Spokane Police Abuses: Past to Present

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

Archive for the ‘Spokane Police vs. Youth’ Category

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

Posted by Arroyoribera on May 20, 2009

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tape and transcript 3

‘We work for the intelligence community section’


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

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

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

Posted by Arroyoribera on April 30, 2008

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

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

May god help us!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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 »

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 »

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 »

What Does Self-Defense Against Riot Police Look Like?

Posted by Arroyoribera on October 31, 2007

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

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

What Does Self-Defense Against Riot Police Look Like?

author: Kirsten Anderberg

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


WTO Protest in Toronto

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted by Arroyoribera on October 25, 2007

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Neighborhood Observation Patrol

(N.O.P.)

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted by Arroyoribera on October 6, 2007

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

The youth of Spokane are leading the way today!

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

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

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

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

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

Homeboy Industries / Homegirl Bakery

Posted by Arroyoribera on October 4, 2007

NPR Home Page

 

Nation

Bakery Run by Ex-Gang Members Reopens

by

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

Interviews

Father Boyle, Founder of Homeboy Industries

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

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

Urgent Call — re: Spokane Police Department Tactical (TAC) Team

Posted by Arroyoribera on October 1, 2007

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

I call on Washington State Governor Christine Gregoire, State Attorney General Rob McKenna, Washington State Senator Lisa Brown, other Spokane area legislators, the ACLU, the Center for Justice, the Washington State Human Rights Commission, and the Spokane Human Rights Commission to demand and initiate immediate investigations of the WSCJTC’s continued use of the Spokane Police Department TAC Team for such trainings.

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

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

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

The people of Spokane are now awaiting appropriate investigatory and oversight actions by our elected officials and agency heads at the state, county and local levels, as well as non-profit and governmental civil and human rights organizations.

Posted in History of SPD Abuses, Independent Oversight, Know Your Rights, Spokane Police vs. Youth, Trained to Kill, Unanswered Questions, Urgent Call | Leave a Comment »

Videos at Spokane Police Abuses

Posted by Arroyoribera on September 28, 2007

“Videos” — There are three ways to access all the videos posted at Spokane Police Abuses.

1) Click on the word “video” in the column called “Categories” on the left side of this blog.

2) Click here.

3) Click on the item below that interests you.

  • Police Batons: Another “less violent” alternative — Police Batons

Posted in Freedom to Fascism, Gangs?, History of SPD Abuses, In Collective Self-Defense, Independent Oversight, License to Kill, Lies Damn Lies and ..., Protest, Spokane Police vs. Youth, Spokane taser, Terrorism in Spokane, Trained to Kill, Videos, War Abroad & At Home | Leave a Comment »

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

Posted by Arroyoribera on September 25, 2007

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

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

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

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

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

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

PLEASE ATTEND!

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

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

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

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

Do you really believe that?

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

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

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

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

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

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

This leads to a series of questions:

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

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

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

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

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

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

“You honkey, We drinkey” or Officer Brownlee’s Excellent Adventure

Posted by Arroyoribera on September 16, 2007

Bet you won’t see this on COPS next season!

The authors of thse YouTube videos indicate that the Spokane Police Officer paying a cordial visit to these young Gonzaga-area drinkers on or about May 11, 2007 is Spokane Police Officer Todd Brownlee and that the participants in the little drinking party are Gonzaga University students and underage drinkers on a Gonzaga University property.

In the first video you will notice a number of individuals leave the scene just before the SPD patrolman arrives. The individuals return as soon as the patrol car departs.

You honkey, We drinkey

You honkey, We drinkey (part 2)

I personally witnessed this same scene in the Gonzaga area approximately a month ago.

About ten days before the videos were filmed, Officer Brownlee had another excellent adventure. This one occurred not on Gonzaga University property but rather up near Hillyard. And the result was a little different than an 18 second warning. After Officer Brownlee shot the suspect in question on May 1, 2007 at 1739 E. Wabash, he spent a couple days suspended from duty. The investigation — carried out by the Spokane Sheriff’s office — was completed without Brownlee ever being interviewed.

Gonzaga and the Spokane Police are reportedly collaborating on Gonzaga’s problem of alcohol abuse by students and the increasing Logan neighborhood concerns about disruptive students. Is it possible that neighbors have made too many complaints about young women flopping around like fish in alcohol-induced seizures in front yards and too many out of control Catholic males afoot in a neighborhood which is still home to lots of families and children?

In the case of the “you honkey, we drinkey” yard parties, is it possible that Brownlee simply had not received the word? Answer: No.

Or could it be that a student from Southern California at Gonzaga brings tens of thousands of dollars into the Spokane community while West Centralites and Hillyardites are seen as a drag on the economy and image of Spokane and therefore subject to much more aggressive patrolling? Answer: Yes.

To get a sense of alcohol consumption at Gonzaga, check out the bread and wine. No, I don’t mean at Sunday mass at St. Aloysius. I mean in the bread and alcohol section of the Safeway supermarket at the corner of Mission and Hamilton. In particular, check out the Budweiser sport displays during football and basketball seasons. Way to go, Bulldogs!

Posted in History of SPD Abuses, Independent Oversight, Photographic Evidence, Spokane Police vs. Youth | Leave a Comment »

The Gang Reality–Looking to root causes to address gangs

Posted by Arroyoribera on September 13, 2007

Spokane police are enthusiastically acquiring larger and more powerful weapons for their war on gangs — not to mention their wars on drugs and on the poor and the mentally ill and the homeless. Meanwhile, the Washington state legislature is muscling up the law and financing for the same war on gangs et al. And bogus stories, bogus statistics and bogus e-mails are circulating in the Spokane area about the supposed threat of gangs.

Yet some folks either don’t buy it or at least see a different approach.

Recognizing root causes is, literally, too radical for most people and institutions in this society and country. So it should not be surprising that a project looking to address root causes would be little known and little mentioned.

The September 2007 edition of The Fig Tree, an independent non-profit communications ministry operating in Spokane since 1984, reports on Project HOPE (Helping Our Young People Excel).

Here is the article from The Fig Tree:

Project counters appeal of gangs with jobs

Jobs Not Jails is both a slogan and an organization.The logo appears on clothing and accessories to create community awareness while it deters gang life by providing jobs for young people in West Central Spokane through Project HOPE (Helping Our young People Excel).

“Too often, ‘gang’ has become a four-letter word no one wants to talk about. Our goal is to help people find constructive ways to talk about gangs and to help young people choose viable options—especially employment as an economic incentive—to reduce the appeal of gang life,” said Pat Copeland-Malone, who is coordinating several efforts at workforce development in the neighborhood through Project HOPE.

Jobs not Jails logos are printed on T-shirts, tank tops, coats, handbags, tote bags, hats, work shirts, dress denim, sweatshirts and other items on display at the Book Parlor, 1414 W. Broadway. Organizers are seeking other outlets.

Pat said they will also produce shirts for the Riverfront Farm Project and God’s Gym, which re-opened in early August at Salem Lutheran Church 1428 W. Broadway, with five former gang members serving as volunteers.

“Nothing stops a bullet like a job,” said Pat.

Other workforce development programs he is encouraging include a Youth Entrepreneurship Program and a Youth Landscape Business, as well as the Riverfront Farm Project.

He also is researching what other products to produce in partnership with other outlets, including churches.

“As we mature, we will learn more about what people will buy and will find more ways to involve youth in building skills and leadership,” he said,

He believes that churches will become interested in the social justice aspects of the anti-gang effort.

God’s Gym, which operated in the 1990s at Central United Methodist Church downtown, is an avenue for drawing youth into recreation and awareness of alternatives to gang life.

Having former gang members who are now in school and employed engaged in the effort makes it more credible, Pat said. Their stories of turning their lives around can motivate young people more than a nonprofit director or counselor can.

For information, call 280-1702.

Mary Stamp – The Fig Tree – © September 2007

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

Know Your Rights: Boy Confronts Police

Posted by Arroyoribera on August 24, 2007

Boy Confronts Police

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

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

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

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

 

Translation — Be brave, child

 

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

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

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

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

*********

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

Posted in In Collective Self-Defense, Know Your Rights, Photographic Evidence, Spokane Police vs. Youth, War Abroad & At Home | Leave a Comment »

Girl vs. Police Baton

Posted by Arroyoribera on August 12, 2007

Girl vs. Police Baton

It is curious to talk to people about their recollection of events.

I had the opportunity to talk to the young woman in the photo below. The context is the July 4, 2007 picnic and protest in Riverfront Park. She said that she had not noticed at the time that the Spokane Police officer standing in front of her had his baton in a battle ready position, ready to attack her with it if he deemed it necessary.

Girl vs. Police Baton — Photo from the Spokesman-Review

(Photo from the Spokesman Review)

Neither did a friend of mine remember that a Spokane Police officer had a hand around his throat shoving him back several feet until I showed him the KREM 2 photo and video (click on link below the photo) of the event.

Police Officers manhandle and choke Dan Treecraft

KREM 2 Video: Spokane Police officer choking protester at Alberto Gonzales visit – Spokane June 27, 2007

Posted in Photographic Evidence, Spokane Police vs. Youth, Videos, War Abroad & At Home | Leave a Comment »

Wil Elder on July 4, 2007 Police Riot in Spokane’s Riverfront Park

Posted by Arroyoribera on August 10, 2007

This is a 5 1/2 minute video taped interview of Wil Elder interviewed on July 9, 2007 at a rally near the headquarters of the Spokane Police Department. At the rally, some 150 Spokane citizens of all ages called for independent oversight of the Spokane Police Department and protested the police assault on July 4th picnickers and protesters at Riverfront Park which resulted in the arrest of 17 young people.

In this video, Spokane activist and organizer Elder vividly describes the events of July 4th. Brother Wil also hosts two very popular locally-produced radio programs — On the Clock and The Breakdown Train — both heard exclusively on KYRS 89.9 and 92.3 FM Thin Air Community Radio.

Posted in Photographic Evidence, Spokane Police vs. Youth, Testimonies, Videos | Leave a Comment »

Police Harassing Spokane Youth?

Posted by Arroyoribera on July 23, 2007

Interviews with Spokane young people reveal a disturbing pattern of random stops, improper questioning, illegal searches and unprovoked threats by the Spokane Police Department, particularly in the dark of night.

Please send your accounts of harassment by the Spokane Police and/or other law enforcement, including but not limited to the Spokane Sheriff’s Office, the FBI, Riverfront Park security, and other private security forces.

In addition, please send web links on the legal limits of police powers as well your own thoughts on how the community can address this unconstitutional and–given the Spokane Police history of killing its own citizens–extraordinarily dangerous trend of law enforcement stopping Spokane youth in the night for no legitimate reason.

Finally, if you are aware of details of an incident in the last few days in the Spokane Valley in which law enforcement yanked a bikini-clad female from a vehicle and threw her to the ground, please contact me as well.

Posted in Spokane Police vs. Youth | 1 Comment »

Arming Ourselves Against State Repression and Police Brutality

Posted by Arroyoribera on July 22, 2007

Spokane Police photo of July 4, 2007 Riverfront Park citizen armed with camera

(This photo is from a series of Spokane Police Department photos taken in Riverfront Park on July 4, 2007 just prior to the attack on protesters by the Spokane Police Tactical Unit and Riverfront Park security guards. The young woman with the camera is locked and loaded in an act of collective self-defense. Behind the woman with the orange pack is Spokesman-Review reporter Jonathan Blunt.)

—————————————————————-

ARMING OURSELVES AGAINST STATE REPRESSION AND POLICE BRUTALITY

by David Brookbank

Your father killed his share of Vietnamese civilians ever-so-bravely flying the world’s largest bomber in internationally prohibited missions at 30,000 feet under cover of darkness, cloud cover, altitude, and fighter cover.

Your uncle — in the name of defending a piece of red,white and blue cloth — has kicked down untold numbers of doors of Iraqi families, elbowed elderly women out of the way, and thrown young men on the floor while threatening to rape their sisters. He even told you how he believes that since we decided not to nuke the whole Middle East at the start of the “war” that the only way to deal now with the “sand-niggers”, as he calls them, is to kill all their mothers.

Your best-friend’s sister was even part of a group of U.S. psychologists contracted by the CIA who determined that sodomizing Iraqis at Abu Ghraib was the way to win this unwinnable war of aggression and occupation.

You pay your taxes.

Your ancestors were brought to this god-forsaken land in slave-ships by Christian barbarians.

You are a free man or a free woman in a land of media lies, government propaganda, FBI spying, and police brutality.

What are you to do?

Fight the power. Stand your ground. Read and understand your history. Call a fascist a fascist. Strip away your illusions about the fundamental goodness of America and understand that there is no such thing.

Time to arm ourselves against state repression and police brutality.

And how do I propose that we do that? That is an individual matter.

Why do I say that? First, the people of the U.S. are misinformed and uninformed. Second, most people in the U.S. live in fear of expressing a public opinion on matters of state control and oppression as a result of the current national security apparatus put in place to allow such practices as spying on citizens, arbitrary arrest and indefinite detention.

In other words, the vast majority of us are so chronically disoriented in terms of political analysis and strategic thinking that we have no clear sense of how to proceed. Given that disorientation, you are not going to want to follow me and I am not going to follow you.

Therefore let’s go to the most basic level of collective self-defense.

And for the sake of the Homeland Security Nazis reading this, let us be clear — what I am proposing and all that I am proposing is:

Arm yourself with a camera. Whether that is a camera to take pictures or video, that is up to you. I prefer a video camera with the capacity to also take still photos or to derive still photos from the video footage.

Should every citizen carry a camera? Absolutely.

Would a citizen with a camera filming through the windows of the North Division Zip Trip in March 2006 have been able to prevent the murder of Otto Zehm by the Spokane Police Department? I believe so.

Would it be beneficial to public safety and the sanctity of the truth to have had video footage taken with a camera owned and operated by a Spokane activist or a little old grandpa of the moment in which the Spokane Police claim that Zach St. John attacked a Spokane Police officer and choked him to the point of gasping for air on July 4, 2007 in Riverfront Park?

Would it have been useful to have on video (as opposed to audio only) of Rick Mendoza of the Spokane Police Department’s Police Advisory Committee stating in early 2007 at the ACLU sponsored forum on Police Accountability that the Spokane Police Department is the best police department in the United States? Or NAACP President V. Ann Smith (also now a member of the Police Advisory Committee) stating at the same event that there is no longer a problem with racial profiling in Spokane?

We the people are in need of a reality check. Yes, we are very busy. Yes, life is expensive. Yes, time is short.

And in a “don’t worry, be happy” society like ours, no one wants to be tagged as “too serious”.

But let’s get real. If you are an anti-imperialist, anti-ruling class, anti-militarist citizen, neither your city council, your state elected officials, nor your U.S. congresspersons are going to defend you in any concrete way.

I can tell you by experience that you will be lucky to find adequate legal representation for your court case.

Liberal groups and progressive bloggers will be no where to be found or will be so confused by their own fear of the police and the apparatus of state repression in a time of war that they may do your cause more harm than good.

So what is next? Buy that camera. If it is a video camera, start doing local documentaries at the same time. Film candidate forums. Interview locals about their views on SERE, Wilbur Vault, Kendall Yards, and ASAP.

If nothing else, you can take footage for your insurance claim when you are hit by another car. As we all know, the odds of having the SPD respond to ordinary police matters is next to none.

However, keep one thing perfectly clear in your mind. Once you are armed, you are a target.

The Los Angeles Police Department’s militarized units were not deterred for one second in violently repressing the demonstration in MacArthur Park on May 1, 2007. Neither women and children nor reporters and cameramen from major national and international news organizations were spared. Reporters in Iraq have been targeted by and killed by U.S. forces over and over again. And as one might expect in this era, the U.S. holds journalists at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Will the Spokane Police crack your head open for being a citizen in possession of a camera at a protest or arrest or other event of public interest?

Is a camera a weapon?

The answer to that question is also the answer to the prior question.

Beware the unchecked power of the Spokane Police Department, the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office, the FBI, Riverfront Park security, Federal Protective Police and other law enforcement agencies.

Straight Talk: Video Taping Police

Videotaping Police — Flex Your Rights

Spokane Police photo of July 4, 2007 Riverfront Park citizen armed with camera

(This photo is from a series of Spokane Police Department photos taken in Riverfront Park on July 4, 2007 just prior to the attack on protesters by the Spokane Police Tactical Unit and Riverfront Park security guards. The young woman with the camera is locked and loaded in an act of collective self-defense. Behind the woman with the orange pack is Spokesman-Review reporter Jonathan Blunt.)

Posted in Freedom to Fascism, In Collective Self-Defense, Know Your Rights, Photographic Evidence, Protest and Free Speech, Spokane Police vs. Youth, War Abroad & At Home | Leave a Comment »