Spokane Police Abuses: Past to Present

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

Archive for the ‘In Collective Self-Defense’ Category

Spokane City Press Release on Ombudsman Ordinance

Posted by Arroyoribera on July 2, 2010

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

——————————————————————–

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ORDC34609.pdf

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

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

Posted by Arroyoribera on June 30, 2010

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thank you very much.

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

End Spokane Police Abuse — Hold Them Accountable

Posted by Arroyoribera on June 12, 2010

End Spokane Police Abuses — Flyer pdf

End Spokane Police Abuses — Flyer Word<img

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

URGENT CALL — Spokane Campaign Against Violence Motivated by Hate

Posted by Arroyoribera on March 11, 2008

A CAMPAIGN AGAINST VIOLENCE MOTIVATED BY HATE

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

Central United Methodist Church

518 W 3rd

Tuesday March 18, 2:00 pm

Please RSVP with

Holly Jean Chilinski

Shalom Ministries

Shalom30@qwestoffice.net

(509) 455-9019

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

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

 

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

Did the Secret Service set up Barack Obama for assassination?

Posted by Arroyoribera on March 1, 2008

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

Feb 25, 2008, 00:55

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Copyright © 1998-2007 Online Journal
Email Online Journal Editor

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

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

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

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

WikiLeaks.org

Posted by Arroyoribera on March 1, 2008

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

*quote*

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

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

*end quote*

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

Police Union Resistance: A Tactical Overview — Covert Action Quarterly

Posted by Arroyoribera on February 28, 2008

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

CovertAction Quarterly
Cops Vs. Citizen Review, continued


Family_protests_NYPD_killing

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

POLICE UNION RESISTANCE:A TACTICAL OVERVIEW

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

PHILADELPHIA: AN ALL-OUT CITIZEN REVIEW WAR

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

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

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

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

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

WEIGHING THE COSTS

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

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

LAPD_officers_beat_riot_suspect

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

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

Request for help…

Posted by Arroyoribera on February 17, 2008

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

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

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

How?

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

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

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

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

Please write to me at SpokanePoliceAbuses@gmail.com

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

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

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

Up 40% year-to-date

Posted by Arroyoribera on January 20, 2008

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted by Arroyoribera on January 20, 2008

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

(quote)

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

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

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

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

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

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

This is not a police state nor a security state.

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

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

(end quote)

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

War Made Easy

Posted by Arroyoribera on January 13, 2008

Watch the trailer… then buy the DVD

WAR MADE EASY reaches into the Orwellian past to expose a 50-year pattern of government deception and media spin that has dragged the United States into one war after another from Vietnam to Iraq. Narrated by actor and activist Sean Penn, the film exhumes remarkable archival footage of official distortion and exaggeration from LBJ to George W. Bush, revealing in stunning detail how the American news media have uncritically disseminated the pro-war messages of successive presidential administrations.

Posted in Censorship, Freedom to Fascism, In Collective Self-Defense, Lies Damn Lies and ..., Photographic Evidence, Protest and Free Speech, Unanswered Questions, Videos, War Abroad & At Home | Comments Off on War Made Easy

Rampant Police Misconduct Scandals in U.S. — (Part 1)

Posted by Arroyoribera on January 10, 2008

“The history of these kinds of scandals is that cops go right back to acting as they always have when the dust settles, because the pressure they most feel is the pressure to produce results, the constant demand to get the job done.” (FBI Official Michael Kramer, “How cops go bad,” Time magazine, December 15, 1997.)

(To add to this list of police scandals, please send information to spokanepoliceabuses@gmail.com)

Nationwide — “America’s National Scandal — Nationwide Police Misconduct” — (quote) Gary Sykes, director of the Southwestern Law Enforcement Institution and the Center for Law Enforcement Ethics in Dallas, has found that a surprising number of cities have had to deal with police corruption. “I’m talking about abuse of authority and patterns of misconduct,” he said. “There isn’t any major city that hasn’t gone through some embarrassing events that call into question the trustworthiness of police departments.” (end quote)

Tacoma, Washington — “Child-sex defendant was face of police” (Tacoma News Tribune, August 4, 2006) — Tacoma Police officer and spokesperson is accused of molesting a developmentally disabled boy who now resides in Spokane. The officer, Lee William Giles Jr, represented the Tacoma Police department in the media and in the schools.

Nationwide — “Inappropriate police responses to critical mass rides worldwide” (Critical-Mass.info) — Throughout the U.S., police departments have suppressed, surveilled, and brutally repressed Critical Mass bike rides. Among the cities where police repression has occurred include Los Angeles, California; New York, New York; Spokane, Washington; Bellingham, Washington; Tempe, Arizona; Reno, Nevada; Buffalo, NY; San Francisco, California; Austin, Texas; Denver, Colorado; and Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Spokane, WashingtonPolitical Scandals of the United States — Spokane Mayor James West, an opponent of gay rights, denied accusations of having molested two boys while he was a sheriff’s deputy and Boy Scout leader in the late 1970s and early 1980s, but came under investigation (2005) for offering municipal jobs to men he met in gay online chat rooms. West was ousted in a recall vote December 2005.

Spokane, Washington — “Tapes, Witnesses Contradict Police Accounts of Zehm Arrest” (The Inclusion Daily Express) — Seven Spokane Police officers participated in the brutal homicide of Otto Zehm, a man with a mental disability and a mental illness.

Kalamazoo, Michigan — “Minority complaints rarely upheld” (Kalamazoo Gazette, June 11, 2000) — (quote) A Kalamazoo Gazette study shows Kalamazoo police rarely uphold minorities’ complaints against officers. Even less likely is that a police-dominated review board will side with a minority complainant in an alleged excessive force case, according to a review of city documents. Since 1997, a Police-Community Relations Board – comprised of a police union official, a chief’s office representative and a city manager’s designee – has rejected all 26 citizen complaints of excessive force, the Gazette review found. Most of those complaints were filed by minorities, who also are far more likely than whites to be pepper sprayed here, the documents showed. (end quote)

San Francisco, California — “Scandals punctuate the history of the San Francisco Police Department” (San Francisco Chronicle, December 11, 2005) — The recent video scandal involving SF police officers is only the latest in years of scandal going back decades.

San Francisco, California — “Bay area police scandal tarnishes top brass” (Christian Science Monitor, March 6, 2003) — (quote) Indictments in cover up case show that top police can be held accountable but reform is still needed. (end quote)

Port of Seattle, Washington — “Investigators: Report says handling of E-gate scandal was botched” (King 5 TV, May 31, 2007) — Scores of Port of Seattle police officials were involved in mailing of sexist and racist e-mails and videos over a period of two years.

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania — “Shielded from Justice: Police Brutality and Accountability in the United States” (Human Rights Watch) — When the police are indistinguishable from the bad guys, this society has a serious problem, said Philadelphia District Attorney Lynne Abraham.

Schenectady, NY — “Grand jury blames poor leadership for Schenectady police scandals” (Times Union, November 19, 2007) — According to the Times Union, the Grand Jury report “blames nearly two decades of Police Department scandals on lax oversight of vice cases.” To read a PDF of the grand jury report on the Schenectady Police Department’s vice squad, click here.

Chicago, Illinois — “Scandals bring down Chicago’s elite police unit” (NPR, October 10, 2007) — (quote) The Chicago Police Department is disbanding its elite Special Operations Section. Seven officers have been charged with robbery and kidnapping. Chicago Tribune reporter Dave Heinzmann says Chicago Mayor Richard Daley cited systematic problems within the S.O.S. and the way the unit operates during the announcement of the unit’s closure. (end quote)

Houston, Texas — “45 Houston crime lab cases get legal review” (Houston Chronicle, March 15, 2006) — (quote) Faulty evidence needs scrutiny, Project Innocence co-founder says. (end quote)

Boston, Massachusetts — “Source of Boston Police Department exam scandal still unknown” (WBZ-TV, January 4, 2008) — (quote) Boston police officers accused of cheating on a promotion exam. he department has spent months investigating what happened and the commissioner says his own officers didn’t cooperate. (end quote)

Dallas, Texas — “Dallas Officers Demoted Following Scandal” (TalkLeft-The Politics of Crime, December 4, 2004) — (quote) Concluding that the indictment of four police officers who arrested more than 20 people on bogus drug charges resulted from “a failure of management supervision,” the Dallas Police Department decided to demote two highly ranked managers. (end quote)

New York City — “A History of Police Misconduct Charges” (New York Times, January 23, 2008) — (quote) In the last five years, the New York Police Department has been embarassed by a number of scandals involving the conduct of officers on duty. (end quote)

State-by-state accounts of specific incidents of Police Misconduct at Bad Cop News (each incident includes a link to the original news story at the end of the posting).

Posted in Educating the Chief, History of SPD Abuses, In Collective Self-Defense, Know Your Rights, License to Kill, No Sir Officer ____ | Leave a Comment »

Surveillance Rights for the Public

Posted by Arroyoribera on January 3, 2008

“Mike Elgan has an interesting take on surveillance technology, and how audio and video recordings should be used in private and public life. He cites the case of a New York City Police Detective who was secretly taped by a suspect during an interrogation that the detective initially denied took place during the suspect’s murder trial, as well as a case involving two parents in Wisconsin who slipped a voice-activated recorder in their son’s backpack after suspecting he was being abused by his bus driver. In the first case, even though the detective was later charged with 12 counts of perjury, Elgan notes that the police interrogation probably would not have taken place had the suspect announced to the detective that he was recording the session. In the second case, the tape was initially ruled inadmissible in court because Wisconsin state law prohibits the use of “intercepted conversations” (it was later allowed as evidence). Elgan argues that there should be no questions about members of the public being allowed to record such interactions. He says surveillance should be “legalized, normalized or even required” when members of the public have interactions with police, and the public should be allowed to record interactions between caregivers and children, meetings between politicians meet with lobbyists, court sessions, and phone conversations. Elgan says, “Surveillance technology is on the rise. Powerful organizations — law enforcement, corporations, governments and others — have demanded and won their right to videotape the public, often secretly. They do this in order to hold individuals accountable for their actions. Yet the rights of individuals to use similar technology to do the same are often restricted. Why should shoppers, pedestrians, bank customers and citizens be held accountable, but politicians, police, judges and others are not? What kind of democracy is that?” What’s your take? Would Elgan’s proposals improve democracy and the rule of law? What kinds of complications or unintended consequences might result?”

http://computerworld.com/action/article.do?command=viewArticleBasic&articleId=9055126&intsrc=hm_list

http://yro.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=08/01/03/2232218&from=rss

Posted in History of SPD Abuses, In Collective Self-Defense, Independent Oversight, Know Your Rights, Lies Damn Lies and ..., Photographic Evidence, Protest and Free Speech, Solutions, Unanswered Questions | Leave a Comment »

Spokane’s Para-military SWAT Team — Police, Propaganda, and Pavlischak

Posted by Arroyoribera on January 3, 2008

[Before the Vietnam War was even over, the Spokane Police Department began forming its own para-military unit with the assistance of former Marine Corps member, Andrew “Skip” Pavlischak. Then, after 27 years as a member of the Spokane Police Department, Pavlischak turned to training mercenaries and human rights abusers as an employee of special police and military operations training companies.

The following text is derived from a Spokane Police Department propaganda tract. Links have been added to certain text to provide additional information and context. The Spokane Police Department SWAT team is a para-military organization which engages in extracurricular activities of a potentially illegal nature. In addition, there are apparent conflicts of interest between former SPD employees (including former SPD SWAT team members), weapons companies supplying the SPD, and mercenary training organizations which currently employ them.]

“It’s a very dangerous thing when you’re telling cops they’re soldiers and there’s an enemy out there. I don’t like it all.” Joseph McNamara, Hoover Institution research fellow and former police chief of San Jose and Kansas City * —]


History


The Spokane Police SWAT Team first came into existence in 1972. Back then the Team consisted of five members, who had their own military fatigues and who’s arsenal consisted of two pump shotguns, a privately owned big game rifle, and the department issued six shot revolvers.

Today the team consists of twenty-five highly trained members. The Team is “part-time” meaning that SWAT is a specialty assignment in addition to a primary function like patrol or detective. This speaks to the dedication of the members because it requires them to work the equivalent of two “full-time” jobs. The team structure consists of a commander holding the rank of lieutenant, a four member-training cadre holding the rank of either sergeant or corporal and twenty-one operators who span the ranks of detective to police officer. The ranking member of the training cadre also serves as the acting commander in the absence of the lieutenant. There is one member assigned to full-time SWAT duties providing administrative, equipment, training, and tactical support.

Former Chief of Police, Roger Bragdon and retired Detective Andrew “Skip” Pavlischak both played significant roles in the development of a professional Team that lives up to its motto: “We give it R. Best.” The motto is dedicated to Corporal Robin Best who died training with the Team. Robin’s name is among those on the National Law Enforcement Memorial in Washington, DC and it appears on similar memorials here in the state of Washington.

Member Selection

When a SWAT vacancy opens, a department wide announcement is distributed throughout the department. Any officer holding the rank of Police Officer (PO), Police Officer First Class (PFC), Senior Patrol Officer (SPO), Corporal or Detective is invited to apply. Applicants must have three years law enforcement experience and are screened through a six-step process: formal application, performance review, physical fitness test, marksmanship, oral interview, and administrative approval.

The fitness test components are: a three mile run in under twenty-four minutes, followed immediately by ten overhand chin ups, fifteen dips, fifty pushups, and fifty sit-ups. Both the pushup and sit-ups have to be completed in sixty seconds. Candidates then run obstacle course wearing a tactical style vest. The obstacle course is approximately 400 meters long and includes: a four foot chain link fence, an incline run, a belly crawl, a six foot wall, and a 150 lb dummy drag. Immediately after the obstacle course, candidates run to the firing range where they must qualify by shooting two consecutive targets with a minimum score of 90 % on each. The fire their issued handgun using the Practical Police Course (PPC).

All current SWAT members must pass and maintain the same physical and shooting standards on a quarterly basis. These tests are sometimes unannounced.

Equipment

The Team’s firearms are Heckler and Koch (H&K) with the exception of handguns and marksmen rifles. The team maintains and deploys the H&K MP-5, 33, 53, and the G3 model rifles. Handguns are the Glock .40 caliber fitted with M-3 tactical lights, and the marksman use custom rifles built off Remington 700 actions. The CART Team maintains and deploys all the specialty impact munitions and chemical agents utilizing both 37 mm and 40 mm launchers. Our retired member Skip Pavlischak, who is an adjunct instructor for the H&K International Training Division, provides us with training and technical assistance.

The Team also has the equipment necessary for all types of tactical missions. The equipment includes night vision devices, lighting systems, shields, bunkers, breaching tools, noise/flash diversions (NFDD), and other mission specific tools.

The Team uses two dedicated marked police cars for “quick response” deployment of weapons and equipment during duty shifts by member working patrol. Two Chevy suburbans, retrofitted with extended running boards and handles are utilized for most tactical missions. The Team also has a separate equipment vehicle and recently acquired an Armored Personnel Carrier (APC).

Training

Each Team member attends Basic SWAT School, taught by instructors from the Washington State Tactical Officers Association (WSTOA). The Washington State Criminal Justice Training Commission (WSCJTC) accredits this course.

The team is divided into four squads with one team leader and one trainer assigned to each squad. Two squads train each Friday, with the marksman and CART members receiving additional training on Tuesdays. So, members receive twenty to twenty-four hours of training per month depending on their Team specialty. Six of the Team’s operators are cross-trained as marksman, three as chemical agent deployment specialists (CART), two as emergency medical technicians (EMT), six are certified firearms instructors and three are certified defensive tactics instructors. Training for the full team is held several times a year and usually includes one full week per year commonly referred to by members as “hell week.”

The team regularly trains in the areas of slow and deliberate searching, dynamic and hostage rescue entries, NFDD, marksmanship, immediate action drills, vehicle assaults, special events, active shooter scenarios, security details, open air assaults and camouflaged movement.

The team members also attend WSTOA training on a regular basis augmented by specialty schools such as courses presented by H&K or the Sure Fire Institute.

Deployment

The team is activated for standard tactical missions like high risk warrant service, high-risk arrest, barricaded persons, security details, hostage takers and sniper suppression. Last year the SPD Team was activated on fifty-six occasions spanning the gamut of tactical missions. Because Spokane is the largest metropolitan area in the Inland Pacific Northwest, the SWAT Team occasionally receives requests to deploy in an adjoining or near-by jurisdiction. We also have a close relationship with our local Sheriff’s Department SWAT Team.

(Source — http://www.freewebs.com/thecmclan/swathistory.htm )

“It’s a very dangerous thing when you’re telling cops they’re soldiers and there’s an enemy out there. I don’t like it all.”  Joseph McNamara, Hoover Institution research fellow and former police chief of San Jose and Kansas City * —]

Posted in Freedom to Fascism, History of SPD Abuses, In Collective Self-Defense, Independent Oversight, Know Your Rights, License to Kill, Photographic Evidence, Spokane Police vs. Youth, Trained to Kill, Unanswered Questions, War Abroad & At Home, Weaponry--SPD/SCSO | Leave a Comment »

Andrew “Skip” Pavlischak — Spokane Area Law Enforcement Personalities of Note #4

Posted by Arroyoribera on January 3, 2008

Andrew “Skip” J. Pavlischak — Adjunct Instructor for Front Range Training and Consulting, LLC, and Firearms, Tactical and Specialty Instructor for TeamOne Network

Skippy retired from the Spokane Police department after 27 years of service. A U.S. Marine Corps Vietnam veteran, Skip has 26 years experience as an SPD SWAT team member, team leader, and commander in a full-time position. He is a certified firearms, distraction device, and chemical agent instructor. Skip is also a Master Sub Gun and Pistol Instructor. He assisted in the formation of the Washington State Tactical Officers Association and is a past president. Skip was also the lead instructor for basic and advanced SWAT training for the Washington State Criminal Justice Training Commission (WSCJTC) and worked as a Gang Unit Leader and in the Special Investigations Narcotics Unit. He recently attended a course at New Mexico Tech for certification for instructing in Incident Response to Terrorist Bombings through the U.S. Department of Justice.

[For more on the Washington State Tactical Officers Association and its sponsorship by numerous mercenary training companies such as Triple Canopy and Blackwater USA, see the following links:

All white Washington State Tactical Officers Association (WSTOA) — includes photos

WSTOA sponsors — includes links to sponsor companies ]

[For more information on the history of the Spokane Police Department SWAT team, its weaponry, and Skip Pavlischak, please visit this link.

Posted in In Collective Self-Defense, Independent Oversight, License to Kill, Spokane LE Personalities, Trained to Kill, War Abroad & At Home, Weaponry--SPD/SCSO | Leave a Comment »

Filing a complaint against the Spokane Police Department

Posted by Arroyoribera on December 22, 2007

Let’s see just how anxious the Spokane Police Department is to have its citizens file a complaint against an officer.

The following is from the website of the Spokane Police Department:

How do I file a complaint against an Officer?
Complaints are handled on several different levels. The complaint can be handled in three ways. You can speak with the Officer’s Sergeant, the Shift Commander, or Internal Affairs. The complaint can be taken verbally or in writing. Call 477-5980 and choose option one for Spokane Police, then choose the option for front desk if you would like to speak with the shift commander or Sergeant. Choose Internal Affairs option if you would like to speak to Internal Affairs.

The information provided is as unclear and deceptive as it has always been. Let’s start with the fact that a 7 year old could have written the paragraph. Complaints are handled “on several different levels” and “in three ways” and can be “taken verbally and in writing”. If that is not convoluted and vague enough, only a phone number is provide. No address is provided to file a written complaint. No information is provided on where to obtain a complaint form and, in this day and age of electronic media, no downloadable or printable complaint form is provided.

(The SPD website has a streaming media page, formatted e-mail pages, interactive crime maps and other evidence of technological sophistication. There is zero reason why the citizens of Spokane do not have access to a downloadable and printable complaint form except that the Spokane Police Department has always sought to make it nearly impossible to complain without a citizen feeling threatened, discouraged, harassed and further victimized.)

This is has long been the modus operandi of the Spokane Police Department in regards to citizen complaints. First, discourage complaints by making it virtually impossible to complain. Second, make it very difficult to obtain any information on making a complaint without having contact first with police personnel. Third, make the existence of a complaint form next to impossible to confirm and even harder to obtain.

Without independent civilian oversight of the Spokane Police Department, the people of Spokane will continue to be subjected to the guffaws of the Spokane Police Guild echoing through the Public Safety Building. It will continue to be the most vulnerable and the least represented who will be the most victimized. And that reality will continue to be the legacy of Spokane — a justice system which fails to hold the police to a standard of accountability and oversight which assures our safety and freedom.

(Note: The website of the Spokane Crime Reporting Center, which is joint contracted by the Spokane Police Department and the Spokane County Sheriff’s Department, provides even less information on the process for making a complaint of official police misconduct. In fact, they are so anxious to have a complaint filed that they don’t even complete the question in list of Frequently Asked Questions. http://www.spokanecounty.org/crimereportingcenter/faq.asp )

Posted in Educating the Chief, History of SPD Abuses, In Collective Self-Defense, Independent Oversight, Know Your Rights, Solutions, Testimonies, Urgent Call | 1 Comment »

Fighting Police Abuse: A Community Action Manual (ACLU)

Posted by Arroyoribera on December 19, 2007

Fighting Police Abuse: A Community Action Manual (12/1/1997)

CONTENTS

PREFACE

1. SOME OPERATING ASSUMPTIONS

2. GETTING STARTED — IDENTIFY THE PROBLEM

3. GATHER THE FACTS
Forget the Official Data
What You Really Need to Know, And Why
Where To Get The Information, And How

4. CONTROLLING THE POLICE — COMMUNITY GOALS
A Civilian Review Board
Control of Police Shootings
Reduce Police Brutality
End Police Spying
Oversight of Police Policy
Improved Training
Equal Employment Opportunity
Certification and Licensing of Police Officers
Accreditation of Your Police Department

5. ORGANIZING STRATEGIES
Build Coalitions
Monitor the Police
Use Open Records Laws
Educate the Public
Use the Political Process to Win Reforms
Lobby For State Legislation

A FINAL WORD

RESOURCES
Bibliography
Organizations
ACLU Affiliates

CREDITS & ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

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

Police Reservists Bring the War Home — MoJoBLOG

Posted by Arroyoribera on December 10, 2007

We already know that the war in Iraq has come home to the U.S. All wars do. The demons of the Vietnam War live among us in the form of mental illness, addiction, domestic violence, and post traumatic stress syndrome (PTSD).

To begin to get an inkling of what we are in store for as this fiasco called the war on terrorism comes home to the U.S., all we have to do is read the stories of protesters being tasered, beaten, arrested, assaulted with impunity, surveilled, put on ‘Homeland Security’ lists, and defamed.

And for those of us locally, we know all about Spokane-based ‘psychologists’ Jessen and Mitchell and their reverse engineering of survival techniques to develop more efficient torture techniques for use in violation of U.S and international laws and conventions.

At the same time, our Fairchild AFB has provided the aircraft and crews to support the bombing of civilian and military targets in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Nationally we have seen Blackwater International’s mercenaries on the streets of New Orleans during the Bush-bungled fiasco in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. Be aware that we will see Blackwater and other mercenary companies in many other contexts here and abroad over the years that come.

And then, of course, just look at the types of training being received by local ‘law enforcement’.

As pointed out in this MotherJones Blog posting and in the USA Today story linked to it, we are already experience problems with police forces around the countryside. Spokane already has its share of police officers, sherrif’s deputies, and other security and law enforcement personnel with duty history in Iraq and Afghanistan. In addition, our local law enforcement agencies have armed up with AR-15‘s, H&K G3A3 battle rifle, H&K MP5SD4 suppressed submachine gun, and untold other military surplus weapons.

Get ready for the abuses. And be ready to see former Iraq/Afghanistan war vets in police uniforms on the streets of U.S. cities and towns tasering, beating, and killing mentally ill and drug-addicted fellow vets as the war comes comes home to roost — live and in living color — over the next few years.

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

(From Mother Jones Magazine on-line edition)

MoJoBLOG

~Police Reservists Bring the War Home

The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have taken an unprecedented number of National Guard reservists and put them into active combat overseas. Many of those reservists were police officers before they were deployed. Now that some of them are finally coming home, they are have a difficult time making the transition from street combat to beat patrols in their old jobs, reports USA Today.

In March, for instance, an Austin, Texas police officer who had recently returned from Iraq fired his gun into the parking lot of a crowded shopping center while chasing an unarmed suspect. A bullet from his gun hit a parked van, narrowly missing two children who were sitting inside. The officer was reportedly suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder that had gone undiagnosed.

The Austin episode was one of a string of close calls police departments have observed among officers recently returning from Iraq. A few big-city police departments are creating “re-entry” programs for returned vets to help prevent such incidents in the future, but most aren’t, meaning that some of the cops coming back from the Middle East may be ticking time-bombs. So much for the Iraq war making Americans safer at home…

(Originally printed in MotherJones )

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

When Others Were Silent, Dennis Kucinich Stood Up and Spoke Up

Posted by Arroyoribera on December 6, 2007

http://www.dennis4president.com/go/issues/

Strength Through Peace

strength_peace.jpgDennis Kucinich is the only democrat running for President who has voted against authorizing the war in Iraq and against funding its continuation. He has proposed a bold, new policy to re-establish America’s place in the world. Diplomacy and a return to statesmanship as the path to strong international leadership. A new policy of investing in our communities and our infrastructure. A new policy of Strength through Peace.
Read more…

A Healthy Nation
insurance_paperwork.jpgHealth care in the US is too expensive and leaves 46 million Americans without insurance and millions more underinsured. Dennis Kucinich is the only candidate for President with a plan for a Universal, Single-Payer, Not-for-Profit health care system.
Read more…

Survival of the Middle Class
mature_couple.jpgFor most American families, the loss of a job or one serious illness spells catastrophe. Stagnant wages, expensive health care and rising education costs are vital issues being ignored by the Congress and White House. A champion of working families, Dennis Kucinich will lead America into expanding opportunities, universal health care, restore our schools and strengthen Social Security and protections for private pensions.
Read more…

Securing Constitutional Democracy
constitution_flag.jpgA corrupt campaign finance system, coupled with vulnerable electronic voting have eroded America’s confidence in our elections. The USA Patriot Act and secret strategy meetings to set policy tear into the very concept of We the People. As President, Dennis will protect individual liberty and privacy and restore balance and fairness in America’s electoral system.
Read more…

A Sustainable Future
turbines.jpgAs the world population soars towards eight billion, critical issues of survival face all of us. Living on a planet of finite resources means that human life can not be sustained indefinitely without careful thought and compassion coupled with political courage.
Read more…

End to Poverty
poverty_iwashere.jpgHalf the world’s population lives on less than two dollars a day. In 2003, 10.6 million children died before they reached the age of five. Without hope and stricken by the AIDS pandemic, religious strife and no opportunity for an education; desperate poverty is a fact of everyday life for the majority of the world’s people. It manifests itself in war, terror and genocide over scarce resources, hopelessness and intolerance. Dennis Kucinich will make it a national priority to fight poverty worldwide. He understands that the path to a safe, strong America is through peace, tolerance and committing our nation to eradicating the root causes of global poverty.
Read more…

Saving Capitalism
business_compass.jpgAs President, Dennis Kucinich will end America’s participation in NAFTA and the WTO. Huge, multi-national corporations ship American jobs overseas, turn a blind eye to human rights abuses and hide behind their lobbyists in Washington. Read more about Dennis’ plan to instill ethics, accountability and fairness in global trade and big business.
Read more…

Posted in In Collective Self-Defense, Protest and Free Speech, Solutions, Urgent Call, Videos, War Abroad & At Home | Leave a Comment »

Dr. Tom Jeannot reflects on July 4, 2007 in Spokane, Washington

Posted by Arroyoribera on December 5, 2007

Originally posted to spokaneprogressives and sent to other friends…

July 4, 2007

Hi, friends.

After the Democratic National Convention in Chicago in 1968, the Walker Report coined the expression, a “police riot,” to characterize the brutal repression of dissent during those unforgettable hours. American citizens exercising their Constitutionally protected First-Amendment rights to assemble and speak out against the carnage in Vietnam were met with the iron fist of the state, a scenario repeated again and again at places like Kent State and Jackson State, against the Black Panther Party everywhere and MOVE in Philadelphia, and on it goes in a list too long to rehearse now. What is demonstrated is the fundamental incompatibility of the national security state with elementary democracy, even in the limited form envisioned by the Constitution.

A generation later, with the Constitution even more imperiled than it was in that last great hour, the police state with its state security apparatus has descended on the people once more like a cloud of poison gas. The slightest expression of civil liberty suffices to provoke the hydra-headed beast to the brutality of its nightsticks, handcuffs, choke-holds, and paddy wagons.

We are choking on it right now, right here, today.

Last week (on June 27, 2007), Dan Treecraft and Rebecca Lamb merely sought to assemble for the redress of their grievances against the Attorney General of the United States. The occasion of their arrest is a scene repeated in city after city all across the land.

The black community in the US has long been weary of the grim conditions of lockdown now visited upon a tepid left, all too happy to secure the proper permits and pen themselves in the corrals known in this Time of Bush as “free speech zones,” once any one of us is even slightly emboldened to reclaim the public spaces now almost wholly given over to panoramic shopping malls and ersatz theme parks.

In our own local community, cops routinely shoot people and beat them up. I do not want to say it, except that it’s true.

You don’t want to say: pig!

You want to maintain proper decorum and civility, the high road, the civic virtues of polite discourse, only to discover that the discursive practice of the state security apparatus is Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib, extraordinary rendition and the prison-industrial complex, Blackwater and Halliburton, talking and refusing to talk in the voices of a Dick Cheney, a Scooter Libby, or a Tony Snow. When you speak, then, this is how it answers: it answers with men who place themselves outside the rule of law, know no accountability for their conduct, and would as easily maim, kill, or disappear you as go to the country club for cocktails.

You would think we were in Argentina in the time of the Colonels and Chile in the time of Pinochet.

I was there today (July 4, 2007). I’ll tell you what happened on my sworn honor to tell the truth. I should have been arrested and I feel guilty that I was not. It must be remembered that the subject is youth. Bob Zeller came out in solidarity, as did Dan and Jan Treecraft. Otherwise, these young people were high-school aged, in their late teens, and in their early twenties. They are suffocating in the cloud of poison gas that has descended upon Spokane. They lack the lungs to breathe this air.

I won’t tell you how I found out that a group of young people planned to meet in Peaceful Valley under the Maple Street Bridge at five o’clock on the Fourth of July in order to stage a protest against the pandemic of police brutality. Many of the same youth had already met with police violence in Critical Mass and other ways. Many, perhaps most, dress in black. You see them gathered and you think for a minute that you’re on the Left Coast. Many wear the bandanas across their faces made famous again by the Zapatistas. They are not especially well clarified in theory and philosophy: they are broadly, roughly, and approximately anarchists. Last Fourth of July, fifty of them turned out. Today the number was greater, perhaps as many as seventy. Peaceably assembling in the park under the bridge, people talked quietly among themselves until a few minutes past five, when four brief speeches were made. The first speaker gave a history lesson on COINTELPRO. Next came a young woman to talk about the gendered dimension of police brutality today. Since I cannot help speaking, I was honored to speak next, briefly, reminding the comrades of the Battle in Seattle in 1999 and the links of this event to a global movement from Venezuela to South Africa. The last speaker presented a statistical analysis of the numbers of police dead by comparison with other workers to make the point that cops rarely die on the job. Everyone listened quietly and attentively. There was a very good vibe.

While the speeches were being made, the cops started to show up. One of them approached an organizer of the event, but the group demanded that everyone be addressed. He told us, in effect, that the police would withdraw if we followed the simple rules of pedestrian right-of-way and so forth. Everyone agreed. No one was in the mood for a confrontation with the police. Please allow me to repeat this: no one gathered was in a mood to tangle with or antagonize cops. Some speech had an antagonistic, oppositional quality to be sure, and not all speech was decorous, although I cannot recall finding a provision to the contrary in the Constitutional guarantee.

The situation is this: these young people have speech and signs; the cops have sidearms, nightsticks, and all of the other lovely accoutrements of the national security state. After all, they are the police, increasingly militarized, with the full force of the police state to back them up. I presume the young people were in the same mood I was in, having no desire to poke a stick or throw a rock at men with guns, because I figure there’s not exactly what you’d call a balance of forces.

Well then, after the speeches, we fell more or less into order and proceeded to march. The last I heard, such marches are a hallowed American tradition, and what better way to celebrate the revolutionary heritage of the Fourth of July. We kept mainly to the sidewalk, up from Peaceful Valley and into downtown Spokane. We marched around the gods of commerce with their gaudy logos and then made our way into Riverfront Park. Naturally, the park was crowded. Perhaps we took people too much by surprise to react much. It was fun, it lasted ten or maybe twenty minutes through the Park, and then we came round by the clock tower. An organizer invited us to stick around for something to eat and to talk, but the event was essentially over at this point. In fact, I had just made the reasonable decision to go home, get some dinner, walk my dogs, even feeling a little elated to find things coming off so nicely in the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave.

We took up our space by the clock tower and some companions laid out a blanket, appropriately depicting the Flag. People began talking and eating and things were, as someone my age will be sure to say, mellow. Meanwhile, we noticed police forming a perimeter, initially I would say at a distance of about forty yards–SPD and Riverfront Park Security personnel–to the north, and then along the sidewalk to the immediate south of our location. Gradually, choreographically, the perimeter began to tighten. Pretty soon it was hard to ignore the fact that we were being surrounded by about twenty cops. I didn’t count, so I can’t be sure of the number. It was not a small number. I began to think about the talk the one cop had given us under the bridge and how compliant everyone was. But the perimeter continued to tighten, we were surrounded, and now there were two rings of cops, the first closing in on the blanket at center, the second on all points of the compass further out. Then the inner ring of cops started taking pictures with the clever little cameras we have these days, and they were positively starting to crowd the folks now hemmed in on all sides on the blanket. Some of the kids started–I would say, squawking–and then obstructing the camera lenses with the signs we’d been carrying.

You know how it is when somebody comes right up on your personal space? Being an American white “middle-class” white guy, I’m inclined to take this sort of thing as a sign of aggression. I don’t know, maybe it’s different in Hong Kong or Manhattan.

Since I was in the act of leaving at this moment, I must say I didn’t quite see exactly what happened next; I saw it, but I’m not a very good reporter (even though I co-hosted “On the Clock” for over two years with Wil, who was also there and has a much better eye for detail). I was on the outer perimeter. Suddenly, perhaps four cops bum-rushed one young man who was sitting on some kind of canister just off the blanket. Wil told me afterwards that the young man had touched a cop, which I guess was all the provocation they needed (although the whole episode had the feeling of a pretext). You’ll have to remember that the cops were steadily closing in on the blanket area and undertaking this homeland security business of snapping everyone’s picture, and by now the kids-to-cops pixels were rather high-resolution. It looked to me, in other words, like they just wanted any excuse to start roughing people up. You can see the fourteen photographs by going to the link I’ve posted below (from the SR, sent courtesy of Rebecca Lamb). They hauled this one kid off, perhaps as many as four cops heading south with him out towards Spokane Falls Boulevard.

There was a brief lull in the action. I believe people were trying to find their bearings. A crowd was beginning to gather, initially mainly in support of the kids, although as the crowd thickened, I would say to several hundred onlookers by the end, its complexion also changed and there was many a brown-shirt cheering on the cops with some of the blockheads volunteering to form a human chain.

After the lull–I was having one of those slow-motion experiences–near pandemonium set in. Cops were knocking kids down right and left. The crowd began to chant, “Let them go!” On the outer perimeter where I still was, having unsuccessfully tried to call Beverly on my little cell phone gadget to ask her whether I should try to get arrested, a goon, if I may call him that, came up to me and another friend of ours who meanwhile had shown up and could give his own account of what happened, and he told us that unless we vacated, or if we remained where we were we would be subject to arrest for criminal trespass. I’m sure there must be some legal authority for trumping up this charge. Our friend and I stayed right where we were, but it appeared that now that the cops had secured the center of the action at the blanket–under a tree, by the way, where the remaining kids had joined arms–they were cherry-picking various people off to the side to subject them to the same hospitality. So the effect was that this was happening around me but not to me.

Again, it appeared that the cops were singling out certain people on the periphery, then rushing and arresting them. I was even wearing my tee-shirt with the photograph of Fidel Castro shaking hands with Ernest Hemingway, which Wil had brought me back from Cuba; but I guess this wasn’t enough to win me a nightstick.

The SR reporter was there whose name is included below, and I gave him a somewhat impassioned statement, taking the First Amendment, peaceable assembly, free speech, civil liberties, and the Fourth of July as my themes, especially eager to point out that THE YOUNG PEOPLE HAD DONE NOTHING WHATSOEVER TO PROVOKE THE POLICE EXCEPT CONCLUDE THEIR MARCH BY GATHERING AROUND A BLANKET TO SHARE SOME FOOD AND CONVERSATION, bringing to an end what would have been AN UPLIFTING EVENT FOR THE FOURTH OF JULY IN HONOR OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTIONARY TRADITION, and a much better way to spend the afternoon than shopping in River Park Square.

Around about then, I left the park and came home, to discover that fully seventeen youth had been arrested on this gorgeous evening in Spokane.

The term, “riot,” connotes mayhem. I use the term, “near-riot” instead because police procedure on this occasion was systematic and orchestrated. It was as systematic and orchestrated as it can be when brutal thugs take out nightsticks and handcuffs and start wailing on innocent youngsters.

Ironically, the absurdly thuggish, unprovoked, and gratuitous police conduct on this occasion enacted the raison d’etre of the occasion itself, to protest police brutality. It was as if they were determined to demonstrate, almost as if it were theater, the very bill of particulars that had been brought against them.

Peace!

Tom

[ More about Dr. Tom Jeannot, the 4th of July, and state repression ]

 

Censorship

Posted in Freedom to Fascism, History of SPD Abuses, In Collective Self-Defense, Independent Oversight, Know Your Rights, Protest and Free Speech, Spokane Police vs. Youth, Unanswered Questions, Urgent Call, War Abroad & At Home | Leave a Comment »

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

Posted by Arroyoribera on December 3, 2007

the war against us all

 


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

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

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

The ACLU Defends Police

Posted by Arroyoribera on December 2, 2007

American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey Because Freedom Cannot Protect Itself

The ACLU Defends Cops

The ACLU is well known for its vigorous efforts to combat police misconduct, but not as well known for its legal advocacy on behalf of police officers. Our criticism of some police officers and departments has led some to conclude that the ACLU is “anti-cop.” Ironically, this misconception actually derives from the ACLU’s commitment to promote good policing. Often, we support good policing simply by defending police officers. Police are, of course, just as entitled to constitutional protection as the rest of us. They also have their rights violated like the rest of us.The ACLU regularly defends officers whose rights to free expression are denied or violated.The ACLU defended officers’ right to religious freedom in a case close to home this year. Officers Faruq Abdul-Aziz and Shakoor Mustafa wear beards in accordance with their Sunni Muslim faith. For this, they were to be fired by the Newark Police Department, which prohibits beards except for those suffering from a skin condition aggravated by shaving.The ACLU of New Jersey filed an amicus brief in support of the two officers and the Fraternal Order of Police position that the dismissal constituted a violation of their First Amendment right to religious freedom. “When the government grants secular exemptions to workplace rules, it should not be able to deny comparable religious exemptions without a compelling reason,” said David Rocah, ACLU-NJ Staff Attorney.

In May 1997, the New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU) filed suit on behalf of the Latino Officers Association. The suit challenges a New York (City) Police Department (NYCPD) policy requiring officers to seek and obtain the consent of the Police Com- missioner before speaking publicly about non-confidential matters concerning the Department. The ACLU won a preliminary injunction in federal court ordering the Department to cease enforcing the policy. The City has appealed the decision.

The ACLU of Eastern Missouri recently filed a lawsuit on behalf of a St. Louis Police officer who was suspended without pay for fifteen days after he spoke at a public workshop about racism in the police force. The officer, Dennis McLin, was off-duty and not in uniform when he made the speech, but nonetheless found himself the subject of disciplinary action and harassment.

The ACLU of Michigan successfully represented an Oxford police officer who was sued for defamation by his chief for reporting to public officials that the chief altered a police report. “This case is about one of the most important purposes of free speech in a democracy: the right to criticize government and the actions of government officials,” said ACLU cooperating attorney Neal Bush. The ACLU won a motion to dismiss the suit, Ford v. Miller, in May 1999.

The ACLU of Greater Pittsburgh represented Allegheny County police officer Anton C. Uhl, Jr. in his lawsuit to stop disciplinary proceedings against him for criticizing the depart- ment in a series of letters to the Allegheny County Commissioner.

In a particularly patriotic moment, your ACLU affiliate here in New Jersey advocated on behalf of North Wildwood police officers, war veterans, who were prohibited from wearing flags on their uniforms as symbols of their service. Yes, the ACLU sticks up for police officers, war veterans, and the American flag!

Police officers have also turned to the ACLU when exercising their right to participate in the political process has resulted in retaliation from superiors. The ACLU has represented officers all over the country who have been fired for campaigning for or against elected officials in their chains of command.

A classic example of this kind of case occurred in North Carolina in 1994 when ten Buncombe County deputy sheriffs were terminated for actively supporting the incumbent, at that time their boss. The deputies engaged in political campaigning only while off duty and fully intended to work loyally and cooperatively with their new sheriff. Nonetheless, he fired them on his first day in office. The ACLU lost this one.

We were more successful in Georgia, where, in May 1998, four former sheriffs were awarded $1.25 million in damages. The deputies were fired for not publicly supporting a newly elected sheriff. The jury in the case ruled that the sheriff had violated the freedom of speech and association rights of each of the deputies. In a statement to the press, Marcia Borowski, a cooperating attorney for the ACLU of Georgia said, “The jury found that the job of deputy sheriff should not be subject to political patronage . . . We need professional law enforcement personnel protected from the vagaries of politics.”

Many law enforcement officers and many of those who would join their ranks face discrimination in various forms.

In Southern California, for example, the ACLU is representing a huge class of officers, mostly women, in a class action suit charging that the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) discriminates against women-particularly women of color-in hiring, promotion, and assignment.

In April 1997, the NYCLU filed a class action lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of a New York City administrative code that imposes a 35-year old age restriction on candidates for the NYCPD. The NYCLU argued that the age limitation was not a narrowly tailored predictor of job performance and that the age restriction was introduced only after the candidates had completed their written and physical examinations. This July, after settling lawsuits made on behalf of 33 men and 6 women, the NYCPD appointed 39 qualified men and women over the age of 35.

The ACLU of South Carolina filed a discrimination lawsuit on behalf of a nine-year police veteran fired after taking parental leave upon the birth of his first daughter. The ACLU asserts that officials refused to grant the officer parental leave because of his gender and then fired him in retaliation for attempting to exercise his rights.

The ACLU of Maryland represented State Trooper Kevin Knussman in the nation’s first-ever sex discrimination case under a federal medical leave act. Immediately after a court victory and $375,000 award this past February, Knussman was barred from returning to work. His employers’ excuse for the retaliation was that his testimony that he suffered mental distress four years earlier called his mental fitness into question. The ACLU moved to have the State Police held in contempt, and they reversed their position and reinstated Knussman. Officer Knussman’s struggle earned him a personal visit with President Clinton in 1995 to celebrate passage of the Family Medical Leave Act.

Litigation is only one way that the ACLU supports law enforcement. In both Pittsburgh and Maryland’s Eastern Shore, the ACLU launched programs to improve relations between police and community members.

Allegheny Police Association president Jim Hasara summed up a feeling shared by many law enforcement officials—”Just because we are police officers doesn’t mean that we gave up our constitutional rights.” Let the record show that the ACLU supports liberty and justice for all.

Reprinted with permission of ACLU of New Jersey

Copyright 2006, American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey
P.O. Box 32159, Newark, NJ 07102
973-642-2084

info@aclu-nj.orghttp://www.aclu-nj.org

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

Urgent — “The End of America: Letter of Warning to a Young Patriot” — by Naomi Wolf

Posted by Arroyoribera on November 29, 2007

Interview of Naomi Wolf by Democracy Now’s Amy Goodman (19 minutes)

Video Text Audio MP3

(Excerpt )

AMY GOODMAN: It’s good to have you with us. Start off with the stories that you tell in your book.

NAOMI WOLF: Well, they’re the stories of societies that were systematically closed down by would-be despots, would-be dictators, whether they were on the left or the right, who essentially developed a blueprint in the first part of the twentieth century to crush democracies or to crush democracy movements. So they’re also individual stories of how people react as a democracy is being closed down.

But I guess the book really began with a very personal story, because I was forced to write it, even though I didn’t really want to, by a dear friend who is a Holocaust survivor’s daughter. And when we spoke about news events, she kept saying, “They did this in Germany. They did this in Germany.” And I really didn’t think that made sense. I thought that was very extreme language. But finally she forced me to sit down and start reading the histories, of course, not of the later years, because she wasn’t talking about German outcomes, ’38, ’39; she was talking about the early years, 1930, ’31, ’32, when Germany was a parliamentary democracy, and there was this systematic assault using the rule of law to subvert the rule of law.

And once I saw how many parallels there were, not just in strategy and tactics that we’re seeing again today, but actually in images and sound bites and language, then I read other histories of Italy in the ’20s, Russia in the ’30s, East Germany in the ’50s, Czechoslovakia in the ’60s, Pinochet’s coup in Chile in ’73, the crushing of the democracy movement in China at the end of the ’80s. And I saw that there is a blueprint that would-be dictators always do the same ten things, whether they’re on the left or the right, and that we are seeing these ten steps taking place systematically right now in the United States.

(end excerpt)

Please use the links above to read, watch, or listen to this urgent call to action.

America Freedom Campaign

47-minute talk by Naomi Wolf author of “The End of America: Letter of Warning To A Young Patriot” given October 11, 2007 at Kane Hall on the University of Washington campus.

Posted in Censorship, Freedom to Fascism, In Collective Self-Defense, Jason Oakley and the FBI, Know Your Rights, Protest and Free Speech, Urgent Call, Videos, War Abroad & At Home | Leave a Comment »

The People vs. Bush — Evidentiary Item #1

Posted by Arroyoribera on November 24, 2007

This brief documentary — accompanied by Taps and Edwin Starr’s ‘War’ (What is it Good For) — makes the case from start to finish for the impeachment and war crimes trials of George W. Bush.

To quote George W. Bush, “Bring it on.”

Posted in Freedom to Fascism, In Collective Self-Defense, Photographic Evidence, Protest and Free Speech, Testimonies, Unanswered Questions, Urgent Call, Videos | Leave a Comment »

Be a Whistle Blower

Posted by Arroyoribera on November 24, 2007

original link

Nobody wants to be party to coverups, outright lies and the other scandalous behavior sometimes exposed in the worlds of big government and big business. But what should you do if you discover something you think is unethical or potentially criminal? Something totally nefarious and evil? Here’s our guide to snitching on the bad guys without getting caught.

Understand the Consequences

Going up against the evil corporations or the Big Bad Fed can have serious repercussions — whistleblowers have been ostracized, fired, threatened, jailed, and worse.

Still, from Deep Throat to Big Tobacco, whistleblowers have a distinguished legacy of helping the public good. Stephen M. Kohn, President of the National Whistleblower Center in Washington DC says “The majority of all civil fraud recoveries in the U.S. are based on whistleblower disclosures,” which means it could be up to you to point out wrongdoings.

In the end, most whistleblowers do end up exposed out of necessity, whether for legal testimony or simply due to accidental exposure. Most get fired, but many whistleblowers have also sued their former employers and won their cases. Legal protection for whistleblowers varies from country to country, and Wired can’t provide you with legal advice, but you should understand that the choice to blow the whistle is ultimately fraught with risk.

Here are some tips that might help you remain anonymous — and possibly evade detection long enough to get the word out.

Surf Anonymously

One tool explicitly designed with whistleblowers in mind is Tor (surf to https://tor.eff.org/). Tor is a free networking software program and allows you to use the internet anonymously. Need to log in to that GMail account you used to contact the press, but you’re stuck at work? Tor can help cover your tracks.

When you log into to Tor you join a network of machines scattered around the world that pass internet traffic randomly amongst themselves before it emerges at its destination. The process is somewhat like a ball bouncing around inside a sealed box. Every now and then a ball comes out of the box, but it’s impossible to tell who put it in the box to begin with.

The process is called “onion routing,” and it was first developed at the Naval Research Laboratory. Tor uses a layered encryption protocol, which is where the onionskin analogy comes from. Tor is designed to defeat one specific type of digital eavesdropping known as traffic analysis, a form of network surveillance that tracks who is talking to whom over a public network.

Without Tor, a malicious employer can easily detect any outgoing traffic announcing your whistleblowing intentions.

Use Encryption

Tor alone isn’t enough to hide you from the snoops. To use our earlier example, if you login to Gmail via Tor and send your whistleblowing message, the company might not be able to trace where it can from, but they can read it the minute it leaves Tor.

In other words, anonymity is not the same as security.

It’s important to recognize that Tor does not encrypt traffic once it emerges from the Tor network. Thus, there’s the possibility your data is going to be exposed unless you’ve bothered to encrypt it.

To learn more about encrypting your e-mail, see the Wired How To Wiki entry: Keep Your E-mail Private, Secret and Secure.

But if you’re collecting whistleblowing data you’ll likely want to encrypt more than just your e-mail.

Lock Down Your Files

Protect those contact lists and secret documents with some hefty crypto if you don’t want to get caught.

Encrypting a file in Windows XP is easy as long as your hard drive is formatted as NTFS. The FAT32 filesystems doesn’t natively support encryption, but if you’re running NTFS, the process is simple. Just select the files or folder in Windows Explorer, right click and choose “Properties.” In the “Attributes” section at the bottom, click “Advanced” and check the “encrypt contents to secure data” box. Click OK twice.

There are a couple of caveats here. First, the encryption is useless if someone else knows your login password (which is often assigned by the IT department). Second, if you encrypt a folder, anyone can still read the file names. They just can’t open the files. So, changing the names to something obfuscated is a good start.

A better option is to use GPG4win, an open source encryption program for Windows. It encrypts files with a private key, always the strongest type of file encryption. Again, if anyone else has access to your account, the security provided is ruined because they will have access to your GPG key.

If you find yourself in a situation where you can’t control access to your computer, you might consider investing in an encrypted USB thumb drive, though there could be some record of accessing it on your computer that leaves you vulnerable.

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

All text shared under a Creative Commons License

Editorial Guidelines

Comments (1)

Use a local encrypted file system for your private files – http://www.truecrypt.org/ You can encrypt a flash drive or keep an encrypted file system as a file on your hard drive.

Posted in Freedom to Fascism, In Collective Self-Defense, Know Your Rights, Protest and Free Speech, Solutions, Testimonies, Unanswered Questions | Leave a Comment »

Citizen videographer describes filming police homicide by TASER

Posted by Arroyoribera on November 24, 2007

Paul Pritchard had been living in China and had just returned to Canada on October 14, 2007, to provide care for his ill father. While Pritchard was in the Vancouver International Airport that day, Robert Dziekanski from Poland was experiencing a crisis.

Dziekanski had arrived at the airport from his native Poland some 10 hours before, unable to speak English, unattended by anyone, and awaiting the arrival of his mother with whom he had come to live. In fact his mother had been at the airport for the arrival of his flight but had returned to her Kamloops home when she did not find him. He had not cleared customs for reasons unclear at the time and he was left trying to figure out what to do next.

Paul Pritchard was in the right place at the right time to get both audio and video of the attack on Dziekanski by four Royal Candian Mounted Police (RCMP). Within a couple minutes, Robert Dziekanski was dead. Subsequent to the events, the RCMP issued disceptive and false statements. In addition, the RCMP confiscated Mr. Pritchard’s video recording and refused to return it. Currently there is nationwide outrage and protest in Canada. A moratorium on the use of Tasers has been issued in parts of the country. Several nationwide reviews of RCMP conduct and police use of tasers are underway.

Moral of the story for Spokanites? : Please acquire a video camera and/or a cell phone with quality video capacity and adequate battery capacity. Learn to use it well and learn your rights. We as global citizens are entering a period of turmoil characterized by assaults on freedom by authority, primarily law enforcement. Time to get ready. Know your rights.

Video interview of Paul Pritchard on his videotaping of RCMP attack on Robert Dziekanski in Vancouver

Video of RCMP attack on Robert Dziekanski

CBC Coverage of Dziekanski homicide (see related links on right side of article)

UN Committee on Torture declares Taser a form of torture

UN:  Tasers are a form of torture (CBS News)

Mr. Robert Dziekanski last words, translated

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

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Mr. Robert Dziekanski last words, translated

The New Zealand Herald reports that a Polish YouTube blogger has translated the last words of Robert Dziekanski:

“I want to get out, help me find the way…Police! Police! Can’t you help me?”

He got his way out, I suppose…

– new zealand herald: Man tasered to death was ‘asking for help’ (warning: graphic video, photos)
– stuff.co.nz: Local lesson in taser death – lawyer

Posted in Censorship, Freedom to Fascism, History of SPD Abuses, In Collective Self-Defense, Independent Oversight, Know Your Rights, Spokane taser, Testimonies, Trained to Kill, Unanswered Questions, Videos | Leave a Comment »

Here Come’s The Thought Police — Baltimore Sun

Posted by Arroyoribera on November 20, 2007

baltimoresun.com

The Center for Constitutional Rights

Democracy NOW interview on Thought Police legislation (or watch Video Format)

———————————-

Here come the thought police

By Ralph E. Shaffer and R. William Robinson

November 19, 2007

 

With overwhelming bipartisan support, Rep. Jane Harman’s “Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act” passed the House 404-6 late last month and now rests in Sen. Joe Lieberman’s Homeland Security Committee. Swift Senate passage appears certain.

Not since the “Patriot Act” of 2001 has any bill so threatened our constitutionally guaranteed rights.

The historian Henry Steele Commager, denouncing President John Adams’ suppression of free speech in the 1790s, argued that the Bill of Rights was not written to protect government from dissenters but to provide a legal means for citizens to oppose a government they didn’t trust. Thomas Jefferson’s Declaration of Independence not only proclaimed the right to dissent but declared it a people’s duty, under certain conditions, to alter or abolish their government.

In that vein, diverse groups vigorously oppose Ms. Harman’s effort to stifle dissent. Unfortunately, the mainstream press and leading presidential candidates remain silent.

Ms. Harman, a California Democrat, thinks it likely that the United States will face a native brand of terrorism in the immediate future and offers a plan to deal with ideologically based violence.

But her plan is a greater danger to us than the threats she fears. Her bill tramples constitutional rights by creating a commission with sweeping investigative power and a mandate to propose laws prohibiting whatever the commission labels “homegrown terrorism.”

The proposed commission is a menace through its power to hold hearings, take testimony and administer oaths, an authority granted to even individual members of the commission – little Joe McCarthys – who will tour the country to hold their own private hearings. An aura of authority will automatically accompany this congressionally authorized mandate to expose native terrorism.

Ms. Harman’s proposal includes an absurd attack on the Internet, criticizing it for providing Americans with “access to broad and constant streams of terrorist-related propaganda,” and legalizes an insidious infiltration of targeted organizations. The misnamed “Center of Excellence,” which would function after the commission is disbanded in 18 months, gives the semblance of intellectual research to what is otherwise the suppression of dissent.

While its purpose is to prevent terrorism, the bill doesn’t criminalize any specific conduct or contain penalties. But the commission’s findings will be cited by those who see a terrorist under every bed and who will demand enactment of criminal penalties that further restrict free speech and other civil liberties. Action contrary to the commission’s findings will be interpreted as a sign of treason at worst or a lack of patriotism at the least.

While Ms. Harman denies that her proposal creates “thought police,” it defines “homegrown terrorism” as “planned” or “threatened” use of force to coerce the government or the people in the promotion of “political or social objectives.” That means that no force need actually have occurred as long as the government charges that the individual or group thought about doing it.

Any social or economic reform is fair game. Have a march of 100 or 100,000 people to demand a reform – amnesty for illegal immigrants or overturning Roe v. Wade – and someone can perceive that to be a use of force to intimidate the people, courts or government.

The bill defines “violent radicalization” as promoting an “extremist belief system.” But American governments, state and national, have a long history of interpreting radical “belief systems” as inevitably leading to violence to facilitate change.

Examples of the resulting crackdowns on such protests include the conviction and execution of anarchists tied to Chicago’s 1886 Haymarket Riot. Hearings conducted by the House Un-American Activities Committee for several decades during the Cold War and the solo hearings by a member of that committee’s Senate counterpart, Joseph McCarthy, demonstrate the dangers inherent in Ms. Harman’s legislation.

Ms. Harman denies that her bill is a threat to the First Amendment. It clearly states that no measure to prevent homegrown terrorism should violate “constitutional rights, civil rights or civil liberties.”

But the present administration has demonstrated, in its response to criticism regarding torture, that it can’t be trusted to honor those rights.

——————————————

Posted in Censorship, FBI in Spokane, Freedom to Fascism, In Collective Self-Defense, Jason Oakley and the FBI, Know Your Rights, Protest, Protest and Free Speech, Videos, War Abroad & At Home | Leave a Comment »

FBI — Fabricating Bogus Information — False Ballistic Information

Posted by Arroyoribera on November 20, 2007

(quote) Hundreds of defendants sitting in prisons nationwide have been convicted with the help of an FBI forensic tool that was discarded more than two years ago. But the FBI lab has yet to take steps to alert the affected defendants or courts, even as the window for appealing convictions is closing, a joint investigation by The Washington Post and “60 Minutes” has found. (end quote)This is the breaking news from the Washington Post and 60 Minutes. The same FBI which — through its incompetence and arrogance — brought you the 911 disaster now brings you another in a series of on-going scandals and failures.

Based on faulty science, years of FBI and DOJ stonewalling, and arrogant disregard for standards of justice, the FBI has certified decades worth of ‘forensic’ testing on bullets, the results of which now prove to be worthless. And while hundreds sit in jail or awaiting prosecution on the basis of FBI “Fabricated Bogus Information”, the FBI sanctimoniously goes about their shoddy work from Spokane, Washington to Washington, DC, and from Guantanamo, Cuba to Mahmudiya, Iraq.

Silent Injustice: A Joint Project of the Washington Post and 60 Minutes

So now to list of discredited short cuts to the truth like reading palm leaves and lie detecter tests and waterboarding, add FBI forensic analysis of lead content of bullets.

FBI Failures

TRAC FBI

DOJ Inspector General Report (5/2007) on uncoordinated FBI efforts with Spokane area law enforcement

Posted in FBI in Spokane, Freedom to Fascism, In Collective Self-Defense, Jason Oakley and the FBI, Know Your Rights, Testimonies, Unanswered Questions | Leave a Comment »

Gangs and the School of the Americas

Posted by Arroyoribera on November 11, 2007

 

¡Presente!

Sunday, November 11th, 2007

¡Presente!

Gangs and the SOA PDF Print E-mail
Written by Guadalupe Chavez and Tiel Rainelli, SOAW Los Angeles

When the chickens come home to roost. Gangs in the Americas and the Cycle of Violence and Domination. Images of Latino men with tattoos are often used by the media to generate fear and anti-immigrant sentiments.

 

When individuals and their experiences are dehumanized enough, many people turn away in fear. But if we step beyond those broad stereotypes and take a closer look, we can see that those tattoos tell war stories of long before their wearers were born and how their eyes offer insights into the psychological trauma and effects of repression and war. We see Children of War, some of whom have established one of the most well-organized and largest numbering street gangs in the country. Mara Salvatrucha (MS 13), a Salvadorian street gang formed in Los Angeles operates now out of at least 31 states and three countries. MS 13 has spread like a wild fire: sweeping across poverty-stricken areas of Central and North America. MS13 memberThe formation of MS 13 has a unique origin that needs to be understood.

 

During the 1980’s, under the false logic of the Cold War, the United States provided direct military aid and School of the Americas training for the Salvadoran army that was systematically violating human rights in El Salvador. U.S. military aid, training, and on-the-ground advisors provided the government of El Salvador with the resources and know-how to terrorize the civilian population.

The war left over 70,000 dead and not a single soul untouched. Over two million people fled El Salvador with a great majority of them immigrating into the United States. Los Angeles became a refuge for many Salvadoran families. Faced with oppression on the streets of Los Angeles, jobs were hard to come by and the schools and streets were occupied by gangs defending their territory and indifferent to the struggle of the newly arrived. MS 13 was born out of a need for self-defense and survival. Many MS 13 members are the sons and daughters of the people that fled the U.S. suponsored war in El Salvador. The 1990’s were an incredibly bloody time for Los Angeles gangs and communities. “The War on Gangs gradually began to take shape in the mid 1990’s after a 1996 immigration law in the U.S. facilitated the deportation of undocumented people serving more than two years in U.S. detention facilities. From 1996 to 2003, the United States deported 70,000 people to El Salvador.” Those deported were not well received once they arrived in El Salvador, instead they were stigmatized and marginalized for their cultural differences and kept out of yet another system of employment, and education. In response to the deportations and the import of the gang culture from the United States to El Salvador, the Salvadorian government implemented “localized anti-gang measures and [formed] death squads that emerged to kill youth thought to be gang members.” The efforts of the Salvadorian government have been championed by the White House and Department of Homeland Security and have in fact led to the Salvadorian government’s hosting of the International Law Enforcement Academy (ILEA). The ILEA is a U.S. run police training school on Salvadorian soil. The school will train security forces from throughout Latin America and is operating from the exact mindset that has given rise to the School of the Americas (SOA/WHINSEC). Both institutions are part of a racist system of violence and domination that promotes U.S. sponsored repression as the one-size-fits-all solution to social problems throughout the Americas. The anti-gang initiatives implemented and proposed by the United States and Salvadorian governments have done little to address the core conditions of tyranny that have given rise to the ever-developing gang culture. MS 13 and other street gangs need to be understood and addressed in a context that recognizes and validates the systemic forces that have led to their creation, and incorporates the gang members into the decision making and strategic planning processes needed to tackle the vulgar injustices of being poor in the Americas. As Americans scour through policy books searching for a quick fix for the gang violence it is important to admit and take responsibility for the monster we have created.

As Malcolm so eloquently put it, the chickens have come home to roost.

http://www.johnpilger.com/

Posted in Freedom to Fascism, Gangs?, In Collective Self-Defense, Mitchell and Jessen, War Abroad & At Home | Leave a Comment »

Fascism Watch: ‘Non-Lethal Weapons’ and the Defense of the Ruling Class

Posted by Arroyoribera on November 11, 2007

http://www.ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=39818

RIGHTS-EUROPE: ‘Non-lethal Weapons’ Tackle Protests Against Globalisation
By Julio Godoy

PARIS, Oct 26 (IPS) – Several European governments are arming their police forces with a new range of “non-lethal weapons” to put down protests against globalization, and among immigrants.

Governments in France, Switzerland, Germany, Spain, and several other countries have ordered such weapons, or are about to, even though human rights groups are warning that the supposed “non-lethality” of the guns is a myth, and that they actually can kill people.

The most widespread “non-lethal weapon” is the stun gun Taser, that discharges electric shocks. Technically that should only paralyze the person shot at, and cause intense pain.

But in a report released Sep. 27, the human rights groups Amnesty International (AI) affirms that the stun gun might have caused “more than 290 deaths of individuals in the USA and Canada struck by police Tasers” between June 2001 and Sep. 30 this year.

“While (AI) does not reach conclusions regarding the role of the Taser in each case, it believes the deaths underscore the need for thorough, independent inquiries into their use and effects,” the report says.

The number of deaths caused by Taser stun weapons might actually be higher than claimed by Amnesty International. In the most recent case earlier this month, Canadian police killed Robert Dziekanski, a Polish immigrant, who had been screaming and throwing things around at Vancouver airport, with a Taser stun gun.

Despite such incidents, former German police officials publicly praise use of Taser stun guns against demonstrators as harmless yet efficient. So far in Germany, only special police commandos are equipped with such guns.

Friedhelm Krueger-Sprengel, former official at the ministry of defense, says “the non-lethal weapons give police and army forces wider latitude in action.”

Krueger-Sprengel told IPS that “security forces can act against a rebellious population without pulling the weapons immediately. With the Taser guns for instance, police and army officers can impose themselves more easily, in the sense that their power has a larger spectrum, so that rebellious people cannot react against them.”

Rainer Wendt, director at the German Police Officers Union, says “the police need weapons that do not kill, but which hurt and cause wounds, in order to control demonstrations. Otherwise, we are declaring open season on our police officers in battles against violent demonstrators.”

A rationale for non-lethal weapons was presented by Kay Nehm, former German attorney general, in July 2006 at a conference on ‘Future Security’ in Karlsruhe city, some 550 km southwest of Berlin.

“The necessary assessment (on home security) begins with the changing social underlying circumstances, namely the economic upheavals associated with globalization, and the smaller financial possibilities of governments and municipalities to meet the growing prosperity discrepancies between the have and have-nots in our society,” Nehm said at that conference.

According to Nehm, these social and economic upheavals, which others associate with imposition of neo-liberal economic policies, “will surely lead to more social sacrifices and difficulties, which represent new risks of fractures within society, and are the natural hotbed for radical, extremist, terrorist challenges.”

Such challenges can only be mastered by security forces with non-lethal weapons, which do not cause a blood bath at demonstrations, Nehm said.

Thomas Gebauer, of the German non-governmental organization Medico International, interprets these justifications for non-lethal weapons as a symbol of the growing repressive character of European and North American governments, and of their readiness to violently suppress protests against the spreading social injustice.

“The development of such weapons aims at securing the growing social inequality, at ensuring that the poor do not have a chance of showing their discontent against the rich,” Gebauer told IPS. “The aim of these weapons is to guarantee social borders, to install perennial control of movements, to restrict democracy.”

In France, a Chinese immigrant woman was seriously wounded Sept. 1 after police agents shot at her with Taser pistols. The police officers tried to question the woman, an irregular kitchen worker at a Japanese restaurant in Paris. As she resisted identification, they first shot at her with their stun weapons.

According to the official version, the woman did not react to the electric from the stun gun, and tried to attack the police officers, who then pulled their standard guns and shot her.

About 3,000 French police officers are equipped with Taser stun guns. But following the rebellion of immigrant youth during the autumn of 2005 in the suburbs of Paris, municipal authorities have been demanding authorization from the central government to equip more of the police with such non-lethal weapons.

On Oct. 16, the ministry of the interior in Paris announced that it will amend regulations to allow local community police to be equipped with stun guns.

In Switzerland, the National Council (the national parliament) voted in early October to equip immigration police forces with the Taser stun gun for use against irregular immigrants who may resist deportation.

Some of the police themselves have resisted the move. Roger Schneeberger, general secretary of the Swiss Cantonal Police Directors, said at a press conference Oct. 3 that “it suffices to use handcuffs and chains during deportation of immigrants.”

Other non-lethal weapons being discussed in Europe are laser pistols that cause temporary blindness, bean bags, which are small bags shot from barrels containing up to 150 small shots, gases, sticky foams, heat emitting screens, and high-tone sirens audible only to people under a certain age. (END/2007)

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