Why Dustin McCaskill’s Arrest Actually Validates Cop Block’s Accountability

Dustin MccaskillRecently, it was reported that Dustin McCaskill was arrested here in Las Vegas for making threats on Facebook. There is some room for arguments about whether the First Amendment applies in this case, but unlike some other recent cases, Dustin has made specific and persistent threats for well over a year.

One of the things mentioned in the article is that these threats were made on Dustin’s “Colorado Cop Block” Facebook page, which has apparently been removed by someone (possibly FB, but as far as I know, the person and exact reason is not known, at this time). There is a bit of context that needs to be added there. Because of violent threats of the same nature both against police and other citizens on Dustin’s previous CB page, “Southern Oklahoma Cop Block,” which was eventually removed by FB as a result of the threats, Cop Block publicly disassociated itself from Dustin and SOCB last year (almost exactly one year ago). Not only was a post made on the main page explaining the reasons for that action, but SOCB was removed from the directory of official CB pages and content generated by that page was no longer accepted for reposts, either on the site or the main Cop Block FB page.

Later, after Dustin moved to Colorado, he again tried to use Cop Block’s notoriety to gain attention for himself, by creating the “Colorado Cop Block” page. This was even after he had himself claimed he didn’t want to be associated with Cop Block and had only kept “Southern Oklahoma Cop Block” as the title of his page because he wasn’t allowed by Facebook to change it. He also had created several anti-Cop Block pages, including one named “Cop Block Exposed” (which actually predated the Cop Block Exposed page that got a bit of attention recently by “exposing” really easy to find information and pictures about some of the members of CB and prompted him to complain about his page being the “original” CBX page).

Some of Dustin's less than wise advice.

Some of Dustin’s less than wise advice to South Florida Cop Block on Facebook.

It didn’t take long before he was posting violent threats again and had actually escalated to the type of things that got him arrested. So, it also wasn’t long before another post publicly disassociating Cop Block from Dustin and his pages was posted. Instead of listening to that advice about avoiding aggressive behavior, Dustin ran around Facebook posting insults and threats to the admins (myself included) of any of the affiliate pages he could find that had shared that post and stating that admitting to the FBI that he made those threats, as well as the threats themselves, were “the way to get things done” or some variation of that.

We can have discussions about when and if people should defend themselves against aggression by the cops, which is something Cop Block has done in the past, as evidenced by the “controversial” (mostly among people that have never watched it) Larken Rose video “When Should You Shoot a Cop?,” which discusses that very issue. Also, as stated, there is some level of argument that can be made about the First Amendment protection of speech vs. actions. However, making public threats (that Dustin obviously wasn’t even capable of carrying out) isn’t actually the way to get anything done, but more realistically, just a good way to get yourself put in prison, where you can’t do shit but sit and stare at a wall, or maybe even get murdered yourself.

The real moral to this entire story is that, unlike the police, Cop Block does blow the whistle on people that are potentially dangerous and that aren’t upholding the purpose and principles of Cop Block as an organization. Rather than making excuses for and covering up for Dustin, when we saw that he might likely do something that would reflect badly on all of us and prevent us from doing the positive mission that we set about to do, we publicly disassociated ourselves from him and warned others that he did not represent us or our goals as an organization. As has been stated numerous times, Cop Block is committed to non-aggression in our efforts to eliminate police abuses and aggression from them against others.

In addition, as I personally stated in a post the morning before I and three other individuals were arrested for peacefully and legally protesting the incredible lack of accountability by the LVMPD in August of 2013, it would benefit police themselves if they would exercise the same sort of responsibility when members of their group do things that will reflect badly on them and hinder their ability to accomplish their “mission,” instead of reacting with even more aggression toward those who rightfully point out those transgressions.

The transgressions of individuals reflect badly on a group at an inverse level dictated by the positive actions that a group takes to address those actions. When a group covers up for and enables an individual to continue negative behavior, the actions of those individuals rightfully reflects badly on the entire group. When a group does the right thing, then people understand that no group can keep every individual that has ever been involved with that group from doing something bad. “Bad Apples” have to be removed before they spoil the whole barrel, not used as an excuse that allows the rot to continue.

Cop Block can point to a legitimate and consistent history of holding our bad apples accountable for their adverse actions, while the police have a long and constant tradition of protecting theirs from any sort of repercussions for their actions, regardless of how bad or deadly they might be.

Kelly W. Patterson – admin of Nevada Cop Block  and Cop Block Press Passes (as well as a contributing writer on CopBlock.org and primary writer/editor for NVCopBlock.org)

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**UPDATE** LVMPD Promises “Fundamental Policy Changes” as a Result of Dominic Gennarino Beating

Members of the LVMPD beat a man in downtown Las Vegas because he supposedly didn't walk fast enough.

Members of the LVMPD beat a man in downtown Las Vegas because he supposedly didn’t walk fast enough.

**This is an update to a previous post which was entitled, “LVMPD Beat Man for ‘Not Moving Fast Enough.’” It was also cross posted on CopBlock.org under the title, “Las Vegas Police Beat Man for ‘Not Moving Fast Enough.’” (The original post has been included below for reference.)**

On June 4, 2014, Dominic Gennarino was beaten by members of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department and arrested for “Obstructing a Public Officer”, specifically because the officers claimed that Mr. Gennarino was not moving fast enough.

The incident was caught on video. Below is the Youtube link:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qfs3YLE21p8 (It’s also embedded below at the bottom of this post.)

On August 5, 2014, LVMPD Internal Affairs conducted an investigation and concluded that “the investigation failed to produce sufficient evidence to clearly prove or disprove the allegations”. Internal Affairs further concluded that “the actions taken by employees did not rise to the level of misconduct or was not a policy violation”.

On August 20, 2014, multiple media sources reported on the beating. As a direct result of the media coverage, LVMPD Sheriff Doug Gillespie ordered that Internal Affairs re-open the investigation.

On December 15, 2014, after Internal Affairs concluded their 2nd investigation, Attorney Stephen Stubbs and Dominic Gennarino met face-to-face with LVMPD Internal Affairs Officers and were informed of the following:

1)     Prior public statements by an LVMPD Officer that Mr. Gennarino was “super-intoxicated” were completely false. There is absolutely zero evidence that Mr. Gennarino was intoxicated in any way, and no allegation of intoxication was included in any of the official reports. Additionally, LVMPD Internal Affairs listened to a recorded interview with Mr. Gennarino from immediately after the incident and concluded that Mr. Gennarino spoke clearly with no signs of intoxication.

2)     There was a communication failure during the incident, and the officers should have communicated better.

3)     Officers acted on erroneous perceptions and “mistakes of fact”.

4)     Officers acted within then LVMPD policies and will not be disciplined. However, documentation of the incident is being placed in their personnel files.

 5)     LVMPD recognizes a “policy failure” and is not happy with this incident. Therefore, as a direct result of this case, LVMPD will implement “fundamental policy changes” in both its use-of-force policies and policies dealing with the investigation of use-of-force incidents.

For more information, contact Stephen Stubbs at (702) 759-3224

 

Original Post: LVMPD Beat Man for “Not Moving Fast Enough.”

Members of the LVMPD beat a man in downtown Las Vegas because he supposedly didn't walk fast enough.

Members of the LVMPD beat a man in downtown Las Vegas because he supposedly didn’t walk fast enough.

The video below was submitted via the “Submit Your Story” page. It involves an incident that happened shortly after a stabbing at the Vanguard Lounge, a bar/nightclub located on what is known as Fremont East in Downtown Las Vegas. While members of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department are clearing people out of the area where the stabbing occurred, Officer Glowinski apparently wasn’t happy with the pace at which a man, named Dominic Gennarino (possibly spelled differently), was moving and decided to arrest him.

What happened next is that all of the other Metro police in the immediate vicinity dove on and began beating Gennarino. In particular, one of them, identified as Officer Kolkoski, begins jabbing his nightstick into Gennarino’s body (the descriptions indicate he is hitting him in the legs, but it’s not real clear exactly where he’s being hit on the video because of the number of cops involved) with such enthusiasm that he looses his balance. The fact Kolkoski knocked himself down and appears to almost injure himself by hitting his head against a nearby table doesn’t seem to diminish that enthusiasm very much, as he subsequently has to be pushed away by another (as of yet unidentified) officer, in order to prevent him from resuming his attack with the nightstick.

The opening seconds of the video showing the crowd in front of Generino, as well as the lack of resistance described in the police report.

The opening seconds of the video showing the crowd in front of Generino, as well as the lack of resistance described in the police report.

As is mentioned in the description that was included with the submission, the video raises several questions about the “official story,” which was filed by Ofc. Glowinski as part of the police report (excerpts from which are included in the submission description). The first and most obvious is whether Gennarino should have been arrested in the first place. The claim that he “pushed back into” Glowinski is a complete fabrication that is in no way supported by the video.

Also, the idea that he should have been moving faster or refused to do so is dubious from the start because there is a rather visible and large crowd in front of Gennarino, which would prevent him from doing so, even if he wanted to. While you can see what appears to be some verbal exchange between Ofc. Glowinski and Gennarino, arguing with cops isn’t an arrestable offense and even Glowinski admits in that police report that he “complied” with his orders to leave the area. So, at best (from Glowinski’s standpoint) Gennarino was not complying fast enough to satisfy him and at worst that was simply an excuse to justify beating and arresting an innocent person because a member of the LVMPD had a personal issue with that person.

Officer Kolkoski knocks himself down in the process of beating Domonic Generino with his nightstick

Officer Kolkoski knocks himself down in the process of beating Domonic Generino with his nightstick

Secondly, in the video Ofc. Kolkoski has his nightstick out and is swinging it immediately. Prior to that, there is no visible sign of Gennarino jerking or pulling away, as claimed. The idea that he could determine that such a tactic was necessary with a half dozen other cops (none of whom are using nightsticks or any other weapon) already on him that quickly is another incredibly dubious aspect to this incident. Further, the fact another officer has to stop assisting in the arrest to restrain Kolkoski and prevent him from continuing his assault on Gennarino (about 0:30) casts doubt (to put it mildly) on that idea. That’s even more so the case, since after he is prevented from continuing his attack, he simply stands back and watches as the other cops arrest Gennarino. Also, in spite of what is stated in the report, the entire video only lasts 1:30 and the portion with the arrest takes less than one minute. So, the claim that they had to struggle for several minutes after he was on the ground is, at the very best, an exaggeration by Golkowski.

Another officer prevents Ofc. Kolkoski from resuming his assault on Generino.

Another officer prevents Ofc. Kolkoski from resuming his assault on Generino.

Of course, you can watch the video and judge for yourself (that’s one of the reasons Cop Block encourages people to record their encounters with people wearing badges) whether this was justified or yet another case of the LVMPD’s unnecessarily heavy-handed tactics that have become so common place in the Las Vegas area, especially downtown. One thing you can be sure about is that, regardless of what you or anybody else outside of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department thinks (including the department’s Use of Force Board that is supposed to prevent this type of thing, but that the sheriff is under no obligation to actually listen to, so it doesn’t), this incident will be “investigated” by other people working for Metro and then declared justified. The history of Las Vegas area police departments pretty much guarantees that. The fact that the cops working for those departments know that pretty much guarantees that these types of incidents will not only continue, but will become more numerous, unless people in Las Vegas put enough pressure on them that they have no choice but to reign their enforcers in.

The original video, which has been embedded below is available on the youtube channel of Las Vegas attorney Stephen Stubbs, who currently does monthly (every last Thursday) free “Know Your Rights” seminars within the Las Vegas area. He also was himself featured recently in a post on Cop Block and NVCopBlock.org after an incident in which he personally was arrested for refusing to leave the side of a client that had requested him as an attorney while being detained by members of the LVMPD.

The text in quotes below was included in the original submission and is included as it was received, without any editing.

Date of Incident:
6/4/14
Location of Incident: The Vanguard Lounge – Downtown Las Vegas
Department Involved: Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department
Known Department Employees Involved: Officer Kevin Kolkoski (P#10002), Officer Robert Glowinski, Officer Jacob Werner (P#13017)

“This poor man wasn’t moving fast enough as police tried to clear out a crime scene for investigation. So, LVMPD grabbed him and LVMPD Officer Kolkoski (P#10002) began immediately to beat him with a night stick.

In LVMPD Officer Glowinski’s own words:

“I again instructed [him] to walk towards the rear of the lounge. [He] complied, but began walking slowly.”…”Despite most people complying, [he] would not. As we reached the DJ Booth I instructed [him] one more time to move more quickly”

(Watch the video carefully to see if Officer Glowinski tells the truth in his next statement)

Officer Glowinski continues:

“[He] stopped, and leaned back and threw his back into me. I took hold of [his] right arm in an attempt to take control of him. [He] pulled away. I grabbed his right arm and Officer Werner (P#13017) grabbed his left arm. In an attempt to place [him] under arrest we instructed [him] to go to the ground. [He] refused by pulling and jerking. Additional officers attempted to assist in taking control of [him] but it was unsuccessful. [He] only began to comply after Officer Kolkoski (P#10002) used a baton to deliver focus strikes to [his] legs. After [he] went to the ground it still took me and several officers several minutes to place [him] in custody.”

If you compare the video to the official sworn statement, you will see that Officer Glowinski does not tell the truth. The victim did not “lean back and [throw] his back into [Glowinski]”, the victim did not resist (no pulling and jerking and the victims legs are completely limp after he lays on the ground), and Officer Kolkoski immediately began to beat the victim with a baton (victim had no time to comply). It did not take “several minutes to place him in custody (The entire encounter lasted a little over a minute).

The one positive part of this encounter was the officer that physically stopped Officer Kolkoski from continuing the beating.”

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Free Radical Movie Night Screening – “30 Frames a Second: The WTO in Seattle” Fri. Oct. 24th

Oct. 24th Radical Movie Night “30 Frames a Second: The WTO in Seattle

Oct. 24th Radical Movie Night

September’s debut of the Las Vegas Radical Movie Night went well enough that we will now be doing two showings per month. So, on every second and fourth Friday of the month the Sunset Activist Collective (along with Nevada Cop Block and Food Not Bombs Las Vegas) will host a free screening of either a documentary or a movie with significant social value.

The location where Radical Movie Nights will take place is The Sci Fi Center, which many locals already know from its longstanding tradition for showing independent movies and cult classics that are often not available in a large screen setting. (Disclaimer: the Sci Fi Center is not actually involved in the Radical Movie Nights, outside of permitting us to use it as a venue for showing movies.)

In order to coincide with the national Day of Action Against Police Brutality, which is held annually on Oct. 22nd (for more info see: http://www.october22.org/) October’s screenings will involve movies that relate to police abuses. On October 24th we will be showing “30 Frames a Second: The WTO in Seattle” a documentary about the demonstrations during the World Trade Organization meetings in Seattle in 1999 and the police response to those demonstrations. (RSVP on Facebook here)

This film was one of the first to show large scale demonstrations from the perspective of those within the demonstrations. It also was in many cases the first time the average viewer saw uncensored and candid depictions of police tactics toward protesters and the way in which they often incited or even staged incidents within the protests in order to justify arresting and in many cases assaulting even peaceful protesters.

30 Frames a Second: The WTO in Seattle

The level of organization, number of people participating, and type of tactics involved were all beyond what had been seen during any modern protests in the United States. For many years afterwards the “Battle of Seattle,” as it is often referred, was used as a sort of template for demonstrations both by protesters and the police.

About the Movie via Bullfrog Films (http://www.bullfrogfilms.com/catalog/30fr.html):

“30 Frames A Second: The WTO in Seattle, is a compelling first-person account of the events that unfolded during the week the World Trade Organization came to Seattle in November of 1999. It’s told from the perspective of 15-year veteran network news cameraman Rustin Thompson, who covered the WTO as an independent journalist. It is the story of how Thompson’s objective point-of-view evolved into a subjective account of what became an unscheduled, unruly outbreak of democracy.

Thompson, who had press credentials for the event, takes the viewer into the fray of tear gas, pepper spray, and police abuse; behind the lines and inside the convention center and press rooms; and along the marches, sit-ins, and demonstrations. His dynamic, up-close footage captures the passion, the confusion, the anger, and the courage of everyone involved, from protesters to police to delegates to bureaucrats.

Radical Movie Nights: Every 2nd and 4th Friday

With Thompson narrating, the film asks viewers to emotionally engage their own conflicting feelings about the demonstrations and behind-closed-doors meetings. “I was intrigued by taking a singular, personal approach to the events,” says Thompson, as he recounts how the protests affected him as a journalist and a common citizen. The result is an impressionistic journal of a decisive week that exploded into a massive expression of freedom: of speech, of assembly, and the press.”

Awards:

ALA Video Round Table’s 2001 Notable Video for Adults

Chris Award, Columbus International Film Festival

Best Documentary, Portland Festival of World Cinema

Gold Jury Prize, Chicago Underground Film Festival

Best Documentary, Seattle Underground Film Festival

Most Inspirational Short Film, Reel to Real International Film Festival

Taos Talking Picture Festival

Northwest Film and Video Festival

Further Information:

Watch the Trailer: http://youtu.be/K2vOnKyxYik

Check out the director’s website: http://www.whitenoiseproductions.com/

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