POLICE MURDER MAYHEM AND MISCONDUCT CONTINUES, REAL REFORM IS REQUIRED
by: Rodney Martin
Tulare County Deputy Sheriff& Traffic Stop Rapist- Jose Araujo “Are you having sex with anyone?…………I’ll make a deal with you. You have sex with me and I’ll throw everything away and let you walk away.”
It seems every day a new smartphone video, police dashcam video or other “New Media” appears on the major American media networks showing an American Policeman engaging in misconduct. Almost always the Policeman is an angary white male, using vulgarities and using his law enforcement position to assert his alpha male position. Whether it’s the tragic case of Sandra Bland in Texas whose only “violation” was offending the policemen for smoking in her own vehicle or Samuel Dubos in Ohio who attempted to drive off from a campus Cop outside his jurisdiction and was shot in the head as a result or Eric Garner in New York who was placed in a choke hold for the high crime for selling untaxed cigarettes and was killed. Walter Scott in South Carolina was shot in the back by Officer Michael Slager. Levar Jones pulled over by a South Carolina State Trooper at a Gas Station and when he attempted to retrieve his insurance document from his car as the State Trooper instructed, he was shot by Trooper Sean Groubert. Trooper Groubert had thought Jones had been “driving without his seatbelt on”.
Then there was Officer Eric Casebolt in Texas who, after performing a mixed martial arts demonstration at a Pool party dispute with children and teenagers, pulled his firearm and then placed a young teenaged girl, face down in the ground with his knee in her back because he “didn’t like her attitude”. In almost every case, the Officers in question had prior issues with excessive force, i.e. complaints or had questionable qualifications. Officer Brian Encina, the Officer who arrested Sandra Bland in Texas because she declined his request, “would you mind putting out your cigarette”, has only been a Law Enforcement Officer for a little over one year and prior to becoming a Police Officer he spent eight years working in an ice cream facility. In the City of Porterville in Tulare County, California, there was the case of young Vincent Steen who was viciously gunned down in front of his mother. He was unarmed. His crime, City of Porterville Police thought it would be amusing to “give him the treatment” for having a defective light on his bicycle. Their treatment included screaming vulgarities and profanities and threats until the young man ran home to his mother where he was gunned down in front of her, but only after the two bumbling Police officers became enraged because they fired their Tasers and shocked each other. Young Mr. Steen, who was White, was shot down in cold blood, the County expeditiously issued a Report declaring the murder “justified”, but the City paid young Mr. Steen family nearly $1 million in a Civil Law Suit. Also in Tulare County, California, there has been a problem with Law Enforcement raping women. In 2007 Deputy Sheriff Randolph Amador, a Latino Officer took a 24 year old female from her home to an isolated location and raped her. http://hanfordsentinel.com/news/tulare-deputy-accused-of-rape/article_3f454ae1-4544-5c8b-a632-2133f591a637.html The Tulare County District Attorney, which has a long history of institutional incest with Law Enforcement and has NEVER issued an adverse finding against Tulare County Law Enforcement “declined to charge another Officer in 2003, that officer however “resigned” http://articles.latimes.com/2003/aug/05/local/me-sbriefs5.11
In 2004 Tulare County Deputy Jose Araujo, a Latino Officer was sued in Federal Court for “numerous illegal traffic stops, false imprisonment, attempted rape under color of authority and malicious prosecution” http://articles.latimes.com/2004/jan/10/local/me-vnsuit10
In the United States the standards are higher for truck drivers and electricians than for police officers. Consider the high rates of domestic violence police officers engage in, their use almost in every minor case, of profanity and vulgar language, even with women and the elderly. Police Officers demonstrated propensity to use violence and threats of violence rather than deescalating situations and threats to arrest persons for their “attitude” when it is the police officer who are supposed to maintain a higher level of training and professionalism demonstrates either a systematic policy of police abuse OR the deployment of persons who are severely psychologically defective as police officers. In terms of psychology, the police and their boosters use of psychological abuse whereby police demand hero worship and demand mandated respect by Society while abusing and murdering our children, parents and often even our grandparents under color of authority is reminiscent of the of the methods employed by the Soviet Union.
Most recently in Modesto, California on August 14, 2015, NOT 1, NOT 2, BUT 3 ( THREE) California Highway Patrol, CHP, Officers Walter Wesley Wells, Scott J. McFarlane and Eduardo Quintana Jr, 2 white 1 Latino. These three officers serve the Agency that was showcased on the famous TV Series “CHIPs”, were arrested on murder/conspiracy charges, http://www.sacbee.com/news/state/article31143044.html
These officers also serve an Agency which has a history of Officers pulling female motorists over on fraudulent traffic violations and then raping them. This practice is far more common by American Law Enforcement than is realized by the “uniform fetish” American public who still view Police Officers through a prism of that famous Norman Rockwell painting.
No matter how many times we are told these are all “isolated incidents” and that a “few bad apples” and should not reflect on “all Police”. The fact is quite the opposite, when you consider the perhaps millions of individual cases and incidents of brutality and misconduct by Police which go unreported (out of fear) by their victims or do not make major media attention, it is easy to make the case the standard of practice by American Police is indeed one of terror, abuse, and institutional corruption and that the mechanisms of the system will almost always cover their actions.
America has long become a “Corporatist State” where the Government comes “at the people” at every turn, whether it is taxes, zoning, or even little children with lemon aid stands on their own yards. In America, the Police are indeed the jack-booted thugs who enforce a system of soft core terror and are allowed to go rogue as they wish in exchange for their service to the American Corporatist State.
While the examples the almost endless, these are the “big” incidents we have heard about. In each and every one of these incidents, the police officers lied or made misrepresentations in their official Reports or their accounts of the murders. While it is true in some cases police officers have been indicted and will face trial, but it is equally true and in MOST cases where police officers engage in police brutality and misconduct, their actions are sanctioned by way of superficial Reports and investigations by District Attorneys and other Police Agencies which review police misconduct and in 95% of the time clear police officers and place officers back on the street to continue their reign of terror. In almost every case where a police officer faces trial for misconduct, which is very rare, the officer is “exonerated” largely based on institutional incest between Police and Oversight /Investigative Entities and the average “American’s” fetish with uniforms and “law and order” which takes precedent over their sense of civil liberties. Uniform fetish Americans on juries are quick to exonerate Police who kill and abuse the public, until those police officers unleash their terror too close to home, i.e. on them or their loved ones.
None of these and other cases would have created the mainstream media sensation that they did nor would the so called ‘Black Lives Matter” Movement have been born had these events not been captured by “New Media”, i.e. captured on individual smartphone video and posted to You Tube and other file sharing media. Internet based “New Media” is the wave of the future and where the vast majority of people look to receive unfiltered reliable information. Had the persons who filmed these events presented their video to the “mainstream” media first, most certainly the images would never have received the attention and result as they did, in fact no doubt the opposite would have occurred, the “mainstream media would have followed their “protocols” on the front end, first edit the film for “content”, then obtain the “authorities” response, then add the mainstream media interpretation and “expert analysis, i.e. spin and no doubt all most all the of the police actions would have been deemed “justified” by the mainstream media HAD the citizens presented their video to various “mainstream” media BEFORE uploading for the general public to see.
As sensational and as common as the voluminous smartphone images are of police misconduct of Police shootings of unarmed people, assaults by police, there is no sign this “New Media” is having any impact on Police Policy and individual conduct by police officers. If anything, the opposite is the case as Police Officers take a much harder position, rhetorically as they and their boosters use propaganda that says any criticism of police is “hate” for Law & Order and embracing anarchy and undesirables in Society, the latter is the most prevailing attitude, especially among the self-described “God-Fearing Christians of the Religious Right who yearn for a hierarchical Society determined by class, wealth, and inherited social status. These “Christian Conservatives” are all too willing to overlook inconvenient facts, such as Jesus Christ himself being an innocent victim of horrific police brutality and most likely would have been quite at home in the crowd of Jews screaming “crucify him”. Despite the increasing incidents of police misconduct exposed by “New Media”, there is every reason to believe Police Officers are “amping up” their rage and frustration rather than modifying their behavior or enacting new policies as discussion and criticism of their practices grows. In fact, it appears Police are doubling down on their reign of terror. Police shootings of unarmed citizens, police beatings of those in and out of custody and criminal activity by police officers, including rape of female motorists or females in custody continues to increase despite the mirror of “New Media”. While the American Public may feel a sense of safety by quickly engaging the camera on their smartphone, this rarely stops the police officer. In almost every incident, the Police Officer will continue the beat down of the subject of his/her wrath while threatening a citizen filming him/her with arrest for interfering with Police or they will tape a large are off around a suspect so the police office may proceed with the beat down out of range of smartphone filming capability. In some cases, Police Officers will actually seize individual citizen’s smartphones, without a warrant, as “evidence. This was the case in Bakersfield in Kern County, California in 2013 when 9 Kern County Sheriff Deputies joined by California Highway Patrol Officers beat Mr. David Silva to death as he begged for his life, so brutal was the beating that when the police officers grew weary, from beating Mr. Silva, they unleashed attack police dogs on Mr. Silva’s near lifeless body. The “incident” was captured by many bystanders on their various smartphones. After the incident the Deputies and CHP Officers went door-to-door demanding people turn over their smartphones, even refusing to allow people to leave their homes.
Of those smartphones that were turned over, all images of Mr. Silva’s brutal murder was mysteriously missing. In a few profiles of courage, a handful of citizens lied and hid their smartphones and video of Mr. Silva’s brutal murder made its way to local media. Sadly it never made national media. Mr. Silva’s crime which he was beat to death by police; he had a bit too much to drink and was attempting to walk home. http://www.bakersfield.com/news/2013/05/10/dad-who-died-during-arrest-begged-for-his-life-witness-videos-seized.html. Smartphone images or “New Media” has merely confirmed what most intellectually honest Americans have always known about Police, they are not heroes and they are definitely not our friends. Today, parents should educate their children to avoid police as they would any other danger and stranger. Despite the outrage New Media images spark, the reality is, American police can care less because the system is so slanted in favor of police misconduct and the Police officer can find a way to make the film either go away or “appear discredited” in the American legal system.
The issue of police misconduct and police brutality is not a racial issue. The media and social and community activists do a tremendous disservice and limit their effectiveness by approaching Police misconduct and police brutality as strictly a racial issue. According to FBI Statistics, more White Americans are murdered and assaulted by Police than blacks are and more Hispanics are murdered by police than blacks as well. In almost every case of Police brutality, including the incidents captured by New Media, the issue is one of “Class”, low and middle income people are routinely viewed as “revenue opportunities” by the Government in terms of Fines, fees, etc. The real issue is systemic. By focusing on this issue as merely a racial issue, the media allows the Police to mobilize its allies and transform what should be a serious argument into an “us vs. them” tribal fight at and marginalize genuine fact based arguments made by those of us who are genuinely more worried about our children having an “incident” with Police. While the “Black Lives Matter” Movement has presented very legitimate issues, they have at the same time limited their ability to be an effective Movement for Police Reform because they marginalize all other lives. Now where was this more evident, than when activists of the “Black Lives Matter” Movement bullied former Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley, a 2016 Democratic Presidential candidate, into issuing an apology for saying “all lives matter”. The Black Community alone will not solve the plague of Police violence and police misconduct. Even the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950’s & 1960’s consisted of a broad coalition that understood Civil Rights was for everyone. The same type of National Coalition must emerge, absent petty tribalism if we are to end the greatest danger to our children on the street.
We can start with a few basic Reforms:
Citizens should be fully able to sue Police Officers personally and their assets attachable as the public can sue employees of any other private organization thus creating the potential of a Police Officer losing his possessions and future earnings should he/she engage in bad conduct. This alone will weed out bad applicants.
Police Officers must abide by all Laws which are imposed on the citizenry.
Police Officers enjoy no “police powers when not on duty, i.e. the famous case whereby a female in a nightclub rebuffed an off duty police officer’s advances so he arrested her for disturbing the peace.
Review of Police misconduct must be conducted by a Civilian process ( A Civilian Police Review Board/Commission) that has full authority to fire, discipline and recommend criminal proceedings against a Police Officer. Members of these Boards/Commissions must be free from conflicts of interests and institutional incest with the Police i.e. a Civilian Police Review Board or Commission cannot look like the Police Union.
The right of females to refuse inappropriate orders issued by Police Officers under color of authority and the right of females to have non-emergency incidents monitored by additional officers thereby conferring the right of female motorists to proceed to the closest Police Station rather than having to pull over in isolated areas whereby creating a “his word vs. her word” which is in reality the word of a Police Officers vs. someone who “is guilty of something otherwise she wouldn’t have caught the attention of the Police Officer”, which is sadly the prevailing attitude in the United States.
National Standardized requirements for Police Officers implemented, including stringent psychological requirements, and a long list of exclusionary items that prohibit for life, a person from becoming a Police Officer.
All matters regarding Police misconduct be made public and all matters regarding Police Officer misconduct must be addressed in a Public Hearing with sufficient public notice.
Police Officers should be treated as “Professional Public Officials”, all complaints and resolutions to those complaints should be public as well as the Officer’s Education and Professional Qualifications.
The specific prohibition of Police Agencies that are demographically out of balance with the Communities they serve.
Prohibition of Police Agencies investigating their own Officers.
There is far more than the famous “Blue Line” that must be taken down, as a Society we must no longer fear for the lives of our loved ones should they have an encounter with Police. Let’s be clear, “gangs” are groups of persons who form an organization, they have a “dress code”, and they are well armed and engage in criminal activity. By those standards, American Police have become the largest, well-funded and most well-armed and most violent street gang on American Streets. Parents would do well to teach their children to avoid them as they do any other gang.
Rodney Martin is a Current Affairs & Political Analyst and a former U.S. Congressional Staffer. He held two prestigious Presidential fellowships, the LBJ Congressional fellowship and the Harry S. Truman fellowship.