Blog Archives

Shot In The Back: When can police fire on fleeing suspects? – Chicago Sun Times

CHICAGO — In decades past, police officers who shot suspects as they ran away were more likely to expect praise than criminal charges. And while the legal landscape and public opinion have shifted in recent years, it’s never a certainty that such shootings will result in officer indictments.

Prosecutors moved quickly to charge a white officer with criminal homicide Wednesday in last week’s death of an unarmed black teenager who was shot in the back while fleeing a traffic stop near Pittsburgh. In Georgia, another white police officer accused of fatally shooting a black man who was running away was fired and jailed.

In two other fatal police shootings — on Monday in Galveston, Texas, and on Saturday in Minneapolis — it remains to be seen whether charges will come. Those shootings also involved people who were running away.

A look at some of the history and legal principles behind such cases:

via Shot in the back: When can police fire on fleeing suspects? — Chicago Sun-Times

Former Tulsa Sheriff Found Guilty Of Violating Elliott Williams’ Civil Rights

Does the name Stanley Glanz ring a bell?  What about the names Eric Harris and Robert Bates?

Robert Bates was a Tulsa, Oklahoma reserve deputy when he was part of a sting operation.  Bates fatally shot unarmed Eric Harris, and said that he mistook his gun for his taser. Eric was restrained when Bates shot him.

On April 2, 2015, a jury found Bates guilty of second-degree manslaughter.  He was sentenced to 4 years in prison.  After serving 497 days, the 76-year-old Bates was released from the North Fork Correctional Center.  He will serve probation for the remainder of his sentence.

In March 2018, Tulsa County agreed to pay a $6 million settlement to Eric Harris estate’s excessive force lawsuit. If you would like to read more about that case and Bate’s trial, please click this link.

Former Tulsa, OK Sheriff Stanley Glanz

So, who is Stanley Glanz?  Glanz was Sheriff of Tulsa.  Eric Harris’ death uncovered a law enforcement agency in disarray.  Glanz and Bates were fishing buddies.  In September 2015, Glanz was indicted for failing to release a 2009 internal report that raised serious concerns about Bates’ ability to do his job. Glanz eventually pleaded no contest and was sentenced to a year of jail time, which was suspended.

Glanz was also named as a defendant in a civil suit filed by the family of Elliott Williams.  Elliott Williams, 37 years old and a veteran, was taken to the Tulsa jail in October 2011 after being arrested in Owasso in the lobby of a Marriott hotel for misdemeanor obstruction of a police officer. Rather than going through the jail’s screening process, Elliott was taken directly to a holding cell.

Shortly after being placed in the cell, Elliott rammed his head into the door and fell to the ground.  An inmate seeing what happened called for help, and Elliott told detention officers he had broken his neck and couldn’t move.

Detention officers did nothing.  Elliott died at the Tulsa Jail on Oct. 27, 2011, after living on the floor of his cell for five days with a broken neck. He was unable to reach food or water. The jail did not send him to the hospital or provide treatment because nurses and the psychiatrist said he was faking paralysis.

Elliott’s family filed a civil lawsuit in 2012.  In 2016, a federal court ruled that the case could proceed.  At trial, former Sheriff Stanley Glanz testified that Elliott didn’t undergo a mental health assessment upon his arrival at the Tulsa Jail because he was “acting up.”  He told jurors that because of Elliott Williams’ behavior, he didn’t have a problem with him not being evaluated.

Glanz also defended his use of racial slurs, saying that they were used by the FBI in written reports in the 1960’s.

Asked how often inmates fail to go through the booking process and lay in their own feces for 10 hours while yelling for help, Glanz responded that it happens “two to three times a week in that facility.” He stated that many are intoxicated and some of the jail staff believed that Elliott was intoxicated.

Joshua Lanter, who oversees the Tulsa branch of the state Medical Examiner’s Office, also testified at the civil trial.  He told jurors that no one at the Sheriff’s Office informed him of Elliott’s complaints of a broken neck and paralysis before his initial autopsy. Read the rest of this entry

Chicago Police Officer Marco Proano Sentenced To 5 Years for Violating Civil Rights

In August, Chicago police officer Marco Proano was found guilty on two felony federal charges of violating victim’s civil rights.  I reported the trial at this link.

Proano’s sentencing took place on November 20, 2017.  He was looking at 10 years.  Prosecutors asked the judge for 8 years.  On Monday, federal district court Judge Feinerman sentenced the 42-year old Proano to 5 years in prison for his use of unreasonable force in an on-duty shooting that wounded two teenagers four years ago.

Officer Marco Proano fired 16 shots in nine seconds at a stolen Toyota Avalon full of teenagers in Chicago on  December 2013. The shooting was caught on camera, and jurors took less than four hours to find him guilty in August of two civil rights violations. Assistant U.S. Attorney Georgia Alexakis argued that Proano “could have killed each and every one of those passengers.” Read the rest of this entry

Kaepernick, Black Lives Matter, and Trigger Happy Cops

I can barely keep up with the names and the cities and states where it happened — nor the numbers which appear to increase weekly.

Blissfully Single

So I haven’t written a new blog post in a minute (or maybe more), but I’m so damn tired of so many white Americans losing their shit over a pro-football player taking a stand against oppression of people of color in this country, and yet the same people turn a blind eye when yet another killing of a black, or Latino, or Native, occurs. Honest to God people, wake up!

I don’t even know the name of the latest victim of a trigger happy cop. I know that he had his hands up the entire time. I know that he presented zero risk to the cop. I also know, considering how other cases like this have gone in the past couple of years, that said cop will be placed on paid leave (paid vacation), and that there will almost certainly be no charges file. If there are charges filed, the…

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St. Louis Detective and Prosecutor Sentenced By Federal Court

Let’s see if we can figure this out, and why it takes digging into several media sources to get all of the details.  Seriously, my research about this case took me back to July 2014, and online news sources St. Louis Today, Fox news, and the Washington Times.

On July 22, 2014, St. Louis, MO police detective Thomas A. Carroll assaulted handcuffed suspect, Michael Waller.  He didn’t report it to superiors and assisted in filing charges against Waller.

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Thomas A. Carroll (photo by J.B. Forbes)

After 25 years on the job, Carroll was suspended without pay in late July 2014 amid ongoing criminal and internal investigations that is said to have involved the FBI.  Subsequently, Carroll retired.  Internal affairs charged Carroll with failure to follow an order.

Michael Waller was charged on July 23, 2014 with receiving stolen property and fraudulent use of a credit card, along with an escape charge relative to resisting arrest.  He was allegedly in possession of a stolen credit card that belonged to Carroll’s daughter.  His booking photo shows that he had a black-eye.

Two St. Louis prosecutors, Bliss Worrell and Katherine Dierdorf, were forced to leave their jobs because of their knowledge of events, and the circumstances related to charging Waller.  There was investigation that Carroll was giving prosecutors unauthorized ride-alongs that included allowing them to use his taser on suspects.  The same day that Worrell and Dierdorf left their jobs, the charges against Waller were dismissed. Read the rest of this entry

Three Former Augusta Georgia Correctional Officers Indicted For Civil Rights Violation

Former Augusta, George State Medical Prison correctional officers John Williams, Antonio Binns, and Justin Washington, have been charged with a civil rights violation.  The indictment alleges that on February 13, 2014, the three assaulted an inmate, known in the case as “C.V.” while he was handcuffed behind his back.   Binns and Washington were also indicted for one count of obstruction of justice for allegedly writing false reports to cover-up the assault.

According to the Augusta Chronicle, bonds of $20,000 were set for Williams and Washington, and a $30,000 bond was set for Binns.  Binns’ bond will be lowered to $20,000 if he loses his job, according to court documents.

Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta, head of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division; U.S. Attorney Edward J. Tarver of the Southern District of Georgia and Special Agent in Charge J. Britt Johnson of the FBI’s Atlanta Division made the announcement.

If convicted of the civil rights charge, each defendant faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison.  The obstruction of justice counts carry a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. Read the rest of this entry

Mamou, Louisiana Police Chief Sentenced For Violating Civil Rights

Robert-McGee-Facebook-300x148Robert McGee, former Mamou Police Chief, has been sentenced to one year and a day in prison, and one year of supervised release, for tasing a non-combatant inmate. The case is the result of a federal investigation that extended from the 2015 civil rights conviction of former Mamou Police Chief Gregory Dupuis for use of excessive force on inmates at the Mamou jail. McGee, who was elected Mamou police chief after the incident involving Dupuis, resigned his position as chief on Oct. 8, 2015, as a result of the federal investigation.

The incident that McGee was sentenced for occurred in 2010.

U.S. District Judge Richard T. Haik Sr. sentenced McGee.

The federal bureau of investigation reports:

“According to evidence presented at McGee’s October 13, 2015 plea hearing, McGee went to the jail on Aug. 6, 2010, to deal with an inmate who had been verbally, but not physically, disruptive.  McGee engaged the inmate in conversation as a second officer unlocked the cell.  After the cell door was opened, McGee pointed his taser at the inmate and discharged his taser into the inmate’s chest and abdomen area, even though the inmate was compliant and made no aggressive moves toward the officers or any other person.  The five-second electric shock caused the inmate to fall against the wall of the cell and experience physical pain.  At his plea hearing, McGee admitted that he knew at the time that his actions were unlawful. “

Read the rest of this entry

Round And Round The Story Goes

Dom, your words not only express your talent, but the power in which you use them.

Black and Write

Round and round the story goes

One that’s as old as time

Where it stops nobody knows

Causing tensions to climb

These 50 odd years since civil rights

Have made so little change

Hatred between black and white

Festers like the mange

Fear of lynching may have passed

But fear exists no less

While walking the street they’re still harassed

No matter how finely dressed

Ask Sandra Bland or Michael Brown

Oh wait they cannot speak

Too many names buried in the ground

The future seems so bleak

Justify and deny all you wish

Your blindness it won’t erase

200 years by chains and switch

Like animals kept in place

Nothing has changed in modern day

Ask Eric, Tamir or Trayvon

It matters not what any of us say

Because either way they’re gone

~~ Dominic R. DiFrancesco ~~

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We’ve Got To Find A Way

 

This week, we shall continue following the trial of Randall (Wes) Kerrick, charged with voluntary manslaughter in the killing of unarmed Jonathan Ferrell.

Feel free to use this post for open discussion on any topic.

 

Julian Bond, civil rights leader and former NAACP chairman, dies at 75

May he rest in peace.

The Fifth Column

Julian Bond died Saturday night after a brief illness in Fort Walton Beach, Florida. CNN Screenshot: Julian Bond died Saturday night after a brief illness in Fort Walton Beach, Florida.

CNN

Julian Bond, a civil rights leader and former board chairman of the NAACP, has died. He was 75.

Bond died Saturday night after a brief illness in Fort Walton Beach, Florida, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center, which he served as founding president in the 1970s.

The Tennessee native was on the forefront of the 1960s civil rights movement, and was among activists who protested for equal rights for African-Americans.

“With Julian’s passing, the country has lost one of its most passionate and eloquent voices for the cause of justice,” said Morris Dees, co-founder of the SPLU, a legal advocacy group that specializes in civil rights.

Bond’s civil rights activism went beyond the United States.

In 1985, police arrested him outside the South African Embassy, where he was protesting against apartheid, the…

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Lawsuit Cites Report That 20 Percent of Guns Recovered At Crime Scenes in Chicago Are Purchased Outside of Chicago

With Illinois conceal carry going into effect, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel was faced with federal lawsuits from gun activists because Chicago had banned businesses from selling guns and ammunition within its borders. In 2014, a federal court decided that the city failed to prove that banning the sale of guns by licensed dealers was necessary to reduce gun violence. Still, some gun dealers say that Chicago has ordinances that require them jump through hoops.

Illinois doesn’t license and regulate gun dealers. The state leaves it up to municipalities to regulate gun stores doing business in their towns. For example, Chicago can have different regulations for gun shops located in Chicago than Cicero, Peoria, Lyons, etc.  One town requires that gun dealers be licensed by the federal government.

When straw purchasers are identified and denied sales in Chicago, they can drive the Illinois highways to other towns until they find a gun shop that will sell to them.

Dan Gross

Dan Gross, president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, left, and the Rev. Michael Pfleger attend the Stop Bad Apple Gun Dealers protest at Chuck’s Gun Shop on June 6, 2015, in Riverdale. (Jeff Schear, Getty Images)

Reverend Michael Pfleger and Dan Gross, president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, announced that many of the guns recovered from Chicago crime scenes came from stores located in Lincolnwood, Lyons, and Riverdale, Illinois. Today, a lawsuit was filed by Lawyers for the Coalition for Safe Chicago Communities against the aforementioned Chicago suburban villages for their failure to regulate gun shops. Read the rest of this entry

Three Years – Remembering Trayvon Martin

Racerrodig asked that I open a thread so people can share remembrance and their thoughts on how we heard about the death of Trayvon Martin. He also suggested that we discuss how it affects us and what we do to make relations better. Thank you, Racerodig, for your willingness to share with others.

130711_POL_TrayvonRallies.jpg.CROP.rectangle3-largeIt’s not often that I write opinion or editorial pieces, but today I’m compelled to do so in remembering Trayvon. The announcement by the Department of Justice was not limited to not charging George Zimmerman with violating Trayvon’s civil rights. The announcement included more, and I would like to address that.

In its written announcement, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder wrote:

“The death of Trayvon Martin was a devastating tragedy.  It shook an entire community, drew the attention of millions across the nation, and sparked a painful but necessary dialogue throughout the country,” said Attorney General Eric Holder.  “Though a comprehensive investigation found that the high standard for a federal hate crime prosecution cannot be met under the circumstances here, this young man’s premature death necessitates that we continue the dialogue and be unafraid of confronting the issues and tensions his passing brought to the surface.  We, as a nation, must take concrete steps to ensure that such incidents do not occur in the future.”

Many of us have experienced that anyone who participates in the necessary dialogue is targeted for destruction by a small group of individuals who believe there is a conspiracy which they call the “BGI.” No one has been destroyed however, and all of their efforts have not stopped the necessary dialogue. The best dialogue I’ve witnessed has taken place on this blog respectfully, and between diverse people.   Some of us even have diverse spiritual beliefs, but all of them are based on doing no harm, respecting life, and promoting equality for all regardless of race, gender, sexual preference, age.   Read the rest of this entry

Injustice in Ferguson Missouri Simply Explained

This is the face of a killer

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Darren Wilson

This is the killer’s accomplice

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Robert McCullouch

These are their victims

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contop

WCTV Reports On A Cyber-Harrassing Blogger

We’ve seen it over and over again. When law enforcement releases information to the media, written autopsy reports are included, but never autopsy photos. We get the drawings of a body showing wounds, but not actual photos. At trial is where the autopsy photos are shown to the jury. When those trials are live-streamed, the public seldom sees the autopsy photos because they are not nice. Medical examiners explain the autopsy. The photos are not left to the opinions of lay people.

That however, did not stop a blogger from not only obtaining autopsy photos, but also giving her opinion about what they show and challenging the mother of the dead teen to prove her wrong.

The video on the link for WCTV reports that they reached out to the blogger, but have not received a response. I urge you to watch the video. It includes an interview with Kendrick’s mom. Jackie Johnston, Kendrick’s mom, told WCTV that she blocked the person with the blog on Twitter after constant harassment, and doesn’t know why the person is attacking her family. Maybe Blackbutterfly7 can tell her why.

17-year old Kendrick Johnson was found dead on January 11, 2013, in the Lowndes High School gymnasium in the State of Georgia. His body was rolled up in a gym mat. A preliminary investigation and autopsy concluded that the death was accidental. Johnson’s family had a private pathologist conduct another autopsy which concluded that Kendrick died from blunt force trauma. Most people first hearing about the case, and seeing the photos of the gym and the mats, realized that Kendrick’s body could not “fall” into a tightly rolled up gym mat that was closely placed beside other gym mats.

WCTV reports:

“Valdosta, GA – On January 14th 2013, three days after Kendrick Johnson was found inside a rolled up gym mat at Lowndes High School, the Georgia Bureau of Investigations did an autopsy on the teen’s body. Jackie Johnson says last Thursday, those autopsy reports showed up on the website Re-News it, a blog that anonymously posts evidence and theories on national stories, what else they found, came as a shock.”

photo 21It’s only anonymous to those who have not been harassed and threatened by the cyber-extortionist cult. The blogger is Vicki Pate, sometimes spelled “Viki Pate” and on Twitter, now spelled “Vickie Pate.”

Pate got the autopsy photos and claimed that attorney Benjamin Crump lied about the independent autopsy. She is associated with others who publicly announce their mission against the Black Grievance Industry, which they refer to as the “BGI.” Read the rest of this entry

Speedy Trial – Speedy Verdict for New Mexico Sheriff Charged With Civil Rights Violations

Rodella

Sheriff Tommy Rodella

Tommy Rodella and his son, Tommy Rodella, Jr., were indicted on federal charges of conspiracy to violate civil rights, deprivation of rights, brandishing a firearm, and falsifying police documents. Tommy Rodella is Sheriff for Rio Arriba County in New Mexico.

FBI agents arrested the Rodella’s for their role in a March 11th confrontation that left the driver injured.

In August 2014, they pled not guilty.

The four count indictment alleges that Rodella was driving his personal vehicle when he engaged in a high-speed pursuit and unreasonable seizure of the driver who is identified in documents as “M.T.” Rodella was accused of dragging the driver from his car, and throwing him down in the dirt. Rodella’s son told the driver that his father is the sheriff. M.T. asked to see his badge. Documents state that Rodella then pulled the driver’s head from the dirt by his hair, then slammed his badge into M.T.’s right cheek and eye. Read the rest of this entry

DOJ Investigation Of Ferguson Police Department

On August 29, 2014, I wrote that when searching for a copy of the $40 million lawsuit filed against the Ferguson, MO police department, that I discovered other lawsuits that name various Ferguson police officers as defendants. In that post, I also wrote that the U.S. Department of Justice has a division to receive and investigate complaints against law enforcement who violate civil rights under color and claim of official right. Considering that some citizens of Ferguson stated that no private attorney was willing to go against Ferguson, it was my opinion that their only option was to file complaints with the DOJ’s Civil Rights Division.

Eric HolderToday, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder held a press conference announcing that the Department of Justice has opened an investigation into the Ferguson police department. The video is below. Please note that he says the investigation includes if the Ferguson police department has violated the constitution and/or federal law.   Those are two different things under the DOJ. Read the rest of this entry

Something to think about …….

Preach it!!!

It Is What It Is

~~April 30, 2014~~

“This concept is lost on some people. Such a shame!”

“My Father once said ‘It doesn’t matter how rich or famous, powerful or clever, connected or religious you are, you all end up in the same graveyard as the rest of us.”

“Message received. I hope this message is received by millions. It’s incomprehensible that there continues to be prejudice and judgmental people. Wake up people!! We’re all equal beings!”

” Making ‘something of your life’ is as much a personal thing as your color, sexuality, race, origins, etc. No one has any right to judge. As far as I’m concerned, it’s not what you do but who you are that is important. We need to have a great but undistinguished life.”

The point is …. we are all made the same on the inside & out. Our organs, muscles, tissue are ALL … in the same…

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The Perfect Storm

We’ve come so far but have so much further to go.  There might never be a time when people don’t hate, but those of us who do not have to drown out words of hate with actions of love.  Thanks for being a doer of peace and love.

idealisticrebel

animated.LoveYou

In the sixties, there was a perfect storm of hatred and violence and passionate pacifism. Folk singers like Peter, Paul and Mary, Pete Seger and Joan Baez sang the songs that started the fire that crossed America to get the Vietnam War ended. Hearts were set afire with music, poetry, sit-ins and marches. We watched the boys we knew going off to the war. There was a draft and I can remember sitting at the dinner table and listening for the numbers to be selected. You knew the numbers of your family and friends. The silence that would envelope a family when a son’s number was called was so opaque you could cut it with a knife. In addition to this being held like a human sacrifice by a Pagan world, some of these men fled and went to Canada. Very few returned, even when all was forgiven.

Thanks to…

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Prosecuting Hate Crimes

(This article quotes George Zimmerman’s profanity that he stated in his call to police on the evening of February 26, 2012.)

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Benjamin B. Wagner, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of California

“Crimes motivated by hatred, whether directed at the victim because of that person’s actual or perceived race, ethnicity, religion, or sexual orientation, can have a disproportionate impact on communities and pose unique challenges for investigators and prosecutors. Understanding those challenges is critical to effectively preventing and prosecuting hate crimes.” From: Unique Approaches for a Unique Type of Crime: Prosecuting Hate Crimes, Benjamin B. Wagner, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of California

One night in June of this year, I was up late and decided to see if there were any good movies on television.  There weren’t, so I went to On Demand for premium channels and found a movie titled “Blind Faith” on Showtime.   Turns out that there are several movies with that title, but the one I watched stars Charles S. Dutton, Courtney B. Vance, and Lonette McKee.   The plot advertised for the movie does not give it due justice.   Some might mistake the word “faith” for “religion.”  This movie is not about religion.  It’s a film about prejudices – prejudices between Irish and Italians, Blacks and Whites, straights and homosexuals, artists and traditional careers.  And, it all plays out in circumstances BlindFaith-PosterArtsurrounding a death penalty murder trial.

Courtney B. Vance plays the character of an attorney, and the movie begins with him waiting on the verdict in a murder trial, in present day.  He then takes us back to 1957 and forward again.  The message that biased juries convict innocent Black defendants, and acquit guilty White defendants, caught my attention.  The movie ended with people marching while chanting “No justice.  No peace.” I could have sworn that it was released in 2012.  I did not know it was released in 1998.  Here we are in 2013, and the struggles for equality brought out in “Blind Faith” are still with us.

I saw this movie right around the time when jury selection began in the George Zimmerman case.  It was prophetic.   Two days after the verdict, Juror B37 confirmed that the George Zimmerman jury was biased and conniving. Read the rest of this entry

Five Years, But Couple Pleaded Guilty To Violating Civil Rights

On August 28, 2013, the U.S. Department of Justice for the Western District of Missouri announced that an Independence, MO man and woman pleaded guilty in federal court to violating the civil rights of an African-American family by setting fire to their residence.

Missouri Couple

Logan J. Smith, and Victoria A. Cheek-Herrera

Logan J. Smith, 25, and Victoria A. Cheek-Herrera, 34, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Brian C. Wimes to one court of conspiring to threaten and intimidate a family from exercising their constitutional right to reside in their home because of their race or color, and one count of civil rights violation for committing a racially motivated arson.

Smith waived his right to a grand jury indictment and pleaded guilty to a two-count information.   Cheek-Herrera pleaded guilty to two of three counts charged in an indictment returned by the grand jury on May 23, 2013. Read the rest of this entry

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