Shit You Can’t Make Up (But if you did you’d be a sociopath)

Unbelievable:

When Jameel Harrison, a suspected drug dealer, attempted to escape from F.B.I agents trying to arrest him near a Baltimore shopping center two years ago, agents opened fire. Two bullets hit his Infiniti FX37’s left front tire. Six bullets struck him in the head and neck, killing him.

After investigating the case, a state prosecutor and the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division declined to prosecute the agents. That left the F.B.I.’s shooting incident review group, a panel of officials who decide whether shootings comply with bureau policy on the use of lethal force and that rarely punishes agents. In 2013, The New York Times reported that of more than 150 episodes in which an agent shot another person dating back at least two decades, the group deemed every one justified.

In the case of the Baltimore shooting, however, the bureau took the unusual step of deeming part of that case a “bad shoot” in agents’ parlance. But the group did not fault the two agents who killed Mr. Harrison. Instead, it chastised only the agent who shot the tire, recommending that the agent be suspended for a day without pay, according to documents obtained by The Times in a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit.

The review group’s reasoning was that the bureau’s policy on using lethal force forbids firing a gun to disable a vehicle, and it concluded that this had been the agent’s motive in shooting the tire. But the same policy permits firing a gun to protect people from danger, and the panel decided that the two agents who shot Mr. Harrison were trying to keep him from driving into bystanders.

Tires are more protected from the police than black men. We need to deal with the FBI before we can deal with city and state police.



Dear Ferguson, Loreta Lynch Is Over Your Bullshit

Clowns:

The U.S. Department of Justice is suing the city of Ferguson, Mo., for unjust policing that violates the civil and constitutional rights of citizens, Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced Wednesday.

The lawsuit came one day after the Ferguson City Council voted to change a proposed consent decree to reform the police and courts. The council said the package, which had been negotiated between the DOJ and city officials, cost too much.

In a news conference, Lynch said the DOJ was sensitive to the city’s cost concerns throughout the months-long negotiation. She also said, “There is no price for constitutional policing.”

So basically, after months of negotiation, the City Council decided to just change some shit. They apparently think this is a winning strategy. So AG Lynch went nuclear on them:

“Today, the Department of Justice is filing a lawsuit against the city of Ferguson, Missouri, alleging a pattern or practice of law enforcement conduct that violates the Constitution and federal civil rights laws,” said Attorney General Lynch. “The residents of Ferguson have waited nearly a year for their city to adopt an agreement that would protect their rights and keep them safe. They have waited nearly a year for their police department to accept rules that would ensure their constitutional rights and that thousands of other police departments follow every day. They have waited nearly a year for their municipal courts to commit to basic, reasonable rules and standards. But residents of Ferguson have suffered the deprivation of their constitutional rights – the rights guaranteed to all Americans – for decades. They have waited decades for justice. They should not be forced to wait any longer.”

“Our investigation found that Ferguson’s policing and municipal court practices violate the Constitution, erode trust and undermine public safety,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta, head of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. “As shown by our lawsuit today, the Justice Department will continue to vigorously enforce the law to ensure that Ferguson implements long-overdue reforms necessary to create constitutional, effective and accountable policing. Ferguson residents and police officers deserve a law enforcement system that productively and fairly serves the entire community.”

In other news about shitty cops and asshole city governments who support and defend them, this just takes the fucking cake:

The City of Cleveland filed a creditor’s claim against the estate of Tamir Rice, the black 12-year old who was fatally shot by police in 2014, for not paying emergency medical service fees, CleveScene reported Wednesday.

The $500 fee is “owing for emergency medical services rendered as the decedent’s last dying expense under Ohio Revised Code,” according to the report.

Fuck you Cleveland and everyone in the city who let this happen.



Rahm-Boned: First Blood Part II

I usually reserve the phrase “cartoonishly evil” for tinpot dictators, certain former Bush administration officials, and hedge fund executives, but Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel may actually need to grow a mustache to twirl after this.

City of Chicago lawyers, after meeting with Mayor Rahm Emanuel, demanded the Laquan McDonald family bury the video showing the killing of their son by a police officer.

Emanuel said last month that Stephen Patton, Chicago’s corporation counsel, briefed him “towards the end of March” about what the dashcam video showed and about the proposed $5 million settlement with McDonald’s estate. After that briefing, Patton’s second-in-command, Thomas Platt, drafted settlement language to keep the dashcam video hidden for at least several years, according to emails reviewed by The Daily Beast (PDF).

Michael Robbins, an attorney for the McDonald estate, balked at the demand.

“The provision as drafted, that we maintain the confidentiality, of the materials—principally the dash-cam-video—until the criminal charges are concluded, which could be in effect for years, is entirely unreasonable,” he wrote to Platt on April 6. “Nor was any such broad sweeping confidentiality provision discussed during our meetings.”

“I’ll call you,” Platt wrote Robbins on April 7.

That was the same day that Emanuel was fighting for his political life in a runoff election after he failed to win 50 percent of the primary vote in the February. (Emanuel won with 56 percent against Chuy Garcia.)

Emanuel has maintained since McDonald’s death that he has never seen the dashcam video, but the emails prove the mayor knew exactly what the footage showed when city lawyers negotiated a deal that would at least delay the video’s release. Emanuel’s lawyers were offering $5 million in hush money to keep the video hidden just weeks before the runoff election.

And the biggest part of the deal—that McDonald family attorneys agreed to keep the video to themselves until criminal proceedings were concluded—just so happened to be inked the day after Emanuel was re-elected.

I mean it was rather obvious that the $5 million was offered to get McDonald’s family to stop talking, but wanting to bury the video for years under legal mumbo-jumbo on top of all that just makes Rahm a colossal asshole.

Not that he wasn’t one before.

The first draft was sent to the McDonald estate’s attorneys by Platt on March 31. The draft said that the estate would only be free to release the video after potential charges were dismissed by a prosecutor or after a criminal trial was over. Emanuel and his underlings at the Law Department would have preferred this, because it meant the video would have been buried under lengthy legal proceedings that could have taken years.

On April 8, one day after Platt’s phone call, the McDonald estate’s attorneys suddenly agreed to keep the dashcam video hidden. The only thing that changed in the settlement agreement regarding the video was the deletion of a line that said the estate agreed with the city releasing video would harm ongoing criminal investigations.

One week later, the City Council voted unanimously to approve the $5 million settlement in just 36 seconds. Emanuel banged a gavel to mark the approval and the end—or so he thought—of the greatest threat to his mayoralty.

Emanuel wrote in a December op-ed in the Chicago Tribune that the settlement couldn’t be part of a cover-up because it was the McDonald family’s attorneys who approached the city wanting to settle.

Nice guy, that Rahm.



Indictment in the Bland Case

The State Trooper who arrested Sandra Bland has been indicted for perjury. Link here, and I am trying to figure out what precisely they allege he lied about.








Y’all Qaeda Pissing You Off? Fire A Phone Call, Not A Glock

I’m enraged by the news in Zander’s post below.  Happy to let any of seditionists out of the Malheur HQ — but only into the welcoming arms of federal custody.

That’s a legitimate political view — and you know what sane and patriotic people do with such views?  They call their representatives in Washington to let them know how they feel.

'Telephone_Operator'_by_Gerrit_A._Beneker (1)

I just left a message at Senator Warren’s office and spoke to a nice young (I’m guessing) staffer in Rep. Joe Kennedy’s.  Markey is next on my list.  I told them how disgusted I was at the action of the Malheur thugs — stealing our property, yours, mine, and the whole damn American people’s while, many of them, stealing from the public till for years and years.

The key though is that I also made a request:  I want my Congressional representatives to put the question to federal law enforcement as to why they are not enforcing the law, either by denying the radical right wing intimidators their freedom of movement as long as they remain on the people’s property, or by arresting them when they do choose to wander.

It’s not much, but it’s not nothing either.  These folks only succeed because their supporters are vocal and active, while the hundreds of millions whom they rip off, disrespect and aim to intimidate and coerce just want to go about their business.  A little volume on our side of the playground is actually significant.

So call your official peeps!  Takes a minute or two, and it’s worth the effort.  This is also one where the partisan identification of your representatives matters a little less than on some of the calls to action this blog has made.  Armed take-overs of public buildings strikes a little close to home for a lot of Congressfolk.

So call! Be polite; know the message you want to send; thank the kids on the other end of the line for their help; and lets start making the country marginally more sane, one firmly worded dispatch at a time.

The phone numbers:

House and Senate switchboard: 202-224-3121.  Individual senator phone numbers.  Individual representative phone numbers. (Both lists by state.  You can sort by last name as well.)

Have at it, friends.

ETA:  In case you want to call the Executive Branch directly (as some in the comment thread would seem to do), here’s the White House comment line: 202-456-1111.  Feel like give Justice a ring? 202-353-1555.

Image: Gerrit A. Beneker, Telephone Operator (A Weaver of Public Thought) 1921.



Bulldozers And Baloney

So, remember in Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy how Ford Prefect managed to get Arthur Dent away from lying down in front of a bulldozer that was trying to tear down Arthur’s house by convincing the bulldozer driver that Arthur didn’t really need to be physically there wallowing in the mud, and that if the wrecking crew just assumed Arthur was going to be there and wasn’t actually there, then the bulldozer guys didn’t actually have to be there either and everyone could go down to the pub and have a pint (which is what Ford and Arthur did)?

Yeah, it’s apparently exactly like that in Oregon.

“Right now, they are allowed to come and go as they want,” says Bill Fugate, a spokesman for the Oregon State police.

The unknown number of militia men involved in the stand off are calling themselves Citizens for Constitutional Freedom. The group sent an alert message to supporters Monday asking for snacks as they are holed up in the refuge center, but authorities confirm that they are free to drive to the grocery store and pick up snacks.

Fugate says that to his knowledge, law enforcement are “not monitoring what they are doing.”

“We are not monitoring their movements,” Fugate says.

Because, officer, it’s vitally important that we go to the right now and have a few stiff ones, you see, and you can just assume we’re occupying the place and we’ll get some Funyuns and Flamin’ Hot Cheetos while we’re out and then hey, we return the favor and you guys can grab some beers once we get back, see?

Hey, why not. Pretty sure General Washington would have agreed to the whole thing too.



Sad but True

truth