Tag Archives: Children

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.


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

Related Content on NVCopBlock.org:

  1. LVMPD Caught on Body Camera Admitting They Arrested Man For Singing F*ck The Police
  2. Submit Your Own Story of Police Abuse/Corruption
  3. Help Wanted! How You Can Become Involved With NVCopBlock
  4. #FTP – How and Why You Should Always Film The Police
  5. Press Passes for Independent Media and Freelance Journalists
  6. How to File a Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA) Request
  7. “Let Me See Your I.D.” Stop and Identify Statutes – Know Your Rights
  8. Beware of Gang Activity in Your Neighborhood!
  9. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: The LVMPD’s Killer Reputation
  10. A Video Compilation of Las Vegas Area Police Brutality
  11. Donate to the Cause – Help Us Help You Fight The Power

Foreigner Trying To Help Lost Child Hassled by Manila’s Barangay Police

Manila Philippines Barangay Police

The video and description included within this post were shared with Nevada Cop Block by “Nasty” Nathanial Thomas, via reader submission. You can (and should) visit Nathanial’s YouTube channel (click here) to see other videos he has posted. In addition you can see other posts involving Nathanial that have previously been published at NVCopBlock.org by clicking here, here, and here.

Note: 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.

As he explains below, until recently Nathanial was traveling within the Philippines. This latest post consists of video that was taken in the Philippines and involves a local police department within that country.

It deals with issues foreign travelers within the Philippines may encounter when dealing with the local police and how the governmental structure of the nation often worsens or even creates that situation.

In particular, it shows how members of a semi-official police force, known as “Barangay Police,” prey on and attempt to take advantage of vulnerable individuals, especially foreigners.

Date of Incident: March 27, 2016
Location of Incident: Baseco Compound, Manila, Philippines
“Department” Involved: Metro Manila Barangay Police

Howdy folks,

How are all my Cop Block friends doing? I just recently returned from another extended stay in the Philippines and I must say that it feels pretty groovey to be back in the good ol’ US of A. Something that I have come to realize about spending time in a foreign country is that as a foreigner you become vulnerable. Especially when you are in a third world country like the Philippines.

Don’t get me wrong. I love the Philippines and I believe that Filipinos are some of the nicest and most hospitable people I’ve ever met. However, there are good and bad people in every culture and there are Filipinos that do try to abuse and take advantage of foreigners. This does not exclude the police.

Before I get into explaining the situation that you see in this video I have submitted, let me first explain what the Barangay Police are. In the Philippines you have what are called “Barangays”. Basically, a Barangay is a neighborhood with a governmental structure. Within’ these Barangays you have elected officials such as a chairperson, a council, and even their own police. It is basically like a little city within’ a city.

Ok now, lets talk about the Barangay Police for a moment. You have the regular city police, such as the Manila Police, who wear uniforms, carry guns, and drive squad cars just like they do here in the United States. Then you’ve got these Barangay Police who are basically wannabe cops. They wear a t-shirt that says “Barangay Police” and carry a handheld radio.

Some of them will carry a baton. But I don’t mean a police issued nightstick. It is more of a wooden stick that they carry around to try and look intimidating. They don’t carry guns thank God. These guys are a joke. They shouldn’t even call them police, because they are not real cops. Instead, they are more like a neighborhood watch than anything else.

Baseco-PicOn Easter Sunday, my friend and I decided to go to this place called Baseco Beach. It is in a slum area of Manila. However, on Easter Sunday the local residents head down to the beach and kick off a big party Filipino style. That is another thing about Filipinos. They know how to throw a party.

Anyways, my friend and I were walking along the water filming and taking photographs of the celebration when we came across a little girl. She was all alone and crying. We quickly discovered that she had been separated from her parents and is now all alone on the beach. My friend, who volunteers for a non profit organization, actually knew this little girl and her family. Having participated in feedings within her Barangay, he knew exactly where she lives. He decided that he would just take her back to her family’s home. This is where the trouble started.

On our way back to the car, we were stopped by the Barangay Police, who immediately begin to hassle us. My friend calmly explained that the little girl was lost and that he knows where she lives and is going to help her get home. But that was not good enough for these wannabe cops. Their solution to the problem was for us to just leave the girl there. Oh yeah, that’s real good. Leave this girl all alone to fend for herself in the slums. Good police work guys.

Now, I realize that when you are dealing with the police in a third world country you can run into a variety of complications and that things can get pretty frustrating really fast. I am not trying to suggest that police officers in the Philippines are bad, in general. However, these Barangay cops are completely incompetent and totally corrupt.

In the end, these Barangay cops finally allowed the girl to be returned to her family. Of course, they wanted something in return. I mean, I do realize that we are dealing some crooked, incompetent cops, but I just figured, being that there was a child involved, they would exercise a bit more class in a situation like this. I guess that was me being naive, though.

The one cop you see in the video wearing sunglasses and trying to act macho, actually had the nerve to approach my friend later on, asking that he buy him a soda. Shaking my head, Scumbag.

– Nasty Nathanial Thomas

Related Content on NVCopBlock.org:

A New Hampshire City is Placed on “Lockdown”

The following post was originally published at the blog, “The Art Of Not Being Governed” under the title, “City on Lockdown.”

Within the post, Winter Trabex discusses the response by the police and government in Manchester, New Hampshire to an incident last month in which two police officers were shot. That response consisted of “locking down” the entire city, via a “shelter in place” order, and subjecting the residents of Manchester to restrictions on their rights and the threat of heavily armed police within their neighborhoods. It also discusses the larger issues surrounding such situations and the dangers created by them.

“City on Lockdown”

By Winter Trabex

The city of Manchester, New Hampshire is divided in half by the Merrimack River. There are two sides: the west side, and the east side. On May 13th, at around 2:30 in the morning, two officers of the Manchester Police Department were shot on the city’s west side. This is the city’s residential district. The suspect fled on foot. A “shelter in place” order was handed down. Helicopters flew over the city. Police officers searched through cars, trash cans, and yards as they desperately sought the suspect with any and all means available. The city was on lockdown.

One officer was shot in the face and the chest; he had to be rushed to an emergency medical care facility. The other officer was shot in the leg. An accurate description of the suspect was provided, which lead to his capture at around 5 AM. By 10 AM, almost five hours later, the lockdown order was rescinded. Everything returned to normal- except for the fact that what people had been through as a result of police activity in the area.

Carla Gericke Free State ProjectThe following month, on June 7th, individuals from the Free State Project organized a rally outside Manchester’s city hall on Elm Street. Signs such as “We are not your pets” and “Don’t lock me down bro” were displayed to people who passed by in their cars. Around sixty people joined the rally. While the folks who were against police officers overstepping their bounds attended, those who supported the police with regards to the “shelter in place” order chose not to attend. They remained at home, preferring to express their opinions in facebook discussion groups.

At 7 PM, the mayor and fourteen of the city’s aldermen received testimony from the public. Anyone was invited to speak. The first speaker was a boy scout who wanted to memorialize previous boy scout troops who volunteered in historical wars. The next person was a father who spoke about how the lockdowns of several schools due to a possible active shooter situation made him feel that they police were doing their job protecting his son. He feels so strongly about his child, yet- for whatever reason- he hasn’t yet considered pulling that child out of public school even after such dangerous situations have unfolded.

The remaining speakers all came from the Free State Project. A woman talked about how she couldn’t take her dogs out for their morning walk. She said that while this was not a big deal, she was concerned that her right of free movement was being restricted even after the police had apprehended their suspect.

Carla Gericke, the former president of the Free State Project, spoke at length for the need for transparency. Earlier that morning, she had met with the Manchester chief of police, Nick Willard. Mr. Willard claimed that the lockdown orders were voluntary and that people could leave at any time. Further testimony revealed that this was false. People were threatened at gunpoint. Photographs were taken of officers holding their weapons with their fingers on the trigger, ready to fire. It was suggested that a class action lawsuit might be forthcoming on behalf of the residents of Manchester who were adversely affected- even physically injured- during the events of May 13th.

In a prepared statement given at the rally, Gericke’s remarks included the following:

Regarding the lockdown of Friday the 13th of May, Chief Willard stated publicly that: “’We were definitely infringing on their life and we understand how difficult that is.”

As residents of the city, we ask that a full public inquiry be held into the legality of the shelter in place order and the actions of the police on the streets of Manchester where people’s 4th amendment rights were violated.

We ask that a public report be issued from the AG’s office, which shall include the following information:

What law enforcement agencies were involved?

What federal agencies were involved, under what authority?

What calibre of firearms were discharged at each of the two sites, and how many shot were fired?

What calibre of firearms caused the officers non-lethal injuries?

What this cost, and who is paying for it.

A full explanation of the delay between the time the suspect was in custody–which was BEFORE the MPD letter was issued–and when the lockdown was lifted more than 5 hours later.

The AGs office should also issue a written memorandum to be distributed to all NH police departments that any lockdowns and shelter-in-place recommendations are VOLUNTARY and that residents will not be treated as criminals if they go about their lives, and that such language will always be included when a shelter-in-place recommendation is made.

Thus far, it is unclear what- if any- action will be taken regarding this issue. By any legal definition, the police have overstepped their authority just as they have overstepped their authority in cities across America, and in various other parts of the world. Those who defend the actions of police officers take a “the ends justify the means” approach, assuming that any escalation of force and any violation of rights is appropriate when dealing with someone who has broken the law.

The question then becomes: what happens when a police officer breaks the law? Is any escalation of force and any violation of rights appropriate to deal with such a person? Thus far, the answer appears to be no. Police officers who go beyond what they are legally allowed to do often receive no sanction or punishment for their actions. There have even been police officers who have murdered citizens outright with little or no repercussions coming against them.

This is what caused the riots in Los Angeles in 1992. Police officers who were recorded on video beating a black man were found not guilty in a court of law. They were demonstrably guilty of having broken the law, yet the law was unable to speak for the victim of the crime. History suggests that once police officers take a certain power upon themselves, there is very little short of direct action by the citizens themselves that can stop them from doing whatever they want at any time they want.

Photos of the June 7th rally can be viewed on the Manchvegas Alerts facebook page.

With all of this mind- and perhaps more that I myself am unaware of- members of the FSP gathered to voice their opinions and let everyone know what was happening. In fact, the events of May 13th are just one part of a larger picture of police escalating their tactics and using ever greater force against its populace. As is usually the case, children are mentioned whenever something bad happens. It appears that children are such a precious commodity that people are willing to give up their own freedoms and right in exchange for keeping their kids safe. It is unclear exactly how a frightened police officer with a gun and a penchant for breaking the rules in critical moments is supposed to produce this result. There is a mountain of evidence- both from America and from various tyrannical countries throughout history- that suggests even children are not safe from being put to the sword when the government loses control of its own agents.

Who Watches The WatchmenA recent example of this occurred when a police officer in Georgia threw a flash bang grenade in a baby’s crib. Supporters of the Manchester police department do not believe that it can happen here. They believe that such force as is being used for the public good. They believe that innocent victims are never caught in the crossfire, or that training programs are sufficient to instruct officers on what they need to do, and what they are allowed to do. This does not appear to be the case.

As the enforcers of the law, and members of the government themselves, police officers are the ultimate authority. The law is often whatever they say it is. Following orders are more important than following one’s own conscience. Under such conditions, it is easy to excuse an abuse of power and authority as necessary because someone ordered it to be so. If no one followed orders from their superiors, it is believed, then a police department would cease to function entirely.

In 1996, James Dorn wrote an essay regarding the rise of government and the decline of morality. His claim was that an ever-increasing government produced the result of more and more moral decline. Whether this claim is true or not remains to be seen. It is difficult to judge today’s society against societies of the past because we do not live in the past. We only know what is moral today. We do things that future historians will no doubt find objectionable, just as our ancestors did things that we find objectionable.

The salient point that Dorn makes is that the state undermines the incentive for moral conduct. For example: anyone who wants to go on government assistance may do so, provided they can prove why their need is so great. Obtaining government money is a race to the bottom. The more wretched and hopeless someone is, the more money they are given. Thus, the incentive to receive government assistance is different from that which exists to receive money that is earned through a paycheck. In order to be paid by a business owner, or a customer with discretionary income, one must provide sufficient value that the owner or the customer will be willing to part with their money. This makes business a race to the top where the best provider of goods and services receives the most money.

This distortion of morality takes place in police departments, as it does in every sphere of government activity. Rather than trying to protect and serve everyone equally, police tend to disproportionately protect and serve well-to-do white people. Poor people- especially poor black people- are often the targets for disciplinary action. Centuries of court cases have shown that when a black man with little to no resources goes on trial, that man will end up in jail. The purpose of police departments is to get as many fines and convictions as possible. They prefer to have statistics on their side, rather than anecdotal evidence of how they helped individual people in individual situations. This too is a result of morality being subject to change.

Unfortunately, it appears that police departments- including the one in Manchester, New Hampshire- are becoming more and more frightened as time passes. They see danger where none exists. They believe that they put their lives on the line every day, even while those same statistics that they like so much suggests that there is no such thing as a war on the police. If police officers understood that as people become enlightened, they become more peaceful. An enlightened person understands that violent aggression and coercion are not good substitutes for persuasion and awareness. The truncheon does not inform; it merely terrifies.

While I remain doubtful that any disciplinary action or corrective procedures will be implemented as a result of the events on May 13th in Manchester, I find myself hopeful that some people were willing to take a stand and say that this is not all right, that two wrongs do not make a right, that the ends do not justify the means. Saying otherwise- allowing the state to have carte blanche on anything they believe is appropriate- soon leads to tyranny, martial law, censorship, and all the horrors that come with an oppressive, abusive police force.

If you enjoyed this article, you can follow more of Winter on Liberty.me and check out Winter’s new book How to Write Fiction: Wrangling With the Written Word. Please consider sending a BTC tip to Winter at: 1ACwZKrUPbZ5XWB3jEuTAsi8SrgeZftbxx

In their “About Us” section the writers at the Art of Not Being Governed describes their philosophy and “mission” as such:

We support the Non-Aggression Principle, Self-Ownership and Voluntary Associations. Our mission is to make the moral argument against the evils of government and to make the practical argument on the failures of government, especially in what it claims the exclusive right to do. Finally, our mission is to assist the government on its path toward self-destruction by educating people on opting out of the State through the non-violent, revolutionary means of Agorism and Crypto-Anarchy.

Prisons Can’t be Exonerated of Their Role in The Police State

This post was written by and originally published at the Center For a Stateless Society (C4SS) under the title “You Cannot Exonerate Prisons.” Posts and other content can be submitted to the CopBlock Network via the CopBlock.org Submission Page. (Note: some links have been inserted, although no edits to the original text were made.)

A recent study conducted by The National Registry of Exonerations found that in 2015 there were a total of 149 people who were exonerated for a myriad of reasons. The exonerations revolved around convictions that were based on police misconduct, false confessions and in some cases, the fact that no crime had occurred.

In addition, the study notes a racial element to the exonerations in that “more than two-thirds were minorities, including half who were African American.”

Among the 149 exonerations, 27 of the original convictions were based on a false confession, most based on police misconduct. This misconduct included pressuring supposed witnesses who just so happened to usually be mentally handicapped or children.

On average, the people who were exonerated had already served nearly 15 years. And even though there are some states where the wrongfully convicted can get restitution from the state, the process, says NBC, is difficult and often gets the wrongfully convicted nowhere.

The study also notes that while exonerations were once a public spectacle, due to their rarity, they are now more commonplace. This is partly because of Conviction Integrity Units (CIUs) which are, “a division of a prosecutorial office that works to prevent, identify and remedy false conviction.”

Of particular note are New York and Texas where 17 and over 50 exonerations were found, respectively. In these states the CIUs had a greater ability to look into closed cases. Exoneration rates aren’t necessarily tied to population size, so much as a suitable review process. California, for instance, only had 5 exonerations in 2015 out of a population of nearly 40 million.

Even with the increase in exonerations, University of Michigan law professor Samuel Gross says, “We know very little about the sorts of mistakes we make,” or “how frequently they happen.”

And according to U.S. District Judge John L. Kane, “Ninety-seven percent of federal convictions and ninety-four percent of state convictions are the results of guilty pleas.”

It is absurd to claim the criminal justice system works when such a high percentage of convictions result from people accepting the assigned social role of “guilty.” Many people take plea bargains because they can’t afford to fight the courts, they may fear the process, or because the prosecutor is coercing them into taking the deal by threatening potentially harsher penalties at trial.

It isn’t surprising then that most convictions stem from plea bargains. Violence, intimidation and coercion are some of the main tools in the state’s arsenal. Whether it’s forcing people to come to court, forcing people into tiny cells to rot, or forcing people to take special medicine that will kill them for crimes they committed, the state’s modus operandi is just that — force. The state thrives on violence and the criminal justice system, such that it is, isn’t much different.

Prisons are the most obvious and barbaric aspect of the criminal justice system. They are torture regimes in which individuals are treated as disposable.  A prisoners’ character is reduced to one or a handful of incidents that may have happened in a fit of rage, after poor exercise in judgment, being involved with the wrong people, or because they’ve simply angered the right ones.

Whatever the case, prisons are places where people waste away their lives. This form of punishment denies any possibility of reformation. Being surrounded by other criminals often leads to future criminal activities being plotted from inside jail. This is just one of the many reasons why recidivism is often so high.

This leads us to a broken criminal justice system that is based on coercion, lies and manipulation of the disadvantaged. It’s nice that more prisoners are being exonerated, but the prisons are not innocent. This system of brutality, confinement and restraint of individuals’ liberty can never itself be exonerated.

There is no exonerating an institution that thrives on treating humans as disposable