| NEWS of the Day - July 25, 2012
|on some issues of interest to the community policing and neighborhood activist across the country
EDITOR'S NOTE: The following group of articles from local newspapers and other sources constitutes but a small percentage of the information available to the community policing and neighborhood activist public. It is by no means meant to cover every possible issue of interest, nor is it meant to convey any particular point of view ...
We present this simply as a convenience to our readership ...
From Google News
Manchester Airport: 11-year-old schoolboy's stowaway flight to Rome prompts Government investigation
Transport Secretary launches investigation into "serious breach" of security after 11-year-old boy flies from Manchester to Rome on his own without a passport, ticket or boarding pass.
by Andrew Hough, and David Millward
Transport Secretary Justine Greening has announced several high-level investigations after 11-year-old Liam Corcoran flew to Rome on his own from Manchester Airport without a passport, ticket or boarding pass.
The schoolboy passed through security without being checked, before boarding the Jet2.com flight yesterday.
Liam had travelled less than three miles from a nearby shopping centre, before evading five security checks to successfully board flight LS791 to the Italian capital.
The captain was only alerted to the extra passenger when holidaymakers raised concerns during the flight.
Liam's 1,500 mile "adventure" ended last night when he returned to Britain unharmed and was reunited with his family.
Today, at least three separate investigations were underway while several staff have been suspended over the security breach.
The incident comes as more than two million people arrive in Britain ahead of the Olympic Games, which open in London on Friday.
"I take any breach of security, very, very seriously," Justine Greening, the Transport Secretary, told the BBC.
"So we are now investigating with Manchester Airport and, indeed the airline, to find out exactly what happened.
"This is an unusual and serious breach and we are keen to find out what has gone on."
A Manchester Airport spokesman described it as an "extremely serious matter".
"It is clear that documentation has not been checked correctly at security and the boarding gate," he added.
"The boy went through full security screening so the safety of passengers and the aircraft was never compromised. It was our responsibility - we absolutely have to answer for that.
"This was a young lad on an adventure."
The drama began at lunchtime yesterday when Liam was reported to Greater Manchester Police as missing.
It appeared he had run away from his 28-year-old mother, Mary, while she was shopping at Wythenshawe Civic Centre, located just over a mile from their home.
It remains unclear how he travelled to the airport, located about two and half miles away, but when he arrived he passed through security in Terminal 1 without any problems.
It was understood that Liam had followed a family when he got to the packed terminal and that security staff scanned him but failed to realise he was on his own and had no boarding card.
He then went to one of the gates where passengers were boarding Jet2.com flight and managed to get past a security check without showing a passport or boarding card.
The airport spokesman said: "He was with a large group of other children, he appeared to be in a family group - for whatever reason he wasn't checked."
It was believed that after he boarded and took a seat, crew failed to carry out an accurate headcount to make sure that the number of passengers and boarding cards matched up.
During the flight, passengers became suspicious and alerted cabin crew.
The captain was informed and radioed back to Manchester, where police informed the boy's mother, he was safe and well but on a plane heading to Italy.
The boy remained on board after landing at Rome Fiumicino Airport, and returned to Manchester on the same plane, where he was met by his mother around 9pm last night.
A number of staff from Manchester Airport and Jet2.com have been suspended. Officials declined to comment further or say how many staff have been suspended.
An airline spokesman said: "On Tuesday, an 11 year old boy cleared security at Manchester Airport, without the necessary paperwork but had been through a full security search.
"The boy then boarded our flight bound for Rome. We have launched a full investigation into what is a serious incident, and the staff involved have been suspended pending the outcome.
"The boy has been returned safely to his family.” She declined to comment further.
A Greater Manchester Police spokesman said: "Shortly before 12.40pm on Tuesday... police received a report of a missing 11-year-old boy. The boy was last seen by his mother in a shopping centre in Wythenshawe.
"Officers launched inquiries to trace him, but later became aware that the boy was seen on an aeroplane.
"The boy has now been found safe and well."
Today, there was no answer at the family home amid speculation they were set to sell their story to a national newspaper.
'What?' Confused 911 caller outs NYPD spying in NJ
NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. — It's an audiotape the New York Police Department hoped you would never hear.
A building superintendent at an apartment complex just off the Rutgers University campus called the New Brunswick Police 911 line in June 2009. He said his staff had been conducting a routine inspection and came across something suspicious.
"What's suspicious?" the dispatcher asked.
"Suspicious in the sense that the apartment has about — has no furniture except two beds, has no clothing, has New York City Police Department radios."
"Really?" the dispatcher asked, her voice rising with surprise.
The caller, Salil Sheth, had stumbled upon one of the NYPD's biggest secrets: a safe house, a place where undercover officers working well outside the department's jurisdiction could lie low and coordinate surveillance. Since the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks, the NYPD, with training and guidance from the CIA, has monitored the activities of Muslims in New York and far beyond. Detectives infiltrated mosques, eavesdropped in cafes and kept tabs on Muslim student groups, including at Rutgers.
The NYPD kept files on innocent sermons, recorded the names of political organizers in police documents and built databases of where Muslims lived and shopped, even where they were likely to gather to watch sports. Out-of-state operations, like the one in New Brunswick, were one aspect of this larger intelligence-gathering effort. The Associated Press previously described the discovery of the NYPD inside the New Jersey apartment, but police now have released the tape of the 911 call and other materials after a legal fight.
"There's computer hardware, software, you know, just laying around," the caller continued. "There's pictures of terrorists. There's pictures of our neighboring building that they have."
"In New Brunswick?" the dispatcher asked, sounding as confused as the caller.
The AP requested a copy of the 911 tape last year. Under pressure from the NYPD, the New Brunswick Police Department refused. After the AP sued, the city this week turned over the tape and emails that described the NYPD's efforts to keep the recording a secret.
The call sent New Brunswick police and the FBI rushing to the apartment complex. Officers and agents were surprised at what they found. None had been told that the NYPD was in town.
At the NYPD, the bungled operation was an embarrassment. It made the department look amateurish and forced it to ask the FBI to return the department's materials.
The emails highlight the sometimes convoluted arguments the NYPD has used to justify its out-of-state activities, which have been criticized by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and some members of Congress. The NYPD has infiltrated and photographed Muslim businesses and mosques in New Jersey, monitored the Internet postings of Muslim college students across the Northeast and traveled as far away as New Orleans to infiltrate and build files on liberal advocacy groups.
In February, NYPD's deputy commissioner for legal matters, Andrew Schaffer, told reporters that detectives can operate outside New York because they aren't conducting official police duties.
"They're not acting as police officers in other jurisdictions," Schaffer said.
In trying to keep the 911 tape under wraps, however, the NYPD made no mention of the fact that its officers were not acting as police. In fact, Lt. Cmdr. William McGroarty and Assistant Chief Thomas Galati argued that releasing the recording would jeopardize investigations and endanger the people and buildings.
Further, the apartment, No. 1076, was rented by an undercover NYPD officer using a fake name that he was still using, New Brunswick attorneys told the AP.
"Such identification will place the safety of any officers identified, as well as the undercover operatives with whom they work, at risk," Galati wrote in a letter to New Brunswick.
The city deleted that name from the copy of the tape that it released.
Reached by phone Tuesday, McGroarty declined to discuss the New Brunswick operation. But the recording offers a glimpse inside the safe house: a small apartment with two computers, dozens of black plastic boxes and no furniture or clothes except one suit.
"And pictures of our neighboring buildings?" the dispatcher asked.
"Yes, the Matrix building," Sheth replied, referring to a local developer. "There's pictures of terrorists. There's literature on the Muslim religion."
New York authorities have encouraged people like Sheth to call 911. In its "Eight Signs of Terrorism," people are encouraged to call the police if they see evidence of surveillance, information gathering, suspicious activities or anything that looks out of place.
New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg has defended the police department's right to go anywhere in the country in search of terrorists without telling local police. And New Jersey Attorney General Jeffrey Chiesa has said he's seen no evidence that the NYPD's efforts violated his state's laws.
Muslim groups, however, have sued to shut down the NYPD programs. Civil rights lawyers have asked a federal judge to decide whether the spying violates federal rules that were set up to prevent a repeat of NYPD abuses of the 1950s, when police Red Squads spied on student groups and activists in search of communists.
Hear the 911 call on The Associated Press' YouTube page at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ICOKHFDz2Xg&feature=plcp
Arpaio shows none of his trademark swagger
Sheriff testifies in trial over racial profiling
PHOENIX (AP) — There were no TV cameras, no scrum of reporters, no protesters — and there was no swagger inside the courtroom when the typically brash Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio took the stand to face critics who say he and his deputies racially profile Hispanics.
Under questioning from lawyers representing a group Latinos who are suing him and his department, Arpaio spoke in a hush, offering that he was suffering from the flu.
He was asked: Why did you call illegal immigrants “dirty?”
The Maricopa County sheriff responded quietly, clearing his throat often, and saying the statement was taken out of context. He added that if a person were to cross the U.S.-Mexico border on foot over four days in the desert that person “could be dirty.”
“That's the context on how I used that word,” he said.
The case represents the first time the sheriff's office has been accused of systematic racial profiling and will serve as a precursor to a similar yet broader civil rights lawsuit filed against Arpaio by the U.S. Justice Department.
Arpaio has long denied racial profiling allegations and said Tuesday, “We don't arrest people because of the color of their skin.”
Letters in the sheriff's immigration file took center stage during his testimony — as did his previous statements, which critics say show prejudiced thinking on his part.
Lawyers in court asked Arpaio: What about your statement on a national TV news show saying you considered a 2007 comparison between your department and the Ku Klux Klan “an honor”?
Arpaio responded that he doesn't consider the comparison an honor, adding that he has no use for the KKK.
The plaintiffs' attorneys also turned to Arpaio's famous practice of putting county jail inmates in pink underwear, using statements he made during a 2009 speech to an anti-illegal immigration group in Houston.
“I always have an official reason so I can win the lawsuits,” Arpaio said, after stating the pink shorts are less likely to be smuggled out of jail and sold on the black market.
“And then I have my reasons,” he went on. “And my reason is they hate pink. They do. They may like it in California, but they don't like it in Arizona.”
He was asked whether he says one thing in court and does another when he leaves.
“This is in humor,” Arpaio said. “I make sure we do things properly in case I get sued.”
The group of Latinos who say they have been discriminated against say Arpaio launched some immigration sweeps based on emails and letters that don't allege crimes, but complain only that “dark-skinned people” are congregating in a given area or speaking Spanish.
During the sweeps, sheriff's deputies flood an area of a city — in some cases, heavily Latino areas — over several days to seek out traffic violators and arrest other offenders.
Illegal immigrants accounted for 57 percent of the 1,500 people arrested in the 20 sweeps conducted by Arpaio's office since January 2008, according to figures provided by the sheriff's department, which hasn't conducted any such patrols since October.
Arpaio was asked whether a white person was ever arrested on an immigration violation during the first two years of such sweeps, to which he replied, “I can't recall.”
The plaintiffs aren't seeking money in the suit. They are seeking a declaration that Arpaio's office racially profiles Latinos and an order requiring policy changes.
If Arpaio loses the case, he won't face jail time or fines. If he wins, it would be likely to severely undercut the government's case against him.
The plaintiffs say deputies conducting Arpaio's sweeps pulled over Hispanics without probable cause, making the stops only to inquire about the immigration status of the people in the vehicles.
The sheriff maintained that people are stopped only if authorities have probable cause to believe they have committed crimes and that deputies later find many of the people stopped are illegal immigrants.
Plaintiff's lawyers say Arpaio endorsed calls for racial profiling with the sweeps by passing along the ambiguous and racially-charged complaint letters to aides who planned his immigration enforcement efforts and carried out at least three patrols after receiving the letters.
They also point out that Arpaio wrote thank-you notes to some who sent complaints.
Arpaio's attorneys denied that the letters and emails prompted the sheriff to launch the patrols with a discriminatory motive. His lawyers called the complaints racially insensitive and said aides to the sheriff — not Arpaio himself — decided where to conduct the patrols. They also said there was nothing wrong with the thank-you notes.
“He sends thank-you letters because he is an elected official,” Tim Casey, the lawyer leading Arpaio's defense, said during opening arguments.
In an August 2008 letter, a woman wrote about a Sun City restaurant: “From the staff at the register to the staff back in the kitchen area, all I heard was Spanish — except when they haltingly spoke to a customer.” The letter ended with a suggestion that the sheriff investigate.
Arpaio made a handwritten note in the margins saying, “letter thank you for info will look into it” and that the complaint should be sent to aide Brian Sands, who selects locations for sweeps, with a notation saying “for our operation.” The sheriff's office launched a sweep two weeks later in Sun City.
Arpaio said in response to a question about the letter Tuesday that speaking Spanish is not a crime and that he sent the note to Sands for “him for whatever he wants to do with it.”
Arpaio also said he generally passed along the letters that called for immigration enforcement in a particular area to his subordinates, but didn't do the planning for the sweeps.
“I just send this info to my subordinates so they could ask for it. I don't agree with every letter I receive,” Arpaio said.
“We should never racially profile,” Arpaio said. “It's immoral, illegal.”
“Bath salts” ban could curb use of some legal drugs linked to violent behavior, but not all
WASHINGTON — People are inventing so many new, legal ways to get high that lawmakers can't seem to keep up.
Over the past two years, the U.S. has seen a surge in the use of synthetic drugs made of legal chemicals that mimic the dangerous effects of cocaine, amphetamines and other illegal stimulants.
The drugs are often sold at small, independent stores in misleading packaging that suggests common household items like bath salts, incense and plant food. But the substances inside are powerful, mind-altering drugs that have been linked to bizarre and violent behavior across the country. Law enforcement officials refer to the drugs collectively as “bath salts,” though they have nothing in common with the fragrant toiletries used to moisturize skin.
President Barack Obama signed a bill into law earlier this month that bans the sale, production and possession of more than two dozen of the most common bath salt drugs. But health professionals say that there are so many different varieties of the drugs that U.S. lawmakers are merely playing catch up.
“The moment you start to regulate one of them, they'll come out with a variant that sometimes is even more potent,” said Dr. Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
There are no back alleys or crack houses in America's latest drug epidemic. The problem involves potent substances that amateur chemists make, package and sell in stores under brands like “Ivory Wave,” ‘'Vanilla Sky” and “Bliss” for as little as $15. Emergencies related to the drugs have surged: The American Association of Poison Control Centers received more than 6,100 calls about bath salt drugs in 2011 — up from just 304 the year before — and more than 1,700 calls in the first half of 2012.
The problem for lawmakers is that it's difficult to crack down on the drugs. U.S. laws prohibit the sale or possession of all substances that mimic illegal drugs, but only if federal prosecutors can show that they are intended for human use. People who make bath salts and similar drugs work around this by printing “not for human consumption” on virtually every packet.
Barbara Carreno, a spokeswoman for the Drug Enforcement Agency, said the intended use for bath salts is clear.
“Everyone knows these are drugs to get high, including the sellers,” she said.
Many states have banned some of the most common bath salts, which are typically sold by small businesses like convenience stores, tobacco shops and adult book stores. For instance, West Virginia legislators banned the bath salt drug MDPV last year, making it a misdemeanor to sell, buy or possess the synthetic drug. Conviction means up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine.
Stephanie Mitchell, assistant manager of The Den, a tobacco and paraphernalia shop in Morgantown, W.Va., said the store hasn't sold bath salts in the six months that she's worked there. But strung-out users still come in and ask for them.
“They're pretty ... cracked out, I guess would be a good word,” said Mitchell, 21, a student at West Virginia University. “They're just kind of not all there. They're kind of sketchy people.”
Mitchell says she wouldn't sell bath salts even if she had them, “because it's horrible, and I could get in trouble for it.”
Despite the bans, bath salts producers are constantly tweaking their recipes to come up with new drugs that aren't covered by local laws. In fact, Mark Ryan, director of the Louisiana Poison Center, says there are so many different drugs out there that it's almost impossible to know what people have ingested, or how long the effects will last.
“Cocaine is cocaine and meth is meth. We know what these things do,” he said. “But with these new drugs, every time the chemist alters the chemical structure, all bets are off.”
The most common bath salt drugs, like MDPV and mephedrone, were first developed in pharmaceutical research laboratories, though they were never approved for medical use. During the last decade they became popular as party drugs at European raves and dance clubs. As law enforcement began cracking down on the problem there, the drugs spread across the Atlantic Ocean.
Poison control centers in the U.S. began tracking use of the drugs in 2010. The majority of the early reports of drug use were clustered in southern states like Louisiana, Tennessee and Kentucky. But the problem soon spread across the country.
The financial lure for small-time drugmakers is enticing. The drugs can be cheaply imported from China or India, and then easily packaged under local brands. For example, bath salts sold in Louisiana carry regional names like Hurricane Charlie or Bayou.
The widespread availability of the drugs in stores is equally alluring for drug users: they can get a cheap high similar to that of illegal drugs by walking to a corner store.
The most dangerous synthetic drugs are stimulants that affect levels of both dopamine and serotonin, brain chemicals that affect mood and perception. Users, who typically smoke or snort the powder-based drugs, may experience a surge in energy, fever and delusions of invincibility.
Use of these drugs has spread across the country with reports stretching from Maine to California. There are no official federal estimates on deaths connected with the drugs, many of which do not show up on typical drug tests. But police reports have implicated the drugs in several cases.
Packets of “Lady Bubbles” bath salts, for instance, were found on Sgt. David Franklyn Stewart last April after the solider shot and killed his wife and himself during a car chase with law enforcement near Olympia, Wash.
The chase began when Stewart sped past a police patrol car at 6 a.m. The police trooper pursued for 10 miles and reported seeing the driver raise a hand to his head, then heard a shot and saw the driver slump over. The next day police found the couple's 5-year-old son dead in their home; he had been suffocated with a plastic bag at least 24 hours earlier.
Another death involving bath salts played out in Covington, La. Police reported that Dickie Sanders, 21, shot himself in the head Nov. 11, 2010 while his parents were asleep.
His father, Dr. Richard Sanders, said his son had snorted “Cloud 9” bath salts and endured three days of intermittent delirium, at one point attempting to cut his own throat. As he continued to have visions, his physician father tried to calm him. But the elder Sanders said that as he slept, his son went into another room and shot himself.
Hospital emergency rooms, doctors and law enforcement agencies across the country have struggled to control bath salt drug users who often are feverish and paranoid that they are being attacked. Doctors say users often turn up naked because bath salts raise their body temperature so much that they strip off their clothing.
Cookeville Regional Medical Center in Tennessee has treated 160 people suspected of taking bath salts since 2010. Dr. Sullivan Smith, who works there, said people on the drugs become combative, and it can take four or five health professionals to subdue them. In some cases, he said, doctors have to use prescription sedatives that are typically reserved for surgery.
Smith recalls one man who had been running for more than 24 hours because he believed the devil was chasing him with an ax. By the time police brought him to the hospital, he was dehydrated and covered in blood from running through thorny underbrush.
“We're seeing extreme agitation, hallucinations that are very vivid, paranoia and some really violent behavior, so it's a real crisis for us,” Smith said. “We sedate the living daylights out of them. And we're talking doses on the order of 10 or 20 times what you would give for a painful procedure.”
To control the spread of the problem, the Drug Enforcement Agency issued a temporary ban in October on three of the most common drugs — mephedrone, methylone and MDPV. That ban became permanent under the bill signed by Obama on July 10.
Under the law, anyone convicted of selling, making or possessing 28 synthetic drugs, including bath salts, will face penalties similar to those for dealing traditional drugs like cocaine and heroin.
Those on the front lines say the legislation is a good start. But they don't expect new laws to dramatically curb use of bath salts in the near term.
“The problem is these drugs are changing and I'm sure they're going to find some that are a little bit different chemically so they don't fall under the law,” said Dr. Smith, the Tennessee doctor. “Is it adequate to name five or 10 or even 20? The answer is no, they're changing too fast.”
Murder Sparks Calls For More Community Policing
Councilor Baskerville said she will hold a meeting on the need for community policing in early August.
by Shelley Emling
Brian Schiavetti, 21, was shot and killed in what police called a “targeted” incident this past Sunday on William Street in Montclair, an area just off Valley Road not known for violent crime.
As a result of the murder, which is still being investigated, many Montclair residents have called for more community policing—or police patrols visible on the streets. The same sorts of demands were made following the shooting death of a young man on Mission Street in February.
But many argue that community policing is an idea that isn't always well-defined or easy to implement.
"We try very hard not to be reactionary. Sometimes it is necessary to let folks know that we are aware of certain situations in various areas across the entire township which require our special attention," said Councilor Renee Baskerville on Tuesday. "We have been working with folks in town to try to figure out what is the most expeditious way to get community policing visible at all times on our streets. I think that we will hear from the Montclair police in the next few days to help us with this."
Baskerville said that she and other don't have a lot of information about the William Street shooting other than to say that there is an investigation underway.
"I will be hosting another meeting to discuss the need for enhanced community policing right now in our township at the beginning of August," she said.
Deputy Mayor Bob Russo said Tuesday that he visited some of the residents who live on or near William Street.
"I wanted to reassure that we are concerned and in touch," he said. "I have five families I know well on William Street and Central Avenue. This is a police matter and the mayor and the other council members are also on top of the issue."
In April, the township council voted to include $24,000 in the town budget to pay for overtime for community policing.
Mayor Robert Jackson said Monday that following the deadly shooting on Mission Street more street lighting has been installed, just in the last two weeks.
"This is an action-oriented council and we will be taking action in this case," he said.
Jackson added that the council would be discussing the idea of creating more police patrols, but cautioned that the issue "is a personnel matter."
He said he's waiting to receive input from the police department.
Anaheim community attacked by police—the people fight back
People abandon fear, confront police
by Doug Kauffman
The writer was on the scene within fourteen hours of the incident interviewing victims, witnesses, and activists.
For a brief moment on the evening of July 21, the people of a small Latino community in Anaheim, Calif., came together, abandoned their fear of the police and fought back in self-defense.
The bourgeois media has attempted to paint the incident as an “unruly riot” and the crowd as “gang members,” but these characterizations could not be further from the truth. A video released by KCAL the night of the incident shows a crowd of working families, mostly women and children, being shot with rubber bullets and bean bags as a vicious dog is unleashed on them by dozens of police officers. Nearly two dozen people were injured and five were arrested during the assault from Anaheim police.
Manuel Diaz, another victim of police terror
The crowd of families, nearly 100 people, had come out to protest the murder of 24-year-old Manuel Diaz, an unarmed man, by Anaheim police just a few hours before.
Manuel Diaz had grown up in the neighborhood and was visiting his friends' house to help move some furniture when the incident occurred. Police and media in the initial reports have claimed that Manuel was in an alleyway with two other "suspects" when he fled on foot for over a block before being shot in the front courtyard of an apartment complex on the 700 block of North Anna Drive.
But witnesses have come forward to Liberation News and said that this entire story in the press is a fabrication. Crystal Ventura, whose partner was bit by the dog during the assault, was standing outside with her mother and her sister-in-law and witnessed the incident. Ventura told Liberation News: “Manuel was standing in front of an apartment complex. He hopped the fence to the next building and was shot in the buttocks. Then he fell on his knees and they shot him in the head.”
Another resident, Susan Lopez, said, “He was shot from about 10 feet away. He wasn't being chased and he wasn't in an alley, he was just standing here.”
A video released anonymously to the OC Weekly shows officers pushing witnesses back and setting up a perimeter as Diaz was still moving. Not one officer is seen attempting to save his life or provide any type of medical attention, even as neighbors shout “He's still alive!” at the police. Instead, they handcuffed and searched his pockets as he bled to death from the wound to his head. In the final seconds of the video, officers flip him over. His head was covered in blood visible from over 50 feet away.
Racism is police policy, tactics
The police and media have been careful to repeat the word “suspect” ritualistically. But the fact is that there were not two other “suspects” who “got away,” nor was Diaz a “suspect” in any logical sense of the word. This language is intentionally misleading because there was never any crime committed. What the police mean by this word is that Diaz was a young Latino man in a working-class neighborhood. His ethnicity and environment made him a target for the harassment that is a daily occurrence in the neighborhood surrounding North Anna Drive in Anaheim. The police acted as judge, jury and executioner.
Another man from the area and a friend of the victim, Danny Arechiga, told Liberation News: “Police in Anaheim, around here, are always racially profiling us because we're Hispanic. They pull Hispanic men over here all the time because of the way we look. I've nearly been shot multiple times by police in Anaheim and Fullerton.”
With young Black and Latino males a majority of those killed by police, and the disproportionate rates of sentencing, incarceration and capital punishment, the “justice” system in the United States should more aptly be named the “genocide” system. This systemic racism starts with the open policy or tacit tactic of racial profiling practiced by every police department in the U.S.
Racism is deeply rooted in the origins of policing in the United States as the first police departments were originally tasked with harassing slaves on plantations or capturing and returning “fugitive” slaves under the Fugitive Slave Act. Not much has changed as police are still heavily concentrated in the poorest communities to prevent open rebellion through constant intimidation.
Susan Lopez told Liberation News she was harassed by Anaheim police after the shooting as she attempted to walk home around the police cordon when a white male officer said to her in a hostile tone, “Hola.” She responded by saying that she could speak English perfectly and the cop simply laughed at her.
And when the system of harassment and intimidation breaks down due to unafraid workers and bereaved loved ones fighting back the cops frequently respond with increased intimidation tactics. One victim who has been very vocal, Yesenia Rojas, told Liberation News: “I know cops are going to come after us. I feel like we need to move because the cops will come back.”
Anaheim fights back
Residents who were tired of constant harassment and outraged at the injustice of Diaz's brutal murder on their block poured into the streets demanding answers from police. Community members were peacefully demonstrating on their front lawns when the police without warning opened fire into the crowd with beanbag shotguns, rubber bullets and pepper-spray bullets.
Junior Lagunas, the young man shown being bitten on the arm by the police dog in the original KCAL footage, described to Liberation News the moments leading up to the confrontation: “One man was walking with his son, a toddler, and was suddenly grabbed from behind by multiple officers. They slammed him against a light pole and then slammed him on the ground and started kicking him. I went to help his son and a few seconds later they started shooting at us without warning and telling us to get down. I had my two-year-old son with me and tipped over his stroller and covered him up on the ground. Right after I handed him off to my wife to get him out of there, I looked up and had to raise my arm to stop the dog from biting me in the face.” Yesenia Rojas, Lagunas's mother, witnessed the violence, ran toward her son and was shot twice with “less-than-lethal” rounds in her arm and abdomen.
Elizabeth Aguilar, 19, was shot in the arm at close range when she lunged forward to strike the dog that had initially charged toward Susan Lopez's baby inside a stroller just before latching on to Lagunas's forearm. Aguilar's father was shot three times and had to go to the hospital.
In all, more than 15 people were shot, some multiple times, and many people were hurt from inhaling the pepper spray used on the crowd. Lopez told Liberation News, “About five to six victims were children ranging in age from about four to about 13 years old.”
The original footage shows a boy around 12 years old who was carried away by neighbors because he was unable to walk due to a wound to his leg. A young girl under the age of 10 was shot in the face and is believed to have suffered damage to her eye.
Residents at some point responded militantly by lighting a dumpster on fire and throwing an assortment of debris. It is important to understand this response in context howeve,r and not to paint what happened as a “riot.” These actions were in self-defense as the community was assaulted by Anaheim police who have had a history of harassing the neighborhood.
It was a momentary glimpse into the inevitable future outcome of the ongoing police brutality epidemic—rebellion. This very same light flickered when Oscar Grant and Manuel Jamines were murdered as well as the recent response from L.A. residents to repression of the Chalk Walk demonstration.
When the naked injustice and brute force of the state becomes obvious during these incidents, the system itself is exposed and the credibility of its enforcers is undermined to such a degree that people abandon their fear and fight back. History has proven this in southern California alone in Watts, Silverlake, and South Central in 1965, 1967, and 1992, respectively.
In order to quell the increasingly inevitable rebellion, the police in departments around the country resort to attempted cover-ups. Anaheim is no exception despite the fact that they are arguably the least effective department in recent history.
The Anaheim police bribed residents with money for cell phone footage of the incident in an obvious attempt to prevent the facts from coming to light. Community members refused to hand over the footage, and over the next few days we can anticipate the release of more videos that tell the truth.
Anaheim police also visited victims in the hospital. Junior Lagunas told Liberation News, “One of the cops came and tried to tell me that the dog had been let loose on accident but other people from the neighborhood saw them let the dog out of the car.”
All the while, Sgt. Bob Dunn and Chief John Welter of APD have consistently downplayed the facts of the story and recently handed off responsibility for public relations to the district attorney. This move illustrates clearly that the Anaheim police fear any further self-incrimination.
Members of an ad-hoc coalition of families of those murdered by APD and concerned residents who have held weekly demonstrations in Anaheim were on the scene the night of the incident and invited the community for their regular Sunday demonstration at noon. The ANSWER Coalition (Act Now to Stop War and End Racism) and the Party for Socialism and Liberation mobilized for this demonstration along with members of Kelly's Army (Kelly Thomas, killed by Fullerton Police Department), Nidas Rydas (Mike Nida, killed by Downey Police Department), Occupy Santa Ana, and other organizations from throughout southern California.
At the July 22 protest, a woman who had been shot with rubber bullets by Anaheim police the day before, and the young sisters of a boy mauled by a police dog, led the demonstration of about 50 people into the police headquarters. With the victims and family members bravely facing off against a line of police, protesters chanted “Cowards, shame on you!” They militantly took over the police station for over an hour.
Another killing follows
In a tragic turn of events, yet another resident was killed by Anaheim police at night on July 22. Witnesses say the victim was already detained when he was shot. The community again responded in protest, with about 200 people rallying until about 4 a.m.
More protests are planned in Anaheim in the coming days.
Sheriff's Community Academy will introduce public to law enforcment
Deputies, detectives, sergeants and command staff will teach 12-week course
The Kern County Sheriff's Office, as part of our ongoing effort to build partnerships with our community and improve community policing efforts, will be offering a Community Academy to residents of Kern County. The goal of the Community Academy is to build a stronger relationship between the citizens of Kern County and the Kern County Sheriff's Office.
The Community Academy has been designed by Sheriff's Office personnel to introduce members of our community to the Sheriff's Office and the Kern County criminal justice system. The twelve week course will cover topics such as the history of the department, what it takes to become a deputy sheriff, use of force and laws of arrest, patrol procedures, gang investigations, Air Support operations, narcotics investigations, jail operations, force option simulator training, and volunteer services.
The class will be taught by Sheriff's personnel including deputies, detectives, sergeants and command staff. Participants will have an opportunity to ride along with a deputy sheriff on patrol and experience police work from an entirely new perspective.
The course will begin on Tuesday, September 25 and classes will be held every Tuesday evening from 6:30 pm until 9:30 pm. The only exception will be week 8 which will be held on Saturday, November 17 for a SWAT, K-9, and pistol range demonstration. Graduation from the Community Academy is scheduled for December 18th.
To qualify for the Community Academy applicants must be a resident of Kern County or work in Kern County, must pass a criminal background check including a fingerprint check, and be 21 years of age or 18 years of age and currently enrolled in college courses.
If you are interested in applying for the upcoming Community Academy please contact Deputy Steven Castillo at 661-868-1682 or by email at email@example.com . The deadline for applications is August 17th, 2012. Applications will be accepted after this date for future classes.
Applications are also available at Sheriff's Headquarters located at 1350 Norris Road in Bakersfield, Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Identification is required for fingerprinting. The class is free of charge.
Volunteering helps Hamilton kids ride their way to new bikes
by Jessica Young
Lending a helping hand can result in riding off into the sunset.
Hamilton Police Service's Community Policing Centres and Tim Hortons gave away 130 brand new mountain bikes as part of the Earn-a-bike program.
New rides and safety helmets were given to local children ages 9-12 Tuesday morning. The kids earned their new set of wheels for completing 30 hours of community service work which included cleaning up schools, parks or helping out in local community organizations.
Shady Oram, 11, was thrilled to pedal her new set of wheels.
"It's awesome. I rode my old bike yesterday and the light fell off. This one is pretty," she said.
Oram volunteered at an Early Years centre helping play with the children and clean toys.
"In this program, the kids earn their bike and at the same time gain a sense of pride knowing they have contributed to their community," explained police volunteer co-ordinator Marg Marshall.
This is the 16th year for Earn-a-bike in Hamilton.
To view photos taken at the event, visit our Facebook photo album where you can tag, download and comment.
Deer Park Police accepting applications for Citizens Police Academy
The Deer Park Police Department is currently accepting applications for the upcoming FREE Citizen's Police Academy. Classes will begin Thursday, August 16, 2012 from 6:30p.m.-9:30p.m. The CPA is 14 weeks of interactive, informative fun getting to know the inner workings of the police department.
Each Thursday, officers and police employees cover their area of expertise regarding the how's and why's of policing. Topics range from Community Policing, SWAT, defensive tactics, firearms, investigations, dispatch and much more.
If you are 18 or older, live, work, attend school or church in Deer Park, we welcome your participation. There are no physical requirements for attending the classes, however we do complete background checks on each applicant.
If you have questions pertaining to the Citizen's Police Academy, please feel free to contact Sheila Plovanich, Deer Park Police Department Community Liaison, 2911 Center, Deer Park, Texas 77536 or call 281-930-2118.
The deadline to turn in applications is Monday, August 13.