Tag Archives: black lives matter

Body Cam Video: Alabama Mother Unlawfully Arrested After Saying “F The Police”

Arrested by Alabama Cop For Saying Fuck The Police

Body camera video (embedded below) shows a mother and domestic violence victim in Alabama being arrested for saying, “Fuck The Police,” even though it is a legal exercise of free speech that is protected under the First Amendment.

**Scroll down to about the halfway point for the video**
Note: The video and description included within this post was shared with Nevada Cop Block via reader submission. If you have videos, stories, upcoming events/protests, or personal interactions with the police (and/or “justice” system) that you would like to share, send them to us and we will do everything we can to bring it to the attention of the world. In addition, you can visit the Nevada Cop Block resources section for information and links to the rights of citizens when dealing with police, during which you should always be filming.

Date of Incident: Ongoing
Officer Involved: Cpl. (now Sgt.) Youngblood
Department Involved: Millbrook Alabama Police
Chief of Police: P.K. Johnson – (334) 285-5603
Assistant Chief: Johnny Montgomery – (334) 285-5603
Facebook: City of Millbrook on FB

The video submitted for this post is fairly self explanatory and even predictable: two cops from a tiny Alabama town show up presumably to mediate a dispute over childcare issues between a husband and wife. One of the cops begins to feel his authoritah isn’t being properly respected, so he decides to escalate the situation into a confrontation. The mother, who also says she is a domestic violence victim, gets frustrated and decides to legally exercise her freedom of speech by yelling “Fuck The Police.” Cpl. Youngblood responds by making an unlawful arrest based on speech that clearly (and according to the Supreme Court) is protected by the First Amendment.

Beyond that singular incident, Nicole, who submitted the post, details the many abusive acts she says her husband has carried out against her and her children. She also discusses the numerous ways in which he has used his influence with the police, courts, and CPS workers to cover up those abuses and further victimize her.

Hello,

I’m in need of help. When this video (embedded below) took place, I was devastated. The police took no actions. Then my 17 yr. old son was handcuffed and beaten by the police of Millbrook, Alabama while non combative for being a hot head. One officer involved in the act spoke up and told what happened. I was incarcerated at the time and watched as four officers beat my son.

After that horrific incident, my son and I were subjected to judicial abuse. This was so bad that, when my son’s charges were dropped, the juvenile judge made threats to our lives. All of this stems from domestic violence within our living situation, for which I was denied help in Alabama by police countless times. Also the nearest local domestic violence center is “Family Sunshine Center” in Montgomery, Alabama. So, I was forced to stay and deal with it, as the Millbrook police suggested after arriving at my home previously.

I took my arrest to trial, however,  because I was making the case a Black Lives Matter issue, the lawyer I paid refused to represent me in court, quitting with only two days remaining before court. So, I was forced to represent myself at trail with no jury, in which I lost when I told the judge he misunderstood the facts. After spending six months on bail bond hold, I could not escape the escalating abuse.

Horrible, unspeakable things were escalating and the children and I were falling into despair. I was isolated and didnot have a way out. So, I continued to deal with it until my husband came home angry and drew back his fist to hurt our three year old.

I cried out, “Don’t you hit her!” Instead of a punch to the belly, he violently threw her four feet across the room. I rushed to her. Thankfully, she was unharmed and had landed in a U shape on her bum. This was a blessing of the fact she could do cartwheels from age two and now, at age four, has mastered a one handed cartwheel, as well as other flips and jumps. If not for her god given talents, she would have ended up in serious condition.

Afraid to call the Millbrook police, for good reason, I called the Montgomery police, who advised me to call the state troopers. Once I had called the state troopers, I was nicely told by the officer that I was crazy and that the Millbrook police are not out to get me. That they will help you. Cpl. Youngblood, who is the policeman seen arresting me in the video, answered the phone.

I said, “No thank you, I do not need help.” The state trooper then asked if Youngblood would be coming out. He replied, “No, I will send some others. I replied, “Still, no thank you.” After several hours had passed, there was a knock on the door. It was the Millbrook police. I looked out the window and said, “No thank you, go away.”

Instead, they broke into my front door. I screamed and ran, asking them to leave. They refused to go and did not say even one word the whole time. Confused, I tried to calm myself down and speak to the officers. So I sat in the living room on a wing-backed chair. One of the officers moved so close to me that the ring on his belt hung in my face. He also wore a very menacing look on his face.

Then, I turned my face towards the door, scared of what they were going to do to me. I saw Cpl. Youngblood walking into the door and I became even more afraid. At this time, I saw my cell phone sitting nearby and picked it up to record their actions. The close officer backed off a bit and they all stood silently with their hands folded as I cried and begged Cpl. Youngblood to leave. (I still have that video.)

See the video below for the rest of what happened…

After that was over, I knew I needed to get out of there before one of us ended a life. So I called my local home town news station, who gave me the number of the domestic violence shelter. So I called and spoke to a wonderful counselor, who got busy to help me stay alive.

She advised me to call the local child protective services, so I did. She also advised me to tell the truth, so I did. John Holmes, who answered the call, listened to my plea for help. Then he advised me that he would not be coming out to make a report and that I would be held responsible for any abuse found, also.

Devastated that my family was once again in grave danger, I again turned to the Willow Domestic Violence Center in New York. The counselor was shocked at the news of what had happened, but she also had bad news for me again. There was no D.V. shelter for me to go to and they refused to help me escape with five kids.

My husband had returned with the police and gotten the car keys. So I could not leave, being in a very country place. There was no way out and he could kill us at any time. No one would help. The Willow Domestic Violence Shelter counselor said that I must get a police report, at least.

Together, we called the police, the mayor, and a host of other city officials in Millbrook, Alabama. Finally, they sent officers out to take the report without Youngblood. However, when they came to do the report, the male officer put words in my mouth. Afraid to dispute it, I held my tongue. I also have video of this event.

Once I had confirmation that the report was written, the captain of the police department stated that that was all they would do for me and that no investigation or arrest would be made. I was then advised by the New York domestic violence shelter that they could not find any help in the state of Alabama for my family.

If I had a way to get to my hometown of N.Y., they said they could help. With nowhere to go and our lives in danger, my oldest son called a friend. We made plans for him to come back in the AM to make two trips to Montgomery, Alabama to board a Greyhound to New York and that is what we did. There was a rainbow on the day that we left.

Confused, sad, and bewildered with five kids and only 600 dollars, I went to a DV shelter. He went to court and filed for a divorce. I was never made aware of this and he won by default all things and custody of our children. He came to their school in NY and removed them. When the domestic violence shelter found out, moves were made to protect the children. Also, a Child Protective Services investigation was done and he was indicted on all claims.

Court procedures to protect the children were started in New York. The children were assigned a legal guardian, who also agreed that there had been neglect and abuse by their father. I thought we were safe, but due to UCJA laws, the case was moved back to Alabama with safety precautions for the children to return. The children were given a legal guardian and I was to contact her and also the local Child Protective Services, so I did.

When speaking to the legal guardian, she informed me that she was only put on the case to satisfy the court in NY. Also, she said that she had been told by Judge Sibley Reynolds to go speak to my husband and to make a written statement, which she had already written. I then called Child Protective Services, as ordered, and they proceeded to tell me that they have not gotten the judges orders and will not open the case to investigate that Steuben, NY had already investigated. In addition, they said it is up to the Millbrook police to file criminal charges and they will in no way protect our children.

Husband Abuse Alabama Wife Police Courts CorruptionSo, afraid of what was going on, I called the Millbrook police and spoke to Capt. Fields, who told me he was not going to protect me or the kids. He also made a remark that he knows exactly who I am; I’m the woman who doesn’t know how to talk to police. He then proceeded to tell me that I can’t make him do it and NY can’t make him do it. I found out later that the New York police and CPS made a request for prosecution that was also denied by the Millbrook police.

Terrified, with no lawyer to take my case, I called Elmore County court and asked about my case. I was informed that there was not a new case of custody modifications in front of a special master as my court documents said. However, some movement was made on a contempt of court charge in the original default divorce. Knowing now that I was not safe to return, I started to read all the divorce documents.

I noticed my maiden name is wrong, the marriage date is wrong, and I found out that the divorce is not fully dissolved due to us being married in India under the Hindu Marriage Act and because I was not present for any of the divorce proceedings. I can have the case heard in a fair forum. I noticed in court that they use having ties to India against me and put a hold on my passport blocking me from help and assets.

I am in hiding, in fear for my life, afraid of being hurt by police or my abusive husband. Several domestic violence shelters, CPS workers, police, and judges in Steuben County have tried to protect my children and I. They can do nothing more than to personally tell me to hide.

The officials in Alabama won’t listen. He has, with the help of an Alabama court had the two indications of abuse sealed and expunged leaving me having to hide in fear, in order to protect myself and my children. I have looked high and low for help. I have proof of all this. Does anyone out there have any ideas? (This account is really just the basic story lines.)

Thank you,

– Nicole

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Tashii Brown Protest: Woman is Attacked by Racist Man With Knife, LVMPD Arrests Those Defending Her

Tashii Brown, protest, Las Vegas, LVMPD, Venetian

On May 28th, during a protest on the Las Vegas Strip over the murder of Tashii Brown by LVMPD Officer Kenneth Lopera at the Venetian (see body camera video of the murder embedded at the bottom of this post), an as yet unidentified man physically attacked a woman participating in the protest. In the process of doing so. he knocked her to the ground and then pulled out a knife. Before he could do anything more, other protesters stepped in, pulling him away and disarming him.

Via the Las Vegas Review Journal:

On Sunday, a fight broke out in the intersection in front of the hotel-casino when a passer-by appeared to wrap his arm around protester Rachel Siota’s neck and take her to the ground.

The passer-by, a shirtless man wearing a “Make America Great Again” baseball cap, walked into the street and tried to wave cars through the protest line. Siota said she was taken down when protesters refused to move.

The man started attacking other protesters when they tried to get him away, she said. Several protesters then started punching the man.

This video that was posted to Twitter by Las Vegas Review Journal reporter Blake Agpar shows that intervention by those protesters (it unfortunately doesn’t show the very beginning with the initial assault):

Another, more detailed, account of the attack was included in a submission to “It’s Going Down!” by one of the people present at the demonstration:

A shirtless, tattooed, very obviously inebriated white man in a Make America Great Again hat entered the crosswalk during our direct action and was immediately hostile and out of line. He assaulted one of our female demonstrators. He placed her in a chokehold and slammed her into the pavement. Another demonstrator who was awaiting heart surgery, was assaulted along with several other members of our demonstration. This man put his hands on not one, not two, but at least three of our female demonstrators. He would not let go of anyone he got his hands on. Alcohol was thrown in our faces and he screamed over and over about how he didn’t believe anyone he assaulted was female.

During the scuffle I noticed that the assailant had a knife. I alerted people about this and there was a collective effort to resolve the situation immediately. The assailant was taken away by the police but we’re unsure as to whether he was ever brought in or charged with anything. He was seen wandering around after the incident, without cuffs, while all of our demonstrators were restrained.

One of our medics was arrested, followed by some organizers. Most of the population of the protest had dispersed, but there was still a smaller group of us by the fountain afterwards resting, hydrating, making phone calls, and doing interviews with the local media. The police also conducted an interview on site. Long after the action was over, another one of our medics was arrested, along with one demonstrator who had just wrapped up an interview. The media had even made a point to question the police as to why they were arresting people so long after the crimes they allegedly committed.

In total, we had twelve demonstrators detained/arrested/cited. Two of which were street medics. Everyone has since been released.

According to the Washington Post the person who attacked us WAS NOT EVEN ARRESTED OR CITED. He was briefly detained and immediately released. But three protesters defending our people were jailed and charged. An additional 8 were cited with misdemeanor violations and released.

According to the LVRJ article quoted above, 15 people in total were detained and eight of those detained were issued citations, then released. In addition to that two of the people detained were arrested for assault, as a result of the fight that the unnamed Trump supporter initiated. Reportedly, one other person was also arrested for having an unspecified weapon (reportedly a retractable baton) on them, that was never used or displayed. All have since been released pending trials.

However, as noted in the ItsGoingDown.org post also quoted above, the racist Trump supporter who assaulted and pulled a knife on a woman was not among those who were arrested. In fact, the Washington Post published a list of the names of those charged and cited, which did not include the person who actually attacked multiple women and brandished a deadly weapon. Instead, those who came to the defense of the main target of his attack were detained and even charged with assault in what was clearly a case of self defense.

Anybody who is familiar with the LVMPD and their history will not be surprised by this obvious show of bias on their part. However, much like the murder of Tashii Brown itself, this is a prime example of where the Brown Shirts at the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department stand. The fact they quickly stepped in to protect a racist who had just committed a cowardly attack on women while brandishing a knife and then attempted to punish those who protected his intended victims, is a vivid reminder of who they actually stand with.

It isn’t the people.

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Dominique Heaggan-Brown Charged in Shooting That Sparked Riots in Milwaukee; Sylville Smith Was Unarmed When Executed

Earlier today, charges of first-degree reckless homicide were filed against Dominique Heaggan-Brown for the shooting Syville Smith in August. Heaggan-Brown, who had earlier professed his desire to “start a riot like it’s Baltimore,” got his wish when Milwaukee erupted into riots after the murder of Smith. As I wrote about in October, Officer Heaggan-Brown also bragged that he could “do anything without repercussions” during a night in which he drugged and raped another man.

Unfortunately for him, he soon found that that expectation didn’t quite match-up to reality. He was arrested and charged with sexual assault for that attack, as well as another previous attack against a different man back in July. Those charges also included some prostitution related charges. Heaggan- Brown was fired from the Milwaukee Police Department as a result of those charges on October 31st.

The charges that filed today for the shooting of Smith make it very clear that not only was Heaggan-Brown unjustified in his action, but that they constituted an outright murder. The details that were released make it clear that Sylville was executed that day while unarmed and in no way representing a threat to Officer Heaggan-Brown or any other officer at the time that he was shot.

Via the New York Times:

Police officials have said that Mr. Smith was carrying a stolen handgun with a large-capacity magazine, and that he pointed it at the officer before the officer fired. But the criminal complaint filed on Thursday gives a somewhat different picture, based on video recorded by body cameras worn by Officer Heaggan-Brown and his partner. That video has not been made public.

In the video, Mr. Smith “turns his head and upper body towards the officers,” according to an investigator’s affidavit cited in the complaint. “He then raises the gun upward while looking in the direction of the officers and throws the gun over the fence into the yard.”

As Mr. Smith was raising the gun, the complaint says, Officer Heaggan-Brown fired his own weapon, the bullet passed through Mr. Smith’s arm and the suspect fell on his back. “Heaggan-Brown is observed standing a short distance from Smith with his weapon pointed down at Smith when Heaggan-Brown discharges a second shot from his weapon,” the complaint says.

Mr. Smith was hit in the chest.

There’s nothing ambiguous about that description. What you’re reading in those quotes is a description of a gangland execution. While it’s never a great idea to raise your hand with a gun (or anything else) in it toward a bunch of scared, trigger happy cops, Smith clearly made an effort not only to get rid of the gun he had on him, but to make sure those cops knew he had gotten rid of it.

Regardless of his prior intentions, after Smith was already disarmed, shot once, and lying on the ground, Officer Dominique Heaggan-Brown stood over him and shot him in the chest. There’s no way to sugarcoat that or pretend it was an accident. Officer Heaggan-Brown committed a murder that day, plain and simple. And it’s very much obvious now why the police didn’t want to release that body camera video to an already outraged and angry public.

Meanwhile, even though the charge of first-degree reckless homicide carries a potential sixty year sentence (don’t hold your breath), Officer Heaggan-Brown should be charged with the crime he committed, which was murder.

“Start a Riot Like It’s Baltimore”

Video Taken During the Riots in Milwaukee by CopBlock Network Contributor Isiah Holmes

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Arrested For First Amendment Protected Speech After Property Dispute

The following content was shared with the CopBlock Network by Scott Law, via the CopBlock.org Submissions Page.

In the post Scott Law details how a dispute over a cell phone he (indisputably) owned, but had loaned to someone else escalated into a situation where he was arrested for allegedly (this is disputed) using profanity in public. Even if the details concerning use of profanity are entirely true, the arrest really amounts to a “contempt of cop” charge based on Scott not properly respecting the authoritah of Officer Morris, who arrested him.

Date of Incident: July 9, 2016
Officer Involved: D.L. Morris – Badge #5799
Department Involved: Jacksonville (FL) Sheriff’s Office
Department Phone No.: (904) 630-0500
Department Complaints: File a Complaint

I lent a girl (Girl 1) I worked with a spare phone I had. Prior to that, I had gotten into an argument with her friend (Girl 2 ) a week before this incident. The night before Girl 2’s boyfriend threatened me. However, I laughed it off and let it go.

The next day I arrived at work at 6 pm, which was 10 minutes into my shift. They were there accusing me of stealing a phone. About an hour later, around 7ish, the cops were called. Officer 1 was completely cool, professional and respectful, He stated that since its my property it cant be stolen by me. Therefore, this is a civil matter.

As the night went on, she called her family, mom, and boyfriend up to the store. They were harassing me ALL NIGHT about a phone I didn’t even have. Eventually, they called another cop.

As I pulled into the parking lot (My wife is US Navy, so I take jobs as a delivery driver wherever she goes; it’s easy money and easy to get hired), the officer approached me. I did speak to him first, as the report does suggest, however my words of “man is this about the phone because I do not have it?” Are way different than his statement.

He told me “cut the shit we both know you have the phone and I want it.”

001At this point, I was exhausted and said I was done with him and I didn’t like his attitude. Furthermore, I dropped my keys and said, “I know you need a warrant to search me or my vehicle, but I give you permission to search it as long as you’re done by the time my next delivery comes up.”

He asked me if I “think” I’m in control. And I responded with, “I know most my rights have a good day,” then I walked into the store. After I was in there about three minutes, he walked in and arrested me. I immediately started asking what I was under arrest for, what did I do, and what’s the charge?

He took me to his car where I sat for 45 minutes, while he was threatening to hog tie me, beat my ass, and trying to find a charge to arrest me on. He didn’t read me my rights until I was handed off to another couple of officers to transport me.

There are a few things that bug me about this. First, my father was US Navy, my wife is in the Navy. It’s almost insulting that having been around some of the foulest mouths in history the worst this cop could say I said is “eat shit.” While it is the best part of this article I WISH I could take credit for it, but at the same time that’s such a lame comment. I would have told him to go suck a crack whore’s ass. Or go beat off his Uncle Spanky’s six legged goat with dick cheese sauce. ANYTHING more creative and more insanely funny than eat shit.

The second thing I don’t like is how I instantly became an NWA 90’s, black militant type of person with the, “Fuck Tha Police” comment. Again, this is not my style. I’m a bit more colorful, creative and imaginative than just saying fuck the police. “Fuck you, you fascist piece of shit, jack boot dildo loving, cock lip smacking, long arm oppressive pee hole, vagina, bitch dick” would not be beyond the scope of something I would say. But fuck the police is just so mundane.

It’s sad to see the creative IQ of Officer Morris is that of a 3rd grader.

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I lost my job on 103rd and Blanding at Papa Johns, because my manager has to go by what the cop says. So this bully with a badge, as my attorney calls him, is now not only in charge of being able to take you to jail for any reason like cursing in public, which is First Amendment protected speech. But his word over multiple witnesses can now determine employment also.

I would like to say, that every other person I dealt with was respectful and professional. The only other gripe I have and something I would like to see awareness raised on, is that I am diabetic. They checked my BS (blood sugar level) when I went into jail, and it was 114. I could not eat any of the food they served me, as it was ALL carbs. I asked for medicine and different food and was politely told there’s no order for it.

There was an inmate who was Vegan, and he shared some of his food with me so that I would have something to eat. I came out of the jail with my BS at around 290. This needs to be addressed. Many jail inmates are on meds that need to be taken. And often we sit for days even weeks without it. While people are going on about BLM and ALM, remember those that need meds are also important, even if their case isn’t one of police misconduct.

Thank you,

Scott Law

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Black Lives Matter Protester Jasmine Abdullah Given Same Sentence For “Lynching” as Stanford Rapist

Yesterday, a protester with the Black Lives Matter movement was sentenced for the charge of “felony lynching” after being convicted last week. The charging of Jasmine Abdullah, whose legal name is Jasmine Richards, with a crime that was originally intended to prevent white vigilantes from murdering black arrestees had already caused an uproar.

Now that she’s been sentenced, the disparity between the penalty handed down to her and that of another recent high profile case involving a well connected white athlete has generated even more outrage. Abdullah was sentenced to three months in jail, while Brock Allen Turner received six months for raping an intoxicated woman. Both of them were sentenced to the identical three year term of probation for their dramatically different offenses.

Abdullah was convicted of attempting to pull another black woman away from the custody of police as they tried to arrest her for not paying her check at a restaurant. Many have maintained that this was really just an opportune use of a law that was intended to protect black people from race based murders to punish someone who was an activist against race based murders by the police.

Via Free Speech Radio News:

Police say they arrested Abdullah after she and other activists rushed officers and a patrol car. Prosecutors argued Abdullah and her friends were trying to free someone from police custody, a felony offense under a law that was initially conceived to protect Black arrestees from seizure by lynch mobs.But Black Lives Matter national communications director Shanelle Matthews says Abdullah wasn’t arrested for what she’d done in the park that day, but rather for her activism. Abdullah is the latest in a string of California-based activists who have been arrested under the same criminal statute.

Jasmine Richards Abdullah“We know that Jasmine was targeted. We know that the Pasadena police harassed Jasmine, they followed her around the neighborhood,” Matthews says. “What we’re seeing is a very thoughtful and nuanced attack from lawmakers on Black Lives Matter organizers.”

And professor of African American studies and Black Lives Matter activist Dr. Angela James says Abdullah’s arrest is symptomatic of widespread state suppression of political dissent.

“That is what it conveys, both for the relationship with the Black community, but actually generally in the community,” Matthews explains. “Black dissent becomes a bell weather, a canary in the mineshaft for the rest of society.”

The crime Abdullah was convicted of was called “attempted lynching” until about a year ago, when California governor Jerry Brown signed a bill amending the name to remove any reference to lynching. He approved the change after Black Lives Matter Sacramento activist Maile Hampton was charged with the crime, amidst similar accusations of political profiling. The felony charge against Hampton was later dropped, which means although Abdullah is not the first Black woman to be accused of the crime, she is likely the first Black woman to be convicted of it.

Matthews says the entire episode is an example of the vicious cycle of mistrust, police impunity and imprisonment that Black Lives Matter activists have been talking about since the movement’s inception. What it means to try to stop the police from arresting someone – the crime Abdullah was convicted of – changes radically when a community feels it can’t trust the police, she says.

“We know that police cannot always be held accountable to return detainees safe and unharmed and alive,” Matthews points out. “So we know the implications of this or that when we’re living in a time in this political climate where we can’t trust the police to be accountable to the people, to protect and serve for our collective safety, then removing a person from police custody can be a matter of life and death.”

Felony “Lynching”

Meanwhile, on the northern end of the state Brock Turner was sentenced for raping an unconscious women behind a dumpster on campus at Stanford University. A judge disregarded the prosecution’s request to sentence Turner to six years in jail for the violent and predatory sex crime. Instead, he is expected to be released after just three months after credit for “good behavior.”

The fact that the judge is a former athlete at Stanford, one of the most prominent universities in the nation, and that both he and Turner are white men from wealthy backgrounds has not gone unnoticed. In fact, the focus on the hardship a rape conviction will create in Turner’s life and disregard for what his victim has gone through and will go through the rest of her life has created a rather large uproar in its own rite.

The sympathy displayed by Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Aaron Persky in justifying his lenient sentence and a letter written by his father discussing the “suffering” and future opportunities Turner will lose have both garnered huge amounts of outrage. In particular, the characterization by Dan A. Turner, Brock’s father, of the rape as “twenty minutes of action” and as a non-violent act in a letter he read to the court, has been criticized heavily.

Via the Los Angeles Times:

Critics say the sentence was too lenient, arguing that yet another college athlete’s wrongdoings were treated lightly at the expense of a female sexual assault victim.

Gorin said the sentencing in this case is outside the norm in his decades-long experience as both a  sex crimes prosecutor in L.A. County and as a defense attorney.

“It is very unusual to have probation in a forcible rape case,” Gorin said. “His background and no record was a major factor. I cannot think of a similar local case where a defendant convicted by a jury of such a violent crime avoided prison.”

Brock Turner Stanford RapistTurner faced up 14 years in prison after his conviction in March on three felony counts of assault with intent to commit rape of an intoxicated person, sexually penetration of an intoxicated person with a foreign object and sexually penetration of an unconscious person with a foreign object.

“Those convictions alone should send him to prison,” said Steve Cooley, Los Angeles former district attorney. “It’s an extraordinary sentence. He’ll spend just 90 days in the county jail after being convicted on three sexual assault charges.”

The standard sentence for those crimes is six years, he said.

“That is what I’d expect him to receive,” Cooley said.

Prosecutors, he said, have the right to appeal the sentencing decision, but reversal by an appeals court on the grounds of abuse of discretion is rare.

Anger over Turner’s sentencing escalated after Stanford University School of Law professor Michele Dauber released excerpts online of a letter Turner’s father penned to the court. Dauber has launched a campaign to oust Persky from the bench, saying “we need women judges who understand rape is not ‘a mistake’ and the law applies to athletes.”

Dan A. Turner wrote that his son’s and family’s lives had been completely altered because of the verdict. “That is a steep price to pay for 20 minutes of action out of his 20 plus years of life,” he wrote.

The near identical sentences for a poor, minority female essentially convicted of inconveniencing the police and a wealthy, white male caught in the act of violently raping an unconscious woman handed down within the same state and less than a week apart certainly doesn’t quell criticisms of the political system’s bias against the former and in favor of the latter.

You don’t exactly have to be a mathematician to put two and two together on this one.

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Homeless Man Unnecessarily Arrested After Being Profiled at Starbucks (Submission)

The following post was shared with the CopBlock Network by Dan Olson, via a message to the CopBlock Network Facebook Page. In addition to that option you, can also send us stories and/or video through the CopBlock.org Submissions Page.

The post consists of submission consists of a post Dan made to his personal website describing his recent arrest by police in Erie Pennsylvania. The format of the post has been edited a bit to better fit the structure of CopBlock.org’s own. Otherwise and in terms of the content, it has been reposted as it was originally at the “Communicating Convict” website.

As far as what is described in the post, people are free to decide their own opinion of it. However, it does raise several questions in relation to homelessness and the police, as well as business’ treatment of homeless people. Often times that treatment borders on, if not actually consists of, bullying and unnecessary hostility.

Starbucks certainly has the right to tell someone to leave their property, but is it good business to telling paying customers they are unwelcome after taking their money? If he was being disruptive that would obviously be a different story, but he appears to have been having a peaceful conversation with people that had themselves initiated those conversations.

Beyond that was it really necessary for him to be arrested by the police, once they showed up? One could argue based on the description provided that his real “crime” was not respecting their authoritah quick enough and simply for daring to question it. Anyone who has worked with or around homeless people on a regular basis finds out rather quickly that they are one of  the favored targets for bullying and harassment by police.

Another, bigger issue is that when you call the police, even for minor issues, it can become a death sentence for the person you call them on. That’s especially true if that person is poor and homeless. So, rather than doing that and potentially being responsible for the death of another person, wouldn’t have been better for the manager to have come out and spoken to them, even if they were still determined to kick them out? As long as they weren’t being disruptive or ultimately refusing to leave, why get the police involved in the first place?

Starbucks Calls Cops on Over Educated Homeless Activist!

It’s been awhile since I have posted anything and if you don’t know it’s because I have been in Erie County Prison for two months for the crime of being homeless in a public space and daring to ask a police officer what the law is. Ironically much of what I wrote on the day of my arrest in my previous post would come true. I was walking around Erie for a few days with a sign that read “Homeless will defy and eat politicians for food”. Tom Wolf was scheduled to appear in Edinboro so I created a new Facebook page with a status that read “The way I see it is this. Tom Wolf will be in town on the 14th. I want a pardon.

Since I am homeless in my bright red Edinboro sweatpants and Edinboro Communications Department “Keep Calm and Communicate” shirt the city of Erie can save some face by explaining that I am working with Edinboro and the City of Erie to raise awareness for stigma, particularly toward homelessness and mental health. I will accept an award for my great work and some cash, I will also also…since I am smarter and stronger than “conservatively” 90% of the local government accept a nice desk job with decent pay and benefits. If these demands are not met, (and most likely even if they are) my schizophrenic stroll will continue. Peace love and revolution….Erie.

If you believe these demands are actually reasonable considering the lifetime of abuse and trauma I have suffered, mostly from these institutions PLEASE LIKE AND SHARE!!! I was speaking with a close friend that morning and he expressed his concern for me. I jokingly told him “don’t worry about me, I’m on my Jesus Christ/Buddha consciousness raising awareness for the unfortunate. He replied it wasn’t me he was worried about rather the police I may interact with and how I could be “trapped”. In hindsight it was advice I should have heeded.

Homeless Food

One day the poor will have nothing left to eat but politicians.

I left the library and walked up to the Erie City Mission for lunch. On my way a black gentleman pulled over and offered me a dollar. I thanked him and continued on my way. When I arrived at the City Mission there was almost double the amount of people waiting to eat than last time I was there for a ”research paper.”

Homelessness and poverty must not be improving in Erie. Good thing we are going to pay thousands of dollars for some extra police to patrol the downtown and kick those vagrants to “better” pastures! Inside the place is packed and a couple of Edinboro nursing students are trying to sign people up for some kind of medical service. I make a few comments to them since I am rocking my EU sweats.I get a tray with some greens and a burrito and pass on the sweets.

People are engaged in the same interactions as before and possibly since the doors opened in 1911 (pretty impressive). After listening to a few arguments I shoulder my bag and make my way to the Mental Health Association (MHA) to see if I can score a shower. It’s only a little ironic that I was recently here with my family dropping off donations that my daughter collected for winter and filling out applications to work or volunteer. No work was available, but I could develop a men’s group if I wanted…

In order to be eligible for services at the MHA you need proof that you are receiving mental health treatment. “Luckily” for me I had a few appointment cards in my wallet from Stairways. They also require photo ID, all I have is an Edinboro Student ID since my licence was confiscated…which they accept. A man takes me into a side room and begins to read me my “rights”. You have a right to feel safe, you have a right to your own property, you have a right….he rattles off a few more and I actually feel good listening to it.

When he is done, I comment that that was nice, it must go along way for people suffering from PTSD after interacting with the police. He looks at me like he doesn’t understand the joke, or it wasn’t funny and leads me to the shower. The door does not lock…or I can’t figure it out and I eventually say fuck it I spent enough time in prison…I’ll just shower with this box cutter. After the shower I feel much better and I am grateful the MHA was there as I step out into a light rain.

I walk to Starbucks to enjoy a cup of coffee…as I have been doing for the past couple days. I purchase a coffee and sit down, my homeless sign is visible but I do not feel I am being obtrusive. It is impossible to raise awareness for anything unless you engage the public in some form, besides if you happen to be offended that I am homeless…well that makes two of us and we are one step closer to a “movement”. A few days ago I made some rugged slips of paper with words like Love, Adapt, Refuse, Defy on them with links to this blog. They were rugged and raw along with my sign because…well I really am fucking homeless and I can’t afford many of the tactics I might have learned in Communication Studies. I did have a theory that perhaps people are becoming turned “off” by well designed shit and typical ads and something like what I was doing might actually garner more attention.

Earlier, I had pinned some of these to a board at the Blasco Library, and at a local laundromat. I had these papers sitting at my table with my coffee but never made any active attempts at solicitation. A few people stopped to talk to me such as Scott McGrath gentleman I participated in a “Love Letters to Erie” art event whose artwork can be seen here. At one point I noticed an old acquaintance and I stood up to actually greet them, I heard it is a polite thing to do. In this exact moment a Gannon student names Shayla Jones approached me and informed me that I was the subject of her Social Movements class and she had to come and speak with me.

Naturally, I was ecstatic to hear this news, it was the most validating thing I had felt in a long time so I quickly exchanged contact information with my acquaintance and sat down to speak with Shayla. She expressed both knowledge and interest in “Mass Incarceration” and the difficulties with re-entry so I knew she had read some of my blog and was sincere in her approach.

In a short time, a barista approached our table and rudely interrupts our conversation saying “sir you cannot solicit customers.” I reply I have not solicited anyone, in fact the only person I have approached I in fact knew personally.” She then tells me that she “seen” me hand a piece of paper to someone. Shayla intervenes and says something to the effect of recognizing me and the person were acquainted with each other.

The barista ignores both our testimonies and claims she needs to look after the safety of the customers. I look around and see a couple I know is homeless, a young man I know is homeless, an older schizophrenic who talks to himself more than others…and also has a bag…and Jessie and Ricardo as all the other customers. I begin to feel discriminated against and I say as much. I reply “if I was wearing a business suit you would not even dare to speak to me.” I am feeling harassed and would like to speak to your manager.”

Starbucks’ website claims ”It happens millions of times each week – a customer receives a drink from a Starbucks barista – but each interaction is unique. I guess I was about to learn just how “unique” these experiences can be. According to the police report, the manager rather than coming to speak with me informed this junior coffee cop to call the police.

Unaware that the police have been called, I continue talking to Shayla about some of her personal struggles and perceptions of social issues from poverty, racism and what movements are having positive effects such as Black Lives Matter. My moment of validation and perhaps even congratulations of a apparently successful public action will be short lived when two police officers walk in the door.

The first officer recognizing me as the man who was singing “Kumbaya” behind the courthouse has that classical “oh, no you again look”, and he basically says as much while walking through the door. The second officer has a different approach and locks onto me with a pretty aggressive and meant to be intimidating gaze and says “You. Up. Now.” in a manner meant to illicit immediate obedience and submission.

I have a notepad in front of me and garbed in my Edinboro “Keep Calm and Communicate” shirt I reply “Officer I am a researcher and a scholar could you please tell me what law I am breaking?” Officer Ryan M. Onderko, in a de-escalating (sarcasm) manner responds…I am going to break your fucking head in a minute. With all the education Edinboro has provided me and self control I can muster, I recognize that this officer is looking for an opportunity to be violent. So in the international symbol of preparing to take my leave I rise up and begin putting on my jacket.

While doing so I say, “officer I really will need to know what law I am breaking if I am going to be an informed law abiding citizen.” He then grabs my arm, which caused my body to go tense because it was unexpected and says, “you want to know the law I’ll show you the law, put your hands behind your back.”

I hesitate because I am in shock and disbelief that I might be going to prison, PTSD and a multiple of other symptoms flood my brain. Sensing this Onderko in a real manner again to de-escalate says, “if you resist me you are going to get hurt bad.” I do not resist and allow myself to be cuffed to which Onderko then says “Don’t you ever question me, I don’t care how big you are. I will cut you down.” I respond, “if you are going to threaten me you might as well just kill me, because I refuse to walk around afraid of the police.”

I am escorted outside and Dan Zmijewski follows us out to the police car. The officer looks towards Dan and says “you get out of here, or you are going with him.” Dan says something about his freedom to stand on the sidewalk and Officer Onderko releases me and lunges towards Dan to grab him.

Dan speeds up his walk and almost begins to run when Onderko perhaps recognizing he can’t just leave me unattended calls off his pursuit of Dan. Even from my position of being cuffed I can’t help to be both amused and happy that Dan managed to “escape”.

In the process of checking my pockets for weapons and “contraband” he asks if I am on probation. I reply that yes I am and he says “that is all I need to know.” In America, while on probation the law is less concerned about the truth. When they are prepared to detain you, all they need to say is “probable cause”. You are arrested on a whim…and if you are lucky released after an extensive second thought…typically taking 3-6 months.

This is the story of my “arrest.” Next I will relate some of my experience and interactions while incarcerated at Erie County Prison. I will leave off today with a quote Lenin apparently told a young poet in a coffee shop shortly after the Bolshevik “Revolution.”

Every man must rely on himself. Yet he should also listen to what informed people have to say. I don’t know how radical you are, or how radical I am. I am certainly not radical enough. One can never be radical enough, that is one must always try to be as radical as reality itself.

Intractable conflict, radical conflict and power is what I live and study. I must wonder if my problem is not that I am toooo “radical” for Erie…rather I have not yet become radical enough.

Peace, Love and Revolution to you all.

– Dan Olson

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Time Photographer Assaulted And Choked by Secret Service Agent During Trump Rally

During a Donald Trump rally on Monday in Virginia, a Time magazine photographer was taking photos of a group of Black Lives Matter protesters that had interrupted the rally. Without any warning, Chris Morris was grabbed from behind, slammed to the ground, and choked by a Secret Service agent working at the rally.

Presumably, the reason why Morris was attacked was because he had taken a couple steps (eighteen inches) outside of the “designated press area.” However, as Carlos Miller points out in a post on Photography Is Not A Crime (PINAC), the job of the Secret Service is simply to protect candidates, not to dictate the behavior of media covering events. The photographer is pretty clearly not in any way threatening anyone, let alone Donald Trump. He was also not even the only member of the media within the area where he was attacked.

It’s getting to the point that on a daily basis there is a new report of Trump staff and/or attendees having attacked (often literally) someone who has dared to criticize their beloved fearmonger. And whether Trump himself is personally racist or is simply pandering to the lowest (and most disgusting) common denominator for votes, these attacks are becoming more and more race based as his campaign attracts that demographic. In one of the most blatant instances, in December at a Trump rally held in Las Vegas some of his supporters were caught on video yelling “white power” and “sieg heil” as a Black Lives Matter protester was being removed. There’s nothing ambiguous about either of those phrases.

While this particular incident was not racially based, it highlights yet another disturbing aspect of Trump’s increasingly neo-fascist rhetoric. The fact that a member of the media simply performing their job was attacked and then briefly threatened with arrest as a result of having been attacked is itself a troubling trend. Trump is the only candidate who has created an enclosed area that media are restricted to during campaign events. He also has himself called for increased legal restrictions on the press and the easing of protections against lawsuits by public figures against the media.

When a campaign is appealing to and even courting the support of nationalists and outright racists, advocating for ethnically and religiously based databases and restrictions, and attempting to limit the ability of people to criticize it, it’s not incredibly hard to figure out where those train tracks are headed should that campaign be successful.

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“Decoy” Protest Held at Mall of America; Two Terminals Shut Down at Minneapolis St. Paul Airport

The anticipated protest at the Mall of America in Minneapolis went forward today in spite of a restraining order against it. MOA management had sued eight individuals involved with the Black Lives Matter movement in Minneapolis in an effort to stop the protests. That lawsuit included the demand that they post on social media sites and send out text messages stating that the protest was cancelled. Failing to do so would result in jail time. (It wasn’t really clear whether adding “wink, wink” at the end would violate that ruling.)

Ultimately, three of the eight were legally barred from MOA property by the court. The request for them to send out messages telling others not to come was ruled unconstitutional by the judge presiding over the case.

Regardless of that, protesters showed up in large numbers at the mall to protest the shooting of Jamar Clark. Reportedly, as many as twenty people were arrested and many businesses closed during the protest, which has been dubbed #BlackXmas on social media, rather than deal with the disruption. However, the bigger twist was that #BlackLivesMatter Minneapolis declared that the publicized protest at the Mall of America was really just a decoy.

Via CBS News:

Hundreds of protesters left the nation’s largest mall shortly after a rally began Wednesday afternoon, chanting for justice for a black man recently shot by Minneapolis police.

Stores closed their gates, kiosks were covered and even Santa left his sleigh at massive suburban Minneapolis mall shortly before protesters gathered Wednesday afternoon, one of the busiest shopping days of the year. They abruptly walked outside while chanting, “What do we want? Justice! When do we want it? Now!”

Police quickly closed the mall’s main entrances and urged onlookers out of the mall’s central rotunda, threatening arrest.

Organizers said the rally was intended to draw attention to the police shooting last month of Jamar Clark. The 24-year-old black man died the day after he was shot by Minneapolis police responding to a recent assault complaint.

Instead many of the protesters left the mall within a short amount of time and boarded trains or buses headed to the Minneapolis St. Paul Airport, as well as Highway 5 and other roads near the airport. Two of the security checkpoints at the airport were reportedly closed for about an hour and half.

Via CBS Minnesota:

Protesters with Black Lives Matter only briefly gathered at the Mall of America Wednesday afternoon before boarding light rail trains and heading to Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport in an attempt to “shut it down.”

There, groups of protesters gathered at both terminals around 2 p.m., blocking traffic on Highway 5 and the roads into both terminals. Not long after, the State Patrol ordered the protesters to disperse. An airport spokesman told the Associated Press several people were ultimately arrested in the protest.

Still, traffic into the state’s main airport was at a virtual standstill the day before Christmas Eve, and a backup persisted into the afternoon. Terminal 2 checkpoints for Southwest and Sun Country airlines were temporarily closed to prevent protesters from gaining access to the secure areas of the busy airport. They were reopened at around 3:30 p.m.

Random arrests happening at MSP Airport. Like this one – he clearly did NOT touch the policewoman but was instead assaulted. Today, the only danger at the MOA, the light rail & the airports were hundreds of agitated & armed riot cops escalating, arresting & mercilessly punching peaceful protesters.#BlackLivesMatter #Justice4Jamar #BlackXmas(video: bengarvin)

Posted by Jigme Ugen on Wednesday, December 23, 2015

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Six Baltimore Cops Indicted in Freddie Gray Murder to be Tried Separately Starting in October

bpd-gang-members-killed-freddie-gray-copblockAmid protests, a First Circuit Court judge ruled Wednesday that Edward Nero, Garrett Miller, William Porter, Caesar Goodson, Lt. Brian Rice, and Sgt. Alicia White; the six Baltimore police officers indicted for the in custody killing of Freddie Gray ; will be tried separately when the cases go to trial starting in October. In addition, Judge Barry G. Williams ruled against defense motions requesting that the charges be dismissed because of claims of prosecutorial misconduct and another motion seeking to force Prosecutor Marilyn Mosby to recuse herself from the cases.

It was a motion by the defense that had requested separate trials for the officers. The prosecution was seeking to have Goodson, Nero, and White tried together. The defense motions to dismiss charges or force Mosby’s recusal were based on a contention by the defense that Mosby had issued orders for police to crack down on the area where Freddie Gray was arrested and that his arrest was a result of those orders.

Defense attorneys have also claimed in court filings that BPD investigators had information that Freddie Gray had been involved in insurance fraud schemes, in which he would intentionally injure himself in order to collect settlements. However, they provided no actual proof of that allegation.

Freddie Gray Baltimore ProtestOutside the courtroom, dozens of protesters (per USA Today‘s estimates) demonstrated against racism and police violence, as well as advocating for convictions against the officers accused of causing Freddie Gray’s death. Signs being displayed outside the courthouse included, “Stop racism now.” There were also chants of “Indict, convict, send those killer cops to jail. The whole damn system is guilty as hell” and “Tell the truth and stop the lies, Freddie Gray didn’t have to die.”

The Baltimore Police Department announced, via Twitter, that one person had been arrested during the protests. in anticipation of further protests during the trial, leave for Baltimore police officers has been cancelled by the department.

The officers are facing various charges ranging from reckless endangerment to second degree murder. According to NBC News:

Edward Nero, Garrett Miller, William Porter and Caesar Goodson, and Lt. Brian Rice and Sgt. Alicia White — were arrested on reckless endangerment charges. Rice, Porter, and White are additionally facing manslaughter, while Goodson has also been charged with second-degree murder.

None of the officers personally attended the hearing. All six of them have pled not guilty to the charges.

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Independent Media Being Targeted at Recent Police Brutality Protests

Unicorn Riot Reporter ArrestIt’s not exactly a new thing for the police to target the media, nor is there any lack of evidence for that. Arrests of journalists in Ferguson were a staple of the police state-style repression of protests there. Also, the media corrals in Baltimore that kept reporters safely away from any opportunities to capture police abuses on film were pretty well documented during those riots.

Outright targeting and arrests of independent media and CopBlockers have been especially prevalent not just during protests, but also during cop watch activities and whenever people have filmed the cops. There’s obviously no shortage of examples of that on CopBlock.org over the past five years. In fact, members of Nevada Cop Block had to overnight a press pass to Mike BlueHair of FTP Portland when he was in Ferguson covering the protests there because the police and National Guard were illegally requiring media credentials in order for people to film, and imposing curfews on people without press passes.

Something that does appear to be a recent development, though, is that police now apparently have a book of names and photos that they are carrying with them. According to reports such as this one from “Unicorn Riot,” they are using this book to identify and target for arrest, without legal cause, members of independent and/or online-based media. The video below shows police in Denver, during a protest against the murder of Paul Castaway on Monday, push their way through a group of people recording the protest, isolate, and then manhandle and arrest one of the reporters. At no point in the video does that reporter appear to do anything to justify being arrested, or resist in anyway to justify the rough manner in which they treat him.

They also include this account from “AnimalNewYork.com” detailing the targeted arrests of people involved in three groups that organized a New York protest marking the one year anniversary of Eric Garner’s murder by the NYPD:

The largest demonstration took place Friday night, with more than 1,000 participants. Dozens were arrested. The rally and march was organized by Millions March NYC, NYC Shut It Down, and the People’s Power Assembly. Before the march made it three blocks, the NYPD arrested one prominent member from each of the three groups that organized the event, prompting calls from protesters that they were targeted for their role in organizing and not engaging in activity that other protesters were not.

In addition, there’s a link to a video that a Denver activist took during the Paul Castaway protests. It’s not entirely clear on the video, but it purports to show one of the actual “activist yearbooks,” as they are being dubbed, in use by a pair of police officers. All of this would very much be in line with the targeted arrests of “Black Lives Matter” organizers from Minneapolis that took place earlier this year, as well as historical Cointelpro operations engaged in by police and federal departments since the 50’s.

Freedom of the press and the ability for ordinary citizens to film the police and other government officials in public is a fundamental right and check on the ability of those officials to abuse their powers. Peaceful protests are also a protected civil right and defense against corruption and governmental abuses. These type of targeted arrests and physical attacks represent a huge threat to both those rights.

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