Tag Archives: profiling

Detained by Las Vegas Police for Openly Carrying a Sword While Walking (Video)

Las Vegas Police Detain Black Men Walking While Open Carrying Sword

Two black men were detained, handcuffed, questioned, and photographed by Las Vegas police officers because they were walking while (legally) carrying a sword.

On Saturday (11-14-17), while I was out on a bike ride, I noticed a Las Vegas police helicopter circling the Walmart parking lot just ahead of me. As I reached the area where it was, I looked over and saw three LVMPD police cars with their lights on at the outer edge of the Walmart parking lot.

Once I was inside that parking lot, I could see that they had two black men in cuffs outside of a Dotty’s Casino (a small local “casino” chain that realistically amounts to more of an oversized bar) within it located on Nellis and Boulder Hwy. across the street from the Sam’s Town Hotel and Casino. So I started filming them with a GoPro mounted to the handlebars of my bike.

(See Video embedded below)

At the end of the video, I asked those two men what they had been stopped for and they told me that it was because someone had called to report that they had a sword, something that is by itself not actually illegal (as long as it is openly carried it’s legal just like a firearm or any other non-prohibited weapon). They stated they had been taking the sword to a nearby pawn shop, so they could sell it.

Obviously, they were eventually released without any sort of charges, since they had committed no crime, although the cops made them pose for pictures, which generally means they intend to add them to the gang registry and means that they will be harassed and profiled at every opportunity in the future based on that designation. That’s a pretty common practice by Metro for minorities, bikers, and others that they consider to be the “usual suspects.”

Although this fortunately didn’t result in any sort of physical violence being used against the men, Metro’s “finest” felt the need to not only respond with three patrol officers, but also at one point to have their lieutenant come by. And of course, as was mentioned already it gave them an excuse to play with their new “rescue” helicopter that’s usually busy circling downtown. (Apparently, there’s a lot of stranded hikers down there.)

Beyond the question of whether this was a case of racial profiling (whether it be by the police themselves or the security guard who apparently called them), as the men who had been detained stated, there’s a very real chance that someone will end up getting killed anytime the police are called. Not only does Las Vegas have a history of police violence without any sort of consequences, but not too long ago just one state over, in Saratoga Springs, Utah, an innocent man was shot to death for the non-crime of using a samurai sword as part of a cosplay outfit.

The reality is you should never call the police unless you’re comfortable with the idea that the person you called them on might end up dead. The cops don’t murder someone every time they show up (yet), but if do, they will absolutely get away with it every time (and they know that they will, too).

Note: You can share posts with Nevada Cop Block via our reader submission page. So, if you have videos, personal 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. You can also send in links if you a story involving police misconduct or corruption involving someone within the courts. 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.

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How Police “Heroes” Create Hatred And Disdain Within The Communities They “Serve”

The content for the following post was shared with Nevada Cop Block by Eric Peters, via the CopBlock.org Submissions Page. The video included shows someone, apparently named Bishop A. Copeland (based on the YouTube title), being stopped for a seat belt violation. During that stop, the police decide for some unspecified reason to bring a K9 unit out to attempt to find drugs within his car.

Based on the fact that people living nearby ask if they can take his children home rather than forcing them to sit in the hot car, Copeland apparently lives very close to where the stop occurred. By the midpoint of the video, a group of neighbors have gathered and some of them soon begin questioning and even heckling the police, as does Copeland throughout the video.

In spite of the humorousness of the exchanges between Bishop Copeland and some of the neighbors toward the police, this video is a pretty prime example of how the police first create and then escalate situations which cause both disrespect and open hostility toward police among everyday citizens.

At best, this stop is a case of Revenue Generation and more likely it was simply a tactic of opportunity used to profile someone within a certain neighborhood simply based on their appearance and/or presence within that geographical location and the cops’ arbitrary perception that they don’t belong there or are engaging in some State-prohibited (and often victimless) act there.

Below is the description included with the submission.

Note: The content below has only been edited for spelling errors, typos, etc. and otherwise has been posted as received.

Here’s a video depicting a guy being harassed by three Heroes who appear dressed to invade Poland:

The driver was apparently pulled over for a seat belt “violation” – one of the growing number of petty but tyrannical affronts to our status as (allegedly) free men and women. This became the pretext for Hero #1 to demand that the driver submit to a search of his vehicle for arbitrarily illegal “drugs” (Hero #1 and the other Heroes no doubt consume/partake other arbitrarily legal “drugs,” like alcohol).

They force the man out of his car, then a four-legged Hero is trotted out to suss out the arbitrarily illegal “drugs.” The four-legged Hero is allowed – encouraged – to jump on the guy’s car and scratch it with his got-damned claws. And if, through some process of inter-species dialogue, the four legged Hero “says” he sniffs arbitrarily illegal drugs, the two-legged ones will proceed to tear the car apart looking for them. If they find none, the driver is eventually released and given his now-scratched car back. Hut! hut! hut!

Note that all these Heroes are jacked-up in black military-style web gear, and wear dark sunglasses to add to the Intimidation Factor.

You may be one of those “law and order” types whose reflex is to side with the Heroes – especially given that the victim in this case is a black guy and not particularly articulate.

But – an old song – if they can do this sort of thing to them, they can do it to you, too. All of us are threatened – but many of us do not grok this.

You are a fool if that’s you.

Those white Heroes will be just as happy to do to you what was done to the black guy in this video.

Wake up, wise up.

– Eric Peters
EPautos
721 Hummingbird Lane SE
Copper Hill, VA 24079

PS:

Along with his submission Eric asks that anyone who is so inclined contribute a donation to his personal website and business. Those donations can be sent via his Donation Page at the EPautos site. Alternatively, you can send a donation to the address listed above. In regard to that request Eric states:

I have a fresh pile of EPautos magnets to send out – and Special Bonus! – anyone who sends in a donation of $30 or more will get a magnet and some stickers, a handful of which I still have laying around.

Thanks in advance (and again) for your help keeping this site viable. It’s not easy making a living as a writer or publisher when you don’t/won’t kiss the ring of the establishment and play for Team Red or Team Blue. This site is a big Up Yours! (or better yet, leave us alone) to both of them. It shows that peaceful, voluntary exchange works. That people are willing to support what they think is worth supporting.

I may not get rich doing this, but it gratifies me daily to know that every cent this site generates was generated non-coercively and without any shuck-and-jive. So, thanks again – to all of you!

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IMPD Officers Cyber-Bully Citizen Over Bumper Sticker; Post Personal Information From Department Background Check

The following post was shared with the CopBlock Network anonymously, via the CopBlock.org Submissions Page. It details an incident where G Philip Rossman,an officer from the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department, decided to publicly post a photo of a citizen’s car, inviting harassment of that citizen based on a bumper sticker he didn’t like within the post.

Subsequently, Sgt. Matt Morgan, Officer Madeline Lathamer, and Officer Mike Wilson, who all also work for the IMPD, gladly accepted that invitation and began bullying the owner of that vehicle. That bullying included posting information illegally obtained, via an inappropriate police background search.

BTW, Officer Wilson a former “officer of the year” hasn’t limited his bullying to the internets. He recently received quite a bit of attention for an incident in September in which he was caught on video assaulting and then wrongfully arresting a man at an Indianapolis hotel. Of course, that’s the bigger issue when it’s a group of Heroes cyber-bullying people. More so than anyone, they have the ability to take those threats beyond the internets and out into the real world.

(Note: If you ever have an issue involving inappropriate, threatening, and/or harassing conduct by police employees be sure to take screenshots of the posts so they don’t get deleted and be sure to send those screenshots in with your submission. We are more than happy to expose bullies for what they truly are.)

Date of Incident: June 3, 2016
Officers Involved: Officer G Philip Rossman, Sgt. Matt Morgan, Officer Madeline Lathamer, Officer Mike Wilson
Department Involved: Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department
File A Complaint: Complaints
Facebook Page: IMPD News
Twitter Account: @IMPD_News
YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/IMPDMedia
Department Phone No.: 317-327-6600

On June 3rd, 2016, G Phillip Rossman (aka – G Phil Corvette on FB) of the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department violated his IDACS user agreement. He also committed a federal violation by posting confidential information, more specifically, a taxpayer’s name and personal information in a very public online post on Facebook. This information was ran through NCIC and posted online by a number of additional officers.

The incident began when Officer G Phillip Rossman took a photo of this subject’s vehicle, their license plate, and the bumper stickers displayed on the rear bumper. He took this photo while stopped at a red light at the intersection at Sheek Road and Main Street in Greenwood, Indiana. Officer Rossman (who at the time of the photograph was in his personal vehicle) then chose to post this picture to his online Facebook account under the name of G Phil Corvette.

He posted this photo to where any member of the public could view and have access to it. In his post, Officer Rossman comments and encourages other officers to specifically target this tax payer’s vehicle, as well as the individual driving it. In the photo the subjects license plate was clearly visible and once again, this post was made public for anyone to see and have access to.

Along with this post, there were additional inappropriate and slanderous comments made by several IMPD officers. Those officers include Mike “Marine” Wilson and Madeline Diaz Lathamer.

Officer Mike Wilson not only makes inappropriate and unprofessional comments, but he also publicly posts extremely slanderous and defaming comments against the subject, as well. He wrote in a public post identifying information on the driver, even posting personal identifying information for others to share publicly. Officer Wilson’s public posts have since been deleted by him, but sensitive personal information was visible to all.

This is extremely inappropriate and even unlawful behavior. It reflects poorly on the department as a whole when officers engage in such misconduct and abuse of power. Officer Mike Wilson has violated not only his IDACS user agreement, but has committed a federal violation by posting confidential NCIC information online for the public to see. (see sections 6.3/6.4.3 IDACS user agreement and title 28 in regards to NCIC) He has also committed slander and defamation of character on the driver of the vehicle in which Officer Rossman profiled and targeted.

IMPD officer Madeline Diaz Lathamer also made inappropriate comments in this public post. More specifically she wrote “Oh the fun that could be had without one.” The driver of the vehicle targeted was found to be a law-abiding citizen and a retired police officer who displayed bumper stickers that spoke out against government and police corruption. What was displayed on the vehicle was protected by the First Amendment. The vehicle targeted is deemed “personal property” and it is owned by the driver. What the owner of this vehicle chooses to put on their vehicle and what they choose to display is their right as a taxpayer and a US citizen.

Officers Rossman, Wilson, and Lathamer failed to realize that targeting and profiling specifically based upon something that is displayed and that is covered under the First Amendment is highly illegal. As an American, we have the right to express our feelings and concerns towards government corruption and even assemble in peaceful demonstration if we choose to. No one should be targeted by any police officer because of that. And it most certainly does not give any officer the right to post personal identifying information publicly.

Also involved in this incident was supervisor Matt Morgan of IMPD. As a supervisor, Sgt. Morgan has a responsibility to report issues of misconduct involving another officer. Rather than performing this specific duty, he chose to contribute to the online posts. Upon receiving a word that the owner of the vehicle had intentions of filing a formal complaint to IMPD internal affairs, Sergeant Morgan deleted his online comments. Screenshots of his comments were obtained prior to this deletion. Sergeant Morgan through his own words, “prides himself on getting people stirred up on here.” This is not how a supervisor should present himself to other officers or members of the public.

Sergeant Morgan is a representative of IMPD both on and off duty and he knew that the photograph posted by Officer Rossman was inappropriate. He was also aware of the fact that police resources and law enforcement programs were misused in order to run the license plate in the photo. Yet, rather than reporting this type of behavior and misconduct, he chose to condone and be part of it by contributing in the comment section. Sgt. Morgan has neglected his duties as a supervisor and should be held accountable for his actions and misconduct.

Since this inappropriate post has been made by Officer Rosman, the driver/owner of this vehicle has not only received hateful text messages from former coworkers, but family members have also received hateful and threatening messages on their Facebook accounts. These threatening messages sent to family members have expressed that “when you mess with this family, meaning “the police family”, you mess with all of them.” The owner/driver’s mother was also told in an online message that she needs to “watch her back.” Another message said that they “hoped their mother was a good driver.”

There is absolutely no excuse for this. Note that the owner/driver’s mother is an elderly woman, she enjoys her time on social media and Facebook. It is a way for her to communicate with her former classmates, as well as family members. Officer Rossman clearly doesn’t understand the Constitution and that officers can and will be held civilly liable when these rights are violated.

Officer Rossman has placed himself, other officers, and his department; the IMPD in a position of civil liability. This is a matter where disciplinary action absolutely needs to be taken. What Rossman and Wilson and the number of additional officers who unlawfully ran this information have done falls along the lines of conduct unbecoming of an officer, misuse of equipment, and official misconduct.

An investigation into the violations of NCIC and IDACS was requested. On June 8, 2016, the Indiana State police IDACS division was contacted. Consequently, the Indiana State police initiated an audit of the driver’s license plate. The audit will determine which and how many officers have unlawfully run the victim’s plate based upon the photograph that was posted by Rossman online. In regards to exposing this type of misconduct and corruption, Officer Rossman’s victim has also considered contacting media, as well. It is this type of misconduct, inappropriate behavior, and abuse of power that the public needs to be made aware of.

What these officers have done and this type of profiling is yet another reason why the the public does not trust their law-enforcement officers. This will be addressed accordingly and for those who abused their law enforcement powers by running this confidential information and posting it for the public to see online, other complaints and civil litigation will come from this. The Indiana State Police, IDACS/NCIC, and IMPD internal affairs have all been notified and all comments posted have been retained and provided as evidence against the officers involved. (Mike “Marine” Wilson – Facebook name and account)like a coward, chose to delete his comments once word had spread that formal complaints were being filed and an internal audit was being conducted.

Sadly, it’s the good officers and even the family members who feel the strain of other officer’s misconduct. Undoubtedly , these officers need to be disciplined for their misconduct and what should be deemed as a criminal act against a citizen. This is a form of harassment and even profiling. It is important that the public knows and is aware that when they visit the city of Indianapolis, these are the type of officers they may encounter. Never be afraid to report police misconduct. They need to be held accountable for their wrongful acts just like any other citizen would.

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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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Update: Woman Beaten by LVMPD Officer For Littering Has Filed Civil Rights Lawsuit

In January, I posted about former LVMPD Officer Richard Scavone, who was caught on camera assaulting a woman. The immediate reason for his violent actions that day was that she had thrown a cup of coffee on the ground while he was in the process of profiling and harassing her. In reality, it was a case of “contempt of cop” in which the woman didn’t properly bow and scrape to his authoritah and possibly a bit of showing off to the corrections officer he was giving a ride along to at the time.

Now the woman he attacked and then arrested on trumped up charges to justify that arrest has filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against him. In that lawsuit, Amanda Vizcarrondo-Ortiz names the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, Officer Scavone, and former Corrections Officer Travis Buechler who was with Scavone at the time of the incident. Cal Potter, a Las Vegas civil rights lawyer, is representing Vizcarrondo-Ortiz in the lawsuit.

Via the Associated Press:

A California woman who authorities say was illegally beaten by a police officer wearing a body camera has filed a federal civil rights lawsuit seeking damages from Las Vegas police, the former patrol officer and his partner at the time.

Officials have called the case one of the first to use body-camera video against an officer wearing the device.

Amanda Vizcarrondo-Ortiz of Los Angeles said in her lawsuit filed Friday in U.S. District Court in Las Vegas that she suffered permanent face, neck and back injuries during her January 2015 arrest on littering and loitering for prostitution charges. The charges were later dropped.

Ortiz’s lawyer, Cal Potter, called her beating and arrest unjustified “street justice” for offending the arresting officer, Richard Thomas Scavone, by throwing a cup of coffee on the ground and refusing to put her hands behind her back to be handcuffed.
“He videotaped his own misconduct,” Potter said of Scavone. “It’s our belief that there was no basis for the stop or the arrest…”
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Update: Full Wisconsin Police Documentary “Speak Friend and Enter” Available on Youtube

The video above, as well as the content within this post was provided by Isiah Holmes, via the CopBlock.org Submissions Page. As was previously reported in a post on CopBlock.org by Ademo, Isiah is a high school student that filmed a documentary about police abuses within the Wauwatosa Police Department, specifically relating to abuses targeting youth within the city located in the Milwaukee area. The final and complete version of that documentary, “Speak Friend and Enter,” is now available to be viewed on Youtube.

In addition, via a Youtube comment, CopBlock Network contributor Tim Seltz, who is also from the Milwaukee area, states:

“Anyone concerned with the actions of Wauwatosa PD is strongly encouraged to contact CopBlock.org by emailing me, Tim Seltz of Waukesha, @ [email protected], text – 262-501-6961, or twitter @wkshacopblock”

Department Involved: Wauwatosa Police Department
Multiple officers involved: Specific officers’ identities are unknown.

The documentary “Speak Friend And Enter” investigates reports of misconduct committed by Wisconsin’s Wauwatosa Police Department, near Milwaukee.

The film looks into the department’s longstanding reputation for racial discrimination, it’s participation in several large scale teen drug use crackdowns, and the introduction of a policy of withholding arrest information; thus keeping the community in the dark.

The story is told through a collection of young voices local to the area who both experienced what happened and never talked about it afterward. This project was also produced entirely via the YouTube video editor.

ALL MUSIC CREDITED TO TEEN ARTISTS BELONGS TO THEM, AS IT IS THEIR CREATIONS.

– Isiah holmes

Hope you all find it worthwhile!

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Documentary Details Wauwatosa WI Police Misconduct Against Teens

The following post was submitted by Isiah Holmes via the CopBlock.org Submission Page. It discusses a documentary he is filming involving police misconduct within a Milwaukee-area police department in Wisconsin. Included below his commentary are three preview clips of that documentary.

Hello,

My name is Isiah Holmes, a 19 year old aspiring journalist from Milwaukee Wisconsin. I’m contacting you hoping to reach out regarding a police misconduct documentary project I’ve been working on over the last few years.

The film focuses on the Wauwatosa Police Department, a suburb near Milwaukee, and the relationship between it, local teens, and the drug war, which is ever present in the city. The department also has a very long and documented history of outstanding acts of racial discrimination and basic bigotry. This, although discussed in the film, is not at the center of the story – the teens are.

Police-documentary-sneak-peek-1-Speak-Friend-And-EnterI could go into deeper detail regarding the nature of WPD and why I felt they needed to be spotlighted, but this would equate to a very lengthy message. Instead, I’ve provided three links at the bottom of this paragraph leading to three sneak peeks to the film which have been released.

The first depicts the departments racial profiling history, via archived news articles and law suit read outs – all of which were overturned by the judge, by the way. The second showcases just two particularly disturbing though commonly told accounts by teens of both being stalked by the police. One boy, Adam, was searched illegally by an undercover officer, threatened with bodily harm, then questioned. Lastly, the third video details a redaction policy which the department used to keep what could only be called a city wide crack down focused on high school aged teens from the public’s knowledge.

I strongly feel that what’s happening in Wauwatosa is a picture perfect microcosm of the effects of both the drug war and policing tactics in this country. Feel free to contact me via email, [email protected] or through twitter, @isiahholmes181 for any comments or questions. Your support in spreading word of the film is critical in getting the word out, the people have a right to know what happened and what might be coming.

Understand that WPD pilots a lot of policing tactics and equipment for larger departments before such things are widely distributed. What happens here will eventually happen everywhere.

Best, keep up the good work.

– Isiah Holmes

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Profiled by Road Pirates for Having Out of State License Plates

The post below was submitted by John Williams, via the CopBlock.org Submissions Page. This particular case deals with an illegal detention (based on supposedly following too close to a nonexistent car) and profiling of out of state vehicles as part of the War on (Some) Drugs.

If you or someone you know have been involved in an incident with law enforcement or the legal system and want to bring attention to it, submit your story and/or video to the CopBlock Network.

Date of Incident: November 17, 2015
Officer Involved: Oklahoma State Trooper C. Rohr Badge# 344 Troop SO
Department Involved: Oklahoma Highway Patrol (Clinton, OK)
Contact Number: (580) 323-2424

I was driving to a doctor’s appointment in Clinton, Oklahoma doing the speed limit when all of a sudden a state trooper was behind me with his lights on! He came up to the car and informed me I was “following too closely,” but no one was actually in front of me at the time! Then he told me I needed to step out of the car and join him in his!

We were in the car for ten minutes and consisting of extensive questioning. Afterwards, he wrote me a warning and said have a nice day! However, after I exited the vehicle he exited his vehicle too and asked me can I talk to you? I told him I had an appointment and needed to be on my way! He immediately told me I was being detained and began grabbing my arm and throwing me to the ground, injuring my wrist and ankle in the process!

My vehicle has Colorado plates and this is the only reason they chose me, because I had not done anything to be stopped! After I was thrown on the ground my vehicle was searched with a drug dog and they found a very small amount of marijuana and charged me with possession and obstruction! I was Targeted and assaulted by this officer for having Colorado plates. Even though I was cooperative and respectful, I was still treated with violence! I was told if I didn’t like what he did I could move to a different country because this is his country.

– John Williams

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Should We Really Be Congratulating Police for Not Killing Us?

Multiple news outlets have circulated a viral Facebook post, dated October 27th, from author Steven Hildreth Jr. regarding a positive interaction with the Tucson Police Department. Hildreth describes being pulled over for a broken headlight. He informs the officers he has a concealed carry permit, and is currently armed. He cooperates showing them his weapon, and his permit card, which is out of date (though the permit is still valid). Ultimately, the police behaved courteously and let him off with a warning. He concludes the anecdote by saying:

I’m a black man wearing a hoodie and strapped. According to certain social movements, I shouldn’t be alive right now because the police are allegedly out to kill minorities. Maybe … just maybe … that notion is bunk. Maybe if you treat police officers with respect, they will do the same to you. I’d like to thank those two officers and TPD in general for another professional contact.

For Steven Hildreth Jr. and others sharing his lack of understanding of statistics: One positive anecdote does not negate the numerous testimonies of people who had the opposite experience. The police you interacted with were professional and displayed decency, but that in no way means there aren’t police who abuse their power and target racial minorities. There are, unfortunately, such police, and their (often deadly) mistreatment of minorities is a tragically common occurrence. Furthermore, have we really reached the point where cops doing their jobs without beating or killing those they interact with is a story worth sharing or celebrating? Should we really be congratulating the police for not killing us? Last I checked, protecting and serving the population was their stated job description. We should not be thanking them for carrying out their job in a calm and civilized fashion during a routine traffic stop.

Names of unarmed black individuals who were killed by police or died in police custody under suspicious circumstances are numerous. The Washington Post reports that this year, “blacks were killed (by police) at three times the rate of whites or other minorities when adjusting by the population of the census tracts where the shootings occurred”. A few recent high profile names come to mind: Eric Garner, Michael Brown, Tamir Rice, Walter Scott, Freddie Gray and Sandra Bland.

Even routine police work is often marred by racial bias. For example, prior to 2014, federal grants encouraged police to arrest and ticket as many people as possible for drug related crimes. Most of these arrests took place in minority communities. Black Americans are disproportionately arrested for drug use relative to their white counterparts despite similar usage and possession levels. In Los Angeles, minorities are more likely to be stopped and searched, despite having no more contraband than their white counterparts. Black men are also more likely to be wrongly convicted according to the Innocence Project.

This neglects to mention the racism inherent in drug prohibition, or the fact that many of the laws police choose to enforce (yes, they have discretion) disproportionately harm minorities and the poor. The police have a state sanctioned monopoly on violent force. Thus, I can’t help but be happy police have been under heightened scrutiny and criticism of late. Unlike most of those sharing Hildreth’s piece, I welcome the increased questioning of role that police and the laws they enforce play in our society. Questioning the status quo is the first step to finding better alternatives.

This post was originally published at the Center For a Stateless Society under the title “Congratulating Police for Not killing Us?” and was written by support this author on Patreon.

Below is the original Facebook post being referenced in this post:

So, I’m driving to my office to turn in my weekly paperwork. A headlight is out. I see a Tucson Police Department squad…

Posted by Steven Hildreth, Jr. on Tuesday, October 27, 2015

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Pierce County Transit Police Profile and Abuse Disabled Man

Pierce County Transit Police AbuseThis post, concerning a case of visual profiling and police brutality against a disabled person by an employee of the Pierce County Transit Police in Tacoma, Washington, was submitted by Scott “PonyDog” Sealey, via the Cop Block submission page.

Date of Incident: July 12, 2014
Individuals Responsible: M. Csapo, Badge #490
Outfit Involved:  Pierce County Transit Police (Tacoma, Wa.)
Phone No.: (253) 983-3371
Email: [email protected]
Area Cop Block Affiliate:  There are multiple Cop Block Affiliates in Washington. , including one in Tacoma. To find the appropriate local group in your area, consult the Cop Block Groups page.

On July the 12, 2014, I took the bus up Pac Ave. to get some coffee and hang out and, when I got off the bus at the Parkland Transit Center (in Tacoma, Wa.), I got accused of spitting on bus property (The Ride share Parking Lot) and arrested. The cop slapped my cane from my hand, choke slammed me to the ground, and then charged me with resisting arrest.

I just got out of jail Monday afternoon before I even saw a Judge for an arraignment hearing. At that time I had scraped knees, major pain from a double knee drop to the back, and they hadn’t yet filed any charges, pending an investigation of the incident? Later, I received a legal summons to go to court for my arraignment. I am now being charged with the following: Unlawful Bus Conduct, Resisting Arrest, and Obstructing a Law Enforcement Officer. Also, as far as I know, they are going to try to ban me from transit for a year without even having a hearing, based just on the officer’s say so, without any evidence that I know of.

I have seen this type of intimidation tactic before, continue to pile charges then offer a light plea deal to settle the case. It is used when there is little or no real evidence or proof other than the word of the arresting officer!! It seems they think I’m uneducated and weak. Maybe the prosecutor has seen the booking photos and decided I am an outlaw because of my tattoos and I should be in Jail. Perhaps they know they have stepped into a police brutality lawsuit if they lose the criminal case!!!

It matters not what they think, only what they can prove and that alone will be their downfall. People who stand up for themselves and others, those who buck the normal system and speak for change, who cry for it, are the only hope to change a broken system that makes criminals of good people in the name of public control and safety. I refuse to be silent; I will speak; I will cry for change.

Why do we as a people tolerate these Individuals to have such Power? Is it because so few speak up?! Well, I refuse to be cowed or silent. This is so wrong! I am completely disabled with major back problems. Not to mention 2 strokes, which left me legally blind. I only stand 5′ 8″ and weigh just 130lb. This man could have crippled or killed me with his violence!! He needs to be stopped before others are hurt or unjustly incarcerated. I have heard others say that these Transit Police have been doing this to them, as well. I need legal help in my area to try and fight this and to hold these police officers accountable for their actions. Help me please, someone!!!

They are pitiful thugs and another example of completely out of control cops assaulting a disabled person just because I look different He was sure I had gotten my ink in the prison system and assumed I was a convict and a easy mark, perhaps. Yet, I have never been in prison and my ink is deeply spiritual as a reflection of my Soul.

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