Amid mounting criticism, Gov. Charlie Baker Tuesday defended a proposal — tucked inside a larger bill to create a state certification system for law enforcement officers — to provide up to $5,000 bonuses for police to take on additional training.
“It’s for people who go above and beyond with respect to what they’re required to do under our proposal,” Baker said during a press conference. “And I don’t expect many to do it, but I think it’s important. If you want people to up their game, if you want people to perform at a higher level, if you want people to do a better job in serving the communities they represent and to be leaders with respect to the way they do that, it’s not unusual to create a modest incentive for them to do that.”
Local activists are, understandably, outraged at this proposal, which is, uhh, quite literally the opposite of the "Defund the Police" cry that many of them have been championing.
Existing anti-bias training programs for police are not particularly known for being effective, although it is certainly a profitable venture — and not just for the officers who take the governor up on that $5000 incentive. I'm also not sure why Baker thinks anyone wouldn't take him up on the offer for an easy $5K. A few weeks ago, I shared a blog post from a self-proclaimed former bastard cop, who had this to say (among other things):
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Let me tell you what probably won’t solve the problem of bastard cops:
Increased “bias” training.
An anonymous writer on Medium — identifying themself only as Officer A. Cab — has written an impassioned but scathing piece about the complicity of modern policing. This writer, claiming to be an ex-cop, shares his own shameful experiences being silenced for speaking against the "bad apple" officers, and eventually just going along with things he knew were inherently problematic. "American policing is a thick blue tumor strangling the life from our communities," he writes, "and if you don’t believe it when the poor and the marginalized say it, if you don’t believe it when you see cops across the country shooting journalists with less-lethal bullets and caustic chemicals, maybe you’ll believe it when you hear it straight from the pig’s mouth."
That's just in the intro. It gets way more in-depth, with numerous moments of quotable perfection (and a particularly disgraceful anecdote about some pay-to-play homeless abuse). I'll leave you with this passage, which has really sat with me:
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Your community was not made safer by police violence; a sick member of your community was killed because it was cheaper than treating them. Are you extremely confident you’ll never get sick one day too?
Wrestle with this for a minute: if all of someone’s material needs were met and all the members of their community were fed, clothed, housed, and dignified, why would they need to join a gang? Why would they need to risk their lives selling drugs or breaking into buildings? If mental healthcare was free and was not stigmatized, how many lives would that save?
As parks in upscale areas were packed with sunbathing yuppies, NYPD spent the weekend arresting those who failed to social-distance on the streets. In this video, an unmasked plain-clothes officer is seen brandishing a stun gun sideways like a movie gangster, then attacking a bystander watching an ongoing arrest.
Eyewitness News ABC 7 NY reports that the officer was placed on "modified duty" after the video emerged.
As a couple was being arrested, video shows one of the officers break away from that arrest to walk up to a bystander with his taser drawn -- swearing and telling him to move back.
Video showed the plainclothes officer, who was not wearing a protective face mask, slapping 33-year-old Donni Wright in the face, punching him in the shoulder and dragging him to a sidewalk after leveling him in a crosswalk.
The man attacked by the officer was reportedly Donni Wright, 33. Wright was charged with assault on a police officer, menacing, resisting arrest and other crimes, reports NBC. NYPD would not confirm that Wright is the man attacked by the officer in the video.
UPDATE: The original arrest was caught on CCTV was similarly violent and unnecessary. Two people not socially-distancing are approached up by the same officer, who pushes one against the wall before being joined by other plain-clothes cops who arrest both in shambolic fashion. Read the rest
In this segment from last year, CBS News reported on Jose Rodriguez, a tow truck operator arrested and charged with a felony while legally reposessing an NYPD detective's car. The owner hadn't made his car payments in months and the bank had issued a legal reposession order, but this deadbeat detective refused to let it go. According to CBS, he first attempted to illegally pay off the tow truck driver, then called over uniformed officers to have him taken to jail when he refused to take the cash. The cops also tampered with recording devices in the tow truck, but the stream was uploaded to the cloud and one officer's mugshot was captured by the camera.
The segment is going viral today without context, as they do, and in this case there's a less unhappy ending, at least for the tow truck driver: most of the charges against him were dropped after CBS News covered his case, leaving a single misdemeanor on the sheet. But after the detective sought Rodriguez out privately and harassed him in the street — at least according to Rodriguez — that charge was dropped too.
That detective makes at least $100k a year, can't afford payments on a $35k Nissan, yet has the cash on hand to bribe a tow guy and the desperation to have him arrested? Impunity is one thing, but this cop has another smell about him entirely. Read the rest
The "Straight Pride" Parade that was held in Boston in the end of August was just another example of thinly-veiled alt-right trolling. Unfortunately, it also worked. A hateful parade of a hundred-or-so people managed to divert hundreds of thousands in taxpayer dollars into overtime police coverage and shutdown streets during the busiest weekend in the city (Labor Day + college move-ins = hell).
Thanks to WBUR, we now know that that cost included 9,000 hours of overtime work for local police officers—the equivalent of 4 years of full-time policing service. And none of it was officially caught on film, despite the police aggressions caught on social media and the 3 dozen counter-protestors who were arrested during the parade.
(Coincidentally, the Massachusetts State Police Union was also embroiled in an overtime scandal in the months leading up to this parade.)
There are plenty of pros and cons to debate around the use of body cameras for police officers. In this case, it means that the public only has access to choppy, not-necessarily-reliable videos that arguably paint a picture of excessive police aggression against protestors. Read the rest
California Attorney General Xavier Becerra told two Berkeley-based reporters that it is against the law to even possess a copy of this never-before-publicly-released list of convicted cops.
Hey, remember those cops who ate a cannabis-infused chocolate bar that was supposed have been taken as evidence during a raid? Do you recall that they snarfed down their stolen snack while on duty and then proceeded to trip balls? Maybe the fact that they freaked out and called for police assistance--the sort of thing that the police normally do when they're in a life threatening situation--might ring a bell? OK, how about this: when their fellow officers responded, one slipped on the ice and was pretty badly injured as he tried to get to his distressed comrades. No? This link will jog your memory. Good to go? OK, buckle in: there's an update on their story.
This past November, Constable Vittorio Dominelli pleaded guilty to attempting to obstruct justice and wants everyone to know that he's very, very sorry.
From The CBC:
Justice Mary Misener says Dominelli is a "complete idiot" for tampering with evidence.
Crown attorney Philip Perlmutter, who read out an agreed statement of facts in court, says Dominelli took three hazelnut chocolate bars infused with cannabis oil from the raid.
Perlmutter says Dominelli and another officer later ate one chocolate bar and became intoxicated in about 20 minutes, and eventually radioed for help.
Const. Jamie Young and Dominelli allegedly assisted in the execution of a search warrant at Community Cannabis Clinic, a marijuana dispensary in the city's west end, in the early evening of Jan. 27.
As a result of their poor judgement and inopportune snacking, Dominelli and Young both wound up facing multiple misconduct charges under the Police Services Act. Read the rest
Mattthew Luckhurst, a 5-year veteran of San Antionio Police Department, was fired after feeding shit to a homeless person. Josh Baugh reports that he "placed fecal matter between two pieces of bread" and placed it in a styrofoam container next to his victim. It's not clear if they ate it.
“This was a vile and disgusting act that violates our guiding principles of ‘treating all with integrity, compassion, fairness and respect,’ Chief William McManus said in a prepared statement. “The fact that his fellow officers were so disgusted with his actions that they reported him to Internal Affairs demonstrates that this type of behavior will never be tolerated. The action of this one former officer in no way reflects the actions of all the other good men and women who respectfully serve this community.”
Even the police union has ditched him: “He’s on his own right now,” said Mike Helle, president of the San Antonio Police Officers Association. Read the rest
Here's how you actually get fired sharpish if you're a bad cop: you go up to your ex-wife's new husband, put your service gun in his face, then tell him you're going to kill him.
“Although [victim] Knupp was scared for his life, (Knupp) said, ‘You don't scare me, Ed,' ” according to the affidavit.
The detectives said [Cpl. Edward J.] Huwalt resumed calling Knupp “pedophile,” “pervert” and other derogatory names. The detectives allege Huwalt told Knupp to pull over, but Knupp responded that he was leaving and drove away. Knupp reported the threat to borough officials the next morning, and Berger called the detective bureau to investigate.
Brown and Kranitz said they determined that Huwalt's service handgun, a Sig Sauer .357 caliber Magnum, has a blue finish “and matches the description given by Charles Knupp
Ligonier Borough Council unanimously voted to sack Huwalt, 61. Huwalt's also been charged with making threats, reckless endangerment and harassment. Read the rest
Officer Jenchesky Santiago, of the Prince George's County, Maryland, police force was convicted of first-degree assault and misconduct in office. Santiago threatened a man, while holding a gun to his head, apparently to impress his friends. His police chief was less impressed and is recommending Santiago be fired.
Via the Washington Post:
Alsobrooks said that Santiago repeatedly asked the men what they were doing there, even after they explained that Cunningham lived in the house.
Santiago told them they were parked illegally — which prosecutors said was not true — and Cunningham said he would get out of the car and go inside.
Alsobrooks said Santiago then backed up, parked his cruiser and ran to Cunningham at the door of his home, where Santiago pulled out his gun.
“I was shocked. At the instant he pointed the gun to my head, I was shocked,” Cunningham said. He said that he was so dumbfounded that he found it hard to move quickly, and at first he simply repeated what was happening to his cousin, who was still nearby .
In the video, Cunningham says, “He put a gun to my head. He put a gun to my head,” before freezing in place for a long moment with Santiago’s weapon in his face.
Witnesses, including Cunningham, told investigators that Santiago allegedly uttered a threat that was not caught on video. Alsobrooks said the threat was: “We’re PG police, and we shoot people."
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A New York man who spent a month in jail after Pennsylvania state police mistook homemade soap he was traveling with for cocaine has filed a lawsuit. Read the rest
A police officer in the Northern California city of Rohnert Park was caught on video pulling his gun on a resident who was recording the cop on his cellphone. Read the rest
Remember those militarized cops who raided a California medical marijuana dispensary, harassed a disabled patient in the store, and were recorded on a security camera gobbling what was almost certainly marijuana-infused edibles that they swiped during the raid? Well, those cops are under investigation, and are trying to get off the hook by claiming that the security camera violated their right to be bullying, hypocritical asshats without be recorded on video.
From The Daily Beast:
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As brazen as the apparent behavior of officers that day is the argument being made by their lawyers. The three unidentified officers and their union are attempting to suppress the video’s use in ongoing disciplinary action against them by the city and police department.
In a lawsuit, the Santa Ana Police Officers Association and the three police officers argue that the video does not paint a fair version of events, and that it should not be allowed as evidence because the police had a reasonable expectation of privacy since they thought they had disabled all of the dispensary’s cameras.
“We believe that under California law, if you are being recorded, or eavesdropped on – which is the legal term for it – without your knowledge or consent, that it is illegal,” Corey Glave, the attorney representing the SAPOA and the three officers, told The Daily Beast. “Upon the direction of supervisors, all the cameras were disabled, so once those cameras were disabled, there was no expectation that there were any other cameras or that they were being recorded.”
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.
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Portland police officer Jeromie Palaoro is sitting on his couch collecting a paycheck pending the results of an investigation of his alleged sexual assault on a woman who had called the police to report that her boyfriend attacked her. Officer Palaoro was one of the officers who had responded to the call. The woman said that Officer Palaoro came to her hotel at 3:30am the following day in his street clothes but carrying a gun.
When he came into her room, Reid-James says Palaoro pulled out the gun and set it on the table. He then took off all of his clothes and demanded that she perform sexual acts on him.
According to Reid-James, this sexual assault lasted for 7-hours.
“The police bureau takes misconduct allegations very seriously,” police spokesman Sgt. Pete Simpson told KATU on Wednesday.
Officer Jeromie Palaoro has a history of misconduct. He was successfully sued last year for forcing his way into a home without a warrant and tracking mud. Read the rest
The Texas Department of Public Safety has just released what is said to be a complete and unedited police dashcam video recording of the arrest of Sandra Bland. An altercation begins around 9 minutes in. Read the rest
Colorado Springs police officer Tyler Walker said 18-year-old Alexis Acker was being “physically combative” and that she'd “kicked him in the groin area.” As a result, he had no other option other than to violently body-slam the handcuffed 100-pound teenager face down on a hard floor, knocking her teeth out. A police report stated that officer that Walker “escorted Ms. Acker to the floor.” Another report said officer Walker “rolled her out of the chair to the floor.”
Take a look at the video and see what being rolled to the floor by officer Walker looks like.
Acker was charged with five offenses, including two felony assaults on a police officer. In a plea bargain, she pleaded guilty to misdemeanor obstruction of a police officer and felony menacing, receiving a deferred sentence on the felony, says Cindy Hyatt, her criminal attorney.
Because Walker injured himself while body slamming the teen, he was advised of his rights as the victim by CSPD. The department refuses to say whether or not Walker faced any discipline for his actions. He remains on regular duty.
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