Watch Judge Vonda Evans sentencing racist cops to years in jail

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Racist cops in Inkster, MI., set out to pull over a black motorist and beat him up. One of them, William Melendez, was jailed for no less than 13 months today for his part in the attack, and Judge Vonda Evans's sentencing statement was a powerful and stirring moral condemnation of his behavior and that of his fellow officers, police culture, and the cynicism it leads to.

Watch the footage at Fox 2 Detroit's website. Warning: racial slurs.

Judge Vonda also spoke before the sentencing, saying Melendez and his officer were playing a "game" when they decided to pull over Dent.

"You forgot the eye of justice was watching. The dash cam designed to protect you - caught you. You knew better," she said.

Update: thanks to Aaron Hamer for the embed link. If you're looking for the best quote, it starts at 4h 22m Read the rest

Video emerges of Pittsburgh cop beating up teen

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Only after assault charges against Pittsburgh police Sgt. Stephen Matakovich were dropped did the public get to see the video of him beating up a teenager.

The off-duty cop, working as a security guard, claimed that 19-year-old Gabriel Despres kept his hands in his pockets after being ordered to remove them and was therefore a "threat."

A judge agreed Monday that Despres was the aggressor and dismissed the charges against Matakovich, reportedly to cheers among police gathered in the courtroom.

But now the FBI plans to review the case after the video of the Nov. 28, 2015 incident outside Heinz Field was posted online.

Though Matakovich also maintained that Despres lunged at and punched him, the video shows otherwise. The grainy footage depicts Matakovich shoving Despres to the ground and launching a series of punches to his head. Despres lifts his arm at one point to shield himself from the blows, but does not appear to retaliate or resist.

It's not Matakovich's first time in the news: in 2003, he was videotaped threatening to beat up a superior officer on the Pittsburgh Police force, but was let off the hook despite protests from his own commander.

Word of the review came a day after a district judge dismissed charges against Sgt. Stephen Matakovich, a 22-year veteran, who had been accused of using unnecessary force in taking down Gabriel Despres, 20, of South Park.… District Justice Robert Ravenstahl’s decision Monday to dismiss charges of simple assault and official oppression against Sgt.

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Justice Department to investigate SF Police, as protests over Mario Woods killing continue

Mario Woods, shot to death by SFPD officers in Dec., 2015.

As protests continue over the death of Mario Woods, who was shot and killed by an SFPD cop in December, the Justice Department announces it will conduct a “comprehensive review” of the San Francisco Police Department.

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Dashcam captures Oregon cop violently kicking motorcyclist

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If you're a cop in Oregon, I guess the way to get promoted is to rear end your unmarked patrol car into a motorcycle and then violently kick the nonresistant rider with enough force to break his collarbone. It'll cost taxpayers $180,000 to settle the lawsuit against you, but that not your problem! Read the rest

Mistrial declared in Freddie Gray police brutality case

Police clashed with protesters near Mondawmin Mall after Freddie Gray's funeral. [Reuters]

A Baltimore judge declared a mistrial Wednesday after jurors were unable to reach a verdict in the case of Freddie Gray, who died after suffering severe injuries while in police custody.

After three days of deliberations, a hung jury was announced for all the charges filed against William Porter, the officer charged with manslaughter, reckless endangerment, second-degree assault and misconduct in connection with Gray's death.

Gray, who was arrested after running from police in April, died after his neck was broken inside the back of a police van, which made multiple stops after picking him before heading to the station. He was not seat-belted in the van and Porter allegedly refused to get him medical care.

Five officers were charged over Gray's death, but NBC News reports that the case against Porter was deemed by prosecutors to be their strongest and an indicator of their chances of success in the other trials.

Over the past two days, the jury of four black women, three black men, three white women and two white men gave signals that they were locked in tense discussions. On Tuesday they told Judge Barry Williams that they were deadlocked and he sent them back to deliberate.

Earlier on Wednesday the jurors asked for a transcript of witness testimony — a request the judge denied. Shortly after, jurors let the court know that they were hung.

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As jury deliberates in Freddie Gray death trial, Baltimore schools warn students not to protest

Police clashed with protesters near Mondawmin Mall after Freddie Gray's funeral. [Reuters]

Jurors in Baltimore, Maryland are now deliberating whether a police officer is guilty of manslaughter and assault in the death of Freddie Gray, a black man who died from a spinal cord injury that took place while he was in police custody last April. We know about Gray's death in part because someone took video of his arrest. His family says the police killed him, and it's hard to imagine they're wrong.

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New crowdfunding campaign to help local independent journalists hold police accountable

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Today Freedom of the Press Foundation is proud to announce a new crowd-funding campaign that will fund local journalists around the United States to file Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and other transparency lawsuits aimed at uncovering video evidence of police misconduct and brutality against unarmed men and women. You can donate to the fund here.

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Video of 5 San Francisco police officers shooting a Black man dead goes viral

Photo: @Daniggahot on Instagram

In a now-viral police killing video captured in San Francisco, a 26-year-old man stands up against a wall as a group of police officers aim their guns at him. Mario Woods, 26, was then shot to death, execution-style.

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Cops kick in wrong door, kill wrong man

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An unarmed North Carolina man was shot dead this weekend by Sheriff’s deputies in Harnett County, who reportedly kicked in his door after misidentifying his home as that of a suspect in another crime.

WNCN reports that John Livingston, 33, was shot several times during the incident. Few answers are forthcoming on the circumstances.

[room-mate] Carroll says sheriff’s deputies knocked on their door around 3:30 a.m.

Carroll said they were looking for someone that no longer lived there. When deputies asked Livingston if they could search the trailer, Livingston said “not without a search warrant,” according to Carroll.

Livingston then closed the door.

“The cop kicked in the door, got on top of him, started slinging him around beat him…” Carroll said.

The officers involved are on administrative leave, but their identities have not been released, according to ABC news. One of the deputies received minor injuries, but they were not specified. Read the rest

Man in police custody died after being tased 20 times in 30 minutes

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A Virginia man who died in police custody was tased 20 times in 30 minutes, according to a civil rights lawsuit filed by his sister.

Linwood Lambert, 46, was tased 10 times within 2 minutes at one point during his arrest, racking up a total of 87 seconds of electrical discharge: enough, according to federal guidelines, to inflict serious injury or death.

Lambert was detained after officers responded to a noise complaint and found him to be delusional, according to police reports. Transported to hospital, however, he became aggressive, kicking out a car window and "sprinting roughly 20 feet towards the ER entrance and crashing into the building’s glass doors."

Video footage acquired by MSNBC shows what happened next: the officers tased him over and over again, then decided to arrest him and leave instead of taking him into the hospital.

During the incident, Lambert appears subdued on the ground and tells police he used cocaine earlier in the night. As Lambert lies on the ground outside of the hospital, police arrest him for disorderly conduct and destruction of property. Instead of taking him into the hospital to receive care they put him back into the police car.

During the incident Lambert repeatedly asked police to stop. "Why are you trying to kill me man," Lambert said in the video. "Please don't do this to me."

During the ride to the police station, Lambert appears to be unconscious and the officers realize he is in distress. An ambulance is called to take him back to the hospital and he is pronounced dead at 6:23 a.m., according to MSNBC.

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Killer cops charged with murder thanks to bodycam footage

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Two Louisiana cops who killed a 6-year-old boy have been charged with murder after bodycam footage showed that his father had his hands up when they opened fire.

Derrick Stafford, 32, and Norris Greenhouse Jr., 23, were also charged with attempted murder after firing upon a vehicle at what Louisana State Police described as "the conclusion of a pursuit."

Jeremy Mardis was shot five times, according to the Avoyelles Parish coroner's office, and his father, Chris Few, was also critically injured.

Police have not yet released the footage.

The head of the Louisiana State Police earlier said that video of the shooting is one of the most disturbing things he's ever seen, CBS News' David Begnaud reported.

"This was not a threatening situation for the police," Mark Jeansonne, the attorney for Chris Few, told the Associated Press after a closed hearing for the marshals.

Few remained hospitalized, and he was unable to attend the family's funeral for his son, 6-year-old Jeremy Mardis.

Questions are also swirling about the claim of a pursuit, with CBS's Bergnaud describing the answers he's receiving as the strangest he's received in 15 years of reporting.

"That is one question I've been trying to ask for three days, and the answers I've been getting are some of the most bizarre I've ever gotten," Bergnaud said. "There was no warrant, there was no 911 call… there was nothing to indicate why these 2 officers moonlighting as deputy marshals at the time would have pulled over his man. Nothing to indicate why they would have turned on their lights in Marksville and pursued him down the dead-end road that led to the shooting."

Huffington Post reports that at least 18 rounds were fired into the vehicle. Read the rest

Lawsuit: homophobic Hawaii cop arrested women for kissing in public

Photo: Taylor Guerrero

A lesbian couple were arrested after kissing in a grocery store, and now the Hawaii cop who targeted them is the target of a lawsuit.

The Honolulu Police Department has also opened an internal investigation into the conduct of officer Bobby Harrison, who allegedly punched one of the women in the face after they ignored his objections to their public display of affection.

Courtney Wilson and Taylor Guerrero were taken into custody in March after the incident, at a Foodland store on Oahu's North Shore. They were charged with felony assault on an officer and spent three days in jail. The charges were dropped after five months, during which the women were forced to remain on the islands.

Foodland apologized to the women, according to their Honolulu attorney Eric Seitz, but did not otherwise comment on the lawsuit. Store staff reportedly helped the officer, who was in uniform but off-duty, restrain the women during the encounter.

According to the lawsuit, Harrison saw the women kissing and "in a loud voice, ordered plaintiffs to stop and 'take it somewhere else.'" Though the women walked away, Harrison followed them and "ordered Plaintiffs to stop, and threatened to have them thrown out of the store."

In the checkout line, according to the lawsuit, Harrison told them they were trespassing, and ordered them to "move out of the cashier line." Wilson started to call 911, but Harrison grabbed Wilson by the wrist to prevent her doing so and told them "you girls don't know how to act."

When Guerrero tried to separate the two, she told reporters, Harrison shoved her then punched her in the face. Read the rest

Schoolgirl-dragging cop fired

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Deputy Ben Fields, the school cop filmed dragging and throwing a disobedient teen, was fired today by Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott.

Lott announced at midday EST that Fields has already been relieved of his duties and that the wheels are in motion to remove him officially from the force.

A civil rights investigation is already underway into the conduct of Fields, a white officer whose attack on a black child took place in the context of rising tensions in the South Carolina community in which he serves. As Spring Valley High School resource officer, he was often accused of roughing up the youngsters in his care.

But this was the first time he was caught doing it on camera.

NBC News:

Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott said an internal investigation over the Monday incident at Spring Valley High School in Columbia focused on whether Senior Deputy Ben Fields had violated the department's policies.

He said at a news conference that the department looked at cellphone videos taken from the classroom and interviews with witnesses, and concluded that the maneuvers he used in the confrontation were "not acceptable."

"From the very beginning that's what's caused me to be upset, and continued to upset me is that he picked the student up and threw the student across the room," Lott said.

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Cop filmed throwing schoolgirl in rough arrest

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Footage of a South Carolina cop picking up and throwing an uncooperative schoolgirl galvanized the internet Monday.

Videos, recorded from at least three angles, show an uncooperative student sullenly rooted in her seat as an officer, identified as Deputy Ben Fields, commands her to leave the classroom with him. She ignores him, and after a few rounds of being ignored, he moves to grab her.

After she falls to the ground, he drags her, then throws her across the room as a teacher stands nervously to one side.

Richland County Sheriff's department's Lt. Curtis Wilson told reporters that Fields' actions were under investigation and that he had been placed on administrative leave, Read the rest

Cop says he tased man because he "got into a power stance." Dashcam shows cop is a liar

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The video starts with Kansas City Officer Dale Secor asking Short Stop Mini Mart clerk Damian Words for his ID. Both men are standing next to Words' car, which is parked perpendicularly in a driveway. Officer Secor tells Words he is getting a ticket. Words explains he is a clerk at the store across the street and had to move his car while the spot he normally parks in is being worked on. Read the rest

Here's the video NYPD released of a plainclothes cop brutally attacking tennis star James Blake

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James Blake made a terrible mistake. He was outside in public while black. Here is video proof, released today by the New York Police Department.

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WATCH: Florida cop treating handcuffed homeless man like hungry zoo animal

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A kindly Sarasota, Florida police officer was observed on video feeding a handcuffed homeless man with peanuts tossed on the floor and into the man's mouth. The officer also issued "dog commands" to the homeless man, who rolled around to eat the peanuts off the floor. The incident was recorded on video. As a reward for his kindness to a fellow human being, officer Andrew Halpin was given a paid vacation while an internal investigation team decides what to do. Read the rest

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