Some Mildly Good News

There’s one less predator on the streets in Chicago:

A jury in Cook County, Illinois, has found white Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke, who shot and killed black 17-year-old Laquan McDonald in 2014, guilty of second-degree murder.

The jurors also convicted Van Dyke on 16 counts of aggravated battery with a firearm. He was found not guilty of a charge of misconduct in office.

There is no mandatory sentence for second-degree murder in Illinois, but each count of aggravated battery with a firearm can bring a sentence of 6 to 30 years—which means Van Dyke could potentially face 480 years behind bars. After the verdict was announced, the judge revoked the officer’s bail, and Van Dyke was taken into custody.

Good. Hopefully he will serve a couple of years before the new reich wing Supreme Court overturns his conviction.








Our Sterling Folks In Blue

This has been much discussed, but not here:

a Dallas police officer will be facing manslaughter charges after shot and killed a 26-year-old man in his own apartment. The officer, who has not been identified, thought she had gone into her own apartment when she had actually gone into her neighbor’s home and apparently thought he was an intruder.

The strange series of events unfolded Thursday night, when the white patrol officer went into her apartment building after working a full shift. The officer, who was still wearing her police uniform, for some reason tried to go into her neighbor’s apartment rather than her own. That’s when she saw her neighbor, 26-year-old Botham Shem Jean, and shot him.

The cop, still unnamed, because the blue line is a thing, called in the shooting, but was not immediately questioned, because, as I may have said recently, the blue line is a thing.

The man she killed, who was black, cannot, of course, speak for himself.  This is the inadequate-because-words-are-always-inadequate gloss on who his family lost:

Jean, a native of Saint Lucia, was a graduate of Harding University in Arkansas and was an employee at PricewaterhouseCoopers in Dallas. He was known as a worship leader at the university, where officials mourned his death at chapel services Friday. “The entire Harding family grieves today for the loss of Botham Jean, who has meant so very much to us. Please join us in praying for Botham’s friends and family,” the university said in a statement.

At this moment, it’s impossible to say how the unnamed officer made her mistake, or even if it was a mistake.  If this cop really did not know where she was, that leads to the next question: what kind of training makes the first response to a surprise a leap to irrevocable deadly violence?

What does the Dallas police department teach its people, and if this wasn’t that — what was this cop doing on the job?

That is: the person directly responsible for what looks like the cold-blooded murder of an unarmed citizen in his own home is the one who pulled the trigger. But behind that catastrophic act lies a whole mental infrastructure built around the holy gun.  The impulse to solve a problem with a bullet isn’t innate: it’s learned and cultivated.

By a death cult.

Image: Giusseppe Arcimboldo, Fire, 1566








Fighting Fascists Open Thread: The Weekend Portland Protest

I couldn’t figure out why the “Proud Flesh Bois” and their “Patriot Prey-er” buddies picked last weekend for their cosplay riot, until I found this Daily Beast article by Corey Pein:

Hundreds of armed supporters of President Donald Trump, led by a fringe Republican congressional candidate, marched on Saturday, leaving blood from scattered street fights in their wake.

Ostensibly a campaign event for long-shot U.S. Senate hopeful Joey Gibson, members of his group Patriot Prayer urged the president to lock up his political opponents, including Hillary Clinton, and promised violent retribution for anyone who threatened their right to “free speech” or armed self-defense. Groups of Trump supporters swarmed through the streets, singling out people of color to fight, some of whom appeared to belong to small vigilante squads of local anti-fascists, as well as others who appeared to be mere passersby. Police announced four arrests, but gave no estimate of injuries.

Extremist group watchdogs such as the Southern Poverty Law Center warned ahead of the event that it could turn into “another Charlottesville.” It did not, but only in the sense that no one was killed. Such warnings, prompted by Gibson’s provocations, put all eyes on the rally…

His supporters flocked from around the West Coast and the country, a contingent of Proud Boys, “Three Percenter” militia members, Trump-supporting bikers, fundamentalist Christians, and college Republicans. Gibson had insinuated that his supporters would bring guns into the city and many apparently did, although to comply with local ordinances, the weapons stayed stowed in backpacks…

Per the local Oregonian, today:

A traumatic brain injury. Third-degree chemical burns. Open wounds.

At least three people who gathered to protest a rally by right-wing group Patriot Prayer were hospitalized Saturday because of injuries sustained from crowd-control munitions fired by Portland police, according to activists, counter-protest organizers and a media report.

The city’s police chief, Danielle Outlaw, on Monday offered her most passionate defense yet of officer tactics used to keep the rival poetical factions apart.

Police succeeded in preventing violent clashes between armed demonstrators that many had feared, she said…

“It was going to be a very rowdy, physically violent ruckus and it was not that because of the actions that the officers took,” Outlaw said…


Read more



This is a Lynching

This video is disturbing, as it is two Louisiana cops murdering a man because he asked to see an arrest warrant when told he was under arrest:

I’m sure you will not be surprised to learn the police were not charged.



Shitty Cops Abuse Power on Behalf of Garbage President

Remember earlier this month when Stormy Daniels got busted on misdemeanor vice charges in Columbus, Ohio? (Yeah, it seems like a year ago to me too.) The charges against Daniels were soon dropped, and she donated her tips from the night to the two local strippers who were arrested along with her, which makes Stormy Daniels a classier act than every adult Trump and all their supporters, combined and multiplied by infinity.

Soon thereafter, the city attorney announced that the office had dismissed the charges against the other two dancers and would no longer waste the district’s time with stupid charges like those on which Daniels was arrested. As many of us noted here at the time, the incident reeked of a politically motivated hit.

The vice squad initially claimed Daniels had been arrested during a human trafficking and prostitution undercover operation — she wasn’t targeted, they said, but rather just happened to be in a club that was under investigation. Columbus Police Department emails from a whistle-blower that were published yesterday seem to expose that story as a big fat lie.

The emails seem to show that lead arresting officer, Detective Shana Keckley, planned the bust well in advance of Daniels’ arrival. Days before Daniels came to town, the cop sent photos of Daniels and Trump from her home email account to her work email as well as a map of the club where Daniels would be performing. After the bust, she crowed about the national attention and exchanged email high-fives with other cops, asking one to not mention her (Keckley’s) name on Facebook.

Via the Fayette Advocate, which has posted copies of the emails:

“I got the elements….we arrested Stormy this morning, she is in jail.” (“Elements” are the burden police officers must meet in order to make an arrest.)

In another email dated on July 12 at 3:50 a.m., Keckley writes to another police officer bragging about Daniel’s arrest — without mentioning her by name — saying, “You’re Welcome!!!!!….Thank me in person later.”

Keckley went on to send additional emails, including one to Shane Keckley — purportedly her husband — writing, “It is all over CNN. I wanted you to know before everyone contacts you.”

Most cops are Republicans, and in the age of Trump, most Republicans are willing to disbelieve their own eyes and ears in their cult-like devotion to Trump. It wouldn’t be surprising if such devotion is even stronger among cops since Trump has gone out of his way to valorize the police and reinforce their biases.

A central ritual of Trump’s ongoing campaign rallies is a chant to jail a retired public servant who has been thoroughly investigated and cleared of criminal wrongdoing. Trump routinely abuses his office to demand that the Department of Justice disregard due process and pursue political vendettas on his behalf. So it’s also not surprising that his staunchest followers would heed that call to abuse power when a Trump nemesis happens to enter their jurisdiction.

After the charges against Daniels were dropped, the CPD tweeted a statement from the chief:

These emails should serve as Exhibit A in the investigations into the officers’ motives, and if it’s the political hit job it appears to be, the officers involved should be fired.

This story isn’t getting much attention. The charges were dropped. Daniels is in the adult film business. Everyone already knows Trump is a degenerate, so even stories with a salacious element that are linked directly to Trump have a “dog bites man” quality. But this story is especially chilling because of the flagrant abuse of power in the service of partisan politics.

We’ve heard a lot about stochastic terrorism over the past few years — the incitement of random violence via public demonization. What the Columbus cops did seems to be a species of stochastic fascism. We’ll find out soon enough if that sort of freelance oppression is allowed to stand.

PS: The lead cop in this politically motivated arrest is named Shana Michelle Keckley. Her husband, also a CPD cop, is named Shane Michael Keckley. That’s kinda weird, isn’t it? Has anyone ever seen them in the same room at the same time?



Floriduh! Woman and Man: All That Glitter is not Gold Edition

Miami Herald take it away (emphasis mine)!

Miami-Dade police is on the hook for legal bills after cops illegally seized a cache of guns — and nearly $20,000 in stripper cash.

The department has agreed to pay more than $3,000 to defense lawyers hired by Ras Cates, 33, and his wife, Lizmixell Batista, a 20-year-old stripper at Cheetah Gentleman’s Club in Hallandale Beach.

Presumably, the legal bills won’t be paid in singles.

Back on May 15, an officer pulled over Cates and Batista, his passenger, when their car cut off a patrol car in Miami’s West Little River neighborhood. From the car, patrol officers seized six guns, three of them assault-style rifles, plus the cash, suspected marijuana oil and several bottles of powerful codeine cough syrup without a valid prescription.

Miami-Dade police touted the arrest to a local TV station, showing off photos of the guns. “It’s amazing how something as simple as a traffic stop can lead us to crack a lot of cases,” a police spokesman told WFOR-CBS4. “A lot of serial killers are behind bars because of traffic stops.”

The couple was charged with armed drug dealing, among other felony charges. But defense lawyers immediately challenged the arrest.

“What is most disturbing is that immediately following the arrest, the department went on TV and engaged in incendiary speculation without knowing the facts or even acknowledging the rampant violations of my clients’ constitutional rights,” said defense attorney Jude Faccidomo.

Faced with defense evidence, prosecutors moved quickly to dismiss the case.

Cates told cops he legally owned the weapons, and also had a valid concealed-weapons permit. His story checked out. And body-camera footage showed that an officer, while friendly with Cates, never got permission to search the trunk but instead “commanded defendant to pop the trunk,” prosecutors wrote.

“Search of the trunk was illegal,” prosecutor Johnathan Nobile said in a memo explaining why the state declined to press charges.

Who possessed the drugs or possibly illegal codeine syrup was never clear either, prosecutors said. Neither Cates nor Batista admitted who owned the marijuana. And whether the syrup was actually codeine was also unclear — Miami-Dade police never took the liquid to the forensics lab for testing.

Lawyers for Cates are still trying to get the guns back.

As for the money, the bills were discovered in Batista’s purse. Body-camera footage obtained by the Miami Herald showed she immediately told cops about her cash-only job. “I was supposed to go the bank to deposit the money. We got bills to pay, sweetie,” she told police.

The Miami-Dade police department’s legal bureau, suspecting it was dope money, asked a civil-court judge to allow the department to keep the $19,934 seized in the car. The department said a Miami-Dade police dog, Roxie, alerted that the cash had been “in close proximity” to large amounts of narcotics.

But at the hearing, a fellow stripper named Haley Heath testified that her friend, Batista, earned “significant cash tips” at the Cheetah club.

“I felt that the glitter on the seized cash was compelling evidence, but apparently the police department disagreed,” said defense lawyer Faccidomo.

Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Rodney Smith agreed there was no probable cause for the seizure and ordered the money returning to the couple.

This is my favorite part:

“I felt that the glitter on the seized cash was compelling evidence, but apparently the police department disagreed,” said defense lawyer Faccidomo.

Ya think?

Stay supple!

Open thread.

 



Suddenly, The Picadors Despise Bullfights

I don’t know if Andrew McCabe was a shining beacon of apolitical law enforcement in the FBI, and it sure looks like a dick move to fire him a day before he could collect a full pension, but this part of his statement made me roll my eyes:

[…] The big picture is a tale of what can happen when law enforcement is politicized, public servants are attacked, and people who are supposed to cherish and protect our institutions become instruments for damaging those institutions and people.

The FBI has always been at least a somewhat politicized institution, and their role in the 2016 election from the top down was to damage Hillary Clinton. My guess is that Comey’s memo and the New York field office’s leaks were probably more calculated to weaken the inevitable Clinton presidency than they were to elect Trump, but who knows. All I know is that these guys wanted to play a high-stakes game and now they’re getting fucked. I can’t muster a hell of a lot of sympathy for them, since their actions had some really shitty consequences for all of us.