Tag Archives: The War on Drugs

Seven Baltimore Police Officers Arrested on Multiple Federal Charges in Racketeering Indictment

Baltimore Gun Task Force Racketeering Indictments

Yesterday, seven cops from the Baltimore Police Department were charged with multiple federal crimes in a racketeering indictment. Sgt. Wayne Jenkins and Detectives Momodu Gondo, Evodio Hendrix, Daniel Hersl, Jemell Rayam, Marcus Taylor, and Maurice Ward were all accused of “shaking down citizens” for cash, as well as filing false court paperwork and making fraudulent overtime claims. All seven were part of the “Gun Trace Task Force,” which worked to remove illegal guns from the streets in Baltimore.

In addition, Det. Gondo was also indicted on drug charges with five other people that are not police officers. That indictment included using inside information to tip off drug dealers regarding BPD investigations. Gondo was also accused of being directly involved in the drug operation itself.

The crimes were uncovered in the process of an ongoing probe by the FBI into a pattern of civil rights abuses perpetrated by members of the Baltimore police. That probe was initiated after attention was focused on the city by the murder of Freddie Gray in April of 2015 and the subsequent riots.

Via the Baltimore Sun:

(United States Attorney Rod J.) Rosenstein accused the officers of participating in “a pernicious conspiracy scheme” that “tarnishes the reputation of all police officers.”

“These defendants were allegedly involved in stopping people who had not committed crimes, and not only seizing money but pocketing it,” he said. “These are really robberies by people wearing police uniforms.”

All seven officers appeared in handcuffs and street clothes for initial hearings in U.S. District Court in downtown Baltimore on Wednesday afternoon. Each was represented by a court-appointed attorney. Each affirmed he understood the charges against him.

All of the officers were ordered held pending detention hearings. Hearings for Gondo, Hendrix, Hersl, Jenkins, Rayam, and Ward were scheduled for Thursday. A hearing for Taylor was scheduled for Friday.

Prosecutors and the officers’ attorneys will argue at those hearings about whether the officers should be released before their trials.

Family members of several officers were in the courtroom and voiced their support and love before the officers were taken away. Family members declined to comment.

Defense attorneys for the officers said they were still getting acquainted with the allegations in the indictment.

Police union President Gene S. Ryan said union officials were “very disturbed” by the charges against its members.

“These officers are entitled to due process and a fair trial in accordance with the Constitution and the laws of our state,” Ryan said in a statement. “It would be inappropriate for me to make any further comment until the charges leveled against these officers are finally resolved.”

Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn J. Mosby said the involvement of federal authorities “confirms the inherent difficulties with the BPD investigating itself,” and warned the indictment would have “pervasive implications on numerous active investigations and pending cases.”

Her office was not involved in the investigation, and was not informed of it until Wednesday morning…

Some of the officers have long been accused of using excessive force or of other wrongdoing. The city has paid out more than $500,000 in settlements in cases involving the officers, according to a review by The Baltimore Sun.

Members of the city’s state legislative delegation called for a federal investigation into Rayam in 2009 after he was involved in three shootings over the course of two years. The city has settled multiple lawsuits involving Hersl.

“The majority of these officers have been known to my attorneys as having significant credibility issues,” Baltimore Deputy Public Defender Natalie Finegar said. “We have aggressively been pursuing personnel records to be able to highlight the issues with their credibility on the force.”

Rosenstein said federal prosecutors quietly dropped five cases involving the Gun Trace Task Force while the officers were being investigated.

As recently as October, the Police Department was praising the unit in an internal newsletter for its work getting guns off the streets. The unit made more than 110 gun arrests in less than 11 months last year…

In one incident in September, federal prosecutors said in court papers, the officers stopped an individual leaving a storage facility and said they had a warrant to search his storage unit. They did not, authorities said. Hersl, Jenkins and Rayam then took a sock containing $4,800 and removed $2,000, prosecutors said.

Rayam was recorded telling Gondo that he had “taxed” the man, prosecutors said.

“He won’t say nothing,” Rayam was recorded saying, according to prosecutors.

A month earlier, prosecutors said, officers pulled a man over, detained him and took drugs and $1,700 from him. No incident report was prepared regarding the stop, prosecutors said.

In another incident in July 2016, prosecutors said, they stole $70,000 and divided the money up.

Prosecutors said the officers alerted each other to potential investigations into their activities, coached each other to give false testimony to internal affairs investigators, and turned off their body cameras to avoid recording their encounters.

The criminal activity occurred throughout 2016, prosecutors said. The Justice Department was investigating the department for much of the year.

Justice Department investigators reported that the department routinely violated individuals’ constitutional rights by conducting unlawful stops and using excessive force, among other problems. They concluded that those practices overwhelmingly affected residents of poor, predominantly black neighborhoods.

The Justice Department and the city agreed to terms of a consent decree in January outlining sweeping reforms to the department. That agreement awaits approval by a federal judge.

“We wouldn’t be under a consent decree if we didn’t have issues,” Davis said. “We have issues.”

Meanwhile, the officers’ work was celebrated by the department. Lt. Chris O’Ree wrote in October that the seizure of 132 guns in less than 11 months was “no small task.”

“Their relentless pursuit to make our streets safer by removing guns and arresting the right people for the right reasons has made our City safer,” O’Ree wrote.

Prosecutors also said the officers filed for overtime they didn’t work. On one day in July 2016, prosecutors said, one of the officers told another about being in the poker room at the Maryland Live Casino in Anne Arundel County. The second officer said he was going to get a drink, prosecutors said. Both filed for overtime that day, prosecutors said.

Jenkins nearly doubled his annual salary of $85,400 with $83,300 in overtime in 2016, prosecutors said. Hersl was paid $66,600 in overtime on top of a base salary of $77,600. Taylor made an extra $56,200 on top of his $66,800 salary.

There’s several things that are interesting about this case. One is the fact that, just several months ago the Baltimore Police Department, who was not informed of the investigation until the indictments were ready to be filed, was praising the great work of these same officers. Despite that praise, even before these indictments, several of them already had a history of misconduct complaints, including allegations of violence.

Beyond that, the very nature of the case involves a bit of irony in the characterization of the crimes committed. In his speech while announcing the indictment, Rosenstein described what they were accused of this way: “These defendants were allegedly involved in stopping people who had not committed crimes, and not only seizing money but pocketing it. These are really robberies by people wearing police uniforms.”

Of course, if they had limited themselves to finding an excuse to stop drivers out on the highway, oftentimes whose only “crime” is having out of state license plates, then they could have legally and without any recourse taken whatever cash those drivers had on them. Such cash seizures require no conviction or even so much as the filing of criminal charges. In reality, you could say that the only difference between what they did and drug forfeiture laws was the part about them personally pocketing the money.

In fact, in essence the only real difference between the officially sanctioned robberies by people wearing Magic Uniforms and the ones these guys will eventually be given probation and/or community service for was that they didn’t give the government its cut of the profits from their self described “taxation.”

Cleveland Cop Who Previously Shot Unarmed Man, Allowed To Attend Rehab Instead Of Jail After Drug Arrest

A member of the Cleveland Police Gang Unit, who was involved in a 2015 shooting of an unarmed man that the department initially lied about, was later himself busted for drugs. However, instead of going to jail, he’s been given a deal that will allow him to go to rehab instead of having his guilty plea count as a conviction.

In the shooting, for which a lawsuit is set to go to trial soon, Detective Jon Periandri claimed that the man he shot during a drug bust, Joevon Dawson, had gotten out of a car with a gun in his hand. The other five Good Cops at the scene backed up his story and one of them also moved a bullet casing to support the claim. Even Cleveland Police Chief Calvin Williams got in on the act, making a statement to the press at the scene that Dawson was armed when he was shot.

However, information later released as part of the lawsuit indicated that the only gun recovered at the scene had been stored within the center console area on the inside of the vehicle. Investigators from the Ohio Attorney General’s Office Bureau of Criminal Investigation concluded that the gun could not have been used by Dawson.

Meanwhile, even as he was in the process of arresting and shooting people for drug crimes he was simultaneously buying drugs by the handful. In fact, evidence showed that he literally ordered drugs while on duty as part of the narcotics squad. Incidentally, his taste for prescription pain killers and heroin were uncovered after a drug bust that included the Brooklyn, Ohio Law Director and the son of the mayor of Parma, Ohio.

Via Cleveland.com:

Periandri would soon face criminal investigation for another incident that happened in the weeks before and after the shooting.

In October 2015, as investigators continued probing the Dawson shooting, local and federal authorities raided the Seven Hills home of Alfonso Yunis, a suspected drug dealer.

Police found Yunis counting and crushing pills at his house along with then-Brooklyn law director Scott Clausen and attorney Brian Byrne, son of Parma Mayor Mike Byrne.

All three were arrested. A subsequent tip from a confidential police informant and a search of Yunis’ cellphone turned up hundreds of text messages with a number that was later traced to Periandri, according to court records.

The messages appeared to be “criminal in nature” and showed Periandri, a detective in charge of investigating and arresting drug dealers, repeatedly requesting to buy prescription painkillers and heroin off of Yunis, and even agreeing to act as a middleman for some drug deals, according to a search warrant affidavit obtained by cleveland.com in December 2015.

Dawson’s attorney entered the affidavit as evidence in the federal lawsuit on Thursday.

Messages seized from May 23, 2015 showed that Periandri ordered drugs while he working during protests in Cleveland that followed the acquittal of Cleveland police officer Michael Brelo on manslaughter charges in the 2012 killing of an unarmed couple. He also used a shorthand for what the affidavit describes as a racial slur to describe the protesters.

Cleveland police’s internal affairs unit launched an investigation and, that same month, obtained a warrant to collect a hair sample from Periandri and have it tested for drugs.

But before they could execute the warrant, Periandri took a medical leave of absence and checked himself into a drug rehabilitation center in California, internal investigators wrote in the affidavit.

The deal

A May 13, 2016 email between from Cleveland police commander Brian Heffernan to Williams, the head of internal affairs Lt. Monroe Goins and another Cleveland police officer indicated that Periandri was in talks with Assistant Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Jim Gutierrez.

The two agreed that Periandri would be charged by information and plead guilty to a felony drug possession charge at a June 7 court hearing. He would receive treatment in lieu of conviction, the email says.

Periandri would then serve a year’s probation, and the charge would be dropped from his record if he successfully completed treatment. In exchange, Periandri agreed to give up his certification to be a police officer.

But that court hearing never happened.

Prosecutors did not charge Periandri until Thursday, more than eight months after the original offer, according to court records. And the information was not delivered to the clerk’s office until about 1:30 p.m. Monday, after reporters began asking the prosecutor’s office about Periandri’s case.

The information, signed by Gutierrez, Periandri and Periandri’s attorney, Robert Dixon, is stamped Jan. 19. A note stuck on the outside of Periandri’s file says the information was “back-dated” to Jan. 19.

Kathleen Caffrey, a spokeswoman for the prosecutor’s office, said on Monday that Periandri had been charged by information and pleaded guilty in June.

After a reporter asked for a copy of the information and more information about the court hearing on Tuesday, she called to say that she had misinterpreted a conversation with Gutierrez and that no June agreement was reached.

Periandri was allowed to retire from the department for medical reasons on Aug. 9, 2016, Williams said.

Also, when reporters began asking about the drug “conviction” as a result of discovery information from the lawsuit, a spokesman for the prosecutor’s office explained that the records of it had never been entered into the Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court’s public docket due to an “IT issue.” #SeemsLegit

Harris County Sheriff’s Office Drops Drug Charges Against Texas Man After “Meth” Turns Out to be Cat Litter

A sock full of cat litter ended up leading to a Texas man being publicly branded as a drug dealer, when deputies with the Harris County Sheriff’s Office managed to mistake it for meth. In yet another case of faulty field tests that have repeatedly been exposed as wildly inaccurate, police issued a press release and bragged on Facebook about how their “big drug bust” had kept everyone’s children save from the scourge of methamphetamines.

Meanwhile, Ross Lebeau was taken to jail on charges of drug possession with the intent to distribute, based on the “meth” weighing in at over half a pound. As a result, he lost work and will be forced to go through the process of having his record expunged, even though the charges were dropped, to avoid the stigma of having been identified, very publicly, as a drug dealer.

In spite of that, Lebeau is surprisingly unwilling to place any blame on the deputies who used notoriously innacurate equipment to declare the cat litter was an illegal substance. For their part, the Harris County Sheriff’s Office released a second press release, in which they had no problem whatsoever placing the blame squarely on Lebeau’s shoulders saying that the deputies did everything right and that his statement that he didn’t know what the “unknown substance” was is what was responsible for the mix-up.

Via ABC13.com (in Houston):

Lebeau and his attorney do not blame the deputies for the ordeal, rather the field tests.

“Ultimately it might be bad budget-cutting testing equipment they need to re-evaluate,” said George Reul, who added prosecutors practically laughed when he told them it was cat litter.

“I would like an apology,” said Lebeau.

He says the accusation has caused him to lose work, not to mention the embarrassment. He will work to expunge his record.

“I was wrongly accused and I’m going to do everything in my power, with my family’s backing, to clear my name,” he said.

Harris County Sheriff’s Office Statement:
The Harris County Sheriff’s Office deputies stopped Mr. LeBeau for a traffic offense on December 5, 2016 at 4:30 p.m. During that initial stop the deputies detected a strong odor of Marijuana emitting from his vehicle. Mr. LeBeau was question and admitted to having marijuana in the console of his vehicle.

The drugs were recovered and in the process of inventorying his vehicle a substance was found wrapped in one sock in his vehicle. Mr. LeBeau was questioned about the contents at which time he indicated that he had no idea what it was. The deputies followed proper procedures and field tested the substance on two separate occasions which field tested positive for methamphetamines, notified the District Attorney’s Office who accepted charges for possession of controlled substance of 200 grams and Mr. LeBeau posted bond and was released.

During the investigation Mr. LeBeau failed to identify the substance and later, after being released indicated on social media that the substance was cat litter that he kept in a sock in his vehicle.

Regarding this incident all indication shows that the deputies followed basic procedures and followed established protocol related to this incident. Because of the established procedures in place and this contraband was submitted to the Institute of Forensic Science it was determined not to be methamphetamine and charges were dismissed.

It doesn’t look like he’s going to get that apology. At least the prosecutors were able to get a good laugh out of it.

Dash Cam Video Shows Ohio Cop Smash Car Windshield With “Dangerous” Handcuffed Suspect’s Head

Yet another disturbing video of police violence against citizens has emerged. In this video, dash camera footage from a September 2014 arrest, Lorain (OH) police can be seen leading a suspect toward the police cruiser that is recording it.

As one of the officers reaches the hood of the car right in front of the dash cam, he smashes Pele Smith, who is handcuffed and in no way resisting, face first into the front windshield. The impact is hard enough that the window shatters. Reportedly, the cops then laughed at Smith as he bled from the head wound inflicted during the assault.

In spite of the video showing nothing of that sort, the police claimed that the brutality was justified by Smith “actively resisting.” Even though his record contained no evidence of it, they also claimed that Smith was a “violent drug offender” and implored people not to believe their lying eyes, because stuff that somehow wasn’t captured by the video gave them reason to put his head through a windshield.

Via CleveScene.com:

Lorain Police Chief Cel Rivera released a statement Wednesday calling Smith “a violent drug trafficker” and said the video “does not tell the complete story” and “could be misunderstood” by the public.

According to the Lorain County Clerk of Courts website, Smith has no felony convictions for violent crimes such as assault or robbery. He has prior convictions for drug offenses and possessing a firearm.

“During the arrest and Mr. Smith’s active resistance, he was placed on the hood of the police unit to gain control and conduct a search, as per policy,” Rivera said in his statement. “I would caution observers to not rush to judgment relative to the actions of the police on scene.

“Although it is not easy to watch, police officers explain all of their actions in their police reports.”

Of course, everyone knows that the cops never lie in their police reports to rationalize their violent behavior toward people.

Neither the Bad Apple who broke the windshield with the head of a defenseless person, nor any of the Good Cops who stood by watching it and never said a word about it, then or afterwards, have been named. And apparently, according to Chief Rivera, smashing a handcuffed suspect’s head through a windshield is “per policy” at the Lorain Police Department.

Oklahoma Police Officer Roy Collinsworth Arrested for Running a Giant Marijauna Grow Operation

The content for this post was shared with the CopBlock Network by “Kid Clint,” via the CopBlock.org Submissions Page.

This post concerns an officer with the Comanche Police Department in Oklahoma, who was arrested for running a giant marijuana grow operation in January of 2015. As is typical of the hypocrisy shown by many police officers, when Officer Roy Collinsworth wasn’t out busting people for victimless drug crimes he was at home growing and profiting from marijuana.

Date of Incident: January 29, 2015
Officers Involved: Officer Roy Collinsworth, Chief of Police Mike Jones, also District Attorney Jason Hicks
Department Involved: Comanche (OK) Police Department
Department Address: 500 N Rodeo Drive Comanche, Oklahoma 73529
Department Phone No.: (580) 439-2211
Department Fax No.: (580) 439-6308

According to a report, a Comanche Oklahoma police officer was accused of cultivating a marijuana patch inside a shed behind his “Red Hot” liquor store.

The Stephen’s County Sheriff’s Office said they were tipped off to Officer Roy Collinsworth’s marijuana operation and began an investigation.

Collingsworth was apparently surprised when investigators asked him about the drug operation.

According to the District Attorney’s Drug Task Force, when asked about his illegal drug operation, Collingsworth gave them the “No, No” song.

“Who me? Are you kidding? There is no way!”

The investigators for District Attorney Jason Hicks then asked if they could have a look around his business.

According to District Attorney Jason Hicks, “He allowed them the opportunity to go through the liquor store and [they] didn’t see anything there, so they asked if they could search another building.”

D.A. Jason Hicks stated that Collingsworth was very reluctant, but after further questioning agreed to let investigators search a building across the street from Comanche Public School. Investigators said, before they opened the door, Collingsworth stopped them and told them about an “old marijuana grow” that was allegedly inside the building.

Investigators said Collingsworth opened the door to the building and said “I don’t want to go to jail.”

D.A. Jason Hicks said that investigators for his Drug Task Force found 23 marijuana plants, fans for air circulation, thermostats for temperature regulation, razor knives for plant trimming, a water and fertilization system, and garden lights.

Hicks said “It was a pretty elaborate set-up, everything you would need to cultivate marijuana.”

Collingsworth was arrested, but is now out of jail on bond.

No word from Chief of Police Mike Jones since this incident occurred, and no word if the former officer has been charged, or if a court date was set.

According to Oklahoma State Statute:

  • Possession of any amount of marijuana is a crime, subject to up to one year of incarceration.
  • A subsequent conviction for possession is a felony which carries the penalty of 2-10 years of incarceration.

Okla. Stat. tit. 63, § 2-401 (2015)

Sale or Distribution

  • The sale of less than 25 pounds is a felony, punishable by incarceration for a period of 2 years-life, as well as a fine of $20,000.
  • Selling between 25 and 1,000 pounds. Penalties include a fine of between $25,000 and $100,000, between four years and life imprisonment, or both.
  • Selling 1,000 pounds or more is punishable with a maximum fine of $500,000, and/or between four years and life imprisonment.
  • The sale to minors is a felony, which is punishable by doubling the penalty for both the period of incarceration, as well as the fine to be paid.
  • The sale within 2,000 feet of schools, public parks, or public housing is a felony, punishable by a double penalty for both the period of incarceration as well as the fine. A conviction carries with it a mandatory minimum sentence of 50% of the imposed sentence.

Okla. Stat. tit. 63 § 2-401 (2015)

Cultivation

  • Cultivating up to 1,000 plants is a felony, punishable by a maximum $25,000 fine and between 20 years and life imprisonment.
  • Cultivation of more than 1,000 plants is punishable of a fine up to $50,000 and between 20 years and life imprisonment.

– Kid Clint

Beyond Sept. 9th, Support the Largest Prison Strike in History and Help Eliminate Prison Slave Labor

Note: Previously, CopBlock Network Contributor Josh Hotchkins also published a post previewing and discussing the prison strike.

The growth of the prison industrial complex has been discussed many times on the CopBlock Network, as well as the ways in which prisons have become a modern day form of slavery. The fact is that the United States now has the largest population of incarcerated people in the world by a large margin and every indication is that the government intends to expand that lead.

In addition, the privatization of prisons (which the Federal Government’s recent decision to stop participating in will make little real impact on) has created a form of slave labor that both violates human rights and encourages the corporations and politicians profiting off that system to lock more people up.

It’s also no secret that most, if not all, of us at the CopBlock Network oppose victimless crimes. The largest instance of prosecution for victimless crimes, as well as human rights abuses and violence perpetrated by law enforcement, involves the War on (Some) Drugs. The Drug War and the huge number of non-violent drug offenders that are sent to prison as a result are in large part responsible for the enormous expansion in the U.S. prison population over the past several decades.

On September 9th, which is the 45 year anniversary of the Attica State Prison Uprising, prisons around the country began strikes designed to force reform of prison labor policies and improvements to basic human living conditions within those prisons. Outside of the prisons, many groups around the country and even outside of the United States are holding solidarity actions in support of the prisoners taking part in the strike.

Whether you are now or ever have been directly effected by the growing prison industrial complex, there are many reasons why you should help halt its expansion and even to put an end to it.

Some of the companies that benefit from prison slave labor:

The Industrial Workers of the World’s Incarcerated Worker Organizing Committee is helping to promote and organize actions in support of the prisoners. You can also find updates at the website of “It’s Going Down,” an Anarchist-based website that posts information and announcements about grassroots actions.

Additional links for information and updates:

SupportPrisonerResistance.net
FreeAlabamaMovement.com
IWOC.noblogs.org
resonanceaudiodistro.org

Transcript of Video Included Above:

This is a Call to Action Against Slavery in America

In one voice, rising from the cells of long term solitary confinement, echoed in the dormitories and cell blocks from Virginia to Oregon, we prisoners across the United States vow to finally end slavery in 2016.

On September 9th of 1971 prisoners took over and shut down Attica, New York State’s most notorious prison. On September 9th of 2016, we will begin an action to shut down prisons all across this country. We will not only demand the end to prison slavery, we will end it ourselves by ceasing to be slaves.

In the 1970s the US prison system was crumbling. In Walpole, San Quentin, Soledad, Angola and many other prisons, people were standing up, fighting and taking ownership of their lives and bodies back from the plantation prisons. For the last six years we have remembered and renewed that struggle. In the interim, the prisoner population has ballooned and technologies of control and confinement have developed into the most sophisticated and repressive in world history. The prisons have become more dependent on slavery and torture to maintain their stability.

Prisoners are forced to work for little or no pay. That is slavery. The 13th amendment to the US constitution maintains a legal exception for continued slavery in US prisons. It states “neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States.” Overseers watch over our every move, and if we do not perform our appointed tasks to their liking, we are punished. They may have replaced the whip with pepper spray, but many of the other torments remain: isolation, restraint positions, stripping off our clothes and investigating our bodies as though we are animals.

Slavery is alive and well in the prison system, but by the end of this year, it won’t be anymore. This is a call to end slavery in America. This call goes directly to the slaves themselves. We are not making demands or requests of our captors, we are calling ourselves to action. To every prisoner in every state and federal institution across this land, we call on you to stop being a slave, to let the crops rot in the plantation fields, to go on strike and cease reproducing the institutions of your confinement.

This is a call for a nation-wide prisoner work stoppage to end prison slavery, starting on September 9th, 2016. They cannot run these facilities without us.

Non-violent protests, work stoppages, hunger strikes and other refusals to participate in prison routines and needs have increased in recent years. The 2010 Georgia prison strike, the massive rolling California hunger strikes, the Free Alabama Movement’s 2014 work stoppage, have gathered the most attention, but they are far from the only demonstrations of prisoner power. Large, sometimes effective hunger strikes have broken out at Ohio State Penitentiary, at Menard Correctional in Illinois, at Red Onion in Virginia as well as many other prisons. The burgeoning resistance movement is diverse and interconnected, including immigrant detention centers, women’s prisons and juvenile facilities. Last fall, women prisoners at Yuba County Jail in California joined a hunger strike initiated by women held in immigrant detention centers in California, Colorado and Texas.

attica-prison-uprising-riotPrisoners all across the country regularly engage in myriad demonstrations of power on the inside. They have most often done so with convict solidarity, building coalitions across race lines and gang lines to confront the common oppressor.

Forty-five years after Attica, the waves of change are returning to America’s prisons. This September we hope to coordinate and generalize these protests, to build them into a single tidal shift that the American prison system cannot ignore or withstand. We hope to end prison slavery by making it impossible, by refusing to be slaves any longer.

To achieve this goal, we need support from people on the outside. A prison is an easy-lockdown environment, a place of control and confinement where repression is built into every stone wall and chain link, every gesture and routine. When we stand up to these authorities, they come down on us, and the only protection we have is solidarity from the outside. Mass incarceration, whether in private or state-run facilities is a scheme where slave catchers patrol our neighborhoods and monitor our lives. It requires mass criminalization. Our tribulations on the inside are a tool used to control our families and communities on the outside. Certain Americans live every day under not only the threat of extra-judicial execution—as protests surrounding the deaths of Mike Brown, Tamir Rice, Sandra Bland and so many others have drawn long overdue attention to—but also under the threat of capture, of being thrown into these plantations, shackled and forced to work.

Our protest against prison slavery is a protest against the school to prison pipeline, a protest against police terror, a protest against post-release controls. When we abolish slavery, they’ll lose much of their incentive to lock up our children, they’ll stop building traps to pull back those who they’ve released. When we remove the economic motive and grease of our forced labor from the US prison system, the entire structure of courts and police, of control and slave-catching must shift to accommodate us as humans, rather than slaves.

Prison impacts everyone, when we stand up and refuse on September 9th, 2016, we need to know our friends, families and allies on the outside will have our backs. This spring and summer will be seasons of organizing, of spreading the word, building the networks of solidarity and showing that we’re serious and what we’re capable of.

Step up, stand up, and join us.
Against prison slavery.
For liberation of all.

The Attica Prison Uprising and Aftermath:

Additional Videos:

 

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

Will Lamar Odom Survive Long Enough to go to Prison for Harming No-One But Himself?

With as many people as there are out there “Keeping Up With the Kardashians” these days, I’m sure everyone is well aware of the most recent prostitute related-incident unfolding where Lamar Odom, who is also the estranged husband of Khloé Kardashian, was found unresponsive and close to death on Tuesday at a Nevada brothel. Odom was famously arrested during a prostitution sting by the LVMPD while attending summer school at UNLV in 1997. That scandal ending up causing Odom to transfer to the University of Rhode Island before he ever played a game at UNLV and led to an NCAA investigation that resulted in a four year probation for the Runnin’ Rebels.

Reportedly, Odom had been staying at the “Love Ranch” in Crystal, NV. for three days prior and had been in the midst of a cocaine and Viagra binge prior to lapsing into unconsciousness. He was found foaming out of his mouth and with blood coming out of his nose. At this point, it’s questionable and has been described as a 50/50 prospect that he will survive. A cadre of reality TV stars and sorta celebrities (including the Kardashians, of course) have begun gathering at Sunrise Hospital here in Las Vegas for what amounts to a deathbed vigil.

The audio of the 911 call

Lamar Odom Drug Overdose BrothelObviously, the immediate concern is whether the coin that he flipped over the weekend will come up heads and he will live through this at all. However, the Nye County Sheriff’s Office, where the brothel is located (just north of Las Vegas) has already announced that they will be testing his blood and if he does come out on the top end of those 50/50 odds, he could face drug possession charges.

After initially saying that, they did back track a little by saying they weren’t sure what charges he may face if he lives. Regardless of that, it’s pretty certain that the Nye Cty. police will go after the brothel employees for providing him with drugs, possibly including the cocaine (they’ve denied that, but they also initially denied giving him the Viagra), whether Odom survives or not.

So the next question Odom may face, should he survive, is whether he ends up in prison as a result. The larger question is whether he or anyone else should be in prison for a crime when the only victim is themselves. Not to mention whether employees at the brothel should face prison time for giving somebody something they asked for.

There’s arguments we can have about DUI’s (outside of checkpoints, which are an entirely different story) and the potential for there to be a victim if someone isn’t stopped. However, as irresponsible and self destructive as someone might be in doing drugs, the simple act of doing the drugs themselves doesn’t harm anyone except the person doing those drugs. The majority of associated crimes are actually created and/or facilitated by the War on (Some) Drugs itself and they are all real crimes with identifiable victims that can be prosecuted in their own right.

Realistically, there’s no reason why someone who has a disease that should be treated should instead be thrown in jail. Nor should the vast majority of non-violent, non-addictive drug users be locked up because of those who do have that disease. The abuses, both physical and civil rights related, that the Drug War allows and even encourages among government and law enforcement, along with the abject failure that it represents in terms of stopping drug use, should be more than enough reason to put an end to it. The fact that someone can beat the odds and survive a fight for their life only to be thrust into a fight for their freedom as soon as they recover enough to stand trial is an equal, if not even more compelling reason, to do so.