Spokane Police Abuses: Past to Present

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

Archive for the ‘Testimonies’ Category

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 »

Spokane Ombudsman Ordinance Postponed

Posted by takayanagisan on June 23, 2010

In the wee hours of the morning of June 22, 2010, Spokane City Council members decided they needed one more week to decide on an ordinance that will give independent investigative authority to the Office of Police Ombudsman. Council member Bob Apple introduced the original ordinance on May 10 and the matter was deferred until May 24 for a vote. After listening to over 20 members of the public, many who told of personal experiences of police brutality and racially biased policing, council members voted to table the vote for four more weeks until the June 21 meeting. Then, on June 14, an alternative ordinance was introduced by Council members Amber Waldref, Richard Rush and Jon Snyder that substantially weakened the independent investigative authority sought by the first ordinance but was written to conform to language that was negotiated with the Police Guild establishing the Office of Police Ombudsman in the existing ordinance. If that didn’t confuse the public enough to give up, council member Richard Rush and Jon Snyder brought forward yet a third version of the ordinance midway through the meeting on June 21.

All of the political manipulation did not deter the more than 80 people in attendance to urge passage of an ordinance that will give real and meaningful oversight over police misconduct. It didn’t matter that nobody really understood why it took three versions of an ordinance, a confidential memo from city legal, and sitting through five hours of the council agenda. By the time the ordinance came up for discussion it was well after 11:00 p.m. and 65 people remained. 28 people testified in favor of an ordinance that nobody seemed to know was before the council for a vote. Neither did the council, it seems. When it was all over, it was near 1:00 a.m. and the council voted 5-1 to postpone the vote until June 28. What will happen next? Stay tuned to the next exciting episode of the hottest new Spokane soap, “As the Ordinance Turns.”

For additional detailed information on the hearing and copies of versions of the rapidly changing proposed ordinance, please read “Groaning Toward Dawn” at the Center for Justice website.

Also the coverage of the hearing can be found at the Spokesman-Review website.

Video of the June 21, 2010 council meeting and the public testimony on it can be viewed on the City of Spokane’s website. Click on City Council Meetings and then click on City Council Meeting Part 2 June 21st, 2010.

Posted in Corruption, Educating the Chief, History of SPD Abuses, Independent Oversight, Law, Spokane Police Guild, Testimonies, Videos | Leave a 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 »

Tell Your Story of Police Abuse in Spokane

Posted by Arroyoribera on June 12, 2010

Members of the Spokane community active in police oversight are gathering stories to strengthen the case that the citizens of Spokane are in need of real and meaningful oversight of the Spokane Police Department.

Some very powerful community stories were told at the May 24, 2010 City Council meeting. Those testimonies can be viewed at the City of Spokane website. Go to this link:
http://www.spokanecity.org/services/citycable5/streamingmedia/
Then click on “City Council Meetings” and, finally, click on “May 24, 2010”. Allow the video to load completely so that the full functionality is available (which can take several minutes at least depending on your connection) and then go 100 minutes into the proceedings (somewhat short of half way through the video).

Despite a history of years of abuses, corruption, and killings of citizens, there continue to be members of the Spokane community, the media and the city government who express the view that the Spokane Police require no independent oversight.

We are inviting community members to write a few paragraphs describing what has occurred to you or friends and family at the hands of the Spokane Police Department (the city of Spokane). Details are important, in particular, locations because we intend to put them on a map and present it to the City Council on June 21.

As you decide whether or not to identify yourself in your comment, please keep in mind that we will be presenting these stories to the City Council as part of our effort to show them the extent of abuses in our community.

Posted in Educating the Chief, History of SPD Abuses, Independent Oversight, Statistics, Testimonies | 1 Comment »

Lies encouraged in police Special Investigations Unit — 60 Minutes, June 1, 2008

Posted by Arroyoribera on May 31, 2008

Chicago Cop: Lies Were Encouraged

May 30, 2008

(CBS) Indicted Chicago police officer Keith Herrera says his superiors knew and encouraged him to lie on reports so questionable arrests would stand up in court.

In his first interview, Herrera, who also admits to stealing money, takes Katie Couric inside the Special Operations Section, an elite group of officers, some of whom he says profited during their quest to take criminals off the streets in one of the city’s largest police scandals.

The report will be broadcast on 60 Minutes this Sunday, June 1, at 7 p.m. ET/PT.

Herrera and six fellow SOS members were charged with crimes including armed robbery and aggravated kidnapping – many against suspected drug dealers. They have all pled not guilty. They are also accused of routinely lying on police reports. “Creative writing was a certain term that bosses used to make sure that the job got done,” he says. His bosses, says Herrera, wanted the cases to stick in court. “I didn’t just pick up a pen and just learn how to [lie on reports]. Bosses, guys that I work with who were older than I was…It’s taught to you,” he tells Couric.

The SOS mission was to get drugs and guns off the street, he says, “at any cost.”

Getting the job done often entailed breaking the rules, says Herrera. He describes to Couric a hypothetical scenario where to make a case stick against a gunman who tossed his weapon, a cop would lie in the police report and say that the gun never left the man’s hand. “Do you want that guy…that just shot somebody to not go to jail because he threw the gun? Or do you want him to go to jail because he never let the gun out of his hand?” asks Herrera. “I know what I’ve got to do.”

Pressed by Couric that his implication was that few or no officers went by the book, Herrera responds, “Maybe [some obey the rules]. This isn’t…Podunk, Iowa. This is the city of Chicago….You’ve got to do a job,” he says. And he says he was told he was doing a good job. “I got high-fives and honorable mentions and department commendations,” says Herrera.

Eventually, Herrera tells Couric, he went way over the line, sometimes taking money stolen from suspects. Herrera rationalized his first cut of illicit money. “I’m going to go tell a supervisor? No. And you just tell yourself it’s not going to happen again…No one is going to know,” he tells Couric. It did happen again and often, says Herrera. According to prosecutors, SOS members stole hundreds of thousands of dollars.

On these raids and in the unit’s street work there was a senior officer in SOS, Jerry Finnigan, who, though not a sergeant was effectively “in charge” says Herrera. Officer Finnigan was indicted with the rest and accused of being their ringleader. He was once an idol of Herrera’s. “To me he was like Superman,” he tells Couric. But, he says, Finnigan went too far. According to Herrera, Finnigan came to him last summer with a plan to deal with two former colleagues set to testify against them. “Jerry Finnigan decided that they didn’t need to be breathing anymore,” says Herrera.

This was a tipping point for Herrera and a moment to seize some kind of redemption. “I don’t have my star or my gun, but I’m still a cop. I’m going to stop you from doing this,” he says he thought at the time. He went to the FBI, who gave him a device to record Finnigan. On the recording, says Herrera, “he called [the alleged murder plot] a ‘paint job.’ He just said ‘some really good painters [would do the killing]. We’d never have to paint again,'” Herrera says Finnigan told him. Herrera says Finnigan even spoke of killing two more former Chicago cops from SOS. Finnigan was charged by federal prosecutors with planning a murder for hire based on Herrera’s recordings – a charge Finnigan denies.

Chicago Police Superintendent Jody Weis, brought in to stabilize the department after the SOS scandal, says Herrera’s story of street misconduct rings true. “I think there probably was an atmosphere…. ‘Maybe we are breaking the laws, but look what we’ve accomplished.’ They lost their way and it saddens me,” he tells Couric. Of the charge that supervisors knew and encouraged the misconduct, “That is horrific in my eyes,” says Weis.

Chicago Mayor Richard Daley acknowledges the taint on his police department left by the SOS indictments, but says his officers primarily help the public. “It could be 10 or 15 or 20 [misconduct incidents] but every day we’re answering thousands of calls….You don’t allow a series of things to overcome the police mission of serving and protecting the people of the city of Chicago,” he tells Couric.

Produced by Tanya Simon, Andrew Metz and Michael Radutzky
© MMVIII, CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Posted in Corruption, Ethics, Independent Oversight, Know Your Rights, Lies Damn Lies and ..., Testimonies, Unanswered Questions | Leave a Comment »

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 »

Deputy dumps quadriplegic from wheelchair in front of jail camera and colleagues

Posted by Arroyoribera on March 10, 2008

Law enforcement in the United States has become a threat to public security.

Take Spokane, Washington, where law enforcement beat, tasered, hog-tied and suffocated a disabled and innocent man, Otto Zehm, who later died. Spokane, Washington where suicidal Josh Levy was subject to 18 hours of police tactics prior to a botched tasering which prompted him to jump to his death from the Monroe Street Bridge.

Or take Hillsboro, Florida, where a Deputy — not believing that a man was a quadriplegic — violently and criminally dumps him out of his wheelchair as a way to prove it. And, of course, the surveillance video shows a Deputy laughing as he walks away from the crime.

http://www.heyokamagazine.com/HEYOKA.11.BrianSterner..htm

For more on abusive police officers, here are ten additional videos:

http://www.linkognito.com/b.php?b=727

Posted in Corruption, Ethics, History of SPD Abuses, Know Your Rights, No Sir Officer ____, Photographic Evidence, Spokane taser, Testimonies, Videos | Leave a Comment »

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

Posted by Arroyoribera on March 6, 2008

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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 »

Spokane Racism — new blog by Arroyoribera

Posted by Arroyoribera on January 29, 2008

Racism in Spokane – a 21st century reality

by Arroyoribera on January 24th, 2008

Racism in Spokane?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted by Arroyoribera on January 21, 2008

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Canada Puts U.S. on Torture Watch List

Posted by Arroyoribera on January 18, 2008

The Canadian government has put the United States on a watch list of countries that could practice torture. The mention is made on a secret Canadian government document not intended for public release. The document cites the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay and lists U.S. interrogation techniques including “forced nudity, isolation, and sleep deprivation.” Other countries on the list include Israel, Syria, China, Iran and Afghanistan.

(reported 01/18/2008 on Democracy Now! website — Democracy Now is daily TV/radio news program, hosted by Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez, airing on over 650 stations, pioneering the largest community media collaboration in the U.S.)

Posted in Freedom to Fascism, Lies Damn Lies and ..., Testimonies, War Abroad & At Home | Leave a Comment »

Urgent Call– Protest to close down Guantanamo — Friday, Jan. 11, 2008

Posted by Arroyoribera on January 10, 2008

GLOBAL CALL TO ACTION

Tell the government, tell the community, tell the world

GUANTANAMO MUST BE CLOSED!

108 N. Washington St, Spokane (downtown at corner Riverside and Washington)

Friday, January 11, 2008 at 4 PM

– Bring your signs. Bring your friends. Bring your OUTRAGE.

The Spokane American Legion Building at 108 N. Washington houses the offices of psychologists James Mitchell and Bruce Jessen, the architects of the military’s psychological torture plan used at Guatanamo, Abu Ghraib, Baghreb, and the secret so-called “black sites”, known by thinking people as “torture centers”.

The Role of Spokane, Fairchild, and the SERE/JPRA Program in U.S. Torture and Geneva Convention Violations (this post includes links to the major exposes on Mitchell/Jessen, Guantanamo, and videos of waterboarding, etc.

– Called by PJALS – Peace and Justice Action League of Spokane

Friday, January 11, 2008 marks the 6th year since the opening of the prison and torture center at Guantanamo Bay. As Americans responsible for funding this horror, many of us in Spokane plan to make known our abhorrence of that awful place, and will continue to demand that it be shut down – and shut down in a way that does not involve simply circulating its prisoners to other secret U.S.-run prisons.

PJALS (Peace and Justice Action League of Spokane) 35 W. Main, Spokane WA 99201 509-838-7870

Posted in Freedom to Fascism, History of SPD Abuses, Know Your Rights, License to Kill, Protest, Protest and Free Speech, Testimonies, Urgent Call, War Abroad & At Home | Leave a Comment »

2007 Was Worst Year of Iraq Occupation — by Dahr Jamail, IPS News

Posted by Arroyoribera on January 3, 2008

2007 Was Worst Year of Iraq Occupation

by Dahr Jamail, IPS News
Posted on December 31, 2007

http://www.alternet.org/story/72064/

Despite all the claims of improvements, 2007 has been the worst year yet in Iraq.

One of the first big moves this year was the launch of a troop “surge” by the U.S. government in mid-February. The goal was to improve security in Baghdad and the western al-Anbar province, the two most violent areas. By June, an additional 28,000 troops had been deployed to Iraq, bringing the total number up to more than 160,000.

By autumn, there were over 175,000 U.S. military personnel in Iraq. This is the highest number of U.S. troops deployed yet, and while the U.S. government continues to talk of withdrawing some, the numbers on the ground appear to contradict these promises.

The Bush administration said the “surge” was also aimed at curbing sectarian killings, and to gain time for political reform for the government of U.S.-backed Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.

During the surge, the number of Iraqis displaced from their homes quadrupled, according to the Iraqi Red Crescent. By the end of 2007, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) estimated that there are over 2.3 million internally displaced persons within Iraq, and over 2.3 million Iraqis who have fled the country.

Iraq has a population around 25 million.

The non-governmental organization Refugees International describes Iraq’s refugee problem as “the world’s fastest growing refugee crisis.”

In October the Syrian government began requiring visas for Iraqis. Until then it was the only country to allow Iraqis in without visas. The new restrictions have led some Iraqis to return to Baghdad, but that number is well below 50,000.

A recent UNHCR survey of families returning found that less than 18 percent did so by choice. Most came back because they lacked a visa, had run out of money abroad, or were deported.

Sectarian killings have decreased in recent months, but still continue. Bodies continue to be dumped on the streets of Baghdad daily.

One reason for a decrease in the level of violence is that most of Baghdad has essentially been divided along sectarian lines. Entire neighborhoods are now surrounded by concrete blast walls several meters high, with strict security checkpoints. Normal life has all but vanished.

The Iraqi Red Crescent estimates that eight out of ten refugees are from Baghdad.

By the end of 2007, attacks against occupation forces decreased substantially, but still number more than 2,000 monthly. Iraqi infrastructure, like supply of potable water and electricity are improving, but remain below pre-invasion levels. Similarly with jobs and oil exports. Unemployment, according to the Iraqi government, ranges between 60-70 percent.

An Oxfam International report released in July says 70 percent of Iraqis lack access to safe drinking water, and 43 percent live on less than a dollar a day. The report also states that eight million Iraqis are in need of emergency assistance.

“Iraqis are suffering from a growing lack of food, shelter, water and sanitation, healthcare, education, and employment,” the report says. “Of the four million Iraqis who are dependent on food assistance, only 60 percent currently have access to rations through the government-run Public Distribution System (PDS), down from 96 percent in 2004.”

Nearly 10 million people depend on the fragile rationing system. In December, the Iraqi government announced it would cut the number of items in the food ration from ten to five due to “insufficient funds and spiraling inflation.” The inflation rate is officially said to be around 70 percent.

The cuts are to be introduced in the beginning of 2008, and have led to warnings of social unrest if measures are not taken to address rising poverty and unemployment.

Iraq’s children continue to suffer most. Child malnutrition rates have increased from 19 percent during the economic sanctions period prior to the invasion, to 28 percent today.

This year has also been one of the bloodiest of the entire occupation. The group Just Foreign Policy, “an independent and non-partisan mass membership organization dedicated to reforming U.S. foreign policy,” estimates the total number of Iraqis killed so far due to the U.S.-led invasion and occupation to be 1,139,602.

This year 894 U.S. soldiers have been killed in Iraq, making 2007 the deadliest year of the entire occupation for the U.S. military, according to ICasualties.org.

To date, at least 3,896 U.S. troops have been killed in Iraq, according to the U.S. Department of defense.

A part of the U.S. military’s effort to reduce violence has been to pay former resistance fighters. Late in 2007, the U.S. military began paying monthly wages of 300 dollars to former militants, calling them now “concerned local citizens.”

While this policy has cut violence in al-Anbar, it has also increased political divisions between the dominant Shia political party and the Sunnis – the majority of these “concerned citizens” being paid are Sunni Muslims. Prime Minister Maliki has said these “concerned local citizens” will never be part of the government’s security apparatus, which is predominantly composed of members of various Shia militias.

Underscoring another failure of the so-called surge is the fact that the U.S.-backed government in Baghdad remains more divided than ever, and hopes of reconciliation have vanished.

According to a recent ABC/BBC poll, 98 percent of Sunnis and 84 percent of Shias in Iraq want all U.S. forces out of the country.

Dahr Jamail is an independent journalist who reports from Iraq.

© 2008 Independent Media Institute. All rights reserved.
View this story online at: http://www.alternet.org/story/72064/

Posted in Censorship, Protest and Free Speech, Solutions, Statistics, Testimonies, Urgent Call, War Abroad & At Home | 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 »

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 »

Call it Democracy — Bruce Cockburn

Posted by Arroyoribera on November 29, 2007

~ Call it Democracy ~
*

Padded with power here they come
International loan sharks backed by the guns
Of market hungry military profiteers
Whose word is a swamp and whose brow is smeared
With the blood of the poor

Who rob life of its quality
Who render rage a necessity
By turning countries into labour camps
Modern slavers in drag as champions of freedom

Sinister cynical instrument
Who makes the gun into a sacrament —
The only response to the deification
Of tyranny by so-called “developed” nations’
Idolatry of ideology

North South East West
Kill the best and buy the rest
It’s just spend a buck to make a buck
You don’t really give a flying fuck
About the people in misery

IMF dirty MF
Takes away everything it can get
Always making certain that there’s one thing left
Keep them on the hook with insupportable debt

See the paid-off local bottom feeders
Passing themselves off as leaders
Kiss the ladies shake hands with the fellows
Open for business like a cheap bordello

And they call it democracy
And they call it democracy
And they call it democracy
And they call it democracy

See the loaded eyes of the children too
Trying to make the best of it the way kids do
One day you’re going to rise from your habitual feast
To find yourself staring down the throat of the beast
They call the revolution

IMF dirty MF
Takes away everything it can get
Always making certain that there’s one thing left
Keep them on the hook with insupportable debt

 


 

Cockburn Project *

 


Alternative video — Call it Democracy *

 


 

Posted in Freedom to Fascism, Photographic Evidence, Protest and Free Speech, Testimonies, 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

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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

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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 »

We Will Not Be Silent

Posted by Arroyoribera on November 21, 2007

As long as the United States is engaged in an illegal war of occupation and as long as it suppresses opposition to that illegal war through constitutional violations at home, there will be increasing dissent and protest at home. We will not be silent!

We Will Not Be Silent

 

Iraqi Victims — Photos from Fallujah

 

Banning Free Speech and Dangerous T-Shirts

 

 

Posted in Censorship, Freedom to Fascism, Know Your Rights, Protest, Protest and Free Speech, Testimonies, 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 »

Mark Fuhrman — Spokane Area Law Enforcement Personalities of Note #2

Posted by Arroyoribera on November 19, 2007

(Note: As time permits, this posting on Mark Fuhrman — disgraced LAPD detective, convicted felon, perjurer, and racist — will be expanded and fleshed out. Fuhrman lost his job on November 15, 2007, as a “radio talk show host” on Spokane’s KGA-AM 1510. This link will take you to a discussion at the Hard 7 blog, run by Frank Sennett of The Alternative Source Radio.)

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

Racist quotes from Mark Fuhrman

(excerpt)  On the stand Fuhrman denied that he had said the “n-word” in years. But thirteen hours of tapes surfaced–recording interviews Fuhrman had given to Laura McKinny between 1985 and 1994 as part of a movie project. They showed in detail how Fuhrman and his fellow cops hated Black people, Mexicans and women–even Black people and women on the police force. Here was a man who belonged to an organization called “Men Against Women” that harassed women on the police force. Throughout the tapes, Fuhrman uses the “n-word” to refer to Black people–40 times in 61 excerpts selected by the defense. He uses the word casually–it is how he thinks about Black people. The tapes contain 18 examples of Fuhrman admitting to illegal use of deadly force, beating suspects to extract confessions, planting evidence, framing innocent people and lying or covering up the misconduct of other cops. (end excerpt)

Fuhrman’s 10/2/96 Plea Agreement to Felony Perjury

Fuhrman Profile

Fuhrman Show Cancelled

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Simpson Detective in Fight

January 27, 1995

A newspaper here reported today that the Los Angeles police detective accused by lawyers for O. J. Simpson of fabricating evidence out of racial hatred for Mr. Simpson struck a photographer trying to take his picture here.

The detective, Mark Fuhrman, used a briefcase to hit the photographer, Dan McComb of The Spokesman-Review, in the chest at Spokane International Airport on Wednesday, the newspaper said. Mr. Fuhrman then shoved the photographer to the ground and shouted, “Get out of my face,” the newspaper said.

Mr. Fuhrman, who was said to be on a house-hunting trip in anticipation of his retirement after Mr. Simpson’s murder trial, was questioned by the police but was not arrested.

(As reported in the NY Times)

Posted in History of SPD Abuses, Spokane LE Personalities, Testimonies, Trained to Kill | Leave a Comment »

Spokane Crime Statistics, Reports, and Concerns

Posted by Arroyoribera on November 15, 2007

NEW ITEMS:

Legal Resources — A new category below providing an extensive list of links on Freedom of Information and Open Meeting Law; Communication, Media, and Publication Law; and Legal Research

Police Attitudes towards Abuse of Authority — National Institute of Justice — (posted 12/19/07)

FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin — Archive 1996 – present

Spokane City/County Proposed Spending Plan/2007 Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) — “In the Event of Riots, Civil Disturbances and other L.E. Needs” — (posted 11/30/07)

Conducting Surveillance Operations — May 2004 FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin (posted 11/30/07)

Police Assault on Protesters — 4th of July 2007 in Spokane’s Riverfront Park — Officer Jay E. Kernkamp’s report (posted 11/27/07)

Electronic Control Weapons: Review & Recommendations (posted 11/27/07)

Filming in Spokane (posted 11/26/07) — provides guidance to film companies on movie making in Spokane. Page 10-12 are information on hiring “extra-duty” SPD officers. Information confuses “off-duty” and “extra-duty”.

Spokane Police Department Radio Signal Codes (posted 11/25/07)

Shielded from Justice: Police Brutality and Accountability in the United States — Human Rights Watch 1998 Report on Brutality in  Atlanta, Boston, Detroit, Indianapolis, Los Angeles, Minneapolis,  New Orleans, New York, Philadelphia,  Portland, Providence,  San Francisco, and Washington D.C. (posted 01/11/08)

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

The manipulation of facts by law enforcement officials results in misappropriation of public funds and the targeting of innocent people, particular racial minorities and socio-economically disadvantaged populations.

Let’s start with a couple examples of why the citizens of Spokane would do well to spend some time becoming familiar with statistics on crime in the Spokane area:

1) Lies, Damn Lies, and…SPD Corporal Lee and statistics differ on Crime in Spokane –In a KXLY 4 report entitled “Spokane Bucking National Trends”, Spokane Police Corporal Lee states on behalf of the Spokane Police Department that “we believe crime is up”. Yet the statistics say crime in Spokane is down, and down very significantly in 4 out of seven categories with no change in two others.

2) Facts Fabricated by Local and Federal Law enforcement regarding alleged Gang Bust — “I guess he may have taken some liberties with how those numbers were represented,” said Steve Lowhurst, Spokane special agent in charge for the ATF. (source: Spokesman-Review)

*Reports on Police Abuses

Police Attitudes towards Abuse of Authority — National Institute of Justice

Punishing Protest: Government Tactics That Suppress Freedom — National Lawyers Guild 2007 Report

Fighting Police Abuse: A Community Action Manual — American Civil Liberties Union 1997 Report

Faces of Surveillance: Targets of Illegal Spying — FBI/JTTF Spying on Peace Groups — ACLU FOIA Info

Conducting Surveillance Operations — May 2004 FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin

Spying on the Home Front (Video) — PBS FRONTLINE Report

Government Spying on US Citizens — ACLU

Silent Injustice: A Joint Project of the Washington Post and 60 Minutes — FBI withholds info on faulty ballistics testing

Information about the FBI — Your source for comprehensive, independent and nonpartisan information about the FBI

Shielded from Justice: Police Brutality and Accountability in the United States — Human Rights Watch 1998 Report on Brutality in  Atlanta, Boston, Detroit, Indianapolis, Los Angeles, Minneapolis,  New Orleans, New York, Philadelphia,  Portland, Providence,  San Francisco, and Washington D.C.

* Weaponry

Spokane Police Weapon of Choice — Glock 40

Spokane County Sheriff’s Office — Pistols, Submachine Guns and Battle Rifles

Battle Ready — The SPD’s Military Arsenal

Training Spokane Law Enforcement in Intel, Military Weapons, Crowd Control and more

“In the Event of Riots, Civil Disturbances and other L.E. Needs”

SPD’s Suicide Prevention Weapon — (Click on Virtual Tour)

* Statistics

Spokane Statistics and Demographics

Washington State Crime Statistics — Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs (1995-2007)

Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR)

City rating Crime Stats

City Crime Stats

Partners in Crime Prevention (PICP)

Spokane Public Library — Demographics

Hate Crime Incidents — Spokane 2005

Community Colleges of Spokane — Crime Stats and Information

Gonzaga University — Campus Crime Statistics

——-GU — Frequently asked questions about Spokane crime

——-GU — More Campus Crime Statistics (Federal Clery Act Stats)

*COPS — Spokane Community Oriented Policing Services

——-Neighborhood Observation Patrols (NOPS)

——-Calls for Service in Spokane City

——-Spokane Crime Map

——-Spokane Police Department Radio Signal Codes (11/25/07)

*Media Reports

Police Overtime — Seattle PI

New crime hotline not ringing true

Crime Stats in State have mixed pattern — Seattle PI

Spokane Crime Rate Soaring

Padding gang seminar stats

*Academic Studies and Reports

*Resources

Freedom of Information and Open Public Meeting Laws

Communications, Media & Publishing

Legal Research

*Spokane Police Department Generated Reports

SPD Neighborhood Policing Plan

Police Department Details Neighborhood Policing Plan (11/21/07)

*Publications

FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin — Archive 1996 – present

*Lies, damn lies and…

Experts say ‘ most dangerous city’ rankings twist numbers

*Tasers

Man dies after police jolt him with stun gun — Fredrick, Maryland 11/18/07

Electronic Control Weapons: Review & Recommendations — Georgia Association of Police Chiefs (2005)

*Other

Filming in Spokane (posted 11/26/07) — provides guidance to film companies on movie making in Spokane. Page 10-12 are information on hiring “extra-duty” SPD officers. Information confuses “off-duty” and “extra-duty”.

Posted in FBI in Spokane, Gangs?, History of SPD Abuses, Independent Oversight, Lies Damn Lies and ..., Statistics, Testimonies, Unanswered Questions | Leave a Comment »

Urgent Call: Police Advisory Committee Meeting — 5:30 PM Thurs, Nov 15, 2007, West Central Community Center, 1603 N. Belt St.

Posted by Arroyoribera on November 11, 2007

(PLEASE NOTE: This is a change of the day of week, time of day and location)

Police Advisory Committee (PAC) Meeting

 

Thursday, November 15
5:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.
West Central Community Center
1603 N. Belt St., Spokane WA

The Police Advisory Committee (PAC) is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Spokane Police Department. As you will see in the information below from the February 2007 SPD Newsletter (see page 6) , the Spokane Police Department likes to portray the Committee as representing the public. However, the committee is run by the police and for the police. While the Spokane Police Newsletter leaves out the fact that the Committee is officially staffed by six senior police staff persons and presents it as a representative of the Spokane people, the history of the PAC, its secrecy, it’s dominance by self-appointed representatives of certain community segments, and its lack of representation of the needs of those communities during many years of turmoil and abuse by the SPD suggest that it has put itself at the service of the SPD.

The PAC has met largely unseen and unknown monthly for nearly 25 years. During that period the SPD has suffered many embarrassments, created many scandals, killed many citizens, and been involved in much corruption. Yet, the Committee, with what are termed “representatives” of various Spokane communities, as had virtually nothing to say publicly. When its members have had things to say–such as when long-time PAC president Rick Mendoza stated at the January 30, 2007 ACLU-sponsored forum at Gonzaga University Law School that the SPD is the “best police department” in the United States–they have often failed to reflect a real understanding of community concerns with regard to the Spokane Police Department.

During the last 10 years of hidden PAC meetings with the SPD, another Spokane organization–the Citizens Review Commission “led” by Rev. Lonnie Mitchell — reportedly never met. The seven member Citizen Review Commission shares three members with the Spokane Police Department’s PAC and has two members who represent police associations (the Spokane Police Guild and the Police Lieutenants and Captains Association). The staff of the CRC is a Spokane City attorney and, of course, a Spokane Police officer. Members serve for three 4 year terms. Though the City of Spokane website provides a detailed description of the mission and purpose of the Police Advisory Committee, the same website provides no explanation what-so-ever of the mission and purpose of the Citizen Review Commission. It is understood that the Commission was formed to address complaints from the community regarding police misconduct. For that reason, it is extremely disturbing that during ten years of repeated controversy and police abuse, the Commission never met.

Both the Police Advisory Committee and the Citizens Review Commission share one citizen member in common, long-time Spokane Police apologist and defender Maria Yates. (Click on her name for information on her history with the SPD.)

———————————————————

From the City of Spokane website: (You will notice this differs from the presentation of the membership of the committee from the information presented in the Chief’s newsletter where no reference is made to the PAC’s six police “staff” members):

Police Advisory Committee (PAC) Meeting

Wednesday, August 8, 2007
7 a.m. – 8 a.m.
Monroe Court Bldg., Rm. 300, N. 901 N. Monroe St., Spokane

Police Advisory Committee
Contact: Lt. Rex Olson
1100 W. Mallon Ave
Spokane, WA 99260
(509) 835-4523

Mission Statement or Purpose: To act as an Advisory Board representing various community client groups to the office of the Chief of Police. To function as a sounding board for the Chief of Police regarding community needs and concerns, as well as community response to proposed police programs and procedures. The only term limits are for the Chair and Vice Chair who can each serve only two consecutive annual terms.

Members Title
Rev C.W. Andrews Member at Large
Joan Butler (Chair) Member at Large
Bob Byrne Member at Large
Bob Dellwo Member at Large
Carmella LeBlanc Hispanic Community
Marilou Buan Filipino American Association
Rick Mendoza Spokane Hispanic Business/Professional Assn.
Rev. Lonnie Mitchell SR. Alternate for Bishop Mize/Ministers’ Fellowship Union
Bishop Walton F. Mize SR. President, Ministers’ Fellowship Union
Roger Moses (Vice Chair) Native Americans
V. Anne Smith National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP)
Olmer “Butch” Smith Member at Large
Christy Hamilton Spokane COPS/Block Watch
Rev. Eugene Singleton Ministers’ Fellowship Union
Vang Xiong X. Toyed Spokane Hmong Association
Marie Yates Lincoln Heights/COPS Southeast
Ladd Smith Gay and Lesbian Community
Jan Dobbs Spokane Mental Health
Gheorghe Turcin Eastern European & other continents’ Ethnic Communities/ DOC high-risk release coordination
Russell Smith Lilac Blind Foundation
Staff Title
Anne Kirkpatrick Chief of Police
Jim Nicks Assistant Chief
Bruce Roberts Major
LT. Rex Olson Contact Person
Gill Moberly Major
Gayle Tucker Secretary

————————————————————

Following is the information on the PAC from Chief Ann Kirkpatrick’s SPD newsletter (February 2007):

Joan Butler is the new Chair of the committee. She replaces Rick Mendoza whose term expired. The new Vice Chair is Roger Moses.

The Police Advisory Committee was formed about 25-years ago by the Chief of Police to serve as a sounding board on various issues and concerns of the Department and the community. These can be specific incidents or broader matters of Spokane Police policy and procedure.

Committee members represent the interests of more than 20 groups as well as those of the greater Spokane community. The Police Advisory Committee is an important resource for the Chief’s office. Members provide input and feedback on SPD projects and advise the Chief on theneeds of the community as they relate to police programs. The committee assists SPD in educating citizens about Department policies and the role of community based policing. The committee meets quarterly at various community centers.

Please join us on August 8, 2007. Future meeting dates will be published in the SPD Newsletter.

Current members of the Police Advisory Committee are:

Joan Butler, Chair, at large member
Roger Moses, Vice-Chair, Native American Community
Rev. C.W. Andrews, at large member
Marilou Buan, Filipino American Association
Bob Byrne, at large member
Bob Dellwo, at large member
Jan Dobbs, Community Mental Health
Carmella LeBlanc, Hispanic Community
Rick Mendoza, Spokane Hispanic Business/Professional Association
Bishop Walton F. Mize, Sr., Ministers Fellowship Union
Rev. Lonnie Mitchell, alternate for Bishop Mize
Rev. Eugene Singleton, Ministers Fellowship Union
V. Anne Smith, NAACP
Omer L. “Butch” Smith, at large member
Gheorghe Turcin, DOC and East European & other continents’ ethnic communities
Vang Xiong X Toyed, Hmong Community
Marie Yates, COPS SE
Ladd Smith, Gay & Lesbian Community

POLICE ADVISORY COMMITTEE By: Cpl. Tom Lee

———————————————————————–

During ten years of police abuse and scandal in Spokane, the Citizen Review Commission headed by Rev. Lonnie Mitchell never met.

From the City of Spokane website:

Citizen Review Commission
Members of the Citizens’ Review Commission must have been a resident of the City of Spokane for at least four years by the time the appointment becomes affective. A police background check is completed on all applicants and his or her immediate family. The background check must show no significant recent criminal history. The applicant must agree to the necessary time commitment and must agree to represent the general public. All appointees must undergo a training program of up to sixteen hours in police and commission procedures and must do one ride-along with police.

Commissioners shall serve for 4 (three) year terms.

The Citizens’ Review Commission meets as needed.

Members Title Term Expires
Rev. Lonnie Mitchell, Sr.-Chair Citizen-at-Large 03/31/2008
Vern Burch Citizen-at-Large 03/31/2007
William Ogle Citizen-at-Large 06/08/2007
Douglas Puckett Citizen-at-Large 12/31/2010
Judge Richard Richard, Sr. Retired judge 03/31/2008
Robert Byrne Qualified Member of the Police Guild 12/31/2010
Marie Yates Qualified Member of the Police Lieutenants & Captains Association 03/31/2008
Staff
Mike Piccolo Legal Council
Dave Richards IA Lieutenant

Vacancies: 0

(Though this information is the most current on the City of Spokane website as of July 31, 2007, it would appear that there are in fact two openings on the Committee as the terms of Vern Burch and William Ogle have now expired).

Posted in Educating the Chief, Know Your Rights, Testimonies, Urgent Call | Leave a Comment »

What Does Self-Defense Against Riot Police Look Like?

Posted by Arroyoribera on October 31, 2007

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

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

What Does Self-Defense Against Riot Police Look Like?

author: Kirsten Anderberg

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


WTO Protest in Toronto

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Prison Towns — Walla Walla, Shelton and Spokane

Posted by Arroyoribera on October 6, 2007

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

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

Sunday, June 14, 1998

Special report

City of Second Chances

(first of six parts)

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

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

A funnel of convicted felons is aimed at Spokane.

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

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

For a startling number, the last stop is Spokane.

photo

Colin Mulvany – The Spokesman-Review

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    There are horror stories too.

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

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

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

    photo

    Colin Mulvany – The Spokesman-Review

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

    ‘They think this is paradise’

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    “Night life and prospective mates.”

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

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

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

    photo

    Colin Mulvany – The Spokesman-Review

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

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

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

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

    ‘Corrections is a growth industry’

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    “Those are our neighbors and friends.”

    Community impact isn’t studied

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    photo

    Colin Mulvany – The Spokesman-Review

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    ‘No more than our share’

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Part 2

    Part 3

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

    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 »

    Are You in a Gang?

    Posted by Arroyoribera on October 2, 2007

    The New York Times

     

     

     

    September 30, 2007

    Ideas & Trends

    Reporting While Black

    By SOLOMON MOORE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    I found their skepticism had only deepened.

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

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

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

    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 »