Ferguson Police Chief Resigns After DOJ Exposes Systemic Racism

Originally published on March 12, 2015, at NationofChange.org

Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson announced his resignation on Wednesday after a scathing Justice Department report revealed systemic racism throughout the government of Ferguson. Accused of racial discrimination and repeatedly violating civil rights, Chief Jackson has decided to step down along with the city manager, a municipal court judge, and two police officers who immediately resigned in the wake of the Justice Department’s investigation. Although the Department of Justice declined to file charges against Darren Wilson, their investigation exposed a culture of unlawfully targeting black people for profit and ridicule.

“It is with profound sadness that I am announcing I am stepping down from my position as chief of police for the city of Ferguson, Missouri. My resignation will be effective March 19, 2015 to provide for an orderly transition of command,” Chief Jackson wrote in his resignation letter. “I will continue to assist the city in any way I can in my capacity as a private citizen.”

According to the Justice Department report, the police in Ferguson disproportionately stopped, arrested, cited, and used force on black residents while exchanging racist emails between officers and court officials. After analyzing the Ferguson Police Department’s data on stops, searches, and arrests between 2012 and 2014, the DOJ discovered that blacks accounted for 85% of all traffic stops, 90% of citations received, and 93% of people arrested were black. 88% of the cases in which officers reported using force had been against black people, and all 15 people bitten by police dogs were black.

In order to generate revenue for the city, police officers engaged in contests to impose the highest number of unfair fines on black residents. According to Attorney General Eric Holder, officers regularly violated the First, Fourth, and 14th Amendments without consequence while charging black residents with unlawful allegations, including “manner of walking along roadway.”

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Albuquerque Cops Charged with Murdering Homeless Man

Originally published on January 13, 2015, at NationofChange.org

Two Albuquerque police officers were charged with murder on Monday for the shooting of a mentally ill homeless man captured on video. Accused of committing unjustified and unconstitutional police shootings by a Justice Department investigation, Albuquerque police officers often condone excessive use of force and escalate potentially hazardous situations. Since 2010, the Albuquerque Police Department (APD) has been involved in over 40 shootings resulting in 27 deaths; many were people with mental illnesses.

Bypassing the state grand jury process, Bernalillo County District Attorney Kari Brandenburg filed documents on Monday in the Second Judicial Court containing a count of open murder against Albuquerque Police Officers Keith Sandy and Dominique Perez. Authorized by New Mexico state law, Brandenburg filed criminal information records allowing the prosecutor to present charges without an indictment from a grand jury.

“Unlike Ferguson, and unlike in New York City – some recent high profile cases – we’re going to know,” stated Brandenburg. “The public’s going to have that information, you’re all going to have seen the witnesses, heard the arguments, and you’ll understand, hopefully, perhaps why the judge made the decision he or she will make.”

On March 16, 2014, APD officers responded to a report of a homeless man, James Boyd, illegally camping in the Sandia foothills. Diagnosed with schizophrenia and armed with two small pocketknives, Boyd negotiated with police for four hours before agreeing to surrender. According to a helmet camera video released by the APD after the shooting, Boyd had been complying with their orders when an officer fired a flashbang grenade at him.

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America’s Worst Sheriff Faces New Wrongful Death Lawsuit

Originally published on October 9, 2014, at NationofChange.org

The mother of a deceased inmate has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against self-proclaimed “America’s Toughest Sheriff” Joe Arpaio. Found guilty of racial profiling in federal court and under Justice Department investigation, Sheriff Joe Arpaio oversees Arizona jails that have twice been ruled unconstitutional due to mistreatment and inhumane conditions. First voted into office in 1992, Arpaio has cost Maricopa County millions of dollars in settlements resulting from his campaign of abuse and corruption.

On September 30, 2013, Felix Torres was arrested on warrants for driving on a suspended license and failure to appear in court. After notifying officers of his history with ulcers, Torres waited for days before a doctor eventually evaluated him and diagnosed him with hernia pain. The doctor gave Torres an injection of a drug that should not be given to ulcer patients and had him treated for the hernia. After returning to his cell, Torres complained of severe pain but officers ignored his pleas. He was found dead in his cell on October 5, 2013.

“I don’t think the detention staff have done anything wrong in this case,” claimed Deputy Chief Jack Macintyre. “I think they’ve done exactly what they should do within the confines of the responsibilities for monitoring the care and custody of inmates.”

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22 Puerto Rico Cops Plead Guilty to Corruption Charges

Originally published on August 27, 2014, at NationofChange.org

Twenty-two Puerto Rico Police Officers have pleaded guilty to multiple charges of robbery, extortion, civil rights violations, drug dealing, and obstruction of justice. Tainted by a pervasive history of abuse and corruption, the Puerto Rico police department operates with virtual impunity and a blatant disregard for the law. Separate investigations from the DOJ and ACLU confirm multiple reports of the police engaging in the unjustified use of excessive force, lethal force, and criminal activities.

On the evening of November 5, 2008, Lt. Erick Rivera Nazario and Officer Jimmy Rodriguez Vega confronted and killed 19-year-old Jose Luis Irizarry Perez. While Officer David Colon Martinez restrained Irizarry Perez, Lt. Rivera Nazario and Officer Rodriguez Vega beat the teenager to death with their batons. On March 8, 2013, Officer Rodriguez Vega pleaded guilty to one count of depriving Irizarry Perez of his civil rights by striking him with his police baton.

After failing to cover-up the unlawful killing, Officer David Colon Martinez pleaded guilty on August 22, 2014, to one count of making a false statement to the FBI and one count of perjury for lying to the federal grand jury that investigated the incident. Officer Miguel Negron Vazquez joined him in pleading guilty to making a false statement to the FBI.

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Innocent Civilian Deaths Caused by Police Militarization

Originally published on August 23, 2014, at NationofChange.org

With the aggressive militarization of America’s police forces, innocent bystanders and family members often enter the crosshairs. For decades, federal programs have devised incentives for state and local police to utilize unnecessarily hostile weapons and battlefield tactics against civilians. Operating with a glaring lack of transparency and almost no public oversight, militarized police forces rarely find themselves accountable for their actions.

In a recent ACLU report titled War Comes Home: The Excessive Militarization of American Policingthe Senior Counsel with the ACLU’s Center for Justice, Kara Dansky wrote, “The ACLU found through the course of this investigation that the excessive militarism in policing, particularly through the use of paramilitary policing teams, escalates the risk of violence, threatens individual liberties, and unfairly impacts people of color.”

After filing public records requests with more than 255 law enforcement agencies, 114 of the agencies denied the ACLU’s request. While investigating excessive weapon stockpiles and police militarization, the ACLU found a disturbing trend in Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) teams being used beyond their original mandate. Previously, SWAT teams had only been deployed to handle hostage, sniper, or terrorist threats. Now, SWAT teams conduct drug busts, disperse protesters, and execute “no knock” search warrants in residential neighborhoods.

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FBI and DOJ Clear Agent of Executing Suspect During Interrogation

Originally published on March 28, 2014, at WeAreChange.org

On the evening of May 21, 2013, an FBI agent, 2 Massachusetts State Troopers, and a local Orlando police officer arrived at Ibragim Todashev’s apartment to interview him again. 8 hours later, Todashev was shot dead leaving law enforcement officials with the daunting task of keeping their stories straight.

They failed.

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CIA Exposed: Traitors, Patriots, and Madmen

Originally published on December 3, 2013 at WeAreChange.org

From the ashes of the dissolved Office of Strategic Services, in 1947 the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) was born. Shrouded in secrecy, the agency has operated within the shadows for 66 years. Only a few CIA officers, such as Richard Helms, William Colby, and John Brennan, have risen to the coveted position of Director of Central Intelligence.

But this isn’t their story. These are the crimes and confessions of the analysts, contractors, interrogators, and officers of the CIA. From political assassinations to state-sponsored torture, this is the CIA’s story in their own words.

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