Tag Archives | Police State

It is Time We Discussed Abolishing the Police

Police Lights
Brian Platt writes at CounterPunch:

Last week documents obtained by The Intercept revealed that undercover officers for the NYPD regularly attended Black Lives Matter events. Pictures of activists are kept on file by the department and their movements are tracked. In a statement on these revelations the Metropolitan Transit Authority which has been using its counter-terrorism task force to also spy on Black Lives Matter justified the spying by equating protesters with terrorists. And this is not just the view of local police departments, the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force have both been monitoring Black Lives Matter protests across the country showing the dangerous and unfounded link in the minds of police between social justice movements and terrorism.

It is notable that the problem of police infiltration is unique to Left-leaning political groups. Right wing organizations like the Tea Party, the OathKeepers, and the Ku Klux Klan are more likely to have police as enthusiastic members than moles.

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Corporate Capitalism Is the Foundation of Police Brutality and the Prison State

Thomas Hawk (CC BY-NC 2.0)

Thomas Hawk (CC BY-NC 2.0)

Chris Hedges explores corporate capitalism’s role in America’s prison state.

Chris Hedges via Common Dreams:

Our national conversation on race and crime is based on a fiction. It is the fiction that the organs of internal security, especially the judiciary and the police, can be adjusted, modernized or professionalized to make possible a post-racial America. We discuss issues of race while ignoring the economic, bureaucratic and political systems of exploitation—all of it legal and built into the ruling apparatus—that are the true engines of racism and white supremacy. No discussion of race is possible without a discussion of capitalism and class. And until that discussion takes place, despite all the proposed reforms to the criminal justice system, the state will continue to murder and imprison poor people of color with impunity.

More training, body cameras, community policing, the hiring of more minorities as police officers, a better probation service and more equitable fines will not blunt the indiscriminate use of lethal force or reduce the mass incarceration that destroys the lives of the poor.

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Proposals for a Freer and More Just Society

The unnamed (CC BY-SA 2.0)

The unnamed (CC BY-SA 2.0)

In case you haven’t noticed, the world is growing increasingly unfree and unjust. Just look around you.

As the revelations by Edward Snowden prove, surveillance of citizens’ private lives by government is at an all-time Orwellian high, with cameras becoming ubiquitous on street corners, drones patrolling the skies overhead, all forms of telecommunications regularly monitored and recorded. In general, there is massive intrusion by government into personal matters that would have been repelled by America’s founders. It was precisely such intrusion that inspired the writing of the Declaration of Independence, as well as the protections against such abuses supposedly enshrined in the Bill of Rights.

In addition to being constantly and suspiciously watched by a group having legal monopoly on both the creation and enforcement of its own rules, a group who seems ever more unaccountable for their own wrongdoing, it’s now taken for granted that cops everywhere carry military-grade hardware.… Read the rest

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Cleveland Judge Recommends Charges for Police Who Killed Tamir Rice

"Tamir Rice family photo" by Source (WP:NFCC#4). Licensed under Fair use of copyrighted material in the context of Shooting of Tamir Rice">Fair use via Wikipedia.

Tamir Rice family photo” by Source (WP:NFCC#4). Licensed under Fair use via Wikipedia.

This post was originally published on Common Dreams. Read more of Deirdre Fulton’s posts here.

A judge in Cleveland on Thursday found probable cause that police officer Timothy Loehmann should face murder, involuntary manslaughter, reckless homicide, negligent homicide, and dereliction of duty charges in the shooting death of 12-year-old Tamir Rice last November. The judge also ruled that probable cause exists to charge Loehmann’s partner, officer Frank Garmback, with negligent homicide and dereliction of duty.

However, Judge Ronald B. Adrine, presiding judge of the Municipal Court, said he did not have the power to order the officers’ arrests without complaints being filed by a prosecutor.

The ruling came after a group of activists and community leaders—the ‘Cleveland 8’—on Tuesday asked the court to have the officers arrested under a rarely used Ohio law that allows “a private citizen having knowledge of the facts” to start the process by filing an affidavit with a court.… Read the rest

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Richland’s $4.1 million police station funded by civil forfeiture

Photo by Steve Wilson

Photo by Steve Wilson.

This won’t come as a surprise for most of our readers. Richland, Mississippi funded a $4.1m police station, higher-end training facilities, and a fleet of Dodge Charger police cars “through civil forfeitures of property and cash seized during traffic stops.”

Steve Wilson via Watchdog.org:

The Mississippi city of Richland has a new $4.1 million police station, a top-level training center and a fleet of black-and-white Dodge Charger police cars.

All of it was paid for through civil forfeitures of property and cash seized during traffic stops of what police say were suspected drug runners on Interstate 20.

Civil libertarians question the constitutionality of civil forfeiture, which has become a key part of revenue for state and local law enforcement agencies nationwide. Under the laws of many states, citizens can be deprived of their property or even cash if police merely suspect the owners to be involved in criminal activity.

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Long Beach Police Officer ID’d in Fatal Shooting of Unarmed 19-Year-Old

Hector Morejon is shown in a family photo with his mother, Lucia Morejon.

Hector Morejon is shown in a family photo with his mother, Lucia Morejon.

Matt Hamilton writes at the LA Times:

A veteran of the Long Beach Police Department was identified Tuesday as the officer who fatally shot an unarmed 19-year-old last month while responding to a reported vandalism, authorities said.

The Long Beach Police Department said Jeffrey A. Meyer, a patrol officer with the department since 1990, opened fire at Hector Morejon in the afternoon of April 23. The department released the information in response to a public records request filed by The Times.

Meyer, who has been removed from field duties, was involved in a police shooting in March 2002, according to a Police Department spokeswoman. The circumstances of the 2002 shooting were not immediately available.

The president of the Long Beach Police Officers Assn., Steve James, opposed the decision by The Times to publish the name of the police officer involved in the shooting.

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Protests Go Global as Ethiopians March Against Police Brutality in Tel Aviv

This post was originally published on Common Dreams. See more of Lauren McCauley’s posts here.

Several thousand people, mostly hailing from Israel’s large Ethiopian population, took to the streets of Tel Aviv on Sunday to protest racism and police brutality against ethnic minorities.

According to reports, marchers blocked highway traffic chanting and bearing signs which read: “A violent policeman must be put in prison” and “We demand full equal rights.”

The protest was sparked by the release this week of a video which shows an Ethiopian-Israeli man in an IDF uniform being beaten by police. Demonstrators are demanding an investigation into the attack and are calling for an end to what they say is an epidemic of brutality against Israel’s minority populations.

During a similar protest in Jerusalem on Thursday night police reportedly unleashed tear gas and stun grenades against demonstrators. As the crowd continued to swell on Sunday, the Times of Israel reported that police are threatening to use force.

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For those of you who say there are no voices leading America, you need to watch 20 mins of Cornel West

Screen Shot 2015-04-09 at 10.05.26 PM

For those of you who say there are no moving or powerful voices left in America, you might want to direct your attention to a 20-minute clip of American philosopher and activist Dr. Cornel West speaking in a Manhattan church on April 6th of this year. In it West delivers a dizzying, fiery, and tear-jerking sermon reminiscent of the greatest moments in the tradition of American political speech.

The Stop Mass Incarceration Network organized the event, A Call to Act, and it’s no surprise that the Stop Mass Incarceration Network exists or that Dr. West participated. The US now has more prisoners and prisons than any other country on the planet, a fact West is well aware of as he regularly speaks out over the New Jim Crow and to inmates serving time. In fact, the land of the free is now home to more prisons than colleges.… Read the rest

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A Report From Occupied Territory — James Baldwin

"James Baldwin Allan Warren" by Allan warren - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:James_Baldwin_Allan_Warren.jpg#/media/File:James_Baldwin_Allan_Warren.jpg

“James Baldwin Allan Warren” by Allan warren – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Still eerily relevant 49 years later…

James Baldwin via The Nation:

July 11, 1966

On April 17, 1964, in Harlem, New York City, a young salesman, father of two, left a customer’s apartment and went into the streets. There was a great commotion in the streets, which, especially since it was a spring day, involved many people, including running, frightened, little boys. They were running from the police. Other people, in windows, left their windows, in terror of the police because the police had their guns out, and were aiming the guns at the roofs. Then the salesman noticed that two of the policemen were beating up a kid: “So I spoke up and asked them, ‘why are you beating him like that?’ Police jump up and start swinging on me. He put the gun on me and said, ‘get over there.’ I said, ‘what for?’ ”

An unwise question.

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