Congressman Asks IRS Commissioner 'For What Reason Does the IRS Target Black People for Audits & Concentrate its Audits in Mostly Black Counties While Elite Whites Escape Scrutiny?’

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Over the past six months, ProPublica has detailed the myriad ways the IRS has been gutted and how that has impacted its ability to do its job. In sum: The wealthy escape scrutiny while the working poor, an easier target, are audited at high rates.

This week, Congress, in two separate hearings, confronted IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig with the findings.

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“How can the Congress stand by a tax-enforcement system that punishes working people and gives the wealthy a green light to cheat?” asked Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee, during his opening statement on Wednesday.

Wyden was referring to a ProPublica investigation last week into the fate of the elite unit the IRS formed to keep up with the complicated tax-avoidance schemes of the wealthy. Faced with staff cuts and blowback from the wealthy and their tax representatives, the effort fumbled and was scaled way back.

Wyden demanded that Rettig produce a plan within 30 days on how his agency will change a system that is “stacked in favor of the wealthy” and “against the most vulnerable.” Rettig promised to do so.

One day earlier, at a hearing before the House Appropriations Committee, Rettig was also questioned about a map showing where in the country IRS audits are most concentrated. The top five most audited counties, ProPublica found, were rural, mostly African American ones in the Deep South. (On Wednesday, Wyden called the map “shameful.”)

Rep. Charlie Crist, D-Fla., displayed the map during the hearing and asked: “The map looks like the IRS is targeting black, Hispanic and Native American populations for audit. Is that the case?” [see below]

Rettig said that it wasn’t, adding that the IRS did not screen for race when selecting returns for audit.

But Crist said the findings amounted to “disparate impact,” the idea that even if unintentional, systems can produce “racial discrimination in practice.” He asked how the IRS would avoid “implicit or explicit” bias going forward.

Rettig didn’t have a clear answer. The IRS audited such a large number of low-income families because they claimed the earned income tax credit, he said. The EITC is one of the country’s largest anti-poverty programs. But the IRS estimates that of the more than $70 billion paid out last year through the program, $18 billion was claimed improperly, Rettig said. This made the program a priority for the IRS to audit, he said. As previous IRS commissioners have done, he blamed the complexity of the law as the main cause of those incorrect claims.

While that $18 billion figure sounds impressive, experts within and outside the IRS have argued that the agency’s estimate is far too high, largely because low-income taxpayers are much less likely to have competent representation to dispute the IRS’ conclusions.

The $18 billion is also just a pittance when compared with the vast universe of unpaid taxes. The IRS produces an estimate of what it calls the “tax gap,” which is how much tax is actually paid compared with what should have been paid. It’s been a few years since the last estimate, but assuming the rate of compliance has not changed (if anything, it’s gotten worse), the tax gap in 2018 would have been between $600 billion and $700 billion. At most, incorrect EITC payments account for around 3% of that.

By comparison, in 2017, the last year for which data is available, audits of EITC recipients accounted for 36% of all audits.

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Since the 1990s, Republicans have put pressure on the IRS to address incorrect EITC payments, and Republican senators in Wednesday’s hearing continued that pressure.

“This is a big problem,” said Sen. Pat Toomey, of Pennsylvania, referring to improper EITC payments. “This is where the money is,” said Sen. Bill Cassidy, who represents one of the most heavily audited states, Louisiana.

Rettig expressed a willingness to work with Congress to address incorrect payments of the EITC, perhaps by simplifying the requirements. He notably did not suggest that the IRS might scale back the number of audits. As ProPublica reported last year, the IRS is understaffed, so people who are audited for claiming the credit and send in documents supporting their claim often must wait a year to find out if their proof is accepted.

When it comes to auditing the wealthy, Rettig did say that one of his “focal points” was “to get the audit rates up for the more wealthy taxpayers.”

“I’m an enforcement person,” he assured lawmakers on Tuesday after they expressed concern about how far the audit rate has fallen. “I’m an enforcement-minded person. … Personally, I have both eyes focused on enforcement.”

Suits Against NYPD Cost Taxpayers $230 Million in 2018: The Willingness of Whites to Tax Themselves in this Way Implies that Police Brutality Plays an Important Role in the System of White Supremacy

According to Gothamist, New York City taxpayers are stuck with a $230 million bill for the thousands of lawsuits against the NYPD that the city settled in the last fiscal year, according to a report released this week by Comptroller Scott Stringer.

The annual claims report found that the majority of suits against the department were related to improper police conduct, including excessive force and false arrests. While the number of claims against the NYPD has remained stable—there were 6,472 actions last year, compared to 6,546 in 2017—total payouts have decreased significantly from last year's high of $335.5 million.

The Comptroller's report noted that five wrongful conviction suits accounted for $33 million of this past year's payouts. Four out of five of those claims involved people who spent decades in prison before their sentences were vacated by the late Brooklyn D.A. Ken Thompson's Conviction Integrity Unit. Their settlements ranged from $1.5 million for Paul Gatling, who was exonerated at the age of 81, to $12.3 million for Andre Hatchett, who spent 25 years in prison for a crime he didn't commit.

In his report, Stringer said that the city is facing "a substantial number of pending wrongful conviction claims," which he warned could result in an uptick in future NYPD payouts.

The 2018 fiscal year also included a $25.4 million settlement in the federal class-action lawsuit, Stinson v. City of New York, related to the police department's illegal arrest quotas. Last year, Police Sergeant Edwin Raymond, who has an ongoing class action lawsuit against the NYPD, told Gothamist that "the quota system is absolutely [still] happening."

That New Yorkers were only on the hook for $230 million in police settlement cash this past year was hailed as a victory by the NYPD. In a statement, Sergeant Jessica McRorie, a police spokesperson, said the report "reflects the successful efforts to fight frivolous cases, and to provide our officers with the best training and guidance possible."

The statement continued: "These gains represent another example how the NYPD is building greater trust and respect with the community to collaboratively solve problems, drive down crime, and enhance public safety."

On the other hand, the NYPD has continued to employ officers whose dozens of misconduct allegations have cost taxpayers tens of millions of dollars, while fighting tooth-and-nail to keep police disciplinary records secret. 

in a DIFFERENT context   Amos Wilson   , explained "given the historical and contemporary virulence of White racism in America and the injustice toward Blacks that such racism engenders, the number of arrests, incarcerations, and in many instances, convictions of Black males should be viewed with a jaundiced eye. The willingness of White Americans to heavily tax themselves in order to finance accelerated and increased prison construction, rapidly expanding police forces and so-called criminal justice system personnel, burgeoning private police and security establishments; their willingness to finance the incarcera­tion of Black prisoners in sharp contrast to their unwillingness to tax themselves to provide for the appropriate funding of the education of Black children and to commit themselves to the ending of racist employment practices; to provide adequate housing medical care, food and clothing; clearly implies that alleged Black male criminality plays a very important role in defining the collective White American ego and personality."       SIMILARLY, WHITES IN NYC AND ELSEWHERE ARE WILLING TO PAY THE COST OF POLICE BRUTALITY AND OTHER “RIGHTS” DEPRIVATIONS TO NON-WHITE CITIZEN-SUBJECTS.  Police “authority” is used to manage the behavior of non-white people within this “   free range prison   ” AND LAWSUITS ARE PAR FOR THE COURSE.    Dr. Blynd    observes, "people who are awake see cops as mercenary guards that remind us daily through acts of force, that we are simultaneously both enemies and slaves of the Corporate State.

in a DIFFERENT context Amos Wilson, explained "given the historical and contemporary virulence of White racism in America and the injustice toward Blacks that such racism engenders, the number of arrests, incarcerations, and in many instances, convictions of Black males should be viewed with a jaundiced eye. The willingness of White Americans to heavily tax themselves in order to finance accelerated and increased prison construction, rapidly expanding police forces and so-called criminal justice system personnel, burgeoning private police and security establishments; their willingness to finance the incarcera­tion of Black prisoners in sharp contrast to their unwillingness to tax themselves to provide for the appropriate funding of the education of Black children and to commit themselves to the ending of racist employment practices; to provide adequate housing medical care, food and clothing; clearly implies that alleged Black male criminality plays a very important role in defining the collective White American ego and personality." 

SIMILARLY, WHITES IN NYC AND ELSEWHERE ARE WILLING TO PAY THE COST OF POLICE BRUTALITY AND OTHER “RIGHTS” DEPRIVATIONS TO NON-WHITE CITIZEN-SUBJECTS. Police “authority” is used to manage the behavior of non-white people within this “free range prison” AND LAWSUITS ARE PAR FOR THE COURSE. Dr. Blynd observes, "people who are awake see cops as mercenary guards that remind us daily through acts of force, that we are simultaneously both enemies and slaves of the Corporate State.

According to FUNKTIONARY

Racism White Supremacy - psychopathic degeneracy. 2) "The local and global power system and dynamic, structured and maintained by persons who classify themselves as white, whether consciously or subconsciously determined, which consists of patterns of perception, logic, symbol formation, thought, speech, action and emotional response, as conducted simultaneously in all areas of people activity (economics, education, entertainment, labour, law, politics, religion, sex and war); for the ultimate purpose of white genetic survival and to prevent white genetic annihilation on planet earth—a planet upon which the vast majority of people are classified as non-white (Black, Brown, Red and Yellow) by white skinned people, and all of the nonwhite people are genetically dominant (in terms of skin coloration) compared to the genetic recessive white skin people." -Dr. Francis Cress Welsing, MD. Hate and oppression can never reign. Only love is supreme.

Racism -  White Degeneracy wrongly cast as Supremacy. Racism—a psycho-socio-economic reality based on a pseudo-scientific biological myth—is a power group dynamic, i.e., a defined group cooperatively via legacy institutions exerting structured and enforced institutionalized and systemic injustice, oppression and power over another group. Racism is not individualistic, but institutional, cultural, economic, political, linguistic, self-perpetuating and systematic. Racism is economic discrimination by one group over and against another for the purposes of subjugation and/or maintaining the imbalance of power through cooperative control, misinformation, indoctrination, genocide and oppression. Racism is the socioeconomic and cultural bequest of colonialism, neo-colonialism and the vestiges of the transatlantic trafficking of enslaved Afrikans and their descendants. Racism has its bio-physiological origins in the immune response of primitive life-forms to foreign matter and has its geo-psychological roots in the response of primitive humans encountering more intelligent ones based on the meme of scarcity and the fear of genetic annihilation through genetic assimilation. "Racism destroys men—and women—as much by what it denies them as by what it metes out to them." -Isaiah Thomas. "It is pathological for Blacks to keep attempting moral suasion on a people who have no ethics or morality where race is a variable." -Bobby Wright.

"If you can't keep something but you can't give it up, you have to render it unrecognizable; racism has been defined out of existence and repackaged so that whites could retain its perks, especially the psychological ones. It has undergone existential plastic surgery. To keep it buried alive in its unholy grave, a host of Strangelovean anti-intellectualisms have been developed and honed." -Debra J. Dickerson. Racism White Supremacy is a virus in the mind, a malignant meme that has both the host of the virus and the whole society sick. White Supremacy (Degeneracy) is socially engineering Black Consciousness and/or also responsible for the falsification of Black consciousness. "If you don't understand racism white supremacy, everything else you think you know will only confuse you." -Neelly Fuller, Jr. (See: White Supremacy, Yurugu, Park Day, Declaration of Endependece, Ma'afa & Caucasion). 

White Ohio Prison Authorities Sued after 2 White Guards Intentionally Enabled & Did Nothing but "Laugh" while a White Supremacist Stabbed 4 Black Inmates Handcuffed to a Table

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Brinkwire reports: White Ohio prison staff are being sued for ‘knowingly and intentionally’ letting a white supremacist stab four black inmates while they were handcuffed to a table, according to a report published this week. 

Two correctional officers allegedly laughed as Greg Reinke knifed the men multiple times in June 2017, according to a federal lawsuit viewed by the Cincinnati Enquirer.  

Shamieke Pugh and Maurice Lee, two of the inmates who’ve filed the lawsuit, say officers didn’t strip search Reinke as required and didn’t provide first aid to the bleeding inmates for more than 10 minutes.

All four survived the attack at the maximum-security Southern Ohio Correctional Facility in Lucasville, which occurred as they were playing cards at a table near where the attacker had been seated. 

It was recorded on prison surveillance video that has since been viewed by millions.

The lawsuit alleges that the four inmates – Pugh, Lee, Dontez Hollis and Darryl Pascol – were strip-searched by the officers before they were let out of their cells for recreational time and handcuffed to a table.

Reinke – identified as a member of the white supremacist group the Aryan Brotherhood – was allegedly not strip-searched before he was handcuffed to a nearby table.   

Guards also allegedly ‘gave Reinke a key’ or ‘knew or should have known that Reinke’ had a key or something similar to slip out of his cuffs, reported the Enquirer.

Reinke then pulled a homemade blade out of his sock before he began to attack the men.

The officers, identified by the last names Faye and Dalton, then reportedly laughed behind a closed and locked door, with one allegedly saying: ‘We should just let them die.’

Hollis was able to slip out of his handcuffs and tackled Reinke, which is when the guards arrived on the scene. The men were all visibly bleeding by this time.  

Pugh and Lee are seeking $75,000 in damages and claim in the lawsuit that their civil rights were violated and that they suffered cruel and unusual punishment. 

Reinke has denied the officers arranged the attack, but said they condoned it. He’s also ‘stated that he just felt like killing someone,’ according to a prison report.

The Scioto County prosecutor said he found no evidence of a setup.

Reviews of what happened found that guards followed prison policies and procedures, and no officers were disciplined, said Chris Mabe, the president of the union that represents the officers.

One of the inmates’ attorneys, Solomon Radner, argues that the guards’ conduct violated constitutional protection against cruel and unusual punishment.

‘I don’t care what the policies are. I don’t care what the procedures are,’ Radner said. ‘I know what the Eighth Amendment is.’

RACIST SUSPECT PRISON ORDERLY SAYS ‘THERE IS NO WAY THIS WAS A SET-UP’ INVOLVING WHITE GUARDS. IT IS IMPORTANT TO KEEP IN MIND THAT being white supremacist has nothing to do with membership in one of these clownish organizations and there are differing ways to practice white supremacy.

RACIST SUSPECT PRISON ORDERLY SAYS ‘THERE IS NO WAY THIS WAS A SET-UP’ INVOLVING WHITE GUARDS. IT IS IMPORTANT TO KEEP IN MIND THAT being white supremacist has nothing to do with membership in one of these clownish organizations and there are differing ways to practice white supremacy.

Prison officials wouldn’t say how Reinke smuggled homemade knives from his cell and slipped his cuffs. The officers’ union previously said Lucasville has since ended the practice of shackling multiple inmates seated at a table. 

Pugh spent two weeks in the hospital being stabbed. The lawsuit also alleges he was punched and kicked by different officers while shackled a year later when he experienced chest pain and sought medical treatment from prison nurses, then was denied medical treatment for resulting injuries.

Pugh was released from prison in December after serving several years for burglary. Lee, now at Madison Correctional Institution, is serving a 10-year sentence on charges including aggravated robbery.

Their lawsuit seeks unspecified damages.

Having video of the attack is extremely important to the case because it provides evidence in a situation that might otherwise be just the guards’ word versus the inmates’ word, Radner said.

He said he hopes the case prompts conversations about having corrections officers wear body cameras as police do.

Reinke was sentenced to 54 years in prison for the attack and then received another 32-year sentence for attacking a corrections officer just eight months later.

According to prosecutors, Reinke and a fellow inmate stabbed the officer 32 times, reported the Enquirer.

Prior to both attacks, Reinke was already serving a life sentence after he was found guilty in a 2004 shooting in Cleveland. 

Recently, Reinke went on a hunger strike, claiming he’s being harassed by guards, denied proper recreation time and lives in a bare cell so empty that he’s forced to place his clothes on the floor. 

He also alleges inmates who have been convicted of killing guards aren’t being treated as poorly. 

2 White Virginia Cops Fired for Having Ties to White Supremacist Groups - Cop Claims Discrimination Against His Religion, Racism White Supremacy

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CNN reports: Two Virginia police officers were fired after allegations of involvement with white supremacist groups surfaced. [MORE]

Virginia Division of Capitol Police announced on Wednesday that officer Robert Stamm was fired after a review of possible violations of state and division policies. Stamm had been on administrative leave since February 6.

Capitol Police spokesperson Joe Macenka told CNN the investigation that ultimately led to Stamm's termination started after activist group Antifa Seven Hills shared screenshots of Stamm's social media posts to Twitter, tagging the Capitol Police's account.

On February 5, Antifa Seven Hills wrote a blog post with pictures of Stamm showing tattoos and flags with symbols the activist group says are commonly associated with white supremacist groups.

On his Facebook profile photo, Stamm has a stamp of the Asatru Folk Assembly, an organization the Southern Poverty Law Center classifies as "perhaps this country's largest neo-Völkisch hate group." The SPLC says neo-Völkisc "adherents base their spirituality on the survival of those descended from white Europeans. ..."

The Anti-Defamation League describes the group in similar terms, calling the Asatru Folk Assembly an "extremist group" and said the officer's "ties to white supremacy are deeply troubling and raise serious concerns."

When asked whether his group was a white nationalist group, Stamm told CNN, "I was discriminated against for my religion. My religion is not politics, it is faith. My constitutional rights were violated. Period."

STAMM, IS A white police sergeant in Virginia who was assigned to monitor the protests related to RACIST SUSPECT Gov. Ralph Northam.    Neely Fuller    EXPLAINS that most white people have made racism/white supremacy their religion and have made themselves the God of that religion.

STAMM, IS A white police sergeant in Virginia who was assigned to monitor the protests related to RACIST SUSPECT Gov. Ralph Northam. Neely Fuller EXPLAINS that most white people have made racism/white supremacy their religion and have made themselves the God of that religion.

The Asatru Folk Assembly's website says "Asatru is an expression of the native, pre-Christian spirituality of Europe. More specifically, it is the religion by which the Ethnic European Folk have traditionally related to the Divine and to the world around them."

The Virginia Division of Capitol Police handles law enforcement on the capitol grounds and provides protection to state officials.

The second officer, Daniel Morley, worked for the Chesterfield County Police and was fired on Thursday, Police Chief Jeffrey Katz wrote on a Facebook post.

Katz said Morley was investigated because he "may have an affiliation with Identify Evropa -- an organization widely known for promoting white nationalism."

CNN's attempts to reach Morley for comment were unsuccessful.

Antifa of the Seven Hills also wrote a blog post about Morley, alleging he plays an active role in the Identity Evropa discussion groups as a pledge coordinator.

Chief Katz said in the Facebook post that "Our community deserves to know the men and women of their police department respect and revere them -- whoever they may be."

Katz did not answer whether the Antifa blog post sparked the investigation into Morley, but wrote that "online postings and activities attributed to this officer were reviewed, and once authenticated," Morley was put on leave and eventually terminated.

A federal lawsuit filed in 2017 alleges that Richard Spencer, a white nationalist leader, said one of Identity Evropa's founders, Nathan Damigo, "took the lead in organizing white supremacist participation among people from outside Charlottesville" for the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville.

The organization was then rebranded as American Identity Movement in early March - and photos on the Antifa blog post show Morley waving an American flag behind the organization's banner. The SPLC calls the newly-coined movement a "derivative" of Identity Evropa.

Columbus Authorities Try to Shift Accountability to Black Teens who were with Tyre King. Suit says White Cop Shot 13 yr Old in the Head, No Toy Gun was Visible & Called Him NGHR after Killing Him

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The Columbus Dispatch reports; Four Black teenagers who were with 13-year-old Tyre King in the hours before he was fatally shot by a white Columbus police officer in 2016 will now be required to pay if the city or the officer is found liable in a federal lawsuit filed by King’s family.

Demetrius Braxton, now 18; Jaronn Collins, now 18; Preona Russell, now 15; and Akilah Bulger, now 16, were all added as third-party defendants at the request of the city of Columbus in the civil-rights lawsuit filed by Dearrea King, Tyre’s grandmother.

The Columbus City attorney’s office said the city’s position is that the four teens, as well as King, acted in such a way that King’s death was a consequence of their actions.

Braxton, Collins, Russell and Bulger were with King on the night of Sept. 14, 2016, according to documents filed by attorneys representing the city and Columbus police Officer Bryan Mason. The group had been driving around in a stolen vehicle and decided to rob someone with a “replica firearm” that King had, court documents say.

The documents further say that Braxton used the fake gun to rob a person of $10, then ran away with King as officers arrived in the area. The others fled in the car.

Police said Braxton complied with officers’ commands to get on the ground, but King began pulling at an object in his waistband that appeared to be a firearm, court records said.

Mason shot King, fatally wounding him. Braxton was arrested, charged and convicted of robbery. He’s currently serving a three-year prison sentence.

According to the complaint,

At least one eyewitness counters Officer Mason’s account, instead stating that the toy gun was not visible in Tyre’s waistband, that Tyre never reached for the toy gun, and that Tyre instead took 2-3 steps away from the officer before being shot in the head by Officer Mason initially, followed by two other shots. The eyewitness stated that Officer Mason then said “y’all are dumb!”, “you’re stupid!”, “why would you fucking run!”, “y’all are some dumb niggers!”

The Columbus Division of Police failed to acknowledge or investigate the allegation that Officer Mason fatally shot Tyre then called him a “dumb nigger.”

At least one other eyewitness counters Officer Mason’s account as well. The eyewitness states that Tyre was initially stopped by Officer Mason but attempted to run, and that there was no gun visible and Tyre never reached for anything. The eyewitness further states that Officer Mason shot three times very quickly, hitting Tyre in the side of the head and that the shots happened so quickly that Tyre never had time to reach for a weapon because he had just began to run.

At least one other eyewitness counters Officer Mason’s account as well, instead stating that Tyre was running then stopped after Officer Mason yelled something at Tyre. The witness states that Tyre didn’t listen and began running, then Officer Mason started shooting. The witness stated that it happened very fast and they never saw Tyre holding a gun. The witness thought he was just a kid playing.

Shortly after the fatal shooting, the family of Tyre King commissioned an independent examination of his body. The forensic pathologist that performed that examination determined that “based on the location and direction of the wound paths, it is more likely than not that Tyre King was in the process of running away from the shooter or shooters when he suffered all three gunshot wounds.”

The pathologist determined that Tyre suffered a gunshot wound to the left temple, amongst other gunshot wounds.

The only witness that corroborates Officer Mason’s version of events is his partner at the time of the fatal shooting, Officer Robert Reffitt.

Tyre was approximately 5’1” and 100 lbs. at the time of his death, described by the pathologist as a “small-framed, adolescent boy.” Officer Mason fatally shot Tyre while pursuing suspects in an armed robbery. The suspects listed on the police report related to the robbery were described as being between 5’8” and 5’9” tall.

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The fatal shooting of Tyre King was Officer Mason’s fourth police-involved shooting incident. Officer Mason has been the subject of at least 47 reports involving force as a Columbus Division of Police Officer. Of those cases, Columbus Police have determined all but one of those cases to be “within policy” or “unfounded,” with the other determination still pending. [MORE]

Collins, Russell and Bulger were not charged by police for their alleged roles in the robbery. Collins currently is being held in the Franklin County jail pending multiple felony charges on unrelated offenses. Authorities say he is undergoing treatment to restore his mental competency before the case continues.

Assistant City Attorney Andrew Miller filed the third-party complaint against the four teens. None of the teens responded to the complaint; they were ordered to be held fiscally responsible by U.S. District Court Judge Edmund Sargus, according to court records. [MORE]

Columbus Authorities Try to Shift Accountability to Black Teens who were w/Tyre King. Witnesses say White Cop Shot 13 yr Old in the Head, No Toy Gun was Visible & Called Him NGHR after Killing Him

In an Agreed Upon Hallucination, White Prosecutor says a Slow Moving Car (1 mph) Posed an Imminent Threat to a White LRPD Cop Standing on the Side of It & Justified Shooting Black Man 15 Times

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The Arktimes reports, Racist suspect Pulaski County Prosecutor Larry Jegley will not bring charges against Little Rock Police Officer Charles Starks, according to the LRPD and the prosecuting attorney's office. Starks, 31, fatally shot Bradley Blackshire, 30, in a parking lot on the corner of West 12th Street and Rodney Parham Road on Feb 22.  

Police said Blackshire was driving a vehicle that had been reported stolen. According to initial police accounts, Starks fired on Blackshire after Blackshire accelerated and hit Starks. But on Feb. 27, the LRPD took the unusual step of relieving Starks of duty. He remained on payroll, but had to turn over his badge and gun.

On March 7, the LRPD released a, 25-minute critical incident video [remixed with subtitles and cop spin & narration]. It shows Stark's police vehicle speed to a stop in front of the vehicle Blackshire was driving. Then Starks asks Blackshire repeatedly and aggressively to get out of the car. Asked by Blackshire what he's done, Starks says, "Get out! I'll explain to you in a second." Seconds later, Blackshire says, "What you gonna shoot me for, I ain't got — " Starks continues to demand that Blackshire get of the car. Blackshire says, "No." The car Blackshire was driving begins to move slowly forward at about 1 mph in what appears to be an attempt to get around Starks' police vehicle. Soon after Starks begins shooting - while he is standing on the driver side of the vehicle. He fired into the car at least 15 times. 

Jegley, in a letter to LRPD Chief Keith Humphrey, said the shooting was justified because "Starks was confronted with the imminent threat of deadly force in two forms: 1) the vehicle that was driving toward him and from which he had no duty to retreat, and 2) his reasonable belief that Mr. Blackshire was going to shoot him."

[As stated, the white cop is on the side of the car when he begins to shoot him- the white media, also a participant in a “consensus reality” that the Black man “accelerated” and quickly drove his vehicle into the white cop who was directly in front of him - despite video evidence to the contrary.]

Jegley says Starks believed Blackshire said, "You're gonna have to shoot me," instead of "What you gonna shot me for." Jegley also says that when Blackshire puts the car into gear, his hand goes out of sight. Starks said he couldn't tell if Blackshire was reaching for something. Jegley writes that Desaray Clarke, who was a passenger in the car, said Blackshire was "digging around in his pocket where she says he normally keeps his gun." [of course Clarke said that after the incident was over - but white reporters, also aggrieved participants in RSW, police state delusion, don’t bother with details that threaten to break the agreed upon hallucination. FUNKTIONARY explains:

consensus reality - a movie comprising belief, expectation and the magic of agreeing. 2) an aggrieved upon hallucination. Consensus Reality is the most malefic trickster of all. Whether you think you can or you can't, or whether you think it is or it isn't, you're right! (See: Maya, Granfalloons, OWLs & Dreamland)

Jegley says that Starks said that he moved in front of car in an effort to take cover behind his vehicle's engine block as officers are trained to avoid getting shot. Starks also said that he was squaring up to Blackshire so that his vest would provide maximum protection if he was shot [by a gun he had not seen].

Jegley, in his letter, anticipates that critics will point to how slow Blackshire's car appears to be moving.

"There is less than one second that passes between Starks getting bumped by the vehicle, the vehicle continuing towards Starks, and Starks firing his first shot. So even though the video gives the impression of everything happening slowly, these are truly split-second judgements that Starks is making." See above photo - the cop is on the driver side of the vehicle and moved in front of the car after it started moving at 1 mph. Jegley, racist suspect in photo, is a mind blocked walking corpse.

An LRPD spokesman also said today that an internal investigation into the incident had concluded, but said it would take approximately two weeks for Chief Humphrey to make a final decision on Starks' status. Don’t hold your breath in a system of injustice.

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Protestors blocked the intersection of Markham and Broadway on Tuesday during a City Board meeting, demanding justice for Blackshire

Omavi Shukur, an attorney representing Blackshire's family, provided the following statement from the family: 

Charles Starks’s actions were criminal. The family disagrees with the prosecutor’s decision and will be undeterred in our pursuit of justice. We ask that the community not give the authorities any excuse to further neglect their responsibility to make amends for this devastating tragedy. Let us be constructive in the wake of Starks’s destructive actions. We seek justice, not retribution. Retribution without justice does nothing to help us reach our ultimate goal of ensuring that no family has to experience what we are going through right now. [MORE]

Court Allows Suit Against Fed Government Over its Response to Flint’s Water Crisis, finding the EPA Knew City & State Authorities Didn’t Warn Mostly Black Residents about Lead-Contaminated Water

Racist suspect Dr. Susan Hedman, U.S. EPA region 5 Administrator. [   MORE   ]

Racist suspect Dr. Susan Hedman, U.S. EPA region 5 Administrator. [MORE]

Courthouse News reports: A federal judge ruled Michiganders can sue the federal government over its response to Flint’s water crisis, finding the Environmental Protection Agency knew city and state officials were not properly warning residents about the lead-contaminated water.   

U.S. District Judge Linda Parker on Thursday denied the government’s motion to dismiss a consolidated pair of class actions with a total of 4,884 plaintiffs.

The case stem from Flint’s decision to change the city’s water supply from the Detroit Water and Sewage Department to the Flint River, which caused excessive levels of lead and copper to enter the water supply.

Residents complained of skin rashes, hair loss, instances of E. coli and Legionnaire’s disease, and the foul smell and taste of the water.

“While this court will not decide today the issue of ultimate liability,” Parker wrote, “it can today state with certainty that the acts leading to the creation of the Flint water crisis, alleged to be rooted in lies, recklessness and profound disrespect, have and will continue to produce a heinous impact for the people of Flint.”

In the lawsuits, the residents accused the Environmental Protection Agency of failing to warn residents about the harmful effects of the water, as well as failure to enforce the Safe Drinking Water Act.

“Specifically, plaintiffs claim the EPA failed to timely investigate, provide technical assistance, obtain compliance, or commence a civil action,” Parker explained.

The government argued it is not liable under the discretionary function exception of the Federal Tort Claims Act.

Parker disagreed, finding the EPA knew the river was “highly corrosive” and that children and pregnant women were at risk.

“Further, the EPA knew that [the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality] and Flint officials were not warning Flint’s residents that they were being supplied lead-laced water,” the judge wrote.

She added that the EPA also learned that state and local officials were misleading residents into believing that the water supply was fine and that plumbing in their homes was to blame.

“These lies went on for months while the people of Flint continued to be poisoned,” Parker wrote.

For that reason, she stated, the discretionary function exception does not bar the residents’ class-action claims.

Parker also ruled against the government on its argument that the residents’ negligence claims are barred by the FTCA’s misrepresentation exception.

“The misrepresentations alleged in the present matter were not of a financial or commercial character,” Parker wrote. “Moreover, the gravamen of plaintiffs’ complaint is that the EPA was negligent in its performance of operational tasks, that being to respond to residents’ complaints and provide them with guidance.”

In addition, the judge ruled that the residents asserted a valid state-law claim under the good Samaritan doctrine.

“Plaintiffs here allege justifiable detrimental reliance on the EPA’s representations,” Parker wrote. “As a result of the EPA’s assurances, plaintiffs were induced ‘to forgo other remedies or precautions against the risk (e.g., use bottled water).’”

A Deadly Police Force: Broward Race Soldier said, ‘in order to Protect himself from a Large Group of Black Teens he Had to Knock a Black Teen Down, Mount Him & Slam His Face Into the Ground’

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Most courts use the Model Penal Code’s definition of “Deadly force,” which explains "deadly force" means force which the actor uses with the purpose of causing or which he knows to create a substantial risk of causing death or serious bodily harm.” Slamming a person’s head into pavement probably constitutes deadly force.

CNN reports; A white Broward County sheriff's deputy is on "restricted administrative assignment" after a video surfaced that appears to show him slamming a teenage boy's head into the ground and then punching the teen in the head.

The video of the Thursday incident appears to show one Florida deputy spraying pepper spray in the face of a teen boy. As the teen appears to walk away with his hands on his face, the deputy follows him, grabs him and slams him to the ground.

Another deputy then jumps onto the boy's back, slams his face into the pavement more than once and punches the teen in the head.

In the background, bystanders can be heard yelling "What are you doing?" and "He's bleeding." Such statements are not threats.

The video, which has since gone viral on social media, has sparked outrage over the deputy's conduct.

Broward County Sheriff Gregory Tony, a Black strawboss, released a video statement Friday saying there would be a "thorough investigation" into the incident.

An arrest report from the Sheriff's Office says detectives with the Tamarac Crime Suppression Team were on "proactive patrol" at the Tamarac Town Square Plaza because of recent student fights at the strip mall. The day before the deputies' encounter, the report says, there had been a large fight that resulted in damage to property and a bystander's vehicle.

The officer writing the report, Christopher Krickovich, said a fight Thursday stopped before he and other deputies walked up. As the crowd dispersed, the deputies saw a teen who had been involved in Wednesday's fight. Krickovich wrote he and another deputy -- identified as Sgt. LaCerra -- approached the teen and put him into custody because he was trespassing.

Krickovich said as he was detaining the teen, he noticed another boy wearing a "red tank top" reach down and try to grab the phone of the teen being detained, the report says. LaCerra told the boy to stay back because Krickovich was on the ground with his back turned, Krickovich wrote in the report.

"At this point, the male with the red tank top, took an aggressive stance towards Sgt. LaCerra," Krickovich wrote. "The male with the red tank top bladed his body and began clenching his fist."

That's when LaCerra sprayed the boy with pepper spray, the report says.

Krickovich wrote in the report that he saw the big crowd of 200-plus students "converging on the two of us," so he jumped on the boy with the red tank top.

"With the crowd closing in and the loud yelling and threats towards us, I pushed down the male to ensure my weight was full on his person so he could not attempt to take flight or fight against us," Krickovich wrote, adding that it felt as though the boy in the red tank was trying to push up while he was pushing down.

"I had to act quickly, fearing I would get struck or having a student potentially grab weapons off my belt or vest," Krickovich wrote.

Krickovich said he punched the boy in the head "as a distractionary technique to free his right hand" from under his face.

The 15-year-old boy, who has not been identified, was taken Coral Springs Medical Center, cleared and then taken to Juvenile Assessment Center. He was charged with assault, resisting arrest and trespassing, according to CNN affiliate WFOR-TV. He appeared in court Friday morning and was released to his parents.

Mayor says deputy should be fired

Broward Mayor Mark Bogen released a statement Friday condemning the actions seen in the video.

"The behavior of these Broward Sheriff's Office deputies was outrageous and unacceptable," Bogen said. "The officer who jumped on the student, punched the student and banged his head to the ground should be fired immediately. There is no excuse for a law enforcement officer to harm a teenager who was on the ground and who gave no resistance."

Bogen said he also had a problem with the deputy who threw the boy on the ground after pepper spraying him.

"After being sprayed, the teen held his face and walked away," Bogen said. "If the deputy wanted to arrest the student, he could have easily done so without throwing him to the ground. I hope the appropriate authorities investigate this conduct and take the appropriate action."

Celebrities also reacted to the video on social media Saturday.

LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers wrote on Twitter: "So wrong!! Hurts me to my soul!! To think that could be my sons. Scary times man."

Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr wondered on Twitter "What the hell is wrong with our country? This is insane yet routine. So demoralizing."

After Traffic Stop Based on Skin Color, White NYPD Cops Coerce Latino Driver into Admitting ‘There May Be Marijuana Residue in the Car’ in order to Justify Search of Car & Arrest Latino Passenger

Routine Traffic Stop in Racist Police State. If you choose to talk to race soldiers your replies should be brief and non-incriminating. And there usually is no need to respond to statements. Also, “I don’t remember” and “I don’t know” may be good answers. Know that the so-called 5th Amendment, according to the US Supreme Court--protects everyone, including innocent people, from the need to answer questions if the truth might be used to help create the misleading impression that they were somehow involved in a crime that they did not commit.

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Have Public Rulers Given Citizens the Right to Resist an Unlawful Excessive Force Arrest? Video Shows NOPD Commander Throwing a Black Woman Down in the Street (2 Times) in Front of Bystanders

citizens - those who instinctively seek permission or ask themselves whether or not they are allowed to do anything before they act. Citizens (serfs, subjects or slaves), possess a "ruled" mind-virus mentality (See: Citizenship & Slavery). 

According to FUNKTIONARY, "a citizen is one who lives a life of involuntary servitude under the command of another. A citizen is one whose second nature is to do whatever might please his or her master without question in order to avoid disapproval and/or punishment. Citizens show-up, shut-up, and pay-up—extorted tribute and fines." 

From [HERE] A formal complaint has now been filed against a New Orleans police commander seen on video, body slamming a young woman during an arrest over the weekend.

Eight District Commander Octavio Baldassaro happened to be in the area of Bienville and North Rampart in the French Quarter, Saturday afternoon, when officers were called to the scene to break up a fight involving two groups of people.Video surfaced on social media, showing the commander tossing 21-year-old Taylor Bruce to the ground.

Baldassaro's attorney Eric Hessler told WWL-TV, Bruce was one of the people fighting and his client was trying to arrest her when she refused to stay on the ground.

"He didn't intend to throw her to the ground," Hessler said. "That was an unintended consequence, but it happened. That should have been the end of it, but she comes back up after being ordered to stay on the ground and hits him with a heavy water bottle., a metal water bottle."

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Bruce's attorney Robert Ferrier filed a complaint against Baldassaro with the NOPD's Public Intergrity Bureau.

"We believe that the police department used excessive force while making this arrest on my client," Ferrrier said. "Once all the facts come out she'll be completely exonerated and you all will understand how good of a person she actually is."

Ferrier noted that Bruce is a senior nursing student at Southern University in Baton Rouge and has never been in trouble with the law.

"Ms. Bruce has not only never been arrested, she's never seen handcuffs," Ferrier said. "She brings value to this community. She's not a criminal and she's not a fighter."

Hessler is confident Baldassaro followed NOPD policy.

"I have no problem with his actions," Hessler said. "I don't believe the department when they complete the investigation will find that he violated policy in anyway shape or form."

Ferrier maintains the investigation will show his client was wrongly arrested.

"We want to make sure we get to the bottom of this, what this officer was thinking and why my client was picked out to be slammed violently to the ground," Ferrier said.

PIB now has 120 days to complete the internal, use of force investigation.

"He used the proper amount of force, it was reasonable," Hessler said

Commander Baldassaro remains on the job as commander of the Eighth District which includes the French Quarter and CBD.

Bruce is due in New Orleans Municipal Court next month facing a number of charges including disturbing the peace, resisting arrest and battery on a police officer.  

Suit says White GA Cop Stopped Tony Green for No Reason & Shot Fleeing Black Man Multiple Times "w/o justification or excuse." Cop also Faces Manslaughter Charge. Public Video Remains Secret

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From [WGXA] and [HERE] The suit filed Monday in coastal Camden County says 33-year-old Tony Green was killed "without justification or excuse" when he was shot multiple times June 20 even though he was "unarmed and did not pose an imminent threat." Atlanta attorney Reginald Greene sued on behalf of Green's minor daughter, identified in the lawsuit only by the initials T.G.

The suit seeks unspecified monetary damages from the city of Kingsland and from Zechariah Presley, who was fired as a Kingsland police officer after the shooting. Presley is scheduled to stand trial Sept. 30 on charges of voluntary manslaughter and violating his oath as an officer.

The officer is white and the man he shot was black. The shooting outraged African Americans in Kingsland, a small city of about 16,000 people near the Georgia-Florida line. Some of Green's friends and relatives argued that the manslaughter charge was too lenient.

According to the complaint:

On June 20, 2018 at approximately 10:30 p.m. Decedent was driving with an unidentified passenger and pulled into the parking lot of SP Food Mart, located at 301 N Lee Street, Kingsland, Georgia 31548 (the “SP Food Mart”).

On the same date and at the same time and location, Defendant Presley was on duty as a Kingsland Police Officer and pulled his police cruiser into the SP Food Mart. When Decedent and his passenger left the SP Food Mart at 10:42 p.m., Defendant Presley followed their vehicle in his police cruiser.

Neither Decedent nor his passenger committed any act whatsoever at SP Food Mart to give Defendant Presley reasonable suspicion to pursue, investigate, follow or detain either Decedent or his passenger.

While pursuing Decedent’s vehicle for no apparent reason, Defendant Presley activated his lights and siren to pull Decedent over.

Shortly after Defendant Presley activated his lights and siren, Decedent stopped the vehicle at the intersection of East Lily Street and North East Street in Kingsland, Georgia. Decedent and the passenger exited the vehicle and fled by foot.

Defendant Presley exited his vehicle and pursued Decedent for approximately two blocks.

According to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (“GBI”), who reviewed Defendant Presley’s dash cam and body cam footage from the incident, a brief altercation occurred between Decedent and Defendant Presley.

Following the brief altercation, Decedent fled again and Defendant Presley fired multiple rounds from his service weapon at Decedent, striking him multiple times and killing him almost instantly.

At all times relevant to this action, Decedent was unarmed and did not pose an imminent threat of serious bodily harm or death to Defendant Presley. Defendant Presley took Decedent’s life without justification or excuse.

On or about June 27, 2018, Officer Presley was arrested on various charges related to Decedent’s homicide.

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Video footage recorded by police has been reviewed by investigators, but hasn't been released.

A grand jury that indicted Presley in November declined to charge him with murder. Under Georgia law, voluntary manslaughter is punishable by one to 20 years in prison.

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation has released few details about the shooting, saying only that Presley was following a vehicle Green was driving when Green got out and began to run. The two men got into a brief scuffle, the agency said, before Green began to flee again and Presley fired multiple gunshots, killing him.

Presley's attorney in the criminal case, Adrienne Browning, said Tuesday she does not represent him in the civil case. She referred a reporter to attorney Patrick O'Connor, who did not immediately return a phone message. Kingsland city attorney Stephen Kinney also did not immediately return a phone message seeking comment.

The Rewards of White Supremacy: Temple Police Promote Latino Cop Previously Suspended Indefinitely for Body Slamming a Falsely Arrested Latino Teen & Dragging Him on the Floor to Clean up Spit

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According to TDT News, The Temple Police Department will promote two officers to the rank of corporal Thursday — one of whom is an officer who was initially fired for his role in breaking a teenage boy’s collarbone in 2013.

On March 18, 2013, Officer Daniel Amaya and another Temple officer broke the collarbone of 15-year-old Lorenzo Martinez during what was later determined to be an unwarranted arrest.

On video Amaya is seen body slamming a 15-year old Latino kid that was falsely accused of shoplifting who was watching the arrest of two others actually being charged with shoplifting. When the officers demanded that Lorenzo Martinez, the 15-year old, come to them he began walking away. He was slammed to the ground and handcuffed (injuring his shoulder) then brought into the WalMart security office. At one point, Martinez spits on the ground and they demand he clean it up. When he refused, Officers Amaya and Jeremy Bales again slam him on the ground and use his body to clean up the spit, reportedly breaking Martinez's collar bone in the process. [MORE]

During Amaya’s civil service disciplinary hearing, several police officials said they believed the takedown of the teen was excessive, unreasonable and unnecessary.

Deputy Police Chief Allen Teston took the stand during Amaya’s hearing and said, “My overall impression of Amaya is that he was trying not to implicate himself. He took actions to withhold information on what happened on March 18. He provided some information but withheld the information about what happened in the loss prevention office. … He overtly made a decision not to report it,” Teston said.

Teston also said, “In my opinion his acts were intentional omission and not accidental. Amaya was uniquely motivated not to record or report it.”

An internal Temple Police Department investigation said Amaya violated many general orders and policies.

Qualifications for promotion

The Telegram asked Temple Police Chief Floyd Mitchell and City Manager Brynn Myers how Amaya qualified for a promotion after his past issues.

An explanation was received Wednesday from Myers. The Temple Police Department is governed by Chapter 143 of the Texas Local Government Code, and that statute covers the Civil Service system, Myers said. That system stipulates the decision-making process for things like hiring, promotions and disciplinary actions.

In state law, there is a specific process that includes indefinite suspensions for police officers, and the city of Temple has to follow that law, Myers said.

Although Amaya was indefinitely suspended in 2013, he appealed that action and won — and was reinstated to the Temple department.

“Promotions in the police department are based on scores from written examinations and assessment centers, with points added for seniority and education,” Myers said. “Mr. Amaya followed the promotion process laid out in state law and was eligible for promotion based on his scores from the last corporal exam. The state law establishes eligibility for promotion and we must follow that law.”

The person with the highest score on the list is promoted when there is a vacancy. Officers can’t be kept from being promoted because of disciplinary decisions if those decisions aren’t upheld by a hearing examiner, Myers said.

Information withheld

The Temple Police Department didn’t release the names of the officers involved in the Martinez case until almost five months later.

The arrest report also wasn’t with other daily incident reports released to the media, and the spokesman at that time, Cpl. Christopher Wilcox, said he didn’t know why it was missing.

The Telegram made several open records requests for the case records, but the city asked the Texas Attorney General’s office to deny the request. The Attorney General’s office ruled twice that the documents had to be released.

The city agreed in March 2014 to make the documents available — months after the Telegram’s Nov. 14, 2013, open records request.

The ruling said the documents had to be released because the city didn’t comply with some requirements in the Government Code. The city of Temple requested an appeal, saying the information was part of an officer’s personnel file that couldn’t be released to the public. Once again, the Attorney General’s office said the city must release the information or go to court.

Use of excessive force

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The officers did a takedown on the handcuffed Martinez in the loss prevention office at Walmart on South 31st Street. The teen was taken into custody on the premise he was involved in theft and criminal mischief. One reason for the takedown allegedly was because Martinez spit on the floor and refused to clean it up. Martinez was not charged with any wrongdoing.

Temple Police officials said they didn’t know anything about the incident until the Telegram published an article based on an interview with Martinez’s mother.

Several officers were present during the incident, but didn’t record the episode. None of the officers made a written report or told their supervisors about it. Each of the officers received some form of disciplinary action.

In addition to being given an indefinite suspension from his job, Amaya was investigated by the Texas Rangers and Temple Police.

The former Texas Ranger in charge of the investigation, Marcus Hilton, said Amaya’s omissions were intentional and criminal.

A Bell County grand jury no-billed the case in October 2013.

The appeal, lawsuit

Amaya appealed his suspension and testified at his hearing. After watching the video, Amaya agreed force was used.

An independent hearing examiner in August 2014 heard Amaya’s appeal and ruled he had to be reinstated and reimbursed for his lost wages and benefits — except for a 15-day disciplinary suspension that replaced the indefinite suspension given by Smith.

The city of Temple didn’t appeal the ruling because it didn’t have sufficient grounds for an appeal.

A civil lawsuit was filed in May 2014 against the city of Temple and the officers by attorney David Fernandez Jr., who represented Elsa Martinez and her son.

A U.S. district judge in February 2015 awarded the mother and son a $42,500 settlement, which was paid by the city’s insurance company. The settlement released Amaya, the other officer, the city of Temple, the mayor, City Council members, police chief and any and all officers from any responsibility.

Jury Finds White Michigan Trooper Guilty of Manslaughter Not Murder, after Firing His Taser from a Moving Patrol Car Striking Black Teen Joyriding on ATV Bike, Decapitating Him

From [HERE] A white Michigan State Police trooper who fired his Taser at a Black teen on an ATV, causing him to crash and die, has been convicted of involuntary manslaughter.

Mark Bessner was charged with second degree murder in the 2017 death of 15-year-old Damon Grimes, but -- given the option -- a jury convicted him Wednesday of the lesser charge of manslaughter.

Bessner has said he believed Grimes was reaching for a gun in his waistband, but no gun was found. 

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According to State Police, troopers assigned to the MSP Metro South Post, Detroit Secure Cities Partnership attempted to stop Grimes for reckless driving on the 4-wheeler on Aug. 26, 2017. The troopers activated their emergency lights and siren, but Grimes refused to stop, police said, leading troopers in a pursuit eastbound on Rossini.

During the chase, Bessner deployed a Taser from the moving patrol car and tased the teen as the bike was moving at speeds of 35 mph. At Gratiot Ave., Grimes lost control of the ATV and crashed into the back of a pickup truck. He was pronounced dead at a local hospital.

While Assistant Prosecutor Matthew Penney said it defied "common sense" to use a Taser on a joy-rider, Bessner's attorney says he was forced to make a split-second decision when Grimes refused stop. 

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During his opening statement, Assistant Wayne County Prosecutor Matthew Penney told jurors Bessner "did cause the death of Damon Grimes" and that the ex-trooper's decision to deploy his Taser at the teen on Aug. 26, 2017, was not "reasonable." 

"There was no justification for what he did," said Penney, adding that Grimes was not a threat to Bessner on his partner during the incident on Rossini Street near Gratiot. "The defendant didn't choose to shout at Grimes (to stop him). The defendant chose to incapacitate him."

Penney said some of the questions jurors need to consider include: "Why are you shooting? ... How risky is a traffic (violation) to the whole world?"

This was Bessner's second trial after the first jury was deadlocked. In a video of the earlier incident, which is expected to be shown to jurors, Bessner allegedly is heard talking about using a Taser on the driver, who eluded Bessner and his partner after they put their lights and sirens on.

"I was kinda of hoping we'd get close enough that we could Tase that guy once we stopped,'" Bessner allegedly is heard saying. 

The first jury did not see the video of the Aug. 12 incident. Prosecutors discovered its existence after the first trial.

Bessner was suspended, then resigned from the police force following Grimes' death. 

He was remanded to jail following Wednesday's proceedings where he will await sentencing set for May 2. 

Chicago Authorities Implement GPS Ankle Monitoring Devices that Call and Record Conversations of Mostly Black & Latino Children on Probation without Their Consent

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Colorlines reports; Cook County, home of Chicago, Illinois, has implemented a GPS monitoring system that calls and records youth without their consent, according to a new article published yesterday (April 8) by The Appeal in partnership with Citylab

Per “Chicago is Tracking Kids With GPS Monitors That Can Call and Record Them Without Consent” by Kira Lerner, in January, government officials contracted with electronic monitoring company Track Group to lease 275 ankle monitors to trace children on juvenile probation. The city switched children to these new ankle monitors in February and March.

The device, called ReliAlert XC3, allows electronic monitoring officers in criminal court and Track Group employees to contact—and record—individuals wearing the the ankle monitor. And while wearers can initiate contact with the monitoring center, they do not have the option to decline calls. 

Cook County officials and Track Group say the monitoring tool improves communication with children who are awaiting trial, but attorneys, experts and advocates call its implementation an invasion of privacy and violation of the U.S. Constitution. Black and Latinx children are more likely to be arrested than their White counterparts.

“A million alarm bells go off as a professor of criminal procedure,” Kate Weisburd, a professor at The George Washington University Law School who researches electronic monitoring across the country, told The Appeal. “I think if the police hear something incriminating on one of these, there will be litigation as to the constitutionality of [the use of] those statements.”

The article breaks down how the ReliAlert XC3 monitors work:

All calls made through the new devices are recorded, time-stamped and archived, and are stored on Track Group’s servers for 18 months, according to its contract with Cook County. Officials in Cook County have access to the files and can use them however they choose, including in the course of criminal investigations, AJ Gigler, vice president of marketing and product management at Track Group, told The Appeal.

[…]

The ReliAlert device is supposed to play an audible, three-note sound when an electronic monitoring official is calling and then play another three notes when the call ends. […] In 2014, a technician for Track Group, which was then called SecureAlert, testified during a hearing in Puerto Rico that although the device is supposed to vibrate and make a noise when it’s activated, the listening and speaking capabilities can be turned on without warning.

Track Group—the only company that provides electronic monitoring with built-in communication capabilities—holds contracts with several other U.S. jurisdictions and countries. Under its contract with Chicago, the corporation is expected to also provide 350 ReliAlert XC3 GPS devices for adult probation and 90 more for use by the sheriff’s office, The Appeal says. For each of the 275 devices used for youth, the city will pay Track Group $3.68 a day.

“I can’t quite even start down the parade of horribles in terms of all the ways this could be a problem,” Sarah Staudt, senior policy analyst and staff attorney for Chicago Appleseed Fund for Justice and a former juvenile defense attorney in Cook County, told The Appeal. “The idea that an adult can turn on a listening device while a child is, say, in the bathroom or in their bedroom is not good.”

TSA Officials say the Disproportionate, Degrading Hair Pat-Down Searches for Weapons in Black Women's Hair at Airports is Due to Scanner Problems, Not an Abuse of Discretion by Racist Suspect Cops

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Pro Publica reports: Dorian Wanzer travels frequently for work. And almost every time she steps out of an airport body scanner, security screeners pull her aside and run their fingers through her hair. It’s called a hair pat-down.

“It happens with my natural Afro, when I have braids or two-strand twists. Regardless,” said Wanzer, who lives in Washington, D.C. “At this point in my life I have come to expect it, but that doesn’t make it any less invasive and frustrating.”

Wanzer, who had her hair patted down by Transportation Security Administration officers two weeks ago while she flew home from Raleigh, North Carolina, said she feels singled out when she is asked to step aside.

“When you find yourself in that kind of situation, it makes you wonder,” Wanzer said. “Is this for security, or am I being profiled for my race?”

Black women have been raising alarms for years about being forced to undergo intrusive, degrading searches of their hair at airport security checkpoints. After a complaint five years ago, the TSA pledged to improve oversight and training for its workers on hair pat-downs.

But it turns out there’s an issue beyond the screeners: the machines themselves.

The futuristic full-body scanners that have become standard at airports across the United States are prone to false alarms for hairstyles popular among women of color.

In a request to vendors last summer, the TSA asked for ideas “to improve screening of headwear and hair in compliance with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act.” That law bars federally funded agencies and programs from discriminating — even unintentionally — on the basis of race, color or national origin.

Two officers interviewed by ProPublica said the machines’ alarms are frequently triggered by certain hairstyles.

“With black females, the scanner alarms more because they have thicker hair; many times they have braids or dreadlocks,” said a TSA officer who works at an airport in Texas and asked not to be named. “Maybe, down the line, they will be redesigning the technology, so it can tell apart what’s a real threat and what is not. But, for now, we officers have to do what the machine can’t.”

A government report in 2014 found that the machines also “had a higher false alarm rate when passengers wore turbans and wigs.”

Asked about the false alarms, the TSA said in a statement to ProPublica that the agency “is reviewing additional options for the screening of hair.” (Read the agency’s full statement.)

A senior TSA official said in an interview that hair pat-downs are not discriminatory and are done when a body scanner indicates that a passenger has an object in his or her hair. “I get a hair pat-down every time I travel. I’m a white woman,” said the official, who agreed to be interviewed on the condition that she not be named.

“Procedures require that if there is an alarm on the technology, the pat-down [must] be conducted,” the official said. She added that the agency has found no evidence of discrimination in hair pat-downs or any pattern that pointed to a particular airport.

The TSA advises passengers to remove all items from their hair before going through airport security and warns on its website that “wearing a hairpiece, extensions or a wig as well as a ponytail, a hair bun or braids” may trigger an alarm.

The TSA would not say if it had ever found a weapon in a passenger’s hair. Its website says: “You’d be surprised what can be hidden in hair. The most notable things we’re looking for in hair are explosives and improvised explosives device components.”

The false alarms affect more than the passengers whose hair is searched. The government report from 2014 noted that patting down passengers slows security lines and may increase costs by requiring extra screeners.

Full-body scanners — millimeter wave machines — have become standard at airports over the past decade. The TSA accelerated their installation after failed “underwear bomber” Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab boarded a flight on Christmas Day 2009 from Amsterdam to Detroit with plastic explosives inside his pants.

The scanners are made by L3 Technologies. A government report said they cost about $150,000 each, and that the TSA spent more than $100 million deploying the machines. An L3 spokesperson declined to comment on the machines, and pointed us to the company’s website.

Unlike metal detectors, the scanners can detect nonmetallic items. But they can’t tell what objects are — or, apparently, if it’s just thick hair. That requires humans.

Last month, ProPublica asked people to share their experience with hair searches at airports. We received 720 responses. More than 90% were from women. Of the respondents overall, 313 identified as white only, 311 as black only and 96 as other ethnicities such as Latino, Asian American, Middle Eastern, American Indian or Alaskan Native, or mixed.

Most black women and other women of color we heard from described the hair pat-downs as intrusive and disrespectful. They said they felt singled out during the process.

“I get TSA workers have a job to do, which is to keep us safe,” said Wanzer, the Washington, D.C., resident who frequently has her hair searched. “But there needs to be a level of sensitivity about how different people perceive these kinds of searches.”

Black women have long been discriminated against for wearing their hair as it grows naturally or for sporting hairstyles mostly associated with black culture, like braids, two-strand twists, cornrows and locks. Natural black hair has been deemed unhygienic, unprofessional and radical, and it has been policed for centuries.

Most white women we heard from said they didn’t mind the searches or considered them a minor annoyance.

Toni Moss, who is white, said she travels by plane about four times a month. Moss said she is occasionally flagged for a hair search. The searches happen only when she keeps her short, voluminous hair in its naturally curly state. When Moss straightens her hair before traveling, she doesn’t get a hair pat-down, she said.

“It isn’t really something that I mind. I just find it funny when it happens but, then, it doesn’t happen every time I travel,” said Moss, whose hair was searched most recently in January while going through security at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport in Texas.

“The last time it happened I was joking with TSA [officers],” Moss said. “I told them, ‘Sorry you didn’t find a pork chop in my head.’ And they laughed.”

The agency has said that even if the machines don’t sound an alarm, agents can still choose to do hair pat-downs if “an individual’s hair looks like it could contain a prohibited item or is styled in a way an officer cannot visually clear it.”

That discretion enables profiling, said Abre’ Conner, a lawyer with the ACLU of Northern California, which filed the complaint against the TSA in April 2014. “When that discretion comes into play, unless there is explicit- and implicit-bias training, that can play out in a way that harms people of color, black people,” Conner said.

When Jazzmen Knoderer traveled by plane for the second time in her life, in 2012, TSA officers at Dayton International Airport in Ohio asked her to step aside for a full-body pat-down. It happened again the next time she took an airplane and went through security, at an airport on the Hawaiian island of Maui in 2013. And again, for her fourth plane trip in 2014, at Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport. [MORE]

Suit Filed for Nia Wilson Claims BART Subway System has a Legal Obligation to Protect Passengers - the Racist Suspect who Murdered Her Awaits Competency Hearing in Criminal Case

Atlanta Black Star reports: Less than one year after a woman was stabbed to death at a BART station in Oakland, California, her family has filed a wrongful death suit against the transit line.

Nia Wilson, 18, was the victim of a fatal assault by alleged attacker John Crowell, 27, a felon who had been recently paroled at the time of the July 2018 incident.

The suit, which was filed in the Alameda County Superior Court Friday, states BART has a legal obligation to protect its passengers from assault, the East Bay Times reported April 12.

“This lawsuit is part of Nia Wilson’s family’s commitment to hold BART accountable for cleaning up its system. No one else should have to suffer because of BART’s failure to protect its riders from harm,” attorneys Jonathan Davis and Robert Arns from San Francisco-based Arns Law Firm said in a statement Friday.

Crowell, who was a serial fare evader, attacked Wilson and her older sister, who had been coming back from a birthday celebration for the now-deceased victim’s late boyfriend. Police said Crowell “struck very rapidly” as the siblings exited a train at MacArthur station.

Later, detectives discovered a knife at a construction site close to the station that was used in the attack.

Wilson was slashed across the neck and bled out on the platform. Her sister, Letifah Wilson, was stabbed in the neck, but she survived.

The lawsuit says Crowell should never have been able to get into the transit station and he should have been prohibited from entering at the turnstiles. The filing, which was made after the family filed a complaint with BART that was not given a response, states that Nia Wilson’s death was preventable since there is a lack of proper safety measures at the turnstiles to stop criminals from entering transit system.

The claim states the attack is not a “horrific anomaly” but it occurred as part of “a serious and endemic public safety problem.”

In order to solve this problem, the filing proposes BART enact policies to prevent crime. It also wants the establishment of the Nia Wilson Crime Statistics Notice, which would alert the public to accurate and current criminal activity at each station.

Additionally, the suit says the Wilson sister’s father, Ansar El Muhammad, arrived at the station to discover Nia Wilson covered in a blanket in a pool of blood and her sister cloaked in blood. The father, as well as other family members, say they’ve suffered serious emotional distress as a result of the incident. The family is also seeking monetary damages.

BART chief spokesperson Alicia Trost told the East Bay Times that the transit agency is unable to speak on pending cases.

New Hampshire Senate Passes Death Penalty Repeal w/Enough Votes to Override a Veto, Replacing State Sanctioned Murder of Citizens w/Life in Prison w/o the Possibility of Parole

EJI reports A bipartisan bill to abolish the death penalty in New Hampshire passed the state Senate on Thursday with enough votes (17-6) to override a veto.

The bill revokes the existing capital punishment statute and replaces it with a penalty of life in prison without the possibility of parole.

"State-sanctioned killing is cruel, ineffective and inherently flawed," said Senator Martha Hennessey (D-Hanover). "In committee we heard tragic, heart-wrenching testimony from those whose loved ones were murdered. Many testified that state killings do nothing to honor the lives of their loved ones."

Senator Ruth Ward (R-Stoddard) spoke briefly before voting on Thursday. Her father was killed when she was seven. "He never saw us grow up," she said. "My mother forgave whoever it was, and I will vote in favor of this bill."

The same bill passed the state House of Representatives on March 3, also with a veto-proof supermajority (279-88).

Sponsored by seven Democrats and six Republicans across both houses of the state legislature, this is the third death penalty repeal passed by New Hampshire lawmakers. In 2000 and 2018, the bills were vetoed. An attempt to override Governor Chris Sununu's veto last year fell two votes short in the Senate.

The governor has promised to veto this bill, but both chambers have the two-thirds majority needed to override the veto.

Once signed by the House Speaker, Senate President, and Secretary of State, the bill will be delivered to the governor, who has five business days to veto, sign, or let the bill become law without a signature. The New Hampshire Union Leader reports that a vote to override a veto could take place later this month or next.

The repeal bill does not apply retroactively to Michael Addison, the only person currently sentenced to death in New Hampshire. The state has not executed anyone since 1939 and presently has no execution protocol in place.

If the bill becomes law, New Hampshire will be the 21st state to abolish capital punishment and the ninth in the past 15 years. Bills to restrict or repeal the death penalty have been introduced in at least 18 states this year, half of them with significant Republican sponsorship or support.

State Senator John Reagan, a Republican who long believed the death penalty was important to public safety, said during the senate debate that he now favors repeal because "the more and more experience I had with government, I concluded that the general incompetency of government didn't make them the right people to decide life and death."

Supreme Ct Declines to hear Mayhem Mal's 1st Amendment Appeal Over Lyrics in song "F*ck the Police," that Allegedly Made Felony Threats to 2 Specifically Named Pittsburgh Cops

Jurist reports: The US Supreme Court declined on Monday to hear arguments that a Pittsburgh rapper’s First Amendment rights were violated after he was convicted for song lyrics.

Jamal Knox, who rapped under the name Mayhem Mal, argued that his conviction for song lyrics about killing two police officers violated his First Amendment right.

Knox was charged with several offenses after he fled during a routine traffic stop, which led officers to discover 15 stamp bags contenting heroin, a large some of cash and a loaded firearm in the vehicle Knox was driving. While the charges were pending, Knox co-wrote and recorded a rap song entitled, “F–k the police,” which was later uploaded to YouTube. The song lyrics described killing two Pittsburgh police officers, “Officer Zeltner” and “Mr. Kosko,” two police officers who had participated in Knox’s earlier arrest and were scheduled to testify against him. Knox was convicted in 2013 on state charges of terroristic threats and witness intimidation.

Knox petitioned the high court after the Pennsylvania Supreme court upheld the trial court’s decision that the lyrics constituted a “true threat.” The Pennsylvania Supreme Court reasoned that the First Amendment “permits the imposition of criminal liability based on the publication of a rap-music video containing threatening lyrics directed to named law enforcement officers.”

In his appeal, Knox argued that the Supreme Court needed to resolve the issue of whether the government in a criminal threat case must only prove the “speaker’s subjective intent to threaten,” or must prove “objectively that a reasonable person would regard the statement as threatening.”

In an earlier decision, the Supreme Court ruled in Watts v. United States that “true threats” were outside of the First Amendment’s protections. However, the court failed to clearly establish the level of intent that is necessary in order to determine what constituted a “true threat.”