Home / Search Results for: Chicago Police Department

Search Results for: Chicago Police Department

Chicago Police Officer Clauzell Gause Charged For Beating Handcuffed Patient

Prosecutors allege the officer sought “retribution” for an earlier altercation

 

 

Credit: DNA Info/Shutterstock
Credit: DNA Info/Shutterstock

Another day means more problems for the Chicago Police Department.

A veteran Chicago police officer was arrested Tuesday and charged with official misconduct, a felony, after a video emerged of him punching and shoving a 24-year-old mentally disabled man in 2014.

A Jackson Park Hospital surveillance camera captured Officer Clauzell Gause – measuring in at 6 foot 6 and 235 pounds – attacking the patient who was already in handcuffs after allegedly assaulting the officer earlier, according to prosecutors.

The patient had been involuntarily admitted to the hospital to undergo a mental health evaluation, prosecutors said.  While he was having blood pressure taken, the patient suddenly stood up and punched Gause in the face. A witness – presumed to be Gause’s partner – immediately subdued and handcuffed the patient.

Gause, 40, surrendered Tuesday at the Leighton Criminal Court Building and will face a charge of official misconduct which, if convicted, comes with a sentencing range from probation to up to five years in prison.

The video, reluctantly released by the Independent Police Review Authority after Cook County state’s attorney’s office initially declined, shows the assault lasting just a few seconds, but is nonetheless gruesome and entirely unprovoked.

Gause, wearing a bulletproof vest, shoves the handcuffed patient into a wall and is then knocked over immediately from a strong right punch from the officer. In a continued fit of rage, Gause then leans over the man and holds him down as he take two more punches at the victim with his left hand.

Sally Daly, a spokeswoman for State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez, said that a second uniformed officer witnessed the attack but is not expected to face charges.

Anthony Guglielmi, chief spokesman for the Chicago Police Department, said Gause was immediately relieved of his police powers and placed on paid desk duty, though it was inherently unclear if any additional disciplinary action was imposed at the time.

“The Chicago Police Department has zero tolerance for misconduct or any activity which undermines the integrity of our officers and our efforts to rebuild public trust,” Guglielmi said in a prepared statement.

The felony charge comes amid a reeling police force seeking to build trust with embattled communities city-wide amid spikes in violent crime and eroded confidence in law enforcement since the court-ordered release last November of LaQuan McDonald‘s fatal shooting by white police officer Jason Van Dyke. Months of protests resulted nationwide and Alvarez was ousted in March, in large part due to the efforts of activists in organizing large bases of minority voters redacting their previous support for her administration.

“You and I and those like us who chose a life of public service, we’re held to a higher standard,” said Judge Adam Bourgeois Jr. speaking to Gause directly, “That’s the long and short of it. Whatever happened, happened. You have to face the consequences.”

According to city records, Gause amassed “at least” 11 complaints from November 2006 to June 2014, mostly alleging an excessive use of force.

Notably, the defendant was one of the 11 Chicago police officers named in a  federal excessive-force lawsuit stemming from a December 2013 arrest where the victim was allegedly beaten with brass knuckle, stripped naked, and left in the cell for hours with a bloodied face and broken tooth.

Records show the city settled the lawsuit for $60,000 last December.

Chicago Cop Dante Servin Quits Over Rekia Boyd Investigation, Will Get To Keep Pension

Faced with the prospect of being fired, Chicago detective opts to quietly step down two days before police board hearing.

 

Chicago Police Detective Dante Servin standing trial for the fatal shooting of Rekia Boyd on April 20, 2015. Credit: AP Photo
Chicago Police Detective Dante Servin standing trial for the fatal shooting of Rekia Boyd on April 20, 2015. Credit: AP Photo

Dante Servin, a Chicago police officer whose 2012 fatal shooting of unarmed Rekia Boyd was described as “beyond reckless,” has opted to resign from the Chicago Police Department rather than fight to keep his job.

The City’s police board announced Tuesday afternoon that Servin, who was off duty when he shot 22-year-old Boyd in a crowded area of Douglas Park early in the morning on March 21, 2012,  would be stepping down two days before a hearing was being held to determine whether or not he should be fired for his recklessness.

While activists and community leaders are undoubtedly pleased to see this man no longer on the payroll, his voluntary resignation from the force nonetheless means the department per standard procedure will drop all disciplinary charges against him, which in turn preserves his ability to collect pension and other retirement benefits that otherwise would have been lost had he been terminated.

The quiet end to Servin’s tumultuous history on the force is marred by his negligent homicide of an unarmed female civilian which forced the city to pay a $4.5 million legal settlement, as well as making him the first officer to face criminal charges related to an off-duty fatality.

Yet, despite it all, he will still be allowed to keep pension on his $97,044 annual salary.

“Why are we even fighting? He should be in a cell, like every other criminal serving his time,” said Boyd’s brother, Martinez Sutton, “Even if I’m fighting to get this guy fired, he’s free to go about his life. He’s free to get another job.”

Servin fired multiple shots from his car into a group of Boyd’s friends for allegedly ignoring him in the park on the city’s West Side. Servin had been arguing with them about noise and claimed at the time that Boyd’s friend, Antonio Cross, had pulled out a gun.

Rekia Boyd. Credit: NewsOne
Rekia Boyd. Credit: NewsOne

It was later proven that Cross was pulling out his cell phone but at that point, the five bullets Servin fired had already hit him in the thumb and struck Boyd in the head.

She died the next day at Mount Sinai Hospital and Cross was somehow charged with aggravated assault against Servin, though those charges were later dropped.

A judge acquitted Servin in 2015 of involuntary manslaughter before the defense even had the opportunity to present any evidence, ruling that Servin had acted “intentionally and not recklessly” and that the crime, “if any there be, is first-degree murder.”

At the time, activists maintained that District Attorney Anita Alvarez had deliberately mischarged Servin so as to ensure his necessary acquittal.  Alvarez was defeated in her reelection bid this Spring, in large part due to the tireless efforts of activist groups in the area.

“Everybody knew it wasn’t going to go through,” Sutton said regarding Servin’s police board hearing this week, “It’s like making a movie. You know that movie is being made. You know how the ending will go. You just don’t know the release date.”

The tragic deaths of Rekia Boyd, LaQuan McDonald, and so many other Chicago area victims has created increased tensions between minority communities and Mayor Rahm Emmanuel, who has pledged for police and criminal justice reform. At the moment, Sutton and other activists on the ground are justifiably skeptical.

“How many broken promises has Chicago made?” said Sutton. “If we keep on failing on these broken promises, someone is gonna get hurt.”

F.B.I. Director Once Again Blames People Monitoring Police For Police Misconduct

James Comey continues to cling to “Ferguson Effect” false narrative to rationalize improper policing while fellow officers denounce the claim as unproven and divisive

The Great Debate The persistent myth of the ‘Ferguson effect’ By Allen SteinbergJanuary 18, 2016 Tags: FERGUSON EFFECT | POLICE | POLICE BRUTALITY | U.S. CONSTITUTION | U.S. CRIME RATE A protester marches through the streets during a demonstration in solidarity with the protests over the Baltimore death of Freddie Gray in Chicago, Illinois, April 28, 2015. Gray, a 25-year-old black man, died in Baltimore police custody on April 19. REUTERS/Jim Young A protester marches during a demonstration in solidarity with the protests over the Baltimore death of Freddie Gray in Chicago, Illinois, April 28, 2015. REUTERS/Jim Young
A protester marches through the streets during a demonstration in solidarity with the protests over the Baltimore death of Freddie Gray in Chicago, Illinois, April 28, 2015.  REUTERS/Jim Young

The director of the F.B.I. once again referenced the controversial “Ferguson Effect” Wednesday, saying that he believed “less aggressive policing was driving an alarming spike in murders in many cities.”

This claim, which first appeared as a concept under its official moniker last August in response to rising murder rates that started happening well before Darren Wilson shot unarmed Michael Brown, involves the unfounded belief that the usage of viral videos and monitoring the police as a tactic of reducing misconduct and brutality is somehow “spooking” police into being less competent in their daily tasks which prevent crime.

James Comey, the F.B.I. director since 2013, has claimed to see the “Ferguson Effect” numerous times in the past 18 months as viral videos continue to serve as a window into the inherent biases that would seem to run systemically throughout law enforcement.  These police brutality videos act in turn as a catalyst for a nationwide discussion on police reform, institutional racism, and the unequal enforcement of criminal law.

On Wednesday, Mr. Comey said that while he could “offer no statistical proof,” he believed after speaking with a number of police officials that a “viral video effect” – the concept of officers wary of confronting suspects for fear of ending up on a video highlighting misconduct – “could well be at the heart” of a spike in violent crime in certain cities.

“There’s a perception that police are less likely to do the marginal additional policing that suppresses crime – the getting out of your car at 2 in the morning and saying to a group of guys, ‘Hey, what are you doing here?” he told reporters.

When the concept was first introduced in August, it was strongly rebuked as factually baseless from investigative journalists, who noted that in particular homicides began increasing in St. Louis significantly before the fatal shooting of Michael Brown, and Ta-Nehisi Coates noted the dangers of  an “insidious false equivalence” that seeks to deflect and pivot the conversation away from police brutality and back towards the familiar adage of recognizing that an officer’s job is difficult, and that he/she should naturally be given the freedom to do it unchecked and unguarded.

James Comey speaking at the University of Chicago Law School in October. Charles Rex Arbogast/Associated Press
James Comey speaking at the University of Chicago Law School in October.
Charles Rex Arbogast/Associated Press

“A reasonable person could read the Times’ story and conclude that there is as much proof for the idea that protests against police brutality caused crime to rise, as there is against it. That is the path away from journalism and towards noncommittal stenography: Some people think climate change is real, some do not. Some people believe in UFOs, others doubt their existence. Some think brain cancer can be cured with roots and berries, but others say proof has yet to emerge.”

Coates point, in the simplest sense, is not only to warn against false narratives but also to ask in earnest the question: Even if the “Ferguson Effect” was real, an unproven hypothetical but for the purposes of his point assumed to be valid, is that a justified reason for police to deliberately decide to lower their overall competency level? Even given the videos that we have seen where there appears to be no regard for the preservation of life?

In lay terms, are we really to believe that an explanation essentially saying “I’m now worried that I might be filmed, and because I daily break police protocol, violate civil rights, and unfairly target marginalized communities, I will instead scale back protecting the very neighborhoods most in need,” as a valid excuse for depreciated performance levels? Is there any other industry where we would even think to entertain the validity of that response?

The answer, simply, irrefutably, and logically is no, absolutely not.

If my boss is dissatisfied with my performance and calls me in to say, “Adam, the last few months there has been notable drop in your performance and I’m struggling to understand its origin,” I don’t reserve the right to go home, stew in the displeasure of being called out and in turn inappropriately respond with “You might have thought I was incompetent before, but now I’m REALLY going to show you incompetency so you appreciate what you used to have!”

I would be terminated the next day before lunch.

In October, Comey publicly supported the concept as a valid explanation, saying that “a chill wind” had deterred aggressive policing.  At the time, Obama administration and Department of Justice (DOJ) officials distanced themselves from this rhetoric, saying that they had seen no evidence to support this concept.

Obama administration officials declined to comment Wednesday regarding Mr. Comey’s latest remarks but, in an uncharacteristic twist from an organization known to seize any opportunity to defend its ranks against public scrutiny, law enforcement officials issued a stern condemnation of the remarks, saying he was needlessly stirring up a notion that was unproven and equally divisive.

Protestor Ja'Mal Green confronts police outside the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge# 7, 1412 West Washington, in response to the Chicago police union hiring Jason Van Dyke, Thursday, March 30, 2016. | James Foster/For the Sun-Times
Protestor Ja’Mal Green confronts police outside the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge# 7, 1412 West Washington, in response to the Chicago police union hiring Jason Van Dyke, Thursday, March 30, 2016. | James Foster/For the Sun-Times

“He ought to stick to what he knows,” James O. Pasco Jr., executive director of the National Fraternal Order of Police (FOP), an organization known for its hawkish defense of officers even when they are standing trial for first degree murder, “He’s basically saying that police officers are afraid to do their jobs with absolutely no proof.”

The organization counts more than 330,000 members nationwide.

One of the biggest issues Black Lives Matter, Campaign Zero, and other movement for justice have drawn attention to over the past 18 months is the stunning lack of national data regarding fatal police shootings. In the age of viral videos, this omission became painfully obvious when unarmed African American males were being killed by law enforcement officials at the stunning rate of nearly once every two weeks in 2015.

The F.B.I. has promised to build a database compiling police shootings along with any record-able confrontation with civilians, but Mr. Comey said that project was “at least” two years away from completion.

Protest Erupts In Chicago After Officer Shoots And Kills 16-Year-Old Pierre Loury

Chicago now reels from the loss of 16-year-old Pierre Loury, the third person to die this year in a Chicago police-involved shooting.

An officer whose identity has not yet been released to the public fatally shot Loury in the chest Monday night after a brief foot chase. The officer says that Loury pulled a gun on him while fleeing.

According to First Deputy Superintendent John Escalante, a semi-automatic weapon was found near Loury’s body after he was gunned down by the officer.  The superintendent also said that the 16-year-old had had prior contact with law enforcement and was a known gang member.

Police said Loury fled on foot from a car that matched the description of a vehicle involved in another shooting on Monday night.  Police scanner traffic audio recordings from that night were obtained by the Chicago Tribune and are available here.

A woman who claims she was an eyewitness to the shooting spoke with the Chicago Tribune under the condition of anonymity, claiming that she feared backlash from the police.

Despite denying having seen anything at all to the police on Monday night, the woman told the Tribune that Loury had been scaling a fence when he was shot. She was close enough to recognize the teen as someone she knew from the neighborhood, but did not see him holding a gun.

She had looked out the window in time to see the shooting around 7:40 PM, she said, after hearing police sirens and then someone yelling, “we got a jumper, we got a jumper.”

“They shot him in the air,” she said. “His pants leg got caught on the fence and he hit the ground. If he hadn’t gotten shot, he would have cleared the fence.”

Another source within law enforcement agreed with the witness, telling the Tribune that the teen had been trying to hop a fence when he was shot.  His clothing had been entangled in the fence, the source corroborated.

Lousy was pronounced dead at Mount Sinai Hospital at 8:27 PM.

According to Escalante, the officer who fired on Loury will be placed on desk duty for a minimum of 30 days.

Since a Chicago police officer shot and killed 19-year-old college student Quintonio LeGrier and his 55-year-old neighbor, a bystander, the day after Christmas last year, it has been a new departmental policy that officers involved in a shooting remain on paid desk duty for at least 30 days.

The Independent Police Review Authority is investigating Loury’s death.  The officer who shot the teen was reportedly not wearing a body camera.

Pierre Loury’s friends and family gathered in front of his mother’s home in East Garfield Park on Tuesday, along with members of the press.

“Everything they said on the news is not the truth,” said Loury’s mother Tambrasha Hudson through her tears. “It is not the truth. It’s not the truth.

“It’s sad!” she said repeatedly. “My baby was 16, not 30. My baby was 16! Sixteen!”

Classmates said Loury had steady attendance at Chicago Christian Alternative Academy and was quiet and reserved at school. Regina McKinney, 18, said she had known Loury since they were in grade school, and said she didn’t believe the version of events offered by police.

“I know [Loury] well enough to know he wasn’t like that,” McKinney said. “You know what I think it was? A case of mistaken identity. They saw him running, and they chased him. Of course if you see the police roll up on you, nine times out of 10, you’re going to run.”

Tuesday night a vigil was held in around where Loury was killed, drawing over 100 people.  It was sponsored by groups such as Black Lives Matter Chicago and the Chicago Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression.

“We just want justice, that’s it, point blank, period,” Loury’s step-father Vantrese Frazier, told CBS News. “We don’t want no money. We don’t want nothing. We want the corruption to stop.”

Among the attendees was Janet Cooksey, the mother of the slain college student Quintonio Grier, the young man shot by a police officer the day after Christmas.  Cooksey held a picture of her son and said, “The one thing I asked the mayor to do for me is is to not let another mother go through what I’m going through.  It’s time for these cops to go to jail.”

Two people were arrested later as the attendees of the vigil turned to protestors chanting “justice for Pierre.”  By nightfall around 300 people had amassed in the street.

The protesters walked onto the 290 expressway around 8 PM causing traffic delays as the police officers trying to stop them blocked lanes with their vehicles.

Chicago Cop Gets Away With Molesting 9-Year Old, Judge Can’t Decide If Fondling Is Sexual

Dennis Barnes caught kissing and fondling the child of a fellow Chicago police officer

Dennis Barnes was convicted of fondling the daughter of a fellow officer at a barbeque in 2014 Credit: ABC Chicago
Dennis Barnes was convicted of fondling the daughter of a fellow officer at a barbeque in 2014
Credit: ABC Chicago

A Cook County judge opted to clear longtime Chicago police sergeant Dennis Barnes of the molestation and sexual assault of a colleague’s young daughter, convicting him instead on the far-lesser charges of misdemeanor battery. As a result of the judge’s ruling, Barnes’ only punishment will be to undergo up to two years of sex offender counseling and 60 days in a Cook County Jail.

Barnes was originally charged with felony attempted predatory criminal sexual assault and aggravated criminal sexual abuse. The victim in question was 9 years old at the time of the assault in August 2014.

Barnes resigned from the force three months after he was charged.

In an unusual and suspiciously prejudicial move, Judge Charles Burns declined to find Barnes guilty on the more serious charges because he said prosecutors had failed at trial to prove that the defendant fondled the girl for his own sexual arousal, despite the judge in his own words admitting that “something was going on, and that’s something that I find disturbing.”

The victim’s mother, unnamed by the original source and herself a Chicago police officer, had initially invited the sergeant over to her home for a family barbecue, but things quickly became abusive when prosecutors claim Barnes began “grooming” the girl for the assault by massaging her feet and legs.

When her mother entered the room, the girl began crying and told her what had happened.

The victim’s mother believes that the judge’s decision was the result of preferential treatment given due to Barnes service with the Chicago Police Department.

“I couldn’t believe it, I couldn’t believe it because of all the evidence,” the victim’s mother said wiping away her tears “The judge even admitted that it disgusted him, so why would you say it’s only a misdemeanor battery?”

For his part, Barnes apologized Wednesday to the judge, offering up a halfhearted rationale of intoxication as the justification behind his behavior.

“I’m deeply, deeply regretful,” said Barnes, 63 “Whatever it was, was an accident, but I feel sorry for her.”

Prosecutors and activists adamantly rejected that claim, alleging that Barnes was not only completelydownload aware of his actions, but that he deliberately used his position of power to coerce the young girl into doing what he asked.

“(Barnes) told the victim that he was her mother’s boss,” Assistant State’s Attorney Tracy Cenica told the judge, “And she testified that she didn’t scream because she didn’t want to get her mom into trouble.”

The victim’s mother, like Injustice.in, expresses deep skepticism that this ruling and associated sentencing would have been anywhere as lenient if the defendant was a civilian, let alone a person of color.

“I mean I’ve never heard of anybody being charged with two felony sexual charges and then getting a misdemeanor battery,” the mother said. “I’ve never heard of that, and I’ve been doing this job for a long time.”

After the attack, the victim became withdrawn and continues to struggle with chronic nightmares and bed-wetting, spending months in counseling before “finally being able to accept that all policemen aren’t monsters.”

Rahm Emanuel Calls For Federal Hate Crime Investigation Into Racial Slurs Heard Over Chicago Police Radio

In a letter to U.S. Attorney Zachary Fardon and Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has asked both Cook County and federal officials to investigate the racial slurs heard over Chicago Police Department radio frequencies.

A male voice was first heard on March 13th saying, “typical f—ing n—–,” during a conversation between 911 call center dispatchers and police officers.

To which a different male voice replied, “Find out what radio that comment came from.”

Then a female voice answers, “We don’t get radio numbers, but I’m already hollering for my supervisor.”

A male voice then says, “Black lives matter, my a—, f—ing n—–s.”

According to Mayor Emanuel, there have been three more instances of people broadcasting similar slurs over the police radio frequencies.

Authorities at the Chicago Police Department, which has been conducting an internal affairs investigation of the incidentswww, believe that the speaker in the transmissions is not a police officer or employee of the CPD.

“Subsequent investigation has indicated that the transmission was made by an unauthorized private citizen using non-city-issued equipment,” Emanuel wrote in his letter asking Fardon and Alvarez to investigate this as a hate crime, recalling that, “[a]lthough police frequencies are legally restricted to official use, the Chicago Police Department (“CPD”) and Office of Emergency Management and Communications (“OEMC”) have, at times, encountered private citizens who, with the aid of equipment that is publically available, make unauthorized transmissions o police radio frequencies.”

“The language used and the racial intolerance expressed do not represent the values of our police department or our city,” Emanuel wrote.

Activists, however, are not convinced that the messages came from outside of the department.  Community leaders have called for the mayor to find and fire whoever made the racist transmissions.

Chicagoist notes that one Twitter user who regularly tracks police scanner claims that the original broadcast was made hours after the police were deployed to the Donald Trump rally which was eventually cancelled due to the risk of violence between supporters and protesters.

Chicago Police Officer Who Killed LaQuan McDonald Hired By Notorious Police Union

Officer is being charged with first-degree murder in the killing of LaQuan McDonald

Community leaders calling Fraternal Order of Police’s Decision to hire Van Dyke while he awaits trial a “Slap in the face” 

Photo of 17 year old LaQuan McDonald next to the Cook County medical examiner showing the 16 fatal shots he suffered at the hands of Jason Van Dyke
Photo of 17 year old LaQuan McDonald next to the Cook County medical examiner showing the 16 fatal shots he suffered at the hands of Jason Van Dyke

Activists and citizens are outraged after it was revealed that Chicago’s chapter of the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) has hired officer Jason Van Dyke, who shot and killed LaQuan McDonald 16 times as he was walking away, to do custodial work at their facilities while he awaits trial for charges of first-degree murder.

Dash cam footage showing the October 20, 2014 fatal exchange between the police officer and McDonald caused national protests after it was released by the Chicago District Attorney’s Office in November 2015. In the footage, McDonald can be seen allegedly holding a knife but in no way threatening the responding officers at the time of the shooting.

In addition to grotesqueness of his killing, protesters also said that the footage being delayed for over a year was a reflection of a broken criminal justice system and then-district attorney Anita Alvarez’s complacency in its dysfunctions.  Alvarez was voted out of office earlier this month after citywide organizations behind the #ByeAnita campaign.

As first reported by the Associated Press, Van Dyke was hired roughly three weeks ago by FOP to work as a janitor at their facilities and make $12 an hour.

Dean Angelo, president of the union, told AP that Van Dyke is in a “very difficult situation financially” while he waits to stand trial.  Van Dyke has been suspended without pay by the Chicago Police Department.

“He might be on the roof, he might be in the office, he does anything we need,” Angelo told the Sun-Times, also noting that it is not unprecedented. “We’ve probably had 100 people in no-pay status who we got jobs or hired at the hall. This is nothing new.”

Whether this is typical or commonplace nonetheless does not make it ethical, and many community leaders were quick to express outrage upon learning about the move.

“Not only is it insulting and outrageous, but it is a slap in the face,” said Rev. Michael L. Pfleger, a Chicago-area pastor at St. Sabina church, “It is the reason we have this continued breakdown between law enforcement and community. This is much bigger than LaQuan McDonald, this is an insult to the city of Chicago. It is an insult to him and his family, and it is an insult, I think, to police officers.”

Frank Giancamilli, speaking on behalf of the Chicago Police Department, told ABC News today that the “decision to hire Mr. Van Dyke was completely independent of the Chicago Police Department.”

According to Pfleger, this news brings police-community relations “back to square one”

A protest over the decision is organized for later this evening at 6:30 outside of the FOP offices in Chicago.

SLC Police Shoot Teen, In Critical Condition, Angry Onlookers Throw Rocks At Cops

Salt Lake City Police Department issued a press release Saturday reporting that two officers had shot and wounded a 17-year-old.  According to the release, officers saw two males attacking a male victim with metal objects.  After ordering them to drop their weapons, one of the attackers complied while the other did not and “continued to advance on the victim” before shooting and badly wounding him.

The teenager who was shot was identified by the local media as Abdi Mohamed, a Somali 17-year-old who came to the U.S. with his family in 2004.  He remains in the hospital in critical condition.

Selam Mohammad, 19, who was on the scene, told The Salt Lake Tribune that the shooting victim and a man were in a confrontation, and that the victim was holding part of a broomstick at his side when officers ran up.

“They told him to put it down, once,” Mohammad said, and “started shooting him as soon as he turned around.” Mohammad said the police fired four times and that the teenager was hit in the chest and stomach.

19-year-old Selam Mohammad said he is a friend of Abdi Mohamed, who was in an argument with a homeless man when the police arrived.  He was simply holding the handle of a broomstick in his hand, Mohammad said.

We were trying to break it up before the police even came, but the police ran in on foot and pulled their guns out already,” Selam Mohammad said.

“They already had them, like, as soon as he was running he was already grabbing for his gun, not even trying to Tase him or anything… He said ‘drop it’ [then] boom boom!”

ABC News confirms that Abdi Mohamed was hit twice in the torso.  The victim of the alleged beating did not need medical attention.

Following the shooting, a crowd gathered and grew hostile to the officers.  Some were reported to have thrown rocks and bottles.  Then 100 officers from other neighboring departments arrived with batons and riot shields. Officers asked the crowd to evaluate the area to preserve the crime scene and allow emergency medical personnel to pass, however many did not comply.  The officers then arrested four people for civil disorder.

Anna Brower, spokeswoman for the ACLU of Utah, said the response by police in riot gear raises real question not only about this incident but the larger issue of whether heavy police mobilization is the best way to handle high-crime areas like this one.

Her organization is calling for city leaders to ensure a complete investigation is done and that the Mohamed’s family is treated fairly and compassionately during the process.

Both officers involved in the shooting were wearing body-cams which have been Unified Police Department which handles investigations into officer-involved shootings.  Utah law requires the video evidence to be withheld from the public as the investigation is ongoing. They have refused to release the footage and claim that Mohamed may also be facing charges for his involvement in the fight.

That decision drew criticism from the Council on American-Islamic Relations, which called on police to release the body camera footage to avoid making the same mistake Chicago police made in waiting more than a year to release footage of a black teenager shot 16 times by a police officer.

“We are committed, to ensuring the Salt Lake City Police Department does business appropriately, in line with the community’s trust and expectations,” said Chief Mike Brown.  “Our goal is to always de-escalate any type of volatile situation using the minimal amount of force necessary.”

“The use of force by law enforcement against the public can tear at the delicate balance of trust between both sides, and must be taken extremely seriously,” said Mayor Jackie Biskupski.

On Monday civil rights groups convened in Salt Lake City to demand answers and the release of the body-cam footage.  Protestors were seen holding signs that said, “Stop Killer Cops” and were chanting “Black lives matter.”

Charley Hyde and Kaylee Peterson came to the rally holding cardboard cutouts in the shapes of guns with the words, “Don’t shoot.” They said they’re fed up with officer’s inability to deescalate or use non-lethal force.

“They need retraining,” Peterson said. “Whatever happened to Tasers? Whatever to rubber bullets? Whatever happened to shooting shots in the sky as a warning?”

The police union argues that the officers did not shoot because of the race of the victim, but because they were intervening on behalf of the man he was fighting.

 

 

Phoenix Police Blatantly Ignore Evidence Of Child Abuse

A new report has surfaced claiming that the Marshal’s Offices in two towns on the Arizona/Utah border failed to properly investigate child abuse and complete timely reports, as testified by an expert witness for a Justice Department investigation.

Colorado City, Ariz and Hildale, Utah, both of which are comprised of majority Mormon populations, were sued by the Department of Justice in 2012, accusing them of denying non-church members access to police protection, water, and electricity. Even more incredulously, both towns and their law enforcement did so knowing that the local sects leader, Warren Jeffs, was a known pedophile and polygamist, having sexually assaulted and married two 12 and 15 year old girls.

Via Filming Cops:

Joseph De Lopez, a former deputy superintendent for the Chicago Police Department hired to review policies of the Colorado City Marshal’s Office, told the jury the towns’ Marshal Office did not investigate reports that town members married underage girls.

“Not only should there be an Internal Affairs investigation if it involves an officer, but a criminal investigation,” De Lopez testified.

On Wednesday, the towns’ former Chief Marshal Helaman Barlow testified that the Marshal’s Office ignored claims of underage marriages.

Full Story – Filming Cops

Nearly Half Of Police Union’s Statements On Shootings Are False, Study Finds

A study analyzing police union’s statements immediately following a police-involved shooting shows that the Chicago police union has provided a false narrative in nearly half of its official statements since 2012.

As first reported by the Chicago Reader, 15 of the 35 statements given by Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 7 Spokesman Pat Camden after shootings since 2012 have contained facts that were later proven false or deliberately misleading through sworn legal testimony, civilian/dash-cam footage, media/federal investigations, or even official police statements.

While it is certainly plausible that a select few cases could legitimately be presented with misinformation, the overwhelming number of false narratives significantly hurt police department’s standing with the communities they serve, particularly neighborhoods with majority black and brown populations.

According to the Reader:

“I cannot remember on any occasion when the Los Angeles police union made any kind of statement [about a police shooting],” Stephen Downing, former LAPD deputy chief, told the Reader. ‘[Camden’s] standing up there representing an official body; the public is listening to him represent the police organization, even though it’s the union. The police department and city should be objecting to that. If they’re not, then they’re complicit.”

As we have seen in many high profile shootings – particularly in cases involving unarmed persons of color – the prevailing narrative put out by Camden (along with most union reps nationally) is that the use of lethal force was necessary because they feared for their lives.

In many instances, this narrative is later proven to be dubious at best, most notably the infamous fatal shooting of LaQuan McDonald by Officer Jason Van Dyke. In the immediate aftermath in the fall of 2014, Camden originally told reporters that McDonald had “lunged” at Van Dyke with a knife in a “clear-cut case of self defense.” Dash-cam footage made available to the public a year later clearly shows McDonald walking away from the officers, presenting no imminent threat to anybody’s safety.

Read More – DNA Info Chicago

 

Exposed: Chicago Police Caught Hiding Mics, Destroying Dashcams To Block Audio

A new report has surfaced showing verifiable proof that Chicago Police have systematically destroyed dashcam footage and other evidence in cases under review.

Via DNA Info:

Chicago Police Department officers stashed microphones in their squad car glove boxes. They pulled out batteries. Microphone antennas got busted or went missing. And sometimes, dashcam systems didn’t have any microphones at all, DNAinfo Chicago has learned.

Police officials last month blamed the absence of audio in 80 percent of dashcam videos on officer error and “intentional destruction.”

A DNAinfo Chicago review of more than 1,800 police maintenance logs sheds light on the no-sound syndrome plaguing Police Department videos — including its most notorious dashcam case.

Maintenance records of the squad car used by Jason Van Dyke, who shot and killed Laquan McDonald, and his partner, Joseph Walsh, show monthslong delays for two dashcam repairs, including a long wait to fix “intentional damage.”

On June 17, 2014, police technicians reported fixing a dashcam wiring issue in police vehicle No. 6412, the squad shared by Van Dyke and Walsh, about three months after it was reported broken, records show.

Full Story – DNA Info

 

Quintonio LeGrier called 911 three times, ignored by dispatch before shot by Chicago Police

On Monday the Independent Police Review Authority (IPRA) in Chicago released audio recordings of the three 911 calls Quintonio LeGrier made to the authorities on the morning he was shot six times by a police officer whose gunfire also accidentally killed his neighbor.  LeGrier told the 911 dispatcher that his life was threatened, but was hung up on when he would not specify how.

The 911 phone calls open new questions into the killing of the 19-year-old who came to the door of his apartment with a baseball bat the day after Christmas.  The police arrived at the home in response to a call by LeGrier’s father Antonio LeGrier after he called for help with his son.

“You have a situation here — Quintonio is looking for help,” Basileios J. Foutris, the lawyer, said. “He’s calling for police assistance. The first time he does that, he’s hung up on. The next two times, he’s met with rude, offensive, crude, inappropriate dispatchers who basically treat him like trash.”

The 911 dispatcher who hung up on LeGrier has been disciplined, reports say, because failing to respond to a caller who says their life is at risk is a violation of policy.  The office of Mayor Emanuel states that they had not heard of these calls until Monday.

The death of Quintonio LeGrier was angrily received by a city reeling from the scandal of Laquan McDonald’s shooting video. Hundreds protested on the street that police are killing rather than helping citizens.  Hundreds of protesters urged officials in Chicago to resign, eventually leading to the forced resignation of the Chicago Police Department Superintendent.

Full Story at NYTimes.Com

Black Lives Matter In Politics-Primaries in IL, OH Knock Out Prosecutors Obstructing Justice for Tamir Rice, Laquan McDonald

During Democratic primaries on Tuesday, voters sent a strong message to the prosecutors responsible in the cases of Laquan McDonald and Tamir Rice.  Both the Cook County State’s Attorney in Illinois, Anita Alvarez and Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Tim McGinty in Ohio were defeated by opponents in the democratic party.

The downfall of both prosecutors are a win for Black Lives Matter and other activists groups who became involved because of high-profile cases where prosecutors did not seek indictments for police officers who killed unarmed black youth, despite holding enough evidence to charge them with murder.

In Illinois, Kim Foxx defeated Anita Alvarez, the two-term state’s attorney who held onto evidence of police brutality in the police shooting death of Laquan McDonald for over a year before publicly revealed dash cam video forced the arrest of the Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke, who fired 16 shots into the 17-year-old.

According to the latest reports, Foxx is leading by 58% of the vote, while Alvarez managed to obtain 28%.  A third contender, Donna More received 13%.

In the city, Foxx won in predominantly black and Hispanic wards on the city’s West and South Sides, and the ethnically diverse North Side lakefront wards.

Alvarez scored well in wards with a white voter base on the Northwest Side, South and Southwest Sides where large numbers of police, firefighters and city workers reside, according to a breakdown of primary results by Chicago Magazine.

“Our struggles here are very real,” Foxx, an African American woman from Cabrini-Green in her victory speech Tuesday. “The need to rebuild a broken criminal justice here in Cook County is not work that should be taken lightly.”

Behind Kim Foxx’s winning campaign to become the democratic nominee were two notable strengths, a powerful back story and the financial and political resources of her former boss, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle.  Foxx impressed upon many voters that she was in a unique position of understand injustice after growing up in one of Chicago’s toughest housing projects.  She was a victim of sexual abuse and was homeless at one time herself.  In the general election, Foxx will face the Republican pick for the state’s attorney’s office, Christopher Pfannkuche.

“Alvarez was cast by activists as an unprincipled cop-coddler who prioritized her working relationship with the Chicago Police Department over truth and justice,” Leon Neyfakh wrote for Slate. “Foxx undoubtedly got a significant lift from the efforts to unseat her opponent.”

Many critics of Alvarez did not directly endorse either Foxx or More, but carried the simple hashtag message #ByeAnita in highly-visible grassroots displays.  The group Assata’s Daughters literally took to the sky with airplanes carrying banners associating her with another controversial politician, Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel.  Screen Shot 2016-03-16 at 2.10.23 PM

Assata’s Daughters celebrated by singing “Bye, Anita” Tuesday night and released a statement asserting their own victory. “Chicago Black youth kicked Anita Alvarez out of office,” the group said in a statement. “We did this for Rekia. We did this for Laquan. We won’t stop until we’re free and Kim Foxx should know that as well.”

Just after midnight on Wednesday, single-term Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Tim McGinty conceded to his opponent Mike O’Malley.  O’Malley, a relative newcomer to the race who did not officially kick off his campaign until January 21, received 55.4% of the vote at last report.  He does not face a challenger from an Indecent or Republican, so O’Malley has likely secured the position.

As one writer at CleveScene put it, the results of this race were a referendum on McGinty’s handling of the death of Tamir Race.  McGinty was scorned for advocating against criminal charges for the two police officers who shot and killed the black 12-year-old in 2014.

17-Year-Old Laquan McDonald
17-Year-Old Laquan McDonald
12-Year-Old Tamir Rice
12-Year-Old Tamir Rice

“They need an individual who is willing to go out and meet with individuals and restore some type of confidence in that office and I’m that individual and I will be doing that,” O’Malley told Fox8. “I will be meeting with people I will be talking with people on the streets. It’s going to take a large effort to bring this system back, but I am willing to work with the common pleas judges, the public defenders, all the people who thought they were perhaps bullied in the past will have a partner, and that partner will be me and my team.”

As Leon Neyfakh wrote for Slate:

It’s rare for incumbent prosecutors to be voted out of office. According to one study, they win re-election 95 percent of the time, and typically they run unopposed. This is in part because most voters just don’t pay attention to prosecutor races, and usually don’t have a vivid sense of the office’s powers. As one local district attorney told me last year after completing a successful campaign, “Most people don’t know what the district attorney does.”

According to Neyfakh, the races in Cleveland and Chicago could not have been more different.  While Kim Foxx slammed Anita Alvarez for her role in covering up the murder of Laquan McDonald, Mike O’Malley took a hands-off approach when it came to Tamir Rice.

In a sense, both Alvarez and McGinty ultimately were shamed by scandal.  And without the efforts of the families of the slain victims of police brutality and their hard-working supporters, high-profile cases such as Laquan McDonald and Tamir Rice could have remained obscure.  The results of these primaries indeed frame the efforts of Black Lives Matter and grassroots youth movements as a political success.

Cop Who Killed LaQuan McDonald Broke Dashcam On Purpose

Jason Van Dyke, the Chiacgo Police officer who fatally shot LaQuan McDonald, intentionally damaged his dash-cam and failed to sync his microphone to the camera. Even more disturbing is that a new investigation is revealing that these tactics are commonplace in the Chicago Police Department and nationwide.

In a study first obtained DNA Info Chicago, more than 1,800 police logs in Chicago show a disturbing trend of intentionally disabling dashcam and mics in order to tamper with audio that might potentially be incriminating.

Via Huffington Post:

Jason Van Dyke, the officer charged with fatally shooting 17-year-old McDonald in October 2014, caused “intentional damage” to his dashcam at least once, along with other instances of his dashcam breaking, the logs show. The day of the killing, audio wasn’t picked up by Van Dyke’s car, nor by the squad car next to his.

The vehicle did pick up video, however, which shows Van Dyke shooting McDonald 16 times.

A month after the killing, police officials said it was “apparent” that Van Dyke had “failed to sync the MICS,” according to the records.

In less than a year, from September 2014 to July 2015, there were 90 recorded instances of microphones missing from police cars. On 30 other occasions, audio recording on dashcams had either not been turned on, or had been “intentionally defeated,” DNAinfo reported.

Full Story – Huffington Post