Below is a February (including late January) edition of ‘no charges against police officer’ cases leading to injurious harm or fatality: the thick blue line of police impunity. (First post here. Second post here.)
In the Blue Earth, Minnesota case, not even the accusation against police is revealed. The press record is cryptic on the matter: an incident occurred, there was an internal investigation, no charges were filed.
Charges against police were filed in the case of the Fayetteville, Arkansas officer accused of rape and sexual assault.
The King City, California corruption scheme has resulted in a class action lawsuit whose outcome is still pending.
One of the two Fullerton, California police officers who got away with the beating death of Kelly Thomas were chased out of a Denny’s.
◊ ◊ ◊
Toledo, OH | ‘An internal police investigation report prompted by a fight between an off-duty police couple, with a shot fired inside a downtown apartment in October, showed that one of the off-duty officers had cocaine in his system at the time. No criminal charges were filed against the pair or are expected to be filed.’
Seattle, WA | ‘A Seattle Municipal Court judge approved a deal in which a criminal charge against a police officer accused of assaulting a handcuffed man will be dismissed in two years if the officer performs community service and abides by other conditions. The agreement allows Officer Chris Hairston, 47, to avoid the risk of a misdemeanor assault conviction while sparing prosecutors the possibility of an acquittal. It also enhances Hairston’s chances of keeping his job when the Seattle Police Department now conducts its own internal investigation.’
Morrison, IL | ‘No charges will be filed against the state conservation police officer who shot and killed a motorist on Interstate 88 west of Rock Falls on Nov. 22, Whiteside County State’s Attorney Trish Joyce announced. After an investigation into the death of Shane D. Cataline, 30, of Toledo, Ohio, Joyce issued a written decision that she believes the shooting by Conservation Police Officer Steven Francisko was “justified.”‘
Toledo, OH | ‘A grand jury chose not to bring any charges against a Toledo police officer who shot and injured a South Toledo man who brandished a gun at officers in September.’
Troy, MI | ‘Charges are still under review for a veteran Troy police officer suspected of driving-under-the-influence. Troy Police Sgt. Andy Breidenich said the unnamed officer, a member of the force since 2001, remains on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation. State police conducted the test that showed the officer had a .27 blood-alcohol level, nearly three times the legal driving limit. A blood-alcohol level above .17 percent qualifies as “Super Drunk.”‘
Denver, CO | ‘The Denver District Attorney’s Office has declined to file criminal charges against a female Transportation Security Administration agent at Denver International Airport after a passenger complained the pat-down she received amounted to sexual assault. “I felt sick to my stomach,” said Jamelyn Steenhoek, 39, when she learned that Denver prosecutors were no longer pursuing her complaint and would not be filing criminal charges. “I still feel as if a crime was committed, and as an individual American I am powerless to do anything about it.”’
San Diego, CA | ‘A San Diego Police officer is accused of sexual misconduct involving at least four women, according to SDPD Chief William Lansdowne. | A seventh woman has come forward accusing Officer [Chris Hays] of sexual misconduct. A sixth woman reported her alleged encounter with Hays, [that] Hays threatened to arrest her if she didn’t give him oral sex. | Hays was formally charged with two felony counts of false imprisonment with violence and three misdemeanor counts of sexual battery involving four women. His attorney said the officer would be resigning from the SDPD.’
Durham, NC | ‘Prosecutors won’t seek criminal charges against Durham police in last summer’s fatal shooting of a Latino man during a confrontation involving a knife. Jose Adan Cruz Ocampo, 33, was shot four times by Durham officer R.S. Mbuthia after police responded to a call and found a man cut with a broken bottle. Police said Ocampo approached officers with a knife in his hand and repeatedly ignored commands to drop it. That’s when the officer shot him in the head, chest and stomach. But in an interview after the shooting, Ocampo’s nephew, 18-year-old Walter Cardona, said witnesses told him that his uncle had wrapped the knife in a bandana or something similar and was trying to give it to the officer—handle first. “Police could have used a Taser or Mace,” Cardona said, “because there were three cops against one person, and he was holding the blade. He wasn’t attacking them or anything. I think they overreacted with four shots.” Questions also were raised about whether Ocampo, a native of Honduras, understood the officer’s orders. Ocampo’s death was one of three Durham police officer-involved gunshot deaths last year that rocked the city.’
Suffield, CT | ‘The larceny charge against a former Suffield police officer accused of stealing $120 obtained as evidence in a drug case has been dismissed because the statute of limitations had expired. According to the report, police were also unable to locate 22 bags of heroin and 10 diazepam pills seized during a September 2011 arrest that DePietro made. He had to undergo counseling on department policy after the September investigation, but received no additional discipline.’
San Bruno, CA | ‘A black man on BART [wa]s tasered by a cop after ignoring the cop’s repeated request to get off the train. The police officer repeatedly asked the man to get off the train. “Get off the train, sir. Sir, get off the train,” he kept repeating. Robert refused to obey the cop’s orders, instead asking why he was being taken off the train. [Vidya] Kaipa chimed in, saying, “It’s fine. He’s not bothering me. It’s okay.” Kaipa adds, “It went from being about me to being about the police officer.” | The use of stun guns by BART officers was questioned further after another incident in 2010, in which a BART officer deployed his weapon on a 13-year-old boy who was fleeing the scene of an alleged assault. Although the officer missed his shot, the agency demanded all BART cops turn in their Tasers. The weapons were redistributed to officers later that year.’
San Bernardino, CA | ‘Law enforcement officers who faced off with Christopher Dorner at a cabin in Big Bear violated no laws and “had no choice” but to engage in a fierce firefight with the fugitive, according to a detailed review of the incident by prosecutors. In a 59-page report, the San Bernardino County district attorney’s office formally cleared more than three dozen officers from several law enforcement agencies who were involved in the standoff. The findings mean no criminal charges will be brought against any of the officers.’
Los Angeles, CA | ‘Aloni Bonilla uploaded one of the close to 82,000 YouTube videos with headlines that promise to show “police brutality caught on tape.” The jury that convicted Bonilla never saw the video. Today, she has five slipped discs in her spine and neck she says were a result from the altercation with the officer.’
Warrington, FL | ‘The deputies who shot two dogs after entering a Warrington home without a search warrant will not face criminal charges, the State Attorney’s Office said.’
Fayetteville, AK | ‘A former Fayetteville police officer pleads not guilty to rape charges. Officer Jamison Stiles was fired last year after a woman said she woke up naked with him standing over her bed inside her apartment. The accusations of sexual assault came later from two different women. The internal investigation documents say former Stiles had been counseled before by supervisors for turning recording devices off during arrests and traffic stops.’
Blue Earth, MN | ‘No criminal charges will be filed against a Blue Earth police officer. Officer Todd Purvis was placed on paid administrative leave last month by the City Council, following allegations that have not been disclosed.’
Victorville, CA | ‘A homeless man died just steps away from a Mojave Desert jail early Wednesday, after being released by sheriff’s deputies who reportedly decided ”he was able to care for himself.”‘
Los Angeles, CA | ‘Eugene Mallory, an 80-year-old retired engineer, [had his] home raided by the LA County Sheriff’s Dept. (which has been at the center of a number of scandals in recent years), in search of meth. No meth was found, but Eugene Mallory was shot dead in his own bedroom.’
San Francisco, CA | ‘Police beat up and detain Good Samaritans who call 911 and perform first aid on accident victim. The entire procedure then went dark, because in San Francisco, you aren’t allowed to know what happens to police officers who beat you up, thanks to the Public Safety Officers Procedural Bill of Rights.’
Las Vegas, NV | ‘The Los Angeles man shot by park rangers after a routine police stop just outside Las Vegas last week wasn’t homeless, didn’t use hard drugs and wasn’t a violent criminal, according to his father. D’Andre Berghardt Jr., 20, was shot and killed near the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area Friday afternoon after Bureau of Land Management rangers responded to call about a pedestrian impeding cyclists along state Route 159. [Berghardt Sr.] said the family has contacted a lawyer and planned to sue the involved agencies. He wants justice, he said. “They want us to pay $2,000 to get my son back to L.A.,” he said. “No way, man. They’re gonna pay for that. They’re gonna pay for more than that.”’
King City, CA | ‘Authorities say police officers in the Salinas Valley town took part in a scheme to steal more than 200 cars from poor Latinos. | The highest ranking officers in the King City Police Department for years targeted the city’s most vulnerable residents, essentially stealing their cars for profit, District Attorney Dean Flippo said. In what is likely the most widespread case of official corruption in Monterey County history, six King City police officers, including the former and acting chiefs of police, were arrested on felony charges on Tuesday, four of them accused of conspiracy, embezzlement and bribery. The owner of a local tow truck company, the brother of the acting chief, was arrested in the scheme, which involved impounding the cars of mostly unlicensed drivers, then selling them when the cars’ owners were unable to pay towing and storage fees. | According to the [federal class action law suit], the defendants “concocted and developed a scheme to target a particular demographic population, that is, economically disadvantaged and low-income persons of Hispanic descent.” That group composes about 87.5 percent of King City’s population, according to the complaint.’
Saginaw, MI | ‘The U.S. Justice Department announced that it will not pursue federal criminal civil rights charges against Michigan police officers who shot and killed a knife-wielding homeless man in July 2012. Authorities said there was insufficient “evidence of willful misconduct” to warrant a federal criminal prosecution of the Saginaw Police Department officers who fired 46 bullets at Milton Hall, 49, during an argument. Hall was hit 11 times. Hall’s family said he had a history of mental illness.’
San Diego, CA | ‘Former San Diego police officer Anthony Arevalos won a partial victory Tuesday when a judge wiped out two of the charges he was convicted on—including the most serious count, sexual battery.’
Tremonton, UT | ‘Investigation continues on accusations of child pornography against a police officer who was arrested and booked into jail last summer but yet to be charged in court. The arrest came in June of Jeremy Rose, 37, a 12-year-veteran of the Tremonton force. He was booked into the Box Elder County Jail on suspicion of sexual exploitation of a minor.’
Savannah, GA | ‘Two police officers won’t face criminal charges for fatally shooting a southeast Georgia man inside his home after the man’s fiancee called 911 seeking an ambulance to help him.’
Lynchburg, VA | ‘No criminal charges will be filed against the armed security officer who killed a Liberty University student at an off-campus dorm in November.’
Midland TX | ‘Two police officers in an oil-rich West Texas city spent weeks competing to see who could take the most cardboard signs away from homeless people, even though panhandling doesn’t violate any city law. Nearly two months after the Midland Police Department learned of the game, the two officers were suspended for three days without pay.’
Jackson, MI | ‘A prosecutor has decided not to issue any charges against a Jackson police sergeant who had a heated dispute with his wife, moving a relative to call 911. There was “insufficient evidence” to charge Timothy Hibbard, a sergeant at the police department, the Branch County prosecutor informed [the] Jackson County Prosecutor, who asked the state attorney general’s office to assign a special prosecutor to review the case. Hibbard remained on paid administrative leave. Hibbard was not arrested. He was placed in “protective custody” and taken to Allegiance Health for a mental health evaluation.’
San Francisco, CA | Four San Francisco police officers have pleaded not guilty in federal court to charges of conspiring to violate civil rights and steal property, money and drugs seized during searches and arrests. The officers are four of six charged in two separate federal indictments.’
The Gulf Labor Working Group is a coalition of international artists, writers, and activists who since 2011 have brought focus to the “coercive recruitment and deplorable living and working conditions of migrant laborers in Abu Dhabi’s Saadiyat Island (Island of Happiness),” particularly on the workers building the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi, the Louvre Abu Dhabi, and the Sheikh Zayed National Museum/British Museum. Their campaign, called “52 Weeks,” is a one-year effort whereby contributors deliver a work, text, or action each week, taking as their starting point the exploitation of workers building Abu Dhabi’s premier cultural institutions.
I was asked to produce a work (in PDF) for Week 21 of “52 Weeks,” and contributed this painting.
Previously I wrote a book chapter, ”‘Everything You Can Imagine is Real’: Labor, Hype, and the Specter of Progress in Dubai,”† on real estate development, labor recruitment practices, and my own attempts to film temporary worker camps in the Al Quoz industrial district.
Yet for the “52 Week” campaign I decided to draw on an older legacy of labor in the service of cultural enterprise. I’m sharing some of those research visuals here.
The most arresting precedents came from a 1963 issue of Aramco World Magazine (later, Saudi Aramco World). As historian Robert Vitalis outlines in his crucial America’s Kingdom, the settlement operations of the Arabian American Oil Company (the largest U.S. private investment globally) “rested on a set of exclusionary practices and norms that were themselves legacies of earlier mining booms and market formation in the American West and Southwest” (xiii). Vitalis compares this system of neo-imperial enterprise—long mythologized as a generous, less exploitative affair than “British plantations or mining firms in Africa”—to American Jim Crow and South African Apartheid. Arab oil workers, whose names rarely appear alongside their pictures in Saudi Aramco World in contrast to white American or European bosses, were effectively barred from crossing color lines on the compounds, never allowed to live with their families, and banned from contact with Americans. (Americans who made contact with Arab families were deported from the Kingdom.)
These segregation practices led to Saudi worker strikes in 1945 and well into the 1950s, news of which public relations campaigns took successful measures to suppress. Though Saudi Aramco World has been in circulation since 1949, back issues dating prior to 1960 have not been made publicly accessible. One of Vitalis’ central arguments is that “firms are a lot like states when it comes to telling their own stories” (11). Consequently, the nature of “economic imperialism” is precisely to peddle company histories like “American exceptionalist fables” (ibid).
The fables of American beneficence, generosity, and heave-ho entrepreneurialism come to life in these archival images. The juxtapositions divulge a racial hierarchy the firm otherwise disguised with its “equal partnership” credo. In the spread background, one finds nameless and unspecified Arab oil workers, long held back from promotion to drilling, engineering, or other high-skilled positions; in the foreground, American urban planners and engineers who are not only named and profiled by professional or personality but endowed with voice-of-God pull-quotes (“It’s there,” they say, “we’ll find it”).
Some full-spread features like “In Ancient Egypt, They Built for Eternity” (from which my piece takes its name) mythologize ceaseless, unified manual labor through Orientalizing fantasies.
Prior to studying Saudi Arabia I had only a sliver of understanding of the history of Arab “coolies” in service to the mythological Saudi-American “special relationship,” whereby manufacturing the virtues of duty and citizenship to the firm belied truly sickening racial hierarchies and privileges.
In the course of witnessing firsthand the blatant abuse of worker rights in the U.A.E., I remember being accused (curiously, by a non-Emirati denied citizenship despite living in the Emirates for decades) of airing dirty linens in public. It’ll be easy to make the white man hate Arabs, this argument went, as though (a) abuses of South Asian and East Asian temporary workers were merely an “Arab” problem, without intricate layers of American and European complicity and collusion, and (b) revelations of abuse at the hands of U.A.E.-operated firms would ricochet off the gleam of giant towers to form a negative image of Arabs as malignant employers.
Yesteryear’s avowed goodness of firms with “special” relationships to Anglo-America parallels with today’s avowed goodness of institutions with “special” relationships to art.
I do not think it possible to justly account for contemporary multinational labor exploitation on a grand scale (and Saadiyat Island is a large dot on this grand scale) without addressing far-reaching race- and class-based mythologies that buttress them. These mythologies are not mere “days of yore” historical narratives but living, breathing organisms that threaten to strike out names, faces, strikes, resistances, families, migrations. Between nondescript, colossal blocks of granite.
“American imperialism occupied the heart of the Arabian Peninsula, exploited our soil, set up the Dhahran Air Base where atomic bombs are stored… American imperialism has turned King Saud into an American phonograph record publicizing anything that comes from the United States. It advertises the luxurious American Cadillac automobile. King Saud even gave a prize to a poet for his ode to a Cadillac… Oh Amir of music sing us a song, and drive us in the Cadillac slowly along.” —Voice of the Arabs, 13 November 1961†
In 2013 I designed and taught a course on the history, literature, and visual culture of contemporary Saudi Arabia. We focused on the period following the discovery of oil until the current moment. The course—particularly enriched by the cultural and linguistic access of a highly motivated Saudi student, who first approached me about organizing it—covered a wide perimeter of primary and secondary sources including fiction, film/video, poetry, visual art, public speeches, historical documents, theoretical treatments, among others. The initial challenge of collating diverse sources—meanwhile, coming across no more than two lecturers who had taught a full course on the topic—provoked me to circulate the material I put together in the hopes that others might find it useful.
Some caveats: Much of the following was consulted offline, but where online availability exists, I link to it here. All the Arabic novels were read in the original language, but at least three are forthcoming in English translation in 2014. While the course was conceived as unapologetically multidisciplinary, in the limited time given it could not cover every conceivable positioning. Thus, the transregional relationships I wanted my students to investigate (particularly the Kingdom’s historical and geographical bearings with respect to Syria, Israel, Iran, Jordan, and the Gulf states) would be on a wish list for the future.
The themes we examined fell under three units, which I’m collapsing into a quick-view list below.
The first unit focused on the political economies of Saudi Arabia and the United States, particularly in relation to the Arabian American Oil Company (Aramco). As the largest American private investment abroad, the company serves as a lens into claims of American neo-imperialism and Saudi Arabia’s growth into a major political agent following the discovery of oil.
- Robert Vitalis, America’s Kingom: Mythmaking on the Saudi Oil Frontier (Stanford University Press, 2006)
- Toby Craig Jones, Desert Kingdom: How Oil and Water Forged Modern Saudi Arabia (Harvard University Press, 2010)
- Abdul Rahman Munif, Cities of Salt (Trans. Peter Theroux, Vintage, 1989)
- Saudi Aramco World magazine back issues
- Scott Anderson, Lawrence in Arabia: War, Deceit, Imperial Folly and the Making of the Modern Middle East (Doubleday, 2013)
- “Histories of Oil and Urban Modernity in the Middle East,” special issue, Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East (“88 pages essential reading about urban history in the Gulf” —Portal 9)
- Craig Unger, House of Bush, House of Saud: The Secret Relationship Between the World’s Two Most Powerful Dynasties (Scribner, 2004)
- Steffen Hertog, Princes, Brokers, and Bureaucrats: Oil and the State in Saudi Arabia (Cornell University Press, 2011)
In the second unit, the readings explored the roles of gender, religious practice, cultural heritage, and ideology. These themes exposed a tension between Saudi Arabia’s twin global identity, as market-driven capitalist and U.S. ally, and its status as the leader of an Islamic ummah and protector of the Holy Mosques. We sought to explore the evolution of Saudi religious ideologies and traditions along with—or perhaps, due to—changes in the Saudi-American relationship.
- Sarah Abu Abdallah, “Saudi Automobile” (2012) and “The Salad Zone” (2013), video/installation
- Eman Al-Nafjan, Saudiwoman, blog
- Manal Al-Sharif, “Drive for Freedom,” speeches at Oslo Freedom Forum/TED
- Madawi Al-Rasheed, A Most Masculine State: Gender, Politics and Religion in Saudi Arabia (Cambridge University Press, 2013)
- Raja’a Al-Sane’a, Girls of Riyadh (Trans. Marilyn Booth, Penguin, 2008)
- Ahd Kamel, Sanctity, film
- Haifa Mansour, Wadjda, film
- Hamid Algar, Wahabbism: A Critical Essay (Islamic Publications International, 2002)
- Yousef Al-Mohaimeed, Al-Hamam La Yatiru Fi Buraydah (Where Pigeons Don’t Fly, trans. Robin Moger, forthcoming, Bloomsbury, 2014)
- Engseng Ho, “Empire through Diasporic Eyes: A View from the Other Boat” (2004)
- Hunna (television talk show): “Women’s Views – Religious Police in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia”
- Radio interview, “The Mufti of Saudi Arabia about Muhammad Al-Arifi’s View of the Injustice of the Leader”
- Raja’a Alem, Tawq al-Hamam (The Dove’s Necklace, forthcoming, Overlook Press, 2014)
- Abdulnasser Gharem, “Road to Makkah,” ink, industrial paint, various materials (2011)
- “I Sang Mecca” (poem in Arabic) (sung by Fairouz)
- Jerome Taylor, “Mecca for the rich: Islam’s holiest site ‘turning into Vegas’” (The Independent, 2011)
The final unit examined aspects of identity, class, and national aspirations in the Kingdom. What does belonging to the Al Saud monarchy entail? How does labor—among both local and foreign workers—play a role in determining citizenship and social status? Above all this probing was meant to tackle what it means to become Saudi, especially in light of Aramco’s pivotal part in creating the modern Saudi state.
- Joseph Kostiner, The Making of Saudi Arabia 1916-1936: From Chieftancy to Monarchical State (Oxford University Press, 1993)
- Robert Lacey, Inside the Kingdom: Kings, Clerics, Modernists, Terrorists, and the Struggle for Saudi Arabia (Viking, 2009)
- Yaroslav Trofimov, The Siege of Mecca: The 1979 Uprising at Islam’s Holiest Shrine (Anchor, 2008)
- Benyamin, Goat Days (Trans. from Malayalam by Joseph Koyippally, Penguin, 2012)
- As’ad AbuKhalil, The Battle for Saudi Arabia: Royalty, Fundamentalism, and Global Power (Seven Stories Press, 2003)
- Abdo Khal, Tarmi Bi Sharar (Throwing Sparks, trans. Maia Tabet and Michael K. Scott, forthcoming, Bloomsbury, 2014)
- PBS Frontline, The House of Saud, documentary film
- Madawi Al-Rasheed, Contesting the Saudi State: Islamic Voices from a New Generation (Cambridge University Press, 2006)
- Million’s Poet, television competition, selected poetry recitals by Hissa Hilal, Aidah Al Jahani, and Ziyad bin Hajib bin Nuhait
- Official Ministry of Education middle school textbooks for Ijtima’iat (social studies) and Tawhid (monotheism) curriculum
- Tash Ma Tash, television comedy show, selected episodes: “Salon Al Hay’ya” (Committee’s Saloon), “Budoon Mahram” (No Guardian), and “September 11” 1992-
- Wajih Al-Sahafa interview with Tash Ma Tash creators Nasser Al-Qasabi and Abdullah Al-Sadhan
- Pascal Menoret, “Rebels Without a Cause? A Politics of Deviance in Saudi Arabia” (in Being Young and Muslim: New Cultural Politics in the Global South and North, Oxford University Press, 2010).
So this is the new year. And I don’t feel any different ♫
Below is a January edition of ‘no charges against police officer’ in cases leading to injurious harm or fatality: the thick blue line of police impunity. (See previous post here.)
The only officer charged (who does not appear below) was Brian Fanelli, the police chief of Mount Pleasant, NY, on child pornography charges. Fanelli taught children classes in his parish, covering topics such as ‘inappropriate touching.’ He has been suspended with pay. (His salary is $135,518.)
The only officer indicted (on second try) for voluntary manslaughter was Police Officer Randall Kerrick, who shot and killed Jonathan Ferrell in Charlotte, NC. Ferrell had wrecked his car and sought help at a nearby home. A 911 call about an ‘unknown black man’ was placed by the woman inside. When Kerrick showed up, he fired 12 shots at close range at Ferrell. Kerrick’s arrest and indictment ‘mark the first time in more than 30 years that a Charlotte police officer has been charged in connection with an on-duty shooting.’ The second trip to the grand jury is cited as ‘highly unusual.’; activist John Barnette said ‘the grand jury’s decision is not a “complete victory” because the police officer has not been convicted and Ferrell is still dead.’ It took nearly five months for an official response to Ferrell’s killing.
The only police officer fired—but not charged for assault—was Officer Bernadette Najor who forcibly cut off 22-year old hairdresser Charda Gregory’s weave (hair sewn into her scalp) while Gregory’s hands and feet were restrained.
Dallas Officer La’Cori Johnson, who raped a woman while on duty in the back of his patrol car, resigned and was released from Dallas County Jail after his bond was paid for.
◊ ◊ ◊
Los Angeles, CA | ‘Kim Nguyen, a 27-year-old pharmacist, says she was thrown from a squad car after police kidnapped and sexually assaulted her. Nguyen was shown on camera tumbling from a moving LAPD cruiser last year, after being handcuffed in the early morning hours of March 17, 2013. Video of the incident appears to show Nguyen sprawled on the ground with her dress removed from the waist down. The deposition taped last month claims that while the officer who was in the back seat with Nguyen grabbed her left inner thigh and began forcing her legs apart. Nguyen says the officer also grabbed her chest and pulled her by the ear to bring her head towards him. As she struggled to get away from him, she says officer negligence led to her being thrown from the high speed, moving vehicle. Nguyen spent two weeks in the hospital as a result of the injuries she sustained. Her jaw was wired shut and she lost all of her teeth from the impact, after being ejected from the cruiser.’ (‘To this day, neither David E. Shin nor Jinseok Oh has been taken off the field. They continue to patrol the streets of Koreatown and Pico-Union, pulling over women for alleged traffic violations.’)
Fullerton, CA | ‘Two former Fullerton California police officers were just acquitted this week in the death of a homeless man. Police brutally beat and killed Kelly Thomas after a violent struggle that was captured on surveillance video. [F]ormer Fullerton police officer Manuel Ramos was acquitted of second-degree murder and involuntary manslaughter charges. Former Cpl. Jay Cicinelli was also acquitted of all charges, in his case involuntary manslaughter and excessive use of force. As the verdict was read, Cincinelli tightly hugged his lawyer, and was seen putting his face in his hands, expressing the face that he was overcome with joy. But outside of the court house, Thomas’s parents vehemently condemned the verdict as travesty of justice. Cathy Thomas explained that the family was “Just horrified. He got away with murdering my son,” she said. “It’s just not fair. So I guess it’s legal to go out and kill now. He was so innocent. It just isn’t fair at all.” Ron Thomas joined her in saying that the defense “lied… continuously” about the character of his son, Kelly. “It’s carte blanche for police officers everywhere to beat us, kill us.” [T]his verdict proves that “they’ll get away with it” no matter whether it is caught on video or not.’
Torrance, CA | ‘A Torrance police officer who mistakenly shot at a man during the massive manhunt for ex-LAPD officer Christopher Dorner will not face criminal charges. The Los Angeles County district attorney’s office declined to press charges against Officer Brian McGee, who opened fire at close-range last February on an innocent driver. The officer shot at least three rounds at close-range into the Perdue’s driver side window. Perdue was not shot, but his attorney said he sustained back and head injuries that left him unable to work. The incident was one of two mistaken-identity shootings related to the Dorner manhunt.’
Philadelphia, PA | ‘A 16-year-old Philadelphia charter school student is recovering from serious injuries caused by police. Darrin Manning suffered serious injuries to his genitals during the stop-and-frisk, which led to the teen being sent to the hospital. Manning, a sophomore at Mathematics, Civics and Charter School, had just got off the subway with a dozen teammates in uniform on their way to play a high school basketball game. He says the group was confronted by police at Broad Street and Girard Avenue. Exactly why the students were stopped and questioned remains unclear, but Manning says he was put in handcuffs. He then says during a pat down a female officer squeezed his genitals so hard-it ruptured his testicle. Hospital records show that Manning spent the night following his arrest at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia where he underwent emergency surgery. As a result of the incident he may have permanent injuries that prevent him from fathering children. Manning now faces charges of aggravated assault and resisting arrest. Police in the 22nd District said they may launch a possible internal investigation.’ (‘Philadelphia’s use of stop-and-frisk doubled in 2009. The vast majority of Philadelphians apprehended through the program are still black and Latino men, mirroring the pattern in New York City.’)
Coeur d’Alene, ID | ‘The Coeur d’Alene Police Department released the body camera video from officer Spencer Mortensen’s shooting of 35-year-old Dalton Gardens resident Eric B. Johnston on the morning of Aug. 25, 2013. (‘Mortensen shot Johnston five times in a confrontation that unfolded after Johnston crashed his truck into a utility pole and then fled to a friend’s apartment.’) Special prosecutor Louis Marshall of Bonner County declined to prosecute Mortensen. Marshall found Mortensen’s “conduct was within the parameters of the laws of the state of Idaho.”’
Sheridan, OR | ‘Police in Oregon are alleging a Yamhill County reserve police officer beat his girlfriend’s four-year-old son until the boy suffered a severe brain injury, seven fractured ribs, and tears in his bowel and intestine. In addition to the severe brain injury, internal tearing and rib fractures, the boy also sustained bruising on several parts of his body, according to the affidavit. [Michael Shane] Abo, was hired as a Yamhill County deputy in 2008, but was fired in November 2012 for an “internal personnel issue.” Abo reportedly became a reserve officer with Yamhill police department in January 2013.’ (While Abo has yet to be charged, the boy’s mother—not believed to be involved with the heinous beating—was charged with ‘criminal mistreatment and reckless endangering.’)
Houston, TX | ‘“Jordan, Jordan, Jordan,” The crowd of more than 50 chanted loudly.Thursday night Baker was shot by a uniformed HPD officer J Castro, working security at the strip center on Antoine and Little York. There have been a number of armed robberies allegedly committed by young men in hoodies here. Castro is assigned to administrative duty pending the outcome of the HPD internal investigation.’
New York, NY | ‘Two dozen cops stripped of their guns and badges after on-the-job shootings could soon return to full duty. Traditionally, cops involved in high-profile cases have been kept on modified duty for fear that any subsequent slipup [sic] would make for headlines critical of the NYPD. Officer Kenneth Boss was stripped of his gun after he and three other cops shot unarmed vendor Amadou Diallo to death in the Bronx in 1999. The four officers were criminally charged but later acquitted. Two left the NYPD; a third retired in 2005; but Boss stayed on, working on modified duty until his gun was returned in 2012. Other cops are placed on modified duty after becoming the subject of an Internal Affairs investigation. “Then nothing ever happens,” another source said. “The cop is never charged, but it takes months and months to get back to full duty.”’
DeLand, FL | ‘A three-month state investigation into the autopsy of [Marlon Brown] who was run over by a rookie cop [after being pulled over for an alleged seatbelt violation] determined that the Medical Examiner did not misrepresent facts in listing the cause of death as accidental suffocation. Although Harris was fired from the DeLand Police Department weeks after the crash, a Volusia County grand jury cleared him of any criminal wrongdoing in September. Since then, the Browns have unsuccessfully petitioned for vehicular-manslaughter charges to be filed.’
Santa Rosa, CA | ‘[Deputy Erick] Gelhaus shot Lopez, a Santa Rosa eighth-grader, Oct. 22 as the youth was walking up Moorland Avenue carrying an airsoft-style BB gun designed to resemble an assault rifle. Gelhaus encountered the boy while riding in a patrol car being driven by another deputy. He reportedly mistook it for a real weapon and opened fire after yelling at Lopez to drop the gun. He told investigators Lopez was turning toward him and he felt threatened by the manner in which he was raising the BB gun. After the shooting, Gelhaus was placed on administrative leave but subsequently returned to desk duty after being cleared by a preliminary sheriff’s office investigation.’
Dallas, TX | ‘A Dallas police officer is accused of sexually abusing a woman while on duty and in uniform. Officer La’Cori Johnson, 28, allegedly forced a woman to perform oral sex on him before having sex with her in the back of his patrol car. ”You don’t have to go to jail if you do what I tell you to do,” he said. He was booked into the Dallas County Jail and released the following day after his bond was paid.’
Fort Worth, TX | ‘A Fort Worth police officer will not face charges for fatally shooting a 72-year-old Woodhaven homeowner while investigating a burglary call at the wrong house, a Tarrant County grand jury decided. The decision not to indict R.A. “Alex” Hoeppner in the death of Jerry Waller came a week after prosecutors began presenting the case. Waller died May 28 after being shot multiple times by Hoeppner as the officer and partner Ben Hanlon searched for a possible suspect after being dispatched to a burglary alarm call across the street. Waller’s relatives have accused police of misrepresenting the facts, stating that Waller had never even stepped out of his garage when he was shot multiple times just feet from his kitchen door. “He was shot multiple times in the chest only a few steps away from the doorway to his kitchen,” Waller’s son, Chris Waller, [said] the day after the shooting.’
Warren, MI | ‘You can see [Charda] Gregory kick her legs and writhe in pain as the officer plunges scissors into her hair, hacking away at the weave that was sewn into braids on her scalp. “I was confused. I didn’t know what happened and what was going on.” Gregory says on November 13, she went to a party in Detroit, where she believes someone drugged her. By the time she was brought in to the jail lock-up on the top floor of the Warren Police Department, Gregory had been pepper sprayed, but she appears calm. Officer [Bernadette] Najor starts yanking Gregory’s head from side to side, chopping out chunks of hair. It takes 3 full minutes before Najor gives one final yank and removes what’s left of Gregory’s weave. Gregory tells us in some places she now has bald spots because Najor ripped her real hair out by the roots.’