Fundraiser against felony rioting

When news first broke out of the mass-arrest at J20 (Trump’s inauguration), I expected a non-specific blanket charge as a means of intimidation. I was wrong, as it turns out–the Department of ‘Justice’ alleged eight blanket charges, not just one–but the basic principle remains the same: Hold the group accountable for the actions of a few. While many liberals have tsked tsked about the anarchist presence at the J20 protest, they seemed to miss the actual point: If the J20 charges stick, that’s a blank cheque to not only mass-arrest protesters, but slap them with enough charges to imprison them for life as long as someone tips over a garbage can. It is, effectively, the single greatest assault on American civil rights that can occur in a single trial, regardless of how you feel about anarchists (this is without going into the fact that they’re facing 75+ years for wearing the same colours as someone who broke a window).

Well, as it turns out, the police and prosecutors haven’t waited for the trial. Felony rioting, a crime so loosely defined that you can be charged for being present around someone else’s property destruction, has been applied another ~250 times at protests since J20. Counter Repression Spokes is planning a fundraiser to support the legal organizations that have been helping the accused navigate their trials. These groups include Dead City Legal Posse (for J20); One People’s Project, who have been tracking violent extremist activities that go largely ignored by police; and St. Louis Legal Fund, for bail and defence lawyers for the St. Louis protesters who rightly objected to the acquittal of Jason Stockley, a police officer who admitted on camera that he intended to murder Anthony Lamar Smith, and who attempted to frame Smith by planting evidence.

Please consider donating to the fundraiser here. And also considering raising awareness in your own activities about the way prosecutors across the United States are using felony rioting charges to mass-arrest protesters.

-Shiv

Who the flying fuck thought arrest quotas was a good idea?

Ever wondered what it would look like if the cops were actively incentivized to misbehave?

Wonder no longer.

Follow my words here carefully. In 2013, a federal judge, Shira A. Scheindlin, in a 193 page ruling, stated that New York’s horrendous “stop and frisk” police tactic was unconstitutional because it unfairly and disproportionately targeted “blacks and Hispanics who would not have been stopped if they were white.” She did not rule that “stop and frisk” in and of itself is unconstitutional, but that the way New York was administering it, on the backs of people of color, was. The facts were undeniable, but the practice itself was not overruled.

A staggering 5 million incidents of stop and frisk took place in New York since 2002. Nearly 90% of those stops were of people who were found to be completely innocent. The overwhelming majority of stops, of course, were done against black and Latino residents of the city. When the practice was formally disbanded in New York City after Judge Scheindlin’s decision, it was seen as an enormous victory for police reforms. And it was, but something that is perhaps even more nefarious than stop and frisk unofficially rose up within the NYPD to take its place — a crisis of false arrests driven by an unwritten quota system being overseen by precincts across the city.

Just three days after Donald Trump was inaugurated, New York City agreed to something that is so scandalous, so huge, that only the incoming presidency of Donald Trump could’ve outshined it. New York City agreed to pay $75 million (that’s $75,000,000) out in a police corruption case that should’ve rocked the city and the nation to its core. They likely chose that date and time on purpose. The case had been in litigation for years and years, but the city chose one of the most fragile, news heavy times in the history of modern American media to drop an absolute bomb. The city admitted that it was forced to dismiss over 900,000 arrests and summonses because they simply didn’t have the evidence to back them. These weren’t 900,000 stops that were made, but 900,000 legal actions accusing people of crimes that they did not commit. They were all bogus. Not 9,000. Not 90,000 — which seems like an outrageous number, but 900,000. Not only that, but the case actually had its very own deleted email scandal, where every almost every single email Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly ever sent was deleted — never to be found again. Yeah, really.

Here’s the lawsuit:

Try not to explode when reading more here.

-Shiv

Can I get a cookie for not being a fucking murderer, too?

Remember that time people were celebrating a video of a cop handing a black woman an ice cream cone instead of a ticket or a bullet?

Did anybody notice how fucking absurdly low our standard of behaviour is for cops? (Royal “Our” here–I largely mean white people who are not habitually profiled by the police).

A few months ago when I was walking to the store with my teenage son, a cop followed us on a busy highway, at a walking pace, all the way to the store. He stared at us coldly the entire time. When we entered the store parking lot he followed us in there too. Driving slowly behind us, all the way to the entrance of the store. He stayed there until we went in.

My son was shaking with fear the entire time. “Don’t say anything,” I said quietly, “Don’t make any sudden moves, don’t look at him. Just walk. We’ll be okay soon.”

“I shouldn’t have to be this afraid, Mom,” my son said, his voice wavering.

“I know, baby,” I said.

We entered the store feeling grateful to be alive and aware that if the police officer had decided otherwise, we would not have been.

Today, when I saw this video which has gone viral these past few days as a “feel-good” cop story, I finally made the connection. The video is of a black woman being pulled over by police. There is terror on her face as the officer walks up to her car. His gun is at her eye level. But the officer doesn’t reach for the gun — instead, he reaches for two ice cream cones to hand over to her and her passenger. Her terror gives way to the almost tearful relief that she is not going to come to harm at the hands of these officers. At least not today.

I haven’t killed anyone today. Does that mean should get heaps of praise?

Is that really our standard now?

Hey, I’ve gone an entire day without shooting someone, somebody give me a pat on the fucking head and a gold fucking star.

Jesus fuck.

-Shiv

 

Signal boosting: WeCopwatch

The Establishment has an interview with the creators of WeCopwatch, a group that trails police officers and records their activities during arrests so as to corroborate allegations of police brutality. (emphasis mine)

The WeCopwatch members spotlighted in the documentary — Kevin Moore, David Whitt, and Ramsey Orta — have stepped behind the lens to record police brutality in New York, Baltimore, and St. Louis.

In addition to revealing the importance of exposing abuse, the documentary shines a light on the aftermath of such activism. Orta’s video of Eric Garner’s last words-turned-mantra, “I can’t breathe,” as he died in a headlock on a sidewalk in Staten Island went viral, prompting him to take several interviews. Copwatch reveals this made him a target for the police, who surveilled him until he was brought up on charges. Orta was eventually arrested and found with a gun, and later charged with second-degree criminal possession. Ramsey, too, was arrested, on gun charges and for domestic violence; he maintains his innocence on the latter, and says he’s been harassed by the police since filming Garner’s death.

Copwatch points out that this might be the “cost” that members of the grassroots organization face as they challenge a broken system set up to fail them at every turn.

The film, which just had its world premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival, has plans for more festival appearances in the U.S. and Europe in the coming weeks, and is currently pursuing digital and theatrical distribution. I spoke with director Camilla Hall about police brutality against African Americans, knowing your rights, and the process of making her crucial film.

Read more here.
-Shiv

Small sigh of relief

You probably heard of the 15 year-old girl who was manhandled, handcuffed and then pepper-sprayed by Police in Maryland, after she had sustained a concussion from a collision. It was a sickening example contributing to a long demonstration that police are unwilling to de-escalate when it comes to black people. For being assaulted, she was charged with assault, putting the future of this girl at risk all because she didn’t lick the boots of the police just so. 

Thankfully, the charges have been dropped. Frustratingly, she apologized, even though it was the police who assaulted her. The cops, of course, walk away with no consequences.

But, at the very least, this is one person who gets to live another day without being railroaded into prison…

Small victories.

-Shiv

White men have killed more cops than all other groups combined

Dear #BlueLivesMatter,

I question where your outrage is. You’re the type who thinks calling for police accountability is hate speech. You’re the type who’s taken the hook, line, and sinker of Faux News characterizing Black Lives Matter as a terrorist group–despite the fact that the only police casualties at a BLM rally were from someone unaffiliated with the movement. You’re keen to latch on to the more hazy or questionable cases of justified violence from police, whilst conveniently ignoring the slough of black women and men who died complying to police orders. You can see black children being assaulted by police and for some reason, this doesn’t galvanize you. Cops have been caught on camera inventing crimes to charge protesters with. And an entire police department has been indicted in keeping a teenaged girl as a sex slave for two years, but you’re still convinced bad apples are in the minority, or at the very least aren’t influential.

You’re willing to consider the absolute number of police brutality deaths as evidence that whites have it worse, but you ignore that the absolute number of people who murder police are overwhelmingly white:

Something’s afoot, though, on why we’re not hearing much about this shocking increase in the number of officers who’ve been shot and killed so far in 2016. Sadly, I think I have the answer.

Seventy-one percent of police who’ve been shot and killed this year weren’t murdered by black men with cornrows or hoodies. They weren’t gunned down by Latino gang members in low-rider drive-bys. Those stereotypes would be too convenient. Instead, 71% of police who’ve been shot and killed so far in 2016 have been killed by good old-fashioned white men.

You haven’t seen these stories on Fox News or Breitbart because they don’t fit their narrative of blaming police violence on the Black Lives Matter movement or President Obama. Because “scary” black faces can’t be flashed across their screens, they don’t even tell the stories at all — which suggests they don’t care so much about police, but about using police deaths like a political football.

You best believe that if a 59% rise in the number of police officers shot and killed in the line of duty could be blamed on immigrants, Mexicans, or black folk, it would be a regular conservative talking point.

Instead, Donald Trump has never mentioned these fallen officers on the campaign trail because it may have very well been his supporters who did the shooting for all he knows.

It appears that blue lives only matter to popular conservatives when they are taken by somebody they can easily demonize. In the meantime, police groups continue to protest a black woman when a black woman hasn’t killed an officer in years.

Welcome to America. 2016.

So you mean one of the most vivid violent actions you can take against the State–the murder of its officials–is primarily carried out by white people??

Where be all the white terrorist posters and media pundits?

-Shiv

Fuck your blue lives, #SayHerName

White privilege confession time: In my budding years as a soon-to-be social justice advocate, I was a bit wrapped up in my own problems to really step outside of my shell and listen to black activists as they described repeated patterns of police brutality. Then Ferguson happened. I didn’t quite hit #BLM mode right away, but I started to pay attention, and by now I have seen the absurd double standard enough to securely say “fuck you in your fucking idiotic skull” if you’re a Blue Lives Matter type.

A five year-old. Police shot a five year-old, while he was in his mother’s arms.

Three officers with the Baltimore County police arrived at Korryn Gaines’s apartment around 9:20 a.m. on Monday to serve warrants to her as well as a man who also resided there.

The man was wanted on an assault charge, while Gaines, 23, had an arrest warrant for failing to appear in court after a traffic violation in March.

According to police, no one responded to 10 minutes of door knocking, even though they could hear several people inside. When officers obtained a key to the apartment, they found Gaines sitting on the floor — her 5-year-old son was wrapped in one of her arms. In her other hand was a shotgun.

Seems like the endless patience police have for deescalation vanishes in a puff of smoke when the shooter is black.

If that kid were white, the negotiations would’ve lasted for days.

#BlackLivesMatter. #SayHerName.

-Shiv

 

Meanwhile in Canada…

A Siksika First Nation man’s home was invaded by RCMP officers in the wee hours of the morning. Having been roused from his sleep rather rudely, Christian Duck Chief thought his home was being robbed and initially resisted. After the “you’re under arrest”s started he understood what was happening. He was beaten by the arresting officer even after he stopped freaking out:

RCMP making an arrest are alleged to have battered an Alberta First Nation man, hauled him naked from his home and brought him to a detachment before realizing he needed an ambulance, says his family who are accusing the police of racism and brutality.

Christian Duck Chief, 23, is recovering from a broken eye socket, fractured cheek bone, fracture to the back of his head and a broken nose.

Duck Chief and his wife say they were sleeping in their home on the Siksika First Nation southeast of Calgary Friday when RCMP from the Gleichen detachment entered their home around 6 a.m. to arrest him.

“I can hear him screaming for me, and I can hear him saying ‘Stop, honey help me,'” said Duck Chief’s wife, Chantel Stonechild, who said she was taken out of the home as her husband was still being beaten.

They acknowledge Duck Chief struggled at first, saying he was on his stomach when woken and didn’t know it was police. But they allege an RCMP officer hit him at least 20 times after he stopped struggling and shouted that he wasn’t resisting, even as he lay handcuffed on the floor.

Duck Chief — who has been charged in connection with the incident — and his lawyer said the force used by the officer was excessive.

Duck Chief said he struggled at first because he thought someone had broken into their home and was attacking them, and initially bit the officer’s finger.

That’s when the beating began, according to Stonechild. She said that as soon as the officer said “stop resisting arrest” her husband realized what was happening and complied.

“Christian said, ‘I’m not resisting, I’m not resisting,’ and the cop started elbowing him in the face,” said Stonechild. “More than 20 times that cop hit him on the face while he was on the ground.”

Even while he was on the ground, handcuffed and not resisting, the elbows to the face continued, said Stonechild.

Well gee, if someone entered my home completely unannounced I’d probably assume the worst, too. Is this standard operating protocol?

Oh, and of course, it couldn’t be a mistake by the cops. Duck Chief must have some overdue book fees or something to warrant getting elbowed in the face twenty fucking times, after being handcuffed. But he’s the one being penalized with “resisting arrest”?

I say we break into the cop’s home, sneak into his bedroom, and start our protest at six in the morning by shaking him awake, then pressing him with assault charges when he freaks out. That’s apparently how law enforcement works now.

-Shiv