Entries Tagged 'Corruption' ↓
January 17th, 2012 — Corruption
No one has ever died from smoking marijuana. But getting busted with a small amount of marijuana has led to countless tragic deaths.
from Alternet January 13, 2012 | Tony Newman
This week, Shelley Hilliard, a 19-year-old woman from Detroit, was killed after working as a police informant. On October 20, Hilliard was arrested for a small amount of marijuana. The police offered her a way out: She could set up a drug deal. She called a drug dealer and said she had someone who wanted to buy $335 of cocaine and marijuana. When the dealer showed up he was arrested. The dealer was released, and three days later Hilliard was found dead in the streets. The dealer has been charged with murder.
Hilliard’s tragic death brings back memories of Rachel Hoffman, the 23-year-old, Florida State graduate from Tallahassee who also worked as an informant after she was busted with a small amount of marijuana and Ecstasy. Hoffman was sent alone on a “buy and bust” and was given $13,000 to buy Ecstasy, cocaine and a gun. The men shot Hoffman five times, stole her car and credit card, and dumped her body into a ditch. This week Tallahassee approved a $2.6 million settlement with Rachel’s parents.
These two women should still be with us on this earth, but were instead pawns in an unwinnable drug war that led to their violent deaths.
There are so many sick aspects of the failed drug war, but law enforcement’s forcing people with a drug arrest to choose between draconian prison sentences or becoming an informant is one of the most nauseating. My friend and colleague, Anthony Papa, was sentenced to 15-years-to-life after a bowling buddy convinced him to drop off an envelope of cocaine in exchange for $500. The bowling buddy had been busted for drugs and the police said he was facing a long mandatory minimum drug sentence unless he could help them bust more people. The more people he helped them set up, the less prison time he would get. So he ruined his friend Papa’s life (and many others) by setting him up in a drug sting.
There are more than 1.6 million drug arrests in the U.S. every year – the vast majority for mere possession. So many deaths and so many people are behind bars because police use people who get caught with small amounts of drugs to set up family, friends and strangers.
December 11th, 2011 — Corruption, Police State, Tasers
PHOENIX (AP) — Questions are being raised about the purchase of 1,000 new-model Taser stun guns by the Arizona Department of Public Safety at the request of a procurement officer with ties to the firm.
DPS set out to buy 800 Tasers and accessories in 2009 for about $800,000. But the purchase had grown to 1,000 newer-model X3 Tasers and accessories at more than $1.9 million 13 months later.
DPS acknowledged to the Arizona Republic (bit.ly/ssHT5m ) that the DPS officer who requested the more expensive model is a Taser senior master instructor.
Sgt. Bud Clark did not file disclosures noting his relationship with the Scottsdale manufacturer, as state law requires for procurement officers.
DPS spokesman Bart Graves told the newspaper that the agency is “looking into why he didn’t file that paperwork.”
The department began taking steps to replace its officers’ aging Tasers in the spring of 2009 and initially got approval for 500 units at an approximate cost of $400,000, records show. By the end of summer DPS had received an estimate for 800 Tasers and accessories from a Prescott vendor for $880,000.
But that Taser model was becoming increasingly obsolete, and in 2010, Clark requested that the agency amend the contract to cover a new model, the Taser X3.
The newer model has three cartridges that allow officers to simultaneously fire the electrodes at up to three people or fire three shots in more rapid succession.
“We had an 83 percent reduction in officer-injury rates when deploying the Taser. Sixty percent of our deployments do not capture the suspect on the first shot. Three shots will give the officer a better chance of striking on first deploy and further reducing officer injuries,” according to a DPS statement on the purchase.
The agency received 1,000 Taser X3s at a price of about $1,600 each a year ago. DPS administrators also turned in more than 400 of the older model Tasers for a rebate of $75 each.
DPS used money from photo-enforcement citations to pay for the new Tasers. A legislative measure earmarked such funds for the purchase of ballistic vests, stun guns and other safety equipment, said Phil Case, DPS’ chief financial officer.
“Normally, we wouldn’t think of turning over our stock of anything that quickly,” Case said. “In this case, we did because of that infusion of photo-enforcement money.”
DPS Sgt. John Ortolano, president of the Arizona Fraternal Order of Police, said there were concerns about the X3 among officers who have used the device.
“The technology difference is day and night compared to the (older-model) X26 but the biggest thing is (the X3) is a big bulky item. If you carry it on a drop-leg holster, it’s like you strap a cinder block to your leg,” Ortolano said. “The thing is just so big that it’s a problem.”
The city of Chandler will soon receive 350 new Tasers for $470,000. They’re smaller and about $350 cheaper.
Ortolano said the X2 model that Chandler ordered is more manageable and that it was well known it would be available soon when DPS ordered the larger version.
DPS officers would have likely raised concerns about the bulk of the new Tasers had the product gone through the field testing that is common when the agency rolls out new products, Ortolano said.
Rifles were purchased out of the same fund that paid for the Tasers, and Ortolano said officers tested four brands before settling on the Colt tactical rifles they now use.
“Why didn’t we buy 20 or 30 (Tasers) and get feedback instead of doing a huge purchase like this,” Ortolano asked. “In this particular instance, a lot of people have a lot of questions as to why things appeared to be done differently.”
Information from: The Arizona Republic, www.azcentral.com
July 18th, 2011 — Corruption, Tasers, Uncategorized
Early in the morning of March 14, 2010, Mr. Justin Bentley was arrested in the small Northern California town of Orland. There are a number of curious, and downright suspicious, factors involving his arrest and the incidents that led to it.
Depending on which police account you favor, Mr. Bentley was stopped while driving his car…or he was stopped while walking. You would think it would be hard to confuse the two. In any event, Mr. Bentley was detained about 11:20pm by Officer Kyle Cessna (who suffers from vertigo, and is, despite this condition, allowed to continue on the Orland police force, but we’ll get to that later).
During the course of this stop, allegedly, some sort of physical altercation between Mr. Bentley and Officer Cessna began. The details also – you guessed it – depend which version of the story you believe the officer is telling, and the prosecution is arguing. There are substantial inconsistencies all throughout the various “official” versions of this story. The detail that first drew our attention in this case was that Mr. Bentley was Tased multiple times in his face. This is an incredibly dangerous and unnecessary thing to do to somebody, and it is disturbing that police officers would use Tasers in this way, which is purely punitive and sadistic.
One aspect of this stop that highly suspicious, and indeed, disturbing, is that Officer Cessna DID NOT notify dispatch that he was engaging in a stop. The first radio message from Officer Cessna was an officer emergency call. Firstly, police officers, as a matter of policy, always radio in their location, and situation, when they stop somebody. The idea behind this is that if something goes the wrong way for the officer making the stop, other officers know what’s going on, and where to show up. This holds even truer at night. Secondly, if he thought Mr. Bentley was a serious threat, as he stated, why did he not make a radio call then, instead of after Mr. Bentley allegedly tried to kill him?
So, why did Officer Cessna not radio in that he was making contact with Mr. Bentley? Allegedly there was a stop, then a fight, and Officer Cessna does not tell anybody anything until he was, allegedly, on the ground, injured, with someone who he says tried to kill him was running away?
The certain explanation for this is that this stop was retaliatory, and this is our hypothesis. Prior to this event, police had twice targeted Mr. Bentley. On one occasion, he had been mistakenly identified as a shoplifter. He went to the police station to help clear the matter up, and while at the police station, accidentally spilled water on a desk, wetting papers. Although he was cleared of the shoplifting suspicion, he was charged with attempting to destroy evidence. When he went before a judge, the charge was not only dismissed, but the judge dressed-down the prosecution for bringing such a case.
Following this wet-papers incident, he was stopped in his vehicle by a police officer, who, although Mr. Bentley had his registration, cited him for not having his registration. After this incident, Mr. Bentley attempted to file a complaint at the police department. He was prevented from filing a complaint. This was three days before he was arrested.
So, following all of this police mayhem (remember, they like to call themselves “law-enforcement”), Mr. Bentley is now in jail, awaiting trial on several charges. Initially charged with attempted murder upon a peace officer – among other things – he is now charged with premeditated murder. Officer Cessna states that Mr. Bentley grabbed his gun, and Taser. Okay, except that Mr. Bentley’s fingerprints aren’t on either of these. It is clear that Mr. Bentley did not touch either the gun or Taser.
In piecing together the various, and conflicting, stories, the situation becomes even more problematic. Officer Cessna states that he fired his Taser at Mr. Bentley, but it didn’t work. Okay, but why was Officer Cessna’s Taser wire, according to one officer’s statement, “…wrapped up in his gear.” How does Officer Cessna get Taser wire in his equipment if he was firing away from himself?
Remember Officer Cessna’s vertigo? Vertigo is a medical condition where one becomes dizzy, can become disoriented, and can feel like they, or the world, is spinning. Is it possible that Officer Cessna was going to unlawfully harass Mr. Bentley, started a physical altercation with him, became disoriented, and instead of Tasing Mr. Bentley, Tazed himself? Did his head start spinning, and he started shooting his gun while laying in the street post-self-Tasing? Did he have to concoct a completely incomprehensible story – several times, with substantially different details – to cover the fact that he is a bad cop, ethically, and practically?
His handgun was fired three times. Two bullets haven’t been recovered, and one of them was fired through a house window, through a kitchen doorway, ending up in a wall above a sink. According to a forensic report, the handgun was less than a foot off the ground when the bullet was fired.
What do we have? It looks like a police officer retaliating against a citizen who has on two previous occasions acted to lawfully protect his rights. Officer ends up Tasing himself, firing a gun through somebody’s window, and two others who knows where. Mr. Bentley ends up with Taser burns all over his face, and is now fighting very serious, and baseless charges, that may cost him decades in prison.
May 18th, 2011 — Corruption, Police Departments, Rights
Robert Gammon in the East Bay Express, May 18, 2011:
It’s not even half over, but 2011 looks as if it might be the Year of the Corrupt Cop in the Bay Area. The only question right now is whether Contra Costa County or San Francisco has the dirtier police officers…
See the full story at:
March 31st, 2011 — Corruption, Police Departments, Police Violence and Killings, Racism
March 31, 2011 (MICHAEL KUNZELMAN, Associated Press):
NEW ORLEANS – Calling the crimes inexcusable and barbaric, a judge sentenced two former New Orleans police officers to prison Thursday for their roles in the shooting death of an unarmed man whose body was later set on fire in the chaotic aftermath of Hurricane Katrina….
March 18th, 2011 — Corruption, Oakland PD, Police Violence and Killings, Rights
Angela Woodall for the Oakland Tribune reported on March 17th that nearly half of the tasks ordered by the federal court in 2003 have not been been addressed adequately according to independent monitors, and that the reform process of the Oakland Police Department has been slow moving. According to Woodall:
“Outstanding tasks involve complaint procedures in the Internal Affairs Department; use of force reporting policies and vehicle stop policies.”
March 12th, 2011 — Corruption, Police Departments
“The sheriff for Luna County is requesting that the entire Columbus Police Department step down until the federal investigation involving city leaders in a firearms trafficking ring is over.”
Columbus Police Department is under investigation for smuggling firearms favored by Mexican drug cartels, as well as ammunition, from the United States into Mexico. Columbus Police Chief, Mayor and City Representative, were arrested along with seven others.
“…the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and Immigration and Customs Enforcement Homeland Security Investigations office in New Mexico and Texas, Drug Enforcement Administration and the U.S.attorney’s Las Cruces office were all part of the investigation that led to the arrests.”
See Internal Affairs News at Officer.com: