Writer Gerry Conway has been vocal for years about the misappropriation of the Punisher, a vigilante murderer superhero he created in 1974 when he wrote Amazing Spider-Man #129:
It's disturbing whenever I see authority figures embracing Punisher iconography because the Punisher represents a failure of the Justice system. He's supposed to indict the collapse of social moral authority and the reality some people can't depend on institutions like the police or the military to act in a just and capable way. […] Whether you think the Punisher is justified or not, whether you admire his code of ethics, he is an outlaw. He is a criminal. Police should not be embracing a criminal as their symbol.
Unfortunately, Conway's insistence on what's plainly obvious for anyone who's actually familiar with the Punisher has not stopped the character from becoming a symbol of fascism, proudly worn by law enforcement agents who probably shouldn't be boasting about their love of fascism.
Now, with protests against police brutality raging across the country, Conway is taking another approach:
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A 46-year old black man named George Floyd was killed by police in Minneapolis on Monday, May 25, 2020. A police officer named Derek Chauvin kneeled on Floyd's neck, after vaguely accusing him of forgery and/or public intoxication. He pressed his knee down so hard — and kept it there — that it cut off the air to Floyd's lungs, suffocating him. Three police officers stood around and watched as Floyd used his last breaths to cry for help; several bystanders filmed the scene, and tried to get the cops to stop, but to no avail.
Those 4 police officers were fired shortly after the video was released (by their official account, Floyd had been "resisting arrest," something which is a physically impossible to do while also dying under restraint). That sounds like good news on the surface — but thanks to Police Union rules, bad cops who get fired for misconduct usually just get re-hired in a nearby precinct. Their past behavior — even repeated, established patterns of violent misconduct — are left off their permanent record, or otherwise ignored.
And that's exactly how the police officer who killed George Floyd was in the position to do so in the first place. As Insider reports, Derek Chauvin had a long and ugly history of police brutality, long before he killed George Floyd:
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[Chauvin] was involved in violent incidents before, including three police shootings. And he has been the subject of 10 complaints filed to the city's Civilian Review Authority and the Office of Police Conduct.
Case affects privacy rights of law enforcement officers, and freedom of information for those investigating police abuse.
Here's yet another reason to install a dashcam. Joshua was rolling through Brooklyn around midnight when an undercover cop car ran a red light as he was turning left from the opposite direction. He's then treated to a lot of lip by the officers as he protests his innocence while pulled over. Read the rest
"Use of wearable video cameras is associated with a 3.64% increase in shooting-deaths of civilians by the police," according to a research paper from Temple University. Here's where this research gets more interesting: 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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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. 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
“I had 12 officers on the scene and 11 of them performed according to their training,” the local police chief said at a press conference today.