Long Read: “How Being Wrongly Pegged as the Dallas Cop Sniper Changed Mark Hughes’ Life Forever”

Dan Solomon, at Fusion:

Mark Hughes has a sense of humor about what happened to him last summer. On July 7, 2016, Hughes was wrongly identified by Dallas Police and news organizations around the world as a suspect in that day’s sniper attack at a Black Lives Matter march in the city, and when I meet him in the office of the tax prep company he owns in nearby Arlington, Hughes asks me with a straight face: “Are you familiar with the July 7th event?” Then, pointing to his desk neighbor: “You know, he was the one who was actually doing the shooting.”

It’s hard to imagine how Hughes would have survived the past year without cracking a few jokes. Almost everything about his life has been affected by the day his photograph was emblazoned on local news, CNN, and the Dallas Police Department’s official Twitter account, with the words “This is one of our suspects. Please help us find him!” above his photo.

Hughes had seen groups like Open Carry Tarrant County, whose members—and leadership, which is white—carry long-arm rifles on the street in front of his tax-prep business, in accordance with the law. And as he made plans to attend the march he decided, for the first time, that he should do the same. Philando Castile, the Minnesota man whose shooting death had been captured on video prior to the march, had his right to carry a gun violated by the officer who shot him. Hughes decided that meant he had a responsibility to assert his own.
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Murder, Plain and Simple

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The dashcam video of the public execution of Philando Castile has been released, and it is actually worse than I imagined it would be:

Yanez met with two special agents from the BCA at 1:42 the day after the shooting, accompanied by two attorneys, Tom Kelly and Robert Fowler. It had been a long 17 hours for Yanez and his attorneys noted he had only gotten a couple hours of sleep. Yanez had only pulled over two people since starting his shift at 6 p.m. Since it was a slow night, a recent convenience store robbery, to which Yanez responded to the week before, was very much on his Yanez’s mind, and he was keeping a close eye on the store. He saw a white car pass and thought the driver appeared to match the description of one of the robbers. But when the agents asked Yanez in the interview to elaborate, he couldn’t offer many details. He wasn’t sure about height, weight or even gender. One had cornrows or dreadlocks. One had a hat on.

“And then just kind of distinct facial features with like a kind of like a wide set nose,” he said.

Translation- “I PULLED HIM OVER BECAUSE HE WAS BLACK.”

He then goes on to say he smelled marijuana but told him he was being pulled over for his headlight, so he’s already contradicted himself several times. He pulled him over because he was black. The taillight was an excuse, the marijuana is just bullshit to cover his ass.

There are so many things to unpack here, but really, one of the easiest things we could do, right this very instant, without costing a penny, endangering the public, or requiring any roll-out or training that would lead to an immediate decline in these sorts of encounters is this simple: an immediate ban on traffic stops for bullshit like expired tags and broken taillights and crap like that. We all know those only exist (at this point) to harass people, particularly black people, and because taxcut jeebus requires that towns and municipalities fund themselves with bullshit tickets for crap like this. This is not rocket surgery.

Let’s go through the list of recent high profile murders and incidents involving traffic cops:

Philando Castile: Taillight. Dead.
Walter Scott: Taillight. Dead.
Samuel DuBose: Front license plate. Dead.
Eric Garner: Selling cigarettes. Dead.
Freddie Gray: Riding his bike away from police. Dead.
Sandra Bland: Failure to signal lane change. Dead.

We could go on and on and on. Stop the bullshit. We’re not serious or mature enough of a country to deal with systemic racism or implicit bias, so let’s treat cops like kids and limit their interaction with the public and the people who clearly scare them so much. We’ll save lives.



They Have the Authority to Kill a Minority

I got nothing:

A Minnesota police officer, whose fatal shooting of a black motorist transfixed the nation when his girlfriend livestreamed the aftermath, was acquitted of all charges on Friday.

The officer, Jeronimo Yanez, had been charged with second-degree manslaughter and endangering safety by discharging a firearm in the shooting of Philando Castile.

After the verdict, jurors and Mr. Yanez were quickly led out of the courtroom, and Mr. Castile’s family left immediately. When a deputy tried to stop his mother, Valerie, she yelled “Let me go.”

Later, she said: “My son loved this city, and this city killed my son. And a murderer gets away. Are you kidding me right now?”

he continued: “The system in this country continues to fail black people and will continue to fail us.”

Exactly what does it take for a cop to get convicted of shooting a black man? I mean, there was fucking video tape of it.

*** Update ***

Someone just woke up and failed to hit refresh on the backend of the site and didn’t realize Tom had already posted about this. BTW, you guys are never going to guess who walked around in one low cut Merrell shoe and one midcut Merrell shoe all day today.



Philando Castile’s Killer Walks

To the surprise of exactly no one paying attention in 21st century America, another extrajudicial killing by a cop ends with the killer walking free:

The Minnesota police officer who fatally shot Philando Castile during a traffic stop was acquitted on all charges by a jury Friday, a decision that came nearly a year after the encounter was partially streamed online before a rapt nation in the midst of a painful reckoning over shootings by law enforcement.

Officer Jeronimo Yanez pulled Castile’s car over in Falcon Heights, a suburb near Minneapolis and St. Paul, and the officer later said he thought Castile matched the description of a suspect in a robbery. The stop quickly escalated.

Yanez fired into the car, saying later he thought Castile was going for his gun, a claim Castile’s girlfriend, sitting in the seat next to him, disputed. She began filming the aftermath of the shooting with her phone.

I’m going to outsource anything I might say entirely to NPR Code Switch/Post Bourgie’s Gene Denby:

 

Again: I’d bet good money there is no one conscious in America today didn’t expect this outcome at all un.  Which is the most enraging fact of all within this wretched story.

Over to you.  I’ve nothing left but blank depression and incoherent rage.

Update:

Via AP:

A Minnesota city says it will dismiss a police officer even though he was cleared of all charges in the fatal shooting of a black motorist.

The city of St. Anthony says it concluded the public “will be best served” if Officer Jeronimo (yeh-RON’-ih-moh) Yanez no longer works for the city. The statement says the city plans to offer Yanez a “voluntary separation” so he can find another job.

The city says Yanez will not return to active duty.



Bully Boy

Serial killer, cosplay afficionado, plagiarist, and newly hired employee at Homeland Security is a big fat fucking liar and it may cost him:

Sitting on the tarmac at the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport on Jan. 15, Milwaukee County Sheriff David A. Clarke Jr. sent a text message to one of his captains after a brief verbal exchange with a passenger.

The sheriff explained in the text what should be done when Riverwest resident Dan Black got off the plane.

“Just a field interview, no arrest unless he become an asshole with your guys,” Clarke wrote Captain Mark Witek. “Question for him is why he said anything to me. Why didn’t he just keep his mouth shut?”

“Follow him to baggage and out the door,” Clarke continued. “You can escort me to carousel after I point him out.”

A copy of the text messages was provided by an attorney for Black, who is suing the sheriff, Milwaukee County and several unnamed deputies over the incident.

Records show the matter, which has drawn national attention, was big enough that federal investigators looked at Clarke and his staff’s handling of the case. Clarke has said he is taking a job as assistant secretary at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, though officials have not confirmed this.

In other words, Clarke was lying:

Black, 24, says he was detained, interviewed and escorted out of Mitchell International Airport on Jan. 15 by a half-dozen deputies after a brief run-in with the sheriff on the plane. He says in the federal suit that he was the victim of an unlawful stop and arrest.

Since Black went public with his complaint, Clarke has threatened and belittled his fellow passenger, calling Black a “snowflake” and saying anyone, including Black, who harasses him on an airplane might get “knocked out.”

But now Clarke is giving his version of the events on the plane, which matches Black’s account, except in a couple of details.

Asshole. On the upside, we don’t know if he is a Nazi.








The Gator Nation’s Long National Nightmare is Over: They Have Identified the Naked Shark Mounter

From The NY Daily News:

A freaky fish humper who got naked, straddled a dead shark and smiled for a photo is a former New York City cop, a Florida sports reporter claims.

People have been speculating on the man’s identity in recent days as the astonishing photo went viral online.

David Pingalore, the sports anchor for WKMG-TV in Orlando, said Friday he was contacted recently by a man who knows the former Finest and provided more photos of the man — clothed and not.

“This guy lives in upstate New York,” Pingalore said of the mystery man in the picture. “That photo was taken two years ago off the shores of Long Island.”

Pingalore said his source is a friend of the mystery man who while on vacation in Florida happened to be watching his newscast about the photo.

The source sent Pingalore the other photos of the cop to help disprove the theory that Florida Gators football coach Jim McElwain is the mystery man.

“The man that is naked on the shark is afraid for his life because he believes bounty hunters — I’m not making this up — and people with shark people, whatever, those people would be called.”

So New York Police Department Man!

Tweet with NSFW picture below the fold.

Open thread!

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Open Thread: LAW ‘NORDAH!!!!

A/k/a, “keeping those people in their place”

Cynical Ankh-Morpork NYC resident Harry Siegel, at the NY Daily News, on Atty-Gen Malevolent Leprechaun’s “Law & order, real & imaginary“:

It’s sports-talk hour at the Justice Department.

“Violent crime is surging in American cities,” drawls longtime-caller Jeff from Mobile, though that’s not, y’know, true. In fact, crime is up sharply in a handful of cities, most notably Chicago, and flat or down in many others. After a quarter century of fairly steady decline, the national murder rate remains near a 50-year low.

Yet American carnage can be averted, United States Attorney General Jefferson Sessions wrote this month, sounding a lot like someone telling Mad Dog “you can’t measure heart,” if we “avoid harmful federal intrusion in the daily work of local police.”

In the real world, cops basically police themselves, for better and for worse, despite feeble efforts from Bill Clinton and Barack Obama to pretend otherwise. The feds don’t pay for policing. Don’t set or even track local standards. Don’t know how many people cops kill, or how many cops who get fired from one department end up back on the job in another one…

Here’s how the attorney general said it, in case you think I’m putting words in his mouth. After his flat, false claim of an urban violent crime surge, he pointed to real rises in Chicago and Baltimore to declare that “amid this plague of violence, too much focus has been placed on a small number of police who are bad actors rather than on criminals. And too many people believe the solution is to impose consent decrees that discourage the proactive policing that keeps our cities safe.”

He didn’t even give lip service to the question of what the right level of focus of would be, just insisted a “small number” (whatever that means) of bad apples won’t spoil the whole barrel…

So instead of staying focused on actual violent criminals, he railed about “lawless” sanctuary cities, blamed the courts that have halted Trump’s executive orders for blood on the streets by “restricting crime tactics” and continued his bizarre on-and-off feud with New York City officials who vow to use discretion — something southern law-and-order types are traditionally all about — in dealing with the feds as ICE ramps up its efforts to round up people here without papers.

The idea that America’s capital for immigrants, legal and otherwise, is also its safest big city is more than he can wrap his head around…

“Crime tactics” instead of “crime control tactics”. I believe that’s what poker-table psychologists call a tell…