Category Archives: Cops Gone Wild

So Why Isn’t the NRA Supporting This Open-Carry Group?

Humm.  Now what do you think might be different about this group, the Huey P. Newton Gun Club as opposed to the traditional hunt club/country boy NRA affiliated gun groups?

We don’t want to cause any readers the temptation to draw conclusions, but also consider that the mainstream media covers open carry protests that have people that look a lot different than these folks.

In addition we’d like readers to consider the differences in rhetoric between the traditional NRA related groups (and the NRA itself), these groups speak about policing their own communities, they speak about protecting themselves against police violence.  Why not the same kind of talk about the mythical ‘other’ that the traditional gun crowd likes to talk about? You know, the violent thugs that invade pristine communities and threaten the women and children.  Again, we see a stark difference; one talks about protecting their community from establishment while the other talks about protecting themselves “in their homes” (a favorite phrase reflecting a culture of individualism) against those outsiders (reflecting also acceptance of a desire to preserve socially segregated communities).

It serves well to note who’s nervous in what setting.  While police have repeatedly been shown being respectful some citizens that open carry, even when they may potentially threaten the public safety, it doesn’t take much for cops to get real jumpy about the wrong people and some perceived threat these wrong people pose to their person.

Contemplate.

Black Open Carry Protesters Are Marching On Capitol Against Police Brutality

From counter current news, link to story at bottom

capitol-march-huey-p-newton

They call themselves the Huey P. Newton Gun Club, named after the co-founder of the Black Panther Party For Self Defense. Like the defunct organization which called for reform of community policing, demanding that police come from the neighborhoods they serve, the Huey P. Newton Gun Club says they are marching “to promote self-defense and community policing” in response to the recent high profile stories about police shooting unarmed African Americans across the country.

To the protesters, “community policing” is more than just a word. Communities should be protected by members of the community, and held accountable. Ironically this was the original vision for community policing, articulated in 1812 by Sir Robert Peel. That’s right, it may surprise many to discover that our communities have only had police as we know them for a little over 200 years. Even then, it took a little while for Peel’s concept of police forces to make its way to the United States. Since then it has become a norm that many cannot imagine a time before.

In Texas, the Huey P. Newton Gun Club are following in the footsteps of Newton, who was a law major, striving to stay within the bounds of legality. Though the historical Black Panthers had a notable slip-up which led to then Governor Ronald Reagan signing the Mulford Act which prohibited carrying loaded guns in public space. The goal of the Panthers, as they explained it, was to assert the rights of the people to defend themselves against corrupt police, within the bounds of the law. The Huey P. Newton Gun Club says that’s exactly what they are doing today with their open carry protests.

Police have kept a close eye on the protesters, while also trying to keep their distance. One officer we talked to said “there’s really nothing we can do about it. Open carry protests are not against the law.”

Others refused to comment.

For rest of story visit Countercurrentnews

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‘I can’t breathe,’ Alesia Thomas told police before she died, prosecutor says

More stories on police brutality.

Liberatarians Shown Once Again to be a White Boy Bigot Club

h/t susanthebruce

Two police brutality surveillance and reporting groups have officially distanced themselves from the libertarian-based Cop Block.  Reported by the Austin based Peaceful Streets Project, the groups say that they find the bigotry and overwhelming white male privilege among Cop Block leadership to be problematic and unresolvable.

In particular, as quoted below and in the statements from WeCopWatch and Anti-Media, key players in the New Hampshire libertarian, Free State Project group are named, in particular the founder of Cop Block Adam Mueller of Manchester (aka Ademo Freeman) and Chris Cantwell who moved to Keene to be a part of the Free Keene libertarian commune in Keene, New Hampshire.

Adam Mueller came to New Hampshire sometime around 2010 and started Cop Block, as a fellow from the Koch Brothers funded anarchy-capitalist training school, The Institute for Humane Studies based at George Mason University.  With Koch money in hand, Adam founded a group to harass Manchester’s city police, in particular with a juvenile incident of “chalking” the city police department building and putting up a stink when arrested.  His arrest for resisting arrest called attention to the anarcho-capitalist call to annihilate the “police state” and also made Mueller a small-time folk hero.  For awhile he had a web page with his letters from the Valley Street Jail posted by friends to further his martyrdom. [Editor’s Note: anyone can search the internet for more information, we prefer to not promote their pages here]

Cop Block attracted a lot of press and negative attention in Manchester during 2010 from their antics.  Many Manchester residents and the police department who have worked hard to undo years of bad relations between the police and the Manchester community had mixed feelings about Cop Block and its bent on pushing libertarian ideology and not confronting deeper social issues.  The disassociation of the Cop Block group was inevitable as the foundation of the libertarian ideology is one based on the denial of systemic oppression of any sort.  Libertarians believe that one’s failures in life or society can only be explained by one’s own personal failures.  Therefore libertarians consistently claim that the calling out of racism, sexism or other bigotries has no root in reality.  Libertarians only recognize “state based” oppression.  They target their critique most sharply on institutions founded to address social oppression and systemic inequality claiming that this in and of itself causes oppression and thus should be deconstructed.

Naturally the outcome of such a worldview would be that an organization such Cop Block would eventually be called out to be a fraud on its face.  Cop Block and its founding member with Koch Brothers financial support, has demonstrated the key weaknesses within anarcho-capitalism and libertarianism in that they believe the only really oppressed groups are white males whose hegemony of the existing social system is being challenged by “special interest groups”.  Thus its no wonder that as the article below describes, Cop Block supporters and founders would be silent on the core issues of police brutality; systemic racism and classism.  Its also no wonder that Cop Block founders and supporters would promote and display open and shameless contempt against women and non-white peoples.

This distancing shows a real developing maturity and growth among cop-watch groups across the country and also their committment to fighting the systemic social problems that cause police brutality and increased militarization.

WeCopwatch and Anti-Media distance themselves from Cop Block

Cop Block is a largely libertarian police accountability organization that was an initial supporter of the Peaceful Streets Project. From the beginning, many members of Cop Block (especially Pete Eyre) supported the Peaceful Streets Project. Their initial support was very helpful in allowing us to spread awareness of our efforts to take on police abuse, corruption, crime, and misconduct in Austin and in select other cities. However, in the past few years both the Peaceful Streets Project and Cop Block have changed in some pretty remarkable ways.

First, the Peaceful Streets Project was started with a vision of helping to bring about a society free of state-sponsored institutionalized violence. Never were we about making friends with the police, nor were we very concerned about non-state violence. Although some of the lead organizers wanted to, as an organization we deliberately shied away from many of the social factors that help feed aggressive and violent policing, as well as the social factors that helped feed violence in the streets. In particular, we avoided issues of race and gender. Our willingness to stand up to the police state while ignoring racism and misogyny allowed many unsavory people to rally around us. Many of those people; who were eager to focus on DUI checkpoints, marijuana laws, and SWAT raids; surprised us when they inexplicably but vigorously rallied behind white people who killed unarmed black people. This became most obvious in their rabid support of George Zimmerman who killed Trayvon Martin in 2012.

By 2013, Antonio Buehler began to acknowledge more and more what co-founders Harold Gray, John Bush, and especially Kaja Tretjak had been concerned about when it came to non-state forms of oppression. Buehler used his position of relative influence to begin speaking out about issues of race and gender, and soon found that many of the followers of Peaceful Streets Project were attacking him. Many supporters encouraged him to disregard these issues in order to keep harmony among police accountability activists, but Buehler had come to recognize that opposition to only state oppression, and not the social oppression that helps fuel the ability of the state to harm people, was a fool’s errand. The police are a problem only to the extent that the structures and hierarchies in our society allow them to be.

Things came to a head later in 2013 when Bush called out a homophobic facebook post, and then Buehler called out some racist and sexist facebook posts. This brought out vicious attacks from many who were at the intersection of some or all of the following groups: Cop Block, anarchocapitalists, Men’s Rights Movement, and Neoconfederates. One semi-popular libertarian blogger named Christopher Cantwell led the charge against the “White Knight,” “Social Justice Warriors” who dared to take offense at overt forms of bigotry. Soon, Buehler had hundreds of racist and sexist people attacking him for taking a stand against racism and sexism. Buehler responded by disassociating with everyone who was willing to associate with Cantwell, and this included Cop Block founder Ademo Freeman and many other members of Cop Block. Buehler was also forced to sever ties with people who had set up Peaceful Street Project facebook pages in various parts of the country.

Since then, the Peaceful Streets Project has gone to great lengths to acknowledge how bigotry helps fuel oppression, and how we (as a largely white male group) can use our privilege to help undermine that oppression. We have sought out other groups that better reflect the populations being most abused by police (such as the Austin Justice Coalition) so that we can ally with them and support them in the struggle. Further, we are much more proactive in calling out bigoted behavior within our group, as we recognize that wonderful contributors had left the Peaceful Streets Project in the early years because it had previously been an unsafe space for them.

Cop Block, however, seems to be going in the opposite direction. Instead of calling out bigotry in the ranks, they have tended to ignore it. While Cop Block claims that as a decentralized organization they cannot control the actions of their members, they do allow unilateral decisions if those decisions are made by the founder, Freeman. Further, while they claim they cannot do much of anything about the bigots in their ranks, as libertarians and anarchists they know very well the power of ostracism. Instead of ostracizing the bigots, they choose to embrace bigots such as Cantwell. And while they may try to claim that they don’t concern themselves with social oppression, and only state oppression, many members of Cop Block became silent when it came to the killings of Michael Brown and Freddie Gray, and they instead focused all of their outrage on people who rioted or looted in response to police executing unarmed people.

In recent days it has come to our attention that Ademo Freeman has gone completely off the rails. There is plenty of information circulating on the web about some extraordinarily disgusting behavior that has personally harmed individuals who did not seek to harm him, that we will not rehash here. WeCopwatch and Anti-Media, both of who were collaborating with Cop Block, have publicly distanced themselves from the organization. We commend them for doing so. Fighting the police state and holding police accountable cannot be done if we don’t hold each other accountable, first. We hope that other groups will do the same, and that the many decent people in Cop Block will push the bigots out of the organization.

At Peaceful Streets Project we are less concerned about what happens on the internet than we are what happens in the street. We look forward to continuing to engage in direct action tactics that will help change the culture of society. We look forward to continuing to partner with organizations who want to end the police state – and who are willing to be smart enough to strike out against all forms of oppression that stand in the way.

And yes, we also distance ourselves from Cop Block.

WeCopwatch statement: http://wecopwatch.org/wecopwatch-cuts-ties-with-copblock-org/
Anti-Media statement: http://theantimedia.org/behind-our-decision-to-leave-cop-block/

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[White] Woman Goes on Shooting Spree in Her Car and Survives

Just caught an excellent opinion piece by the writer Frank Vyan Walton, from Daily Kos on the continuing exposure of the dual justice system we have in America.  We’re told as children that the job of police exists to “protect and serve”, unfortunately as many of us have known since childhood and now is continuously exposed nationally, the protection is for white people’s safety, property and power and the serve is in service to the 1%.  Not white? No justice, no protection for you.  White? Don’t worry, you can be a crazed old man with an automatic rifle threatening to kill everyone around you or a crazed white woman armed and shooting.  As long as you are white while crazy, white while stupid, white while a completely dangerous, threatening menace to society, you’ll get a chance.  Please read below:

[White] Woman Goes on Shooting Spree yet somehow isn’t automatically Killed by Police

“We’ve been told repeatedly that if only Eric Garner hadn’t resisted, or been so fat, the medical examiner wouldn’t have found that his death was a homicide due to asphyxiation.   We’ve been told that if only Michael Brown hadn’t been a vicious cigarillo thug he wouldn’t have received a bullet wound in his arm that either came from the back while he was running away, or from the front while he hands were up as he traveled forward at the stunningly rapid speed of 2.59 mph. [Calculated by dividing 25 ft by the 6.572 secs it took to fire the shots that killed him]  We’ve been told that if only Jonathan Crawford had dropped the toy air-rifle he picked up from the shelves at Walmart within two seconds, that if only Tamir Rice had dropped his BB Gun within one second, and if only Darrien Hunt hadn’t been running away as police shot him in the back for “brandishing” an unsharpened Katana Sword, all three of these people would still be alive today.

So then why exactly is this person still alive after going on a violent shooting spree, including pointing her gun at officers while wearing body armor?

Read more here :

[White] Woman Goes on Shooting Spree yet somehow isn’t automatically Killed by Police

 

Mentally Ill Man Fatally Shot In Petworth

Please read through and click on his link at the end. An excellent piece of written art by Aaron Goggans of The Well Examined Life.

The Well Examined Life

*this work is a piece of fiction by the author Aaron Goggans (who is alive), an attempt to process the pain of recent events.*

The Suspect Posing for a Photo [taken from Facebook] The Suspect Posing for a Photo [taken from Facebook] Earlier today DC police fatally shot a mentally ill man in Petworth after a brief stand-off in front of the man’s home. Police are reporting that Aaron Goggans, 26, was shot multiple times in front of his house after getting in a verbal altercation with two veteran police officers.

The Metropolitan Police Department [MPD] is not releasing the names of the two police officers but in official statement Police Chief Cathy Lanier said “based on the statements of the two officers and the statements of friends of the victim it’s pretty clear that the victim, who we have since learned had a history of mental illness, has stopped taking his medication.”

Witnesses say that police stopped the…

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Cops Gone Wild — in Kent, Washington

Typical Halloween party

Typical Halloween party

Melina Harris, a professional, union carpenter who lives in Kent, Washington, had a get-together with friends at her house on October 29th, 2011  Two officers were called to the house in regard to a noise complaint and as Melina explains below, the situation immediately turned violent as she tells here:

The photos you see, are of me moments after a short minor noise complaint call, I spoke to the older officer and refused to speak to the younger officer, as he was hyper aggressive and threatening.

I and the older officer concluded that just shutting the windows would suffice. That as well as turning down the stereo had already been done, as guests had noticed the police and I talking in the yard.

The older officer told the younger cop, “We are done here” and turned to leave and walked to his car, I turned and walked quickly toward the front door, before I made it, the younger cop, stepped into my path, accosted me with his flash light and then assaulted me, hitting me hard enough to leave a hole in my face 3/4″. The older officer could not and did not see the assault, as he had made if far enough down the drive, and with the slope, trees and a car parked in the way, his view was blocked. He came back up the drive in answer to a yell, (my scream for help) . To find me on the ground with the young officer straddling me.

Straddled

Straddled

But for Melina the story didn’t end there. Instead of being able to bring to light the fact that the officer had hit her hard enough as she stood with her arm over her eyes, trying to block the flashlight, held close to her face, to put a 3/4 inch hole through her face. She was charged with assault on a police officer which is a felony charge.  She attempted to fight the charges in court, but lost.

According to Melina,  “The crime of being assaulted by a cop is a felony. Any time a situation gets out of hand and “Force” is used, the officer charges the citizen with assault, resisting or obstruction to cover their ass. Unfortunately this is also true if the officer doesn’t like what you have to say, or in this case, don’t say, and they reach out and knock you off your feet, for no better reason, than, they can. The County Prosecutors then press the charges and play the plea down game, to cover the ass of the city.””Reality sucks that King County Washington is actually one of the worst in the nation for protecting bad cops.”

Melina carried away

Melina carried away

Of course those who follow cases of police brutality and have suffered it know full well that the “thin blue line” symbolizes not only solidarity among their job, but all too often also symbolizes the tendency of cops to protect their own, even in cases of abuse or transgression of authority.  To many cops, the ethical difference between protecting to save each other’s lives or protecting to save each other’s reputation has become blurred, or even invisible.

Worse, in an effort to cover their tracks, as Melina mentions above, officers will all too often rationalize or belittle the damage done to not only justice, but to the victim’s life.  As if the assault itself didn’t do enough damage, the victim must also face the bizarro world possibility of the cops claiming that the victim made an assault, or threatened them in some imagined way.  This leaves the victim to defend themselves up against a group that has already established authority within the system; oftentimes cops that know the local prosecutors and judges and often have mutual respect for each other.  Judges and prosecutors will most often believe those they know and trust, no matter how outrageous the claims or the evidence to support them (in this case the pictures that Melina had of her injuries).

Melina is facing the possibility of being sentenced to a number of years in prison; she already has a felony charge on her.  As she states,  “The maximum sentence for Assault of an officer is 5 years, maximum for obstruction is 3 years. I have no prior Felony so of course sentencing will be much less than that. ”

Awaiting transport

Awaiting transport

As Melina says, “I was asked to stand and take it as far as I could to address the issue of an officer who should not have a badge. If he decked me for ignoring him, imagine what will happen when someone in Righteous indignation tells him off?”

All too often people naively think that “taking a stand” and “going as far as you can” will somehow magically make the halls of justice ring out loud and clear. Unfortunately that does not happen as the wheels of justice will only move if someone in power to move them decides to.  Unfortunately, by casting Melina not as the victim, but now in court as the defendant fighting to disprove happenings and actions that never existed, thus left to her to refute (try proving that something doesn’t exist if someone else, especially someone with credibility, insists it does).

Melina adds, “I was also asked to try to take the civil case for the assault and maiming, and resulting medical costs, as far as I can. Truth being, I cannot address that until the criminal case has been dealt with. I will be lucky to do so before the statute of limitations runs out. The appeal will likely take 2 years to come around.”

But Melina reminds that she cannot move on with a civil case until she the criminal case is out of the way, “I cannot, until I deal with the criminal charges, and then only if I win, put in a federal civil rights complaint that I was falsely arrested, falsely charged, and assaulted. Filing charges against the citizen narrows those pesky complaints down to about the same odds in our state as winning the lottery.”

Presently, while Melina waits for her sentencing which will be coming up in 3 days, she asks everyone to write to the persons listed below to at least draw attention to the case.  “There are example letters now posted on the event page.” (http://www.facebook.com/events/501885959845258/). 

Stitches

Stitches

“If you wish to write a letter, saying how you see me as a human being, to be given to the judge before sentencing.”  Melina also encourages people to write to the mayor of Kent, Washington, ” on your feelings about this incident and the out of control issue of police brutality.”  She also has about 20 or so folks who have started a letter writing campaign to the governor asking for clemency in this case.In the interest of further drawing attention to the issue of police brutality, Melina suggests that people write to the Department of Justice Civil Rights, pointing up the need for a more thorough investigation into the Kent, Washington police department.

“It need not be fancy, Melina says, “it need not be long, but it will take hundreds to rattle cages to expand and up the priority of the subject of Police Brutality. Just make sure it’s from the heart, and that you add your name and mailing address. Please feel welcome to add your title, trade, local, etc. If you have a story of police brutality or misconduct, please share it in the letter.”

Melina says, “I am grateful for those of you writing in, it is the only thing that is bringing this case, into the light, with others of it’s kind. Welcome are letters from near and far, those who know me just enough, and those who know me all to well.”

Melina would like those who write a letter to send her a copy that she can archive for her hearing and appeal and she requests also that people cross-copy their letters to each of the different politicians and state and federal agencies responsible for over seeing and handling police abuse of authority and power.  “One bad cop can seriously screw up thousands of lives in his career. So stand I have and this is what that means and what it takes. None of this has been pleasant. I am still stuck with the fact I was maimed that evening.”

“I cannot lift more than a pound or 3 above chest height, and I can’t do that very long, so of course, I cannot work as a union carpenter, until after I have surgery on both shoulder joints and then recuperate. Jobs with medical are slim at this time and so I am stuck in a common limbo, hence the work being done to address Americans lack of medical.”

Please cross-copy your letters to the following people:

Melina says, “I greatly appreciated those of you who can take a few moments to write in, it will at least help shed light on the issue of Police Brutality, it is prevalent here, and in my county, the Seattle Police are under investigation as well as the County Sheriffs office (who investigated two use of force complaints in the prior whole year) for excessive use of force, and lack of reporting it.”

“If you could copy and paste your letter on the event page to share with others to use as an example, it would be helpful. Some are better than others at letter writing, and seeing examples helps much.”

Melina Harris, shyeshye@gmail.com
Mayor Suzette Cooke, mayor@kentwa.gov
Chris Daniels, cdaniels@king5.com
Christine Clarridge, cclarridge@seattletimes.com
Kent Police Chief Ken Thomas at, KThomas@kentwa.gov
Kent Internal Investigations, Patrick Lowery, plowery@kentwa.gov
Public Defender Kristen Gestaut , Kristen.Gestaut@acapd.org
Washington State Clemency and Pardons Board, CPBoard@atg.wa.gov
WW DOJ Civil Rights, Special.Litigation@usdoj.gov
Governor Christine Gregoire Fax: (360) 753-4110

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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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NYC Homeless Man Beaten by Cops

On October 16th, news broke nationally that a young man sleeping in a community center in the Crown Heights section of New York City was awakened by police and subsequently abused for almost five minutes for not complying with the cops’ demands that he submit to arrest.  The man repeatedly told the police he was allowed to be at the community center and had the permission of the center’s director, which one would think the cops would have notified to confirm and at least waited until the director came to the center to confirm.  But instead the cops acted on what appears to have been an anonymous ‘tip’ that someone was sleeping at the center without authority, thus trespassing.

How many times have people called cops asking for action on a particular issue only to have them say that they can’t act on ‘anonymous tips’, which on the whole seem to protect our rights and keep revenge seekers and busy-bodies from driving the cops all over on trivial, meaningless errands. Its still unclear why the cops felt that whoever called in had enough weight and authority for them to act by not only entering the center in the middle of the night, but to consider that person’s word of more value than a live individual or the community director, so much more weight that violating this individual’s right to safety and health was of secondary importance?

In the story as reported in Raw Story, you can see the senseless beat-down that this young man had to endure by these thugs in uniform.  Further down is the Crown Heights community coming forward to demand justice. I’m heartened to see the Jewish community coming together with the African-American community on this and I hope this is a trend we will see more of; police brutality is an issue that effects us all and we all need to be equally concerned and dilligent in calling out instances of its occurance. Far too often brutality in the African American community is over looked, despite overwhelming evidence. Let’s hope that will become more and more a feature of the past.

Raw Story: New York Police Brutally Beat Man for Sleeping at Synagogue

UPDATE: Charges have been dropped

From New York Daily News:

Brooklyn prosecutors have dropped all charges against a Jewish man videotaped getting pummeled by two cops at a Crown Heights synagogue.

Ehud Halevy, 21, was sleeping in the back room of the ALIYA youth center on East New York Ave. Oct. 8 when he was confronted by two police officers. After an argument about evacuating the premises — which the shirtless man refused to do — he was punched repeatedly by Officer Luis Vega.

A tape depicting the beatdown has gone viral and elicited angry responses from the Jewish community and elected officials, with many calling for the cops to be fired.

Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly had called the video “disturbing.”

“We believe the police fabricated the police report that they submitted and have failed to publicly acknowledge what really happened that night,” said ALIYA director Moishe Feiglin. He said Halevy was there with permission.

“After review of all available evidence, I have decided to dismiss the charges against Ehud Halevy,” Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes announced Monday afternoon.

Halevy was facing up to seven years in prison for the assault rap. He was also charged with resisting arrest, trespass, harassment and marijuana possessions.

The DA’s decision means the case is now closed.

A petition on change.com asking Hynes to drop the charges garnered nearly 90,000 signatures.

“Justice was done here,” said Halevy’s lawyer Norman Siegel. “There was no legal basis for the criminal charges and the dramatic video was extremely helpful.”

He said his client “was very pleased.”

The charges will be officially dismissed Wednesday.

Unfortunately, not everyone is so lucky as to have a whole unified community come together and put up such an immediate fuss that embarrasses the local department so much they can’t move fast to put the ‘incident’ out of public view.  Most victims of police brutality aren’t so lucky, often members of communities that the public has been trained to see as inhuman and in need of constant ‘correction’.

Even though Halevy and his attorney may be pleased with the outcome, nowhere in the Daily News story is any mention of punishment of the cops who obviously went way over board.  Some disciplinary action seems called for at the very least. It is disturbing that police officers who demonstrated an obvious lack of judgment and restraint still possess the power to restrain individuals without question and with deadly force.

It is distressing to say the least when a party that suffers under the weight of institutional wrong doing backs off when their personal wrong gets set right.  They forget is seems that the rest of the community needs them and their story to push for broad improvements in the institution that wronged them.  Dismissing the charges only amounts to an effort to move the stain out of the public view as soon as possible.

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