Tag Archive | police brutality

a year’s worth of bad things, political warnings, and lingering Trump links

2015, and still relevant: The USPS isn’t in financial trouble because people aren’t using it enough. It’s in “financial trouble” because Congress ordered it to stockpile enough cash to pre-fund all employee pension and health insurance costs for the next 75 years. Even if we all sent enough mail to cover that unnecessary liability, Congress could easily pass another law saddling it with another unnecessary liability. We fix this by yelling at our representatives to shape up, not by buying more stamps.

May 2020: “Despite her visible role in the fight against abortion, McCorvey [aka Jane Roe] says she was a mercenary, not a true believer. And Schenck, who has also distanced himself from the antiabortion movement, at least partially corroborates the allegations, saying that she was paid out of concern ;that she would go back to the other side,; he says in the film. ‘There were times I wondered: Is she playing us? And what I didn’t have the guts to say was, because I know damn well we were playing her.'”

May 2020: “Finland ran a two-year universal basic income study in 2017 and 2018, during which the government gave 2000 unemployed people aged between 25 and 58 monthly payments with no strings attached. The payments of €560 per month weren’t means tested and were unconditional, so they weren’t reduced if an individual got a job or later had a pay rise. The study was nationwide and selected recipients weren’t able to opt out, because the test was written into legislation. ”

September 11: “Industry companies spent tens of millions of dollars on [plastic recycling] ads and ran them for years, promoting the benefits of a product that, for the most part, was buried, was burned or, in some cases, wound up in the ocean. Documents show industry officials knew this reality about recycling plastic as far back as the 1970s.

September 30: “Maybe “guided apophenia” is a better phrase. Guided because the puppet masters are directly involved in hinting about the desired conclusions. They have pre-seeded the conclusions. They are constantly getting the player lost by pointing out unrelated random events and creating a meaning for them that fits the propaganda message Q is delivering.” A game designer’s analysis of QAnon.

October 23: “A rightwing extremist boasted of driving from Texas to Minneapolis to help set fire to a police precinct during the George Floyd protests, federal prosecutors said. US attorney Erica MacDonald said on Friday that she had charged Ivan Harrison Hunter, a 26-year-old Texas resident, with traveling across state lines to participate in a riot. ” (It’s them. It’s always them.)

December 9: “Last week, CMD obtained the 2019 tax records of two right-wing funders who donated to the FDRLST Media Foundation that year: GOP megadonor and shipping supply billionaire Richard Uihlein and DonorsTrust, a donor-advised fund manager that has been dubbed “the dark money ATM” of the conservative movement.” Looks like we can add Uline Shipping next to StickerMule on the list of “this company’s owner will pass your money on to horrible causes.”

December 17: “Per capita gross domestic product and unemployment rates were nearly identical after five years in countries that slashed taxes on the rich and in those that didn’t, the study found. But the analysis discovered one major change: The incomes of the rich grew much faster in countries where tax rates were lowered. Instead of trickling down to the middle class, tax cuts for the rich may not accomplish much more than help the rich keep more of their riches and exacerbate income inequality, the research indicates.”

January 20: “Early in President Trump’s term, McSweeney’s editors began to catalog the head-spinning number of misdeeds coming from his administration. We called this list a collection of Trump’s cruelties, collusions, and crimes, and it felt urgent then to track them, to ensure these horrors — happening almost daily — would not be forgotten.”

January 29: “Donald Trump was cultivated as a Russian asset over 40 years and proved so willing to parrot anti-western propaganda that there were celebrations in Moscow, a former KGB spy has told the Guardian.”

February 18: “The Austin American-Statesman found a single, forgotten copy of that report on a Public Utilities Commission shelf in 2011. The paper went looking for it in 2011 because of the cold snap that hit Texas in February of that year. The state legislature held angry hearings, and later that spring Hegar introduced his bill to require the Public Service Commission to prepare a weatherization and preparedness report each year, an obligation that was later neglected.” Texas utility companies vs. history, or Yes, We Need That Infrastructure Bill.

March 11: “It isn’t easy to figure out exactly how much electrical energy these ‘idling cars’ are consuming, but even the lowest estimates are eye-wateringly bad. Cambridge University seems to have done the most legwork in figuring this out, and at the moment, the annualised power consumption of bitcoin mining is 128 terawatt hours. In 2019-20, every single thing plugged into Australia’s largest main grid consumed 192.

It’s probably going to keep turning out that this attack was worse than we knew

NYT provides some fascinating perspective on who’s tried to do this before, and for almost exactly the same reasons: “In the confusion that followed Wednesday’s desecration of the Capitol, it was widely reported that the last time the building was stormed was in 1814. That overlooked a desperate day in 1861, nearly as lethal to democracy. On Feb. 13, a mob gathered outside the Capitol and tried to force its way in to disrupt the counting of the electoral certificates that would confirm Abraham Lincoln’s election three months earlier.”

There was at least one bit of sabotage done before the riots, which probably means there’s more to be found: “As people rushed out of other buildings on the Capitol grounds, staffers in [Ayanna] Pressley’s office barricaded the entrance with furniture and water jugs that had piled up during the pandemic. [Her chief of staff] Groh pulled out gas masks and looked for the special panic buttons in the office. ‘Every panic button in my office had been torn out — the whole unit.’

Pramila Jayapal (D-WA): “The Capitol police with us seemed very confused about who had the key to the doors. They were closed, but we weren’t sure if they were locked, and we were yelling, “Lock the doors! Lock the doors!” We heard shots being fired, presumably into the chamber.”

Jason Crow (D-CO, veteran): “I called my wife. I told her I loved her and told the kids I loved them and told my wife I might have to fight my way out. […] I did a double-check of all the doors, made sure they were locked. Escorted the more senior members away from the doors, moving them into a defensive position. Asked folks to take off their member pins so that if the mobs break down the doors, the members would be harder to identify. I took a pen out of my pocket to possibly use as a weapon.”

Nancy Pelosi talks about her young staffers, who knew what to do from their school active-shooter drills: “The staff went under the table, barricaded the door, turned out the lights, and were silent in the dark.” “Under the table this whole–” “–under the table for two and a half hours.”

“Moments later, there was yelling in the gallery, as staff and security details started to move around with a heightened sense of alarm. Inside the chamber, news photographers that Pelosi (D-Calif.) had allowed in to capture the historic electoral vote at the dais instead turned around and trained their cameras toward the doors in the back of the chamber.”

Same article: “Capitol police had said previously they didn’t need help, but Bowdich decided he couldn’t wait for a formal invitation. […] These teams typically gather at a staging area off-site to coordinate and plan, and then rush together to the area where they are needed. Bowdich told their commander there was no time.”

Less-reported-on, ordinary people throughout the city also had to hide from rioters wreaking havoc: “[In DC], a city long shaped by hardworking Black Americans and immigrants, the terror unfolded at home, forcing residents to lock themselves behind closed doors or commute from work through downtown streets filled with throngs of white supremacists and law enforcement officials who have often been openly hostile toward their communities. “

Meanwhile: “As this was unfolding on television, Donald Trump was walking around the White House confused about why other people on his team weren’t as excited as he was as you had rioters pushing against Capitol Police trying to get into the building.”

BuzzFeed News spoke to two Black officers who described a harrowing day in which they were forced to endure racist abuse — including repeatedly being called the n-word — as they tried to do their job of protecting the Capitol building, and by extension the very functioning of American democracy. The officers said they were wrong-footed, fighting off an invading force that their managers had downplayed and not prepared them for. “

The officer initially scopes out the door, sees it’s not guarded, and tries to block the way. More rioters pour up the stairs after them, and the officer seems to go with a new strategy – he shoves the first rioter, pissing him off, and then leads the whole mob the other way.” One specific black officer uses himself as bait for racists. Get this man a medal, please.

Not to forget the other cops whose behavior that day deserves to be recognized:”Two Capitol Police officers have been suspended and one has been arrested following the riots at the U.S. Capitol.”

And: “As investigators seek to identify rioters who stormed the U.S. Capitol, police departments in Virginia and Washington state have placed officers on leave as authorities examine whether they took part in unlawful acts while off-duty.”

hi mom remember the time you told me I shouldn’t go to BLM protests bc they could get violent…this you?”

Some fallout:

At least one known-COVID-positive rioter identified among the chaotic and unmasked crowd. Inside, several Republicans sheltering-in-place refused to put masks on; presumably they aren’t getting tested afterward, or won’t reveal the results if they are. Meanwhile, Democrats who were forced to share the room with them are starting to report positive tests.

“Because Parler cannot comply with our terms of service and poses a very real risk to public safety, we plan to suspend Parler’s account effective Sunday, January 10th, at 11:59PM PST.” Contains a few choice screenshots of Parler-hosted content, for anyone who’s unclear about what Amazon considers a ToS violation.

“One member [of Congress, being briefed on plans for future riots] was explicit that these groups were trying to get journalists to report on their demonstrations. ‘Some of their main communications to organize these have been cut off, so they’re purposely trying to get the media to report on this as a way to further disseminate information and to attract additional support for their attacks.'”

Sadly, the graphic about Olive Garden canceling Lifetime Pasta Passes for various rioters and their supporters turns out to be a joke.

As is this resignation letter from the Death Star: “Destroying planets and using fear of this battle station to keep the local systems in line was my No. 1 passion until — about 30 seconds ago, weirdly! That was when I saw the X-wings that had evaded our turbo-lasers and were proceeding down a trench toward our vulnerable thermal exhaust port — and realized I had to speak up. I thought: What if remorselessly destroying planets isn’t my passion? What if my real passion is staying alive and avoiding the consequences of my actions?

If he can’t stay, he’s damn well gonna try to burn it all down before he goes

Welp, it’s been a week since the election was called, and Trump’s been wildly flinging himself from “if I don’t concede that means I don’t have to leave right??” to “file 100 lawsuits against whoever’s handy, hope some evidence shows up later” to “flood my mailing list with begging emails, admit in the fine print that their $$$ will actually just be paying off my debts.”

Also, blocking Biden’s transition team from the access they need to handle things smoothly, and firing a bunch of his military leaders, apparently because they’re trying to stop him from releasing intel about Russia that would harm national security. On top of the classified intel he’s already blabbed with no regard for national security.

(But something something Hillary’s emails, amirite)

Anyway, here’s another pile of links I’ve been sitting on for too long, about gun control & police brutality. (The really old ones I just discovered recently, and am gonna link anyway because they’re Still Relevant.)

2010: “Finally, he spoke to a departmental therapist, confessing all his concerns about the alleged stat fixing and about his declining health. The therapist’s report had a result he didn’t expect: He was stripped of his gun and badge and put on desk duty.” (What happens to the “good cops” who try to call out the “bad apples.”)

August 2015 (NYT): “In the protests that have followed police shootings, demonstrators have often asked why officers are so rarely punished for shootings that seem unwarranted. Dr. Lewinski is part of the answer.

December 2017: “Philip Mitchell Brailsford, 28, is now retired from the force with a tax-free pension worth $31,000 a year for life — and his attorney confirmed Friday that the settlement was a result of him suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder due to the shooting involving Daniel Shaver of Texas. Shaver was seen on police bodycam video crawling on the floor of a Mesa hotel and sobbing for his life before he was shot — a case that drew national scrutiny over the use of deadly force.” Justice for Daniel Shaver.

February 2018: “An elite Baltimore police task force spent years plundering the city and its residents for hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash, drugs, and jewelry. […] The police officers in the unit set people up for baseless searches. They robbed people. They carried toy guns to plant as fake evidence in case they killed an unarmed person. They clocked overtime when they weren’t working at all.”

Baltimore City funds, by agency. The police department dwarfs everything else put together.

June 1: “The officer seemed annoyed as he said, “Is that a Poodle?” I said yes and put Merlin back in the van. The officer seemed mad as he explained the impeding traffic law, like I tricked him somehow and was wasting his time.” White woman figures out why she keeps getting pulled over while driving with a large curly-haired dog.

June 6: “This essay has been kicking around in my head for years now and I’ve never felt confident enough to write it. It’s a time in my life I’m ashamed of. It’s a time that I hurt people and, through inaction, allowed others to be hurt. It’s a time that I acted as a violent agent of capitalism and white supremacy. Under the guise of public safety, I personally ruined people’s lives but in so doing, made the public no safer… so did the family members and close friends of mine who also bore the badge alongside me.

June 25: “Three staff members of a Michigan youth center have been charged in the death of a Black teenager who died while being restrained after throwing a sandwich.” Justice for Cornelius Fredericks.

July 19: “[Navy veteran Christopher] David stood as solidly as a rock while federal officers pepper sprayed him twice and struck him at least five times with a baton during a rally outside the Hatfield Courthouse.”

July 22: “State and local leaders have repeatedly called for federal agents to leave the city, arguing that their presence has made an already-tense environment worse.”

July 24: “This is the kid’s big moment, the 20-year-olds’ big moment. When they ask for our help, it’s our job to come and be supportive and to help them do what they need to do.” The stories behind Portland’s Wall of Moms.

Police violence & protest links

This visualization documents cases of police brutality or misconduct during the nationwide protests following the murder of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer. This is not comprehensive — these are only a few hundred cases Tweeted by individuals and compiled by Greg Doucette.”

Showing Up For Racial Justice, “part of a multi-racial movement is to undermine white support for white supremacy and to help build a racially-just society.”

#8CantWait: “Data proves that together these eight policies can decrease police violence by 72%.” Look up your city, find out which ones it’s missing, call your reps. It’s a project by Campaign Zero, an organization led by black activists that’s been analyzing police departments and pushing for data-driven reform since 2015.

March 2016: “Americans are afraid of many threats to their lives – serial killers, crazed gunmen, gang bangers, and above all terrorists – but these threats are surprisingly unlikely. Approximately three-quarters of all homicide victims in America are killed by someone they know. And the real threat from strangers is quite different from what most fear: one-third of all Americans killed by strangers are killed by police.

And before diving into all the heavier articles from this month, here’s a light one:

June 2: “Eight Viacom networks went off the air for eight minutes and 46 seconds on Monday night in a tribute to George Floyd […] Nickelodeon took a more kid-friendly approach to the social justice campaign, using an orange background (the network’s signature shade) with the message: “Nickelodeon is going off the air for 8 minutes and 46 seconds in support of justice, equality, and human rights.”” (I keep seeing people summarize this as if Nick aired the horror-movie version. Nope, the kids’ network aired a perfectly-appropriate kid-safe alternative.)

Continue reading

Adding to the justice blogroll

Since 2013, I’ve been adding to the “Justice for…” list of links in the sidebar of this blog.

A set of names, one article per person — almost entirely black people who were killed by police, some people who were severely injured by police, some who were killed by other incidents of reckless violence. All of which got brushed off by a legal system that didn’t think their lives mattered. (Sometimes it came back later and got around to giving them justice. Usually not.)

It’s not comprehensive, and doesn’t try to be. It’s just the ones that I, personally, have read about, and want to be able to remember.

As of starting this post, it has 75 entries. (The sidebar only shows a random subset at a time — you have to refresh for more.)

Here’s some new additions.

In February 1999, Diallo was returning to his building when four officers, dressed in plain clothes as part of the Street Crime Unit, approached him and fired 41 shots, hitting him 19 times. The officers said they thought he had a gun, which later turned out to be his wallet, and that he fit the “general description” of a serial rapist.” A civil suit was filed, and settled, but it looks like there were no criminal charges, ever. Justice for Amadou Diallo.

2012: “I must call the NYPD to task for the rapid public release of information regarding this victim, which may have taken place before notification of the shooting to her family. They should show greater care in the handling of a sensitive inquiry in its early stages, or at the least provide equity to the balance of facts being released; the record of the shooter, who reportedly has a number of outstanding civil rights complaints himself and carries an unfavorable reputation in the community, should be treated with the same level of consideration as the record of the deceased.” Justice for Shantel Davis.

2016: “Danner discussed the need for more mental health training for police officers and described a deadly scenario with a cop that foreshadowed her final moments alive. ‘We are all aware of the all too frequent news stories about the mentally ill who come up against law enforcement instead of mental health professionals and end up dead,’ she wrote.” Justice for Deborah Danner.

2019 (fallout of a 2016 shooting): “A jury found a gunshot fired by Ofc. Royce Ruby that killed Gaines and injured her then 5-year-old son, Kodi Gaines, was not reasonable. Baltimore County Circuit Court Judge Mickey Norman dismissed the family’s claim, writing in an opinion that Ruby was entitled to qualified immunity.” Justice for Korryn Gaines. And for Kodi Gaines.

2019: “‘He absolutely knew that Taser could not be fired again without her changing the cartridge,’ Turner’s family’s attorney, Ben Crump, told Houston Public Media. ‘And he did not have to use deadly force while she was laying on her back.’” Justice for Pamela Turner.

May 21: “The FBI has opened an investigation into the shooting death of Breonna Taylor, an EMT who was killed after officers forced their way inside her home.” Justice for Breonna Taylor.

June 1: “He fed the police and didn’t charge them nothing. My son was a good son. All he did on that barbecue corner is try to make a dollar for himself and his family. And they come along and they killed my son.” Justice for David McAtee.

June 4: “Justin Howell, a 20-year-old political science student at Texas State, was critically injured after being shot with a bean bag round by a police officer during a protest in Austin on May 31. Howell is currently hospitalized and in critical condition after suffering a fractured skull as well as brain damage.” Justice for Justin Howell.

June 5 (update on an April death): “[British Transport Police] said “there was insufficient evidence to support a prosecution based upon the allegation that the man spat deliberately on [railway worker] Mrs Mujinga or said that he had the virus’.” Meanwhile, people who spit on cops get jailed, even when the officers don’t die of COVID-19 a few weeks later. Justice for Belly Mujinga.