skip” Pavlischak, the retired 27 year Spokane Police Department veteran who works for tactical training contractors such as Front Range Training and Consulting LLC and Team One Network.

The people of Spokane are now awaiting appropriate investigatory and oversight actions by our elected officials and agency heads at the state, county and local levels.

Posted in All-white SPD?, Freedom to Fascism, History of SPD Abuses, In Collective Self-Defense, Independent Oversight, Know Your Rights, Unanswered Questions, Videos, War Abroad & At Home | Leave a Comment »

URGENT CALL (10/03/07)–Gang Seminar by Spokane Police Department

Posted by Arroyoribera on September 25, 2007

UPDATED 9/26/07 — At the 9/25/07 version of the SPD/COPS Gang Seminar, the law enforcement-supplied numbers on gangs in Spokane continued their inflationary trend. Though informative and somewhat cautiously presented by a Spokane Gang Enforcement Team member, the typical law enforcement practice of inflating statistics was evident. The COPS program flyer for the seminar uses the numbers of 50 gangs, 900 gang members and 7000 gang associates in Spokane.

With no evidence presented to back him up, the Spokane Police team GET member took those unconfirmed numbers and turned them into 71 gangs and 1200 gang members. While useful for public relations purposes and writing federal grant applications, the poeple of the Spokane area need to be asking more questions and getting more answers from law enforcement prior to accepting these claims by the SPD, SCSO and FBI. As other posts at this blog indicate, the SPD has a practice of manipulating statistical information, information which — not unlike information on the war in Iraq — is controlled by the government agencies involved. In the next couple weeks, more information on the information presented at the SPD/COPS Gang Seminar will be reviewed here.

Meanwhile I encourage you to attend the next SPD Gang Seminar:  

Wednesday Oct. 3, 2007 6-9 PM WSU Riverpoint, Phase One Auditorium, 668 N. Riverpoint Blvd., Spokane

(Warning! Armed and uniformed and undercover Spokane Police officers and other law enforcement including prosecutors and others will be attending this event!)

Wednesday Oct. 3, 2007 6-9 PM WSU Riverpoint, Phase One Auditorium, 668 N. Riverpoint Blvd., Spokane

PLEASE ATTEND!

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

Did you know that, according to the Spokane Police Department, 7900 people in Spokane are gang members or gang associates?

Did you know that would represent 3.9 percent of the Spokane population?

Did you know that would represent some 40% of Spokane’s ‘minority’ population?

Do you really believe that?

In an event billed as “What you need to know and what you can do”, the Spokane Police Department and COPS will pump up their racially-tinged public relations offensive against gangs in Spokane with two more forums.

It is extremely important for people to attend these informative sessions. While informative, they are extremely biased, racially-tinged, and intended to stimulate support for law enforcement activities such as profiling and other aggressive police practices with serious civil rights implications.

Do we really want a police force that looks like this to be the sole source of information and the major initiator of community discourse on gangs and all the related issues of poverty, racism, selective law enforcement, etc?

In particular, do you want a police force engaged recently in highly questionable killings and assaults on African-Americans, the mentally ill, and others to be the sole framer of truth with regards to gangs?

Here is how the event is announced by the Washington State Chairwoman of the Governor’s Hispanic Commission, Yvonne Morton-Lopez, on the Comunidades Latinas website:

(quote) September 25 & October 3: Gang Seminars. Learn what you need to know and what you can do if there is a gang situation in your neighborhood. These seminars are open and free to the public from 6 – 9 p.m. September 25 seminar will be held at West Central Community Center, 1603 N Belt and October 3 forum will be held at WSU Riverpoint, Phase One Auditorium, 668 North Riverpoint Blvd. For more information about… the gang forums, please contact Maurece Vulcano, Spokane C.O.P.S. Programs Manager, 509- 835-4572 or e-mail mvulcano@spokanepolice.org . (end quote)

This leads to a series of questions:

Isn’t it time for someone else, other than Spokane Police Department, to step forward and begin to help educate the community on issues of crime and justice in Spokane?

Isn’t it time for organizations such as the Governor’s Hispanic Commission and the Spokane Human Rights Commission (which is helping to advertise the event on their website using law enforcement supplied photos and statistics on gangs in Spokane) to begin serving as forums for intelligent, sophisticated, multi-perspective debate and dialog on issues like gangs, rather than promoting law enforcement’s public relations efforts?

Until the Spokane Human Rights Commission is reconstructed and becomes an effective vehicle for citizen complaints and defense of the abused (thanks to HRC chairman Terry Goetz for his efforts in this regard), until the Spokane offices of organizations like the Governor’s Hispanic Commission and the Center for Justice are professionally staffed by bilingual/bicultural individuals, until there is a functioning civilian oversight mechanism of Spokane police, and until there is credible independent information on the gang reality in Spokane, do we want an out-of-control, homicidal police force to be engaged in aggressive policing in our poorest, most diverse, and least understood blocks and communities?

Please attend this event to listen to the law enforcement slant put on this crucial issue, as well as the response of your neighbors, some of whose attitudes about the poor, youth, minorities, and others may shock you.

Meanwhile, for more information on COPS and COPS-sponsored events, such as Neighborhood Observation Patrol (NOP) Training, please visit: http://wwww.spokanecops.org/calender.htm

Posted in All-white SPD?, Gangs?, Know Your Rights, Lies Damn Lies and ..., Spokane Police vs. Youth, Unanswered Questions, Urgent Call | Leave a Comment »

All-White Spokane Police Department? Or just all-white recruitment?

Posted by Arroyoribera on September 18, 2007

These photos are from the Spokane Police Recruitment announcement on their web page.

Some dozen and a half photos posted on the recruitment page of the Spokane Police Department website show about 71 white officers and approximately 5 non-white officers. That is a seven percent ratio, under-representing the minority population in Spokane by at least 30%.

(If you click repeatedly on the refresh button on your browser you will eventually work your way through the photos.)

The contact for applications is Sgt. Chuck Reisenauer, recent past President of the Spokane Police Guild.

This link will take you to other posts from the All-White SPD category at the SpokanePoliceAbuses blog.

http://spokanepoliceabuses.wordpress.com/category/all-white-spd/

Posted in All-white SPD?, Spokane Police Guild | Leave a Comment »

Spokane Gang Crisis?

Posted by Arroyoribera on September 15, 2007

As we all know, Spokane allegedly has a “serious gang problem”, one sufficiently serious we are told as to justify the Spokane Police Department’s recent acquisition of 100 AR-15 assault rifles and training the entire force in their use.

Is the problem really that serious? Or is it a convenient drum to beat to arose public support and draw in taxpayer dollars to the city and SPD coffers? Of course, all statistics on gang activity, gang population, and designations of individuals as gang members come directly from law enforcement, not the most credible of source in the last several years.

Following is the entire section on “gangs” from the last published annual report (2003) by the Spokane County Prosecutor, Steve Tucker. Note that Tucker‘s report is replete with words like “numerous”, “increase”, “many”, “increased substantially”, “numerous”, and “sharp increase”.

Entirely missing is hard data. Surprisingly, for a city with this reportedly “serious gang problem”, the prosecutor’s report on gangs is barely longer than a letter-to-the-editor in the Spokesman-Review.

*******quote*******

Gangs — In the year 2003, the gang unit dealt with numerous homicide, rapes and robberies by gang members. The homicide cases tended to create their own caseload because of the type of witnesses involved (gang members). Many individuals involved were arrested on unrelated crimes and are serving substantial prison terms due to the hard work of law enforcement, the federal government and our unit. Again, last year we saw an increase in gang related drive-by shootings and violence that went unsolved. Many of the cases that were resolved involving guns went to the Major Crimes Gun Deputy. Even with that, the gang unit filed over 270 cases during the course of the year 2003. The Gang Unit closed over 220 files by trial or plea in 2003. Many of them were violent offenses with the majority being murder, attempted murders, robbery, rapes, violent assaults and drug delivery cases. ”Meth” busts involving gang members have increased substantially. Again this year numerous gang members were prosecuted federally on gun and drug charges. This helped facilitate pleas in state court and ease increasing caseloads. Many gang related crimes remain unsolved due to an increase in witness intimidation. Sadly, 2003 saw another increase in youth related gang activities. As 2003 closed and 2004 started, the Gang Unit saw a sharp increase in their caseload and had to start sending cases out to other units including major crimes, property and drugs.

*********end quote**********

How numerous were homicide, rapes and robberies by gang members in Spokane in 2003? 2004? 2005? 2006? Of course, the ‘report’ does not say. It seems to me that we pay Prosecutor Steve Tucker and his some 143 attorneys and staff (not including interns and ‘extra help’ positions) for more than this amateurish and unsubstantiated report once every so many years.

The Washington State Legislature has been busy empowering law enforcement to escalate its efforts against gangs in the state of Washington. Local, state and federal law enforcement in Spokane — as well as Boise and Seattle — received a “top secret, sensitive” briefing on gangs in a late June 2007 visit by U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales in one of his last acts before resigning in disgrace. As someone knowledgeable on the matter told me, the trip was essentially a “fund-raiser” for Spokane law enforcement and as the transcript of the press conference with Gonzales makes clear, the SPD is now in line for a multi-million dollar Department of Justice grant. Even now, in the midst of an election season, Spokane city council people vying for Mayor and Council President are anxious to be in the debate on gangs and engage in rhetoric about erasing “gang-related” graffiti.

A “work group” on gangs established by the Washington State legislature and run by a less-than-objective Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs just met in Spokane on September 10 and 11, one of five forums to be held around the state. (In fact, the Washington Uniform Crime Reporting (WUCR) program is the only UCR program in the United States which is sponsored, administered and supported by an organization of contributing agency administrators (i.e. police chiefs), rather than a bureau or department of state government.)

The word “gang” is and has always been code for poverty and race.

That is why it is of great concern to see this issue surfacing now, in the midst of rising division between wealth and poverty, national xenophobia associated with the U.S. crusade in the Muslim world, continued disproportionate incarceration and disenfranchisement of African Americans and Latinos, and the hyped-up hysteria over an “invasion” of undocumented people who are here, after all, with the tacit and long-standing consent and knowledge of the U.S. government and U.S. corporate/financial interests, as well as U.S. consumers.

The alleged ‘gang threat’ is certainly a convenient piece of a “ruling class” analysis about Spokane, as the ownership of Spokane changes hand and the urban poor are displaced by the liberal, white ‘urban renewal’ crowd. In fact, it is a propaganda line that police in Spokane have been using for at least 15 years.

Where is this all this gangland graffiti that we are supposed to be in an uproar over? How much of it is actually gang related? Supposedly when graffiti is reported it is photographed and cataloged by police and then painted over by volunteers. That was not my experience on the one occasion that I reported graffiti to the police (the experience was typical of the SPD — no response at all). And that is not what I have observed either. Local politicians are proposing measures such as banning spray cans in the hands of minors. Yet graffiti on city-owned and county-owned property and signs remains for months on end, probably as part of an intentional strategy to increase the impression of gang presence.

One of the focuses of this blog in the near future will be this unrelenting yet largely unsubstantiated emphasis by law enforcement and government on the “gang” problem in Spokane. At the same time, attention will continue to be directed at the scandal-ridden Spokane Police and the lack of public accountability and transparency.

Posted in All-white SPD?, Gangs?, History of SPD Abuses, Trained to Kill, Unanswered Questions | Leave a Comment »

All-White Spokane Police Department?

Posted by Arroyoribera on July 28, 2007

It would appear again that the Spokane Police Department is an all-white police force.

The photos on the Spokane Police Guild website point to that possibility (see slide show in prior entry at this same blogsite).

So does the new newsletter put out by Chief of Police Ann Kirkpatrick. Everyone portrayed, everyone commended, everyone awarded, everyone promoted is white.

Spokane Police Department Newsletter

One should not be surprised by this. Leaving aside the issue of the town’s history of blatant racism, it is one of the whitest per capita cities in the United States. In fact, per 1994 census data, it was the second whitest city per capita for all cities in the U.S. its size or larger. In other words, of all the cities in the U.S. the size of Spokane or larger, only Lincoln, Nebraska had fewer minorities per every hundred people than Spokane.

All-White Spokane Police Department

Posted in All-white SPD? | Leave a Comment »

Photos of All-White Spokane Police Department from Spokane Police Guild Website

Posted by Arroyoribera on July 18, 2007

http://www.spokanepoliceguild.com/

Posted in All-white SPD?, Photographic Evidence, Spokane Police Guild | Leave a Comment »

 
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