Tag Archives: police

‘Despicable’ Baltimore Corruption Scandal To End In Sentencing Of 16 Cops, Civilians

(DCF) Federal investigators obtained the final two convictions related to an expansive corruption scandal inside the Baltimore Police Department Monday night, bringing the total to 16 convicted officers and civilians.

Six members of the city’s elite Gun Trace Task Force (GTTF) pleaded guilty to stealing from civilians and selling confiscated guns and drugs back onto the streets. They in turn testified against the remaining two members who claimed innocence. A five-man drug crew, a bail bondsman, and two other civilians have also been convicted, The Baltimore Sun reported. The corrupt officers have yet to be sentenced, but their actions have tainted as many as 850 cases and could result in overturned convictions.

“We recognize that this indictment and subsequent trial uncovered some of the most egregious and despicable acts ever perpetrated in law enforcement,” Acting-Commissioner Darryl De Sousa said Monday. “Let me make it clear: I have ZERO TOLERANCE for corruption.”

Former-Detective Maurice Ward, a GTTF member, testified in January that the group would routinely carry BB guns in their vehicles just in case they needed to plant one on a crime scene. Ward testified to other shocking acts of corruption by the GTTF as well.

City violence has skyrocketed amid the police scandals, with Baltimore suffering 343 murders in 2017, a record rate with the city’s shrinking population. Mayor Catherine Pugh cited the surge in violence when she fired former-Commissioner Kevin Davis and replaced him with De Sousa.

“Crime is now spilling out all over the city, and we’ve got to focus. I am charging De Sousa and his staff to get on top of it to reduce the numbers and to reduce them quickly,” Pugh, a Democrat, said at a news conference. “The fact is, we are not achieving the pace of progress that our residents have every right to expect in the weeks since we ended what was nearly a record year for homicides in the city of Baltimore.”

The eight officers face maximum sentences from 20 to 40 years in prison, while the five-man drug crew could be facing life in prison. The remaining civilians do not yet have scheduled sentences.

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Report: Prosecutors Decline to Charge Police in 96 Percent of Civil Rights Cases

An investigation into the results of civil rights cases in the United States between 1995 and 2015 found that federal prosecutors declined to charge police officers 96 percent of the time.

A report from the investigation, which was conducted by the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, analyzed 3 million federal records from the Justice Department’s 94 U.S. Attorney offices. Out of 13,233 complaints, prosecutors turned down 12,703 alleged civil rights violations.

The report listed weak or insufficient evidence, lack of criminal intent and orders from the Justice Department as reasons given by prosecutors for declining to charge officers, and it noted that for all other crimes, prosecutors rejected only about 23 percent of complaints.”

[RELATED: Investigator Says He Was Fired for Finding Police Officers At Fault in Shootings]

Steve Kaufman, chief of Western Pennsylvania’s criminal division, told the Tribune-Review that while the U.S. Attorney’s office for the area opens files for all accusations, civil rights cases are some of the “most difficult cases” to prove beyond a reasonable doubt.

We don’t hesitate to open a file on a civil rights case, yet it’s one of the most difficult cases to gather sufficient evidence to prove it beyond a reasonable doubt at trial,” Kaufman said. “Obviously then you do have a relatively high percentage that don’t end up being prosecuted.”

While Jim Pasco, executive director of the national Fraternal Order of Police, questioned whether some of the complaints against police officers were just “false complaints,” Craig Futterman, founder of the Civil Rights and Police Accountability Project at the University of Chicago, told the Tribune-Review that he thinks “the failure to aggressively bring those cases has allowed too many abusive officers to believe that they can operate without fear of punishment.”

[RELATED: DEA Records Show Punishment is Rare Among Rampant Misconduct]

The report listed 12 federal districts— Southern Alabama, Southern Georgia, Northern Indiana, Minnesota, Nebraska, Nevada, Northern Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Western Virginia, Western Washington and Western Wisconsin— where out of 671 complaints over 21 years, only one officer was prosecuted in each district.

Out of the federal districts examined, prosecutors in 11 districts— Alaska, Colorado, Central Illinois, Southern Iowa, Maine, Western Michigan, New Jersey, North Dakota, Vermont, Eastern Washington and Wyoming— received a total of 240 complaints, “yet never charged a single officer from 1995-2015.”

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Two Dozen Guns Somehow Walked Out Of A DC Police Evidence Locker, Half To Be Used In Other Crimes

By Steve Birr and Josh Fatzick – More than two dozen firearms that were supposed to be in the custody of the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) somehow made their way back to the streets and were used in other crimes, documents obtained by The Daily Caller News Foundation appear to show.

An internal memo from the D.C. Department of Forensic Sciences (DFS) reveals 24 guns police confiscated between 2005 and 2012 vanished from the MPD evidence locker and were later confiscated yet again in other crimes. One of the weapons reappeared in a murder, while several others were used to commit violent crimes

The issue with missing guns rose to the surface after a reporter requested information regarding the firearms recovered during homicides that occurred in 2014.

The information request from Amelia Rufer, a reporter with the website Homicide Watch, was limited to cases from 2014, but an employee at DFS conducted a more thorough review of guns that came through the crime lab and found the discrepancies. The subsequent DFS memo documenting the investigation was provided to TheDCNF by an employee of the department.

The documents, dated Jan. 9, 2015, show D.C. police logged 24 guns into their evidence database between 2005 and 2012. Those guns somehow left police possession, were used in crimes and then returned to police possession, where they were re-logged into the police database.

The forensics agency keeps track of the serial number of each gun that comes into its possession and determined something was wrong when the serial numbers came back attached to two separate cases.

DFS reviewed the 24 matches and found half of them may have been the result of duplicated registrations. The MPD requires personal firearms be registered with the city. If the gun is later recovered during an investigation, the serial number will be re-registered in their systems, potentially creating a duplicate.

These cases are designated as “yellow flags” in the memo, because while there is evidence the firearm entries may be the result of previous registration, confirmation requires further investigation.

The other 12 matches, which contained no significant connections with investigations or possible duplicated entries, were deemed “red flags.”

In one of the cases, from 2008, U.S. Parks Police confiscated a gun and sent it to the MPD Firearms and Toolmark Examination Unit (FEU) to be test-fired. Police have no record indicating the final destination of the .357 revolver, but the same gun was later recovered as evidence at the scene of a homicide in 2009.

The “red flag” cases included one instance, in 2011, where a Taurus .38 Special revolver was submitted to the MPD FEU for test firing after police recovered it from its owner. Police evidence records indicated the gun was located at the MPD First District headquarters as of Dec. 30, 2011.

Fast forward to 2014, the same gun came back into the possession of police, and was described as a “Police officer’s firearm, ”after it was submitted as evidence in an assault on a police officer. As of Jan. 9, 2015, the gunwas being held for “safekeeping” by the DFS.

Delonte Yate, the victim in the assault, is described as a special police officer. In Washington, D.C., special police officers are basically security guards who carry guns and are eligible to make arrests. They are licensed by the MPD. It is unknown whether the .38 Special labeled a “Police officer’s firearm” in the memo was in the possession of Yate or belonged to another party involved.

“Without any additional records from 2011, it is unclear how the Taurus .38 Special left MPD custody at the 1st District Property to become a ‘Police officer’s firearm’ in the 2014 [assault on a police officer]. This requires further investigation,” the DFS memo reads.

Another case, from 2009, also involved a special police officer in possession of a gun supposed to be in a police evidence locker.

In 2009, police took possession of another .38 special from Duane Young, a defendant charged with carrying a pistol without a license. The evidence log for the firearm was left blank, but a second entry accompanying thegun showed six .38 caliber bullets in police possession.

Later, in 2012, a police investigation involving the same weapon found it in the possession of Teron Bridgett, a special police officer with Tri-Sec Investigative Service. Notes accompanying the investigation list the actual owner of the gun, and Tri-Sec Investigative Service, as a man named Maurice Lynch. Further, the notes indicate the gun was kept in police custody to be returned to Lynch once he could pass a “Fitness for Duty” test.

“Due to the lack of records from the 2009 [carrying a pistol without a license] case, it is unclear how the Taurus .38 Special left MPD custody to end up in the possession of Maurice Lynch in 2012. This requires further investigation,” according to the DFS memo.

TheDCNF contacted DFS Director of Communications LaShon Beamon for additional information regarding the internal memo. Beamon explained that since the events took place while the forensics lab was still under the control of MPD, she could not provide any additional information.

The District took control of the MPD forensics lab in 2012, combining it with the D.C. Public Health Laboratory and the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner. The Consolidated Forensic Laboratory (CFL) has since operated under the DFS.

Beamon directed TheDCNF to contact Lt. Sean Conboy, spokesperson for the MPD. Conboy failed to respond to repeated requests for comment from TheDCNF.

Read the entire memo here:

DFS Memo

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ABOUR: Why Didn’t Open Carry Apply To Tamir Rice?

Ohio is one of the 30 states that allows open carry without a permit throughout the state. When a state has an open carry policy, it allows its citizens to carry guns in public without fear of being arrested, let alone killed.

So why did the open carry rule not apply to Tamir Rice, a 12-year-old who was in possession of a toy gun at a park? Within two seconds at the scene, Cleveland Police officer Timothy Loehmann shot and killed Rice. Many through social media have argued that because Rice was a minor, the open carry rule does not apply to children because they shouldn’t be in possession of guns. However, Loehmann told the dispatcher that Rice looked “maybe 20.” With that presumption, why didn’t Loehmann respect the open carry law in Ohio? Was it because Rice was a black male? Rice was never even given an opportunity to show the officers that it was a toy gun. He was executed before given a chance to explain.

Whereas earlier this week, a 66-year-old white woman in Connecticut stood outside a police station pointing a BB gun at officers shouting “Boom boom boom” and “Shoot me!” is alive and unharmed.

The woman, Elaine Rothenberg, pointed the gun at civilians asking if they were police. She also blocked an employee-only doorway where police enter and exit to get to their police cruisers and stood with the gun raised in a shooting stance attempting instigate the officers. Rothenberg eventually threw the gun and was arrested. Why was she given due process and Rice was not? Connecticut is also an open carry state, but has even stricter gun laws than Ohio. Why was Loehmann able to shoot and kill a 12 year old right on the spot while Rothenberg was given her due process?

Never mind that Loehmann resigned from a previous police department just as he was about to be fired for incompetence with firearms and repeatedly displaying emotional disturbances.

As Truth in Media previously reported:

A memorandum, written by Independence Deputy Chief Jim Polak, expressed concern over Loehmann’s emotional issues during his poor performance at a state range qualification course for handgun training. Polak wrote that he was notified of Loehmann’s emotional issues by Independence Police Sgt. Greg Tinnirello:

“I was notified by FTO Sgt. Tinnirello of the following circumstances related to our recruit, Ptl. Loehmann. A written statement was included. On this date, during a state range qualification course Ptl. Loehmann was distracted and weepy. He could not follow simple directions, could not communicate clear thoughts nor recollections, and his handgun performance was dismal. Sgt. Tinnirello tried to work through this with Ptl. Loehmann by giving him some time. But, after some talking it was clear to Sgt. Tinnirello that the recruit was just not mentally prepared to be doing firearm training.”

Polak concluded that “due to this dangerous loss of composure during live range training and his inability to manage this personal stress, I do not believe Ptl. Loehmann shows the maturity needed to work in our employment. Unfortunately in law enforcement there are times when instructions need be followed to the letter, and I am under the impression Ptl. Loehmann, under certain circumstances, will not react in the way instructed. Ptl. Loehmann’s lack of commitment for his future here at Independence is disconcerting.” Polak recommended that Loehmann be released from the department and wrote that neither “time, nor training, will be able to change or correct these deficiencies.”

In that case, why on Earth did the Cleveland Police Department hire him?  Lt. Gail Bindel and Sgt. Edwin Santiago, the two officers in charge of hiring Loehmann, failed to perform a thorough background check on him. They were later suspended and reprimanded for it. Not only are the militarization tactics of police a major issue, but now we also have to worry about improperly evaluated cops and the open carry laws that are supposed to protect us. So who does open carry really serve to protect?

High School Students Arrested, Jailed For Sagging Pants

BOLIVAR, Tenn. — Four high school students at Bolivar Central were charged with indecent exposure and two ended up sitting in a jail cell for 48 hours for having sagging pants this week. However, the students reportedly did not break a law.

“I think jail time might be a little too much, but at the same time there has been a lot of sagging pants,” parent Crystal Wing told WMC Action 5 News.

Student Antonio Ammons and one other student spent 48 hours in the Hardeman County Criminal Justice Complex following the charges levied by School Resource Officer Charles Woods for indecent exposure.

While Woods, Hardeman County School Director Warner Ross II and Bolivar Central High School principal Jeff Barnes did not return calls for comment, Woods stated in the incident report that the pant sagging occurred on more than one occasion.

While it is unclear why only two of the four individuals charged for indecent exposure were jailed, Action News 5 contacted attorney Leslie Ballin who stated saggy pants do not constitute indecent exposure under Tennessee Law.

Ammon, who lives with his great-grandmother, says he “really didn’t like it” regarding his time in jail, and now must find the means to pay the $250 in court costs and fines associated with the charges.

When asked for an opinion on the matter, student Jordan Perry stated “I don’t think it’s necessary to go to jail for saggy pants, but I think the school should have some kind of punishment though.”

Another student, Cheyenne Lindsey said, “I think it’s just a little harsh. They didn’t need to go to that extreme.”

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Police Union Calls Officer Drug, Alcohol Testing ‘Illegal Search and Seizure’

A police officers’ union has filed a complaint against the City of Pittsburgh, Pa. for requiring officers to submit to drug and alcohol tests that allegedly violate their employment contracts and the U.S. Constitution.

Pittsburgh Police Chief Cameron McLay has made it department policy to perform drug and alcohol tests on officers involved in a car chase ending in a crash even when the officer in question does not specifically make impact with another vehicle. Pittsburgh police officers’ employment contracts call for testing whenever they discharge a weapon, are involved in a crash, or are suspected of being under the influence at work.

The complaint was filed on behalf of officers who were ordered to submit to testing after participating in car chases ending in crashes in which they themselves did not make impact with a vehicle.

[RELATED: Chicago Police Union Stands By Officer Charged with First Degree Murder]

Pittsburgh police union attorney Bryan Campbell told WPXI-TV, “I don’t know why the city suddenly changed the policy on this, and it’s our position that this is an illegal search and seizure.

Chief Cameron McLay argued, “Regardless of whether or not they were a collision vehicle, the reality is I consider us to have been involved. We are going to interpret that policy as I believe it was intended and protect the officers, as well as the community, by verifying that the officer wasn’t impaired.

[Officers] don’t forfeit their constitutional rights to protect the city from a civil liability,” said Campbell, implying that Chief McLay’s motive in ordering the tests is to protect the city from potential lawsuits.

[RELATED: Reality Check: Is Justice Blind To Charging Police Officers?]

Pursuant to the complaint, Pittsburgh’s Department of Law is set to review Chief McLay’s interpretation of the policy. If Campbell’s interpretation of the wording of the employment contract prevails, Pittsburgh will be forced to stop testing officers unless they’re directly involved in a collision impact. Otherwise, the dispute will move forward in an arbitration process.

FBI Says CA Shooting “Was Terrorism”, Wife Pledged Allegiance to ISIS

San Bernardino- The FBI says they now believe that the mass shooting Wednesday in San Bernardino, California, was in fact a terrorist attack.  The agency claims that the couple, Syed Farook and his wife Tashfeen Malik attempted to destroy their digital footprint, including cell phones and computer hard-drives, before their deadly shooting with police.

In addition, the FBI says that Malik made a posting online in which she pledged allegiance to the head of ISIS, Abu Bakr al Baghdadi.

Meanwhile, attorneys for the Farook family held a news conference late Friday to explain that the family has been working with the FBI and has been privy to some of the FBI investigation.  The attorneys, Mohammad Abuershaid and David Chelsey, claim that the only evidence held by the FBI is flimsy.  In fact according to Chelsey, the FBI’s belief is based upon “One Facebook posting that was made under someone else’s name and account and was made on one website that the FBI has deemed as extremist.”

The attorneys also pushed back against the media saying that the narrative of this attack being ISIS inspired is being driven by media.  “When a Christian shoots up a Planned Parenthood there isn’t a rush to claim terrorism,” but when a Muslim is involved the media treats the story differently.

When pushed by reporters to explain why Farook and Malik would have targeted the center, the attorneys said that some co-workers had made fun of Farook’s beard.

As we have reported, according to the San Bernardino Sheriff the couple’s home was an ammunition stockpile.  Police say they found 12 pipe bombs, 3,000 rounds of bullets and tools to used to make explosives.

Inside the Inland Region Center where the shooting took place, the couple reportedly fired between 65 and 75 rounds.  Police also say they found more than 1,600 bullets inside the couple’s car.

Tashfeen Malik came to the United States in 2014 from Paskistan with her then fiancee Farook under a fiancee Visa.


Breaking: Chicago Police Shooting Video Released, Officer Charged First Degree Murder

Chicago- It is a video that has taken over a year to be released.  A white Chicago police officer shooting and killing a black teenager.  That teen, seventeen-year-old Laquan McDonald was shot 16 times by police officer Jason Van Dyke, who emptied his gun and prepared to reload.

This is the dashcam video of that shooting which was only released because of a court order.


Tuesday, for the first time in 35 years, a Chicago police officer was charged with first-degree murder.  Officer Van Dyke was also denied bond by the judge.

Van Dyke has had 20 misconduct complaints made against him during the past 4-1/2 years, none of which led to any discipline from the Chicago Police Department.

McDonald was reportedly holding a knife with a three-inch blade when police spotted him and pulled over.  McDonald was on foot at the time.   Officer Van Dyke was not among the first officers to attend.

There were no words spoken by McDonald during the incident. He said nothing in response to numerous verbal commands to drop the knife, police said.

The first responding officer said he did not see the need to use force.

But an officer armed with a Taser was requested to attend and deal with the situation but none arrived.

Officer Van Dyke, who arrived in a patrol car with a partner, was at the scene for less than 30 seconds before he started shooting. He was out of his car for approximately six seconds before he opened fire.

Officer Van Dyke shot the teenager 16 times. The 16 fired cartridge cases police recovered at the scene were all from his weapon.

McDonald was lying on the ground for 13 of these seconds as the shots were fired. Officer Van Dyke was preparing to reload when his partner, who could hear McDonald struggling to breathe, told him to hold his fire.

The prosecutor said the teenager still had a pulse when paramedics arrived but was declared dead at the hospital.


Breaking, Developing: Paris Under Attack; Dozens Killed, Hundreds Held Hostage

Update, November 13, 5:47 p.m.: The death toll has climbed to 60, according to CNN affiliate BFMTV.

Update, November 13, 6:31 p.m.: 5 more explosions and reports of automatic gunfire at theater with 100 hostages. Hostages possibly being killed one by one.

Update, November 13, 8:19 p.m.: France Declares State of Emergency, Military Enacts Full Control

Paris- Paris is under attack in at least three simultaneous attacks. As of this posting (and that number continues to change), at least 35 people are dead and possibly another 100 hostages are being held after three separate violent attacks.

paris hostage shooting map

Police say the gunmen—as many as six—were armed with kalashnikovs and grenades. They are all currently on the loose.

At least one of the gunman opened fire at a restaurant near a soccer stadium.  The soccer game between France and Germany was taking place at the time.  Early reports indicate that a Kalishnikov rifle and grenades were used in at least one attack.

Paris’s deputy mayor says it is too early to say if the attacks were coordinated acts of terror, but that it looks that way. US officials state the attacks were coordinated.

Truth in Media will provide updates as the story is developing.

Police Officers Fear ‘YouTube Effect’ Impacting Job Performance

As police officers across the country are expressing concern over a “YouTube effect” resulting from the public’s ability to document and publish police activity with smartphones, the director of the FBI suggested this effect may be contributing to a recent rise in violent crime.

The Washington Times reported that officers from over 30 agencies gathered in San Antonio for an annual National Association of Police Organizations (NAPO) convention last week, where one of the main topics highlighted how to deal with “hostile media” with examples including officer-involved fatal shootings.

Lt. Gary Vickers of the Newark, New Jersey Police Department, indicated that he fears “death by media” if a video of his performance on the job were to go viral.

“Am I going to be the next one who is put on display for doing an honest job?” Vickers said. “It really dictates how a police officer reacts today.” 

FBI Director James Comey told the Chicago Sun-Times that he believes the rise in violent crime is due to the fact that “something in policing has changed” and many officers now  “feel under siege.”

“In today’s YouTube world, there are officers reluctant to get out of their cars and do the work that controls violent crime,” Comey said. “Our officers are answering 911 calls, but avoiding the informal contact that keeps bad guys from standing around, especially with guns.”

Comey also said when it comes to sentencing reform and lowering mass incarceration rates, he thinks Americans should debate the issue with “a fair understanding of history.” He used an example of Richmond, Virginia in the 1990s when he said that after dozens of men were incarcerated for trafficking narcotics, violence dropped in the area and citizens felt safer.

The “Youtube effect” was discussed by top law enforcement at a private meeting earlier this month. The Washington Post reported that a “unifying- and controversial- theory” was reached at this meeting, suggesting that officers have been dialing down on aggressive policing over fear of appearing on “a career-ending viral video.”

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel told U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch at the meeting that “we have allowed our police department to get fetal and it is having a direct consequence.”

“They have pulled back from the ability to interdict … they don’t want to be a news story themselves, they don’t want their career ended early, and it’s having an impact.”

RT noted that while “homicides in 35 big U.S. cities are up 19 percent on average this year, and non-fatal shootings are up 62 percent, according to a police association survey,” there is also a rise in police killings.

According to a list from The Guardian, 931 people have been killed by police in the United States in 2015 thus far, with “black Americans killed by police twice as likely to be unarmed as white people.”

Cell phone footage has challenged some narratives of police officers in the cases of fatal shootings involving victims including Walter Scott, who was shot and killed while running away from an officer after a traffic stop in April, and Jeremy McDole, who was shot and killed while sitting in his wheelchair on the street in September.

In both cases, the officers’ official story of the suspect being armed was challenged by a bystander’s video that was released online.

Cincinnati Activists Unite For ‘March for Justice’ With Families Of Those Killed By Police

On Saturday, Sept. 19th, activists from around the Cincinnati area will gather for a march for justice with family members of individuals who have been killed at the hands of the police.

The United March for Justice is being organized by the group Awakened Cincinnatians and will have support from the families of Samuel DuBose, Samantha Ramsey, Tamir Rice, and John Crawford III. The peaceful march will take place at 6 p.m. Saturday night in front of the University of Cincinnati Police Department.

“Stand for justice by marching arm in arm with the families of Samuel DuBose, Samantha Ramsey, Tamir Rice and John Crawford III,” Awakened Cincinnatians stated. “Families and friends of the fallen will be traveling from all over the country to participate in this historic event.”

Family members of the deceased are expected to speak before the march begins. The facebook page for the event calls for “indictments not just charges.” The event will begin at the corner of Rice and Valencia streets, the spot where Samuel DuBose was killed two months ago.

In July Truth In Media reported that DuBose, 43, was shot and killed by former officer Ray Tensing, 25, after Tensing pulled DuBose over for driving without a front license plate on July 19. While Tensing claimed that he opened fire because he feared for his life after his hand was caught on DuBose’s vehicle, and DuBose started accelerating, footage from the body camera Tensing was wearing revealed that his hand was placed on the car door and that DuBose’s vehicle only started moving after Tensing shot DuBose in the head.

Two University of Cincinnati police officers, who arrived on the scene when former officer Ray Tensing shot Samuel DuBose during a routine traffic stop, face no charges for supporting Tensing’s false claims of being dragged by DuBose’s vehicle.

Samantha Ramsey was a 19-year-old preschool teacher from Kentucky who was killed on April 26 by sheriff’s deputy Tyler Brockman after he jumped on the hood of her car and fired four times into the vehicle. The deputy avoided charges but is facing a lawsuit by Ramsey’s family who say that the officer is lying about how the events unfolded.

In November 2014, Officer Timothy Loehman shot and killed 12-year-old Tamir Rice while he was playing in a park. According to the autopsy report, Rice died from a gunshot wound to the torso with “injuries of major vessel, intestines and pelvis.”

According to reports and video surveillance, Rice was playing in the park with a toy airsoft gun that shoots plastic pellets. Rice was shot less than two seconds after the police car pulled up beside him in the park.

Twenty-two year old John Crawford III was shot by a Beavercreek police officer after being seen holding a BB gun inside the Wal-Mart near Dayton, Ohio. A grand jury would later find the officer innocent of murder.

The United March for Justice is not the first time that Cincinnati activists have rallied diverse groups together to focus on common ground. On August 5th, activists in Ohio with Greene County Black Lives Matter, Anonymous #OpJohnCrawford, Beavercreek CopBlock and Ohio Open Carry marked the one year anniversary of John Crawford III’s death.

Perhaps more activists can learn a lesson from Cincinnati’s efforts to build alliances rather than focus on division. Only by being willing to set aside our dogmas and work together in the interest of Liberty can we begin to repeal the tyranny of government and create a more free world.

Ferguson Commission Calls For Police To ‘Minimize Use of Militarized Weaponry’

A report released on Monday by the commission appointed to study the racial divide and the unrest following the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, advised that police reduce their use of military-style tactics and weapons.

The 198-page report, titled “Forward Through Ferguson: A Path Toward Racial Equity,” was released by the 16-member commission appointed by Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon, and includes 189 policy “calls to action” for police.

The commission was assembled after the death of Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager who was shot and killed by former Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson in Aug. 2014, sparked protests throughout the community. Police responded to those protests with military-style tactics and equipment.

The protests turned into riots, and the response from police, along with a scathing report from the Department of Justice, highlighted the racial divide in the St. Louis suburb, and the discriminatory practices exercised by local police against the black community.

[RELATED: Truth In Media Gets It Right, DoJ Says Policing For Profit Part Of Ferguson Discrimination]

The report suggested that the state be directed “to cease providing, and local departments to cease using, militarized weaponry that does not align with a use of force continuum that authorizes only the minimal amount of force necessary.”

According to the report, departments across the state also need to “revise use of force policies and training to prioritize de-escalation and to clarify the instances when officers should engage in tactical withdrawal.”

“The regular use of force has led many citizens to view the police as an occupying force in their neighborhoods, damaging community trust, and making community safety even more difficult,” the report noted.

In addition to recommendations about police tactics, the report also advised that the state increase the minimum wage from $7.65 per hour, expand eligibility for Medicaid and merge the 60 police forces and 81 municipal courts that cover the St. Louis area.

The Ferguson Commission’s report has been met with skepticism by Missouri residents such as John Parker, who runs a public relations firm in the area. He told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that he sees the commission as a way for Nixon to “save face.”

“The governor put this commission together to save face on race relations in this city,” Parker said.  “If you actually want to effect change, you effect change. Change is not putting commission members together to discuss what everybody already knows. That’s a waste of time.”

[RELATED: Truth In Media: The Root Of Police Militarization]

Investigative journalist Ben Swann looked at the root of America’s current problem with the militarization of police in communities including Ferguson in an episode of Truth In Media in Dec. 2014:


Georgia Police Go To Wrong Home, Shoot Man, His Dog, And Fellow Cop

By Casey Harper – Georgia police busted into the wrong house, and chaos ensued.

Three DeKalb County police officers were looking for a suspicious person Monday night when they went into the wrong home, shooting a dog, the homeowner and maybe even one of their fellow cops in the process, KTLA5 reports.

Police say they entered through the unlocked backdoor and identified themselves, but that somehow one officer and the owner of the home were both shot in the leg. What exactly happened remains unclear.

“Early investigation indicates that the injured officer was likely shot accidentally by one of the other officers on the scene,” Georgia Bureau of Investigation officials said in a statement.

All three officers have been put on administrative leave, and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation is looking into the incident. The dog has died.

“The officer is critical. He lost a lot of blood,” Alexander said. “The homeowner, who was struck in the leg, is also at the hospital as well.”

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Local Police Dept. Produces Video: How To Get Pulled Over Like A Good, Obedient Citizen

By Casey Harper – Traffic stops have become a source of tension and violence between police and citizens, with multiple deaths in recent weeks. The solution: A police-produced video which aims to teach everything a bystander needs to know during a traffic stop.

The video, produced by the Lake Charles Police Department, says there are more than 800,000 police officers in America, with more than a million interactions with citizens every day.

The video is a little slow but gives interesting information about why police do what they do, like how they position their car so if they get hit from behind you are less likely to die.

“The goal of this informational video is to educate as many local civic groups, students, neighborhood watch groups, pastors, and the general public,” Deputy Chief Mark Kraus told KPLCTV. “This video allows the general public to be well educated on proper etiquette that should be used when stopped by an officer. It answers some common questions such as whether or not law enforcement can request an individual to exit their vehicle, as well as being cautious in regard to sudden moves.”








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Black Lives Matter, Anonymous, and Open Carry Activists Unite for John Crawford Rally

On Wednesday, August 5th, activists in Ohio marked the one year anniversary of the shooting of John Crawford III. The 22-year old was shot by a Beavercreek police officer after being seen holding a BB gun inside the Wal-Mart near Dayton, Ohio. A grand jury would later find that the officer innocent of murder. Federal authorities are still reviewing the case.

The activists came from a range of groups including Greene County Black Lives Matter, Anonymous #OpJohnCrawford, Beavercreek CopBlock and Ohio Open Carry. The Greene County BLM had planned a protest and “die-in” outside the Wal-Mart where Crawford was shot. The group carried a black coffin through the parking lot to the front door of the Wal-Mart. The planned protests prompted the store managers to close down for the evening.

Ohio Open Carry stated that their demonstration was part of an effort to “remind the nation that open carry is legal and that police are not above our most basic human rights.”

However, not all of the activists involved appreciated the open carry groups’ message. According to Counter Current News:

“Many of the participants in Greene County Black Lives Matter did not like the idea of having firearms at a protest, and some controversy arose when they delineated “rules of conduct” that included “no firearms.”

The other activist groups noted that they had long planned their protests and had been a regular presence at the location, with the continued blessing of John’s mother Tressa.

Just two days before the protest, at the request of a handful of activists and John’s mother, representatives from local Anonymous groups, Beavercreek CopBlock, Black Lives Matter and Ohio Open Carry sat down and hashed things out like grown ups.”

The protest went on without major conflict between the activist groups, and with no arrests reported.

Following the protest at Wal-Mart, John Crawford III’s parents gathered with the activists and spoke to a large crowd about the importance of taking action against violent police officers.

At one point John Crawford Sr. told the crowd, “How many people right now are bearing arms? If everyone out here would have held their hand up we wouldn’t have to worry about any problems.”

John Crawford Sr. went on to tell the crowd that, “You can’t reason with a bully. You have to eventually fight that bully. You have to let him know that win, lose or draw, I’m gonna fight you every day.”

The elder Crawford reminded the crowd that their numbers were greater than the police, stating, “You have a right to defend yourself. You have a right defend your family. You have that right – a Godly right and a Constitutional right.”

Despite the powerful words, John Crawford Sr. expressed that he was not promoting the use of violence against police, but rather the of self-defense.

“I’m not advocating death. I’m simply saying, inevitably it may go down that way. If it continues to go like its going now it will go down that way cause you can only push people for so long before they’re going to strike back!”

Native American Activist Found Dead In Jail Cell After Failing To Pay Fine

Activists are calling for a private autopsy after a 53-year old man was found dead inside a county jail in Philadelphia, Mississippi on July 14th.

On July 9th Rexdale W. Henry, a community activist and member of the Choctaw Nation, was arrested and taken to the Neshoba County Jail in Philadelphia, Miss for failing to pay a fine. WTOK reports that he was found dead on July 14th around 10 a.m.. He had been seen alive only 30 minutes earlier.

The State crime lab in Jackson, Mississippi conducted the original autopsy but now Henry’s friends and family are calling for a private autopsy, according to Jackson Free Press. After his funeral on July 19th his body was flown to Florida for a private autopsy. The Mississippi Bureau of Investigation is said to be looking into the case.

Rexdale Henry recently ran for the Choctaw Tribal Council from Bogue Chitto. His case will now be handled by civil-rights activists John Steel and Diane Nash, cofounder of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. The case will also receive support from Syracuse University law professors Janis McDonald and Paula Johnson of the school’s Cold Case Justice Initiative.

John Steele told the Jackson Free Press that his family is awaiting the results of two autopsies. “His fines shouldn’t have lead to his death. It couldn’t have been that bad,” Steele told the Jackson Free Press. The autopsy results will be released to the public once they are completed.

In November 2014, Michael Deangelo McDougle was also found dead  in the Neshoba County Jail.  The death of Henry is sparking outrage following a similar death involving activist Sandra Bland in Texas.

Investigator Says He Was Fired For Finding Police Officers At Fault In Shootings

Former Chicago Police Commander, Lorenzo Davis, said that he was fired from his job as a supervising investigator at Chicago’s Independent Police Review Authority (IPRA) after he determined that several officers involved in civilian shootings were unjustified, and he refused to change the status of his reports.

WBEZ reported that 65-year-old Davis was terminated less than two weeks after top IPRA officials accused him of “a clear bias against the police” and claimed that he was “the only supervisor at IPRA who resists making requested changes as directed by management in order to reflect the correct finding with respect to OIS,” or officer-involved shootings.

Davis told WBEZ that he worked as a police commander for 23 years, before retiring in 2004, because he didn’t like the direction the police department was going. “It appeared that officers were doing whatever they wanted to do,” Davis said. “The discipline was no longer there.”

Davis said he was then hired to work as an investigator for IPRA in 2008 and for the majority of his tenure, he was praised as an “effective leader” and “excellent team player,” before his final evaluation stated that he is “clearly not a team player.”

“Things began to turn sour, I would say, within the last year,” said Davis, who explained that while his management has no objections when his reports suggested exonerating officers, they did try to step in when he produced reports in six cases that ruled the officer-involved shootings “unjustified.” 

“They have shot people dead when they did not have to shoot,” Davis said. “They were not in reasonable fear for their lives. The evidence shows that the officer knew, or should have known, that the person who they shot was not armed or did not pose a threat to them or could have been apprehended by means short of deadly force.”

Fox 32 noted that since it was created in 2007, “IPRA has handled nearly 400 officer involved shootings, and in every case but one, the officers were found to be justified in shooting someone.” Davis told the Chicago affiliate that he believes IPRA has lost both its independence and the public’s trust.

“With hundreds of cases, the citizens know some of those shootings were not justified,” Davis said. “If the public has no trust in police officers, many of the loved ones of those shot or killed by a police officers say that the police are no better than the gang bangers who are shooting and killing people.”

Freddie Gray Autopsy: Homicide By ‘High-Energy’ Impact

Baltimore – The autopsy of Freddie Gray, the 25-year-old black man who died while in police custody in April, reveals that he suffered a “high-energy injury” to his neck and spine.

The Baltimore Sun obtained a copy of the autopsy results, and reported that the state medical examiner concluded Gray’s death was a homicide, rather than an accident, “because officers failed to follow safety procedures through acts of omission.”

Gray was arrested on April 12 in Baltimore after he made eye contact with a police officer, and then stared running in the opposite direction. He received the “high-energy injury” that left his spine 80 percent detached from his neck and put him in a coma during his time in police custody. After not receiving proper medical attention, Gray died on April 19.

The medical examiner compared Gray’s injury to a person diving headfirst into shallow water and noted that while Gray was loaded into the van on his stomach, and his wrists and ankles were shackled, he was not belted in, which put him “at risk for an unsupported fall during acceleration or deceleration of the van.”

The report concludes that Gray’s death was “not an unforeseen event,” and that when a “vulnerable individual was injured during operation of the vehicle,” the injury would likely be fatal “without prompt medical attention.

The circumstances that led up to Gray’s death resulted in protests across the country, and six Baltimore officers faced criminal charges. State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby announced that Gray’s death had been ruled a homicide on May 1.

The “Baltimore Six” is comprised of Officer William G. Porter, Lieutenant Brian W. Rice, Officer Edward M. Nero, Officer Garrett E. Miller, Sergeant Alicia D. White and Officer Caesar R. Goodson, Jr.

Goodson, the officer who was driving the van Gray was transported in, faces the most severe charges, including misconduct in office, manslaughter by vehicle (criminal negligence), manslaughter by vehicle (gross negligence), involuntary manslaughter, second-degree assault and second-degree depraved-heart murder.

On May 21, Mosby announced that all six of the officers have been indicted by a grand jury in Baltimore. The officers responded by pleading “not guilty” to the charges, and a trial will be held in October. The Baltimore Sun noted that the case will be presided by Judge Barry G. Williams, “a former city prosecutor and civil rights litigator with a no-nonsense reputation.”

Father Of Dallas Shooting Suspect Says Son Reached Breaking Point, Blamed Police For Custody Loss

Dallas – After an attack on Dallas Police Headquarters early Saturday morning that resulted in a standoff between police and a man in an armored vehicle, police claim that the suspect and only fatality identified himself as James Boulware. Boulware’s father said he believes that his son was responsible for the attack, and that he had “reached his breaking point” after he lost custody of his own son, and blamed police.

The New York Times reported that, according to police, “a gunman attacked Police Headquarters at the edge of downtown here from inside an armored van early Saturday, shooting at officers and leaving bags filled with pipe bombs around the building in a brazen assault that led to an hourslong standoff.”

“Every one of us has a breaking point… he hit his,” Jim Boulware told CNN on Sunday, regarding his son James.

“I knew he was angry with the police, he blamed them for taking his son,” Boulware said. “I tried to tell him the police didn’t do it, they were doing their job, to enforce the laws. If you want to get to that, you gotta go back to the liberal people that put these laws in place, to where CPS can grab kids and take them away.”

Although Dallas Police Chief David Brown would not confirm the identity of the suspect, he did confirm that the man who police believed was responsible for the attack was killed by a police sniper after he was shot at 5:07 a.m. on Saturday by a bullet that went through the front windshield of the armored van he was driving.

Jim Boulware said that he believes his son James was the one who was responsible for the attack, and that he did it as a way to “make a statement” and to “get the system to understand he had lost his son, and it cost him his life.”

CNN reported that James Boulware lost custody of his son after he was arrested in 2013, for “multiple assault charges on family members,” which were eventually dropped.

Jeannine Hammond, James Boulware’s mother, told Fox 4 News that her family lost her son to “mental health long before we lost him to death,” and that despite erratic statements and threats in the past, she “never dreamed he’d go after the police.”

Hammond said that Boulware had issues as a teenager, and that although they believed it was paranoid schizophrenia, he was “too young to diagnose.” Hammond also said that she believed if Boulware went after anyone, it would have been her, because she was awarded full custody of his son.

Boulware’s father told the Associated Press that while he “can’t say shooting at a police station is right in any way,” he believes his son James “finally snapped” after he was not able to get a job with “domestic violence” on his record, and he felt like the legal system was letting him down.

Washington State Now Requires Police Obtain Warrants For Stingray Surveillance

On Monday, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee signed a bill into law that requires police officers obtain warrants from a judge stating that there is probable cause that the use of a cell site simulator device, or “Stingray,” will lead to evidence of criminal activity.

The News Tribune in Tacoma reported that when police obtain a warrant from a judge to use a stingray device, they must “disclose the use of the device” and must “discard cellphone data from people who are not the specific target of a police investigation.”

Ars Technica noted that while Washington’s law is not the first of its kind in the US, and there are similar laws in Virginia, Minnesota and Utah, Washington’s law may have the most stringent requirements, because it “imposes extra requirements that compel police to describe the technology and its impact in detail to judges.

As previously reported by Truth in Media’s Derrick Broze, as long as a cellphone is on, it can be tracked by a Stingray device, even if it is not making or receiving a call. Broze noted that police officers are “likely bringing them to large protests to gather data on those in attendance.”

Broze also noted that Stingrays can be handheld or vehicle-based, and that they extract data from cellphones “at full signal, consuming battery faster,” which might mean that a “constantly dying battery could be a sign that you are being tracked.”

In Aug. 2014, The News Tribune revealed that the Tacoma Police Department has had a Stingray device since 2008, and has used it hundreds of times to find criminal suspects, “without telling judges about its capabilities.”

Jared Friend, the director of the Technology and Liberty program at the American Civil Liberties Union’s Washington office, released a statement calling Stingrays “emblematic of the threats to privacy posed by new technologies and expanding government surveillance activities” and saying that with this new law, Washington state has become a “leader in regulating these invasive devices.”

“Around the country, local police departments and the FBI have engaged in a campaign to conceal the use of cell site simulators from judges and from the public,” Friend said. “These devices epitomize the continuing militarization of local law enforcement and should not be free from judicial and public scrutiny.”