Man, I just cannot imagine why anyone would want to exclude cops from Pride

It’s almost like their reputation precedes them or something. Oh, right, the reputation comes from the mouths of undesirables, so it goes unremarked.

CW: Abuse, sexual assault, misogyny.

A female sergeant with nearly 20 years on the force is coming forward with claims of sexual harassment and discrimination within the Toronto Police Service, allegations detailed in a recent complaint filed to the Human Rights Tribunal on Ontario.

Sgt. Jessica McInnis, a 43-year-old officer who has earned accolades since joining the Toronto Police Service in 1998, alleges she was subjected to a “steady barrage of unsolicited sexist, sexual, harassing and obscene messages” by Det. Mark Morris, her former police partner and co-leader of their Criminal Investigations Bureau (CIB) team, at downtown’s 14 Division.

The CIB tackles a range of crimes within the division, including thefts and suspicious deaths.

“I hope you don’t call the (Special Investigations Unit) on my (sic) when we do the nasty,” Morris texted her on Nov. 27, 2015 according to the claim, a message sent after Morris caught wind that the SIU, Ontario’s police watchdog, was probing sexual assault allegations against a colleague.

“Remember if I slapped that ass it’s not a sexual assault if I say nice game. That’s what we do in sports,” he added, according to the claim.

Sounds like the sort of person I’d trust with my safety. You?

-Shiv

Siobhan in VICE: The Strange Saga of Arrested Inauguration Protesters’ Seized Property

It was a crisp winter morning when Shay Horse set out to cover the protests against Donald Trump’s inauguration. The Brooklyn-based freelance photojournalist was one of hundreds of reporters who traveled to Washington, DC, to cover a demonstration that would set the tone for Trump’s presidency: defiant chants, smashed windows, and hundreds of people, including Horse, surrounded by police.

The segment of the protest Horse followed gathered around 10 AM at Logan Circle, a couple miles northwest of the Capitol. The energetic, enthusiastic crowd attracted the attention of journalists as they slowly marched south. They didn’t get far—at the corner of L and 12th streets, the march was surrounded by police, who subjected Horse and the rest of the group to clouds of pepper spray, dozens of “stingball” grenades, and strikes from batons. According to a lawsuit later filed by the ACLU, the protesters, legal observers, and journalists were hemmed in so closely by cops they didn’t have room to sit down; officers spent most of the day arresting people, taunting them in response to requests for food, water, and toilets. When they got around to Horse, he was handcuffed so tightly he lost feeling in two fingers.


Read more in VICE.

-Shiv

“That’s a white man mourning the loss of his slaves”

My colleague Crip Dyke has a wonderful way with words:

While The Advocate includes all this in its coverage, what is more interesting is what The Advocate leaves out: Prator is unhappy with the new law and its somewhat-earlier release of people who carry around the leaves of plants that grow like weeds just about anywhere in the US because it’s the best prisoners that will be released early, and he counts on being able to force those prisoners to work:

I don’t want state prisons. They are a necessary evil to keep a few, or to keep some [people] out there. And that’s the ones that you can work, that’s the ones that can pick up trash, the work release programs — but guess what? Those are the ones that they’re releasing! In addition to the [cough]. In addition to the bad ones [waves some manilla folders, presumably holding details of people like the current prisoner who has been arrested 52 times] – and I’m calling these bad – In addition to them, they’re releasing some good ones that we use every day to, to wash cars, to change the oil in our cars, to cook in the kitchen, to do all that where we save money … well, they’re going to let them out!*3

That’s right. No efficiencies of private enterprise, please. The Sheriffs have a good thing going where they can force people to work, and the better you are at doing that work, the more they want to keep you locked down. If you’re uncooperative, you’re a bad prisoner and need to be held longer. If you’re cooperative? Well, then you’re a good worker, and you need to be held longer.

This isn’t a law enforcement official concerned about good law enforcement policy. This is a fucking white man mourning the loss of his slaves.

Crip Dyke is a legal insider of some variety (I don’t remember her exact capacity, but she can get much more detailed on analyzing law and law enforcement). Her series “Fascist Policing” demonstrates how policies and enforcement that are perfectly legal in a supposedly robust human rights country are nonetheless deeply unethical and outrageously unjust.

You should read more here. Caine picked up on this too.

Law enforcement are the shock troops in class warfare. Prator’s only exceptional because he’s (implicitly) admitting he’s at war to begin with.

-Shiv

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

Threatening protesters with 75 years is totally reasonable, rules #j20 judge

I find myself gobsmacked in reading these statements. The entire argument by the hundreds of defence lawyers for the J20 defendants mass arrested on Trump’s inauguration is that taking protesters to trial for 55+ years worth of charges is an act of intimidation in and of itself, in violation of the First Amendment. The j20 judge just kind of… completely ignores the implications of Kerkhoff’s [the prosecutor] actions and ploughs straight ahead.

“The government comes in and says my client is liable for a felony—all they’ve established is that he’s arrested, not even what he did during the march,” defense attorney Veronice Holt argued in July. “You can’t just say, ‘As many people as the government can catch need to stand trial.'”

But Judge Lynn Leibovitz writes in her decision that the charging document has all of the necessary specificity to go to trial. The government says that all of the defendants operated as part of the “black bloc,” using those tactics to commit violence and evade identification. Because the government is using aiding and abetting and conspiracy liability, “each defendant charged in the indictment may be liable for the acts of others alleged in the indictment,” writes the judge

Yes, Leibovitz. That’s the fucking problem. If these charges result in conviction, it’s a blank cheque to police to scoop up as many people as they want, as long as some twit breaks a window.

She also rejected the argument that the charges amounted to a First Amendment violation. Defense lawyers said that people might protest less if they feared they would be held legally responsible for the actions of others.

But Leibovitz writes that those arguments are, in essence, also about whether the government has evidence against the individual defendants that would justify their charges, a question she writes is better addressed at trial, the first of which is slated to start in November. She concludes that the indictment’s details survive both First and Fourth Amendment challenges.

In essence? Threatening you with several decades is entirely reasonable and not at all intimidation.

Solidarity is now evidence for conspiracy.

I’m sure the freeze peachers will be here any minute now.

-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

Four days. Zero arrests.

Meanwhile, in Durham County:

RALEIGH, N.C.—More protesters were arrested Wednesday for participating in a demonstration that toppled a Confederate statue in North Carolina.

The statue in Durham came down Monday night when a protester climbed a ladder to attach a rope and demonstrators on the ground pulled the bronze soldier from its pedestal.

On Wednesday, Dante Strobino and Ngoc Loan Tran were led away in handcuffs when they came to a court hearing for the woman who climbed the ladder.

The Durham County Sheriff’s office said Tran and Strobino are charged with two felonies related to inciting and participating in a riot that damaged property. The woman who climbed the ladder, Takiyah Thompson, was charged with the same counts Tuesday.

The three are affiliated with the Workers World Party, which helped organize the Durham protest in response to deadly violence over the weekend during a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.

That took less than a day.

Still waiting for a single fucking white supremacist to be arrested for their participation in their riot.

-Shiv

Tell me again about those ‘good apples’?

Jesus H Christ is it ever WTFland in the news today.

Content Notice: Human trafficking and corrupt police.

Oakland Police are caught up in a $66-million dollar lawsuit alleging 30+ officers perpetuated a minor’s human trafficking for two years:

The teenager had been selling herself for money since she was 12. She had been “exploited by pimps,” she says, and was in the act of running away from one when she met Brendan O’Brien, a police officer in Oakland, Calif.

But instead of helping the then-17-year-old prostitute, O’Brien and more than 30 other law enforcement officers “continued to traffic, rape, victimize and exploit a teenage girl who needed to be rescued,” according to a legal claim filed with the Oakland city attorney’s office. “Instead of helping [the teen] find a way out of exploitation, they furthered and deepened her spiral down into the sex trade,” the claim adds.

Now 19, the teen is seeking $66 million in damages from the city, its police force, its former chief and multiple officers — the latest twist in an astonishing sex scandal that has swept up several police departments in the San Francisco Bay area.

The scandal led to the resignation of Oakland’s police chief, as well as the two people appointed to replace him, neither of whom lasted a week. It also led to other firings and suspensions, numerous criminal charges — and an apology from Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf.

“I am deeply sorry for the harm that this scandal has caused, particularly to community trust, which for many was already so tenuous,” Schaaf (D) said earlier this month.

The teen’s claim, filed Friday, implicates not just O’Brien and the officers accused of having sex with the teen, but also supervisors who “stood by with a blind eye” as the teen became a sex slave for the officers, her attorneys said.

O’Brien committed suicide in the midst of a growing internal investigation. A note he left behind named other officers who he said had sex with the teen.  

Investigators have moved ahead with their case against 10 officers — seven were charged last month, another three this week. Prosecutors say more charges are coming.

And leaders in Oakland and other municipalities have said they are cleaning house. “I am here to run a police department, not a frat house,” Schaaf said in June, according to the Los Angeles Times. She vowed to “root out what is clearly a toxic, macho, culture,” the Times reported. Schaaf did not respond to messages seeking comment this week.

What in the actual fuck is wrong with these police?

-Shiv