Tag Archives: Walmart

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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Off Duty Arkansas State Trooper Accosts Man Legally Open Carrying; Has Him Arrested After Complaint is Filed

The following post and accompanying video were shared with the CopBlock Network by Drew Tanner, via the CopBlock.org Submissions Page. The video contains lots of commentary, so it’s fairly self-explanatory.

Tanner maintains that he was at a local Walmart in Searcy, Arkansas shopping and minding his own business when he was accosted by a stranger. That stranger was eventually identified as Trooper Kurt Ziegenhorn of the Arkansas State Police, although at the time he was off duty, not in uniform, and had not yet provided a badge or police ID. Ziegenhorn also failed to even verbally identify himself prior to physically confronting Tanner, apparently because he was not aware that it is legal to open carry firearms in Arkansas.

After the initial contact, Tanner called 911 to report the incident as he was being followed around the store by Trooper Ziegenhorn. Shortly after, Walmart management asked them to leave the store. Once outside, they were met by officers from the Searcy Police Department. Those officers subsequently determined that Tanner had not broken any laws and released him.

A few days later, after discussing Walmart’s policy on open carry with corporate headquarters (and being told it was not prohibited on their property), Tanner went back to the same store, this time unarmed, to discuss whether he could carry his weapon within the story with the local manager. Before Tanner was able to talk to the manager, Ziegenhorn, who seemingly was following him, also showed up. Tanner was then illegally detained and searched after being handcuffed and removed from the store. During that illegal search his CHCL, which he had legally attained, was stolen from him by Ziegenhorn. He was, however, then released by Trooper Ziegenhorn without any charges or citations being issued.

Tanner then filed a complaint with the Arkansas State Police against Ziegenhorn. About seven weeks later he was arrested in an act of retaliation on a warrant for “obstructing governmental operations.” The basis given for that charge was that he had not immediately indicated to Trooper Ziegenhorn that he had a concealed carry firearms permit (known as a Concealed Handgun Carry License in Arkansas), even though he was not actually carrying a concealed weapon at the time and Trooper Ziegenhorn had not definitively identified him self as a law enforcement officer at that point.

Although he was initially found guilty on that bogus charge in the local courts, Tanner was later acquitted and completely cleared of any wrongdoing on appeal. In spite of that the Arkansas State Police revoke his CHCL in another act of retaliation. He is currently still trying to regain it, over two years later.

(NOTE: There seems to be a fair amount of confusion among police within Arkansas regarding the legality of openly carrying firearms, as evidenced by this previous series of video posts involving a man who was unlawfully arrested for open carrying in Bald Knob, Arkansas.)

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.

Date(s) of Incident: Nov. 29, 2014; Dec. 04, 2014, Ongoing
Officer Involved: Trooper Kurt Ziegenhorn
Department Involved: Arkansas State Police
Department Facebook Page: Arkansas State Police
Department Twitter Account: @ARStatePolice
Department Email: [email protected]
Department Phone No.: (501) 618-8000
Office of Professional Standards Contact: Lieutenant Paulette Ward
OPS Phone Number: (501) 618-8929
OPS Email Address: [email protected]

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On Nov 29, 2014, I was shopping in Walmart when Arkansas State Trooper Kurt Ziegenhorn attacked me, while off-duty and out of uniform, because he didn’t know that it was legal in the state to openly carry firearms. I called 911 on him and was eventually asked to leave the store by management, where we were met by two uniformed Searcy Police Department officers outside.

I was never placed in handcuffs in this incident, nor was my weapon taken from me at any time. I was free to go. However, a few days later I went into the store unarmed after I had discussed the store’s gun policy with their corporate office and was assured that I was allowed to carry in the store, and I wanted to clear it up with the manager. The same trooper was there again, and handcuffed me, took me out to his car and confiscated my Concealed Handgun Carry License (even though I was not carrying at the time).

He then let me go. Seven weeks later, police came to my door with an arrest warrant of “obstructing governmental operations” for the first incident. I was eventually found not-guilty in circuit court. However, the state police refused to return my CHCL (which I fought and lost). I filed a FOIA request to get the incident reports from the state police regarding the second incident, but they DENIED the FOIA request.

I can provide additional evidence of false claims by Trooper Kurt Ziegenhorn that the video clearly contradicts. (Saying I reached for my gun, etc, etc.)

– Drew Tanner

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Citizens of Portsmouth Forced to Pay $1,000,000 to Compensate Family for William Chapman’s Murder

Earlier this week, a judge in Portsmouth, Virginia approved a $1 million settlement offer from the city to the family of William Chapman II. As has been reported previously at the CopBlock Network (see “related posts” below) by myself and several other CopBlock Network contributors, Chapman was murdered outside of a local Walmart by Portsmouth Police Officer Stephen Rankin.

Officer Rankin was later charged with murder in the case, but ended up only being convicted of manslaughter and receiving a sentence of just 2.5 years in prison. Although the family was preparing to do so, this settlement was actually offered without a lawsuit having been filed against the city. That’s likely due to the evidence that would have been presented during a lawsuit showing that eighteen year old Chapman, who was unarmed when shot, was actually shot from a distance. That contradicts Rankin’s claim that Chapman was a direct threat to him as a justification for the shooting.

Via the Virginia-Pilot:

Former Portsmouth Officer Stephen Rankin shot and killed Chapman on April 22, 2015, in the parking lot of the Wal-Mart on Frederick Boulevard.

The officer was investigating a shoplifting report when he approached Chapman, and a physical altercation ensued.

A jury convicted Rankin on Aug. 4 of voluntary manslaughter and recommended he serve 2½ years in prison. Circuit Judge Johnny Morrison imposed the full sentence last month during an emotional hearing.

Following Rankin’s conviction, (attorney Jon) Babineau announced plans to sue the city, former police Chief Ed Hargis and Rankin.

He argued the city and Hargis were negligent in hiring and retaining Rankin and that Rankin wrongfully killed Chapman.

Babineau and the city reached the settlement before he filed the suit, though.

According to the petition, Portsmouth is willing to pay the Chapman estate $1 million as long as the family agrees not to pursue claims against the city, Hargis and Rankin.

The petition also stresses that the city and the Chapman family agree the settlement should not be construed as “an admission of fault or responsibility…”

Earl Lewis, a cousin of William Chapman II who serves as a spokesman for the family…lamented the case won’t go to trial.

He said an investigation spearheaded by Babineau had unearthed a lot of new information about Rankin and the Police Department. And he pointed to a BBC documentary that aired Wednesday in the United Kingdom with an interview from a former Portsmouth police lieutenant. The lieutenant said he warned his supervisors about Rankin before the Chapman shooting, but nothing happened.

“We still haven’t gotten all the facts,” Lewis said, arguing that a trial could have resulted in new revelations with the possibility of a larger monetary award. “Me, myself, I am a betting man. I would have taken it to trial.”

Lewis argued a lawsuit against Wal-Mart might still be warranted. And Babineau said he is researching what liability the retailer might face for calling police on Chapman and following him outside.

“We are not aware of any evidence indicating William Chapman stole anything,” Babineau said.

As Chapman’s cousin, Earl Lewis, points out, the settlement will also prevent further questioning of the Portsmouth Police Department. One of those questions would be why fifteen seconds of the video, which just happens to comprise the moments in which Chapman was shot, somehow disappeared from the official video sent to the lawyer representing Chapman’s family.

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Man Detained by Cops At Walmart on Suspicion of Being a Freaky Clown

The following post and accompanying videos were shared with the CopBlock Network by a reader who goes by the pseudonym “Mista Jay” on Youtube, via the CopBlock Submissions Page.

The videos were actually taken during the Great Clown Invasion of 2016, which took place shortly before Halloween. During that time hype surrounding phony threats from scary clowns gave police departments across the country the excuse to issue silly warnings to their communities, declare masks illegal, step up patrols, arrest teenagers, and encourage people to violently attack innocent clowns.

Apparently, Jay does some sort of YouTube show in which he dresses up as the Joker from Batman and therefore wasn’t connected to the clown hoaxes. Regardless of that, he was affected by the hysteria it created. As a result of walking into a public place dressed in clown makeup, he was stopped and asked for ID, which he provided in spite of not actually being legally detained and thus not required to do so.

Obviously, this isn’t so much a story of police abuse, but rather a story about how typical citizens accept the hype and scare tactics of the police. It’s also a somewhat cautionary tale about those same citizens’ tendency to call the police for any minor, mundane situation. Fortunately, the police that responded to Jay dressing like a clown were pretty reasonable and didn’t resort to violence against him. However, many other stories haven’t ended so well. People should never call the police unless they are okay with the possibility that the person they call them on might be abused, arrested, and/or killed.

Date of Incident: October 24, 2016
Department Involved: Yuba City (CA) Police Department

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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Description from Original Video:

In this video, you will clearly see how I was minding my own business going about my day in Walmart. Within literally a few minutes of just walking through the store, out of nowhere cops were called on me for the reason of “my looks.” Someone called 911 just to say “There’s a freak walking around here in Walmart and I think he’s dangerous.”

I did not plan this situation, nor did I do anything wrong to anybody. However, when I was on my way to Walmart, having had the situations that I’ve had to deal with in the past similar to this, I anticipated this event in a way. You can clearly see how I go about the situation, how the pedestrians react, and how the police act.

I have a very clear message at the end. Are you part of this land of sheep that discriminate and judge people based on their looks and beliefs? CHOOSE TO BE the difference. BE THAT person who accepts everybody no matter the circumstances (unless given reasonable doubt otherwise) that stands out and doesn’t accept the stigmas, stereotypes, or discrimination.

Description From Follow-up Video (Embedded Below):

After the video of me and Walmart went viral, with over 10,000 views as I speak, there were a lot of people who were judging, discriminating, hating, and even going as far to threaten me. When the biggest problem is that they don’t even know the whole perspective or my story or even who I am for that matter. Here’s my response to all of it. My message is simple. Thank you to all who had my back.

– Jay

Original Video

Follow-up Video

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Portsmouth, Virginia Police Officer Stephen Rankin Sentenced to (Just) 2.5 Years in Prison for Murder of William Chapman II

The following post was originally published at “BlackMattersUS.com” by Ken Patterson (no relation) under the original title “Police Shooting: Former Cop Sent To Prison.

Previously, this case has been reported on here at Cop Block by myself, as well as CopBlock Network Contributors Lorelei McFly and Steven Thomas. (See the “Related Posts” section below.)

Police Shooting: Former Cop Sent To Prison

Stephen Rankin has been sentenced in deadly police shooting of Black man, William Chapman II.

Following recent cases of police shootings, several cops who have perpetrated the crimes of killing unarmed Black people without being held accountable have seen numerous outcries for justice from the public.

Stephen Rankin, an ex-cop in Portsmouth, Virginia, has been sent to jail for two and a half years after being charged and convicted of voluntary manslaughter in the deadly police shooting of unarmed Black teen, William Chapman II.

18-year-old Chapman II was shot and killed April 22 last year, while Rankin was responding to a Wal-Mart shoplifting call. The state of Virginia police claimed that the officer responded to a crime incident report, which led to Rankin approaching the victim who was unarmed.

An altercation followed and a struggle ensued, which ultimately led to Rankin shooting and killing Chapman. An autopsy report showed that the deceased was shot once in the chest and once in the face.

Rankin was indicted on charges of using a gun in a felony and first-degree murder. However, Rankin’s attorney James Broccoletti claimed Rankin followed the department’s use-of-force policy.

A jury convicted Rankin of voluntary manslaughter, and on Wednesday, a Judge agreed with the jury’s recommendation and sentenced him to two and a half years in prison. Although defense attorneys asked the judge to let Rankin remain free until the appeals process is completed, but the judge ultimately denied the ruling. After the sentencing, deputies escorted Rankin out of the courtroom.

Finally, a cop gets to face the music for the crime he committed. But it doesn’t go without saying that the sentence is absolutely ridiculous.  Black teens tried as adults get longer jail terms for even lesser crimes. The preferential treatment of police officers is appalling, they have to be punished as consistent with the crimes they commit, or the punishment will not be efficient.

Source: The Grio

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Riots Erupt in North Carolina After Man Holding Book Killed By Police While Picking Up Son From School

Update: People are beginning to gather in Charlotte again and it appears their may be a second night of riots. Reportedly, riot police are already using tear gas and rubber bullets in an effort to disperse a growing crowd.

Click here for a livestream of the riots currently taking place in Charlotte.

On September 20th, riots broke out near the campus of UNC-Charlotte after Charlotte-Mecklenburg police shot a man while searching for a different man wanted on a warrant.

Police claim that the man they killed, identified as Keith Lamont Scott, had stepped out of his car with a gun and then subsequently got back inside. They then claim he got back outside of the vehicle after they approached and posed an “imminent deadly threat” to them, necessitating his shooting.

Although the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police began using body cams a year ago, at least three, and possibly four, of the previous five fatal shootings by the department “somehow” weren’t captured by the body cameras. (“It’s unclear if a June 3 shooting was filmed by the department’s body cameras.” – According to the HuffPost article quoted below.)

According to CMPD Police Chief Kerr Putney, some of the officers at the scene were wearing body cams and there is also video from dash cameras, but he hasn’t reviewed the footage yet and he is predictably refusing to release it using various excuses. In addition, North Carolina recently passed a law restricting the public’s access to police shooting videos. So, it’s unlikely that any video will be released unless it clearly supports the police narrative of what happened, regardless.

Via the Huffington Post:

The shooting ― the sixth Charlotte-Mecklenburg police killing of a civilian in the past year ― happened just before 4 p.m. at an apartment complex roughly a mile from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department officers were searching at the complex for someone else who was wanted on an outstanding warrant, police said in a statement.

During the search, officers said they saw a man exit a vehicle with a firearm, then get back inside. When police approached, the man got out of the vehicle again and “posed an imminent deadly threat to the officers who subsequently fired their weapon striking the subject,” according to the police statement.

Police said they called a medic and administered CPR. Scott, 43, died at the hospital.

Police identified the shooter as Officer Brentley Vinson, who has worked for the department since July 2014. Vinson is black.

Witnesses, however, testified that he was disabled and was “armed” only with a book. Later, Scott’s brother stated that Keith Scott was reading the book while waiting to pick his son up from a school bus prior to the incident that led to him being shot. Scott’s sister also stated that he was unarmed when he was shot. Family and other witnesses also stated that the police involved in the shooting were dressed in plain clothes, rather than in police uniforms.

Lyric Scott, Keith’s daughter, posted an hour-long video of the family confronting the police afterwards, via Facebook Live. During the video she stated, “The police just shot my daddy four times for being black.” Soon after, hundreds of protesters began converging on the location where Keith Scott had been shot.

Lyric Scott’s Video:

Protests soon turned into a full scale riot with least 16 cops being injured in the ensuing mayhem. Several police cars were destroyed by the protesters, who also blocked traffic on I-85 and broke into a local Walmart. In the process, several semi trucks on the highway were also looted and then set on fire. In addition, numerous other cops that had been surrounded while heroically attempting to flee the scene of the riots had to be rescued by a “Civil Emergency Unit.”

Other Video/Photos:

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Huntington Beach CA Police Try To Find Any Reason To Cite Man Because He “Has a Chip On His Shoulder”

The video and description within this post was shared with the CopBlock Network by Steve, who preferred not to give his last name. It was shared via the CopBlock.org Submissions Page.

In this video, Steve states he has just returned from a short shopping trip within a local Walmart and is “greeted” by a group of police officers, including a Orange County animal control officer. They state that they were called by a witness who was concerned for the safety of his dog that had been left in the car. (Toward the end of the video, the animal control officer admits that he had already determined, based on the outside temperature, that the dog was not actually in danger.)

From there, they keep demanding ID from Steve, who refuses to do so, maintaining that he hasn’t committed a crime. The Animal control officer contends that he is investigating whether the dog is registered, although at one point he admits that he is only doing that because he feels that Steve “has a chip on his shoulder.”

One of the other cops also states that Steve doesn’t actually have a Fifth Amendment right to remain silent unless they “have Mirandized” him, which is a pretty blatantly  inaccurate interpretation of constitutional rights. If I didn’t know just how often cops don’t actually know the law and the Constitution, I would think he was just playing stupid in a bad attempt at fooling Steve into answering their questions.

Eventually they do give up on trying to get Steve to give them his ID. However, prior to leaving one of the Huntington Beach officers states that Steve’s windows are tinted to dark and that they should wait to see if he drives the car so they can issue a retaliatory citation for that “crime.”

Finally, after huddling up briefly and looking back to make sure Steve isn’t close enough to overhear their diabolical plans (which probably consists of mailing a citation for the dog license to the address his car is registered at), they slink off to find someone else to harass.

Date of Incident: September 8, 2016
Officers Involved: Officer Jackson – Badge No. 2098, Officer Roberts – Badge No. 2137, Deputy McCartney – Badge No. 21
Departments Involved: Huntington Beach (CA) Police Department, Orange County Sheriff’s Department (Animal Control)
Department Phone No.: HBPD – (714) 960-8811 OCSD – (714) 935-6848

The man in the video had stopped at a Walmart in Huntington Beach, California. The car was parked in the shade with a sun visor on the front windshield. Outside, the temperature was only 75° and the back windows were rolled down three inches, since there was a dog in the backseat. The man was only in Walmart for about 15 minutes.

When he came back to the car, there were three squad cars with six police officers and one sheriff from animal control outside. One of the officers had stated that they received an unverified complaint over the phone from some concerned citizen that an animal was being endangered and that they were there to investigate.

I learned a lot from this video including the fact that police believe that you only have a right to free speech if and when they give you permission. The reality of it is that the police have absolutely no jurisdiction unless you give it to them, and if you do they now have a license to kill you if they want.

There was no citation given and there was no arrest because the man refused to show his ID; yes your name will be used against you to cite you, to arrest you, to imprison you, hold you for ransom, and maybe even kill you.

The first question you answer you have given them jurisdiction, so don’t answer their questions. You be the one to ask all the questions and do not answer theirs.

– Steve

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Breaking News: Judge Rules Man Who Made 911 Call That Led To John Crawford’s Murder Should Face Charges

Earlier this afternoon, Fairborn Municipal Court Judge Beth Root ruled on an affidavit submitted by nine citizens finding that there was probably cause to charge Ronald T. Ritchie with the first degree misdemeanor crime of “making false alarms.” Ritchie was the person that made the 911 call claiming that John Crawford was pointing a gun at people in a Beavercreek, OH Walmart.

The officers who responded to that call, which Ritchie has since characterized as a “prank,” subsequently shot and killed Crawford. In reality, Crawford was merely holding an unloaded BB gun that was for sale at that Walmart.

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Beavercreek police have been heavily criticized for being too quick to shoot Crawford without discerning if the gun was real or giving him an opportunity to surrender first. Even among those who believe the cops were justified in shooting Crawford, many believe that Ritchie was ultimately at fault for making the false claims that Crawford had threatened people with a gun.

It was also reported that several other charges were submitted within the affidavit that was accepted, but those additional charges were dismissed as not having sufficient probable cause to support those charges.

Via WDTN.com:

Nine citizens filled out affidavits — that were delivered to the court on March 25. Judge Root found in those affidavits that probable cause does exist to prosecute Ritchie for the accusation of making false alarms — a first-degree misdemeanor.

The names of the nine people who filed the affidavits are a matter of public record and can be accessed by the public at any time on the court’s website.

The nine are: Roy Qualls; Matthew Raska; Alice Diebel, Kevin Jackson, Lynn Buffington; Jessica Thomas; Mary Gentile; Enoch Fannin and Michael Casselli Jr. All but one of those who filed the affidavits live in Yellow Springs. The other lives in Fairborn.

The affidavits that were submitted questioned whether or not there was enough to prosecute him on charges related to inducing violence, inducing panic, involuntary manslaughter and reckless homicide — all of which were dismissed as not having enough probable cause.

Whether Ritchie will actually be charged with a crime is not certain at this point. A judge also ruled that there was probable cause to prosecute the police officers that murdered Tamir Rice. However, Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Timothy McGinty refused to file those charges and instead used a rigged grand jury presentation to clear Officer Timothy Loehmann and Frank Garmback.

Of course, Ritchie doesn’t have one of those magical uniforms that renders people impervious to criminal penalties beyond a theatrically delivered slap on the wrist. Ritchie also would make for a pretty good scapegoat to pin all of the blame on and deflect it from the cops that actually killed Crawford.

So he may actually be in for a much rougher ride than those Heroes that murdered a twelve year old in Cleveland.

Walmart Surveillance Video Of John Crawford Murder

Ronald T. Ritchie’s “Prank” 911 Call That Led to John Crawford Shooting

Ronald T. Ritchie’s Police Interview After John Crawford Shooting

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Video Shows Police in Riverside CA Beating Defenseless Man at Walmart

Walmart BeatingResidents of the Los Angeles suburb of Riverside recently captured video footage of police brutally beating a homeless man for no apparent reason. The man being beaten is clearly no threat to the much larger, healthier and violence-versed officers. Yet that doesn’t prevent them from hitting, elbowing, kneeing and kicking the man as he pleads with them to stop.
What most people hear to be cries for mercy and compassion, police hear as an invitation to bullets, fists, brutality and a bit of the old Ultra Violence. What most people see as a weak and helpless man, police see as a jungle gym for playing the most sadistic boyhood bully games.



How much longer must we endure this blatant thuggery? How much longer will people wait quietly in the shadows before they cannot take any more? Avoiding the violent revolution that police states historically tend to lead to will depend on acting immediately within our communities to radically redesign public safety and protection. If sensible heads do not work now to challenge the status quo, then a critical mass will eventually occur in which less thougtful and charitable heads will prevail.

The alarms are going off all around you. It is time to wake up while it is still your choice to do so. Failure to act now will result in an overreaction later. Help restore sensible humanity before it is too late!
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Filming The Police in Dothan, AL: Cameras Are an Effective Deterrent to Police Abuses

This is a repost of an article originally published on the SouthEast Alabama Cop Block website, which discusses some of the many reasons why it’s always good to film the police, whether it be during your own personal interaction with the cops or when you see others being detained by them for some reason.

Dothan, Al: A Camera Can Be a Great Deterrent

FTP Film The PoliceTonight SouthEast Alabama Cop Block was able to capture some video of Dothan Police Officers making contact with four people. It was relatively uneventful, but I want to point out the possibility that the presence of an uninvolved third party recording the stop may have prevented a much worse turn of events.

My wife and I were driving on Hwy 231 south in Dothan when a Dothan Police car passed us at a very high speed. The car pulled into Walmart a short distance away and zoomed over to an area of the parking lot where blue lights were flashing.

We pulled into Walmart and parked. Although we parked at least 50 yards away, immediately upon exiting our vehicle we were able to hear a cop yelling and cursing “Don’t tell me how to do my job or you’ll go to jail tonight smart ass!”.

SEAlaCopBlockLogoI quickly put on my SouthEast Alabama Cop Block press badge, grabbed the camera, and fired up UStream. I could see they were frisking one young man as I started filming. As soon as I was visible, the cops on the scene lowered their voices. I saw them point toward me and continue to talk to four young people that they had detained. Two of the four waved at me and I waved back. It was only a moment before one of the cops approached me. As you hear in the video, I immediately informed the officer that I was broadcasting live onto the internet, would not answer any questions without my attorney present, and that I did wish to speak with him. He asked if I was the person who had called the cops while he studied the press badge hanging from my neck. (How likely would THAT be?) When I let him know I was not he stepped away. Seconds later, they released the young people they had been detaining and left.

If You See something Film SomethingThe four people came toward me when the cops left and thanked me for filming. They said the cops had made some excuse about the car that they were driving matching the description of a stolen vehicle. They also noted that the cops were being very loud and rude to them until they realized that they were being filmed. They thanked me profusely and said that they wished more people would do what I did. I asked them to pay it forward and film the next cop that they saw making contact with a potential victim.

What could have happened? Cops being belligerent to a group of young people late Friday night, early Saturday morning? It could have been the start of what some local area readers have described to us as “the push game”. Cops yelling, cursing, getting physical and waiting for the victim to make some mistake that they can charge them with. “Jess” commented on a previous story we published saying:

“I’ve encountered several problems with Dothan police playing the “push” game. In this game, they “push” with aggressive or bizarre behavior and wait for the intended victim to “push back” in word or deed. Then they employ overwhelming force.”

Perhaps the fact that these four stayed calm and that someone was nearby to provide impartial documentation was enough to prevent another tragic loss of life, limb or property.

It wasn’t a perfect contact. I should have asked for a name and badge number. I won’t forget next time!

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