Serial swatter off to jail for "at least 20 years"

Tyler Barriss, a serial hoaxer whose SWATting calls to 911 we've covered before, is off to jail. He'll serve at least 20 years, according to his plea deal, but won't be sentenced until January.

A California man has admitted making a hoax call that ultimately led police to fatally shoot a Kansas man following a dispute between online gamers over $1.50 bet in a Call of Duty WWII video game.

Twenty-six-year-old Tyler R. Barriss pleaded guilty to making a false report resulting in a death, cyberstalking and conspiracy related to the deadly swatting case in the Kansas. The deal with prosecutors will send him to prison for at least 20 years, if the judge accepts it. He had previously pleaded not guilty in Kansas.

28-year-old Wichita, Kansas father of two, Andrew Finch, was killed by local police in 2017 after Barriss apparently took a $1.50 in-game bet to call them on him.

Vile as he is, Barriss is just a trigger: the bomb is police enthusiasm for deadly violence on the slightest pretext. Prosecutors refused to charge Justin Rapp, the cop who actually killed Finch, though his department faces a lawsuit from his family. Read the rest

Dallas P.D. fires Amber Guyger, cop who entered neighbor's apartment and killed him

After first claiming it was unable to do, Dallas P.D. has fired Amber Guyger, the officer who forced her way into a neighbor's apartment and killed him, supposedly under the impression that it was her home and that he was an intruder.

Dallas Police Chief U. Reneé Hall terminated Police Officer Amber Guyger, #10702, during a hearing held September 24, 2018.

An Internal Affairs investigation concluded that on September 9, 2018, Officer Guyger, #10702, engaged in adverse conduct when she was arrested for Manslaughter.

Officer Guyger was terminated for her actions. She was hired in November 2013 and was assigned to the Southeast Patrol Division.

Under civil service rules, Officer Guyger has the right to appeal her discipline.

Guyger is trouble, but has received an alarming degree of special treatment since killing Botham Jean. Read the rest

Activists teaching Australian Aboriginals to protect themselves by recording their interactions with law enforcement

Smartphone video footage of police brutality being exercised against black Americans and other ethnic minorities living their lives within the nation’s borders have become depressingly commonplace. While difficult to watch and, most likely for the videographer, difficult to stand by and film, such footage can be an important tool in bringing cops who abuse the power of their office to justice. The news, social media and water cooler talk here in North America often overflows with reports of abuses of power by law enforcement officials. It’s easy to forget that the very same brand of injustice and violence are served up in other parts of the world – a lot.

According to The New York Times, in Australia, a country that’s been marred by institutional racism since its inception, “...aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are incarcerated at 13 times the rate of non-Indigenous Australians. They make up 27 percent of Australia’s prisoners, compared with 3 percent of the overall population.” Given the disproportionate representation of Indigenous Australians in the clink, it’s safe to say that there’s some greasy shit going on Down Under, of a similar sort to the greasy shit we see going on up here in places like New York City and Ferguson, Missouri.

To help Australia aboriginals and Torres Strait Islander peoples to mitigate this prejudicial treatment at the hands of those meant to serve and protect them, human rights activists are teaching them how to respond to the threat of police violence and to record their interactions with law enforcement, just like we do up here:

From The New York Times:

The Copwatch workshops, activists said, are intended to teach people their legal rights and how to safely record interactions with police officers.

Read the rest

Angry Louisiana cops strangle man to death after he asks to see his arrest warrant

Armando Frank, 44, refused to get off his tractor when stopped by police. He demanded to see an arrest warrant. But the cops arresting him didn't have time for that sort of legal stuff. So they attacked him, then killed him when he resisted.

A video recording of the arrest, obtained by The Advocate, shows officers growing frustrated with Frank, 44, after he refuses to step down from a tractor near a Walmart store along La. 1. A use-of-force expert who reviewed the 10-minute recording at the newspaper's request says the law officers escalated the exchange by placing Frank in a choke hold and attempting to yank him off the tractor. ... A forensic pathologist hired by the parish had said in a report that manual strangulation was the primary cause of Frank’s death. The video shows Spillman mount the tractor behind Frank and apply a choke hold while another officer tries to pull him down. For a time, Frank is doubled-over while resisting. Officers had to carry Frank to a patrol car after his body went limp.

The killers' names are Brandon Spillman and Alexander Daniel, deputies in Avoyelles parish, and Marksville, La., police officer Kenneth Parnell.

It is completely reasonable to receive a calm, detailed answer when you are asked why you are being arrested, rather than being executed in the street by enraged, screaming, out-of-control cops: “There’s no exigent circumstance here. He’s not attempting to flee, he’s not assaulting anybody, he’s sitting on a tractor and he’s asking reasonable questions they are refusing to answer,” said a use-of-force expert interviewed by The Advocate. Read the rest

New Orleans cops beat man up for being a "fake American"

Two New Orleans police officers were charged with battery this week after beating up a man they decided was a "fake American," reports CBS News. The officers were white and the victim hispanic; they told him they "didn't like his camouflage clothing."

Spencer Sutton and John Galman were booked on one count each of simple battery in connection with the beating of Jorge Alberto "George" Gomez early Tuesday, reports CBS affiliate WWL-TV.

Gomez said the two off-duty officers, who are white, began harassing him inside Mid-City Yacht Club, saying they didn't like his camouflage clothing and asking him whether he had served in the military, reports the New Orleans Advocate. Gomez said he told the men he was born in the U.S. but was raised in Honduras before he returned to live in New Orleans and served in the National Guard, but the men wouldn't accept his answer.

WWL-TV confirmed that Gomez, who is Hispanic, served with the Louisiana National Guard.

The cops tried to claim Gomez was the aggressor, but surveillance video made liars of them. Read the rest

Black teen, roughed up by cop, wins settlement in McKinney, Texas

Dajerria Becton, the black teenage girl roughed up by Texas cop Eric Casebolt at a suburban a pool party, has won a $184k settlement from the city of McKinney over the attack.

Casebolt was seen dragging Dajerria by the hair, slamming her to the ground, pinning her down and then handcuffing her, all while she called out for someone to call her mother.

Though it didn't result in signifant injury or death, this incident exemplified enduring problem with policing in America: inappropriate training, institutional irresponsibility, and big white cops satisfying themselves with violence on little black kids.

The screengrab is taken from a video of the attack recorded by Brandon Books, without which it is as likely Casebolt would have been praised by his superiors rather than merely insulated by them from legal consequences.

Here he leaps into the fray, lest justice be evaded:

Here he reaches for his gun, lest justice be resisted:

Read the rest

Police set dog on a driver who politely refuses to answer questions

WKYC Channel 3 in Canton, Ohio, posted footage of police smashing a car window, dragging out the driver and setting a dog on him after he very politely refused to answer questions. The driver, Ronald D. Wagner II, appears to be a "sovereign citizen" type who refuses to screw the number plate on their car for arcane constitutional reasons. Their excuse? The car's registered owner had a concealed carry permit, so they were frightened for their lives: "Stop fighting the dog"

Listen to his screams and ask yourself if America is great again. Read the rest

No charges for cops who pinned Alton Sterling to the ground and executed him

Surprise!

Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry declined to criminally charge the two white Baton Rouge police officers involved in the fatal shooting of Alton Sterling, a 37-year-old black man, in July 2016 outside a convenience store, according to Sterling's family.

Veda Washington-Abusaleh, Sterling's aunt, confirmed that Landry will announce Tuesday he will not charge the officers. The family met with Landry at his office ahead of a 10 a.m. news conference to announce his decision.

Landry's holding a press conference right now; the thrust of his excuses are as follows: because Sterling was resisting arrest, the cop experienced subjective fear, and someone said there might be a gun, it was ok to "incapacitate Mr. Sterling" by shooting him in the back while pinned on the ground. (Video later proved that Sterling didn't reach for the concealed gun he owned)

Key facts:

• If they're afraid, they can kill you. • If you resist arrest, they can kill you. • If someone says there's a gun, they can kill you. • Guns are for whites. Read the rest

Cop charged with assault after beating "jaywalking" pedestrian

Leaked footage of a police officer repeatedly punching a pedestrian led to charges for Christopher Hickman, the Asheville, NC cop who also lost his job after the attack on August 24 last year. Hickman claimed that Johnnie Jermaine Rush was jaywalking and had assaulted him when challenged, but bodycam video showed a more sinister incident in which Hickman, who is white, told his black victim "you are going to get fucked up hard core", chokes him, repeatedly strikes his head with his fist, then tases him.

"I beat the shit out of his head," Hickman says on the recording. "Not gonna lie about that."

The police chief, Tammy Hooper, has also offered to resign.

Police said they plan to present an investigation into whether Hickman’s actions against Rush were criminal to the district attorney next week.

“This is a human rights issue, and Hickman should’ve been charged from day one,” local Black Lives Matter leader DeLores Venable said during Wednesday’s meeting, per the Citizen-Times report. “If no one would’ve leaked it or said something, we would be in the dark.”

Hooper issued a public apology March 1, saying, “The acts demonstrated in this video are unacceptable and contrary to the department’s vision and the progress we have made in the last several years in improving community trust.”

Jaywalking is a ridiculous crime to begin with, but "jaywalking" in the dead of night on an empty road in Asheville? No wonder people were curious about the circumstances of the arrest, and no wonder the footage had to be leaked before the public saw it. Read the rest

Lawyer says nine NYPD officers bullied teen girl who accused two detectives of cuffing and raping her

Remember the story about the two NYPD narcotics detectives -- Eddie Martins and Richard Hall -- who said a teen girl they handcuffed and put into an unmarked van "consented" to have sex with them? Her lawyer said that when she went to the hospital, nine NYPD officers went into her room and tried to intimidate her into not pressing rape charges against the officers.

From Huffington Post:

“Nine cops came initially from the 60th Precinct and then another four or five from another precinct,” [lawyer Micheal] David said. “They were basically trying to intimidate [victim Anna Chambers (a pseudonym)] and her mother ... to get them to say it wasn’t cops.”

David said he only learned of the alleged intimidation attempt earlier this month during a meeting with Chambers’ mother. She mentioned that cops had “bullied” them at the hospital on the night of the assault, he said.

According to David, the group of officers interrogated Chambers and her mother after the hospital had filed a report about the rape allegation with the police. One cop spoke to Chambers’ mother in Russian, her native language, and allegedly told her that Chambers often filed complaints against police. But David said his client had “never” filed a complaint ― until that day.

When the victim and her mother refused to back down, Detective Martins and Detective Hall decided to slut shame and victim blame the girl. From the Kansas City Star:

Martins and Hall allegedly tried to attack the woman’s credibility by pointing out her raunchy social media posts and a $50 million claim against the city.

Read the rest

On-duty NYPD officers admit handcuffing teenage girl, putting her in van, and having sex with her, but say it wasn't rape

Two NYPD plainclothes detectives and their supervisor have been placed on "modified duty" pending an Internal Affairs Bureau investigation into claims that they handcuffed and raped a teenager in a police department van.

In their defense, Brooklyn South Narcotics Detectives Edward Martins and Richard Hall are claiming the girl happily consented to having sex with them after she'd been handcuffed, kidnapped, thrown in a van, and taken to a deserted spot.

From The New York Times:

The detectives searched the occupants of the car for drugs, [the woman’s lawyer, Michael David] said, and demanded that the woman lift her shirt. “They said, ‘We want to make sure there is nothing under there, so show it,’” Mr. David said, recounting his client’s account. “She was petrified, so she showed it. She said, ‘See, I’m not hiding anything.’”

Immediately after, the woman was ordered out of the car, placed in handcuffs and put into the back seat of the detectives’ black Dodge van, Mr. David said. She was told she would be driven to the 60th Precinct, about a mile and a half from the park.

Instead, the lawyer said, the detectives drove to a parking lot of a nearby Chipotle restaurant, where she said they raped her.

The woman remained handcuffed during the entire ordeal, her lawyer said.

About 45 minutes after she was handcuffed, the woman said she was shoved out of the van not far from the 60th Precinct, Mr. David said. The woman contacted her mother, who took her to Maimonides Medical Center in Borough Park, Brooklyn.

Read the rest

Troops fire rubber bullets to prevent Catalan independence vote, injure at least 465

The Catalonian referendum on independence from Spain went ahead today, using the backup ballot boxes the opposition had secretly procured in anticipation of the brutal crackdown on the independence movement by the central government in Madrid, which included snatching elected officials and seizing ballot boxes. Read the rest

Oklahoma cops yell orders at deaf man, then kill him

Oklahoma City police shot dead a deaf man who refused to obey shouted orders to put down a "metal pipe". The tuesday night killing of Magdiel Sanchez, NPR reports, happened despite the officers being told he was deaf.

Officers were responding to a hit-and-run accident around 8:15 p.m., Capt. Bo Mathews, the police department's public information officer, told reporters Wednesday. A witness of the accident told police a vehicle involved went to a nearby address. Lt. Matthew Lindsey arrived at the address and encountered 35-year-old Magdiel Sanchez, who was on the porch holding a 2-foot metal pipe with a leather loop in his right hand. Lindsey called for backup and Sgt. Christopher Barnes arrived.

"The witnesses also were yelling that this person, Mr. Sanchez, was deaf and could not hear. The officers didn't know this at the time," Mathews said. Both officers fired their weapons at the same time when Sanchez was about 15 feet away from them; more than one shot was fired, the police captain said. Emergency Medical Services Authority personnel pronounced Sanchez dead at the scene.

"Threat" is an interesting word. A man with a pipe standing 15 feet from you on his goddamn porch is maybe a "threat" to men armed with guns, but he's not a danger to them. But it's not really about threat or danger, except insafar as those things excuse other things.

It's about being trained to see yourself as a warrior at war with the public. It's about being trained to escalate to lethal force at the first sign of armed noncompliance. Read the rest

Cops shoot and kill student on campus

Georgia Tech student Scout Shultz refused to put down a closed multitool and walked toward cops, daring them to shoot. So they did.

Preliminary information indicates that GTPD received a 911 call of a person with a knife and a gun at approximately 11:17 p.m. on Saturday, September 16, 2017. Officers arrived and made contact with Shultz who was armed with a knife. Officers provided multiple verbal commands and attempted to speak with Shultz who was not cooperative and would not comply with the officers’ commands. Shultz continued to advance on the officers with the knife. Subsequently, one officer fired striking Shultz. Shultz was transported to Grady Memorial Hospital where he died.

A video of the killing was made from a nearby building; another angle (embedded below) captures the officers' attempts to negotiate with Shultz. Both are disturbing and depict Shultz's death.

"Come on, man, drop the knife," one officer orders at the beginning of the first video that appears to show the shooting. "Come on, let's drop it," another officer echoes.

"Shoot me!" someone who appears to be Schultz responds. The officers continue to order the student to drop the knife. "Nobody wants to hurt you, man," an officer says. Near the end of the footage, an officer again demands: "Drop it!" apparently at the same time as a shot is fired at Schultz.

Shultz was the president of the college's Pride Alliance.

Shultz made a prior suicide attempt, years earlier, and suffered from depression; "Suicide by cop", people are saying, though the family's lawyer denies it. Read the rest

Listen to a Georgia cop reassure a white motorist that “we only kill black people.”

Cobb County Lt. Greg Abbot pulled over a car in July 2016, on suspicion of DUI. The white driver tells him she's afraid of being shot. He tells her:

“But you’re not black,” he interrupted. “Remember, we only kill black people. Yeah, we only kill black people, right? All the videos you’ve seen, have you seen black people get killed? You have.”

A cynic might be tempted to remark that he's not wrong, but U.S. police kill white people — they just kill black people in disproportionate numbers, because they are racist as well as violent. Read the rest

ACLU releases video of brutal beating of motorist by enraged cop

In dashcam video posted by the ACLU, police officer Joe Joswiak pulls over Anthony Promvongsa, driving a dark SUV. Joswiak immediately approaches the vehicle screaming "get out of the car motherfucker!", with his gun drawn and posed sideways. Then he starts pounding and kicking at Promvongsa through the open car door — before Promvongsa seems to have a chance to do anything. Read the rest

Dashcam video shows killing of Philando Castile

Jeronimo Yanez was acquitted Friday after killing Philando Castile last July. Castile, unarmed, had disclosed to Yanez that he was a legal owner of a concealed-carry firearm as he reached for his driver's license, as Yanez had requested. Yanez shot him seven times in front of his wife and child, later claiming that the smell of marijuana, and his inability to see what Castile was reaching for, justified the killing. Viewers watched the aftermath on Facebook Live, broadcast by Castile's distraught wife. The Star-Tribune synchronized and superimposed the two videos — only the dashcam footage is embedded above.

Tyrone Terrill, president of the African-American Leadership Council, said the video could further widen the gap in community-police relations.

"No, no, no," Terrill said minutes after viewing the video. "You don't have to remain calm on this one. You have a right to be outraged. You have a right to be angry. And I would be disappointed if you weren't outraged, if you weren't angry. It raises the question — how will you ever get a guilty verdict?"

He said he tried to point the gun away from the little girl in the back seat. He heard her screaming. "I acknowledged the little girl first because I wanted her to be safe."

Yanez attended a training course that teaches cops to think like "bulletproof warriors", to shoot without a second thought, and that the rush of killing people leads to "the best sex of their lives"

In the class recorded for “Do Not Resist,” Grossman at one point tells his students that the sex they have after they kill another human being will be the best sex of their lives.

Read the rest

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