Cops Gone Wild

Infamous lover of pepper spraying entrapped, protesting women, NYC police supervisor, Tony Baloney seen in action.

 

In the Raw Story report about the Crown Heights police brutality issue, a video is embedded below the story that discloses a series of questionable police practices throughout the country.

Exposed in these videos are a series of obvious police abuses of power throughout the country.  A police frisking of news crews, police frisking and holding of two African-American men who are detained and threatened by police who state they will “make stuff up” to put the two arrestees at fault:

Another case of outrageous abuse involving an arrestee in Pennsylvannia, Robert Leone who is still as far as we know, serving time for crimes that seem overwhelmingly fabricated by a state police department and many actors, including the treating hospital and the Pennsylvannia jail system in participating in covering up the outrageously cruel actions of the officers involved in brutally beating Robert Leone:

More information is disclosed here on on a blog hosted by Amy Browne. Unfortunately the Facebook page for Robert Leone does not show up on a search and the link goes to nowhere.  But, the videos contained here also link to many other videos of police misconduct throughout the country. Updates to Robert’s Leone’s story will be posted when we can find them.

There is no doubt that the proliferation of small, portable video recording technology has increased the exposure of police misconduct.  The exposure of the historic Rodney King beating at first led to an all-white jury acquitting all officers involved in Rodney King’s horrific beat-down.  Not until the people in L.A.’s African American community used the only force they had in response — angry rioting, did the greater community demand justice for what many still wish to believe was an isolated and rare instance of police brutality.

But as technology increasingly improves and no longer does one need to hope for the presence of someone with a hulking video camera to be present at the scene, illegal police activity hits the spotlight ever more frequently.  In an era of increased paranoia, fed by a government intent on justifying police repression, people seem all too anxious to pick up the phone and report ‘suspicious’ behavior, all too often arising from assumptions based on long-held social prejudices.

While this site cannot possibly spend the time highlighting all instances of police brutality (and many sites exist that do that — which we will link to as we find them), we will attempt to draw attention to this issue and its larger social ramifications.

Especially important to note is the increased militarization of local police forces in the name of the ‘drug war’ when in fact proof exists time and time again that tanks, high powered assault weaponry and battering rams often are excessive, unnecessary and provoke police departments to act more like small guerilla armies than protectors of the law.  The implications of this trend are disturbing, when put up against the ease with which law enforcement officers cross the line of humane justice and into the realm of fascist enforcers of control and suppression. This is issue that should concern every citizen in this country.

Many progressives in New Hampshire have expressed concern that the efforts of some groups, particularly Cop Block in Manchester, NH and their libertarian supporters, draws attention from the real issues of police brutality in a misguided effort to create instances of police brutality by unnecessary escalation and provocation.  There exist enough cases of police over-use of authority that purposeful martyrdom not only trivializes real abuse cases, but draws attention from the broader, more important issues of racism, socio-economic stratification and increasing public xenophobia fed by the military-industrial complex and the media.

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39 thoughts on “Cops Gone Wild

  1. freeconcord says:

    As one of the Chalking 8, I’m not particularly fond of the characterization of Manchester CopBlock in this article. If you had done research on the Chalking 8 incident, you’d learn that only 2 people were arrested for actually chalking on the building, the rest were arrested for nonsense offenses like not moving from a public sidewalk fast enough when ordered (charges that I would later defeat pro se in court). If you still think it’s about martyrdom, you can check the interview I did with the Concord Monitor the day after the incident, in which I point out that nobody wanted to get arrested that day. The protest itself was sparked by the killing of James Breton in front of his daughter, and the exoneration of the four off-duty officers who fractured the face of Chris Micklovich, incidents for which the just-us system will not hold anyone accountable.
    -Garret Ean

    • I stand by what I said. If you had any knowledge of how to manage a real protest, you’d know that the objective to get arrested is carefully planned and is one to draw attention further to the injustice being protested. Its lost on many what exactly the Cop Blockers were protesting when they decided to chalk the walls of the MPD. Are the chalking rules stupid? I’d be the first to say yes, but since there never was a public forum on this issue, who had the chance to act in support of stupid anti-chalking rules?

      Also, Cop Block has chosen to stand to defend Chris Micklovich who many witnesses said was drunk beyond his own senses and could not be controlled. A drunk white guy out of control in bar doesn’t get a lot of people’s sympathy since its usually everyone else who has to watch out for drunk, obnoxious white guys of all stripes — even idiot Manchester cops who can’t keep their hands to themselves when they are off-duty.

      Sadly whatever injustice James Breton’s family has suffered has been eclipsed by your arrest and your constant chest beating about the dealings of you and your own martyrs, whatever did your action do for the Breton family by the way?

  2. You write: “Many progressives in New Hampshire have expressed concern that the efforts of some groups, particularly Cop Block in Manchester, NH and their libertarian supporters, draws attention from the real issues of police brutality in a misguided effort to create instances of police brutality by unnecessary escalation and provocation.”

    Cop Block advocates for personal accountability of police. The institution itself is a major issue with the inherent incentives to put in cages peaceful people who have neither harmed anyone or anyone’s property. However, cops often say they are “just doing their jobs” or “just following orders.” This Nuremberg excuse didn’t fly then nor does it now. Cops should be held personally responsible for their actions and if they are engaged in brutality, they should face the consequences. However, most often, cops are cut deals or not even brought up on charges. Cop Block does an outstanding job highlighting these double standards. As is said, “badges don’t grant extra rights.”

    If you want to see how widespread police brutality and their abuse of power is, check out the Police Misconduct Report by the Cato Institute: http://www.policemisconduct.net/

    Clyde Voluntaryist

    • I will repeat again the rest can go on patting themselves on the back. The Manchester Police Department is a typical police department in a small all white town. They have their problems and no one here intends to excuse them that, but apparently its lost on the Cop Block folks that real police over use of force, the entire corrupt justice system is based on racism and to some extent classism. Few if any of the Cop Block participants fit into this class of people yet they just can’t seem to stop to get a chance to bait a cop as much as possible.

  3. Dylboz says:

    I guess you’re just jealous of effective activism done by people who don’t share your political ideology? Looks like sour grapes to me. Cop Block has been far more effective at raising awareness and exposing the truth about police misconduct with their cameras out in the real world than the “progressives” who merely “expressed concern” about them from behind their keyboards.

  4. Adrienne says:

    When is it ever trivial to stand up for one’s rights? The phrase “real abuse cases” used here is ambiguous and truly trivializing. Standing up for one’s rights does not cause “unnecessary escalation and provocation” so long as it’s done in a peaceful manner. If police do not know how to react to someone peacefully standing up for constitutional rights, police are the cause of escalation.

    Should a woman who simply got groped against her will be quiet because there are far more important injustices being done like rape or murder? No. If she speaks out against the smaller infraction, she may stop such injustices and becoming more popular and worse.

  5. David L. says:

    I appreciate Cop Block. it is only by drawing out the truth, through actions, that the police reveal their predisposition to not following the law in respect to their other fellow human beings. Yes there needs to be a focus on the big issues BUT…when the “common” people do not have the resources, financially to fight back, then actually being involved, (Very self sacrificing btw) provides the rest of us the honest expose` of just what cops do on a regular basis.
    The “abuse of power” issue, exposed by Cop Block, makes secondary the issue of any serious or non-serious crime. There will always be crime, but HOW it is dealt with by those in positions of authority, can be exhibited, in these small (usually harmless) issues,as the person(s) involved (police) , reveal the principles they are applying.(tyranny, bullying, etc)
    No one should have to wait until they are in this situation to then have to try to cry out and get remedy. It is almost impossible to do so from a jail cell….Exposure & prevention is the cure, time we all make a stand. imho

  6. I’ve worked with CopBlock a bit over the years. No one I’ve personally known in the movement has actively tried to “create instance of police brutality”. We simply peacefully ask that our rights be respected, including the right not to help those who would attack or kidnap us. Even in the videos I’ve seen of activists associating with us being arrested, I’ve yet to see anything other than peaceful non compliance (which is NOT the same thing as resistance) – even when “cops” are beating them and other wise berating/ assaulting them.

  7. John Ringer says:

    The only people who can create instances of police brutality are the police.

  8. If cops stopped acting like thugs and gang members, they’d have nothing to worry about. It’s not like the info CopBlock or any other groups are sharing is fabricated. Retrain these officers, get rid of the POBOR, and treat them like citizens when they commit offenses, no ammunity. We’ve given these cops a free pass to behave inappropriately, knowing their fellow officers and union will protect them. The system is corrupt, instead of getting mad at the people who expose the corruption, fix the system. Attempting to play down what’s happening is a disservice to the people.

    • Name some clear instances of police brutality of the MPD and I’m sure the entire community would be behind Cop Block. Problem is they don’t have any.

      • http://thedailybanter.com/2011/08/police-brutality-in-manchester/

        Stop pretending Manchester is some small little white town, when in reality, in comparison to the rest of NH, it’s probably the most minority filled city there is.

      • I’m not pretending that, its a fact. Cop Block pretends that the MPD is chasing after them with billy clubs or some such nonsense when in fact, whatever probability there is for abuse or bad attitudes among the cops toward the immigrant population Manchester, Cop Blockers sure as hell aren’t concerned are they as they beg for media attention for their childish chaulking incidents. Cop Block, like their Libertarian, Free Stater supporters, as shown in the comments here among them, have shown little empathy or desire to understand the immigrant or non-white or even non-middle class community.

        So spare me, many of us have lived in Manchester long, long before the Libertarians and the Koch Brothers funded “Humanist School Fellows” decided to start rolling into town with their own personal agendas to fulfill.

        Go home, or better yet, go to a community where police brutality is an issue that’s been fought for decades, if not centuries in communities very unlike Manchester’s.

  9. Jake says:

    I was unaware that being African American was “unnecessary escalation and provocation”.

    • Good job inventing things that I never said. In New Hampshire its mostly white punks who escalate unnecessarily because they have to overcome the one big hurdle to experience the brutality that non-white people receive daily by our justice system, namely, that they aren’t non-white. Thanks for proving my point.

  10. Ricky Lynn says:

    Harris County & H.P.D. in Houston hid one of their thugs from justice after he threatened me a gun point while drunk. He owned the roach infested dump where I lived & I was late with the rent money. I still haven’t forgot the one who threatened to kill my dog when I was 7 yrs. old.

    • That I believe. Also intimidation by greedy landlords is rampant in New Hampshire and goes unchecked. Your story is one I’ve heard similar of all too commonly around here and everywhere. But according to Libertarians who support Cop Block, its all your fault you are poor and couldn’t pay the rent and landlords, as owners have the right to do as they please.

      You judge whether that’s right or wrong. I know the answer.

  11. Paul McB says:

    My opinion of Cop Block supporters is that for the most part, they do nothing more than exercise their Constitutional rights in the presence of police officers. It is the police officers who then escalate the situation by believing they can suppress a citizens rights. Once police understand that a citizen filming them, or expressing an opinion about them is not only perfectly legal, but Constitutionally protected, then maybe people like you won’t be saying that C B supporters are misguided.

    But I don’t hold out much hope for the police changing things if no one ever presses the issues of police overreach with them on a daily basis.

    • Imagining that you can obnoxiously stick a camera in someone’s face and begin to accuse them of breaking the law when oftentimes they are just trying to do their job and get home in one piece at the end of the day is not some high and mighty act of defending the constitution — whatever the hell that means.

      I’m not aware in all the years I’ve lived in Manchester of abuse anywhere near the scale of say Oakland or other cities with a large non-white population. It is usually the non-white and impoverished people who receive the brunt of abuse from socially sanctioned authorities and as far as I have been able to observe, its still going on and the non-white community is fighting on their own, without the help of a few self appointed white libertarians inventing instances where they can claim abuse so they can get the spotlight, taking it away from where the focus really needs to be. Again, if Cop Block existed in larger cities where real abuse exists, if they were working to empower African American youth to deal with the larger picture of a social construct that takes away their right to participate in society, starting with the first stop and frisk, then maybe the Cop Blockers would be taken a bit more seriously, until then they just represent a bunch of entitled white kids running around to get attention for themselves in a relatively safe community with some pretty overall average cops.

      • Lol, it’s not about race, you’re over-reaching to make a point that is simply wrong. Awareness is all it’s about. Police are not conducting themselves in a manner that makes people feel like they are protecting or serving anything other than their own interests. It’s not about NH, it’s not about race, it’s about people in a position of authority abusing that authority and being treated like they are above the law. Have you even visited their pages?

  12. Michael N. says:

    If you call standing up for your rights and/or recording the police “unnecessary escalation” then you may have a point. It’s wrong… but it is a point. Cops don’t like being recorded. They don’t like being watched. Why? Because they want to do things that are WRONG without being held accountable.

    We HAVE to stand up to these bullies calling themselves police officers and reclaim our liberty. If you have to ask permission to use them, then they aren’t rights, are they? Are you going to ask these goons, “May I please exercise my right to assemble peaceably?” “Can I please record you as you beat on the unconscious diabetic man while yelling, “Stop resisting!”??? *sheesh* Cop Block is 100% correct in their attempts to hold government and the police accountable even though you may not care for their particular style of activism.

    • I have seen instances where people use their right to record as a means to escalate police and escalate a situation to a hostile one where none exists. In no way does the writer assume that anyone should put their cameras away and walk away when a cop is acting out of line, but the CopBlock people have taken it upon themselves to use their new-found recording knowledge to harass and engender hostility in situations where such is completely unneccesary.

      The irony is that when you use a good tool to much you will eventually probably lose your ability to use at all as the opposition will then more vigorously find ways to end the use altogether, thus completely destroying its intended use to begin with.

      The writer is very clear in the distinction between escalation of what can be a non-confrontational, average stop into something far more. This smacks also of a narcissism that is present within the Cop Block. Why aren’t Cop Blockers in communities in the United States where police harassment of communities is commonplace? Why aren’t they standing up against Stop and Frisk? Why aren’t they with the African American community and supporting them in their long battle against police brutality? Cop Block exists in a majority white, small city where actually, unbeknownst to most of those who participate in Cop Block, there once was a huge problem with police corruption and brutality in the city, but community activists worked with the police, exposed instances of severe abuse and action was taken to dramatically change the department.

      But many of us who’ve lived in the community for a long time realize that those interested in furthering their own personal martyrdom really aren’t interested in a community’s history are they?

      • Cop Block isn’t promoting instigating confrontations with the police, that is a fallacy made in a pathetic attempt to justify your position against them. Their sites display corruption all over the U.S., the city in NH is just their base. However, if NH is really so proud of the results of their efforts to quash police corruption, then they have nothing to worry about, and standing with instead of against groups like Cop Block will only further add to keeping the police honest.

      • Ron says:

        If other cities like Oakland had more of “those interested in furthering their own personal martyrdom” as you call them, maybe police abuses there wouldn’t be so bad. You have made this about race. You’re scolding white people for exercising their constitutional rights because it might piss- off the cops? Videotaping public employees does not harm your “social justice” movement! In fact, it helps further it. I’m sorry if that hurts your business, which is peddling perpetual victimhood to minorities.

      • It is about race, a large majority of police brutality is directly about race and power and how that plays out in our society. The people who have most often and still most often suffer police brutality are people of color in communities of color. You can pretend race issues don’t exist in our society, but many would argue not.

        Also, police brutality directed by race prejudice and stating and noting it has nothing to do with playing victim; it is what it is. Try to tell someone who was stopped and frisked or pulled over and searched for the crime of being black that their awareness of the injustice of such is just them ‘peddling victimhood’.

        And what are minorities anyway? I said people who happen to have dark skin, which could be anyone but that doesn’t matter to a lot people in our society does it? They are all lumped together as a group who must have the white majority tell them when they are legitimate and when they have a right to call out injustice for what it is.

      • Good evening,

        “Why aren’t Cop Blockers in communities in the United States where police harassment of communities is commonplace? Why aren’t they standing up against Stop and Frisk?”

        I’m not sure you are aware that there are many offshoots of Cop Block such as Cop Block Los Angeles, Cop Block – Chicago, etc. But to answer your question, people tend to form Cop Block groups near where they live. Since this blog and most of the people replying are in New Hampshire, instead of criticizing, do you have any suggestions of where in New Hampshire they should be instead?

    • Josh says:

      Totally agree

  13. Rachel says:

    Many ppl would still be blind to the extent of the abuse of power by cops, if not for Cop Block. They inform ppl and inspire them to protect themselves by filming interactions. Why does it matter what the political affilation??? It’s ridiculous to even bring up. As for provoking, I don’t know anything about that, but if someone becomes a cop they should not be an easily provoked person. Fact is, police brutality and abuse should not exist in ANY instance, PERIOD.

    • Julia says:

      The issue here is that the heads of CopBlock have the *privilege* of being able to provoke cops in the first place, since they are middle-class and white. People of color living in poverty or close-to-poverty, who are arguably the most oppressed by cops, don’t have that privilege. What CB does is turn police brutality into a fun little game, which is insulting to people who actually have been attacked by police.

  14. Julia says:

    Free Staters’ solution: privatize the police.

    Yup, because then only the rich could afford them, and they’d definitely put them to good use. *groan*

    Why is it that libertarians/”anarcho”-capitalists/austrian schoolers pretend like inequalities of wealth don’t equate to inequalities of power?

    I support full-blown abolition of police, public and private. We should be coming up with alternatives. Check out the section on anarchism and crime from the Anarchist FAQ.

    • Yes exactly, the police act on the power and license given them by the general society that in this society tacitly wishes to identify all too much with those in power. Until people come to understand that their lot is far more closely tied with those that in the upper comment I referred to as ‘marginalized’ and stop the marginalization, then police brutality will continue. Libertarian ideology only serves to give more power to the powerful at the expense of the many.

  15. Gordon says:

    I can’t say I agree with Cop Block on all issues, but then I don’t agree with the ACLU or the NRA on all issues either. However, to characterize Cop Block as inciting (for lack of a better term) police violence seems totally over the top. How is asking, and documenting, accountability of cops inciting? No public servant should expect, or get, privacy in the course of their duties. Film the police, or you may be the next Rodney King.

    • Cop Block has made a name for itself in the local community by staging acts of police brutality and baiting the police. Cop Block didn’t invent police watches. They’ve been around since the Black Panthers held police watches in their communities; they are effective and are appropriate. But watches are one thing, vigilance against abuse is one thing. Overtly behaving in a manner that directly attempts to bait the police into imagined acts of ‘brutality’ which consist, such as, of nothing more than asking for an ID are entirely another matter. When a group who has privilege pretends to somehow suffer the same injustice as a group or groups who have no privilege and have suffered for centuries for it up to today, is quite another matter.

      Most people in low income and African American communities don’t bait the police. They are cooperative, albeit possibly too cooperative. But when we have a dominant social structure that wishes to characterize socially marginalized people as ‘asking for it’ somehow or another — what good would baiting do? When the police will act outside of their proper role in marginalized communities, like the one I spend most of my time in, they don’t wait to be baited; the bait has already been set by a social system that has decided that black, brown and poor whites deserve whatever the cops want to give to them.

      The demographic make-up of the community where Cop Block operates is in fact majority white. Most if not all of the active participants in Cop Block are white. But the community has a large immigrant population and some reports have indicated some hostility among some police towards that community, but where is Cop Block on this issue? Where is Cop Block on the larger issues of systemic social oppression by local and state police and militias? So far, nothing. When I see Cop Blockers working to put an end to the systemic social injustice that led (and leads) police to act as private militias on a personal and socially approved vendetta, then I’ll believe they really want to do something about excessive police power in our society.

  16. Gunnar says:

    Going after CopBlock for baiting the police? Give me a break. And who the hell cares about what ethnicity makes up the majority of the CopBlock group except a racist? Go lick big government’s boots somewhere else and leave this inspiring and productive group of individuals alone. K? 😀

    • If the shoe fits wear it.

      Those who wear the race that most Cop Blockers aren’t give a real care about their race and how that plays into how they are treated by cops and other authorities and the justice system throughout the country. It sure is easy to deny an experience you know absolutely nothing about isn’t it?

      As for licking boots, you really hurt me there kid. Go back to the cul de sac you were raised in, the people here never needed you or your little groups of infantile self indulgent fools we never asked for you and you have done nothing for anyone since you’ve come here. If your chaulking incident was your version of protest for a greater issue, then god help us all if we have to depend on any of you to highlight injustice or bring about reform — or whatever it is you people wish to do — which in and of itself is poorly defined as well.

      In fact aren’t you all a part of the larger Libertarian Free Stater movement? I hear Peter Theil’s working on building an ocean island. Many of us in NH would be very happy to see you plant yourselves there and leave NH alone.

      • lberns1 says:

        Love it or leave it? I thought that was the standard repug logical fallacy fallback. And I love the condescending “go back to the cul de sac” statement. “We know more than you do, so sit down, and shut the f**k up!” Jeez, prog arrogance knows no bounds.

      • Your group seems to hold the bar on arrogance. You have the arrogance of colonizers coming in to occupy a state that never asked for you and doesn’t want you. The truth hurts I’m sure.

      • lberns1 says:

        “we never asked for you and you have done nothing for anyone since you’ve come here”

        Since when do they need your permission?

      • When you start screwing with our state, running candidates as democrats or republicans when you are neither, misrepresenting what you are all about, we expect the decency of honesty which your group does not provide. Possibly because your entire premise lies on a fallacy, so you first lie to yourselves.

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