New court documents allegedly connect Breonna Taylor's murder to a massive real estate conspiracy

Breonna Taylor was a 26-year-old EMT who was killed by 3 plainclothes police officers who wrongly delivered a no-knock warrant (which is already constitutionally questionable) at her home in the middle of the night on March 13, 2020. The whole situation is tragic and frustrating and after 4 months, there's still been very little recourse against the officers responsible.

Aa new report from the Louisville Courier-Journal alleges an even more frustrating, bizarre, labyrinthine, and depressingly plausible scenario to explain how everything went so wrong on that fateful evening. The claims, which come from court filings by the lawyers representing Breonna Taylor's family, are not confirmed, nor do they even necessarily constitute legal evidence of any kind that would hold up in court; the Mayor's office in Louisville has called them "outrageous" and "without foundation or supporting facts." But they are, however, now a matter of record in the case. And while I agree that the whole thing sounds outrageous, it's also entirely believable, because shit like this does actually happen.

The court filings allege that Breonna Taylor's murder was an accidental result of other shady behaviors around the proposed Vision Russell Development Plan meant to revitalize the neighborhood (read: gentrification). The project had previously stagnated, but was finally starting to make some progress earlier this year when eight homes were demolished on Elliott Avenue over the course of a few weeks. One of homes on that street that was purchased by the city, but not destroyed, had been occupied by a man named Jamarcus Glover, an ex-boyfriend of Breonna Taylor's who also had a few small drug offenses on his record. Read the rest

Cops charged with murder after tasing man 50 times

Joshua Taylor and Brandon Dingman, two officers with Wilson Police Department in Oklahoma, were charged with second-degree murder after killing a man they tased 50 times. The New York Times reports that Jared Lakey, 28, "stopped breathing and became unresponsive" and died two days later.

Court records said that “such dangerous and unnecessary tasing” was a “substantial factor” in bringing about Mr. Lakey’s death. ... Spencer Bryan, a lawyer for Mr. Lakey’s parents, Doug and Cynthia Lakey, said both officers had initially claimed that they used Tasers on Mr. Lakey only four times. He said the charges were appropriate given what was shown on Mr. Taylor’s body camera footage, which he said the city of Wilson had allowed him to view.

“I have never seen a more disturbing video,” Mr. Bryan said in an email. “After watching it, I cannot understand how the city allowed officers who exhibited such gross recklessness, resulting in a man’s death, to continue working. We have great confidence the evidence supports the charges.”

Murder is a variable. Police lying about what they did is a constant. Read the rest

George Floyd Justice In Policing Act, Democrats' police reform bill, passes in House & heads to Senate

“House approves sweeping police overhaul from Democrats, responding to national outcry over George Floyd's death.” — AP

North Carolina cop: "We are just going to go out and start slaughtering them f------ n------"

Three members of the Wilmington Police Department in North Carolina were fired after a supervisor reviewing dashcam footage noticed them eagerly discussing the prospect of race war: "We are just going to go out and start slaughtering them fucking n----s", said one of the officers, Kevin Piner.

Michael ‘Kevin’ Piner, James ‘Brian’ Gilmore, and Jessie E. Moore II were all terminated from the force. The announcement came from the new Chief of Police Donny Williams — not even 24-hours into his first day as chief.

On Wednesday afternoon, members of City Council along with Williams held a press conference to address the conduct of the former police officers. Williams, a nearly 30-year veteran at the department said he was saddened by the actions of the officers, but would have no tolerance for this type of behavior.

The comment was one of many similarly racist and homophobic statements made during the conversation:

Piner received a phone call from Moore, according to the investigation, a segment in which Moore referred to a black female as a "negro." He also referred to the woman by using a racial slur. He repeated the use of the slur in describing a black magistrate, and Moore used a gay slur to describe the magistrate as well. ... Piner then told Moore he felt a civil war was needed to "wipe them off the (expletive) map. That'll put them back about four or five generations." Moore told Piner he was "crazy," and the recording stopped a short time later.

Read the rest

A powerful portrait series of Black Americans killed by police that uses time as a visual medium

Adrian Brandon is a Seattle-raised and Brooklyn-based visual artist, whose "Stolen" collection was originally displayed at his first public solo show in November 2019 at 263 Bowery in New York. It's stunning visual art project both in its concept, and its execution. I'll allow the artist to explain:

This series is dedicated to the many black people that were robbed of their lives at the hands of the police. In addition to using markers and pencil, I use time as a medium to define how long each portrait is colored in. 1 year of life = 1 minute of color. Tamir Rice was 12 when he was murdered, so I colored his portrait for 12 minutes. As a person of color, I know that my future can be stolen from me if I’m driving with a broken taillight, or playing my music too loud, or reaching for my phone at the wrong time. So for each of these portraits I played with the harsh relationship between time and death. I want the viewer to see how much empty space is left in these lives, stories that will never be told, space that can never be filled. This emptiness represents holes in their families and our community, who will be forever stuck with the question, “who were they becoming?” This series touches on grief and the unknown.

Brandon's pen-and-ink work is phenomenal. But when you see how much — or how little — color art is added to the lives of these people of color, it really drives the point home. Read the rest

Philonise Floyd, brother of slain George Floyd, asks U.N. to investigate police brutality and racist violence against Black Americans

"I'm asking you to help him, I'm asking you to help me." — George Floyd's brother Philonise Floyd calls for UN probe into police brutality in U.S.

Seattle activists have established a 6-block autonomous zone around an abandoned police station

On Friday, June 5, Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan announced a 30-day ban on police using tear gas. By Sunday night, the police had already broken that rule. Come Monday, the Mayor announced that police would be abandoning the city's East Precinct, including the police station, which had been cordoned off for two weeks after a man drove a car through a crowd of protestors and shot one.

As soon as the police left the area, protestors repurposed the barricades, and turned the 6-block area into a makeshift anarchist enclave they're calling the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone, or CHAZ. (and yes, it already has its own Wikipedia page.)

Read the rest

Creator of the Punisher is organizing a Black Lives Matter benefit to reclaim the skull symbol from police

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:

Read the rest

Police union leader invites bad cops to work in Florida

Are you a cop so bad you managed to actually get disciplined or charged with crimes for your behavior? Florida needs you! The Brevard County Fraternal Order of Police called on such officers to head south, where they can enjoy "lower taxes, no spineless leadership, or dumb mayors rambling on at press conferences."

Brevard County F.O.P. President Bert Gamin, who said he is a 28-year law enforcement veteran, with two years as a Melbourne Police Department reservist and 26 years with the Brevard County Sheriff's Office , claimed responsibility for the recruitment post.

"Our citizens have a right to protest peacefully and legally. They do not have a right to block roadways, trespass on private property or disobey lawful commands from law enforcement officers," he wrote in response to emailed questions from FLORIDA TODAY.

Gamin, a current Brevard County Sheriff's Office Lieutenant, specifically extended the offer to officers implicated in a felony assault in Buffalo and to six charged with a range of crimes in Atlanta. In Buffalo, two officers cracked open the head of a 75-year-old man by pushing him to the ground and dozens more cheered them after their arraignment on felony assault charges. In Atlanta, six officers were charged, four with felonies, after dragging black college students from a car and violently arresting them, inflicting serious injuries on two. Read the rest

Military police un-ironically re-stage the Boston Massacre during anti-police protests

On March 5, 1770, militarized law enforcement officers committed a heinous act of state-sponsored violence in front of the Old Boston State House, shooting and murdering an innocent black man named Crispus Attucks along with four other people who were protesting against state-sponsored violence committed by militarized law enforcement officers. This massacre is largely recognized as a turning point in public sentiment against the corrupt authorities, which would eventually lead to a full-blown revolution.

On June 7, 2020, militarized law enforcement officers staked out a position in front of the Old Boston State House as a pre-emptive measure against people who were protesting against state-sponsored violence committed by militarized law enforcement officers, largely motivated by the unjust murders of innocent black people at the hands of militarized law enforcement officers.

While no one was killed during this embarrassing moment of accidental historical cosplay, public sentiment does appear to be turning against the authorities. Whether this leads to a full-blown revolution has yet to be seen.

Image: Public Domain via Paul Revere Read the rest

Justifying police violence, Trump lies about Buffalo man bleeding from ear after police attack

The president is nuts.

John Oliver on police brutality

A half-hour special episode on how police in America respond to protests against police brutality: with greater brutality, armed for war.

As nationwide protests over the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor are met with police brutality, John Oliver discusses how the histories of policing and white supremacy are intertwined, the roadblocks to fixing things, and some potential paths forward.

Read the rest

If you see the police, start recording

T.C. Sottek writes that this week's protests, marked by soaring levels of police violence against demonstrators, show that we have a responsibility to record them when we can. Last night's horrific attack on an unarmed, elderly man by Buffalo police is only the latest and sharpest example of a lie—the officers claimed he tripped—exposed by video.

You have a right to record the police

Everyone in the United States — citizen or resident — has a constitutional right to record police who are performing their public duties. The police don’t have the right to stop you as long as you’re not disrupting their business, and they aren’t allowed to confiscate your phone or camera just because you were recording them. This is the consistent opinion of federal courts and the Supreme Court, which affirmed in 2014 (in a 9-0 decision) that cops need a warrant if they want to seize and search your cellphone.

Many excellent tips. Extra batteries! Read the rest

"Law Enforcement" seizes hundreds of coronavirus masks to prevent use by protestors

The Huffington Post reports that law enforcement has siezed hundreds of coronavirus masks to prevent protestors from wearing them in public.

The U.S. Postal Service tracking numbers for the packages indicate they were “Seized by Law Enforcement” and urge the mailer to “contact the U.S. Postal Inspection Service for further information.”

The U.S. Postal Inspection Service did not immediately respond to HuffPost’s request for comment.

It’s not entirely clear what law enforcement entity seized the masks or why.

Without masks, protestors have less protection against coronavirus (and may even be breaking the law). They are therefore less likely to protest and more likely to fall ill if they do.

Read the rest

Elderly man shoved to ground by Buffalo cops in horrific footage

Two officers from Buffalo police department were suspended late Thursday after footage of them shoving an elderly man spread on social media. The man, who was unarmed and clearly unthreatening to the officers, was seriously injured and taken to hospital. Buffalo police claimed he tripped and fell. Only the footage, which shows the man unconscious and bleeding from a head injury and one ear, forced the truth from them.

Buffalo Police Department Captain Jeff Rinaldo told CBS News later Thursday night that "the Police Commissioner has immediately suspended two officers without pay in connection with the incident observed in the video." Rinaldo said the department has launched an internal affairs investigation.

Buffalo Police originally told reporters in a summary of the protest that "one person was injured when he tripped and fell."

This is what they do when they know the cameras are rolling. Think what they do when they know they aren't. Read the rest

NYPD officers assault Associated Press journalist, force crew to stop covering protest

NYPD forced an Associated Press film crew to stop covering protests in New York City, the news agency reported today, pushing and threatening to arrest the journalists in lower Manhattan. The AP describes it as the latest act of aggression against media by police during protests against the killing of George Floyd.

Portions of the incident were captured on video by videojournalist Robert Bumsted, who was working with photographer Maye-E Wong to document the protests in lower Manhattan over the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

The video shows more than a half-dozen officers confronting the journalists as they filmed and took photographs of police ordering protesters to leave the area near Fulton and Broadway shortly after an 8 p.m. curfew took effect.

An officer, using an expletive, orders them to go home. Bumsted is heard on video explaining the press are considered “essential workers” and are allowed to be on the streets. An officer responds “I don’t give a shit.” Another tells Bumsted “get the fuck out of here you piece of shit.”

Did you know the NYPD's annual budget is $5.6bn? The only other force with a budget this big appears to be London's Metropolitan Police. Together the two forces have a similar budget to the Iranian military. Either alone would rank in the top quartile of the world's armed forces.

Read the rest

Is 2020 over yet?

Climate change, growing inequality, systemic racism, militarized police, rising fascism, Covid-19 pandemic, plagues of locusts. From is2020over.com, a list of 2020's bad news to date.

January More than 20% of Australia's forest is lost to forest fires.[>] World War III is barely averted after US aggression.[>] Africa is plagued by unprecedented locust swarms.[>] February The UK withdraws from the European Union.[>] The 2020 Tokyo Olympics are postponed due to COVID-19.[>] March COVID-19 is declared a global pandemic. Hundreds of thousands die. [>] Schengen borders are closed, halting European travel. Global public air traffic comes to a halt. April Mecca sits eerily empty, despite Ramadan. Pentagon releases UFO footage. White people riot to get haircuts. 1986 sent a "Miss Me?" as a wildfire in the radioactive forests around Chernobyl caused radiation to spike 20-fold. May Eurovision Song Contest is cancelled. Microsoft breaks Windows via update, again. Locusts now sweep India and Pakistan. The murder of George Floyd sparks protests & riots throughout the US. June A new Ebola outbreak was declared in Mbandaka, Congo, where no cases had been found since 2018. Read the rest

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