The Thick Blue Line

Screen grab by author.

The month is not yet over but in keeping with anti/tradition let’s offer this Thanksgiving prayer. Below is a November 2013 edition of ‘no charges against police officer’ in cases leading to injurious harm or fatality: the thick blue line of police impunity.

Minutes before I prepared to post this compilation, an extraordinary thing happened: the police detective responsible for Rekia Boyd’s death in March 2012 was charged with manslaughter. It is such a rare occurrence—even considering that a full eight months have passed since the shooting, and Boyd’s family launched a fearless, dedicated public campaign—that the Chicago Tribune was compelled to note, ‘Detective Dante Servin becomes only the second officer since 1997 to be charged in connection with a shooting.’ 

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Morehead City, NC | ‘The district attorney says there will be no charges brought against a former Morehead City police officer who accidentally shot another cop.’

Chicago, IL | ‘Cook County prosecutors said they would not bring criminal charges against a Chicago police officer who was captured on videotape fatally shooting an unarmed man, saying an exhaustive review showed that the officer reasonably mistook a cellphone for a gun pointed at him on a darkened street. The death of Flint Farmer in June 2011 was the third shooting — the second fatal shooting — in six months by Officer Gildardo Sierra, a patrolman in the Englewood district.’

Andale, KS| ‘Andale’s police chief is not facing criminal charges after his arrest last month on allegations of domestic violence.’

Minneapolis, MN | ‘There will be no criminal charges or sanctions against the Minneapolis Police officer involved in a crash that killed a motorcyclist last May. Ivan Romero Olivares, age 24, was killed in the collision and a female passenger was injured.’

Roswell, NM| ‘No charges will be filed against Roswell police officers in connection with the death of a man who was shocked multiple times by tasers. 34-year-old Cody Towler’s life came to an end when officers found him yelling in this alley refusing to put down a baton he was holding.  That’s when officers deployed their tasers. Three officers fired four tasers to restrain him.  Those tasers brought Towler to his knees and his heart to a stop. The autopsy report confirms Towler’s death was a homicide, specifically that the level of stress on his body from the tasers and the restraints was just too much.’

Taos, NM | ‘Taos County District Attorney Donald Gallegos says a state police officer who shot at a fleeing minivan full of kids didn’t do anything worthy of criminal charges.’

Elyria, OH| ‘The Lorain County grand jury has ruled that it will not indict the three police officers who were involved in the fatal shooting of William King during a standoff at his home. The three officers were put on paid leave and were given counseling after the incident.’

Pine Bluff, AR | ‘State prosecutors have decided that no charges will be filed against the Pine Bluff officer who shot and killed 107-year-old Monroe Isadore.’

Wautoma, WI| ‘No criminal charges will be filed against two Waushara County Sheriff’s Office officers who were involved in a shooting death. Adams County District Attorney Tania Bonnett announced Friday that Lt. Timothy Ganzel and Detective Lt. Randy Thurley acted appropriately and did not violate any laws during the shooting.’

St. Augustine, FL | ‘Michelle O’Connell, 24, the doting mother of a 4-year-old girl, was dying from a gunshot in the mouth. Next to her was a semiautomatic pistol that belonged to her boyfriend, Jeremy Banks, a deputy sheriff for St. Johns County. A second bullet had burrowed into the carpet by her right arm. Before the sun rose the next morning over this place that calls itself “the nation’s oldest city,” the sheriff’s investigation was all but over. “This guy right here came so damn close to being charged with homicide, it’s scary.”’

Duluth, MN | ‘It took a jury about three hours to return a verdict in the case of Jouppi, a former active-duty Duluth police officer who faced the charges after allegedly assaulting 50-year-old Anthony Jon Jackson in September 2012 at the Duluth Detoxification Center. Widely circulated surveillance camera footage of the incident shows Jouppi throwing five punches at Jackson before pulling him down to the ground backward in Jackson’s wheelchair after the man struck him in the face with an open-hand slap.’