Tag Archives: racial 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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Update: Second Mistrial Declared; Cincinnati Cop Ray Tensing Gets Away With Murder of Sam Dubose

For the second time, a jury has stated that it was deadlocked and unable to reach a decision on charges filed against University of Cincinnati Police Officer Ray Tensing for the July 2015 murder of Sam Dubose. (See videos embedded below for body camera footage of that murder.) The jury initially indicated this morning that it was unable to reach a decision, but were told to go back and continue deliberating. Later this afternoon they returned and stated they were still deadlocked. As a result, Hamilton County Judge Leslie Ghiz has declared a mistrial.

Although it hasn’t been officially announced yet, there won’t be a third trial. So that effectively means Tensing has officially joined the ever expanding club of police officers who have gotten away with murder, including three just this week alone (Tensing, Milwaukee Police Officer Dominique Heaggan-Brown, and St. Paul Police Officer Jeronimo Yanez).

Of course, in order to have their killings declared justified all police officers need to do is state that they “feared for my life” and in order to get a mistrial they just need one of the twelve members of a jury to buy that rationalization. So that bar is incredibly low and that’s mostly by design. The system itself is tilted heavily in their favor and those running that system not only are their friends and co-workers, but have the further incentive of self preservation to push it even further in that direction.

In Tensing’s case, he claimed that he was in danger of being run over by Dubose as he attempted to drive away from a traffic stop the University of Cincinnati police officer had initiated because of a missing front license plate.

Via NBC News:

Tensing asked DuBose for his driver’s license and registration, which he failed to provide. The officer then ordered him to step out of his car and tried to open the door, but DuBose refused. The car began to pull away

With one hand still inside the car, Tensing yelled, “Stop! Stop!” before firing his gun at DuBose, striking him in the head. The car then began traveling out of control before coming to a stop.

Tensing’s bodycam captured the incident.

The men had a conversation for about one minute and 50 seconds before it escalated with Tensing and DuBose in a struggle. Within just a few seconds, Tensing fired his gun.

Two other officers were on scene, and their body cameras captured other angles of the shooting’s aftermath.

Those alternate angles captured by the other officers on the scene, as well as testimony from experts who examined those videos, contradicted Tensing’s claims that he was being dragged by, and in danger of being run over by, Dubose’s car.

It’s also been questioned whether the stop for something as trivial as a front license plate was merely an excuse used to justify a racially motivated profiling of Dubose. Officer Tensing’s unusually frequent history of traffic stops (when compared to other University of Cincinnati police officers) and the high percentage of minorities involved in those stops bolsters those claims.

Of course, the judges, prosecutors, and media are usually on the side of the cops and the general public is taught from the day they are born to believe cops are heroes that never lie or do anything bad. So it’s not that hard for them to at least find that one juror who will refuse to find a cop guilty, regardless of the actual facts presented during a trial. That’s a big part of why it’s almost impossible to convict a police officer regardless of the actual facts on the rare occasions when they get caught doing something outrageous enough to get charged in the first place.

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Michigan Police Harass Black Man Claiming He “Fit the Description” of a White Man

The following post and accompanying video were shared with the CopBlock Network by a reader named Brian (no last name provided), via the CopBlock.org Submissions Page.

Along with the video, Brian stated:

“They harassed me, because I, ‘fit the description’ of a black male in black clothes. The real description was of a white male.”

Date of Incident: August 23, 2013
Department Involved: Canton (MI) Police Department
Department Phone Number: (734) 394-5400
Department Email: Email Canton Police Department
Facebook Page: Canton Police Department on FB
Twitter Account: @CantonPSD

In a description included on the video, Brian explains that he was heading from his house to the gym when he noticed that he was being surrounded by police cars, including an undercover vehicle. Soon after a uniformed officer and undercover officer in plain clothes (who refused to identify himself) approached and began demanding ID from Brian.

Brian further states that he told them that he was not required to give them ID unless they had reasonable suspicion of him having committed a crime to detain. They then responded by telling him that he “fit the description” of someone that had been reported as exposing himself to women in the area. According to the officers, that description was “a black 20 year old male wearing black shorts, a black shirt, and a medalion.”

However, Brian indicates that he later found an official report from the Canton Police Department, which included the description of the person(s) suspected of exposing themselves. That description actually included two people, both of whom are white and significantly different in appearance to Brian’s physical characteristics.

Within that description and also numerous times on the video footage itself, Brian also states that when he refused to provide his ID and instead asked to speak to a supervisor, the original two officers acted aggressively toward him and appeared ready to assault him. He equates the fact that did not happen to his having began filming them shortly after.

It’s certainly not impossible that a third person who was black had been reported exposing himself that day. However, it’s also not an uncommon tactic for the police to claim someone fits the description of a suspect they are looking for to justify stopping someone they have decided they want to harass. In fact, cops have even been caught using fake 911 calls to manufacture a reason to perform illegal searches.

In this particular instance, the cops never bring the alleged victim over to visually identify Brian (which is often done from within a police vehicle to ensure anonymity), nor is any other type of evidence produced to substantiate their claims of suspicion. Instead, the dozen or so cops that have shown up to harass Brian simply leave once the supervisor has (finally) shown up and spoken to him.

If you have a video, personal story involving police misconduct and/or abuse, or commentary about a law enforcement related news story, we would be happy to have you submit it. You can find some advice on how to get your submission published on the CopBlock Network within this post.

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Make Sure You Know How to Assert Your Rights When Harassed and/or Profiled by Police

The following video and the description accompanying it were shared with the CopBlock Network by Rudy Gonzalez Jr., via the CopBlock.org Submissions Page.

This submission is one of the better videos I’ve seen showing how to calmly, yet firmly, assert your rights and handle yourself when being harassed by the police. And obviously the first thing he does right is filming his interaction with the officers. It begins with Officer Deleon stating that he needs to see Gonzalez’ ID to make sure he “isn’t an illegal alien.” Deleon further states that this is based on the fact that Gonzalez is walking close to a border fence at night.

This is a pretty blatant case of profiling, based on the fact that Gonzalez is of Latino origin. I have very little doubt that if someone of another ethnicity were doing the same that it would be unlikely they would be stopped to check if they are in the country legally. Gonzalez subtly points that out by asking Deleon why he suspects that he is in the country illegally. And of course, much like someone shouldn’t have to prove that they “belong” in a certain neighborhood based on their appearance, people shouldn’t have to arbitrarily prove that they are a citizen (without even going into the many abuses justified and perpetuated by border controls and the hysteria surrounding them) based solely on their appearance, either.

A rather interesting exchange is when Officer Deleon begins asking Gonzalez questions about whether he has any weapons on him and responds to Gonzalez asking for his name and badge number by asking for his name. Each time, Gonzalez asserts his Fifth Amendment right to remain silent by stating, “I don’t answer questions.” In a frustrated voice, Deleon says, “you like to ask questions, though.” As a matter of fact, that is the exact proper way people should handle being questioned by police. The best course of action is to refuse to answer any questions and any conversation that you have with a cop should be to question them about the legalities of the situation in order to clarify if they are being accused of a crime. (Also, in order to get them on record stating what, if any, crime they think you might have committed or admitting that they don’t have any reason to suspect you of a crime.)

Toward the end of the video, Gonzalez turns the tables a bit and begins asking Officer Deleon if he and Officer Spinoza are “illegals.” He follows that up by stating that he needs Deleon to show him three forms of ID to establish if he is in the country legally. The real cherry on top of the whole exchange is when Deleon responds by again requesting ID from Gonzalez.

Gonzalez correctly explains that, unlike police officers, citizens aren’t required to provide ID unless they are suspected of committing a crime (and therefore legally detained) citing the Brown vs. Texas case. Another, more recent, case that pertains to requirements to produce ID is Hiibel v. Sixth Judicial District Court of Nevada, in which the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that police could arrest someone for refusing to identify themselves, but only if they have reasonable suspicion to believe that someone has or was in the process of committing a crime.

In both cases, it was also ruled that citizens are not required to produce physical ID unless they are driving. They are only required to verbally identify themselves. In addition, the requirement even with reasonable suspicion only applies to states that have “stop and identify” statutes. Currently, there are twenty-four such states. The other states require an arrest in order to compel someone to provide identifying information.

Shortly after that, Gonzalez asks, “are you accusing me of committing a crime” and then when Deleon responds that he isn’t asks the Magic Question that lets you know whether you are being detained or just being harassed – “am I being detained?” When Officer Deleon states that he is not being detained, Gonzalez follows up with “then I’m free to go?” Once again Officer Deleon confirms that he is free to go and therefore not being detained. At that point, Gonzalez does the smart thing and simply leaves.

Date of Incident: December 08, 2016
Officers Involved: Officer Deleon Badge #208, Officer Spinoza Badge #858
Department Involved: San Luis (AZ) Police Department
Department Phone No.:
928-341-2420
Department Contact Page:
Contact Us

Video Description (via Youtube):

I was walking home from my job in San Luis, AZ at 1:31am on December 08, 2016. While between San Luis and Gadsden, I was approached by a police officer who accused me of being an illegal immigrant. This is the video and audio documentation.

– Rudy Gonzalez Jr.

If you have a video, personal story involving police misconduct and/or abuse, or commentary about a law enforcement related news story, we would be happy to have you submit it. You can find some advice on how to get your submission published on the CopBlock Network within this post.

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Retired New York Jail Guard Treated Like “Just Another Black Dude” by Brothers in Blue

“I kept trying to tell them I’m one of you, but…”

Ronald Lanier, a retired New York corrections officer, cried heavily during a press conference as he described how he discovered the hard way that All Lives Don’t Matter to police. In fact, All Blue Lives aren’t even guaranteed to matter when his Brothers in Blue are in search of someone matching the description of “some black guy.” (Obviously, in such situations jumping on the first black person you come across is the most efficient option available to Police Heroes.)

According to Lanier, he was shopping at a local grocery store when two police officers assaulted him from behind, then beat and arrested him without any sort of provocation. They even ignored his frantic attempts to alert them that he had worn one of their Magic Suits for 22 years. Instead of extending the typical get out of jail free secret handshake, as police are customarily  trained to do in the police academy, Lanier found himself being laughed at and horribly disrespected as if he was “just another black dude.”

Via the Huffington Post:

Ronald Lanier, 53, was shopping in a Mineola supermarket on Nov. 30 when he alleges the officers grabbed him from behind without warning, Newsday reported. The Garden City police officers, whose district borders Mineola, were searching for a fleeing shoplifter, according to CBS 2 News.

At an emotional press conference last week, Lanier said he cooperated with the officers and identified himself as law enforcement. But he said they laughed and manhandled him as they placed him in handcuffs.

“I’ve never been cursed, physically abused, beaten and treated like a slave as I was two days ago,” Lanier said in tears.

Lanier’s attorney, Fred Brewington, slammed the officers’ alleged response as racial discrimination.

“They didn’t have a good description of who they were looking for. That doesn’t give you the right to go into a store and grab the first black person you see and throw them to the ground,” Brewington told 1010 WINS. “The fact that he happened to be a black male in the store does not make him a culprit. It does not make him a suspect.”

Lanier said he spent about 20 minutes inside a squad car before the officers let him go, without an apology or explanation. Another suspect had reportedly being taken into custody for the crime.

You can’t help but feel bad for Lanier. It’s gotta be difficult to suddenly be awakened to the fact that your “Brothers” still consider you “just another black dude” after you spent over two decades deluding yourself into thinking blue is the only color that matters and that you are “one of them.” Being beaten, disrespected, and falsely arrested as if you’re some mere mortal and not a Fearless Hero is a wake up call no-one in his position ever wants to receive.

(And, once again, the words used are telling. In the video, Lanier doesn’t complain about police mistreating black dudes. He complains that they mistreated HIM as if he was “just another black dude.” I’m sure in the 22 years he spent as a corrections officer he never saw them mistreat any black dudes, so this was a total surprise to him. Or maybe the tears are just because he never thought he would be that black dude.)

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Detained, 86’ed from Whole Foods by West Hartford, CT Cops for Filming

The video included within this post was submitted by Lisa Michel Williams, via the CopBlock.org Submissions page. Along with the description of the video Lisa states:

“I have way more videos of the West Hartford Police behaving badly. I am in the process of uploading them to my youtube channel. Also, as time is a major factor, I have not yet edited some of the videos. Those that are unedited are almost unbearably long and uneventful. Many apologies for that.”

Date of Incident: October 22, 2015
Officers Involved: Ct. State Trooper Comulda, Officer Robert Hass, Sergeant Daniel Moffo
Department Involved: West Hartford Police Department
Contact Number: (860) 523-5203

On October 22, 2015, upon entering the Whole Foods parking lot, I noticed a state trooper, (Comulda), and tow truck driver attempting to tow an Escalade truck. I pulled out my camera and began to film. The trooper approached and asked for my name. I refused to identify myself.

Shortly after, the Escalade was removed from the tow truck and parked, while I continued filming. Eventually, a local policeman, Officer Robert Hass, arrived on the scene. I assumed that Trooper Comulda had summoned him, but was uncertain whether it was for me or for the truck.

The Escalade was parked, the tow driver left, the trooper left, and yet Hass stayed behind, awaiting back up. Hass’ supervisor, Sergeant Daniel Moffo, arrived and we began to chat, as I continued to film. Hass was sent into the store to ask the store manager, Erin Foley, to have me “trespassed,” so they could identify me.

Now, I’m no stranger to this strategy. I just thought it would not work because I was a regular customer. Also, West Hartford Police have had more than their share of racial profiling in the past, such as the incident when one of their officers racially profiled ESPN’s Doug Glanville in his own driveway. Out of 120 officers, I’ve been informed that there are only four African American officers. However, I digress.

Hass returns and informs me that I’ve been trespassed and I am not to return to that store, ever. That’s right, I was Jim Crowed for filming.

When I reached the store manager, Erin Foley, she told me that the police were concerned because I was filming children, and they had asked me to leave several times. I’m not sure if it’s just me, but it seems that the officers were so interested in learning my identity, they went as far as to label me a “pedophile.”

They are disgusting!

– Lisa Michel Williams

Edited Version

Full (Unedited) Version

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Racist Newark Police Lieutenant Compares Black Mayor to Monkey

Newark Police Lieutenant Racist Mayor

In Newark, New Jersey, an unnamed lieutenant has joined the ever- expanding list of cops who have been exposed publicly as racists. The allegations involve a Facebook post in which Ras Baraka, the city’s black mayor, is compared to a gorilla. This particular case involves not just the lieutenant currently under investigation by the Newark Police Department, but also a retired NPD lieutenant.

According to NJ.com:

Police officials said they obtained a screen shot of the Facebook conversation, which is being investigated as a violation of the department’s social media policy. The screen shot was sent to Police Director Eugene Venable Wednesday, department spokesman Sgt. Ron Glover said…

“What’s particularly disturbing about this incident is that this police official has been on the job for many years and has some amount of influence over the rank and file in the department,” Venable said.

The thread between the two writers opens with a picture of an ape captioned “Lmfao….How’s your mayor?”

“Exactly!!!!” replies the writer believed to be the current police lieutenant.

In a subsequent reply, the same writer says “Bring back Sharpaaaa!!!!!”, an apparent reference to former Mayor Sharpe James. He also says he is trying to “stay low” and that he had been transferred several times.

It’s disturbing enough that two people who were in positions of authority which allowed them to commit violence against others as police officers would publicly express racist attitudes. It obviously makes you wonder just how much worse their private behavior is. The fact that they were in positions of leadership and influence within the police force takes that to a new level.

In spite of that, this shouldn’t be surprising. The fact is that the reason this lieutenant is being investigated in the first place is because of policies that had to be implemented after a series of racist and criminal scandals embarrassed the Newark police several years ago.

According to Think Progress:

According to Police Director Eugene Venable, the Newark Police Department’s social media policy prohibits officers from posting anything “which could possibly be misconstrued and reflects negatively on the department.” Information about criminal investigations is also banned from social media.

“The general order was created as the result of several embarrassing instances of online activity by members of the department that were quite racy and somewhat, quite frankly, borderline discriminatory…Violations of the order could result in disciplinary actions, including dismissal,” he told NJ Advance Media.

Detective Bobby Kinch Racist Cop LVMPDIn July of 2014, a U.S. Department of Justice report was released that characterized the Newark Police Department as racist thieves who routinely disregarded the Constitution, racially profiled citizens for “stop and frisk” detentions–even though there was no statistical difference between minorities and whites found to be violating the law during those stops–and also often used excessive force against Newark residents. Those accused of racist acts even included the head of the NPD Internal Affairs Unit. (Those guys who “investigate” cops when they are charged with misconduct.)

On a national level, this is just one of a string of recent revelations of open and public racism by police throughout the country:

  • In Las Vegas, Detective Bobby Kinch, of the LVMPD, posted racist comments and photos stating a desire for a race war to begin on Facebook. Not only did Sheriff Gillespie himself step in to prevent him from being raided after a Secret Service investigation of those posts, he was actually assigned to investigate black suspects exclusively afterward.
  • In Ferguson, the DOJ investigation launched after the murder of Mike Brown uncovered racist emails being sent between officers containing jokes depicting racial stereotypes, including Barack Obama as a chimpanzee and Michelle Obama as a bare chested African woman.
  • In San Francisco, police officer sent text messages in which they routinely referred to black people as niggers, referenced cross burnings, and called a black person a monkey and an animal.
  • In Louisiana, a series of racist emails amongst police was uncovered in 2014. As is the typical formula, the emails “depicted black men as animals, likened President Barrack Obama to a monkey, and referred to African Americans as the ‘entitlement crowd.'”

Once again, it begs the question of just how racist police departments are in private, when cops feel safe enough to post this sort of racism on internal emails and publicly on social media. While those posts should never be a criminal matter, regardless of the occupation of their authors, it certainly raises questions about someone who is in a position to act on those sort of prejudices on a daily basis to the point of deadly force. The overwhelming statistical bias toward minorities in relation to stop and frisk instances, use of force incidents, and arrest frequency are just the things that can be tracked. If cops are willing to be this racist out in the open, there can be little doubt that it influences policing on a base level, even if it doesn’t rise to that point.

banner-app(If you enjoyed this post, check this previous post by Kelly W. Patterson: “Las Vegas Police Agree That You Should Film Them“)

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