Spokane Police Abuses: Past to Present

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

Archive for October, 2007

Know Your Rights: Boy Confronts Police

Posted by Arroyoribera on October 31, 2007

Boy Confronts Police

Adelante muchacho. Eres el futuro del mundo. Defiéndete, cipote, porque los escuadrones de la muerte vienen por ti y tu hermanita. Tus padres ya son viejos y tienen miedo.

El gringo es un hijo de su *&#$%* sin corazón. Vende lo que puede, desde tierras y almas hasta pasaportes y armamentos…..y una bala con tu nombre.

No tengas miedo, chavalito. Son cobardes quienes se esconden detrás de escudos, bastones, ametralladoras, nubes, y velocidades súper-sonicas. Invaden, ocupan, destruyen, masacran y nunca se van. Son imperialistas, matadores, cabrones, y no se van. Torturan, violan, difaman, y no se van.

Párate firme y dále duro, igual como los muchachos palestinos con sus piedras contra los tanques israelíes. Diles que no les tiene miedo. Son matamujeres, mataniños, matapobres. Allá se llaman Pérez y Gutiérrez. Aquí se llaman Torok y Olsen. Anda, juega, y ponte trucha, mi hijo, porque “the man” tiene un plan y no es nada bueno.

Translation — Be brave, child

 Be brave, mi hijo.  You are the future of the world.  Defend yourself, child, because the death squads are coming for you and your little sister.  Your parents are already old and they are afraid.  

The gringo is a son-of-a-*&#$% without a heart.  He sells what he can, from lands and souls to passports and weapons…and a bullet with your name on it.  

Don’t be afraid, cipote.  They are cowards who hide behind shields, and clubs, and machine guns, and clouds, and super-sonic speeds.  They invade, occupy, destroy, and massacre, and they never leave.  They are imperialists, assassins, and bastards, and they never leave.  They torture, rape, and defame, and they never leave.  

Stand firm and give it your all, just like the Palestinian boys with rocks against Israeli tanks.  Tell them that you are not afraid.  They are killers of women, and children, and the poor. There they are named Perez and Gutierrez.  Here they are named Torok and Olson.  Run, play, live, but be ready, my son, because “the man” has a plan and it is nothing nice.

*********

(Both original Spanish text and English translation by David Brookbank.  Origins of photo are unknown.)

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Posted in Freedom to Fascism, Gangs?, In Collective Self-Defense, Know Your Rights, Lies Damn Lies and ..., Photographic Evidence, Protest and Free Speech, Unanswered Questions, Urgent Call | Leave a Comment »

What Does Self-Defense Against Riot Police Look Like?

Posted by Arroyoribera on October 31, 2007

Dr. Tom Jeannot, Gonzaga University’s brilliant radical philosopher, has referred to the events in Spokane’s Riverfront Park on July 4, 2007 as a “near police riot”. Some have gone so far as to remove the word “near”.  Dr. Jeannot was present in the park that day as a Spokane police tactical squad attacked an assembled group of young people in what amounted to a classic act of  state repression against the constitutional rights to free assembly and free speech of U.S. citizens.  One thing made clear by Dr. Jeannot in his subsequent statements about the event is that the attack on the young people by the police was totally unprovoked and unjustified.

Here are some reflection on the concept of self-defense when the aggressors are police.

What Does Self-Defense Against Riot Police Look Like?

author: Kirsten Anderberg

What does legal self-defense against riot police look like? Rob Thaxton, in jail in Salem, Or., 8 years, for what seems to be self-defense in Eugene Reclaim the Streets protest. 231 protesters criminally charged in Miami at FTAA protests, 0 cops charged. Prosecutors are friends with cops. Judge in Miami says witnessed 20+ felonies by police with own eyes. No 911 response while we are assaulted by riot police. Tacoma Police Chief rapes you, where do you turn? How do we protect ourselves from police?


WTO Protest in Toronto

What does Legal Self-Defense Against Riot Police Look Like?
By Kirsten Anderberg

We are in a societal crisis with police in America. I have said for twenty years that I would prefer to see anyone but a cop at the end of an alley alone, because a cop will get away with raping me and they definitely are armed. As a teen, I witnessed my sister have sex with a Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) officer to get out of a felony crime she got caught red-handed in. My other sister said she, and her women friends, had sex with Boston Police to get out of vehicle tickets and criminal charges. This trend of women giving sexual favors to police to avoid criminal prosecution has been going on in front of me since I was a teen in the 1970’s. Knowing that many police officers expect sexual favors in return for criminal immunity has haunted me my whole life.

It doesn’t end with sexual harassment. I was in an interracial relationship in Los Angeles as a teen, and the LAPD also found a need to hassle us endlessly. As a white girl, it was a wake-up call, regarding the way police interact with minorities, and their interracial lovers. When I heard ex-LAPD cop Mark Furhman say during the O.J. Simpson trials, that he routinely harassed interracial couples as a cop, I knew he was being honest. Once I was sitting alone on a park hill in LA with my lover at dusk, and I swear to god, we were assaulted by 3 police cars, 6 police officers, and a helicopter with a spotlight on us. They rolled the cop cars up onto the grass, jumped out with guns, and told us to “drop the blanket.” We did. They searched us, they asked my black boyfriend if he was part of gangs, clubs…when he asked what they were talking about, they literally said, “Are you in the Black Panthers?” I was stunned. He replied he was in the Ku Klux Klan. The police called my parents and told them I was in a park with a black man. My parents said they knew that! Finally, the police left. There was no crime being committed except two interracial lovers sitting on a hill at dusk! I learned early on that police are NOT to be trusted.

Now let’s fast-forward to 2003. Mothers, community elders and leaders, peace activists, WWll and Vietnam vets, teenagers, grannies, all converged on the Federal Building, to protest Bush’s Iraq war. The peace community had obtained the proper permits for marches, and 7 days occupation at the Federal Building plaza with a stage, sound system, etc. Yet when we got there, we were met by lines of Seattle Police officers anonymous in UNMARKED uniforms, with riot gear, guns that said “LESS LETHAL” on them, machine guns (AR-15’s), helmets, shin guards, big baseball bat sticks, and they refused to talk to people at all. Seeing this intimidated many a protester to go home and STAY home after Thursday. By Saturday, these hoardes of riot police acting like Robocops, now included snipers, Federal riot squads, and police from every surrounding county. Everyone assumed these police WANTED to riot, INTENDED on rioting (look how they were dressed), and WERE THERE to riot. If any other group of people showed up like that to a protest, YOU WOULD CALL THE POLICE FOR HELP! So, only the brave continued to protest the war, against the swarms of heavily-armed Homeland Security agents at the Federal Building. Finally, on Saturday eve, March 22, 2003, the SPD and Federal riot police finally got to play riot. They contained peaceful protesters in downtown Seattle, myself included, between Marion and Spring Streets on First Avenue, and they would not let anyone leave and then began to beat people. I am not kidding. I was there. They would not let us leave. They would not tell us what they wanted. And they were angry, unidentified, violent, and beyond all law. They acted like terrorists, I was terrified.

Then in April 2003, Tacoma Police Chief Brahm shoots himself and his wife. Now, Tacoma is an area where police ROUTINELY harass the minority population, and police corruption is said to be tremendous. With the death of Brahm and his wife, in front of his own kids no less, it then came out that Brahm had previously raped a woman, and other Tacoma Police KNEW this. Brahm also failed TWO departmental psychological evaluations regarding his potential promotion to police chief. And yet this guy was promoted to Police Chief ANYWAY. Again, I have known police rape girls and women since I was in my teens in suburban Los Angeles. This did not shock me. The fact that Brahms cried after he raped the woman, saying he would go to his church for help, made me even more sick. Brahsm apologized for the rape to the woman in FRONT OF ANOTHER TACOMA COP! Brahms raped a woman, another Tacoma Police officer KNEW he did it because Brahms confessed IN FRONT OF THE OFFICER, and yet he continued on as Police Chief! Then he killed himself, and his wife, because she tried to get away from him! There were warnings all along the way and everyone knows it. Women are simply unsafe when alone with male police officers, is my gut feeling at this point. There is no method for checks and balances, and this is a very, very serious problem.

Then in June 2003, the Law Enforcement Intelligence Unit (LEIU) hits Seattle, with its national convention, and Seattle rolls out the protest carpet to greet this secretive police organization. Again, protesters go through the process of getting a permit for the rally and the march. Yet, again, riot police showed up, ready to riot. Again, these police refused to wear name tags or badges, they assaulted us anonymously, although we do have their pictures. They used unnecessary weaponry, they beat people, they assaulted and entrapped the crowds, not letting them leave again, on Fifth and Madison Avenues. They drenched crowds with pepper spray and mace, as well as shooting concussion grenades, and machine-gunning rubber bullets from AR-15’s, into innocent crowds full of mothers, children, attorneys, and peaceful protesters. Again, police violated the people’s trust. Again, the police acted in a way that would have made us call police for help, if they were not the police. And since it was police attacking us, 911 and medics would not help us. They would not enter the containment area, and let police beat, assault, and spray us with toxic chemicals. Thus our need for an organized street medic squad. Like Black Cross or BALM, in Seattle.

Rob “Los Ricos” Thaxton is an anarchist youth from Eugene, Oregon, now serving an 8 year prison sentence for what he says was self-defense, from a rabid Eugene cop he was afraid was going to assault him. The protest was in 1999, it was billed as a “Reclaim the Streets” action. Now, once again, I have witnessed with my own two eyes, the Eugene Police, in riot gear, hyped up, out of control, attacking our youth for no damned reason, except macho adrenaline hype without accountability. According to Mr. Thaxton, he was “attacked by Sergeant Larry Blackwell” at the protest. He says, “I threw a rock up in order to protect myself from an imminent beating, and it hit Blackwell, a glancing blow to his shoulder…I was arrested and charged with Assault II – assault with a deadly weapon.” I agree with Philadelphia’s Insubordinate Zine, that this sounds like self-defense to me. What is your natural reaction when any armed, angry man charges, to assault you? What would you do? Let Sergeant Blackwell just beat you? It is a dilemma!
(You can write Rob at Rob Thaxton #12112716, OSP 2605 State Street, Salem, Or. 97310).

Then we saw the FTAA riots in Miami this November. The pictures coming out of that riot resemble what I have seen in Seattle and Eugene, with swarms of crazed police, overdressed in riotous clothing (talk about people who come prepared and dressed to riot!), acting as if they are contracted terrorists! Is it a coincidence that Seattle Police guided Miami Police in their riot tactics for the FTAA protests, and it turned out so bloody and dangerous? No, it is not. How on earth any city could look to Seattle Police as any example of what to do RIGHT in riots is only laughable at this point. Seattle made WORLD HISTORY due to the extreme violence police caused at the 1999 WTO riots! It is a shameful scar on Seattle’s past. Yet no police officers were convicted of crimes for any of that! On Dec. 20, 2003, in the Miami Herald, it was reported that Judge Richard Margolius, 60, a judge presiding over the cases of FTAA protesters in court, said in open court, that he saw “no less than 20 FELONIES committed by police officers” during the demonstrations. According to court documents, the judge was quoted as saying, ”Pretty disgraceful what I saw with my own eyes. And I have always supported the police during my entire career, This was a real eye-opener. A disgrace for the
community.” The judge said he may have to take himself off the FTAA cases, due to neutrality issues, saying ”I probably would have been arrested myself if it had not been for a police officer who recognized me,” said the judge.

Judge Margolius also said he could not recognize officers that he knew, because “everybody had riot gear on.” Yeah, we have been complaining about that in Seattle incessantly, to no avail. This covering up of all identifiers at riots by police is very incriminating, in my opinion. They do NOT want people to know who they are once they put on their armor and go out, like thugs in the street, to beat people and create mayhem and chaos. They want to be faceless robots in a crowd, which is in direct violation of Muni Code 3.28 in Seattle, which says all police on duty in Seattle need proper ID, at ALL times, while on duty. I have gotten to a point of advocating MEMORIZING your local cops’ FACES, so you can say “Hey Bob, how are the kids Betty and Jim, and your wife Margo?” as he starts to beat you, giving him a reality check, letting him know YOU KNOW WHO HE IS, BEFORE HE STARTS THE BEATING. In Seattle, we have downloaded lists of all the SPD officers’ names and ranks, and we have taken their pictures at riots, and we have begun making files of police, with information on these police, such as their pictures, files of repeated reported violence from certain officers, which officers spray gases first, which officers carry the grenades, tactical vests, and AR-15 machine guns, profiles of their careers, past police conduct, etc. At this point, we feel a need to police our police. Knowing who these cops are, what their past behaviors have been, etc. guides us in who we should trust or not, who we should interact with or not. Copwatch.com, http://www.copwatch.com, has a data base of police crimes, and all involved in Miami riots should lodge complaints there. So far, approximately 231 protesters have been charged with crimes in Miami, but no police, as usual, are being prosecuted. I AM SMELLING THE CORRUPT PLEA BARGAINS BREWING AT THE MIAMI PROSECUTORS’ OFFICES ALREADY. This is part of the problem of the incestuous relationship between police and prosecutors. Prosecutors do not prosecute their cop friends. As the judge said, it was knowing the cop that prevented him from arrest. According to the Miami Herald, the executive assistant to the Miami Police Chief John Timoney said, “The chief’s not going to comment on something this vague. If the judge would like to file a complaint with the CIP [Citizens Investigative Panel] he can do that like any other citizen.”

Yeah, let’s talk about these supposed police accountability panels. Seattle has one of these things too. It is called the Office for Police Accountability (OPA). Many of us lodged complaints against the Seattle Police for violent assaults on peaceful protesters in March and June 2003, and nothing has been done AT ALL. The set-up of the Seattle OPA is hilarious. The Seattle Police spokesman for the OPA is barred from saying anything critical about the Seattle Police as part of her job contract! The OPA is not open to citizen review. There are HUGE problems of accountability in the Seattle OPA, and I can only assume that the Miami CIP is a joke too. We will see. If they start convicting these police for the 20+ felonies that just one judge on the scene witnessed, maybe their system works. But I have yet to see proper prosecution of violent felonious police officers in the recent rash of violence on America’s streets caused by riot police out of control, drunk on Homeland Security powers. Yet, this problem precedes 9/11 and Homeland Security. No police, that I know of, were prosecuted in the Seattle 1999 WTO riots that stunned the world due to the extreme police violence!

Is this some kind of bad joke? What are we supposed to do, as peaceful citizens, who oppose our president’s policies? Are we allowed to peacefully protest with free speech rights in America OR NOT? NOT, seems the consensus, lately. I am very concerned about police in America right now. They are demonstrating repeatedly that they are totally out of control, lacking any accountability to their own constituents, and are violent in extreme measures, so extreme that intimidation has GOT to be part of the motive here. Intimidation tactics to scare protesters into staying home. Intimidation tactics that say that police have a RIGHT to HURT YOU if you DARE protest nonviolently in American streets. Police who KNOW they will GET AWAY WITH BEATING YOU. Police who will waive criminal charges, if you give them head. Police who sting and pinch and scorch the free speech rights of America off, inch by inch. I want to know how legitimate LEGAL self-defense looks against violent cops in America. I saw Kent State. I have seen our own military and police OPEN FIRE on nonviolent Anti-Vietnam War protesters, killing American students for free speech, on an American college campus, in my own life time. Government officials have learned nothing as a society, from the civil rights and Vietnam-era protests, apparently, regarding police and protest. Or have they learned from those movements to scare and beat the hell out of us BEFORE we become a powerful national movement? I assume police will beat protesters violently at the DNC in Boston and the RNC in NY in 2004. The Boston Area Liberation Medic Squad, http://www.bostoncoop.net/balm, the BALM Squad, is holding a training in street medicine in Feb. to train protesters in first aid, since emergency services will not help us when assaulted by violent police. Email them at bostonmedics@riseup.net for info.

What are my options if I am raped by, say, the Police CHIEF of Tacoma? It happened folks, and Brahms was not prosecuted AT ALL. What are my options if I am married to a violent Police Chief who would kill me before he would let me leave him? Well, Brahm’s wife told the Tacoma police she was in danger, and now she is dead. The Tacoma Police Chief shot her to death. My sisters, more than one, had sex with police to avoid criminal prosecution. How safe am I, as a woman, in this society, with cops like this? Are the cops really someone I can go to for protection from harm? Are copshops a place to go to report rape by a police chief? And how do I defend myself from violent cops without going to jail for 8 years like Rob Thaxton? How do we get the police review boards to actually work for citizens, not cops? How do we get prosecutors to charge their own buddies with the crimes they commit? This is a mess, folks. Like Judge Margolius has said about the FTAA riots, “This was a real eye-opener. A disgrace for the community.” I, too, had my eyes opened by violent Robocops on Seattle streets. Once your eyes are opened, you never feel safe closing them near cops again.

source url: http://www.saveourcivilliberties.org/en/2003/12/171.shtml

City of Spokane releases protest videos, pictures from Spokane July 4th (videos and photos)

Posted in Freedom to Fascism, History of SPD Abuses, In Collective Self-Defense, Independent Oversight, Know Your Rights, Protest, Spokane Police vs. Youth, Testimonies, War Abroad & At Home | 1 Comment »

SPD slumlord Jay Olsen’s drug house

Posted by Arroyoribera on October 30, 2007

By the way, what ever became of Spokane Police Officer Jay Olsen’s drug house at 112 W. Montgomery Avenue?

I have asked about this at Frank Sennett’s Hard 7 blog, but because I am really finding frequent blogger Spokane Detective Officer Dan Torok’s non-responsiveness to be very annoying, I would like to invite SPD Chief Anne Kirkpatrick or former internal affairs Sgt. Jim “aka Kevin” Faddis to respond on this one.

In reality, not anticipating a response from either Faddis or Kirkpatrick, I came up with this partial response to my own question. Again, this is from the S-R:

(quote) This is the second time in less than two years that (SPD Officer Jay) Olsen has been in the news. In September 2005, neighbors living near 112 W. Montgomery Ave. were frustrated by frequent drug activity at a home owned by the police officer.

Dennis “DJ” Jones was convicted of selling drugs out of one of the five apartment units in the converted house. Olsen said he had no knowledge of the illegal activity.

Spokane police Officer Jennifer DeRuwe said there was an internal investigation into whether Olsen had done anything improper. It was unclear Monday what that investigation turned up. (end quote)

http://www.spokesmanreview.com/local/story.asp?ID=176398

Apparently, it is SPD Officer Jennifer DeRuwe who could respond to this but, like SPD spokesperson Dick Cottam before her, I am sure the answer would be, “No comment”.

How many other Spokane Police Department and Spokane County Sheriff’s Office staff are local slumlords?

Posted in Educating the Chief, Gangs?, History of SPD Abuses, Independent Oversight, Spokane LE Personalities, Unanswered Questions | 1 Comment »

Report: FBI’s troubled relationship with Spokane area law enforcement

Posted by Arroyoribera on October 28, 2007

Upon reading the entire May 2007 report from the Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Justice, one gets a much clearer sense of why Spokane’s inter-agency coordination efforts have gone astray more than once in recent months.

Perhaps this even helps to explain why we continue to await the FBI’s report on Otto Zehm.

In fact, I am guessing it explains the statements by FBI boys to me as far back as summer 2004 regarding their low morale and feelings that they had been unable to get anything right for some time.

In fact, now we know why — despite their best efforts to pull their heads out and to win one for the gipper with their phony gang bust in late September 2007 — the boys from the multi-agency Spokane Gang Enforcement Team (GET) ended up shooting themselves in the foot and winning the 2007 boner award by announcing bogus arrest and weapons confiscation data.

Check this out from page 19 and then from the appendix to the Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General’s May 2007 Evaluation and Inspections Report I-2007-004 entitled “Coordination of Investigations by Department of Justice Violent Crime Task Forces“:

(quote)

In Spokane, the FBI planned to create an FBI Violent Gang Safe Streets Task Force and contacted local law enforcement officers in the fall of 2005. The U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington told the OIG that, as the result of the FBI’s attempt to form a new antigang task force in Spokane, he received many calls from multiple law enforcement sources expressing concerns. Because local law enforcement personnel and resources were limited, the U.S. Attorney told us that he did not want “proven and successful task forces to be robbed of their officers.” An Assistant U.S. Attorney stated that he informed FBI task force officials that they had to coordinate the creation of the new task force and their request for local personnel with the other components and the U.S. Attorney’s Office in accordance with the Deputy Attorney General’s August 2005 memorandum. According to the Assistant U.S. Attorney, FBI task force managers stated that they were not aware of the memorandum. The U.S. Attorney therefore spoke with the components’ Special Agents in Charge and explained that if they were going to create new task forces, they had to be coordinated. Ultimately, the FBI decided not to create a Safe Streets Task Force in Spokane. (from p. 19)

Coordinated Anti-Gang Task Force Efforts in Spokane and Tulsa–Summary of the EOUSA Response. EOUSA stated that notwithstanding the FBI’s initially uncoordinated efforts in Spokane and coordination problems in Tulsa, the U.S. Attorneys in both cities believe that coordination has significantly improved.

OIG Analysis. We accept, but have not independently verified, EOUSA’s report of recent cooperation by the FBI in a local anti-gang task force in Spokane and the resolution of coordination problems in Tulsa. Notwithstanding any recent improvements, during the time period examined in this review we found coordination issues in both cities, and we reported on these issues and made recommendations for improvement. (from appendix)

(end quote)

Posted in FBI in Spokane, Gangs?, History of SPD Abuses, Jason Oakley and the FBI, Lies Damn Lies and ..., Unanswered Questions | Leave a Comment »

Rape Allegation Against Deputized Federal Drug Task Force Member, SPD Officer Jason Uberuaga

Posted by Arroyoribera on October 28, 2007

A veteran Spokane Police officer — previously involved in the death of Otto Zehm — has been accused of rape after drinking in two Spokane Valley bars with individuals including Spokane Sheriff’s Deputies.

Jason Uberuaga was until the incident a member of the DEA Regional Drug Taskforce but he was removed from the Taskforce as a result of the incident. He is on paid administrative leave while the Washington State Patrol conducts an investigation. There is no timeframe for resolution of the matter but as things go in the Spokane area in matters involving alleged crimes committed by law enforcement, it is expected to be a long and drawn out affair.

Uberagua was a star player for the 19 wins and 3 losses 2004 Spokane Dodgers of the Men’s Senior Baseball League in the Northwest. Uberagua batted .419 with 5 home runs and had a team leading .839 slugging average. He has also been a patrol officer in the North Central area of Spokane.

According to the Spokesman-Review, “Senior Officer Jason Uberuaga has been with the department since August 1998. He received a Silver Star in 2002 for his efforts in a gun battle at the Intermodal Center.” In both that “gun battle” in 2002 and in the killing of Zehm, Uberuaga was involved in the incidents with Officer Dan Torok.

Spokesman-Review — Cop accused of rape part of drug task force

KREM 2 – A cop accused

KREM 2 – COP rape allegations

KREM 2 – Slideshow pictures of Spokane Valley bars where officer and victim were seen

KREM 2 – Details of officer rape allegation uncovered

KXLY 4 – Officer on administrative leave during investigation

KXLY 4 – Consensual or not?

Summer 2004 MSBL statistics for Spokane Dodgers and Jason Uberuaga

Uberuaga at bat

Spokesman-Review — Mayor Looks Outside–Hession wants independent review of Police Department

Posted in History of SPD Abuses, Independent Oversight, Spokane LE Personalities, Unanswered Questions, Videos, Yes ma'am Chief | Leave a Comment »

Index of Posts at SpokanePoliceAbuses

Posted by Arroyoribera on October 27, 2007

This is a list of all posts at SpokanePoliceAbuses, listed from the most read to the least read. Because some of the least read are the oldest, I encourage you to explore some these least read posts.

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The Role of Spokane, Fairchild, & the SERE/JPRA Program in US Torture Police & Geneva Convention Violations

Laying out the case…
Prison Towns — Walla Walla, Shelton and Spokane
About
Suicide by Cop — I’d have jumped too
 
Urgent Call: Protest of Spokane’s CIA-c
Photos of All-White Spokane Police Depar
Police Surveillance, Intimidation and Su
Spokane cops to spin their own story on
SPD Officer Dan Torok waxes eloquent at
Spokane Police Brutality on Camera
Color of Law Matters — Spokane’s FBI Chie
URGENT CALL (10/03/07)–Gang Seminar by
And they call this a choice?
Homeboy Industries / Homegirl Bakery
In Memoriam — Otto Zehm (1970 – 2006)
All-White Spokane Police Department?
ACLU: Know Your Rights
Police Harassing Spokane Youth?
FBI in Spokane — Informant posed as The
All-White Spokane Police Department? Or
Know Your Rights: Boy Confronts Police
Ethical Lapse by Chief Kirkpatrick?
Girl vs. Police Baton
The FBI in Peace and War
Buried Deep in the Spokesman’s Blogs �
SPD ‘officer’: “I have a job…to get th
Testimony: Mother and son recount 7/8/0
FBI Watchlist — Spokane Edition
Retired Spokane Police Don’t Go to Heave
Videos at Spokane Police Abuses
More unanswered questions for Spokane re
“Irreparable Damage” — Spokane Police G
Laying out the case…
Clean Sweep — Changes eliminate Kirkpat
9/11 Truth
Riddle me this, Batman!
Stop it, Stop it, You’re Killin’ Me!
Lies, damn lies, and…SPD Cpl. Lee and
Police Records Missing? Have Jeanie Spi
Peace Officers or Sanctioned Thugs? by L
Civilian Oversight Boise Style — Covera
 
Ron Wright — Spokane Area Law Enforceme
Guns and Policing: Standards to Prevent
Anything sound familiar here?
Urgent call from U.S. Comptroller Genera
Battle Ready — The SPD’s Military Arsen
Revocation of Police Officer Certificati
Educating the Chief — It’s Spokane, not
Handbook for bloggers and cyber-dissiden
We the people…..
Lady in a Red Suit: Know Your Rights
The Real News
Outside it’s (fascist) America
 
War coming home to roost — just the beg
LAW ENFORCEMENT CODE OF ETHICS
Boise Office of the Community Ombudsman
Remember, remember, the 11th of Septembe
About this blog — Why this blog, how to

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Posted in History of SPD Abuses | Leave a Comment »

Learn how to spy on your neighbor in a post-911, neo-fascist America

Posted by Arroyoribera on October 25, 2007

Freedom loving souls that we are in the United States, we are building a Berlin Wall on our southern border with Mexico.

So why not build a series of organizations in communities all over the country dedicated to having U.S. citizens spy on one another for the police. If John Kennedy could say “Ich bin ein Berliner“, certainly we can say “Ich bin ein Stasi“.

Ever wonder about those cars prowling your streets at night? Well, yes, some of them may be a Spokane Police Officer returning home from some boozing and who knows what sort of hanky-panky.

Perhaps there is even an occasional non-law enforcement crook out there as well.

But some of those cars are your NOP — the Neighborhood Observation Patrol.

Why not find out more. Attend the NOP/BlockWatch Citywide meeting on Wednesday, October 31, 2007.

Neighborhood Observation Patrol /
Block Watch Citywide Meeting
October 31
6 p.m. – 8 p.m.
Monroe Court Bldg. Suite 300
901 N. Monroe, Spokane, Washington

Find out about the many neighbor-spying-on-neighbor activities and organizations of law enforcement in this post-911, neo-fascist era in which we live.

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Neighborhood Observation Patrol

(N.O.P.)

 

The Neighborhood Observation Patrol promotes citizens’ identification and reporting of suspicious or unlawful activity in their community.

The Neighborhood Observation Patrol program originated in 1993 as a pilot project in the West Central neighborhood to monitor suspicious behavior. After a year-long testing period that proved the program to be safe and effective, the program was continued in the West Central neighborhood and established in other neighborhoods under the direction of their respective substations.

N.O.P. volunteers are trained by the Spokane Police Department in areas of safety, patrol procedures, communications, first aid, and basic law. Volunteers use their own vehicles which are equipped with cell phone, police scanner, flashlight, binoculars, first aid kit, and reflective vests. The vehicles also display reflective signs which identify them as N.O.P. patrols.

N.O.P. volunteers make no arrests and carry no weapons. They become additional eyes and ears for the Police Department and their neighborhoods. They have also helped in searches for missing persons and disaster assistance such as Ice Storm 1996 and other community emergencies. If you are considering N.O.P., you may also want to take a look at C.E.R.T. (Community Emergency Response Team).

For more information, contact Spokane C.O.P.S. at
(509) 835-4592.

Item 2003 2004 2005 2006
N.O.P. Groups 8 8 8 10
Volunteers 86 87 90 74
Hours 1,729 1,681 1,401 1,630
Miles Patrolled 2,059 3,481 2,446 4,558
Citizens Trained 24 35 18 25

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Posted in Educating the Chief, Freedom to Fascism, History of SPD Abuses, Independent Oversight, Know Your Rights, Spokane Police vs. Youth, War Abroad & At Home, Yes ma'am Chief | Leave a Comment »

Ron Wright — Spokane Area Law Enforcement Personalities of Note #1

Posted by Arroyoribera on October 24, 2007

It was recently while blogging over at the Spokesman-Review and at Frank Sennett’s “Hard 7” that I decided I should start this blog category — Spokane Area Law Enforcement Personalities of Note here at SpokanePoliceAbuses.

It began with my realization that several individuals blogging at the S-R and Hard 7 were actually Spokane Police Officers.

“Dan” is Detective Sergeant Dan Torok of Otto Zehm and Jerome Alford infamy.

“Jim” is Sgt. Jim Faddis, who also blogs — for unknown reasons — under the pseudonym of “Kevin”.  (Officer Faddis, blogging as “Kevin” and pretending to be a civilian, engaged in this extensive defense of his police department’s conduct in the July 4, 2007 police attack on protesters.   http://www.spokesmanreview.com/blogs/opinion/archive/?postID=1490 )

“JR” is Officer JR Russell.

One suspects from the tone and content of the blog posts of several other writers that they are law enforcement or connected to law enforcement.

At Hard 7 and the S-R blogs I began to notice the writings of a fellow who called himself Rocketsbrain” aka “RTB”.

Rocketsbrain had much to say about Spokane’s alleged serious gang problem and specific elements of that alleged problem such as graffiti. He even began to offer his own sort mini blog course on graffiti and gangs.

Intrigued, I began reading through previous responses by him at a number of Spokesman-Review blogs and many other websites around the internet.

No problem. Many of us are out there — according to the experts — ruining our chances of ever finding a decent wife or of landing that $500,000 corporate job as a result of our compulsive plastering of cyberspace with the indelible electronic ink of our inane and insane postings on the internet.

However I began to notice definite tendencies and trends and themes in Rocketsbrain’s writing. Given where he was coming down on issues and some of the claims he was making, I grew increasingly uncomfortable with his anonymity.

For example, he repeatedly claims — not only in his Spokane blogging but all over the internet — to have access to people who share information with him, information which he subsequently discloses to readers and distributes across the web.

On the wider internet, much of the information he traffics in deals with his disdain of the mainstream media or “MSM” as he calls it.

However, his biggest source of interest and claimed expertise on the wider net is regarding “GWOT”, i.e., the Global War on Terrorism. He tends to run in circles where there is no need to even explain lingo like MSM and GWOT because these are military/law enforcement-oriented inner circles.

I came across a resume that Rocketsbrain had posted on one of the S-R blogs for the benefit of S-R editor Steve Smith. Interestingly, the resume did not include Rocketsbrain’s name. Neither did his website which one could reach easily because he always signed his posts with a hyperlink to his website.

The resume made it very clear that Rocketsbrain was a former law enforcement man from Southern California. I was interested to see that as he had made several unsubstantiated claims under the pseudonym of Rocketsbrain. For example, in the midst of controversy over alleged gangs in Spokane and much hysteria over graffiti, he stated that he was the “gang czar” in a city at some point in the past. The resume did not include that little fact and Rocketsbrain never responded to my request to him in one blog exchange to let us know when and where he had held that title/position of “gang czar”. To date, no response.

I then came across an exchange in which, out of the blue and out of all context, Rocketsbrain asked another peculiar fellow, pseudonym “ValleyWatch”, to contact him at an e-mail address so that he could discuss his belief that the Spokane Valley was “the new Chinatown”.

It did not take more than a few minutes to figure out that Rocketsbrain — in addition to his extensive law enforcement history — is in fact a director on the board of the right-wing 501(C)3 organization known as Homeland Security Policy Institute Group (HSPIG). Besides being the the forum’s moderator at the HSPIG website, Rocketsbrain is also a member of the HSPIG Security Council.

One of Rocketsbrain’s areas of focus at HSPIG is “threats” and in that capacity he is very involved in and a frequent internet planter, nurturer and transporter of information and disinformation on Iran. Some of that information is very incendiary to say the least. For example, see this post by Rocketsbrain at whizbangblog.com

Burn baby burn!!!

And btw throw a couple of grenades in the last functioning Iranian gas refinery and block any new gas shipments by sea.

Here’s something you can do to individually tank the Regime without waiting for the fed gov’t to act. Support the Iranian Divestiture Project.

RBT

9. Posted by rocketsbrain | June 27, 2007 4:11 PM

Rocketsbrain is also a member of HTCIA, the International High Technology Crime Investigation Agency.

Rocketsbrain tends to post at places like “Lonewacko“, “BlackFive“, and “The Command Post“.

Aat Media Mythbusters Blog, Ron Wright’s website, Rocket’s Brain Trust, is listed as a “contributing site”. Except that he assiduously avoids using his real name, he probably would be listed as a Contributor. Of course, his gig at Media Mythbusters is his Cowles Family obsession.

And given that the HSPIG website includes an Illegal Alien Tip Area , it is not surprising that a number of his posts deal with immigration. Nor is it surprising that he invited “Valleywatch” to contact him privately about the Spokane Valley being, in his words, “the new Chinatown”.

My interest in this is more than just perverse paranoia.

Spokane is a notorious right-wing backwater. One of the whitest cities per capita its size or larger in the United States. A racist bastion. Site of two of the seventeen acts of domestic terrorism committed in the U.S. between 1990 to 1996.

So who is Rocketsbrain aka RTB? Ron Wright. It would appear that he has attempted to keep the two names, Rocketsbrain and Ron Wright separate with pretty good success. But alas….

We have some other interesting law enforcement folks who live here, have moved here or have moved on.

— Mark Fuhrman of LAPD and OJ Simpson fame, now a conservative Spokane radio personality.

— Rocketsbrain aka RTB aka Ron Wright of HSPIG and HTCIA.

— Former SPD Chief Terry Mangan, now of the FBI.

— SPD Officer Bob Grandinetti of the infamous Freight Train Riders Association investigations.

— Captain Richard Olberding who once stated in the midst of the South Hill Rapist investigation that women ought to “just lay back and enjoy it”.

Check back soon as we learn a little about some of lesser known aspects of Spokane law enforcement personalities.

Given the propaganda coming at the public from the official and unofficial law enforcement communities, I believe it is critical to understand that not everyone who pretends to be no one is no one. The anonymity of the web is a useful foil for disinformation and dirty tricks.

And with local groups being infiltrated by the FBI and other law enforcement organizations, it is important that we are vigilant.

While I know that Officer Dan Torok is sworn to protect us, each and everyone, a little vigilance in the old fashion sense is also warranted.

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

(Disclosure: Following the 2004 presidential elections and the fateful decision of Democrats to follow a ruling class, white, multi-millionaire (John Kerry) down the garden path to nowhere, I was disclosed to be a “doppleganger” at the SpokaneProgressives yahoo group. I was tried and found guilty by a jury of my peers — Frank Malone, Bart Haggin and Rod Stackleberg — and was subsequently banned from the site.)

Posted in FBI in Spokane, Freedom to Fascism, Jason Oakley and the FBI, Know Your Rights, Lies Damn Lies and ..., Photographic Evidence, Protest, Spokane LE Personalities, Terrorism in Spokane, Unanswered Questions, War Abroad & At Home | Leave a Comment »

Fascist America, in 10 easy steps

Posted by Arroyoribera on October 20, 2007

Guardian UnlimitedFascist America, in 10 easy steps

From Hitler to Pinochet and beyond, history shows there are certain steps that any would-be dictator must take to destroy constitutional freedoms. And, argues Naomi Wolf, George Bush and his administration seem to be taking them all

Naomi Wolf
Tuesday April 24, 2007
Guardian

Last autumn, there was a military coup in Thailand. The leaders of the coup took a number of steps, rather systematically, as if they had a shopping list. In a sense, they did. Within a matter of days, democracy had been closed down: the coup leaders declared martial law, sent armed soldiers into residential areas, took over radio and TV stations, issued restrictions on the press, tightened some limits on travel, and took certain activists into custody.

They were not figuring these things out as they went along. If you look at history, you can see that there is essentially a blueprint for turning an open society into a dictatorship. That blueprint has been used again and again in more and less bloody, more and less terrifying ways. But it is always effective. It is very difficult and arduous to create and sustain a democracy – but history shows that closing one down is much simpler. You simply have to be willing to take the 10 steps.

As difficult as this is to contemplate, it is clear, if you are willing to look, that each of these 10 steps has already been initiated today in the United States by the Bush administration.

Because Americans like me were born in freedom, we have a hard time even considering that it is possible for us to become as unfree – domestically – as many other nations. Because we no longer learn much about our rights or our system of government – the task of being aware of the constitution has been outsourced from citizens’ ownership to being the domain of professionals such as lawyers and professors – we scarcely recognize the checks and balances that the founders put in place, even as they are being systematically dismantled. Because we don’t learn much about European history, the setting up of a department of “homeland” security – remember who else was keen on the word “homeland” – didn’t raise the alarm bells it might have.

It is my argument that, beneath our very noses, George Bush and his administration are using time-tested tactics to close down an open society. It is time for us to be willing to think the unthinkable – as the author and political journalist Joe Conason, has put it, that it can happen here. And that we are further along than we realize.

Conason eloquently warned of the danger of American authoritarianism. I am arguing that we need also to look at the lessons of European and other kinds of fascism to understand the potential seriousness of the events we see unfolding in the US.

1. Invoke a terrifying internal and external enemy

After we were hit on September 11 2001, we were in a state of national shock. Less than six weeks later, on October 26 2001, the USA Patriot Act was passed by a Congress that had little chance to debate it; many said that they scarcely had time to read it. We were told we were now on a “war footing”; we were in a “global war” against a “global caliphate” intending to “wipe out civilization”. There have been other times of crisis in which the US accepted limits on civil liberties, such as during the civil war, when Lincoln declared martial law, and the second world war, when thousands of Japanese-American citizens were interned. But this situation, as Bruce Fein of the American Freedom Agenda notes, is unprecedented: all our other wars had an endpoint, so the pendulum was able to swing back toward freedom; this war is defined as open-ended in time and without national boundaries in space – the globe itself is the battlefield. “This time,” Fein says, “there will be no defined end.”

Creating a terrifying threat – hydra-like, secretive, evil – is an old trick. It can, like Hitler’s invocation of a communist threat to the nation’s security, be based on actual events (one Wisconsin academic has faced calls for his dismissal because he noted, among other things, that the alleged communist arson, the Reichstag fire of February 1933, was swiftly followed in Nazi Germany by passage of the Enabling Act, which replaced constitutional law with an open-ended state of emergency). Or the terrifying threat can be based, like the National Socialist evocation of the “global conspiracy of world Jewry”, on myth.

It is not that global Islamist terrorism is not a severe danger; of course it is. I am arguing rather that the language used to convey the nature of the threat is different in a country such as Spain – which has also suffered violent terrorist attacks – than it is in America. Spanish citizens know that they face a grave security threat; what we as American citizens believe is that we are potentially threatened with the end of civilization as we know it. Of course, this makes us more willing to accept restrictions on our freedoms.

2. Create a gulag

Once you have got everyone scared, the next step is to create a prison system outside the rule of law (as Bush put it, he wanted the American detention center at Guantánamo Bay to be situated in legal “outer space”) – where torture takes place.

At first, the people who are sent there are seen by citizens as outsiders: troublemakers, spies, “enemies of the people” or “criminals”. Initially, citizens tend to support the secret prison system; it makes them feel safer and they do not identify with the prisoners. But soon enough, civil society leaders – opposition members, labour activists, clergy and journalists – are arrested and sent there as well.

This process took place in fascist shifts or anti-democracy crackdowns ranging from Italy and Germany in the 1920s and 1930s to the Latin American coups of the 1970s and beyond. It is standard practice for closing down an open society or crushing a pro-democracy uprising.

With its jails in Iraq and Afghanistan, and, of course, Guantánamo in Cuba, where detainees are abused, and kept indefinitely without trial and without access to the due process of the law, America certainly has its gulag now. Bush and his allies in Congress recently announced they would issue no information about the secret CIA “black site” prisons throughout the world, which are used to incarcerate people who have been seized off the street.

Gulags in history tend to metastasize, becoming ever larger and more secretive, ever more deadly and formalized. We know from first-hand accounts, photographs, videos and government documents that people, innocent and guilty, have been tortured in the US-run prisons we are aware of and those we can’t investigate adequately.

But Americans still assume this system and detainee abuses involve only scary brown people with whom they don’t generally identify. It was brave of the conservative pundit William Safire to quote the anti-Nazi pastor Martin Niemöller, who had been seized as a political prisoner: “First they came for the Jews.” Most Americans don’t understand yet that the destruction of the rule of law at Guantánamo set a dangerous precedent for them, too.

By the way, the establishment of military tribunals that deny prisoners due process tends to come early on in a fascist shift. Mussolini and Stalin set up such tribunals. On April 24 1934, the Nazis, too, set up the People’s Court, which also bypassed the judicial system: prisoners were held indefinitely, often in isolation, and tortured, without being charged with offenses, and were subjected to show trials. Eventually, the Special Courts became a parallel system that put pressure on the regular courts to abandon the rule of law in favour of Nazi ideology when making decisions.

3. Develop a thug caste

When leaders who seek what I call a “fascist shift” want to close down an open society, they send paramilitary groups of scary young men out to terrorize citizens. The Blackshirts roamed the Italian countryside beating up communists; the Brownshirts staged violent rallies throughout Germany. This paramilitary force is especially important in a democracy: you need citizens to fear thug violence and so you need thugs who are free from prosecution.

The years following 9/11 have proved a bonanza for America’s security contractors, with the Bush administration outsourcing areas of work that traditionally fell to the US military. In the process, contracts worth hundreds of millions of dollars have been issued for security work by mercenaries at home and abroad. In Iraq, some of these contract operatives have been accused of involvement in torturing prisoners, harassing journalists and firing on Iraqi civilians. Under Order 17, issued to regulate contractors in Iraq by the one-time US administrator in Baghdad, Paul Bremer, these contractors are immune from prosecution

Yes, but that is in Iraq, you could argue; however, after Hurricane Katrina, the Department of Homeland Security hired and deployed hundreds of armed private security guards in New Orleans. The investigative journalist Jeremy Scahill interviewed one unnamed guard who reported having fired on unarmed civilians in the city. It was a natural disaster that underlay that episode – but the administration’s endless war on terror means ongoing scope for what are in effect privately contracted armies to take on crisis and emergency management at home in US cities.

Thugs in America? Groups of angry young Republican men, dressed in identical shirts and trousers, menaced poll workers counting the votes in Florida in 2000. If you are reading history, you can imagine that there can be a need for “public order” on the next election day. Say there are protests, or a threat, on the day of an election; history would not rule out the presence of a private security firm at a polling station “to restore public order”.

4. Set up an internal surveillance system

In Mussolini’s Italy, in Nazi Germany, in communist East Germany, in communist China – in every closed society – secret police spy on ordinary people and encourage neighbours to spy on neighbours. The Stasi needed to keep only a minority of East Germans under surveillance to convince a majority that they themselves were being watched.

In 2005 and 2006, when James Risen and Eric Lichtblau wrote in the New York Times about a secret state program to wiretap citizens’ phones, read their emails and follow international financial transactions, it became clear to ordinary Americans that they, too, could be under state scrutiny.

In closed societies, this surveillance is cast as being about “national security”; the true function is to keep citizens docile and inhibit their activism and dissent.

5. Harass citizens’ groups

The fifth thing you do is related to step four – you infiltrate and harass citizens’ groups. It can be trivial: a church in Pasadena, whose minister preached that Jesus was in favor of peace, found itself being investigated by the Internal Revenue Service, while churches that got Republicans out to vote, which is equally illegal under US tax law, have been left alone.

Other harassment is more serious: the American Civil Liberties Union reports that thousands of ordinary American anti-war, environmental and other groups have been infiltrated by agents: a secret Pentagon database includes more than four dozen peaceful anti-war meetings, rallies or marches by American citizens in its category of 1,500 “suspicious incidents”. The equally secret Counterintelligence Field Activity (Cifa) agency of the Department of Defense has been gathering information about domestic organizations engaged in peaceful political activities: Cifa is supposed to track “potential terrorist threats” as it watches ordinary US citizen activists. A little-noticed new law has redefined activism such as animal rights protests as “terrorism”. So the definition of “terrorist” slowly expands to include the opposition.

6. Engage in arbitrary detention and release

This scares people. It is a kind of cat-and-mouse game. Nicholas D Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn, the investigative reporters who wrote China Wakes: the Struggle for the Soul of a Rising Power, describe pro-democracy activists in China, such as Wei Jingsheng, being arrested and released many times. In a closing or closed society there is a “list” of dissidents and opposition leaders: you are targeted in this way once you are on the list, and it is hard to get off the list.

In 2004, America’s Transportation Security Administration confirmed that it had a list of passengers who were targeted for security searches or worse if they tried to fly. People who have found themselves on the list? Two middle-aged women peace activists in San Francisco; liberal Senator Edward Kennedy; a member of Venezuela’s government – after Venezuela’s president had criticized Bush; and thousands of ordinary US citizens.

Professor Walter F Murphy is emeritus of Princeton University; he is one of the foremost constitutional scholars in the nation and author of the classic Constitutional Democracy. Murphy is also a decorated former marine, and he is not even especially politically liberal. But on March 1 this year, he was denied a boarding pass at Newark, “because I was on the Terrorist Watch list”.

“Have you been in any peace marches? We ban a lot of people from flying because of that,” asked the airline employee.

“I explained,” said Murphy, “that I had not so marched but had, in September 2006, given a lecture at Princeton, televised and put on the web, highly critical of George Bush for his many violations of the constitution.”

“That’ll do it,” the man said.

Anti-war marcher? Potential terrorist. Support the constitution? Potential terrorist. History shows that the categories of “enemy of the people” tend to expand ever deeper into civil life.

James Yee, a US citizen, was the Muslim chaplain at Guantánamo who was accused of mishandling classified documents. He was harassed by the US military before the charges against him were dropped. Yee has been detained and released several times. He is still of interest.

Brandon Mayfield, a US citizen and lawyer in Oregon, was mistakenly identified as a possible terrorist. His house was secretly broken into and his computer seized. Though he is innocent of the accusation against him, he is still on the list.

It is a standard practice of fascist societies that once you are on the list, you can’t get off.

7. Target key individuals

Threaten civil servants, artists and academics with job loss if they don’t toe the line. Mussolini went after the rectors of state universities who did not conform to the fascist line; so did Joseph Goebbels, who purged academics who were not pro-Nazi; so did Chile’s Augusto Pinochet; so does the Chinese communist Politburo in punishing pro-democracy students and professors.

Academe is a tinderbox of activism, so those seeking a fascist shift punish academics and students with professional loss if they do not “coordinate”, in Goebbels’ term, ideologically. Since civil servants are the sector of society most vulnerable to being fired by a given regime, they are also a group that fascists typically “coordinate” early on: the Reich Law for the Re-establishment of a Professional Civil Service was passed on April 7 1933.

Bush supporters in state legislatures in several states put pressure on regents at state universities to penalize or fire academics who have been critical of the administration. As for civil servants, the Bush administration has derailed the career of one military lawyer who spoke up for fair trials for detainees, while an administration official publicly intimidated the law firms that represent detainees pro bono by threatening to call for their major corporate clients to boycott them.

Elsewhere, a CIA contract worker who said in a closed blog that “waterboarding is torture” was stripped of the security clearance she needed in order to do her job.

Most recently, the administration purged eight US attorneys for what looks like insufficient political loyalty. When Goebbels purged the civil service in April 1933, attorneys were “coordinated” too, a step that eased the way of the increasingly brutal laws to follow.

8. Control the press

Italy in the 1920s, Germany in the 30s, East Germany in the 50s, Czechoslovakia in the 60s, the Latin American dictatorships in the 70s, China in the 80s and 90s – all dictatorships and would-be dictators target newspapers and journalists. They threaten and harass them in more open societies that they are seeking to close, and they arrest them and worse in societies that have been closed already.

The Committee to Protect Journalists says arrests of US journalists are at an all-time high: Josh Wolf (no relation), a blogger in San Francisco, has been put in jail for a year for refusing to turn over video of an anti-war demonstration; Homeland Security brought a criminal complaint against reporter Greg Palast, claiming he threatened “critical infrastructure” when he and a TV producer were filming victims of Hurricane Katrina in Louisiana. Palast had written a bestseller critical of the Bush administration.

Other reporters and writers have been punished in other ways. Joseph C Wilson accused Bush, in a New York Times op-ed, of leading the country to war on the basis of a false charge that Saddam Hussein had acquired yellowcake uranium in Niger. His wife, Valerie Plame, was outed as a CIA spy – a form of retaliation that ended her career.

Prosecution and job loss are nothing, though, compared with how the US is treating journalists seeking to cover the conflict in Iraq in an unbiased way. The Committee to Protect Journalists has documented multiple accounts of the US military in Iraq firing upon or threatening to fire upon unembedded (meaning independent) reporters and camera operators from organisations ranging from al-Jazeera to the BBC. While westerners may question the accounts by al-Jazeera, they should pay attention to the accounts of reporters such as the BBC’s Kate Adie. In some cases reporters have been wounded or killed, including ITN’s Terry Lloyd in 2003. Both CBS and the Associated Press in Iraq had staff members seized by the US military and taken to violent prisons; the news organisations were unable to see the evidence against their staffers.

Over time in closing societies, real news is supplanted by fake news and false documents. Pinochet showed Chilean citizens falsified documents to back up his claim that terrorists had been about to attack the nation. The yellowcake charge, too, was based on forged papers.

You won’t have a shutdown of news in modern America – it is not possible. But you can have, as Frank Rich and Sidney Blumenthal have pointed out, a steady stream of lies polluting the news well. What you already have is a White House directing a stream of false information that is so relentless that it is increasingly hard to sort out truth from untruth. In a fascist system, it’s not the lies that count but the muddying. When citizens can’t tell real news from fake, they give up their demands for accountability bit by bit.

9. Dissent equals treason

Cast dissent as “treason” and criticism as “espionage’. Every closing society does this, just as it elaborates laws that increasingly criminalize certain kinds of speech and expand the definition of “spy” and “traitor”. When Bill Keller, the publisher of the New York Times, ran the Lichtblau/Risen stories, Bush called the Times’ leaking of classified information “disgraceful”, while Republicans in Congress called for Keller to be charged with treason, and rightwing commentators and news outlets kept up the “treason” drumbeat. Some commentators, as Conason noted, reminded readers smugly that one penalty for violating the Espionage Act is execution.

Conason is right to note how serious a threat that attack represented. It is also important to recall that the 1938 Moscow show trial accused the editor of Izvestia, Nikolai Bukharin, of treason; Bukharin was, in fact, executed. And it is important to remind Americans that when the 1917 Espionage Act was last widely invoked, during the infamous 1919 Palmer Raids, leftist activists were arrested without warrants in sweeping roundups, kept in jail for up to five months, and “beaten, starved, suffocated, tortured and threatened with death”, according to the historian Myra MacPherson. After that, dissent was muted in America for a decade.

In Stalin’s Soviet Union, dissidents were “enemies of the people”. National Socialists called those who supported Weimar democracy “November traitors”.

And here is where the circle closes: most Americans do not realize that since September of last year – when Congress wrongly, foolishly, passed the Military Commissions Act of 2006 – the president has the power to call any US citizen an “enemy combatant”. He has the power to define what “enemy combatant” means. The president can also delegate to anyone he chooses in the executive branch the right to define “enemy combatant” any way he or she wants and then seize Americans accordingly.

Even if you or I are American citizens, even if we turn out to be completely innocent of what he has accused us of doing, he has the power to have us seized as we are changing planes at Newark tomorrow, or have us taken with a knock on the door; ship you or me to a navy brig; and keep you or me in isolation, possibly for months, while awaiting trial. (Prolonged isolation, as psychiatrists know, triggers psychosis in otherwise mentally healthy prisoners. That is why Stalin’s gulag had an isolation cell, like Guantánamo’s, in every satellite prison. Camp 6, the newest, most brutal facility at Guantánamo, is all isolation cells.)

We US citizens will get a trial eventually – for now. But legal rights activists at the Center for Constitutional Rights say that the Bush administration is trying increasingly aggressively to find ways to get around giving even US citizens fair trials. “Enemy combatant” is a status offense – it is not even something you have to have done. “We have absolutely moved over into a preventive detention model – you look like you could do something bad, you might do something bad, so we’re going to hold you,” says a spokeswoman of the CCR.

Most Americans surely do not get this yet. No wonder: it is hard to believe, even though it is true. In every closing society, at a certain point there are some high-profile arrests – usually of opposition leaders, clergy and journalists. Then everything goes quiet. After those arrests, there are still newspapers, courts, TV and radio, and the facades of a civil society. There just isn’t real dissent. There just isn’t freedom. If you look at history, just before those arrests is where we are now.

10. Suspend the rule of law

The John Warner Defense Authorization Act of 2007 gave the president new powers over the national guard. This means that in a national emergency – which the president now has enhanced powers to declare – he can send Michigan’s militia to enforce a state of emergency that he has declared in Oregon, over the objections of the state’s governor and its citizens.

Even as Americans were focused on Britney Spears’s meltdown and the question of who fathered Anna Nicole’s baby, the New York Times editorialized about this shift: “A disturbing recent phenomenon in Washington is that laws that strike to the heart of American democracy have been passed in the dead of night … Beyond actual insurrection, the president may now use military troops as a domestic police force in response to a natural disaster, a disease outbreak, terrorist attack or any ‘other condition’.”

Critics see this as a clear violation of the Posse Comitatus Act – which was meant to restrain the federal government from using the military for domestic law enforcement. The Democratic senator Patrick Leahy says the bill encourages a president to declare federal martial law. It also violates the very reason the founders set up our system of government as they did: having seen citizens bullied by a monarch’s soldiers, the founders were terrified of exactly this kind of concentration of militias’ power over American people in the hands of an oppressive executive or faction.

Of course, the United States is not vulnerable to the violent, total closing-down of the system that followed Mussolini’s march on Rome or Hitler’s roundup of political prisoners. Our democratic habits are too resilient, and our military and judiciary too independent, for any kind of scenario like that.

Rather, as other critics are noting, our experiment in democracy could be closed down by a process of erosion.

It is a mistake to think that early in a fascist shift you see the profile of barbed wire against the sky. In the early days, things look normal on the surface; peasants were celebrating harvest festivals in Calabria in 1922; people were shopping and going to the movies in Berlin in 1931. Early on, as WH Auden put it, the horror is always elsewhere – while someone is being tortured, children are skating, ships are sailing: “dogs go on with their doggy life … How everything turns away/ Quite leisurely from the disaster.”

As Americans turn away quite leisurely, keeping tuned to internet shopping and American Idol, the foundations of democracy are being fatally corroded. Something has changed profoundly that weakens us unprecedentedly: our democratic traditions, independent judiciary and free press do their work today in a context in which we are “at war” in a “long war” – a war without end, on a battlefield described as the globe, in a context that gives the president – without US citizens realizing it yet – the power over US citizens of freedom or long solitary incarceration, on his say-so alone.

That means a hollowness has been expanding under the foundation of all these still- free-looking institutions – and this foundation can give way under certain kinds of pressure. To prevent such an outcome, we have to think about the “what ifs”.

What if, in a year and a half, there is another attack – say, God forbid, a dirty bomb? The executive can declare a state of emergency. History shows that any leader, of any party, will be tempted to maintain emergency powers after the crisis has passed. With the gutting of traditional checks and balances, we are no less endangered by a President Hillary than by a President Giuliani – because any executive will be tempted to enforce his or her will through edict rather than the arduous, uncertain process of democratic negotiation and compromise.

What if the publisher of a major US newspaper were charged with treason or espionage, as a rightwing effort seemed to threaten Keller with last year? What if he or she got 10 years in jail? What would the newspapers look like the next day? Judging from history, they would not cease publishing; but they would suddenly be very polite.

Right now, only a handful of patriots are trying to hold back the tide of tyranny for the rest of us – staff at the Center for Constitutional Rights, who faced death threats for representing the detainees yet persisted all the way to the Supreme Court; activists at the American Civil Liberties Union; and prominent conservatives trying to roll back the corrosive new laws, under the banner of a new group called the American Freedom Agenda. This small, disparate collection of people needs everybody’s help, including that of Europeans and others internationally who are willing to put pressure on the administration because they can see what a US unrestrained by real democracy at home can mean for the rest of the world.

We need to look at history and face the “what ifs”. For if we keep going down this road, the “end of America” could come for each of us in a different way, at a different moment; each of us might have a different moment when we feel forced to look back and think: that is how it was before – and this is the way it is now.

“The accumulation of all powers, legislative, executive, and judiciary, in the same hands … is the definition of tyranny,” wrote James Madison. We still have the choice to stop going down this road; we can stand our ground and fight for our nation, and take up the banner the founders asked us to carry.

· Naomi Wolf’s The End of America: A Letter of Warning to a Young Patriot will be published by Chelsea Green in September.

Guardian Unlimited © Guardian News and Media Limited 2007

http://www.guardian.co.uk/usa/story/0,,2064157,00.html

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From Gonzales to Mukasey — Still Carrying Water for Bush on Torture

Posted by Arroyoribera on October 19, 2007

(Following is the October 18, 2007 congressional testimony of Michael B. Mukasey, the man President Bush has nominated to replace the disgraced and now-resigned Attorney General Alberto Gonzales as the chief law enforcement official in the United States).

Senator Sheldon Whitehouse: “Is waterboarding constitutional?”

Michael Mukasey: “I don’t know what is involved in the technique. If waterboarding is torture, torture is not constitutional.”

Mr. Whitehouse: “If it’s torture? That’s a massive hedge. I mean, either it is or it isn’t. Waterboarding is the practice of putting somebody in a reclining position, strapping them down, putting cloth over their faces and pouring water over the cloth to simulate the feeling of drowning. Is that constitutional?”

Mr. Mukasey: “If it amounts to torture, it is not constitutional.”

Mr. Whitehouse: “I am very disappointed in that answer; I think it is purely semantic.”

Mr. Mukasey: “I’m sorry.”

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US Military Training video on Waterboarding (WARNING — the scenes of torture which follow may be very disturbing to some).

Michael B. Mukasey

Watch C-SPAN 3 video of Whitehouse/Mukasey exchange

Video: Gentle version of Waterboarding–Still torture, per former soldier

Waterboarding as “Torture plus”

Waterboarding was a war crime when the Japanese did it to us

Coverage of Mukasey’s Congressional Testimony

More on Mukasey at SourceWatch

More on Mukasey at Democracy Now!

The Role of Spokane, Fairchild and SERE/JPRA in US Torture and Geneva Convention Violations

Video: CIA Chief George Tenet on Torture

Posted in Freedom to Fascism, Know Your Rights, Mitchell and Jessen, Unanswered Questions, Videos, War Abroad & At Home | Leave a Comment »

Marie Yates: “Qualified” for what?

Posted by Arroyoribera on October 17, 2007

(adapted from the longer post Citizen Review Commission is NOT the answer to independent oversight)

Eighty-three year old Marie Yates serves on the Citizens Review Commission as the so-called “qualified” member of the Police Lieutenants and Captains Association. On the Police Advisory Committee she represents Lincoln Heights/COPS Southeast. For many years, she has played a very prominent and not always productive role in police-civilian relations in the Spokane area.

It was Yates who in September 2006 publicly declared Bob DeMotte an “ass”. At the time of Yates outburst, DeMotte had just presented to the Civilian Review Commission the first case brought before it in more than a decade. Yates also questioned the legitimacy of DeMotte even being involved in the matter, calling him “someone from California”, despite his three years living in Spokane.

Under consideration by the Commission that September night was the matter of Lt. Judi Carl’s involvement in a scene involving her children and other teens out late at night in a crime-ridden Northside neighborhood. At issue in that case are the use of vulgarities by Carl and issues of favoritism. As a result of the incident, Lt. Carl had been suspended from duty for one day by acting chief Jim Nicks during the summer of 2006 for what is know as “conduct unbecoming“. Chief Kirkpatrick, three weeks after her hiring as Spokane Police Chief, chose that case to send to the Citizen Review Commission for review.

Think about this.

Yates was being called upon to render a judgment on the use of vulgarities by a Spokane Police officer. And what does she do? She calls the complaining citizen “an ass”.

In their extensive and thorough June 25, 2006 article “Police Oversight on Trial” about the history and failures of police oversight in Spokane, Bill Morlin and Jody Lawrence-Turner of the Spokesman-Review wrote of Yates and her consistently pro-police stance:

(quote) Marie Yates, 83, was one of Mangan‘s original appointees. A police ally and volunteer at the COPS Southeast office who once helped purchase a police dog for the force, Yates said she was embarrassed to be on Barnard’s panel “because it had too many members who were critical of the police.”

The next chief, Bragdon, reappointed her to the slot representing police captains and lieutenants. Yates still serves on the current commission. (end quote)

Yates has been deeply involved in police matters for years, serving simultaneously on both the Citizen Review Commission and the Police Advisory Committee as well as having been a COPS volunteer for nearly 12 years. As a current member of the CRC Yates would be called upon to render judgment on matters of police conduct. Yet as a current member also of the Police Advisory Committee she advises and assists the police.

As if all this is not enough, Yates represents the Police Lieutenants and Captains Association. As the article by Morlin and Lawrence-Turner points out, it was the Police Lieutenants and Captains Association which filed a labor relations action against the city and forced the dissolution in 1995 of the first Citizens Advisory Commission in Spokane.

Perhaps all this is indication that Yates is no longer (and perhaps never was) “qualified”.

Nevertheless, disappointingly and troubling, the Spokane City Council voted unanimously on August 10, 2007, to give Yates another year on the Citizens Review Commission. According to the minutes of that Spokane City Council meeting as published in the August 23, 2007 edition of the Official Gazette of the City of Spokane (vol. 96, no. 34):

(quote) Motion by Council Member Verner, seconded by Council Member McLaughlin, to confirm the Mayor’s re-appointments of Ms. Marie Yates, Police Lieutenants and Captains Representative, with her term to begin immediately and end March 31, 2008, and Mr. Robert Byrne, Police Guild Representative, with his term to begin immediately and end December 31, 2010. Motion carried unanimously. (end quote)

Most problematic and disturbing is that the City Council reappointed Yates despite the clear recommendation ten months earlier in police consultant Mike Worley’s $8800 tax-payer paid report that “the representation of the Police Department labor groups on the Citizens Review Commission should be eliminated.” In fact, despite Worley’s high-priced recommendations, the City Council also voted to re-codify the ordinance on the membership of the commission on March 6, 2007, setting the stage for the re-appointments of Yates and Byrne.

I am not the first person to question how “qualified” Yates is at this point. A year ago Yates’ appropriateness was called into question by Frank Sennett who asked in his Hard7 blog, “How professional and unbiased is our highly regarded Citizens Review Commission when it comes to handling complaints of police misconduct?” Yates had previously offered this self assessment to the Spokesman-Review in responding to the criticism of her calling DeMotte an “ass”: “I have a lot of regard for the police, but I’m fair.” To which Sennett responded, “Yes, as fair and unbiased as Fox News…”

Among other things, the citizens and government of Spokane now face a $1 million law suit as a result of Yates actions in the Carl matter. (The City of Spokane could purchase a lot of police dogs for $1 million, Marie.)

More important is how an individual like Yates — who is a representative of a police association, who defends the police in her speech and conduct, who worked for years with the police as a volunteer, and who denigrates citizens who dare to question the actions of the police — can be considered an appropriate member of a Citizens Review Commission which exists nominally to hold the police accountable in their relationship with the public. Clearly Yates is incapable of seeing the part of the citizenry in matters involving the Spokane Police.

Please join me at the next City Council meeting on Monday, October 22, 2007 at 6 PM to object to the Council’s re-codification of the ordinance on the composition of the Citizens Review Commission as well as its unanimous reappointment of Marie Yates to the Citizens Review Commission. Remember that citizens must arrive at 6 PM to sign up to speak and then must wait until the very end of the meetings of their City Council for an opportunity to speak for three minutes — a time limit strictly and rather brutally enforced by Council President Joe Shogun in his inimitable style. Be aware that council meetings often run extremely long when, for example, city attorneys are promoting the interests of corporations and developers as happened the night the council passed the Kendall Yard TIF (Tax Increment Financing). So be prepared to remain possibly even for several hours until the meeting ends for your opportunity to speak. Realize even then that those three minutes of democracy can be reduced to one minute by executive fiat of Shogun, as happened on July 9, 2007, to a long line of individuals speaking about the SPD attack on 4th of July protesters in Riverfront Park.

Posted in Educating the Chief, History of SPD Abuses, Independent Oversight, Know Your Rights, Spokane Police Guild, Unanswered Questions | Leave a Comment »

One way to stop abusive cops — Put a video camera in your car

Posted by Arroyoribera on October 15, 2007

Update: Officer Kuehnlein was fired by recommendation of the Chief of Police of St. George and by a 5-0 vote of the St. George’s aldermen. In Spokane, where we have no civilian control of the police and no independent oversight, Kuehnlein would have been suspended with pay and lived to bully and abuse citizens with a badge and a gun paid for by the same citizens. It is time for Spokanites to stand up for themselves and prove in fact that this is a democracy of, by, and for the people. Otherwise the Kuehnleins, Toroks, and Olsons will prevail and the police state will be the future of our children.

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Please read the following article and make sure you watch the video at the end of the article with the volume turned up. (And if you really want to understand the attitudes of law enforcement towards their own misconduct and towards the public, read the comments after the article at PoliceLink.com which including references to the young man as a “puke” and “punk” and a “cop hater”, among other things.)

This is what out-of-control police officers are about. Abuse of power. Power trips. Intimidaton. Bullying.

This officer — Sgt. James Kuehnlein of St. George, Missouri — basically threatens to set this kid up, f#*@ this kid up, and fabricate charges against him. In any number of other occasions the kid would have been tasered, a certain number of other times the kid would have been shot. If this kid were black, odds are he’s a dead man. This scene repeats itself all over America but the only place that you ever see it is, guess…. YouTube or GoogleVideo or the occasional incident that a passerby or cellphone user records. You won’t see it on COPS TV, of course, because the police retain editorial authority over COPS TV broadcasts.

The officer’s constant references to the young man’s attitude reminds me distinctly of Chief Kirkpatrick’s comments to the Spokane public on September 19, 2007 during her Chat/Forum when she said that things with the Spokane Police would get better when people in Spokane change their attitudes.

Please, dear Chief. Don’t pull that on us. Not after Zehm, and Eagle, and Pete, and Fitzpatrick, and Alford, and the Firehouse Sex Scandal, and Cpl. Frietag, and Al Odenthal, and the 4th of July, and so it goes and so it goes….

Yeah, we got an attitude, Chief. You work for us. We pay your salaries.

At that same event, Chief Kirkpatrick had a hard time understanding what bullying was despite clear, concrete examples being provided to her by the public. The clearest examples were 1) the case of the young man threatened late at night behind Yokes by an SPD officer who refused to provide his badge number and name when asked and 2) the case of the SPD officer who told Carmen Jacoby that his job was to remove homeless “shit bags” from a park and when she asked for his name and badge number was threatened with being put in the back of his patrol car.

Now hear this: The video which follows contains bullying. B-U-L-L-Y-I-N-G.

WARNING: Despite Chief Kirkpatrick’s repeated statements that her officers are obligated always to provide their name and badge number when asked, please consider whether or not you really want to try the line “Officer, I need your name and badge number” with a Spokane Police officer unless you have a witness or a video/audio recording.

Keep in mind that as this article and video indicate 1) the officer threatened to tear the young man’s car and camera apart, and 2) the video footage from the officer’s patrol car “is nowhere to be found” with the local police chief commenting about what happened to the video, “That’s the million-dollar question. Our policy says any contact the officer has with the public has to be on tape.”

Police are armed and trained to kill. They have other instincts, among them the instinct to not end up behind the same bars they send the public. As a result, they are not to be trusted in situations where they are violating the law or department policy. In general, law enforcement personnel do not tolerate the assertion of citizen rights and have been known to do serious bodily harm or fabricate charges rather than be challenged by a citizen.

Stay tuned for more.

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Man Wants Officer Fired Over Stop

By Georgina Gustin, St. Louis Post Dispatch – Sep 12 2007 Man Wants Officer Fired Over Stop

St. George Police Chief Scott Uhrig talks with Brett Darrow, 20, Tuesday afternoon. (St. Louis Post Dispatch)

 

 

ST. GEORGE, Mo. – A young St. Louis man who videotaped a police officer’s angry taunts during a traffic stop, and later posted the footage on the Internet where thousands of viewers have watched it, said Tuesday he wants the officer fired.

Brett Darrow, 20, met with St. George Police Chief Scott Uhrig for more than an hour Tuesday afternoon and also filed a formal complaint against the officer, Sgt. James Kuehnlein.

During the meeting Darrow asked to see the videotape from Kuehnlein’s police car. But according to Uhrig, that footage, inexplicably, is nowhere to be found.

“That’s the million-dollar question,” Uhrig said. “Our policy says any contact the officer has with the public has to be on tape.”

Darrow had pulled into a commuter lot at Spokane and Reavis Barracks roads at around 2 a.m. Friday, when Kuehnlein approached and asked him what he was doing. When Darrow questioned why, Kuehnlein launched into a series of taunts and threats.

“The attitude escalated when he thought I was questioning his authority, but I was just trying to figure out what he was doing,” Darrow said Tuesday. “I was really scared. He was up in my face, spit coming in my face.”

A camera in Darrow’s Nissan Maxima captured the incident. Darrow, a St. Louis Community College student, said he put the camera in the car about a year ago after getting a speeding ticket.

“I got a ticket I didn’t feel like I deserved,” he said. “I was thinking tickets, not this.”

In the footage, Darrow can be heard citing his Fourth Amendment rights – his reasonable expectation of privacy – to Kuehnlein. He said Tuesday he’s familiar with the law, through “reading statutes, reading constitutional law, reading case law. It’s just something I’m interested in.”

He said he was not trying to entrap the officer.

Kuehnlein could not be reached for comment.

After the incident, Darrow posted the footage on the Internet, where news of it spread quickly. He maintains he did not contact news media and had no idea the matter would get so much attention.

“I didn’t mean for it to be what it was,” he said.

Darrow said he was in the lot at that late hour because he had just left his cell phone at his girlfriend’s house, and the two decided to meet there to hand off the phone because the location was convenient.

Kuehnlein has been an officer with the department for about two years, and had come from the Riverview Police Department. Uhrig said Tuesday that, perhaps, Kuehnlein was not accustomed to having someone question him as Darrow did, with a camera recording his responses.

“Most officers aren’t used to being questioned like that,” Uhrig said.

St. George, a city of about 1,300 people, sits along Interstate 55 at ReavisBarracks Road. Its police department has four full-time officers and three police cars. An officer can patrol every street in the city in about 20 minutes, Uhrig said.

Uhrig said he has worked hard to cleanse St. George of its image as a speed trap with a police department staffed by unqualified novices. He said he has implemented new, more stringent hiring policies and expanded the department’s policy manual since becoming chief two-and-a-half years ago.

“We have a reputation for being traffic enforced,” he said. “It’s not true. My officers are told to enforce the law. I want quality, not quantity. I want the drugs, the impaired drivers. Those’re the things that make a difference.”

Uhrig said he would submit a report on the incident to the city’s police review board and the St. Louis County prosecutor as early as this week.

Watch the video:

Update: Officer Kuehnlein was fired by recommendation of the Chief of Police of St. George and by a 5-0 vote of the St. George’s aldermen. In Spokane, where we have no civilian control of the police and no independent oversight, Kuehnlein would have been suspended with pay and lived to bully and abuse citizens with a badge and a gun paid for by the same citizens. It is time for Spokanites to stand up for themselves and prove in fact that this is a democracy of, by, and for the people. Otherwise the Kuehnleins, Toroks, and Olsons will prevail and the police state will be the future of our children.

Posted in Freedom to Fascism, History of SPD Abuses, Independent Oversight, Know Your Rights, Lies Damn Lies and ..., Photographic Evidence, Videos, Yes ma'am Chief | Leave a Comment »

Diversity at the Spokane Police Department

Posted by Arroyoribera on October 13, 2007

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

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

Posted by Arroyoribera on 18th September 2007

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted by Arroyoribera on 18th July 2007

 

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All-White Spokane Police Department?

Posted by Arroyoribera on 28th July 2007

 

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

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

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

Spokane Police Department Newsletter

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

All-White Spokane Police Department

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

Citizen Review Commission is NOT the answer to independent oversight

Posted by Arroyoribera on October 11, 2007

In September 2006, Anne Kirkpatrick took over the long-troubled Spokane Police Department.

On September 22, 2006, hoping to make good on her solemn promise to bring honesty and transparency to police work in Spokane, Chief Kirkpatrick undertook the task of breathing life into the moribund Citizens Review Commission (CRC).

For some reason the Chief decided that of all the cases she might have chosen to send to the Citizens Review Commission it would be wise to send them the controversial case of Spokane Police Lieutenant Judi Carl, the Spokane Police officer who while off-duty used vulgarities in an incident late on the night of June 4, 2006, in north Spokane. Two of Lt. Carl’s children were among a group of teens roaming a crime-stricken neighborhood very late at night who were confronted by Danny Roske.

After receiving the case from Chief Kirkpatrick, the CRC met twice behind closed doors — in apparent violation of public open meetings laws and despite a protest by a Spokesman Review reporter — before concluding that they had no jurisdiction to act on the matter.

Apparently unbeknownst to Chief Kirkpatrick, her staff and her attorneys, the fact that disciplinary action had previously been taken against Lt. Carl regarding the incident — a perfunctory one day suspension given Lt. Carl by Acting Chief Nicks — meant that the Citizen Review Commission had no jurisdiction over the matter. The Chief, who in addition to being the city’s chief cop is also an attorney, was quoted by the Spokesman-Review as admitting, “I may have misread the ordinance”.

Oh, my!

In an interesting aside, for unexplained reason, SPD internal affairs officials Lt. Dave Richards and Sgt. Jim Faddis were also present and involved in these closed executive sessions of the CRC. (Note: Faddis is the SPD officer who identifies himself variously as “Kevin” and “Jim” when he anonymously comments, along with other ‘anonymous’ law enforcement officials, on blogs such as Hard7 and at the Spokesman-Review’s online forums.)

Some 10 days later, on October 13, 2006, in partial fulfillment of a contract with the City of Spokane, police consultant and former Meridian (Idaho) police chief Mike Worley submitted to Mayor Dennis Hession a devastatingly critical report on both the Citizen Review Commission as well as the SPD/Firehouse Sex Scandal. In the report released to the public by Hession on 10/26/06, Worley made two primary recommendations regarding the CRC: 1) That “the Commission be authorized to review any case wherein review is requested by a citizen complaint following Police Department investigation, regardless of the disciplinary outcome of the case” (Worley, pg 4); and 2) That “the representation of the Police Department labor groups on the Citizens Review Commission should be eliminated” (Worley, pg 5). Overall, Worley’s 44-page report makes 16 extensive recommendations on reforming the internal affairs process of the Spokane Police Department.

Worley’s report is highly critical of the SPD on the issues of both the Citizen Review Commission and the SPD/Firehouse Sex Scandal. He deferred until a later date his assessment of the death of Otto Zehm, writing that he would complete that portion of the report after other investigations were complete. To my knowledge, one and a half years after his death, there is no closure on the case. Zehm died after being being beaten, tasered, hog-tied and suffocated in an incident involving seven SPD officers. Zehm’s death was ruled a homicide by the Spokane County Coroner’s office.

Chief Kirkpatrick has been quoted as saying that “(Worley’s) review, I think, has been thorough, has been independent, has been complete, and has been fair”. One can only speculate on whether or not this praise from the Chief — subsequently quoted by Worley on his company’s testimonials page — had anything to do with the footnote in Worley’s report in which Worley states his full support for Chief Kirkpatrick’s desire to keep for herself all disciplinary power and discretion in dealing with police internal investigations. (The word “independent” found in the quote on Worley’s website is not found in the Spokesman-Review article in which it was reported. After commentary by me on this blog regarding the propriety of Kirkpatrick’s quote being used to promote Worley’s company on his website — especially with the Otto Zehm portion of his report still incomplete — the testimonials page along with Kirkpatrick’s quote disappeared. This is a cached copy of that page).

Though the referral of the Lt. Carl matter to the CRC represented the first of several gaffs by Kirkpatrick since she took over as Spokane Police chief, the Chief can perhaps be forgiven since she is not the only person who has been incapable of resurrecting the Commission. Clearly in retrospect the Chief was no more successful at this than she would have been either had she tried to bring back Josh Levy after the recently botched taser sneak attack on Levy by her officers and his resulting death.

For much of the last 10 years the Commission has been headed by a minister, Lonnie Mitchell, who has also been unable to raise the Commission from the dead. Not only has Mitchell been unable to resurrect the commission, he has not even been able to convene it because, during all those years — reportedly — the city never sent the Commission a case. The fact that Mitchell or other members of the Commission did not raise their voices to the high heavens as the SPD killed citizen after citizen under questionable circumstances and engaged in racial profiling, in addition to committing a range of other misconduct, speaks both to the backbone of Mitchell and the other Commissioners as well as the culture of citizen silence in Spokane.

As S-R associate editor Gary Crooks suggested on 9/26/06 in response to a defensive comment by frequent poster SPD detective Dan Torok on the S-R’s ‘News is a Conversation’ on-line forum, the CRC long-ago fell under the battlecry of the “good ole boy” system.

It is abundantly clear now that beyond its lack of any independent mandate or authority, the Spokane Citizens Review Commission (CRC) — composed of a “qualified” member of the Police Guild, a “qualified” member of the Police Lieutenants & Captains Association, and 4 citizens, as well as staff composed of a police Lieutenant and the city attorney — is very little “citizen”, zero “review”, and, taking into consideration its vague and extremely constrained mandate, unable to act upon any “commission” given it by the people the Spokane.

Really, this is all turning into a truly boneheaded charade.

First of all, 83-year-old Marie Yates, the so-called “qualified” member of the Police Lieutenants and Captains Association, publicly declared the citizen presenting the Lt. Judi Carl matter to the CRC, Bob DeMotte, an “ass” after the Commission’s first meeting in years in September 2006. Yates had earlier questioned the legitimacy of DeMotte even being involved in the matter, calling him “someone from California”.

So Yates, who called a complaining citizen an “ass”, would have been called upon to render a judgment on the use of vulgarities by a Spokane Police officer. I am not the first person to question how “qualified” Yates is at this point. A year ago Yates’ appropriateness was called into question by Frank Sennett who asked in his Hard7 blog, “How professional and unbiased is our highly regarded Citizens Review Commission when it comes to handling complaints of police misconduct?” In response to Yates self assessment that “I have a lot of regard for the police, but I’m fair,” Sennett responded, “Yes, as fair and unbiased as Fox News…”

In their extensive and thorough June 25, 2006 article “Police Oversight on Trial” on the history and failures of police oversight in Spokane, Bill Morlin and Jody Lawrence-Turner of the Spokesman-Review wrote of Yates and her consistently pro-police stance:

(quote) Marie Yates, 83, was one of Mangan’s original appointees. A police ally and volunteer at the COPS Southeast office who once helped purchase a police dog for the force, Yates said she was embarrassed to be on Barnard’s panel “because it had too many members who were critical of the police.”

The next chief, Bragdon, reappointed her to the slot representing police captains and lieutenants. Yates still serves on the current commission. (end quote)

Yates has been deeply involved in police matters for years, serving simultaneously on both the Citizen Review Commission and the Police Advisory Committee as well as having been a COPS volunteer for nearly 12 years. As a current member of the CRC Yates would be called upon to render judgment on matters of police conduct. Yet as a current member also of the Police Advisory Committee she advises and assists the police. As if this is not enough, Yates represents the Police Lieutenants and Captains Association. As the article by Morlin and Lawrence-Turner points out, it was the Police Lieutenants and Captains Association which filed a labor relations action against the city and forced the dissolution in 1995 of the first Citizens Advisory Commission in Spokane. Perhaps all this is indication that Yates is no longer (or perhaps was never) “qualified”.

Nevertheless, disappointingly and troubling, the Spokane City Council’s two female members motioned and seconded and the entire Council voted unanimously on August 10, 2007, to give Yates another year on the Citizens’ Review Commission. According to the minutes of that Spokane City Council meeting as published in the August 23, 2007 edition of the Official Gazette of the City of Spokane (vol. 96, no. 34):

(quote) Motion by Council Member Verner, seconded by Council Member McLaughlin, to confirm the Mayor’s re-appointments of Ms. Marie Yates, Police Lieutenants and Captains Representative, with her term to begin immediately and end March 31, 2008, and Mr. Robert Byrne, Police Guild Representative, with his term to begin immediately and end December 31, 2010. Motion carried unanimously. (end quote)

And of course, the City Council did this despite the clear recommendation 10 months earlier in Mike Worley’s $8800 tax-payer paid report of October 13, 2006, that “the representation of the Police Department labor groups on the Citizens Review Commission should be eliminated.” In fact, despite Worley’s high-priced recommendations, the City Council also voted to re-codify the ordinance on the membership of the commission on March 6, 2007, setting the stage for the re-appointments of Yates and Byrne.

So where does this leave us in October 2007, two and a half years after the brutal killing of Otto Zehm by SPD officers, eight months after the death of Jerome Alford at the hands of Officer Dan Torok, and three months after the SPD Tactical Units attack on protesters in Riverfront Park, in addition to numerous other cases?

The Spokesman Review has quoted Chief Kirkpatrick as saying, “We need a system that allows me to open up our agency. I know that’s a priority for the community.” She pledged to have a plan for reforming the police oversight process by early 2007.

Likewise, Mayor Hession had said that he intended to see an oversight mechanism in place by early 2007.

Still we have nothing. Police misconduct and abuses continue unabated. While COPS TV follows the SPD around town filming the stellar performance, police officers are calling the homeless “shitbags” and threatening to put community professionals in the back of their patrol cars for asking for their badge numbers.

Any plan to deal with police oversight and control is now delayed due to negotiations with the Spokane Police Guild. Information on those negotiations and the presentation of the agreement to the city council is virtually impossible to obtain. Most people concerned about the matter believe that the agreement will not be brought to the broad public prior to being run through the City Council for approval which will then be presented to the public via the media as a ‘fait accompli’.

The Chief needs to understand one thing.

We, the people, will open up the SPD.

Her efforts to manipulate police accountability in Spokane by trying to breath life into this moribund, long defunct, and thoroughly discredited Commission at this very late date in the game is a disgrace, as much a disgrace as was her attempt to subvert the justice system in the case of the July 4 protesters with her Chat/Forum on September 19, 2007.

The Chief should simply give it up.

This is not for her to decide or to fix. She is a late comer to the scene of a long-standing battle between the rights of the community versus presumed rights of the police.

The Chief should just sit back, do her job, enjoy her runs in the park and eat her peanut butter sandwiches. The people of Spokane will straighten this out.

The Chief should not further damage her own credibility trying to out think and manipulate this process.

The Chief has numerous arsons to solve on the West Side (I feel compelled once again to remind her that the West Side is that part of Spokane immediately outside and directly to the west of the Public Safety Building)?

Then there are those officer misconduct matters still pending. For ex., remember, Chief, the officer who recently called the homeless in a park “shit bags” after which he threatened to place a community professional in the back of his patrol car if she insisted on him giving her his badge number?

And of course, there are untold myriad police matters of concern to the citizenry of Spokane, and more than a few lawsuits to work on and worry about. Not to mention the $1,000,000 lawsuit against the city courtesy of FOP (Friend of Police) Marie Yates.

Yes, Chief, I know. A lot of what the people of Spokane are asking of you doesn’t require the glory work of training with AR-15s for some imagined gangland war or playing along with President Bush’s national security fantasies with mock terrorism simulations at the Federal Building.

Could we just get an officer to respond — appropriately, respectfully, without foul mouthed vulgarities, and without unjustified use of force — to the everyday situations that we experience in our lives and neighborhoods?

It’s a lot to ask, I know, with the legacy and culture you inherited at the SPD. We hired you to manage that culture and tangle with that legacy until you brought it under your control.

Let the people and the politicians set up the mechanism to monitor things when you can’t control it and when public outrage demands it.

For my part and for many with whom I have spoken, the Commission is not the answer. If it were, it would have met regarding Otto Zehm. It would have met over Jerome Alford. It would have met over Shonto Pete. It would have met over your officer calling the homeless “shitbags”. Should I continue the list?

Clearly, your efforts to rehabilitate the Commission in September 2006 with the assignment of the case of Lt. Judi Carl backfired. Your reason for attempting to rehabilitate the Commission is clear — a commission is unlikely to ever find against your officers. I mean, come on Chief, Marie Yates — representing the Police Lieutenants and Captains Association — called the first citizen to bring a case before the Commission in 10 years an “ass”.

And finally, I have to ask you a question, Chief.

What are we, the people of Spokane, to make of the fact that between the Citizen Review Commission (CRC) and the Police Advisory Committee (PAC) we have 7 police officers, a city attorney, a representative of the Police Guild, and — on both the CRC and the PAC — the ever present Marie Yates, representing the Police Lieutenants and Captains Association?

Is there a perhaps a certain lack of trust by the police in the people’s judgment and wisdom?

Of course, there is. The people could not be left alone with something so important as discussing their concerns about the police now, could they?

Any astute and honest outsider looking at either of these two bodies — the Police Advisory Committee and the Citizens Review Commission — would have to ask if they are composed of citizens who truly represent communities, if they are citizens with a backbone, and if they are other than seekers of their own access and prestige.

As recently as February 2007 in a forum on Police Accountability sponsored by the ACLU and the League of Women Voters, long-time PAC chairman Rick Mendoza went so far as to proclaim publicly that the Spokane Police Department is “the best police department in the United States”. And NAACP President V. Ann Smith (also now a member of the Police Advisory Committee) stated at the same event that there is no longer a problem with racial profiling in Spokane. The comments by both raise serious questions about their current connection to the base of their respective communities.

How about this as a plan of action for this your second year, Chief — no more public relations campaigns, no more COPS TV, no more trying to manipulate the public, no more cooking of statistics, no more disrespecting the community, no more excessive use of force, no more we-know-better-than-the-people, no more gang propaganda, no more large-scale purchases of high caliber para-military weaponry.

How about straight forward police work. Arsons, thefts, domestic violence, DUIs, etc.

And when your officers mess up or violate community standards, betray the public trust, or use excessive force, a mechanism of oversight and review of the communities choosing — not of the police department’s choosing — will help to sort it out.

The Boise Ombudsman model remains an excellent example of what Spokane could have.

The Citizens Review Commission remains the example of precisely what we can no longer afford.

For the sake of justice, for the sake of our reputation, for the sake of the lives the community has lost to excess and/or unjustifiable force.

 

 

In Memoriam — Otto Zehm (1970 – 2006)

Otto Zehm — Guitarist, Gentle Lion, Golden Heart

(J. Craig Sweat Photography)

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

Peace Officers or Sanctioned Thugs? by Lynn Stuter

Posted by Arroyoribera on October 9, 2007

http://www.newswithviews.com/Stuter/stuter92.htm

What is missing from police training is that philosophy which promotes freedom — that officers serve the public not the state. When one understands systems philosophy, the type of governance the United States is quietly being transformed to; one understands that the government is no longer there to serve the people but to be served by the people.

By Lynn Stuter

June 13, 2006

NewsWithViews.com

 

In August 1992, Americans watched the siege at Ruby Ridge, Idaho, happen. Television sets all over America provided minute by minute coverage of the killing of Vicki Weaver as she stood in the doorway of the family home holding her infant daughter, and Sammy Weaver, shot in the back after agents shot and killed his beloved dog. What was this family’s sin? Their religious worldview did not conform to that sanctioned by the GHW Bush Administration.

A short eight months later, America was again subjected to minute by minute coverage of the killing of Branch Davidians in their compound in Waco, Texas. People watched as the compound was besieged and set ablaze by government forces under the orders of the Clinton Administration. Killed were some eighty men, women and children. What was these people’s sin? Their religious worldview did not conform to that sanctioned by the Clinton Administration.

As time passed, facts relevant to both sieges, not previously known to the American people, certainly not disclosed by mainstream media, came to light; facts which made it clearly evident that the actions of the United States government in both these situations was unwarranted and constituted an act of oppression against not just those besieged but against every American.

Fast forward to 2006. Over the course of the interim years between Waco, Ruby Ridge and now, has come an ever increasing list of incidents in which the actions of law enforcement point to the law enforcement mentality evident at the sieges at Waco and Ruby Ridge.

The following are but a representative sampling.

In April 2002, a deputy and reserve deputy of the Stevens County (Washington) Sheriff’s Office, and a corrections officer for a local corrections facility were involved in an incident in which an Austrian-made Steyr machine gun was used to shoot up a neighborhood in southern Stevens County. At the time of the incident, the deputy, reserve deputy, corrections officer and others involved had consumed alcohol at the home rented by the deputy and corrections officer. Bullets from the gun pierced walls of surrounding homes, punched holes in vehicles, and lodged in trees and other obstacles in the path of the barrage. Luckily no one was injured or killed although a bullet missed one sleeping man by a mere five feet. Numerous complaints had been lodged with the Stevens County Sheriff by neighbors of this deputy prior to this incident. Those complaints ranged from loud parties to underage girls frequenting the residence. Those complaints fell on deaf ears. After the fact, it would come to light that the deputy did not have the license required to own or have in his possession the Steyr machine gun which actually belonged to the Kettle Falls, Washington, police department and had ended up in the deputies hands via a string of transactions all violating the law.

Then there is the Rydholm case in 2003 where the Spokane Sheriff’s Office SWAT Team ransacked a private residence, accused the owner of either having a drug problem or being a meth producer. How did the Sheriff’s office come to this conclusion? Mr Rydholm bought large quantities of over-the-counter allergy products containing psuedophedrine, an ingredient of the illegal drug methamphetamine. Undercover sheriff’s office personnel had shadowed Mr Rydholm as he made his purchases, had followed him to his home. The home did not have the characteristic appearance of a meth lab nor did the area smell of a meth lab. But that didn’t matter. Nor did it matter that in all their shadowing of him, Mr Rydholm never led them anywhere remotely resembling a meth lab. The SWAT team broke through the front door, confronted the Rydholm children at home alone at the time, ransacked the house, and made accusations based not on what they knew but on what they believed. They found nothing. Mr Rydholm, it seems, has allergies that prescription medications don’t help. To function as a human being, he takes large quantities of over-the-counter allergy products.

Who can forget the David Brame case in May 2003? After achieving the post of Chief of Police in Tacoma, Washington, faced by an impending divorce in which allegations of spousal abuse would surface, David Brame murdered his wife then committed suicide. The Brame’s two children witnessed this heinous act, committed in a grocery store parking lot. After the fact, allegations of rape while a police officer came to light, allegations known to higher ups in the Tacoma Police Department. The victim was intimidated into silence. After his death it came to light that the psychological evaluation of David Brame, at the time of his hiring, brought the recommendation that he not be hired. But he was hired, he was given a gun, and he was promoted all the way to the top.

In January 2006, the homosexual lover of a King County, Washington, sheriff’s deputy used the deputy’s private gun, loaded with sheriff’s department ammunition, to murder a local convenience store clerk. The lover was, at the time, a convicted felon. Supervisors of the deputy were aware that the deputy was living with a convicted felon but did nothing beyond “counseling” the deputy that his living arrangement could prove an embarrassment to the department due to numerous incidents involving the lover leading up to the murder. Both commanders responsible for supervising this deputy were promoted shortly following this incident.

Since January 2006, there have been two incidents making the news involving the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office. A man arrested on allegations of sexual misconduct ended up dead after struggling with eight corrections officers at the Spokane County jail. The autopsy showed the man died of lacerations to his liver, causing him to bleed to death internally. An investigation would show he had been jolted multiple times by a Taser gun in the hands of corrections officers, kneed, “donkey” kicked and punched by corrections officers as they sought to “subdue” him. The officer credited with inflicting the fatal blow was later hired by the Spokane Police Department.

In another incident, a man arrested on allegations of disorderly conduct, lodged in the Spokane County jail, was pepper sprayed by a corrections officer walking by his cell. There was no justification for the corrections officer to pepper spray the prisoner.

In November 2005 a Spokane Police Department lieutenant, in charge of traffic officers, was clocked twice by the Washington State Patrol traveling at over 100 mph on Interstate 90 in an unmarked department patrol car, once traveling to a training conference in western Washington and once returning to Spokane from that conference. Both times the lieutenant was allowed to proceed when he turned on his patrol car police lights as Washington State Patrol officers sought to stop him. For his actions, the lieutenant was merely demoted to the rank of detective.

Since then, a janitor at a north Spokane convenience store died after struggling with Spokane Police officers. The officers converged on the convenience store after passers-by reported a possible robbery in progress. The janitor, at the store to do his job, was accosted by as many as seven officers and died after being jolted at least twice with a Taser gun and hit with a night stick. His death has been listed as a homicide — heart failure due to suffocation while being restrained.

And who can forget the incident in California when the soldier, home from Iraq, ordered to get up off the ground by a police officer following a high speed chase, was then shot multiple times as he attempted to follow the demands of the police officer.

On May 19, 2006, in Chewelah, Washington, a man was shot dead by a Stevens County Sheriff’s Deputy and a Chewelah Police Officer. The initial reports surrounding the incident and later reports do not jibe; and in total, the incident smells rank of police misconduct, unjustified use of force, and excessive force. The Sheriff of Stevens County, facing re-election in November, has made sure his face appeared on the local media. The Sheriff’s deputy involved is known for his aggressive use of his badge and gun; his swat team mentality. His superiors cannot claim ignorance of either his mentality or his actions. The incident is being investigated by the Spokane Sheriff’s Department. There is no doubt that the incident will be classified as “justified” and a cop who should not be a cop will be given license to kill someone else “in the line of duty.”

In each of these instances, initial police reaction has been to justify the actions of police officers. After long periods of stalling, details then trickle forth pointing to police misconduct to include police brutality, excessive use of force, and misuse of the badge. And these incidents are but a representative sampling of incidents that have occurred; they are by no means the majority of incidents or isolated incidents in scope or nature.

Law enforcement uses the rising level of violence as justification for “use of force” procedures. What many people are not aware of is that law enforcement personnel are, on a systematic and on-going basis, being subjected to training that promotes the police state or swat team mentality that many law enforcement officers display; a war zone attitude of “us vs. them” — a perspective that promotes police brutality, misuse of the badge and criminal conduct with the knowledge and full support of more ranking personnel. In the incident of the janitor, acting Spokane Chief of Police Jim Nicks would state that he was “comfortable” with the actions of his officers.

What is missing from police training is that philosophy which promotes freedom — that officers serve the public not the state. When one understands systems philosophy, the type of governance the United States is quietly being transformed to; one understands that the government is no longer there to serve the people but to be served by the people. Law enforcement is no exception. The job of law enforcement is not to uphold the law but to uphold the state and that which augments statist control and power. Because accountability under systems philosophy is not to the people but to the system, police misconduct is, in most cases, ignored. If the public outcry demands accountability, disciplinary action is long in coming and short on corrective action.

As with all other aspects of the “democracy” being implemented (rule according to the passions, opinions and prejudices of those in power), rule is by the majority with the rights of the minority at the whim of the majority (or those in power). Such a specious governance system, warned James Madison in Federalist Paper 10, is as short in its life as it is violent in its death.

When it was Waco and Ruby Ridge, people justified the police brutality by claiming these were people who had “extreme” religious beliefs. These same people would do well to consider that their own religious beliefs could also be determined to be “extreme” at some point. Famed constitutional attorney Gerry Spence makes the point that those who are willing to sacrifice the sheep at the edge of the flock to the wolves by virtue of the fact that those sheep at the edge of the flock believe differently then they do, will soon face the wolves themselves, and wolves are not only vicious but non-discriminating in their choice of which sheep to eat; eventually they eat them all.

That which serves to suppress the rights of some serves to suppress the rights of all. People who believe that police misconduct is only served on others are deluding themselves. And people who act to suppress the rights of others serve, in the end, to suppress their own rights.

Despots the world over have shown time and again that when men serve the interests of tyranny, their usefulness ends when tyranny reaches fruition; at which point they become expendable. And irrespective of what these people may believe, it will not be those who openly dissent who will be the first to be exterminated. History shows that the first to be exterminated under tyranny are those who helped the tyrant achieve absolute power.

Why is that?

Because when people learn that they have been used and duped, their absolute love turns in an instant to absolute hate. As that point, they pose a much greater threat to the continued existence of the despot than the dissident whose opposition has been readily apparent from the outset.

And people who truly believe that doing the work of the tyrant will garner them an invitation to the celebration of tyranny delude themselves; tyranny serves a small and very exclusive crowd.

© 2006 Lynn M. Stuter – All Rights Reserved


Mother and wife, Stuter has spent the past ten years researching systems theory with a particular emphasis on education. She home schooled two daughters, now grown and on their own. She has worked with legislators, both state and federal, on issues pertaining to systems governance and education reform. She networks nationwide with other researchers and citizens concerned with the transformation of our nation. She has traveled the United States and lived overseas. Web site: www.learn-usa.com E-Mail: lmstuter@learn-usa.com (Published with permission of the author)

Posted in Freedom to Fascism, History of SPD Abuses, In Collective Self-Defense, Independent Oversight, Know Your Rights, License to Kill, Trained to Kill, War Abroad & At Home | Leave a Comment »

…narrowly construed in favor of disclosure

Posted by Arroyoribera on October 9, 2007

Disclosure of records (State of Washington)

WAC 44-14-06002 Summary of exemptions.

An exemption from disclosure will be narrowly construed in favor of disclosure. RCW 42.17.251/42.56.030. An exemption from disclosure must specifically exempt a record or portion of a record from disclosure. RCW 42.17.260(1)/42.56.070(1). An exemption will not be inferred.1

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

The Testimony of Abbie Hoffman — Trial of the Chicago 7

Posted by Arroyoribera on October 9, 2007

Excerpt from the beginning of the testimony of Abbie Hoffman in Trial of the Chicago 7 in December 1969:

(See entire testimony at http://www.law.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/ftrials/Chicago7/Hoffman.html )


MR. WEINGLASS: Will you please identify yourself for the record?

THE WITNESS: My name is Abbie. I am an orphan of America.

MR. SCHULTZ: Your Honor, may the record show it is the defendant Hoffman who has taken the stand?

THE COURT: Oh, yes. It may so indicate. . . .

MR. WEINGLASS: Where do you reside?

THE WITNESS: I live in Woodstock Nation.

MR. WEINGLASS: Will you tell the Court and jury where it is?

THE WITNESS: Yes. It is a nation of alienated young people. We carry it around with us as a state of mind in the same way as the Sioux Indians carried the Sioux nation around with them. It is a nation dedicated to cooperation versus competition, to the idea that people should have better means of exchange than property or money, that there should be some other basis for human interaction. It is a nation dedicated to–

THE COURT: Just where it is, that is all.

THE WITNESS: It is in my mind and in the minds of my brothers and sisters. It does not consist of property or material but, rather, of ideas and certain values. We believe in a society–

THE COURT: No, we want the place of residence, if he has one, place of doing business, if you have a business. Nothing about philosophy or India, sir. Just where you live, if you have a place to live. Now you said Woodstock. In what state is Woodstock?

THE WITNESS: It is in the state of mind, in the mind of myself and my brothers and sisters. It is a conspiracy. Presently, the nation is held captive, in the penitentiaries of the institutions of a decaying system.

MR. WEINGLASS: Can you tell the Court and jury your present age?

THE WITNESS: My age is 33. 1 am a child of the 60s.

MR. WEINGLASS: When were you born?

THE WITNESS: Psychologically, 1960.

MR. SCHULTZ: Objection, if the Court please. I move to strike the answer.

MR. WEINGLASS: What is the actual date of your birth?

THE WITNESS: November 30,1936.

MR. WEINGLASS: Between the date of your birth, November 30, 1936, and May 1, 1960, what if anything occurred in your life?

THE WITNESS: Nothing. I believe it is called an American education.

MR. SCHULTZ: Objection.

THE COURT: I sustain the objection.

THE WITNESS: Huh.

MR. WEINGLASS: Abbie, could you tell the Court and jury–

MR. SCHULTZ: His name isn’t Abbie. I object to this informality.

MR. WEINGLASS: Can you tell the Court and jury what is your present occupation?

THE WITNESS: I am a cultural revolutionary. Well, I am really a defendant—full-time.

MR. WEINGLASS: What do you mean by the phrase “cultural revolutionary?”

THE WITNESS: Well, I suppose it is a person who tries to shape and participate in the values, and the mores, the customs and the style of living of new people who eventually become inhabitants of a new nation and a new society through art and poetry, theater, and music.

MR. WEINGLASS: What have you done yourself to participate in that revolution?

THE WITNESS: Well, I have been a rock and roll singer. I am a reporter with the Liberation News Service. I am a poet. I am a film maker. I made a movie called “Yippies Tour Chicago or How I Spent My Summer Vacation.” Currently, I am negotiating with United Artists and MGM to do a movie in Hollywood.
I have written an extensive pamphlet on how to live free in the city of New York.
I have written two books, one called Revolution for The Hell of It under the pseudonym Free, and one called, Woodstock Nation.

MR. WEINGLASS: Taking you back to the spring of 1960, approximately May 1, 1960, will you tell the Court and jury where you were?

MR. SCHULTZ: 1960?

THE WITNESS: That’s right.

MR. SCHULTZ: Objection.

THE COURT: I sustain the objection.

MR. WEINGLASS: Your Honor, that date has great relevance to the trial. May 1, 1960, was this witness’ first public demonstration. I am going to bring him down through Chicago.

(See entire testimony at http://www.law.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/ftrials/Chicago7/Hoffman.html )

Posted in Freedom to Fascism, In Collective Self-Defense, Know Your Rights, War Abroad & At Home | Leave a Comment »

Post Falls Company to be purchased by Blackwater USA — or not

Posted by Arroyoribera on October 7, 2007

[Updated 01/08/2008] As this image from the Blackwater Tactical Newletter shows, Couer d’Alene, Idaho-based The Backup Training Corporation has been purchased by Blackwater International. The mercenary firm Blackwater will now be able to use additional resources and technological expertise to make its training available on-line and in classrooms around the U.S. and the world.)

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

(Original post — October 7, 2007)

With its history of massacring Indians, racism, conservative politics, one-newspaper towns, Cold War munitions storage and manufacturing, top-secret military operations, neo-nazi hate groups, white-supremacist terror acts, and unregulated law enforcement, no news coming out of the Eastern Washington and North Idaho areas should surprise anyone.

Now comes news that Post Falls-based The Backup Training Corporation is changing hands.

And the new owner?

Blackwater USA, the mercenary outfit at the heart of scandals from Iraq to New Orleans.

The Backup Training Corporation, based in Post Falls, Idaho, provides training to law enforcement and other use-of-force practitioners, including mercenaries. Some of its trainings deal with Managing Street Informants as well as Gang Trainings.

In April 2007 it was announced that, “Blackwater will become the exclusive provider of practical skill development training for The Backup in the areas of firearms and tactics training, Law Enforcement training, Law Enforcement Special Operations training, K9 training, military training, security and Law Enforcement driving training and aviation training”.

However, there now appears to be concern among stockholders and others about the Blackwater/Backup deal.

And depending on the outcome of investigations into alleged murders of Iraqi civilians committed by Blackwater gunners in Iraq, the deal may be scuttled. Already The Backup Training Corporation is concerned that its increasing contractual business with Blackwater — the source of much of The Backup’s growth in the last year — will affect both its financial bottom-line and its reputation.

(Note: The 9/18/07 CDAPress.com version of the events in Iraq vary significantly from versions provided by other sources, including reporters, U.S. military, U.S. State Department, and Iraqi government. CDAPress.com is a division of Duane Hagadone’s Hagadone Newspaper Network. Until becoming chief financial officer for The Backup, Steve Benner was an executive for The Hagadone Corporation.)

As time goes on, area people are likely to become more and more aware of the amount of economic and military involvement there is in the Spokane area related to ultra-conservative, right-wing, and militarist (or in this case psuedo-law enforcement, mercenary) companies.

Perhaps this starts to suggest another explanation for all the million dollar homes around the area and lining the shores of Lake Couer d’Alene. How much of it is war booty or, some might say, blood money?

And just image. Spokane Police who think they might need a little more training or decide that their measly police salaries are not enough could just go over to Post Falls and pay Blackwater a little visit. Now there is nice thought for you.

However, it is important to realize that this is exactly where we are already — an extremely disturbing blurring of the boundaries among law enforcement, “national security apparatus”, US military, and private mercenary armies-for-hire.

Here is a little more information about the Post Falls-based The Backup Training Corporation and their corporate friends at Blackwater USA.

www.thebackup.com — Designed to fulfill training needs of officers, our courses deliver the nation’s top law enforcement trainers in an easy-to-use, cost-effective, and consistently reliable format. These CD courses intertwine text with all aspects of multimedia.

www.cbsnews.com — Blackwater — The North Carolina-based private security firm makes millions training police swat teams and military sharpshooters with courses like “Tactical Pistol II,” “Extreme Officer Survival” and “Helicopter Sniper.”

The Backup Product List — Have SPD officers who have made fatality-producing and other serious use of force and tactical errors in the field been trained with these materials?

www.dallasnews.com — Federal agents, video cameras will monitor Blackwater

www.spokesman.com — Blackwater seeks PR help with negative image

www.blackwaterusa.com — Mercenaries for Hire

SanityForSale.wordpress.com — Blackwater: Bush’s Shadow Army

www.cnn.com — Congressional Investigation of Seattle mercenary fired by Blackwater, then hired by CSA

www.washingtonpost.com — In change of tune, US gov’t agents, not Blackwater, will protect FBI in probe

SpokanePoliceAbuses.wordpress.com–The role of Spokane, Fairchild, and the SERE/JPRA programs in U.S. Torture and Geneva Convention Violations (includes waterboarding videos)

Posted in Freedom to Fascism, History of SPD Abuses, In Collective Self-Defense, Know Your Rights, Terrorism in Spokane, Trained to Kill, Unanswered Questions, War Abroad & At Home | 1 Comment »

Che Guevara, presente!

Posted by Arroyoribera on October 7, 2007

Forty years ago, the Argentine doctor, Ernesto “Che” Guevara, was captured in Bolivia with the help of the US Central Intelligence Agency and shot to death. As if to prove their inhumanity, his killers cut off his hands. His personal effects were stolen by a CIA agent of Cuban heritage and to this day some of them are displayed at CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia.

The United States has made many colossal errors in its history, among them the imperialist wars of aggression in Vietnam and Iraq, to name only a few. Yet nothing can match the eternal flame that was lit in the heart of humanity when Che was killed.

Che Guevara, presente! Hasta siempre, comandante!

Esa ola irá creciendo cada día que pase, esa ola ya no parará más.

Cuban doctors help Che Guevara’s killer

September 30, 2007 – 7:39PM

Cuban doctors volunteering in Bolivia performed a free cataract surgery for Mario Teran, the Bolivian army sergeant who killed the legendary guerilla leader Ernesto “Che” Guevara in captivity, the daily Granma newspaper reported.

“Four decades after Mario Teran attempted to destroy a dream and an idea, Che returns to win yet another battle, and continues on in the struggle,” the newspaper said.

On October 9, 1967, Teran killed Guevara while he was being held prisoner and suffering from combat wounds in La Higuera, the paper recounted. It said he acted on orders from generals Rene Barrientos and Alfredo Ovando, as well as the White House and the US Central Intelligence Agency, to execute the Argentine-Cuban rebel leader.

Nearly forty years to the day later, Teran underwent eye surgery in a Santa Cruz hospital that was donated by the Cuban government and recently inaugurated by Bolivian President Evo Morales.

“Now an old man, he (Teran) can once again appreciate the colours of the sky and the forest, to enjoy the smiles of his grandchildren, and to watch football games,” the article said.

“But surely he will never be capable of seeing the difference between the ideas that drove him to murder a man in cold blood, and the ideas of that very man.”

The reports said one of Teran’s sons asked the local Santa Cruz daily El Deber to publish a notice thanking the Cuban doctors who restored his father’s sight with the successful operation.

Find this story at — http://www.theage.com.au/articles/2007/09/30/1191090937455.html

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

LAW ENFORCEMENT CODE OF ETHICS

Posted by Arroyoribera on October 7, 2007

LAW ENFORCEMENT CODE OF ETHICS

AS A LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER, my fundamental duty is to serve the community; to safeguard lives and property; to protect the innocent against deception, the weak against oppression or intimidation and the peaceful against violence or disorder; and to respect the constitutional rights of all to liberty, equality and justice.

I WILL keep my private life unsullied as an example to all and will behave in a manner that does not bring
discredit to me or to my agency. I will maintain courageous calm in the face of danger, scorn, or ridicule;
develop self-restraint; and be constantly mindful of the welfare of others. Honest in thought and deed both in my personal and official life, I will be exemplary in obeying the law and the regulations of my department. Whatever I see or hear of a confidential nature or that is confided to me in my official capacity will be kept ever secret unless revelation is necessary in the performance of my duty.

I WILL never act officiously or permit personal feelings, prejudices, political beliefs, aspirations, animosities, or friendships to influence my decisions. With no compromise for crime and with relentless prosecution of criminals, I will enforce the law courteously and appropriately without fear or favor, malice or ill will, never employing unnecessary force or violence and never accepting gratuities.

I RECOGNIZE the badge of my office as a symbol of public faith, and I accept it as a public trust to be held
so long as I am true to the ethics of police service. I will never engage in acts of corruption or bribery, nor will I condone such acts by other police officers. I will cooperate with all legally authorized agencies and their representatives in the pursuit of justice.

I KNOW that I alone am responsible for my own standard of professional performance and will take every
reasonable opportunity to enhance and improve my level of knowledge and competence.

I WILL constantly strive to achieve these objectives and ideals, dedicating myself before God to my chosen
profession…law enforcement.

(from page 12 of the Crime in Washington Annual 2006 Report of the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs.)

Posted in History of SPD Abuses | Leave a Comment »

Re-cap: 7/27/07 Law enforcement tasers suicidal man who then jumps

Posted by Arroyoribera on October 7, 2007

On July 27, 2007, Spokane Police, Spokane County Sheriff’s Office and the FBI failed in their questionable tactics in dealing with a suicidal young man, Josh Levy. The result: Josh Levy jumped to his death in front of his parents, the public, and the media.

These videos and articles include a witness who questions the police and FBI’s decision to taser Levy after he came down off the bridge rail. Levy’s father also questioned the taser tactic.

In the videos, Spokane Police Chief Anne Kirkpatrick, unable to shed a tear, expresses her empathy for her officers but, to her credit, wisely leaves out the prefunctory term “heroic” so often used in describing law enforcement. She also expresses her sympathy for the family of Josh Levy, though she offers no apology for the tasering of their son.

The chief gives no indication that the SPD or FBI used mental health experts until after Levy had endured 10 -12 hours of police “negotiations”, after he had spent hours on the bridge, having police officers “yelling” at him, and being isolated in a dramatic scene involving multiple police vehicles, rescue vehicles, and law enforcement from multiple agencies.

The chief discloses that she, SPD, SCSO and the FBI used information from a western Washington law enforcement official, Chief Mike Lasnier, who had dealt with Levy in the past. It would appear that this information was the principle “mental health consultation” that the SPD used in making its fatally-flawed decision to take Levy down with a 50,000 volt taser jolt.

As on September 22, 2003 when Spokane Police officers shot and severely injured 17-year-old Lewis and Clark High School Student Sean Fitzpatrick rather than wait him out or allow his father to intervene — Spokane area law enforcement’s we-know-better-than-you approach resulted in a tragic outcome for Josh Levy, his family, and the Spokane community.

http://www.brightcove.tv/title.jsp?title=1177182267&channel=979539664

http://www.brightcove.tv/title.jsp?title=1182693685&channel=979539664

http://www.spokesmanreview.com/tools/story_pf.asp?ID=202077

Posted in History of SPD Abuses, Independent Oversight, Lies Damn Lies and ..., Spokane taser, Trained to Kill, Unanswered Questions, Yes ma'am Chief | Leave a Comment »

Handbook for bloggers and cyber-dissidents

Posted by Arroyoribera on October 6, 2007

Do something good by creating a blog

Blogs get people excited. Or else they disturb and worry them. Some people distrust them. Others see them as the vanguard of a new information revolution. Because they allow and encourage ordinary people to speak up, they’re tremendous tools of freedom of expression.
Bloggers are often the only real journalists in countries where the mainstream media is censored or under pressure. Only they provide independent news, at the risk of displeasing the government and sometimes courting arrest.

Reporters Without Borders has produced this handbook to help them, with handy tips and technical advice on how to to remain anonymous and to get round censorship, by choosing the most suitable method for each situation. It also explains how to set up and make the most of a blog, to publicize it (getting it picked up efficiently by search-engines) and to establish its credibility through observing basic ethical and journalistic principles.

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Handbook for bloggers and cyber-dissidents

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Handbook for bloggers and cyber-dissidents

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Contents:
Bloggers, the new heralds of free expression
What’s a blog ?
The language of blogging
Choosing the best tool
How to set up and run a blog
What ethics should bloggers have ?
Getting your blog picked up by search-engines
What really makes a blog shine ?
Personal accounts:
Germany
Bahrain
USA
Hong Kong
Iran
Nepal
How to blog anonymously
Technical ways to get around censorship
Ensuring your e-mail is truly private
Internet-censor world championship

Posted in Freedom to Fascism, In Collective Self-Defense, Independent Oversight, Know Your Rights, Protest, War Abroad & At Home | Leave a Comment »

Anything sound familiar here?

Posted by Arroyoribera on October 6, 2007

Recent news revealed that U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) would investigate the actions of one of the major U.S. mercenary corporations, Blackwater USA, in the September 16, 2007, incident at Baghdad’s Nisoor Square in which 11 Iraqi civilians were killed in an allegedly unprovoked attack on them by Blackwater USA personnel.

Two days later the FBI revealed that its personnel in Baghdad to investigate allegations of Blackwater criminal misconduct are protected by… Blackwater personnel.

This blackwater is only going to get deeper and darker.

As it turns out, the September 16 incident had already been investigated, shortly after it occurred. That initial report was written for the U.S. State Department on Bureau of Diplomatic Security letterhead by…

No, not by Diplomatic Security or the FBI. But by a Blackwater employee, Darren Hanner!

(I don’t know about you but reading this made me think about the conflicts caused when Spokane area law enforcement agencies — the Spokane Police and Spokane County Sheriff’s Office — investigate one another and when the investigative teams include members of other agency. If I commit a crime do you think I could get my mom on the team that investigates it? Or maybe my best buddy? No? Why not, huh? If it is good enough for the SPD and the SCSO and Blackwater and the CIA and the FBI and the rest of these good old boys, shouldn’t it be good enough for the rest of us taxpaying slobs?)

Salon.com — Blumenthal — Private Military in Iraq

CNN.com — 10/02/07 — Blackwater.spot.report

U.S. Embassy Baghdad — Bureau of Diplomatic Security — Report on Blackwater written by Blackwater employee

Washingtonpost.com — Blackwater in Iraq

Posted in Freedom to Fascism, History of SPD Abuses, Lies Damn Lies and ..., Unanswered Questions, War Abroad & At Home | Leave a Comment »

Prison Towns — Walla Walla, Shelton and Spokane

Posted by Arroyoribera on October 6, 2007

In 1998, Spokesman-Review reporters collaborated in a six-part series on crime in Spokane. The series began June 14, 1998, with six articles, including this one, City of Second Chances. Nearly ten years after it was written, the six-part series remains an important sources of information, analysis, and insight about the community which hosts the second largest prison in the state of Washington.

How Spokane comes to terms in humane and realistic ways with the realities of poverty, homelessness, mental illness and crime may well be a more important measure of who we are than our civic show events, such as Bloomsday and Pig Out in the Park. As we can see by the recent history of Spokane, we have a long way to go. In fact, it could be said that if we have even started, we may have moved backwards rather than forwards.

Sunday, June 14, 1998

Special report

City of Second Chances

(first of six parts)

By Julie Sullivan, Karen Dorn Steele and Kim Barker
The Spokesman-Review

Society demands criminals pay for their crimes, but society is paying too. With a disproportionate number of released inmates choosing to start over here, Spokane is paying more than its share.

A funnel of convicted felons is aimed at Spokane.

Ten years of get-tough-on-crime laws have poured thousands into the state prison system with little thought as to where they’d eventually come out.

But criminals don’t go to prison so much as they go through prison. From the moment they enter, inmates begin moving toward a final destination: outside.

For a startling number, the last stop is Spokane.

photo

Colin Mulvany – The Spokesman-Review

Department of Corrections field officer Rick Jost searches the new apartment of Carl Streeter in downtown Spokane. Streeter, convicted of assault in Yakima County, recently was released from the Washington State Penitentiary in Walla Walla. “I was living on the streets in Yakima. The folks in Walla Walla wanted me to come to Spokane.”

The number of former prisoners choosing Spokane County as their new home has leaped an estimated 84 percent in the past five years, higher than the state average. More than half of those offenders were convicted somewhere else.

The city’s downtown bus Plaza, shopping malls and neighborhoods are becoming hunting grounds where community corrections officers search for ex-offenders and ministers try to counsel them.

While sex offenders and the most violent criminals are supervised by community corrections officers for one or more years after prison, most other offenders aren’t. They leave prison with $40 and a bus ticket.

More than 1,800 inmates were released to Spokane County between 1992 and 1997, state records show. Interviews, state prison data and other government records also reveal that:

  • For every 100 people convicted in Spokane County, nearly 150 were released here. No other county in the state gets back so many more offenders than it puts into prison. The state’s two largest counties, King and Pierce, get back fewer offenders than they send behind bars.
  • More than 1,150 sex offenders are now registered in Spokane County – more sex offenders per capita than in King County. What’s more, four out of 10 sex criminals released here from prison weren’t even convicted in Spokane.
  • About 12,000 released offenders report to the Department of Corrections in Spokane County. Of those, about 1,300 must have regular face-to-face meetings with community corrections officers. Nearly twice that number are labeled inactive — meaning they’re dead, deported or otherwise absent without official reason.
  • Along with the offenders has come the Department of Corrections. The prison at Airway Heights is now the state’s second largest, holding 2,043 inmates. More than 80 convicted felons live in a work-release center in downtown Spokane. The state’s premiere drug treatment center for convicts is at Pine Lodge Pre-Release in Medical Lake.
  • No state, city or county agency is monitoring the civic impact of this ex-inmate migration.

    State Department of Corrections officials aren’t aware of Spokane’s emerging reputation as a city of second chances. They say tracking offenders is not part of their mission.

    The mayor, City Council, county commission and county prosecutor know almost nothing about the former prison inmates living here. The police and sheriff’s departments are notified when most individual convicts are released, but don’t track the overall numbers. Even social service agencies that help offenders or their families don’t monitor the trend.

    Kay Walter, superintendent of the Airway Heights Corrections Center, says the state’s 13,800 inmates are closely watched when they’re behind bars. But they quickly vanish into the community once they’re released.

    “We don’t track people very well when they leave the system. A high percentage just walk out the door,” Walter says.

    So many offenders are now clustered around Spokane that community corrections officers are stationed in neighborhood cop shops. When officers want to look for sex offenders, they walk through the STA Bus Plaza. A volunteer who ministers to offenders in prison runs into ex-felons every few minutes downtown.

    This flow of offenders into Spokane is part of a state and national trend: More people behind bars, and more eventually coming out into the community.

    Throughout Washington, 85,500 offenders are under supervision — double the number a decade ago. The state is second only to Texas in the number of people on parole, probation or community supervision.

    In Spokane, many former prisoners pay taxes and rent. They make calls for telemarketing firms, cook in restaurants from West Main to State Line. They work as machinists, computer instructors and auto mechanics. They sweep streets on the West Plains, swab floors at the malls, stock shelves at the Spokane Food Bank. They repair cars, wrap tortillas, stuff advertising inserts into the newspaper.

    There are success stories like that of Larry Ecklund, who after serving time for drug crimes is drug free and sober. His East Central business as a plumber and general contractor is thriving. His relationships with his wife and grown children are strong. He’s taking 30-mile bike rides, exercising his retrievers, restoring antiques. “Enjoying life,” he says.

    There are horror stories too.

    The impact of former prisoners isn’t obvious in Spokane County crime rates, which fluctuate yearly and tend to be affected by home-grown criminals. But the consequences of one-man crime waves from released offenders have been enormous. Consider:

  • Demetrius Dean, convicted of seven felonies on the West Side, was released to Spokane County in 1995. He told a girlfriend he’d been in trouble elsewhere and wanted a clean slate. He subsequently raped two Spokane junior high school students and the mother of one of the girls. He met one of the girls at a bus stop where she was en route to Garry Middle School.
  • “He asked for my telephone number. I’d never given out my number before and I thought, what could it hurt?” says Kassie Reyes, now 15.

  • Dwayne Woods was convicted in King and Spokane counties of assault, served time at Pine Lodge Pre-Release, completed work release in Spokane and was released here in December 1994. Thirteen months later, he met Venus Shaver, a clerk at the Valley Hastings store, while checking out a video. Four months later, he stabbed and beat her when she refused to have sex with him. While she lay unconscious, he raped her friend Jade Moore and beat her with an aluminum baseball bat, and beat her sister Telisha Shaver when she unexpectedly arrived. Only Venus Shaver survived.
  • Kenneth Galloway, convicted of killing his infant son and abusing twin sons in Pierce County in 1990, served time at Airway Heights Corrections Center. He was released in September 1994. Six months later, he moved in with a woman he’d met through friends at work release in Spokane, and a month after that, beat her 2-year-old son to death.
  • Byron Scherf was imprisoned for raping a woman and setting her on fire in Pierce County. He was paroled to Spokane County in 1993 after completing his sentence at Airway Heights. Two years later, he picked another victim out of a Spokane Realtors catalog posed as a prospective home buyer and met her at a home near Cheney. Scherf forced Barbara Bell into his trunk at knifepoint and drove her to Spangle, raped her and threatened to kill her and her daughter.
  • “The public is focused on the 13,800 people in prison,” says Secretary of Corrections Joe Lehman. But there are 85,500 people under state supervision living in Washington communities. “Which ones represent the greatest public safety risk?”

    photo

    Colin Mulvany – The Spokesman-Review

    Leo Dickerson, an inmate in the minimum- security prison camp at Airway Heights Corrections Center, prepares ground for a new scoreboard at a park next to Sunset Elementary School. Airway Heights and other communities use supervised inmate crews for litter pick-up and public works projects.

    ‘They think this is paradise’

    Almost as soon as inmates enter one of Washington’s 12 adult prisons, they begin working on a plan for getting out.

    The plan helps determine eventual moves within the system to minimum-security camps, pre-release and work release. Then, 120 days before finishing their sentence, most inmates list an address that is forwarded to a community corrections officer.

    The state must approve the address and can stop a sex offender from, say, locating next to a day-care center. But state officials can do nothing about the choice of community.

    “We can’t say ‘You can’t go to Spokane,’ ” Deputy Director Dave Savage says.

    The number of offenders trying to find an address here has become a nuisance for some agencies. The Union Gospel Mission in Spokane was receiving 19 requests a week asking to serve as a release address.

    “We were having a horrible time,” says Don Munday, assistant director for men’s services. He spent his first week on the job two years ago writing prisons and corrections officers to stop it.

    The Mission accepts a small number of offenders who qualify for an intense two-year program with a team of therapists, counselors, job trainers and ministers.

    Still, requests keep coming to the Mission, to the Salvation Army, to downtown landlords and distant pen pals, asking to provide an address.

    Offenders look to Spokane as a place to make a fresh start.

    The city is far away from the West Side — where 77 percent of the state’s criminals committed their crimes and were sentenced. Far away from their victims, the police and the old neighborhood.

    “I call Spokane a city of refuge,” says Leone Johnson, who has ministered to people imprisoned and jailed in Spokane County for 22 years. “Portland, Seattle, Tacoma and Yakima is where they’ve all gotten in trouble and where they can’t go back.”

    When Don Byers leaves prison after 16 years this December, he doesn’t want to return to Tacoma, Everett or Seattle, where his old partners in crime live. The 62-year-old armed robber wants to stay here.

    “Spokane is a big enough town to exist in, but not big enough to get in trouble again with the same old associates. And even at my age, I can probably find a job,” he says.

    Convicted felons can get work within days of arriving, as restaurant cooks, dishwashers, sheet metal workers and construction laborers. Extensive bus service allows them to commute as far as Cheney or Liberty Lake.

    The selection of low-income housing available is double the state rate. Apartments downtown start at $48 a week. Add to that a low unemployment rate of about 4 percent and a smattering of charities, mental health programs and drug and alcohol treatment.

    There are other reasons that inmates choose Spokane over smaller communities like Walla Walla, says researcher Keith Farrington of Whitman College.

    “Night life and prospective mates.”

    Spokane also draws from other states. With its booming economy, Washington attracts five felons under supervision from other states for every two it sends elsewhere, the Department of Corrections reports.

    About 440 offenders supervised by the state in Spokane County are from Idaho, Montana, Utah and other states. They transfer here to find work and get away from harsher laws and penal systems elsewhere.

    “They think this is paradise here in the state of Washington,” says Bruce Woods, a community corrections officer who supervises several out-of-staters.

    photo

    Colin Mulvany – The Spokesman-Review

    Carpenter Mike Bass paints doors at a West Central business. Bass is under supervision after serving five years for armed robbery in New Mexico. He moved to Spokane after marrying a pen pal who lives here. “I’m slowly but surely trying to get back to civilization.”

    Mike Bass, 42, served more than five years in a New Mexico prison for armed robbery. While in prison, he met and married a Spokane woman — all through the mail. When he was released in January, he flew north and settled with her in a West Central neighborhood.

    The union didn’t last: “Let’s just say the attraction was not the same in person as it was on paper.” But within three days of arriving, he walked around the corner and got a job as a carpenter. He found a 12-step substance-abuse meeting he likes and a new apartment.

    “I’d never been here before in my life,” he says. “Now it’s just me, the boss and Bruce,” his corrections officer. “But I want to stay. I want to make it here.”

    ‘Corrections is a growth industry’

    To understand how Spokane became a destination for felons, look back at crime and politics over the last 30 years.

    Between 1965 and 1975, the country’s murder rate nearly doubled. Fear of crime grew, not just in poor city neighborhoods, but in middle-class suburbs, writes author David Anderson in “Sensible Justice.”

    Then, in the mid-1980s, crack hit cities from Los Angeles to Tacoma and Spokane. More than any previous drug epidemic, crack cocaine created what Anderson calls an urban arms race, raising violence — and fear — to new levels.

    Politicians responded with get-tough-on-crime laws. Seven sentencing laws in as many years put an additional 4,500 offenders behind Washington state bars.

    Most Spokane legislators voted for these laws, with strong public support. Their goal: put repeat offenders away faster and for longer sentences.

    “I’d rather build another prison than more office buildings for state employees,” Sen. Bob McCaslin, a Spokane Valley Republican, said in 1993.

    “The public has said they want us to take bad people off the streets for their protection,’ echoed Sen. James West, another Republican from Spokane.

    Voters weighed in as well. The “three strikes you’re out” initiative for various violent offenders will add 830 inmates by 2012. The “hard time for armed crime” law, another 1,300.

    Even the federal government took part with a crime bill that put 100,000 police officers on the street and more criminals in jail.

    The result: Washington’s prison population has jumped 71 percent since 1980 while its general population has risen just 13 percent. The most dramatic increase has come in the last seven years.

    When former Secretary Chase Riveland took over Corrections in the mid-1980s, there were so many prison beds available, the state rented them out to other states and made nearly $60 million.

    Ten years later, the state is squeezing in offenders by doubling the number of bunks in handicapped or larger cells at Airway Heights Corrections Center and converting storage rooms to hold up to eight men.

    Riveland once quipped that if the growth rate were straight-lined, by the year 2057 everyone in Washington would either be in prison — or be working in one.

    Airway Heights is now the state’s second largest prison, with 2,043 men. Only the Washington State Penitentiary at Walla Walla holds more, with 2,300 behind bars.

    All told, the state Department of Corrections spends nearly $52 million a year in Spokane County. Corrections’ 838 employees in Spokane County work in offices from Hillyard to the Spokane Valley, from Airway Heights to Medical Lake. It’s a work force equal to Gonzaga’s or Eastern Washington University’s.

    “We are in the Department of Corrections business here in Spokane County just like Shelton and Walla Walla,” says Spokane County Prosecutor Jim Sweetser.

    In five years, the prison at Airway Heights has quadrupled in size and the work-release program has swelled. A third more beds were added to the work-release center for women, and the center for men is expected to increase by a quarter in the next several years.

    “Corrections is a growth industry in that once you get it in your community, it continues to grow,” says Katherine Carlson, a cultural anthropologist who has studied Washington prisons.

    Prisons bring good-paying state jobs and lucrative contracts that serve the mini-cities behind bars. They’re a “clean” industry insulated from most economic recessions. They never move to Mexico.

    “We build them and staff them for the rest of our lives,” says Walter, the superintendent at Airway Heights.

    The growth in Spokane has swept up so many employees that qualification exams that used to attract hundreds for correctional officer positions now draw a quarter of the candidates. Average pay: $2,700 a month and many jobs require only a high school education.

    It’s a career with a future. The state expects to need 2,850 more prison beds in the next decade. Annual cost to house each offender: $24,494.

    “We have to remember the enormous number of jobs created by corrections,” says Kaye Adkins, the top Corrections official in Eastern Washington.

    “Those are our neighbors and friends.”

    Community impact isn’t studied

    In the scramble to lock offenders up, there is almost no attention paid to the impact of prisons on nearby communities or what happens when offenders are released.

    Spokane’s downtown apartments and low-income neighborhoods are filling up with felons, many of whom continue friendships begun in prison.

    “Nobody cares about communities,” says researcher Carlson, who studied the prison at Clallam Bay.

    Kasey Kramer, Spokane County’s community services director, was astonished to learn of the rapid growth of Spokane’s ex-felon population.

    Kramer has seen the impact of mental health patients treated at Eastern State Hospital who choose to stay in the Spokane area when released.

    For every one Spokane County resident treated at Eastern, another 11 from other counties stay here after treatment, Kramer says.

    “We call it drift. We’ve documented it from the state mental hospital side, but not for ex-felons,” Kramer says.

    Money is not available for agencies to study these impacts, he says. “It is a weakness at the state level.”

    The Rev. Michael Treleaven, a Jesuit political science professor at Gonzaga University, monitors prison issues for Amnesty International.

    “This is the politics of vengeance,” he says. “To throw money at prisons, but not at the communities where they eventually settle is dishonest. This is a serious issue for Spokane.”

    Farrington, the Whitman College professor, has spent years trying to gauge the impact of the century-old penitentiary on Walla Walla, but has never seen a study on what happens to offenders when they’re released.

    “You think it would be logical,” he says. “There’s probably a lot more screw-ups than we’re aware of and the flip side is — and equally sad — that there are some people who go through and get straightened out and we don’t know that either.”

    Statistics show that Walla Walla, a small farm town, has violent and property crime rates from 52 to 93 percent higher than the national rate over a 17-year period.

    Despite the influx of ex-convicts into Spokane, violent crime rates here have not increased.

    The property crime rate is higher than the state average, but the reasons for that are unclear. Calls to Spokane’s Crime Check also have increased more than 40 percent since 1993.

    Former Spokane Police Chief Terry Mangan predicts the new ex-felons will nudge up the crime rate soon. They just haven’t been here long enough.

    “When prisoners remain in an area for an appreciable time, 70 percent of them eventually reoffend,” Mangan says.

    Statistics on the nation’s 400,000 criminal offenders released each year back his prediction.

    Washington officials say 32 percent of offenders return to prison within five years.

    But that figure is misleading. It only counts offenders who return to a Washington prison and not those who wind up in county jails or other states’ facilities.

    “No matter what study you look at, they’re reoffending,” says Police Lt. Mark Caillier of Salem, Ore. “Which means your community now has to deal with it.”

    Caillier worked on studies that show the average inmate had 17 felony arrests before being sent to prison.

    Crime analysts in the Spokane Police Department agree that for some people, crime is a way of life.

    photo

    Colin Mulvany – The Spokesman-Review

    Ex-inmates who violate their supervision face Department of Corrections hearing specialist Lyn Paxton. Tyrone Brown, 32, listens as field officer Paul Schmidt lists violations that include using drugs and failing to report.

    “Most criminals who rape and burglarize also wife beat and drive without a license. They fish without a license,” says Toni Sneva, who keeps a database of known offenders for the Spokane Police Department.

    “Everything they do is a violation of the law.”

    Even if they don’t break the law again, former inmates can be a drain on the community.

    More than half of the felons in prison read, write and compute at less than a ninth-grade level, according to the Department of Corrections. Up to 76 percent of inmates are addicted to drugs or alcohol, but the state has the ability to treat only about 20 percent of those addicts, says Patty Terry, a chemical dependency coordinator in the prison system.

    The National Criminal Justice Commission reports that some inmates leave prison with a sort of stress disorder.

    It appears that prison damages a person’s ability to respond to stress, leaving a choice between gritting one’s teeth or lashing out, the report says. Problems are not easily talked through, but are likely to result in a blowup or withdrawal. In a job, it’s lost tempers or failure to show up for work.

    Inmate families, often splintered by the imprisonment, find little support in Spokane beyond a list of phone numbers for social service agencies already struggling to meet the city’s needs.

    “We’re a city that’s blind and asleep,” says prison volunteer Johnson. “If people were awake they would do something for people who are coming and bringing families and starting families here.”

    People who make the transition from law breaker to law abider can’t usually do it alone. Larry Ecklund made it with help – from Judge James Murphy who sent him to Drug Court, from local drug counselors and supportive 12-step groups, from his state community corrections officer who visited regularly.

    “My life has never been this good,” Ecklund says. “I feel like I’m the product of these people.”

    ‘No more than our share’

    To see where Spokane could be headed, take a close look at Salem.

    Oregon’s capital city has served as its top prison town since statehood. Salem houses five of the state’s 12 prisons plus drug and alcohol treatment centers and halfway houses. It has the largest institutional population of any city its size in the nation.

    Nevertheless, the city is so like Spokane demographically that Salem police come here to observe trends in crime and policing.

    Like Spokane, Salem is a mid-sized city miles from the urban center where most crime is committed.

    It offers a multitude of low-wage and seasonal jobs. It gets back considerably more offenders than it puts in the system. And for years, the phenomenon went unnoticed.

    Then, 10 years ago, the city realized it tallied more emergency calls per capita than Portland.

    Subsequent investigation revealed the problem was directly related to the number of ex-offenders who stayed.

    “It’s like the miracle of compounding. If you’re putting one in and the system is not fixing it, you’re getting back compound interest on your problem you don’t want,” says Lt. Caillier of Salem Police.

    “We had an incredible number of our people who were ex-offenders, many of whom would reoffend and commit crimes,” says Rep. Peter Courtney. “They had incredible social needs, drug abuse, alcohol abuse and illiteracy that put a heavy burden in counties.”

    In 1989, Courtney co-sponsored the “Send them home” bill that required freed prisoners to return to the county of conviction. California has a similar law.

    The law cut returns but loopholes for family, employment and personal safety continues to return 33 percent more offenders than Salem incarcerates. The city still:

  • Has the 43rd highest crime rate in the country.
  • Arrests nearly two ex-offenders a day.
  • Prosecutes nearly 200 felonies a year on charges related to the crime in prisons.
  • Community awareness has helped Salem residents plan better but has not made the planning any easier.

    If Spokane offers more help to offenders and families, that may attract even more. Yet if the city doesn’t increase services, it drains help from people who already live here.

    “If you build it, do they come? If you’re successful, does that mean folks are going to come to Spokane, stay and reoffend? Those are the questions you as a community need to be asking,” says Caillier.

    Salem has used its research to fight new prisons. City leaders don’t say: “Not in my back yard,” but rather, “No more than our share.”

    “You’ve got to have a mayor and city council and police chiefs who flat out say this is happening and we’re willing to share our burden but not threaten public safety,” Courtney says.

    “Where are your state legislators? They have as much responsibility in this. Where are the prosecutors and the judges? You have to have more than the city council. You have to have a team to fight this.”

    Part 2

    Part 3

    Posted in Educating the Chief, Testimonies | Leave a Comment »

    Urban Legend or part of Spokane anti-gang campaign?

    Posted by Arroyoribera on October 6, 2007

    Periodically, over the last several years, a bogus story about gangs begins to make the rounds by e-mail in one part of the country or another.

    Somewhere along the way in summer 2007, about the time the scandal-ridden Spokane Police Department was stepping up its gang propaganda and inviting the COPS TV crew to follow them around town, someone decided to circulate this bogus email in Spokane.

    In an effort to give it greater credibility, this version was augmented with a few local facts, for example, stating that one of the victims was Bruce, “the painter contractor for Condron Homes” and including references to streets such as Mission, Bowdish, and Sprague.

    Late this summer the phony email was sent out by — among others — the Spokane Convention and Visitors Bureau. It was also sent out to a number of conservative Christian Churches and members of the Hispanic community in Spokane.

    The e-mail — obviously untrue to anyone with experience with “urban legend” emails — is a fabricated tale of gang initiation.

    Let me start by letting you know from my own experience some of the characteristics of these Urban Legend emails:

    1) Fonts of different sizes and colors.

    2) Readers are told that it is “real” and asked to “Please share” with everyone and anyone.

    3) The writing style is often very formal.

    What can you do when you receive a suspicious email of this nature?

    Go to a website like www.snopes.com or http://urbanlegends.about.com and type a sentence from the email into the search engine. If that doesn’t provide you with information, summarize it yourself, for ex., “gangs flashing headlights”. In the case of this e-mail you get the following: http://www.snopes.com/horrors/madmen/lightsout.asp
    and
    http://urbanlegends.about.com/od/crime/a/lights_out.htm

    Following is the e-mail sent in Spokane by Celia Sogge, followed by Tom Lutey’s Spokesman-Review article on the matter. The http://www.snopes.com link above includes references to multiple media articles debunking the myth.

    ———————————————

    From: Celia Sogge [mailto:celiasogge@yahoo.com]
    Sent: Friday, August 24, 2007 12:31 PM
    To:
    Cc:

    Subject: Gang Initiation in Spokane Valley

    Sent: Friday, August 24, 2007 11:03 AM

    Subject: Gang Initiation in Spokane Valley, very REAL!!!!!

    This is terrible. Please share with anyone you know who lives in Spokane.

    This is very real. It happened on the corner of Mission and Bowdish Saturday night. Bruce is the painter contractor for Condron Homes.

    Pass the word.

    Bruce and I came very close to being beaten and/or
    killed Saturday night. We were on our way home from
    the boat when a car coming at us did not have on
    their head lights. I, of course, blink my lights at
    them to let them know they needed to turn on their
    head lights. As they passed us they flipped a
    U-turn and were driving erratically behind us
    flashing their flashers. We locked the car doors,
    of course. But we had to stop at a red light.
    Nobody else was around. It was dark. They jumped
    out of their car and ran towards us. Bruce shouted
    “Go! Go” I went, went. They jumped back in to their
    car and were so close to us I’m surprised they
    didn’t bump us. We were very scared to say the
    least. At that point we used our cell to call 911.
    Bruce hardly had told the gal what was happening and
    she said they were on there way. She didn’t ask any
    question like they usually do. (Later. we thought
    that was very strange). I turned down Sprague and
    went directly to the Police Station

    IT WAS CLOSED! The car went straight up Bowdish.
    We figured with Sprague being busy and well lit
    they decided not to follow. Turns out we were
    right.

    We found out this is some sick gang initiation.
    They drive around with their lights off. They
    ‘choose’ the people who blinks their lights at them
    to beat/shoot/kill in order to get into the gang.
    Great sport, eh? Had we gone home we more than
    likely would be dead or very badly hurt now.

    So do not blink your lights at ANYONE! And if
    someone behind you is driving with their lights off,
    stay in a well lit area with traffic and call 911 if
    they keep following you. (Don’t go to the police
    station they are not opened! Out here in the valley
    anyway.)

    Please pass this on. We heard about this a long
    time ago but it was in LA or someplace. Didn’t even
    think much about it except to think how sick it was.
    Well, they are here now. So be aware!

    Bruce and Bonnie (Alive and kicking)

    ——————————————–


    Urban legends hit Spokane Valley

    Heard this one?

    A Spokane Valley couple, Bruce and Bonnie, on their way home from the lake Saturday night, pass a car traveling with its headlights off. The couple flash their car’s high beams as a heads-up warning to the other driver that he’s driving in the dark. Terror ensues. The couple’s lives are threatened.

    Lately, the story of Bruce and Bonnie has been spreading like wildfire on the Internet as Spokane locals receive – and then disseminate – the account via e-mail. The story suggests the chase was part of a gang member initiation, with the death of Bruce and Bonnie being the objective.

     

    And people are taking it seriously; the Spokane Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, was sending the e-mail to its members this week as a warning.

    But Spokane Valley police say the gang allegations in the e-mail are bogus, apparently originating from an old Internet hoax about gang pledges baiting and killing unsuspecting motorists as part of a bloody initiation. They say they suspect an angry driver was responsible – not gang members.

    “It’s probably more likely a case of road rage, and that’s a real problem. Road rage is scary,” said Sgt. Dave Reagan, Spokane Valley police spokesman. “But people have heard it was gang-related, and that’s an urban legend.”

    Reagan said he learned about the incident via e-mail, as a growing number of concerned Spokane Valley residents have.

    The e-mail account says the couple called 911 while they were being chased through Spokane Valley, but there’s no record of the call, according to police.

    In the story, the couple does the right thing, Reagan said; they just keep driving to a well-lit place where they can get help.

    The story of prospective gang members killing drivers who flash their headlights at pledges is an urban legend dating back to the early 1980s, according to Snopes.com, an Internet service that debunks online hoaxes.

    The story has been applied to would-be gang members from Los Angeles to London.

    The story also was key to the plot of the 1998 movie “Urban Legend.” The movie’s tag line was: “It happened to someone who knows someone you know. … Never talk to strangers, never answer the phone, never flash your lights, never leave the car and always believe what you’re told.”

    http://www.spokesmanreview.com/voices/story.asp?ID=205972&page=all

    Posted in Gangs?, History of SPD Abuses, Lies Damn Lies and ... | Leave a Comment »

    Acts of Conscience — Spokane Circus Protest — Sept 20, 2007

    Posted by Arroyoribera on October 6, 2007

    The youth of the world — and the young at heart — are on the move again. Faced with a world of cruelty, torture, destruction, and war, the indomitable human spirit once again arises on a planetary scale to speak truth.

    The youth of Spokane are leading the way today!

    Heed their call. Take up your sign. Raise your fist. Call out your protest song. Place your body where your mouth is. Forsake the lies of your father and sins of your government. Give your time for your convictions. Bow down to no one. And remember those words–

    Muertos pero nunca de rodillas! Dead, perhaps, but never on our knees!

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

    I am also including this link to Colin Mulvany’s “video journal” on the Circus protest along with the accompanying narrative and commentaries posted by readers. I very much admire Mr. Mulvaney’s work, for ex., the excellent video on the 2005 Immigration March in Spokane. The only comments I would make about the circus protest video and commentary are: 1) To refer to the scantily clad woman as a form of “shock and awe” given the truly criminal and barbarous acts of US destruction in Iraq which gave us our definition of that phrase is to conflate a woman’s body with the 21 century crime of known as “shock and awe”. 2) Note to the blind and unobservant: The young woman, Julie Kelton, is not “naked” and, in fact, other than the claw marks on her back makes a beautiful Victoria Secret model a la the Northtown Mall store or any number of TV towel or shampoo commercials. 3) Is anyone in our vulgar and crass society really as concerned about the children as a couple women in the Mulvany piece proclaim? Did you see the little girl run by and not even look? 4) Given the context of police conduct and relations with the citizens of the Spokane area, Mulvany should have filmed the Spokane Police Officer checking for Kelton’s pasties, and, if in fact he did film it, he should have included it in his video journal. Unless, of course, I misunderstand and Mulvany is not doing news journalism but rather strictly feature journalism. In either case, I do admire his work, but encourage him to continue to remember the news angle.

    Posted in In Collective Self-Defense, Photographic Evidence, Protest, Spokane Police vs. Youth, Urgent Call, Videos | Leave a Comment »

    Homeboy Industries / Homegirl Bakery

    Posted by Arroyoribera on October 4, 2007

    NPR Home Page

     

    Nation

    Bakery Run by Ex-Gang Members Reopens

    by

    Morning Edition, October 3, 2007 · In Los Angeles, a bakery run by former gang members has reopened nearly a decade after the original one was destroyed by fire. It’s part of Homeboy Industries, a rehabilitation program headed by Father Gregory Boyle, who’s worked with young people from more than 600 street gangs in Los Angeles.

    Interviews

    Father Boyle, Founder of Homeboy Industries

    Fresh Air from WHYY, September 10, 2004 · Father Gregory Boyle, a Jesuit priest, has worked to find jobs for former gang members in Los Angeles for nearly 20 years. A book about Boyle’s work, G-Dog and the Homeboys, is just out in paperback. This interview was originally broadcast on Feb. 17, 2004. We speak with Boyle by phone for an update.

    Posted in Gangs?, Spokane Police vs. Youth, Testimonies | Leave a Comment »

    All-White Washington State Tactical Officers Association (WSTOA)

    Posted by Arroyoribera on October 3, 2007

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Take a look at the Washington State Tactical Officers Association

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

    Who is training whom for what?

    Who is preparing for what against whom when and where?

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

    You tell me…..

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

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

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

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

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

    Are You in a Gang?

    Posted by Arroyoribera on October 2, 2007

    The New York Times

     

     

     

    September 30, 2007

    Ideas & Trends

    Reporting While Black

    By SOLOMON MOORE

    THE police officer had not asked my name or my business before grabbing my wrists, jerking my hands high behind my back and slamming my head into the hood of his cruiser.

    “You have no right to put your hands on me!” I shouted lamely.

    “This is a high-crime area,” said the officer as he expertly handcuffed me. “You were loitering. We have ordinances against loitering.”

    Last month, while talking to a group of young black men standing on a sidewalk in Salisbury, N.C., about harsh antigang law enforcement tactics some states are using, I had discovered the main challenge to such measures: the police have great difficulty determining who is, and who is not, a gangster.

    My reporting, however, was going well. I had gone to Salisbury to find someone who had firsthand experience with North Carolina’s tough antigang stance, and I had found that someone: me.

    Except that I didn’t quite fit the type of person I was seeking. I am African-American, like the subjects of my reporting, but I’m not really cut out for the thug life. At 37 years old, I’m beyond the street-tough years. I suppose I could be taken for an “O.G.,” or “original gangster,” except that I don’t roll like that — I drive a Volvo station wagon and have two young homeys enrolled in youth soccer leagues.

    As Patrick L. McCrory, the mayor of Charlotte and an advocate of tougher antigang measures in the state, told me a couple of days before my Salisbury encounter: “This ganglike culture is tough to separate out. Whether that’s fair or not, that’s the truth.”

    Tough indeed. Street gangs rarely keep banker’s hours, rent office space or have exclusive dress codes. A gang member might hang out on a particular corner, wearing a T-shirt and jeans, but one is just as likely to be standing on that corner because he lives nearby and his shirt might be blue, not because he’s a member of the Crips, but because he’s a Dodgers fan.

    The problem is that when the police focus on gangs rather than the crimes they commit, they are apt to sweep up innocent bystanders, who may dress like a gang member, talk like a gang member and even live in a gang neighborhood, but are not gang members.

    In Charlotte’s Hidden Valley neighborhood, a predominately African-American community that is home to some of the state’s most notorious gangs, Jamal Reid, 20, conceded that he associates with gangsters. Mr. Reid, who has tattoos and wears dreadlocks and the obligatory sports shirts and baggy jeans, said gangsters are, after all, his neighbors, and it’s better to be their friend than their enemy.

    Sheriff’s records for Charlotte-Mecklenburg County show that Mr. Reid has been arrested several times since 2004 for misdemeanors including driving without a license, trespassing and marijuana possession. Despite his run-ins with the law, Mr. Reid said he had never been in a gang and complained that the police had sometimes harassed him without a good reason.

    “A police officer stopped in front of my house and told me to come to his car,” he told me. “I said, no. They got out and ran me down. They did the usual face-in-the-dirt thing.”

    Maj. Eddie Levins of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg police said that officers are allocated to different areas based on the number of service calls they receive, so high-crime areas are likely to get more police attention.

    “Where there are more police, expect more police action,” Major Levins said. “Some people think ‘I can just hang out with this gang member as long as I don’t do any crime.’ Well, expect to be talked to. We can’t ignore them. In fact, we kind of want to figure out the relationship between all these gang members and their associates.”

    Major Levins said that his fellow officers aren’t perfect and that he was aware of occasional complaints of harassment, but he said that most residents would like to see more police officers on the streets, not fewer.

    Even Cairo Guest, a 26-year-old who complained he was handcuffed in his backyard, acknowledged that gang members in his neighborhood were “out of control.”

    “There are a lot of guys out here doing stuff they shouldn’t have been doing,” Mr. Guest said.

    Still, some civil rights advocates complain that the definition of a gang member is vague. Gang researchers find that most active members usually cycle out of their gangs within about a year. Even active participants might only be marginal members, drifting in and out of gangs, said Kevin Pranis, a co-author of “Gang Wars,” a recent report on antigang tactics written by the Justice Police Institute, a nonprofit research group.

    Harsh penalties could actually reinforce gang membership by locking peripheral gangsters in jail with more hardened criminals, he said.

    Suburban Salisbury, population 30,000, is about as far from the traditional ganglands of Los Angeles, Chicago or even Durham as you can get. But it has had an outsize voice in pushing for tougher antigang measures since a 13-year-old black girl was inadvertently killed there in a gang shootout after a dance party in March.

    I arrived in Salisbury at midnight, figuring that gang members would be more visible after dark, and found a local hangout with the help of a cabdriver.

    Striking up a conversation with young gang members in the middle of the night in an unfamiliar town is always a tricky proposition, but the one advantage I figured I had was that I am African-American. Brown skin can be a kind of camouflage in my profession, especially if you do a lot of reporting in minority neighborhoods, as I do. Blending in visually sometimes helps me observe without being observed.

    But even when my appearance has been helpful, the benefits rarely survive the first words out of my mouth, which usually signal — by accent or content — that I’m not from around wherever I am.

    “What’s The New York Times doing down here?” asked an incredulous black man. He and about a dozen other men were standing in front of a clapboard house in Salisbury. I observed several drug sales there within minutes of arriving.

    “Man, you a cop,” said another. “Hey, this guy’s a cop!”

    “You’ve got me wrong,” I said trying to sound casual as the men looked at me warily. I started to pull my press identification out of my wallet. “I’m a reporter. I’m just trying to talk to you about your neighborhood.”

    In the distance I heard neighborhood lookouts calling: “Five-O! Five-O!” — a universal code in American ghettos for the approaching police. I thought they were talking about me, but thought again as three police cars skidded to a stop in front of us.

    A tall white police officer got out of his car and ordered me toward him. Two other police officers, a white woman and a black man, stood outside of their cars nearby. I complied. Without so much as a question, the officer shoved my face down on the sheet metal and cuffed me so tightly that my fingertips tingled.

    “They’re on too tight!” I protested.

    “They’re not meant for comfort,” he replied.

    While it is true that I, like many of today’s gang members, shave my head bald, in my case it’s less about urban style and more about letting nature take its course. Apart from my complexion, the only thing I had in common with the young men watching me smooch the hood of the black-and-white was that they too had been in that position — some of them, they would tell me later, with just as little provocation.

    But here again I failed to live up to the “street cred” these forceful police officers had granted me. As the female officer delved into my back pocket for my wallet she found no cash from illicit corner sales, in fact no cash at all, though she did find evidence of my New York crew — my corporate identification card.

    After a quick check for outstanding warrants, the handcuffs were unlocked and my wallet returned without apology or explanation beyond their implication that my approaching young black men on a public sidewalk was somehow flouting the law.

    “This is a dangerous area,” the officer told me. “You can’t just stand out here. We have ordinances.”

    “This is America,” I said angrily, in that moment supremely unconcerned about whether this was standard police procedure or a useful law enforcement tool or whatever anybody else wanted to call it. “I have a right to talk to anyone I like, wherever I like.”

    The female officer trumped my naïve soliloquy, though: “Sir, this is the South. We have different laws down here.”

    I tried to appeal to the African-American officer out of some sense of solidarity.

    “This is bad area,” he told me. “We have to protect ourselves out here.”

    As the police drove away, I turned again to my would-be interview subjects. Surely now they believed I was a reporter.

    I found their skepticism had only deepened.

    “Man, you know what would have happened to one of us if we talked to them that way?” said one disbelieving man as he walked away from me and my blank notebook. “We’d be in jail right now.”

    http://www.nytimes.com/2007/09/30/weekinreview/30moore.html?_r=1&oref=slogin&pagewanted=all

    Posted in Gangs?, Know Your Rights, Testimonies | Leave a Comment »

    And then CragCrawler said to USMC Gunner M4: “I heard it through the grapevine…”

    Posted by Arroyoribera on October 2, 2007

    Just CragCrawler and USMCGunnerM4 sharing a little insider scuttlebutt at Officer.com forums…

    (By the way, that would be US Marine Corp Gunner M4.)

    http://forums.officer.com/forums/showthread.php?t=73417

    ———————————————————————————————————-

    CragCrawler Forum Member Join Date: Nov 2006 Location: Eastern Washington Posts: 149

    CragCrawler's Avatar

    Spokane PD Hiring


    Spokane is hiring. I herd through the grapevine that they are hiring 44 in the next couple of years. Don’t quote me on that though!
    http://www.spokanepolice.org/news/default.aspx?ID=137
    .. “The final measure of your life won’t be how well you lived, but how well others live because of you.” ~ Bill Gates”MOP” – Mobile Observation Unit ~ Sgt. Buck Savage
    ———————————————————————————————————-.

    usmcgunnerm4 Crime Stopper Join Date: Jul 2007 Location: Eastern Washington State Posts: 62

    Good Info


    I heard the same thing from a buddy of mine with SPD. 44 officers is unprecedented for them. Good Pay after 3 years you are at $59K..

     

     

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

    Questions for Chief Ann Kirkpatrick:

    1) Either of these your boys, Chief?

    2) Was there a breach of security or information by USMCGunnerM4’s SPD buddy? **********

    Posted in Educating the Chief, War Abroad & At Home, Yes ma'am Chief | Leave a Comment »