Spokane Police Abuses: Past to Present

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

Archive for the ‘Unanswered Questions’ Category

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 »

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 »

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 »

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 »

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 »

Torok — a troubling choice as spokesperson on police interrogation of 12 year olds

Posted by Arroyoribera on March 6, 2008

The March 6, 2008 edition of the Spokesman-Review ran a story on the interrogation by Spokane Police and Spokane School District 81 Resource Officers of two 12-year-old girls, KellyAnn Cameron and Taylor Wyatt, who signed away their Miranda rights despite indications that they did not understand the process nor the implication of their actions. At least one of the girls was unclear as to whether or not an “attorney” and a “lawyer” were one and the same. Nevertheless, the four law enforcement personnel interrogated the girls without presence of parents or other staff.

The story is very troubling, both in the details of the incident itself as well as in the person chosen as the spokesperson for the Spokane Police Department, Sgt. Dan Torok.

Sgt. Dan Torok is perhaps the most controversial police officer in Spokane, both for his involvement in three high profile incidents in the last few years, two of which resulted in deaths, and for his belligerent online comments under the name “Dan” at blogs run by the local Spokesman-Review newspaper. In the matter of the Alford death by Torok’s service weapon, the chief of police ordered him to issue a Garrity letter, so infrequently used that Spokane County Sheriff’s investigators were confused about its propriety, according to the reporting of the Spokesman-Review. The Garrity letter effectively shielded Torok from questioning by investigators.

(It is highly ironic that Torok was shielded by the Chief from questioning from investigators over the Alford killing yet Torok is commenting publicly in defense of the SPD regarding the interrogation of the two twelve year old girls after questionable application of a Miranda waiving statement).

The killing of Alford by Torok remains controversial. Beyond that, however, the death of Otto Zehm is even more controversial not to mention the fact that the case remains unresolved from the perspective of many. To this date it remains unclear whether or not the FBI has a review of this matter open or not. And a report on the Spokane Police by consultant Mike Worley paid for by the city of Spokane remains incomplete to this date. The status of the contract the city signed with Worley’s company to write that report also remains unclear.

Torok was one of seven Spokane Police Officers involved in the brutal March 18, 2006 attack on and subsequent death of Otto Zehm, an unarmed mentally ill man who was beaten, tasered, hog-tied, kicked, kneed, and suffocated, before dying March 20, 2006 in what the coroner called a “homicide”.  Almost exactly a year later, Torok shot a homeless man, Jerome Alford, in a little trafficked area of Spokane.

As quoted in the Spokesman-Review article, Sgt. Torok waxes eloquent in justifying the actions of the SPD and suggests that police must interrogate pre-teens and other youth at school because the presence of parents is an impediment to their interrogation techniques.

I can assure you that Miranda rights are not in the curriculum of School District 81 in the seventh grade or elementary school and I believe it is safe to say that they are not in the curriculum through 10th grade as well. One of these girls was not even sure what the word “attorney” meant without asking for clarification.

Is Sgt. Torok — who with his men did not have the judgment to understand that Otto Zehm was “carrying” a pop bottle as opposed to being “armed” with a pop bottle before brutalizing him — a credible spokesperson for the tax-payer financed Spokane Police Department on issues of police discretion and police interpretation of policy? That the Spokane Police Department would even consider Torok in such a role shows just how far they are from understanding the crisis of credibility from which they are suffering.

Sgt. Torok — whose fellow SPD detectives did not have the training, judgment and ethical uprightness to understand that the photos taken by a Spokane Fireman of a minor girl with whom improper sexual contact occurred constituted evidence of a possible crime and therefore should have been confiscated as legal evidence rather than deleted at the direction of the detectives as in fact occurred — is going to be defending the SPD before the press and public in matters of alleged misconduct? Ironically, Torok’s experience at the center of significant controversy caused by his own poor judgment and questionable actions in the field makes his selection by the SPD brass as a spokesman to the media logical in a certain perverted bureaucratic sense. Furthermore, Torok has been practicing his role defending the SPD’s indefensible and ongoing scandals for months on the blogs of the Spokesman-Review, blogs such as Hard 7 and others. In his comments on those blogs he has become a master of stonewalling, rationalization, and the dodge.

Given his role in killing mentally ill Otto Zehm and his shooting to death of homeless Jerome Alford, it is extremely dangerous and troubling to see Torok resort on multiple occasions to calling members of the Spokane community participating in those blogs ‘mentally ill‘ when their comments simply seek to inform or when they express the disdain and disgust felt in many sectors of the community towards SPD misconduct, corruption, and lack of accountability.

In fact, prominent members of the city government and the professional community should be vocally outraged and up in arms that Torok is being allowed to play this role of public spokesman, given his direct role in the murder of Zehm and the killing of Jerome Alford, not to the mention the SPD’s severely botched “intervention” in the matter of Josh Levy who jumped to his death from the Monroe Street bridge following 18 hours of being surrounded and isolated by Spokane Police and after they lied to him and botched a sneak taser attack on him.

This is a police department with ZERO credibility in dealing with “other” (the term used by Dr. John “Gus” Olson, Spokane community activist and advocate for the disadvantaged, to describe those in Spokane who are rejected for being different, looked upon with disdain for being poor, excluded for being “other”, left to rot by a society incapable of real compassion). Recall Carmen Jacoby, who testified to the Chief of Police in the public forum at City Hall on September 19, 2007. Jacoby told of the Spokane policeman who told her that in relation to homeless people sleeping in the green space near a freeway on ramp, “I have a job to do…to get these shit bags out of this park” and then threatened to put her in the bag of his squad car if she persisted in demanding his name and badge number.

Having shown incompetence which endangers public safety and a shocking level of disdain for the poor, homeless, mentally ill, and non-white, does the Spokane Police Department now move on to 12-year-old girls? Apparently so.

The manner in which a police department deals with the most vulnerable among us is highly indicative of their attitude towards the people they pretend to “protect”. How the SPD handles pre-teen girls provides a window into the core attitudes of the Department. Many members of our community, like these girls, are easily exploited by a police department without adequate procedural training, supervision, and independent oversight.

The S-R article contains links to both the pertinent R.C.W. (Washington state Revised Code of Washington, i.e., the law in Washington state) and the OLR Research Report on the Miranda rights of children.

The study states: “In determining whether a juvenile effectively waived his Miranda rights, courts consider whether the juvenile had the capacity to understand the warnings given to him, the nature of his constitutional right to remain silent, and the consequences of waiving those rights.”

The parents of the two 12-year-old girls in this case have appropriately and effectively questioned whether in this case these young girls had in fact “the capacity to understand” the Miranda warnings given to them, their constitutional rights, and “the consequences of waiving those rights”, prior to the police interrogation.

This is an area of great controversy and a fundamental issue of individual rights and protections in our nation. While some states set higher ages for children to be able to waive their Miranda rights, other states require the presence of parents. Some states, including Washington, use a “totality of circumstances” test. It is heartening to see that the ACLU is involved.

I, for one, do not trust the judgment of SPD officers in the field nor their integrity in reporting the of facts. In the case of the interrogation of these two pre-teen girls by SPD officers, that lack of integrity rises to such a level that a court would have difficulty establishing that these very young, very vulnerable girls clearly understood the waiving of their right within the “totality” of circumstances. With two Spokane Police officers and two District 81 resource officers in the room, and with at least one of these girls not certain if an attorney and a lawyer are the same thing, clearly there was an intimidation/coercion factor.

I would certainly be interested in the outcome of the internal affairs complaint filed by these parents. Sgt. Jim Faddis used to be an internal affairs officer so he could help the Spokane people and media out on that one. Sgt. Faddis was asked by me on the S-R’s Hard 7 blog (where he blogs under the names “Jim F” and “Kevin”) to clarify the exact procedure for making an internal affairs complaint in Spokane. Not surprisingly, Faddis has failed to respond to that request.

It would also be nice to get more comment from Spokane School District 81 on the parents’ request for a change in the policy regarding police interrogation of children at school. I for one would strongly support changes in the policy as well as a public education effort to educate Spokane area youth on their rights in dealing with the police.

Posted in Ethics, History of SPD Abuses, Independent Oversight, Know Your Rights, Solutions, Spokane LE Personalities, Spokane Police Guild, Spokane taser, Testimonies, Torok, Trained to Kill, Unanswered Questions | 2 Comments »

Police Officers And Alcohol

Posted by Arroyoribera on March 4, 2008

While the Spokane Police Guild continues its deliberation over how much civilian oversight and subordination to the will of the public its officers are willing to accept, it is a good moment to look at the issue of police officers and alcohol. It is an increasingly well known fact that police officers are greatly affected by the stress of their jobs and that one consequence is rates of domestic violence greater than found in the general public. At the same time, the role excessive alcohol consumption in the issue of domestic violence is inadequately examined. More important, however, are the broader implications for public safety resulting from alcohol abuse by law enforcement personnel.

As previously addressed in this blog, a stag party held at the Spokane Police Guild club a number of years ago resulted in a precedent setting Supreme Court case dealing with public access to information. The Supreme Court decision quoted the Spokane City Attorney stating via affidavit that: “Release of this information, under the circumstances presented by this case, will cause substantial and irreparable damage to the Spokane Police Department’s ability to operate as a law enforcement agency, which is a vital governmental function.

And the “irreparable damage” to the Spokane Police Department has continued to this day.

Of course, the problem of alcohol abuse by law enforcement is not limited to just Spokane Police officers, of course. The Seattle P-I’s August 2007 special series documents in detail the preferential treatment of police officers throughout Washington state when they are stopped for driving under the influence of alcohol.

The article refers to two Spokane County Sheriff’s officers “who were caught driving drunk, a sergeant who tipped his truck over was given a reprimand and a deputy who was simply pulled over on a freeway got an eight-day suspension.”

More recently the people of Spokane have been subject to two grave alcohol related incidents.

In the first, a controversial Spokane police officer — already under scrutiny for his ownership of a drug house less than two blocks from an elementary school — left a Spokane bar under the influence of alcohol and shot a man in the back of the head, endangering the residents of the Peaceful Valley neighborhood of Spokane. The officer, Jay Olsen, faces charges while the man he shot and accused of stealing his truck has been acquitted of the charges against him. To make matters clearer, the city of Spokane has walked away from Olsen and left him to defend himself.

Then came the matter of Jason Uberuaga, former Gonzaga University baseball star and decorated police officer, involved in both the Intermodal Center shooting and one of seven Spokane Police officers implicated in the yet unresolved homicide by cop of Otto Zehm. Uberuaga, a deputized federal drug task force member, was fired by the chief of police for “conduct unbecoming” of an officer. In essence, the demise of Uberuaga is the result of a drinking episode with other law enforcement personnel, allegations of rape against Uberuaga, and Uberuaga driving his undercover police vehicle under the influence of alcohol.

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

A broken system works in favor of cops busted for DUI

By ERIC NALDER AND LEWIS KAMB
SEATTLE POST INTELLIGENCER INVESTIGATIVE REPORTERS

(Part 1 of a part 3 series)

The state is airing another ad against drunken driving this month warning, “Drive Hammered, Get Nailed.”

But there’s an exception out on the streets for some police officers.

Cops confronted with a drunken-driving arrest fare better than the average citizen, according to a Seattle P-I investigation of seven years’ worth of internal discipline records, arrest reports, accident reports, license-suspension files and court documents statewide.

The P-I selected 63 cases from 92 to examine closely, focusing on active duty officers who consumed alcohol before driving police or personal vehicles. Most were street cops, but nine were assigned to county or city corrections duties.

  Michael Bowe, bloodied
  Zoom Washington State Patrol
  Michael Bowe, a Thurston County sheriff’s deputy, was stopped in March 2004 in Grays Harbor County for a DUI arrest — one of five such stops while he carried a badge. How his face was bloodied was never determined, but his service weapon was in the car.
Read his story.

Five sworn officers were not prosecuted at all, despite blood-alcohol tests indicating impairment.

A half-dozen officers kept their licenses after a drunken-driving arrest simply because their paperwork missed the deadline at the state Department of Licensing. Arresting agencies are given a grace period of 50 days to file the paperwork.

Although the samples are very different in size and demographics, a member of the general public’s chance of getting a license suspension because of a breath test over the 0.08 blood-alcohol limit was double that of a cop, according to a P-I comparison. Only one of four current and former officers who refused a breath test lost her driver’s license, while the public’s rate is 16 out of 17.

  Inside Brown's car
  Zoom  
  On July 23, 2003, Tacoma police Officer Paul A. Brown registered a 0.244 blood-alcohol level and was charged with DUI. Eleven full, one empty and one partially consumed miniature scotch bottles were found in Brown’s car, as well as 15 full beers, two open beers and one empty beer container.

Police officers who were visibly inebriated and reeking of alcohol smashed their department cars or their personal cars, asked for favors, got breaks and even threatened fellow officers who had the temerity, in their minds, to arrest them, the records showed.

In one case, an unidentified colleague of an intoxicated Seattle officer who got in an accident in a city-owned car asked the arresting trooper “how we could take care of this.”

One Renton police jailer had his police identity card taped to his license as an ongoing precaution. Others outright asked for “professional courtesy.”

Impaired law officers were in at least 14 accidents, including four in police cars. Kevin Williams of the Seattle police drunkenly rolled his car on a northbound Interstate 5 offramp early one morning in 2005. Lawyer David Vanderpool and another bystander used a box cutter to free him from a seat belt just before flames consumed the car. Vanderpool said he didn’t know, until a P-I reporter recently called him, that he had saved a policeman’s life. Williams got deferred prosecution, a five-day suspension or loss of vacation time.

  Garcha accident
  Zoom Kent Police Department
  In 2002, Tacoma police Officer Gurdial Garcha hit a telephone pole in Kent in his personal van, so drunk he was nearly six times the legal limit. Some in the Tacoma department wanted him fired, but he got a two-day suspension and lost two vacation days.

In 2002, Tacoma police Officer Gurdial Garcha hit a telephone pole in Kent in his personal van, so drunk that he was nearly six times the legal limit. Some in his department wanted him fired, but he got a two-day suspension and lost two vacation days.

The Seattle Police Department was far more secretive about releasing records than any other department in the state. The department blacked out officers’ names and released fewer documents. The P-I had to find details about the cases from databases and other agencies.

“We follow the laws,” said Chief Gil Kerlikowske, whose agency signed a union contract that prevents release of names of officers in disciplinary records.

Some cases break down trust. In one Seattle case, an anonymous hospital worker confronted a sergeant when an alcohol-affected officer driving a city-owned car wasn’t investigated for DUI after a civilian motorist running a red light struck him. Despite her efforts, the officer was never prosecuted.

At the heart of the P-I’s findings is a police discipline system that is broken, illogical and unevenly applied, according to interviews, documents and a computer analysis of outcomes.

DECODING CENSORED SPD DOCUMENTSFor this project, Seattle P-I reporters sent public disclosure requests to more than 270 law enforcement agencies across Washington. Although the requests were identical in the types of records being sought — sustained officer-misconduct internal investigations — police department responses widely varied. The Seattle Police Department and Mercer Island Police Department offer good examples of the range of responses to the P-I’s request.Seattle police provided only one page of disciplinary records per each misconduct case requested and have not yet provided other documents the P-I requested. The three documents the Seattle police released to the P-I with officers’ names censored (see PDF) turned out to be the only hint of unpublicized accidents involving cops driving department cars who had been drinking. Because Seattle police were more secretive than other agencies, the P-I went elsewhere to learn the details of the crashes involving Timothy McGrath (June 21, 2002), Anthony Baily (Oct. 25, 2002) and Maria “Susan” DiTusa (June 9, 2004).By contrast, here are just the first six pages (PDF) of a Mercer Island police internal investigation of Det. Chris DeChant’s DUI-arrest and police vehicle accident on Dec. 16, 2004. Along with the complete 20-page investigative report, documents released to the P-I included an additional 86 pages of attachments, including the full Washington State Patrol arrest report, victim damage claims and the hand-written case notes of the city’s public safety director, who made the final disciplinary decision.Here’s what different officials for each city said when asked about how their city responded to the P-I’s requests:”There’s no department that handles more public disclosures than us. We follow the law.”

– Seattle Police Chief Gil Kerlikowske

“We disclosed the documents we believed we were required to under the law.”

– Mercer Island City Attorney Bob Sterbank

Regulators in Olympia and in Seattle who oversee the discipline of lawyers, judges and even cosmetologists do so through a detailed set of disciplinary standards. What passes for statewide discipline in the police world is one investigator attached to the state police academy in Auburn who reviews disciplinary records of terminated officers from various agencies to assess whether they should lose their state licenses.

In individual departments, standards are forged through union negotiations and in case-by-case consultations among sheriffs and chiefs. Few agencies maintain a schedule of discipline that could be laid out in a database — the Washington State Patrol and the Arlington Police Department being two exceptions.

The result is a lack of uniformity. Crashing a police car while inebriated on Mercer Island earned an officer a suspension 15 times longer than the penalty imposed for the same violation on the other side of Lake Washington in Seattle.

Driving drunk in a police car brought a one-day suspension for a King County sheriff’s detective and a termination in Island County. That King County detective also wasn’t prosecuted and didn’t get punished for reportedly asking the arresting state trooper for favors. A state trooper who asked for favors during a DUI arrest in a private car got a 45-day suspension and was put on probation under tough terms for the remainder of his career.

In cases in which two Spokane County sheriff’s officers were caught driving drunk, a sergeant who tipped his truck over was given a reprimand and a deputy who was simply pulled over on a freeway got an eight-day suspension.

In Seattle, Kerlikowske said he has toughened discipline for DUI while chief the past seven years. When compared with other big U.S. cities, Seattle is right in line, typically doling out three- to 10-day suspensions, he said. He said he is planning to fire repeat offenders.

Seattle Police Officers’ Guild President Rich O’Neill said cops are treated more harshly than citizens because they face discipline in addition to court proceedings. He said they can get hit in the pocketbook twice — a court fine and a loss of pay in a suspension.

However, many citizens are also disciplined at work. Under federal law, truckers lose their licenses for a year for a first drunken-drinking offense, and for life for a second. Some police officers weren’t suspended from their jobs, and some of those who were suspended were allowed to forfeit vacation instead of losing pay.

Police officers and firefighters are also specifically exempted from a federal law that requires truckers to be blood-tested after an accident.

Yakima Officer Lori Sheeley had five accidents in her patrol car and caused citizen injuries, but Assistant City Attorney Sofia Mabee said Sheeley wasn’t tested in any of them because city policy doesn’t require it. In May 2005, a year after Sheeley resigned, in part because of the accidents, she hit a barrier on a Tri-Cities bridge. She blew a breath test of .117, over the limit.

Discipline failures erode public confidence, some cops and members of the public say.

Wendi Eccles was rear-ended one December night in 2004 by a Mercer Island cop who was drunk in a city-owned car. Her back never fully recovered, and she resents that internal investigators from Mercer Island never interviewed her.

“They’re supposed to be upholding the law, making sure people don’t do this kind of stuff,” she said. “But they go do it and don’t face the same consequences.”

Former Island County Sheriff Mike Hawley, now a lieutenant in the department he led until December 2006, agrees that those charged with upholding the law should be held to a public and uniform disciplinary system. Hawley led the department when it got mired in a DUI favoritism mess in 2004.

“I think some kind of standardization of disciplinary action would be good,” Hawley said. “For criminals, we have standardized ranges.”

Hawley served until recently as a charter member of a state board that adjudicates police license-revocation cases. “I’ve seen people fired for things they should never have been fired for. Then it happens at the other end, where this guy should be fired immediately, but he isn’t because he is the boss’ best pal.”

But Kerlikowske warned that widespread police standards are “no panacea,” because they take away the ability to evaluate cases individually.

Four case studies

A review of four accidents involving police officers provides a window into the process, showing how disparate the disciplinary system is.

Seattle police Detective Sgt. Anthony Baily was cut loose from his crumpled undercover police car after a three-vehicle accident in downtown Seattle about 2 a.m. one night in October 2002.

He was later cut loose from a possible DUI.

Three hours after the accident, then-Sgt. John B. Heneghan of the West Precinct was visiting Baily at the hospital, and a nurse confronted him, records show. She asked the sergeant why Baily wasn’t being tested for alcohol when one of the other drivers was under police guard and being blood-tested, records show. Heneghan then noticed the odor of alcohol near Baily, the report said. Heneghan didn’t write down the woman’s name, and police were never able to identify her. Heneghan alerted accident investigators about 5:30 a.m.

At that point, police investigators could have blood-tested and processed Baily for DUI, but they didn’t. Seattle attorney Paul Cullen, a DUI specialist, said the law wouldn’t have prevented Baily’s prosecution. He said experts can scientifically show that a person was drunk at the time they were driving, using blood-alcohol evidence gathered by police 3 1/2 hours later.

Later that day, a lieutenant told internal investigators about the nurse’s comments.

The city attorney later considered prosecuting Baily — a police union board member — for DUI.

He considered using tests on blood vials that a paramedic and the hospital staff routinely collected from Baily right after the accident, but concluded that the evidence wouldn’t stand up in court.

Finding Baily’s case was difficult. When the Police Department released a stack of internal investigative records to the P-I — including Baily’s — the accused officers’ names were blacked out, as the city’s contract with the police union dictates. But Baily’s name was visible on a sheet mentioning his three-day suspension for, among other things, “use of alcohol” in his department car.

The report noted that the accident wasn’t his fault, and, indeed, it wasn’t.

Lynnwood defense lawyer Jim Feldman, who represented the inebriated man who ran a red light and hit Baily’s car, told the P-I that he had felt Baily deserved a DUI citation.

He said Baily’s unofficial test reading was higher than that of his client, who was prosecuted. Records ultimately confirmed that his client’s blood-alcohol level was 0.10 and Baily was between 0.12 and 0.15.

Three weeks after the accident, SPD internal investigators with a search warrant obtained three vials of Baily’s blood and test results from Harborview Medical Center. The state toxicology lab tested it.

Selected for evidence was the lowest reading, which was from the first vial drawn less than a half-hour after the accident. An investigator, Sgt. Mike Teeter, and supervising assistant city attorney Mike Finkle explored a possible DUI case, but in July 2003 Finkle wrote a memo concluding that it wasn’t possible.

He noted that blood collected by the hospital wasn’t preserved or handled in the way courts require. Finkle based his decision largely on technical opinions by Ann-Marie Gordon, manager of the state toxicology lab.

Gordon was concerned about a lack of preservatives and chain of custody of evidence and speculated about how a skilled lawyer might defend Baily. She suggested an admittedly unlikely defense that Baily had pounded down eight doses of liquor, wine or beer immediately before driving, and at the moment of impact hadn’t yet reached the legal intoxication level of 0.08, documents show.

Gordon’s credibility has since come into question. She resigned her post July 20, several days after the State Patrol began investigating whether she had lied about testing ethanol-water solutions used to make certain that breath-test machines are working properly. If proved, the allegations could lead to hundreds of challenges of DUI convictions.

As for the Baily case, Cullen, the DUI lawyer, said court precedents indicate that he could have been prosecuted using the hospital blood.

The P-I asked Chief Kerlikowske last week about Baily’s case. After that interview, documents previously requested but not provided to the P-I were made available for review. Both the Police Department and the City Attorney’s Office said they had been preparing the release. To date, not all of Baily’s records have been provided.

Kerlikowske visited Baily at the hospital an hour after the nurse blew the whistle that night, but was then unaware of the nurse’s tip, said department legal adviser Mark McCarty. Kerlikowske said he didn’t smell alcohol, but if he had, he would have ordered a DUI investigation on the spot.

Feldman said his client, David Cotner, 27, of Winthrop may have benefited from what he believes was SPD’s fear of publicity. That’s why the city abandoned plans to charge Cotner with vehicular assault, a felony, and didn’t challenge his request for deferred prosecution in the DUI case, Feldman speculates.

Kerlikowske bristled at that. “I just find that incredulous. That is so far outside the bound of what the prosecutor or a Police Department would do to keep something outside a newspaper,” he said.

In another case, a Seattle police officer first tried to avoid calling police after rear-ending a young Renton man’s car, then got on the phone with his superiors, who eventually had a conversation with the Washington State Patrol trooper investigating the accident.

Seattle police Officer Timothy McGrath drove his unmarked SPD Pontiac Grand Am into the rear of the man’s Ford Tempo on Interstate 405 near Renton at 11:30 p.m. on June 21, 2002. No one was hurt.

A “nervous” McGrath suggested to Jeff Shane, 18, that they exchange insurance information and go their separate ways. He didn’t seem drunk, Shane said, but he “was really hinting toward not calling the police, if not outright saying it.”

  McGrath
  Seattle police Officer Timothy McGrath drove his unmarked department car into the rear of a Renton man’s vehicle on Interstate 405. McGrath was charged with DUI but pleaded guilty to negligent driving and was issued an occupational driver’s license.

But Shane called 911, and McGrath got on his cell phone. SPD officers arrived to talk with him, and a state trooper arrived roughly a half-hour later.

McGrath smelled of alcohol and handed his commission card to Trooper James Miller the minute he arrived, the trooper wrote in his arrest report.

Miller told him to sit tight while he called a State Patrol sergeant to the scene, who “made some phone calls” and told the trooper to process McGrath like “any other person.”

All the way to the Renton police station, McGrath talked on his cell phone to “his superiors” from the back of Miller’s cruiser, the trooper wrote.

Then, while McGrath waited to take a breath test at the station, he handed his cell phone to the trooper.

“They asked me how we could take care of this,” Miller wrote, referring to unidentified parties on the cell phone call. “I told them I’d send (the) case up the chain of command. It was up to them.”

Timing was key, because as soon as anyone takes a breath test, a state computer records the name and the reading. Was someone at the other end of the phone line trying to stop the process of a DUI citation?

“Nobody came out and said that,” said a State Patrol spokesman, Capt. Jeff DeVere. “But (Miller) said it seemed that might have been what was asked.”

Miller doesn’t remember the name or affiliation of whom he spoke to on the cell phone, DeVere said. “He doesn’t remember who he was. We don’t know if it was an officer.”

O’Neill, of the Guild, suggested that someone could have been impersonating a supervisor or an officer.

Troopers don’t usually allow DUI suspects to talk on cell phones from a cruiser out of concern for officer safety, but there are exceptions, DeVere said. He didn’t feel that Miller did anything wrong.

McGrath registered nearly twice the limit on the breath-test machine, a 0.136, and though cited for DUI, he pleaded guilty to first-degree negligent driving. His license was suspended for 90 days, but an occupational driver’s license was issued to allow him to continue driving at work, according to state Department of Licensing records. Such licenses are often issued with employer approval to allow people to drive for work.

SPD internal affairs had the trooper’s report but did not investigate McGrath’s cell phone calls from that night, said McCarty, the SPD legal adviser. More than a year after the accident, in August 2003, the SPD issued a suspension order to McGrath, five days for “conduct unbecoming” for the negligent-driving conviction. The officer was allowed to forfeit vacation instead of losing pay.

The P-I found the cryptic order in a stack of papers the SPD turned over to the newspaper with the names of the offending officer blacked out. Databases the reporters obtained helped them identify the case. McGrath resigned from the SPD in 2005.

“Well, that’s all very interesting information,” he said from his Florida home after a reporter detailed what he knew. “But I’m not interested in talking to you about it. I don’t think it’s really any of your business.”

In another case, it was a night of holiday partying that ended with a Mercer Island patrol car rear-ending a civilian’s car, and a King County prosecutor who had been at the same party arriving at the police station to represent the interests of the drunken police officer.

The officer’s job suspension was 15 times longer than what SPD leveled against McGrath for essentially the same offense. The Mercer Island cop wasn’t allowed to forfeit vacation time.

Instead, Detective Chris DeChant got the stiffest discipline of any of the cops who drank and crashed a police car, a 75-day suspension. That’s the harshest penalty ever given by Mercer Island police short of firing, said police Chief Ed Holmes, who was then in charge of the internal investigation.

  DeChant
  Mercer Island police Detective Chris DeChant was given a 75-day suspension after he drank and rear-ended a civilian’s vehicle with his police car. It was the harshest penalty ever given by Mercer Island police short of firing.

But other police administrators around the state said any violation drawing more than a 30-day suspension should be a dismissible offense, and that goes especially for anyone drunk in an agency car.

“If it was sustained they were drunk, and they were driving a patrol car, they are fired,” said Benton County Sheriff Larry Taylor. “That tears at your credibility, of the entire department.”

Guild President O’Neill said the toughest discipline possible under the Seattle contract, short of firing, is 30 days.

Eccles, the day care operator whose back was injured when she was rear-ended, feels that DeChant got off easy. She couldn’t work for a month.

DeChant, who didn’t respond to interview requests, caught some breaks in the case.

For example, his license should have been revoked for a year when he refused a blood-alcohol test after the accident, but it wasn’t. A Des Moines Municipal Court judge suppressed his breath-test refusal due to confusing instructions from the trooper. Because of that, the state Department of Licensing had to let him drive.

Eccles said she could tell DeChant “was drunk” the moment she saw him. He handed her his police business card when she asked for insurance information and repeatedly told her the damage would be covered. She called 911.

Some confusion arose that night when King County Deputy Prosecutor Greg Fullington, who was assigned to DeChant’s narcotics task force and had been at the same party, initially tried to act as his attorney, but withdrew when reminded that his office was responsible for prosecuting DeChant.

Chief Criminal Deputy Prosecutor Mark Larson said he “vigorously counseled” Fullington for what was “not the proper role for a King County prosecutor.” Fullington has since left the office.

Eccles was disgusted by the whole mess.

“He’s still able to drive. His license wasn’t even taken away,” she said. “I don’t understand why guys like him get to be above the law.”

Internally, DeChant signed a “last chance” agreement that said he’d be fired for another alcohol-related offense. But when three more charges were sustained against him earlier this year for drinking and making a scene at an officer awards banquet, he got only a letter of reprimand.

“I didn’t believe (the most recent violations) were severe enough for termination,” Chief Holmes said. “He’s a good officer, and he works really hard.”

In another case, Seattle Detective Maria “Susan” DiTusa said from the wreckage of her unmarked police car that she was a police detective — “before I could even ask DiTusa any questions,” State Trooper Joseph Zimmer wrote in his report.

“I only had one, and my co-worker can attest to that,” she said of her drinking.

Maybe she was rattled when she smashed the side of her department’s Ford Taurus into the Mercer Street exit tunnel wall on June 9, 2004, because she probably wasn’t telling the truth. She recorded 0.137 on a preliminary breath test, more than the effects of one drink.

At the hospital, DiTusa refused a blood test that would have legally determined her level of intoxication. Preliminary tests aren’t admissible in court.

DiTusa appealed the state’s mandatory one-year license revocation for refusing a blood-alcohol test, but when the Licensing Department rejected her arguments, she obtained an occupational driver’s license.

Kerlikowske gave her a five-day suspension but allowed her to forefeit vacation in lieu of it. He promised to impose five more days if she got drunk and crashed another patrol car — “similar misconduct” is how he put it — within the next two years. The chief cited her “forthright cooperation with the administrative investigation” for the leniency.

In court, she reduced her criminal DUI citation to first-degree negligent driving by pleading guilty.

UPCOMING

Tuesday: Looking through mountains of public documents and internal reports, the P-I reveals how cops avoid arrest.
Wednesday: One officer whose career ended after a highly public DUI tells his story – and what’s wrong with the system.

P-I reporter Daniel Lathrop and P-I researcher Marsha Milroy contributed to this report. P-I reporter Eric Nalder can be reached at 206-448-8011 or ericnalder@seattlepi.com. P-I reporter Lewis Kamb can be reached at 206-448-8336 or lewiskamb@seattlepi.com.

Posted in Corruption, Ethics, History of SPD Abuses, Independent Oversight, Law, Spokane LE Personalities, Spokane Police Guild, Unanswered Questions | Leave a Comment »

Did the Secret Service set up Barack Obama for assassination?

Posted by Arroyoribera on March 1, 2008

Elections & Voting
Did the Secret Service set up Barack Obama for assassination?
By Larry Chin
Online Journal Associate Editor

Feb 25, 2008, 00:55

According to the Dallas Star-Telegram, the Secret Service gave an order to stop screening for weapons for a full hour before the February 20 Barack Obama rally in Dallas. Metal detectors were turned off, and bags were not checked, as hundreds were allowed to file into Reunion Arena. This bizarre activity “ordered by federal officials,” was immediately reported by an alarmed Dallas Police Department, which knew that it was a “lapse in security.”

The Secret Service (which has been assigned to Obama since August 2007) has denied the allegations, declaring post-facto that the event was secure. However, the Secret Service has provided no detailed explanation about this blatant security stand-down. It is not known who gave the orders. The Obama camp itself has issued no statement.

While this story has been vastly underreported by major corporate media, independent liberal media, particularly Democratic Party and Obama faithful, have expressed astonishment and outrage. President John F. Kennedy’s 1963 assassination in Dallas, Senator Robert F. Kennedy’s assassination in 1968 (which came on the eve of his California presidential primary victory) were also facilitated by Secret Service “lapses.”

While there is no doubt that Barack Obama, bankrolled and sponsored by political elites, appears to be closing in on the Democratic Party nomination, and is an enthusiastic imperial war facilitator, this does not eliminate the real danger he faces from political adversaries.

It goes without saying that Obama is viewed as a bitter enemy (at the very least a symbolic one) by the Bush-Cheney-McCain-neocon gang. Obama not only faces threats from fanatical right-wing and racist elements, but the desperately power-hungry rivals within the more conservative neoliberal wing of the Democratic faction, led by the Clintons. The incendiary Karl Rove-esque attacks launched against Obama by the Clinton apparatus have become increasingly bitter, personal, and below-the-belt in recent weeks.

Obama is also competing with Hillary Clinton for the support of John Edwards. Edwards, the calculating emissary of Bilderberg Group interests, who was, according to Daniel Estulin, author of The True Story of the Bilderberg Group, handpicked by Henry Kissinger to be John Kerry’s vice presidential partner in 2004, may be positioning himself for the same powerful seat this year. Kissinger (who is lurking in McCain’s camp for 2008) and other leading elites already have control of the entire process, from both sides.

Obama’s supporters, and congressional allies such as Senator Dick Durbin, have been concerned for Obama’s safety for months.

It must be noted that the Clintons’ longtime criminal connections, which both tie to, and parallel, those of the Bush family/faction are well-documented (but roundly ignored) fact. The Clintons and Bushes have been full partners across official and unofficial power agendas, co-rulers of the United States, for over two decades. The body count that can be attributed to these two cooperative factions is long and gruesome.

The Clintons’ love of presidential election-season intimidation and dirty tricks are well-known. During the 1992 race for the Democratic Party nomination, Jerry Brown repeatedly accused the Clintons of resorting to tricks worthy of Nixon. As noted by Michael C. Ruppert in Crossing the Rubicon, Ross Perot withdrew from the 1992 presidential contest, pressured into assuring a Clinton victory, after Perot and has family received death threats. (Ruppert, who worked for the Perot campaign, witnessed this firsthand.)

Any prominent political figure who dares vary an inch from the imperial geopolitical script faces threats; first to their reputations and careers, and then their lives. In the “godfather government” that is the United States, this is the rule. This same criminal stranglehold prevents “change” — even the slightest variance from establishment consensus. And even high-level representatives who operate well within the consensus must still defend themselves from “colleagues.”

No government can be trusted. Nor can government officials and elites trust each other.

Copyright © 1998-2007 Online Journal
Email Online Journal Editor

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

Here is my comment posted on the Dallas Star website in response to the original news article reporting this incident:

As the OnLine Journal makes clear in its article, “Did the Secret Service set up Barack Obama for assassination?”, Obama is a ruling class candidate. However, he was not supposed to have “slipped through the nominating process” with the kind of mass following, momentum, etc. With the likes of Kucinich, Paul, Nader, etc, it has always been easy to just look the door to the debate halls and exclude them. Or if they run as third party or independent candidates then the media marginalizes and ridicules and simply does not cover them. Or in the case of Dean who managed to get to Iowa with a head of steam but without endorsement of the ruling class, the party machine and the media took his exuberant shout and declared him “dead on arrival” as a result of a self inflicted wound (his shout in a campaign event). But what do you do when on the scene appears a charismatic leader like Obama who may be too savvy and suave to shoot himself in the foot much less the head as Dean did and who, worse yet, makes it all the way to Texas and Ohio with a long string of victories over the establishment’s candidate (i.e., Clinton, as in Bush 1, Clinton 1, Bush 2, Clinton 2)?. What does the ruling class do when a candidate who would dare to stand up and propose change manages to slip through the media/money/machine controlled process of the caucuses and looks like he may ride popular sentiment to a true mandate (not the 1% or less “mandates” that recent presidents have had)? What does the ruling class do? They call out the “assets” and ” secret teams” within the permanent government, not the permanent government of beltway bureaucrats but the permanent government of the Cheneys and Kissengers and others who represent the true interests behind real political power in this country. Let us not be naive again. David Brookbank

Posted in Freedom to Fascism, In Collective Self-Defense, Racism, Unanswered Questions, War Abroad & At Home | Leave a Comment »

WikiLeaks.org

Posted by Arroyoribera on March 1, 2008

U.S. Federal Judge fails in effort to censor WikiLeaks website…

More Twists and Turns in WikiLeaks Case (New York Times, 2/28/08)

The site describes itself as “developing an uncensorable Wikipedia for untraceable mass document leaking and analysis” and committed to assisting “people of all regions who wish to reveal unethical behavior in their governments and corporations.”

Judge Says WikiLeaks Site Can Have Its Web Address Back (New York Times, 2/29/08)

A federal judge in San Francisco said on Friday that he would withdraw an order that shut down the Web address for Wikileaks.org, a site that allows anonymous posting of documents to assist “peoples of all countries who wish to reveal unethical behavior in their governments and corporations.” … The judge’s action drew criticism – and court filings – from numerous organizations concerned that the order violated the First Amendment’s protection of free speech.

As an example of what you might find on the Wikileaks.org site, here is a link to the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) manual for the “Soviet-style gulag” run by the U.S. at Camp Delta inside the unlawful torture and detention facility run by the United States government and military and CIA at Gitmo (Guantanamo) on Castro’s Cuba.  There on page 1.3 you will read curiously specific language stating that:

(quote)   Personnel are not authorized to use or have in their possession unauthorized weapons, including but no limited to,  firearms, knives, ,batons, sap gloves (lead filled padded gloves), kubatons, night sticks, PR-24s, collapsing/expandable batons and any other weapons not specifically authorized.  (end quote)

Any one who believes that they may be subject to unlawful detention or forced disappearance by the increasingly fascistic U.S. government or forces in its deploy (Blackwater-type mercenaries, for ex.) would be well-advised to thoroughly read this document to understand the rules for processing prisoners, medical care, access by International Red Cross, permissible use of force, etc. 

According to analysis of the document on the WikiLeaks site, the U.S. military manual lays out torture at Guantanamo at the Wikileaks site:

*quote*

The Miami Herald describes the manual and its importance and gives a flavor of its bureaucratic contents:

“A how-to manual, it draws back a curtain on the secretive, isolated base in 2003, more than a year into operation of the Bush administration prison. And it lays out — with typical military attention to detail — everything from when to use pepper spray to who should witness a cavity search to how to dig a proper Muslim grave. It also offers the mundane details of what detainees were given at the open-air prison camp overlooking the Caribbean, where the Pentagon today holds about 300 war-on-terror captives at Guantanamo for possible interrogation and trial by Military Commission. No hair dye, it says on one page. But a double amputee got to keep a bucket in his cell, it says.”

*end quote*

Posted in Freedom to Fascism, In Collective Self-Defense, Independent Oversight, Know Your Rights, Law, Solutions, Unanswered Questions | Leave a Comment »

Police Union Resistance: A Tactical Overview — Covert Action Quarterly

Posted by Arroyoribera on February 28, 2008

[Note: See section in bold print for reference to Spokane’s place in the history of police intransigence and resistance.]

CovertAction Quarterly
Cops Vs. Citizen Review, continued


Family_protests_NYPD_killing

Family of Mary Mitchell protests her killing by NYPD
after a domestic dispute.

POLICE UNION RESISTANCE:A TACTICAL OVERVIEW

It is not surprising, then, that the FOPs and police unions paramilitary labor organizations whose purpose is to protect the interests of their patrol officer members will go to great lengths to eliminate oversight. The tactics that police organizations increasingly use illustrate some of the ways in which they differ from other trade unions. They also show how difficult it is to distinguish genuine labor grievances from attempts by police to avoid accountability. As in Philadelphia, police organizations around the country are developing an increasingly sophisticated array of tools designed to manipulate the political system and sabotage the citizen review boards. At least five categories of tactics are being implemented.

1. NATIONAL LEVEL ORGANIZING I wasn’t political when I came out of the FBI, says Charles Kluge, a former agent who is current executive director of Philadelphia’s PAC, [but] some of the political stuff has been very eye-opening. 16 Over the past decade, police unions have become extremely politicized and have established a national lobbying presence. In October 1994, for example, the National Association of Police Organizations (NAPO) founded the National Law Enforcement Officer Rights Center in Washington, D.C., to protect officers’ legal and constitutional rights that are being infringed upon by a wave of anti-police civil litigation. NAPO’s main objective appears to be passage of a national Law Enforcement Officers’ Bill of Rights Act which attempts to weaken state and local review by allowing only commissioned police officers to conduct investigations. NAPO claims that the bill, sponsored by Sen. Joseph Biden (D-Del.), is collectively supported by its 475,000 police officer members, by the Fraternal Order of Police and by the International Brotherhood of Police Officers.

2. LITIGATION SABOTAGE On the state and local level, police response to perceived incursions on their autonomy follows a pattern. John Crew, of the American Civil Liberties Union’s (ACLU) Police Practices Project, has identified three stages of union resistance to citizen oversight:

  • Over My Dead Body. After a particular, usually racially charged, incident prompts serious community discussion of citizen oversight, police leaders threaten to resign or take other extreme action.
  • Political Inevitability. When a visible pattern of abuses emerges, police leaders suddenly undergo a magic conversion, and become proponents of citizen oversight advocating a pallid model lacking such teeth as subpoena power and independent investigations.
  • Post-Partum Litigation. If a community manages to obtain strong citizen oversight, even if only on paper, police union resistance becomes vehement. Increasingly, unions are initiating lawsuits (such as that currently underway in Philadelphia) challenging the underlying authority or legality of the citizen review process. In California such lawsuits are common, even though many California boards have been operating for up to 20 years, and even though, says the ACLU’s Crew, these suits have been 100 percent unsuccessful. In not one single legal challenge have the unions won.

If chilling citizen oversight is the goal of these unwinnable SLAPP suits, chilling citizens’ complaints is the predictable result of another union tactic. In the fall of 1994, the Seattle Police Officers Guild slapped defamation suits against six citizens who had filed complaints that were not upheld by the department’s internal investigations section. The suits were apparently prompted by the citizen review auditor’s recommendation that officers who had logged a certain number of unsustained complaints be required to undergo intensive supervision. Although the guild’s suits were ultimately dropped, citizen complaints in Seattle dropped almost 75 percent in the next six months.

3. OBSTRUCTIONIST TACTICS
When faced with a citizen review board which has independent investigative powers, leaders of police unions often advise their members to refuse or avoid subpoenas or interviews, to plead the Fifth Amendment, or to otherwise block an inquiry. This obstructionism is illegal, according to Crew. Although officers cannot be forced to testify if they plead the Fifth Amendment, they can be disciplined or discharged for their refusal. *22 Police unions, says Crew, invoke these tactics even though they know that they will not win in court and that review boards have the legal power to compel statements. The effect of the obstructionism and of SLAPP suits against citizens who file complaints is time-consuming and expensive litigation; the goal is to create enough pressure to force cities and counties to back down.

4. STATE LEGISLATION & LOBBYING
Law enforcement groups use their significant political clout, based largely on financial resources. According to a 1992 study by California Common Cause, law enforcement groups in that state contributed $1.2 million to local lawmakers between 1989 and 1991. [L]aw enforcement groups also hold the potent weapon of campaign endorsements, the study noted. …If legislators vote against bills supported by police interests, they know they run the risk of being labeled as `soft on crime,’ even if the legislation has nothing to do with public safety. The last thing a legislator wants in an election year is to lose the endorsement of police groups, or worse yet, wind up on their hit list.

In California, and other states, law enforcement groups have used this clout to pass a Police Officer Bill of Rights that grants privileges to cops during disciplinary processes privileges not available to suspects whom the same officers may have arrested or questioned. The Bill of Rights proposed in Pennsylvania, for example, restricts non-department questioning of officers and prohibits anonymous complaints. Others require that complaints be removed from personnel files after a few years and restrict the types of behavior that can trigger disciplinary action.

In 1992 and again this year, California legislators proposed major amendments to that state’s Bill of Rights Act imposing a one-year statute of limitation from the time of the complaint to the date of punitive action. Given normal backlog and lengthy appeal delays, this limit would have virtually guaranteed immunity from discipline. Massive organized opposition from the ACLU and other groups defeated the proposed legislation.

5. ADMINISTRATIVE CHALLENGES OVER COLLECTIVE BARGAINING
Although sometimes they lose sight of it, the primary purpose of police organizations is to represent members as public employees and to collectively bargain with municipal and state governments over such negotiable issues as wages, benefits, off-duty pay, hours, and promotional opportunities. Since 1986, when the federal Fair Labor Standards Act was applied to public employees, most police unions have argued that the issue of citizen involvement in individual officer discipline falls under collective bargaining and thus involves only two parties: the union and the employer. This position omits entirely the role of a public justifiably concerned that police will act abusively or unlawfully and that their superiors will not take appropriate disciplinary action. The Ohio Supreme Court has recognized this right of the public to participate. Since collective bargaining is not an appropriate process for the full consideration of the issues raised in a complaint by a citizen against a police officer, it ruled, effective citizen review is essential to maintaining the public trust and disciplining police abuses.

Not all rulings have been as sympathetic to public involvement. In 1992, the Spokane (Washington) City Council established a citizen review process giving citizens the right to appeal whenever the police chief refused to discipline an officer after a complaint. The police union fought back with a complaint to the state’s Public Employment Relations Commission. It alleged that the City had unilaterally changed procedures and by publicly disclosing disciplinary information, had invaded the officers’ privacy rights, something that inherently constitutes a working condition.

The Emploment Relations Commission agreed with the union that changes in disciplinary procedures were subject to collective bargaining. It ordered the city to dismantle the Citizens Review Panel and to negotiate with the union. Spokane did not appeal this ruling and set out to work with the police body to create a new oversight mechanism one that includes police representatives, holds secret hearings, and has no subpoena power.

On the other side of the country, the same scenario is being played out. The Syracuse (New York) Police Benevolent Association has filed a similar complaint against the Citizen Review Board. A decision by the New York Public Employees Relations Board (PERB) is pending. The most dangerous aspect of all this, says community activist Nancy Rhodes who edits Policing by Consent, is that we have no access to the process. The PERB hearings are conducted in secret as are the union negotiations. There are no democratic controls.

PHILADELPHIA: AN ALL-OUT CITIZEN REVIEW WAR

In Philadelphia, too, the FOP is clearly in full-blown post-partum resistance sparked by the DeJesus case, but fueled by the potential effectiveness of the city’s citizen review mechanism. Created in October 1993 after a fierce political struggle, it has subpoena power, independent investigators and the power to conduct public hearings. After it was funded and staffed in late 1994 and took on the DeJesus death-in-custody as its first case, the local FOP began to actively sabotage the PAC investigation. Few cities are more in need of citizen oversight than Philadelphia. At about the same time the FOP was challenging citizen review, six of its members pled guilty to federal charges stemming from blatant corruption in Philadelphia’s largely African-American 39th District. The New York Times described the convicted cops as so corrupt, so calloused to the rights and welfare of residents that the details have shaken the city to its roots. Federal charges include conspiracy, obstruction of justice and pocketing more than $100,000 in cash they robbed from suspected drug dealers through beatings, intimidations, illegal searches and denying suspects their constitutional rights. Revelations from this latest in a series of police scandals will force the city to set aside at least 1,400 drug-related convictions and pay millions of dollars for false arrest and imprisonment claims.

An FBI investigation of Philadelphia’s Police Department, started in 1992 in the 39th District, now includes the department’s Highway Patrol, as well as other areas, including the predominantly Latino 25th District, where DeJesus died.33 Even Ken Rocks, vice president of the local FOP, admitted that the prospect of the arrest of additional officers was certain and very, very distressing.

Still, the FOP maintains that the police can police themselves. The case of officer John Baird makes nonsense of that claim. Baird, who had made thousands of arrests in the 39th District by the time of his discharge, had received excellent ratings from his superior officers, while he was racking up 22 citizen complaints all dismissed. By the 23rd complaint, Baird was confident that the whole thing would go away, just as the previous 22 complaints had. His downfall was bad timing. The last complaint was filed in March 1991, just as the Rodney King case prompted the Justice Department to review all police brutality cases, including those in Philadelphia. The resulting FBI investigation and arbitration hearing revealed Baird’s sordid history of fabricating evidence, buying off witnesses, and lying and covering up.

It also came out that over the past five years, Philadelphia’s Police Internal Affairs Unit had investigated almost 600 citizen complaints. Only ten were sustained, with only two Philadelphia officers actually disciplined. The enormous bias in the department and its almost total inability to deal with a department run amuck was undeniable.36

Nonetheless, the FOP refuses to cooperate with an agency whose main purpose is to bolster public trust in the police. And community leaders in Philadelphia, particularly those in the Latino community, continue to demand that the Police Advisory Commission function in the public eye to deal with rogue officers. The Commission is the only hope that our community has to redress the wrongs of some of the officers from that District, says one 25th District Latino leader. *37 Another community leader hopes that the DeJesus hearings will begin a cleansing process that in the long run will restore the community’s confidence in a critical public service. Hopefully, something positive will come out of the DeJesus tragedy.

WEIGHING THE COSTS

Some of the demands by police unions, including the right to due process during any disciplinary proceeding, deserve active citizen support. Others far exceed the boundaries of legitimate labor concerns: Police officers should not be entitled to a separate Bill of Rights that encourages disregard of the real thing and promotes an official sense of separateness and privilege. In addition, contrary to the administrative ruling in Washington state, the daily working conditions of police are not affected by citizen review since boards only recommend discipline to a police chief who then decides whether or not to act. At least one state supreme court has upheld this position.

As the situation in Philadelphia illustrates, unions have the resources to launch innumerable chilling lawsuits. They can obstruct and sabotage, refuse to cooperate, and take the Fifth. But in the end, when the situation festers to the point that it has in Philadelphia, citizen oversight and democracy have a chance to reassert themselves.

LAPD_officers_beat_riot_suspect

LAPD officers beat a riot suspect at a downtown music-street fair.
The suspect was not arrested.

Posted in Corruption, Ethics, History of SPD Abuses, In Collective Self-Defense, Independent Oversight, Know Your Rights, Spokane Police Guild, Unanswered Questions | Leave a Comment »

Police Brutality at Bottoms Up Tavern in Spokane on February 22, 2008

Posted by Arroyoribera on February 28, 2008

Serious questions remain about what actually took place when 38 Spokane area law enforcement personnel besieged the Bottoms Up Tavern at 13921 E. Trent late Friday night/early Saturday morning. Reports are that police indiscriminately wielded batons and that one man was simply dumped along the roadway by officers after he “angered” them by vomiting blood in their patrol car. Accounts of the incident include officers providing unclear and contradictory instructions to patrons resulting in improper arrests. In addition some of the victims of police misconduct at the scene reportedly were Iraq war veterans. Media reports on the matter have been extremely sketchy, with few details reported. Some of those arrested were booked and released extremely quickly. This is indicative of a situation in which clear law enforcement misconduct has come to the attention of superiors and prosecutors who then look for a way to make it go away.  Look for charges to be dropped in the hopes that the whole thing will simply goes away.  Given that there are no effective law enforcement oversight mechanisms in Spokane or Spokane County and that the procedures for making a complaint are unclear, one can only hope that those involved find good legal representation to mount a law suit against the responsible officers and agencies.

Posted in History of SPD Abuses, Independent Oversight, Know Your Rights, Lies Damn Lies and ..., Unanswered Questions | Leave a Comment »

Spokane Police Department and Accuracy Watch

Posted by Arroyoribera on February 28, 2008

The Spokane Police Department has certainly had a long, self-induced spell of that bad luck over the last few years, having seen terms like corruption and scandal and homicide and lack of judgment used frequently to describe their actions. They have seen their finest, such as decorated Officer Jason Uberagua (one of the officers involved in killing Otto Zehm) go down in flames. They have had to suffer the embarrassment even of those whose demise is not in the least a surprise, such as Officer Jay Olsen — known for owning a busy drug property on the near north side just two blocks from an elementary school and the man who under the influence of alcohol woke up Peaceful Valley by shooting Shonto Pete in the back, managing to lodge bullets in the back of the innocent Pete’s head and in a nearby home. Any number of such incidents are spelled out in the chronology which launched this blog and more can be found by searching the Spokesman-Review archives and the internet will turn up much more.

So what do think we will see posted on the Spokane Police website on their “Accuracy Watch” page? Perhaps a correction to Corporal Lee’s fallacious interpretation of crime statistics? I don’t think so. Or perhaps an apology for the role played by the Spokane Police Gang Enforcement Team (GET) in spreading cooked data on alleged gang membership in Spokane via their public seminars on “gangs”?

Currently “Accuracy Watch” sports nothing more than the Spokane area temperature. However watching the evolution of the increasingly slick SPD website, knowing Chief Anne Kirkpatrick’s reported public relations savvy (though that has not always been evident), and observing the grooming of Officer Jennifer DeRuwe as the primary spokesperson for the SPD, it will be interesting to see what their next step will be in “spin control”. DeRuwe and the department have already made expert use of COPS TV as a public relations tool at the height of their crisis of credibility. Now if they can get a handle on other loose canons likely to crash and burn next or at least purge YouTube of unfavorable videos, they may yet win their battle for the hearts and minds of the people of Spokane.

Here is to ya’, Officer Brownlee — “You honkey, We drinkey” or Officer Brownlee’s Excellent Adventure

Posted in Corruption, Ethics, History of SPD Abuses, Independent Oversight, Know Your Rights, Lies Damn Lies and ..., Statistics, Unanswered Questions | Leave a Comment »

InfraGard — The surveillance society, government/corporate integration, and paranoid FBI wannabees

Posted by Arroyoribera on February 20, 2008

[Note: This is an initial draft on InfraGard. Future drafts will be posted in its place with the date of posting.]

Perhaps you are just hearing about Infragard for the first time from sources such as Democracy Now with Amy Goodman (transcript / audio / video) or The FBI Deputizes Business at CommonDreams.org .

The many InfraGard website representing different states, regions of the country, and sectors of the economy are presented as if public disclosure were one of the organization’s virtues. Therefore it prominently lists its membership as “23,682 members, including FBI”.

However, without a background check and a password don’t expect to be anymore privy and have any more access to the warnings and information sharing between the US government (the FBI, FEMA, and Homeland Security, among many others) and this group of “special citizens” than you will have to the special access chatter about “pro-police” and “anti-police” businesses on the Spokane Police Guild website. Just how special these “special citizens” are, what access they have, and whether or not they have been given “shoot to kill” authority by the U.S. government, is not all entirely clear. Yet.

And all of this raises many other questions such as the connection between programs such as InfraGard and such programs such as state level “fusion centers. It is this entire matter of “private-public collaboration” in surveillance and the growing national security apparatus in the U.S. which is raised by Matthew Rothschild in his article and his interview with Amy Goodman. As he states in his interview with Goodman, “it is another piece of our bill of rights going down the tubes, another aspect of repression that the Bush Administration has built up…it is really frightening what is happening to our democracy here”. And it is another piece of in the increasing extra-constitutional privatization of U.S. military, intelligence, policing, and prisons.

The InfraGard website states in its most simplistic description of the organization:

InfraGard is an information sharing and analysis effort serving the interests and combining the knowledge base of a wide range of members. At its most basic level, InfraGard is a partnership between the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the private sector. InfraGard is an association of businesses, academic institutions, state and local law enforcement agencies, and other participants dedicated to sharing information and intelligence to prevent hostile acts against the United States. InfraGard Chapters are geographically linked with FBI Field Office territories.

So where to start? If we take the FBI’s word on it, we are talking about an average of about 473 InfraGard members per state. Of course territories — such as Puerto Rico — are no doubt included but let’s go with 23,682 members in 50 states.

A good example of a state InfraGard chapter is the Connecticut chapter, a registered 501(c)3 763 members representing 485 organizations.

So who are likely members in the state of Washington?

Obviously FBI personnel themselves, though not all are specifically assigned. In terms of FBI agents in the state of Washington, FBI guardian angel, U.S. senator Patty Murray recently stated that Washington state has only 133 FBI agents assigned here. She apparently bought the argument of police chiefs in the state (most of whom have intimate relationships with the FBI) as well as the tale by former FBI agent, now Safeway loss prevention officer, that:

…. grocery stores along the Interstate 5 corridor in Washington state have been targeted by organized thieves, many of whom are undocumented immigrants driving cars with California plates. Typically, the items stolen wind up in the Vancouver, Wash., and Portland areas, and they eventually are repackaged and reintroduced into the supply line.

The portrayal of Infragard as “a secret organization” is clearly correct. First of all, without a U.S. government security clearance, you will not be accepted for membership. The many InfraGard sub-organizations, whether they represent states, industries or regional membership, all provide limited access membership areas on the internet.

However, the fact that Infragard is secret does not mean that a half hour on the internet will not turn up a good bit of information about it. The CIA and the NSA are also secret organization and a lot is know about them. We just don’t know exactly which prisoners are being sodomized at Guantanamo or by precisely which branch of the U.S. government. Likewise we do not know the exact extent of Soviet-era spying on U.S. citizens by neighbors, coworkers, and employers by InfraGard and its member network.

Let’s start with the likely e-mail address for Spokane’s Infragard FBI agent — infragard.spokane@fbi.gov This comes from extrapolating from other Infragard FBI email’s such as that of the Atlanta office.

And who would be my guess of the primary Spokane InfraGard FBI contact? Andy Castor. And then there is Erin Klunder from the FBI’s Seattle office and listed in 2007 as “Infragard Coordinator” (whatever the hell that is) for Washington state’s Evergreen Chapter of InfraGard.

Wondering what the benefits of Infragard membership are or how to apply? It is all right here on the Infragard website at http://www.infragard.net/member.php?mn=2

Want to know who was elected Vice President of the Evergreen Chapter of Infragard in 2006? Pacific Northwest National Laboratory counterintelligence officer Greg Chartrand. (PNNL is located in Richland, Washington, and is no doubt a veritable spider’s nest of Infragard membership and domestic intelligence gathering activities.)

Chartrand Elected Vice President of InfraGard’s Evergreen Chapter in Washington State

Chartrand Elected Vice President of InfraGard’s Evergreen Chapter in Washington State

Greg Chartrand, a counterintelligence officer at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, has been elected Vice President of InfraGard’s Evergreen Chapter in Washington State. InfraGard is a partnership between the FBI and the private sector that was established to share information and intelligence regarding critical infrastructures. Chartrand specializes in information sciences and special technologies. He is the first PNNL employee to serve in the role of vice president of InfraGard’s Evergreen chapter. (announced 4/1/2006)

Now guess, who is the Infragard Evergreen Chapter President?

From the Washington state InfraGard website at http://www.infragard-wa.org/ here is a list of the 2007 Board of Directors of the Evergreen Chapter:

2007 Board of Directors
President:Todd Plesco
Vice President: Raymond Pompon
Coordinator: Erin Klunder, Infragard Coordinator, FBI Seattle

So who is Todd Plesco? Todd it turns out is not only Compliance Security Officer for King County Public Health, one of the largest health departments in the U.S, where access to medical records is part of his job, an access that is probably pretty useful to the FBI as part of Todd’s role as an Infragard secret agent man. Not always looking happy, Todd has a resume that probably is not too different from a lot of the techie’s involved in Infragard — military experience, lots of information security background, and training at Homeland Security’s Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC) in Glencoe, Georgia. From Todd’s personal blog (Todd Plesco’s Desert Storm Gallery), here is a trophy photo from his days in the U.S. Marine Corps during Gulf War 1. Todd describes the shot by writing, “Since the Middle East forbade alcohol, we found it a task to obtain one frosty cold beer. Here I am, having a celebratory beer on news that Pres Bush has determined “mission accomplished”. My guess it that it was not much of a task to find that cold one, in reality, was it Todd? Nor to find that medical record that the FBI asked you for on a King County resident of interest for their involvement in protesting phase two of the Bush families wars in Iraq and the Gulf.

InfraGard provides us a look at social networking in the age of the surveillance society and the recruitment of a domestic intelligence organization. Thus it is no surprise that Todd Plesco participates in every on line social networking circle imaginable from FaceBook to PeekYou to MeetUp to Friendster and in most all of them makes reference, even in Friendster, to his InfraGard affiliation.

Closer to home, who are two prominent Spokane participant in InfraGard? Nolan Garrett and Jeff Jones, co-founders of Intrinium Security in the Spokane Valley (see bios at crosstechmedia.com) As their company website shows, Garrett and Jones are InfraGard recruiters. From the Intrinium website, you can go directly to the InfraGard website and watch a video of FBI director Robert Mueller extolling the virtues of paranoia and domestic spying/surveillance (remember it was on Mueller’s incompetent watch that this country lost the Twin Towers.

The cachet of Infragard membership is such that some members use it as a tag added to their names when they sign blog entries.

And don’t worry, if you are looking for membership in this “club” and have the following documents, your application will be expedited:

InfraGard Qualified Substitutes for Records Check

The following United States Government-issued Security Clearances are Qualified Substitutes for the records check required for InfraGard Membership:

  1. Confidential
  2. Secret
  3. Top Secret

An InfraGard Applicant/Member may submit evidence of their possession of one of the above clearances to expedite the initial processing and periodic renewal of their InfraGard Membership.

Just remember to send your completed application to:

FBI Seattle
InfraGard Program Coordinator
Federal Office Building
1110 Third Ave
Seattle, Washington 98101-2904

And please remember: All applications should be typed and placed in a sealed envelope.

What sort of people are members of Infragard? Well, given that it started out in 1996 under the pretext of “guarding the infrastructure” of the cybernetic world, many members were and are computer techs, ITs, techie-types.

In the case of Mr. Chartrand, mentioned above for his role as Vice President of InfraGard’s Evergreen Chapter in Washington State, he is a counterintelligence officer at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. This despite serious intel shortcomings at the labs.

Intel Shortcomings at Two Labs: IG. An inspector general inquiry at the Lawrence Livermore and Pacific Northwest national laboratories has found that while federal and contractor employees were generally in compliance with Energy Department policies and procedures for intelligence activities, only four of 29 intelligence and counterintelligence analysts at the labs interviewed could define a “U.S. person.” In a new report, the IG said it also found that the labs’ reviews to assess adherence to guidelines on retention of information on U.S. persons were incomplete and that none of the 29 analysts interviewed could correctly describe the process for reporting conduct that would violate a 1981 executive order aimed at ensuring the effectiveness of intelligence and counterintelligence activities. In conducting the review, the IG interviewed DOE and National Nuclear Security Administration officials at the Richland (Wash.) Operations and the Livermore (Calif.) Site offices, and contractor officials at LLNL and PNNL. To remedy the problems, the IG recommended that DOE and NNSA ensure employees receive training familiarizing them with the Executive Order and DOE Procedures for Intelligence Activities. The directors of the DOE and NNSA intelligence officers agreed with the recommendations, and told the IG in an Aug. 6 letter they would “will make a renewed effort to ensure” all pertinent employees “achieve the requisite familiarity” with the department’s procedures and the executive order. The report is available at http://www.ig.doe.gov.

http://regionaloutreach.pnl.gov/speakers-bureau/events_archive.aspx

The focus on technology infrastructure is evident in the many InfraGard meetings like this held by the MidTennessee chapter of Infragard — * (Oct. 19) InfraGard Middle Tennessee meeting, 11:30 a.m., speaker FBI liaison Victor Rodriguez on new FBI CyberCrime unit in Nashville, Cisco offices, 700 Executive Center. Details.

The InfoSecNews website provides an interesting running compendium of news articles.

http://www.infosecnews.org/hypermail/thread.html

And of course, as one would expect, a major government project to infiltrate civic society will produce many offspring. Take this for example, Agrigard.

What is Agrigard? According to the InfraGard website, The food and agriculture section of the program, dubbed AgriGard, is where farmers and other rural residents have a role to play. Food and agriculture was designated a special interest group because it’s physically impossible for local law enforcement or any government agency to secure every head of livestock, field and tanker truck across the nation.

Members of AgriGard use a secure Internet portal to provide the FBI “on-the-ground” information about their local communities that may be helpful in preventing terrorism and other crimes. They are able to access current information about local threats, advisories, alerts and warnings, many of which are not available to the public. Members also may share information with each other and the FBI through the secure portal, in addition to learning about ongoing research on critical infrastructure protection.

And as Infragard and its FBI bosses indicate repeatedly, “You may not be an FBI agent, but you can do your part to protect America by joining today.” They appeal to the “secret agent man” and Soviet bloc neighborhood informant in every American, for example stating,

The proliferation in recent years of popular television programs and movies featuring FBI agents might lead one to believe entry into that profession is open to virtually anyone with a yearning for adventure and a belief in the agency’s motto – “Fidelity, Bravery, and Integrity.” The truth, however, is that rigorous academic, fitness and security standards preclude most Americans from ever becoming FBI agents. But farmers, ranchers and other rural residents do have a unique opportunity to help the FBI protect America’s food supply, through membership in local chapters of the FBI’s InfraGard program.

Infragard members now have their own website and “alliance” at http://www.infragardmembers.org/ and their own Infragard National Members Alliance Quarterly Newsletter, subscription to which is of course reserved for your neighbors, friends, coworkers and employers who have passed an FBI background check.

Or perhaps you want to become a Weapons of Mass Destruction First Responder . (As an example of the fact that anyone in our communities might be part of this secret FBI organized organization, the author of this first responer article is Freeman Mendell, Infragard National Members Alliance Board of Directors member and an Audit Manager for the Galveston County Auditor’s Office in Galveston County, Texas. The language used in the documents and websites of and related to Infragard is troubling to some and has been from the start, especially the use of the term “homeland”. From the 2007 National Strategy for Homeland Security comes this:

As we sustain the evolution underway in these areas, success in securing the Homeland
requires that we prioritize the continued transformation of our law enforcement and military
instruments of national power.

What type of weapons might the U.S. government arm members of Infragard with? One example from this network news video is this LED Incapacitator, a new weapon for which U.S. Homeland Security paid almost $1 million dollars. It is expected to be put in the hands of local and state police forces, the US Coast Guard, Secret Service, Border Patrol and U.S. Air Marshalls. The film footage in the video link had to be modified by KOVR CBS Channel 13 in Sacramento, California to prevent it from causing TV viewers to become dizzy. The video photo starts with protesters being attacked by police, suggesting that this is the type of scenario in which the weapon would be used.

So at what type of meeting might there be a prominent presence of InfraGard? The Secure World Expo for one. Without much more brains than the FBI team tracking Osama Bin Laden, one can conclude that all the sponsor organizations listed down the left side of that web page are deeply InfraGard involved. And they are only the tip of the iceberg. Of course the model is to integrate all government and corporate entities in this neo-fascist, national security state project.

Peter H. Gregory is an information security expert. On his blog “Securitas Operandi“, he has placed a logo for InfraGard on his blog and states that he is on the Board of Directors of the Evergreen Chapter (Washington State) of Infragard. He is also on the board of advisors and a frequent lecturer for the National Security Agency (NSA) certified University of Washington Certificate Program in Information Assurance & Cybersecurity (Press Release). In fact, Gregory’s list of his involvement in Advisory Boards and Memberships serves as a good starting point in exploring organizations in the Northwest, some of them U.S. domestic intelligence-related organizations such as the FBI Tip Line at NW Warn . For whatever reasons — to reassure the reader or himself — Gregory also posts the InfraGard Code of Ethics.

Here is just one example of the type of information one would find on the Infragard website –

If It Breaks, It Doesn’t Matter How
By Ira Winkler

Too many companies separate different security disciplines into different departments. This espionage case study, demonstrates that you need holistic protection to truly protect your information.

The Attack
An accomplice and I tested this organization’s susceptibility to social engineering. Getting started, we reconnoitered the main entrance to our client’s building and found that the reception/security desk, staffed by a single female receptionist, was in the middle of a very large lobby. The next day, we walked into the building during the morning rush pretending to be on cell phones. We stayed at least 15 feet from the woman at the security desk and simply ignored her as we walked by.

Once inside the facility, we found a conference room, setup shop and sat down to plan the rest of the day, deciding that a facility badge would be a great way to get things rolling. I picked up the phone, called the main information number and asked for the office that makes up the badges. I was forwarded to the reception/security desk and, pretending to be the CIO, told the person on the other end of the line that he wanted a couple of subcontractors to get badges. The person told me to “send them down to the main lobby.”

A uniformed guard greeted us in the lobby and took us back to a room where they made up the badges. The guard asked us what we were working on, and we mentioned computers, so he asked us if we needed access to the computer room. Of course I said, “That would help.”

Within minutes my accomplice and I both had badges with access to all office areas and the Computer Operations Center. An hour later, we went to the basement and used my badge to open up the main computer room door. Everyone was in one room of the facility. Through a window we saw what appeared to be the server room and used my badge to walk right in. There was one monitor turned on and it appeared to be a Windows Primary Domain Controller (PDC). We brought up the user administration tool, added a new user to the domain, and made the user a member of the administrators group, then quickly left.

With in two hours we had full control of and access to the entire corporate network, for all practical purposes. As part of this test, we also used the badges to perform some after-hours walkthroughs of the building focusing on the executive suites. In doing this, we found the key to the CEO’s office and were able to plant a mock bug in there. Can you imagine the ramifications of that?

The Outcome
Nobody outside the team knew what we did until they were told. After they were informed, the guard supervisor called me and wanted the name of the guard who issued the badges. I told him that the fact that he didn’t know who did it was a problem in and of itself and refused to disclose this information. If he wanted it, he would have to contact the CIO.

Clearly, this focuses on one attack vector of the espionage simulation. There were weaknesses in the organization’s computers, as well as their overall physical security, providing multiple ways to compromise the same information. The compromised information could have resulted in tremendous loss of intellectual property, and in some cases, placed the corporate executives at great risk. Since the company’s line of business involves critical infrastructure components, the information could enable successful terrorist attacks.

How this Could Have Been Prevented
This espionage simulation highlighted how physical and technical vulnerabilities combine to cause great damage, and security programs must be holistic in response. The security desk should have been closer to the entrance, and there should have been a formal process for issuing badges. Access to special areas, like the computer room, should require approval from a known entity and once granted, a confirmation should have been sent to the approver. The password feature of the screensaver for the PDC should have been activated, the account should not have been logged on in the first place, and the addition of an administrator-level account should have been audited and alerted.


Ira Winkler CISSP, CISM is well known for his social engineering skills. More of his case studies appear in his books, Corporate Espionage and Spies Among Us.

 

Posted in Corruption, FBI in Spokane, Freedom to Fascism, InfraGard, Know Your Rights, Surveillance Society, Unanswered Questions | 1 Comment »

Request for help…

Posted by Arroyoribera on February 17, 2008

With 25,000 hits in 7 months, this blog has clearly become a useful resource.

However, I have other interests of importance such as my blog on Racism on Spokane and my blog on U.S. attempts at destabilizing Venezuela and other Latin American countries.

I would like to invite readers of this blog to help me and those seeking information on the Spokane Police and other issues related to Spokane-area law enforcement.

How?

1) If you conduct a search on a relevant topic, please send me the link or links.  Even the series of words you used in a Google search or the link to that search is useful.

2) If you have an experience or know of someone who has been a victim of abuse, disrespect, or other mistreatment by the police, jails, courts or other “public safety” personnel in the area, please send my the information.

3) If you have written something you would like posted here, please send it to me.

It is helpful if I have a way to reach you but it is not necessary. With an email address at least I can write you back for clarification. I will not publish or use your e-mail, name or personal information unless you request it and give your permission.

Please write to me at SpokanePoliceAbuses@gmail.com

Here are some examples of issues I have not been able to address yet and your help would be appreciated:

  • Followup on the Spokane Police Officer Jay Olsen shooting of Shonto Pete — an innocent man — in the back of the head
  • Followup on the killing of Otto Zehm by Officers Dan Torok, Jason Uberuaga and 5 others
  • Information on the status of the incomplete report by police consultant Mike Worley on the Spokane Police Department
  • Information on the status of the incomplete FBI investigation into the Otto Zehm homicide
  • Background on Utah-based corrections consultant David Bennett whose recent report is being used by Spokane County commissioners and Sheriff’s Office as part of their campaign to convince taxpayers of the need for a massive new jail complex
  • Witnesses to police abuses and misconduct in any Spokane area jurisdictions
  • Witnesses to the blonde Spokane Police woman who was thumping her baton against her open palm at the back of the Spokane City Council Chambers near the end of the presentation by SPD Chief Anne Kirkpatrick on September 17, 2007
  • Information on abuses in area jails and prisons
  • Withholding of public information by area agencies required to release such information
  • Holding of closed meetings by public agencies and entities required to inform the public and hold those meetings in the open
  • Information on spying by the FBI and other law enforcement on peace activists, community activists, and other citizens
  • Information on organizations such as InfraGard and other Soviet-style secret organizations used to recruit citizens to inform and report to the FBI and other law enforcement organizations.

Posted in In Collective Self-Defense, Independent Oversight, Testimonies, Unanswered Questions, Urgent Call | 1 Comment »

Zero Diversity in Spokane’s Major Law Firms

Posted by Arroyoribera on February 10, 2008

The Washington State Bar Association publication Law and Politics (June/July 2003) ran an article entitled “Gaining and Retaining Diversity: How well do law firms keep their promise of a diverse environment?” by Paul Freeman.

The article and graphic were based on a survey of Washington State law firms conducted by the Washington State Latina/o Bar Association, the Loren Miller Bar Association, and the Asian Bar Association of Washington.

Several law firms did not respond, among them Spokane based firms Lukins & Annis, P.S. (35 attorneys); Witherspoon, Kelley, Davenport, and Toole, P.S (50 attorneys); and Paine, Hamblen, Coffin, Brooke & Miller, LLC (55 attorneys).

It is not difficult to see why these firms would not have responded to the survey.

A look 5 years later at the websites for these large Spokane-based law firms shows that they have no attorneys of non-European ethnicity whatsoever. (On the WKDT and PHCBM websites you will have to click on the names of the individual attorneys.)

And this despite the presence of a well-known Jesuit law school — Gonzaga — in Spokane.

This non-diverse reality is reflected throughout the Spokane professional, political, educational, and arts communities. While more than one in ten residents of Spokane is of a diverse ethnic background, that reality is not seen in the offices of government, medicine, law, business, education, social work, religion, or virtually anything else in this community.

The consequences in the application of justice are seen in on the streets and in the court room as recently seen in a well-publicized Spokane court case revealing blatantly racist statements by Spokane jurors regarding an attorney of Asian heritage.

The consequences in the emergency room and in doctors’ offices are experienced on a daily basis by patients who do not receive language appropriate services required under the Civil Rights Act of 1965 and other provisions of law. In Spokane these failures to comply with the law happen on a daily and flagrant basis. As a result, adverse outcomes and deaths have occurred), conditions have been misdiagnosed, and much humiliation and abuse has been suffered (as in the death of 9-year-old Rocio Rodriguez, for example.)

The consequences in the class room are that non-English speaking students do not receive notice of extracurricular and enrichment activities and access to musical instruments in their parents’ languages and thus talented and worthy children are excluded from participation. Beyond that, the larger community and society is denied the fruits of their talents and abilities.

Given that most, if not all, of these matters of access, equity, and justice must be adjudicated in the final instance through the legal system, the lack of diversity in the Spokane legal profession, from law school, to law practice, to public service law agencies, to court room has long-lasting repercussions on the lives of people in Spokane and raises fundamental questions of access to justice which should be matters of major concern for everyone involved in civil rights in Spokane and the betterment of our minority communities.

The time for change in Spokane is long since past. Why has change not come?

Could the answer be “entrenched racism”?

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

Spokane County Bar Association diversity page

Posted in Corruption, Ethics, Know Your Rights, Law, Racism, Statistics, Unanswered Questions | 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 »

Spokane Area Law Enforcement and Public Safety Unions

Posted by Arroyoribera on February 9, 2008

· Spokane County Deputy Sheriff’s Assoc.
Martin Tucker (e-mail)
· Spokane Co. Lt. & Cap. Assoc.
Jim Finke (e-mail)
· Spokane Sheriff Management Assoc.
Cal Walker (e-mail)
· Spokane Police Guild
Craig Bulkley (e-mail)
· Spokane Police Lt. & Captains Assoc.
Steven Braun

(e-mails from Washington Council of Police and Sheriffs website)

* Spokane County Deputy Sheriff’s Association
* Spokane City Police Guild
* Spokane County Deputy Prosecutors Association
* Airway Heights Police Guild
* Local 492 RFC Sheriff’s Radio Operators, Forensics, Cooks
* Local 492 SP Sheriff’s Support Personnel
* Local 492 Sheriff’s Correction Deputies
* Local 492 Sheriff’s Correction Sergeants and Lieutenants
* Spokane Valley Fire Fighters Union Local 876 (IAFF)
* Spokane Fire Fighters Union Local 29 (IAFF)
* Spokane County Courthouse Employees Local 1553

Washington Council of Police and Sheriffs (WACOPS)

Posted in Independent Oversight, Know Your Rights, Spokane Police Guild, Unanswered Questions | Leave a Comment »

Spokane Police Guild at Monroe Court on Feb. 27, 2008 at 2 PM

Posted by Arroyoribera on February 9, 2008

NEXT GUILD MEETING:

Wednesday, February 27th 2008

General Meeting at 1500 Hours

* Executive Board at 1400 Hours*

901 N. Monroe St, Monroe Court Bldg, Room 330 (map)

 

More information on the Spokane Police Guild –

Spokane Police Guild Forum Page

Spokane Police Guild to Chief & Public: We’ll investigate ourselves

Police union walks the enemy business beat

Spokane union balks at outside investigations of officer-involved shootings

Spokane Police Guild Approves Retro-active Pay Raises, Costing City $1.25 Million

Spokane Police Guild vs. Spokane Civil Service Commission (1999) 7 pages

“Irreparable Damage” — Spokane Police Guild v. Liquor Control Board

All-White Spokane Police Department?

Guild defends evidence destruction in Firehouse Sex Scandal

Firehouse Sex Scandal — Photos of 16 year old girl by fireman violated the law but no charges filed

Guild defends brutal killing of Otto Zehm — Case remains unresolved 2 years later

 

Posted in Educating the Chief, Independent Oversight, Spokane Police Guild, Trained to Kill, 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 »

4/16/08 Chief Anne Kirkpatrick on Keeping the Community “Safe”

Posted by Arroyoribera on January 31, 2008

Of all people…

On Wednesday, April 16, 2008, the Spokane City Forum will bring Anne Kirkpatrick, chief of the scandal-ridden Spokane Police Department, speaking about “What it takes to keep a Community Safe”.

Interestingly, in the age of private security contractors, domestic spying, and use of illegal government powers, Kirkpatrick will team with the local head of a national company which engages in secret collaborations with the police.

If you would like to see which side of her mouth the Chief speaks on this occasion, or perhaps even hear her sing, “I fought the Police Guild and the Police Guild won”, as well as learn more about private/public cooperation in the age of the police state, please read the following details. Then don’t miss the event…


Phone: 509-777-1555
Fax: 509-747-1171

Remind me of upcoming Spokane City Forums…


Meeting Location:
First Presbyterian Church
318 South Cedar Street
Spokane, WA 99204

Meeting Time: 11:45 A.M.

Take me to…
First Presbyterian Church

Cost to attend is $10.00 and includes lunch. Please make reservations at least two business days in advance.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008 at 11:45 First Presbyterian Church, Spokane

Anne Kirkpatrick, Spokane Police Chief & Pat DeVries, President of DeVries Business Records Management

“What it takes to keep a Community Safe”

One of the most fundamental necessities in life is safety. To reach this level of safety, it takes a partnership between both civilian and governmental organizations. Anne Kirkpatrick and Pat DeVries will speak about what it takes to prevent crime from the Police Department down to the civilian level.

* Anne Kirkpatrick, Spokane Chief of Police, has been in law enforcement for more than 25 years, including three posts as Chief of Police in Washington cities. Her diverse experience has given her great perspective on leadership. She will speak in detail about the guiding principles important in leading a Police Department as well as discuss what it takes to lead “through the storms” that come.

* Pat DeVries is the Owner/President of DeVries Business Records Management, a company celebrating 20 years of operation. In addition to his professional experience, he has been leading the charge of crime prevention from the civilian sector. He is the President of “Crime Stoppers of the Inland Northwest,” a local division of a national civilian crime prevention organization. He will share his wisdom in what civilians can do to collaborate with the Police Department to make our communities safer for everyone.


Posted in Educating the Chief, Freedom to Fascism, History of SPD Abuses, Independent Oversight, Solutions, Unanswered Questions, Yes ma'am Chief | Leave a Comment »

Turning a pig’s ear into a silk purse

Posted by Arroyoribera on January 31, 2008

Certainly this is one of the best efforts at spinning a story you will ever seen.

First, read the public relations piece below the picture of Roger Bragdon, former Police Chief of Spokane. It comes from the Spokane City Forum web page.

Former Spokane Police Chief Roger Bragdon

Wednesday, April 20, 2005
Roger Bragdon, Spokane Chief of Police
“Community Oriented Policing- How We Can Get Involved in Reducing Crime”
Spokane has been recognized nationally and internationally for its unique community partnerships and programs to reduce crime. Chief Bragdon will address the topic of community oriented policing, its history, why it works and how it has evolved into one of the most successful policing strategies for Spokane – one that other communities are trying to adopt.

Now let’s look at what it says:

Is Spokane “nationally and internationally recognized for its unique community partnerships and programs to reduce crime”? Certainly it has received recognition but its programs are not unique. Nor has it been especially successful. In fact, the city became one of the leading cities for methamphetamine use and production in the United States under the watchful eye of the Spokane Police Department, with much of the problem occurring during Chief Bragdon’s reign and within a several block radius of his office.

At the same time, Spokane under Bragdon was well on its way to developing a “national and international reputation” for lack of accountability, impunity for police crime and corruption, and political leaders unable and unwilling to bring the good-old boy network to heel.

A pig’s ear indeed.

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

A month prior to the aforementioned talk by Bragdon, the Spokesman-Review published a story on the involvement of Chief Bragdon and Deputy Chief Al Odenthal, among other SPD officials, in the leasing and planned purchasing of a Hillyard warehouse from retired Spokane Police captain Chuck Crabtree. Crabtree had once supervised Bragdon.

As reported in the article:

(quote)

The proposed purchase is not the first time Bragdon’s friendship with Crabtree has made news.

In 2003, Bragdon urged judicial leniency for Crabtree’s son, Jim Crabtree, a former Spokane County deputy sheriff turned drug dealer, who was convicted in a drug-related auto crash that nearly killed sheriff’s Sgt. Earl Howerton in 2001.

Jim Crabtree was sentenced to five years in prison for vehicular assault, two counts of possession and four counts of selling crack cocaine.

(end quote)

For more on Bragdon’s controversial reign, see –

The Spokane Police Guild unanimously voted this week to file a complaint against Chief Roger Bragdon over his order to dismiss a traffic infraction filed against the son-in-law of former Spokane County Prosecutor Don Brockett.

See item # 8 at This Week’s Corrupt Cop Story for more on the Bragdon/Crabtree matter.

For more on former Deputy Chief Al Odenthal, please read this blog posting at DogWalkMusing as well as the comments which follow it.

Posted in Corruption, Ethics, History of SPD Abuses, Independent Oversight, Unanswered Questions | Leave a Comment »

Spokane Racism — new blog by Arroyoribera

Posted by Arroyoribera on January 29, 2008

Racism in Spokane – a 21st century reality

by Arroyoribera on January 24th, 2008

Racism in Spokane?

Not a topic that will make you very popular among those you know in Spokane, especially if they are white.

Twice today it was suggested to me by whites I know that if people (a category which clearly was intended to include me) are unhappy with the situation of race in Spokane or the white dominance of Spokane or the exclusion of non-whites in Spokane, then I or anyone else with similar concerns can move to Seattle or anywhere else that we chose and where – it was implied – we will see more people of color on a routine basis.

Other interesting reactions to the topic of “racism in Spokane” can be seen in the anonymous postings on the blogs of the Spokesman-Review and even in the Spokesman’s publication/blog for area high school students.

Instead of leaving Spokane, I decided to begin this blog – Spokane Racism.

We will explore not only the perception and reality of racism in Spokane but also the reaction to the suggestion that Spokane is racist as well as the reaction to the evidence that Spokane is racist.

We will look at Spokane’s beginnings through the violent and unlawful taking of the lands of the native peoples and nations that lived, and fished, and roamed, and played, and celebrated, and raised families on this land and along this river.

In addition, we will look at the use and abuse of language and imagery of race, as well as the enshrinement of the areas racist past.

We will look at the history of explicitly racist organizations in the Spokane area from the Church of Jesus Christ Christian/Aryan Nations and Washington State Militia to Phinneas Brotherhood and White Order of Thule.

And we will look at the realities of community and organizational exclusion in Spokane from our media and our local governments to our police forces, our schools, and our cultural life.

I invite those with comments on the topic to send them to SpokaneRacism@google.com

Posted in Know Your Rights, Lies Damn Lies and ..., Solutions, Statistics, Testimonies, Unanswered Questions, Urgent Call | Leave a Comment »

How to beat a red-light camera

Posted by Arroyoribera on January 27, 2008

Hard 7 blogmeister, indy-journalist, and leading Spokane Police critic Frank Sennett has moved on to Chicago where he will edit the British-owned Time Out Chicago. As soon as Sennett left Spokane, the Spokesman-Review blocked access to the enlightened and left-leaning commentary and dialogue of Sennett and his readers. The S-R deemed to unblock that access a few days ago and I have been reviewing Sennett’s insightful and informative writings. Here is one from February 9, 2007:

How to beat a red-light cam

If Spokane approves the hugely flawed red-light camera system–studies show they increase rear-end collisions dramatically while longer yellows do more to reduce side impacts–this week’s column details how frustrated motorists can hide in plain sight.

But hopefully the City Council will look beyond police department hype, examine the uncooked data and opt to increase the length of those yellows–as traffic engineers recommend–instead of sticking Spokane motorists with a backdoor tax that won’t make them safer and will enrich an out-of-state contractor.

And while you’re waiting for the light to turn green, please sign up for the free Alternative Source podcast.

Posted in Know Your Rights, Solutions, Unanswered Questions, Videos | Leave a Comment »

SPD Officer Jason Uberuaga fired for “conduct unbecoming”

Posted by Arroyoribera on January 27, 2008

[Comment from blog author: The Uberuaga incident has all the indicators of an initiation into a police club or unit. As in, “Make sure she is drunk so that her allegations can’t hold water, you have to do it in an official vehicle, and you have to bring back evidence, such as a photo of her breasts on your cell phone.” Please send your thoughts and comments on this scenario to spokanepoliceabuses@gmail.com ]

Jason Uberuaga –

  • 1997 Gonzaga University graduate and star baseball player (All-West Coast League Honorable Mention)
  • joined the Spokane Police Department in 1998
  • decorated Spokane Police officer who teamed with Sgt. Dan Torok in the March 2006 killing-by-cop of Otto Zehm
  • deputized member of DEA Regional Drug Task Force
  • member of the Spokane Dodgers of Men’s Senior League Baseball (The MSLB slogan is “Don’t go soft, play hardball!”)

On October 11, 2007, apparently finding his life not sufficiently interesting, Uberuaga decided to engage in some “conduct unbecoming” of an officer and found himself accused of rape (video). Uberuaga’s law enforcement colleagues maintained the solidity of the “thin blue line“, concluding that the victim’s story was inconsistent and thus deciding not to charge Uberuaga.

On January 23, 2008, Uberuaga was fired by the Chief of Police of Spokane who concluded that Uberuaga had engaged in “conduct unbecoming” of an officer when he used his cell phone to photograph the woman’s breasts, had sex with her, and drove his patrol vehicle under the influence of alcohol. Uberuaga had been bar hopping with other Spokane law enforcement officers at the time.

Still, the odds are that the system will come to the rescue of Uberuaga.

Many still remember another recent moment in the storied annals of Spokane area law enforcement. On June 16, 2006, Spokane County Sheriff’s Deputy Joe Mastel exposed himself to a barista at an expresso stand in Airway Heights, a couple miles west of Spokane. Like Uberuaga, Mastel was terminated for “conduct unbecoming” of an officer.  Subsequently, the Spokane County Civil Service Commission reinstated Mastel and ruled he could collect his pension in full.  No less a friend of law enforcement than anonymous blogger “Spokane Valley Insider” has opined that Mastel’s offense was a “more serious offense compared to having sex with a willing participant in a private parking lot of a privately owned business” and does not believe that “Uberuaga’s termination fits the offense”.

Spokane Valley Insider goes on to write:

(quote) I would be surprised if his termination holds up.  Uberuaga is guilty of making a bad decision.  He doesn’t deserve to be a part of a task force if he is going to drive the company car to taverns and use the company phone to take topless photos of women.  But is that conduct unbecoming?  Should his actions that night determine his future and wipe out the spotless record including awards of merit he has received during this ten years of service?  Uberuaga should be suspended without pay for 30-60 days, relieved of his task force detail, and required to remain on patrol for an indefinite amount of time. He should also be docked a step in salary. (end quote)

A few clarifications are in order.

First, Uberuaga is at the least guilty of making several bad decisions, not just one.  According to published reports, bar patrons watched Uberuaga go out to the parking lot and engage in what essentially became a public act of sex in the vehicle. He and his law enforcement buddies hit more than one bar that afternoon.  He drove the patrol vehicle under the influence of alcohol, which the Chief had specifically forbidden.

Second, Uberuaga was not the only law enforcement official involved in the cavorting with reports indicating that the his accompanied by Spokane County Sheriff Deputies.

Third, Uberuaga does not have a spotless record, in that the matter of the homicide of Otto Zehm (in which Uberuaga was one of seven Spokane cops participating in the killing along with the notorious Sgt. Dan Torok) is still open with both an FBI probe and the followup Mike Worley report still pending.

Fourth, Uberuaga — whose salary in 2002 was $61,475 — has been paid throughout these 3 1/2 months despite early admissions on his part regarding the “conduct unbecoming” on October 11, 2007.

(Note: Read Spokane County Board of Commissioners’ response to Civil Service Commission reinstatement decision on Mastel)

One similarity between both the Uberuaga and Mastel cases is their “blame the victim” strategy. Both cops put the blame on the woman involved, with Mastel claiming that the barista “led me on” and Uberuaga claiming that the his activities were consensual.

Spokane seems to have a serious problem of lack of accountability by law enforcement. Two other cases come immediately to mind. In the Firehouse Sex Scandal, two Spokane Police detectives (Sgt. Joe Peterson and Sgt. Neil Gallion) “instructed” a Spokane fireman to delete photos of a teenage girl with whom he had engaged in sexual activity. In another case, SPD officer Dave Freitag allowed 65-year-old level three sex offender Thomas Hermann to resided in the basement of his home and stored the convicted felon’s firearms (Hermann was among 22 suspects arrested in the U.S. as part of an international child pornography investigation.)

In all four cases, the total number of officers arrested was…? You guessed it. Zero.

 

Posted in Corruption, Educating the Chief, History of SPD Abuses, Independent Oversight, Lies Damn Lies and ..., Spokane LE Personalities, Unanswered Questions | Leave a Comment »

Sibel Edmonds — Blowing the lid off the FBI, CIA, and high level US Traitors

Posted by Arroyoribera on January 21, 2008

Sibel Edmonds is the most gagged person in US history. The government has repeatedly invoked the State Secrets Privilege in her case – not for reasons of ‘national security’ but to hide ongoing criminal activity. Please call Congressman Henry Waxman and John Conyers as well as Senators Chuck Grassley and Patrick Leahy to demand public open hearings into Edmonds’ case and the State Secrets Privilege.

Sibel Edmonds — PEN Newman Award RecipientPEN American Center has named Sibel Edmonds, a translator who was fired from her job at the FBI after complaining of intelligence failures and poor performance in her unit, as the recipient of this year’s prestigious PEN/Newman’s Own First Amendment Award.

Sibel Edmonds — Investigations Thwarted — Why have so many investigations been dropped? Whose interests are being served? Demand hearings.

Sibel Edmonds: A Patriot Silenced, Unjustly Fired but Fighting Back to Help Keep America Safe — ACLU

Jan. 6, 2008 The Sunday Times (of London) — For sale: West’s deadly nuclear secrets

Jan. 20, 2008 The Sunday Times (of London) — FBI Accused of Covering up Government Dealings with Network Stealing Nuclear Secrets

Let Sibel Edmonds Speak — Official documents prove FBI lied to protect US Officials

Daniel Ellsberg on Failure of US Media to Report Coverup by FBI, CIA, and Department of State Treason — 1 and 2.

Posted in Censorship, Freedom to Fascism, Lies Damn Lies and ..., Testimonies, Unanswered Questions, Videos, War Abroad & At Home | 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 »

Video of Spokane protest arrests shows lack of respect for free speech

Posted by Arroyoribera on January 20, 2008

Though the event occurred on June 27, 2007, I have just come across this video and commentary about the arrest of two protesters during then-Attorney General Alberto Gonzales’s secret meeting with Spokane area law enforcement. The importance of this information falls in two areas — 1) the text reprinted below is an excellent statement by a Spokane journalist on Spokane police acting arbitrarily against peaceful protesters, and 2) it includes an exceptionally revealing video of the arrests of both the wheelchair-bound Rebecca Lamb and local populist Dan Treecraft. (Note: as of 1/24/08 Frank Sennett will be a Chicago journalist, having just taken over the position of editor for Time Out Chicago.)

(quote)

Video of Spokane protest arrests shows casual lack of respect for free speech

Watch this video of the June 27 protest against U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and you’ll see a peaceful group of demonstraters calling for an end to the war.

But the Spokane Police Department can’t just let the proceedings play out calmly. Instead, an officer moves to arrest a woman in a wheelchair–Rebecca Lamb–after she refuses to move behind an arbitrary free-speech line officers are setting up with traffic cones and yellow tape. That’s even though the group is showing no tendency toward disorder or disruption.

With this capricious exercise of police authority (and authority granted by whom?–certainly not the Constitution), the officers turn the heat up on the proceedings and earn some chants along the lines of “No more cops.”

Soon, they arrest protester Dan Treecraft for crossing the street.

The SPD leadership must set a much higher threshold for triggering arrests of peaceful protesters in Spokane.

This is not a police state nor a security state.

People require the latitude to express themselves peacefully under the law without being bullied and ordered around by officers who somehow perceive 55-year-old, wheelchair-bound activists as threats to public safety.

UPDATE: Here’s another video of the arrests, forwarded by a reader.

(end quote)

Posted in Censorship, Freedom to Fascism, History of SPD Abuses, In Collective Self-Defense, Independent Oversight, Know Your Rights, Photographic Evidence, Protest and Free Speech, Unanswered Questions, Videos, War Abroad & At Home | Leave a Comment »

 
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