militarized police

Justice for Andy Lopez!: Police Are An Occupying Army

Federal Lawsuit Charges Sheriff’s Deputy Unconstitutionally Killed
Andy Lopez

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by Shepherd Bliss Occupy.com / News Report Sat Nov 9, 2013

The October 22 killing here of 13-year-old Andy Lopez by a hail of bullets from sheriff’s deputy Erick Gelhaus has resulted in daily peaceful marches, prayer vigils and speaking events honoring Lopez and calling for justice, as thousands in the northern California community continue to mourn and express outrage.

The killing has also this week led to a federal civil rights lawsuit being filed on behalf of the Lopez family. “There is a practice of using deadly force and covering it up by investigations that are superficial,” attorney Arnoldo Casillas said at a November 4 press conference in San Francisco, according to the daily Press Democrat. Casillas, who filed the suit, contends that the killing was unconstitutional because it violated the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which limits police authority.

Casillas interviewed witnesses who dispute law enforcement claims about the shooting. He asserts that the first shot was fired within three seconds of Gelhaus’s command to Lopez to drop what the sheriff's deputy claims he thought was a real gun. Seven bullets hit Lopez. One pierced his heart; at least one him him in the buttocks. Non-lethal alternatives were possible. The second deputy traveling with Gelhaus did not fire a single shot -- and did not even have time to step out of the vehicle before the boy's body lay fatally shot on the street.

Last year, Casillas won a $24 million dollar settlement for the family of a Los Angeles boy who was shot once and paralyzed by police while playing with an airsoft BB gun, similar to the one that Lopez was carrying to return to a friend when he was killed.

In a 2007 killing of African-American high school student Jeremiah Chass in the nearby town of Sebastopol, the Sheriff’s Office was compelled to pay a $1.75 million dollar settlement to the family. In both cases, investigations by outside police departments concluded that the cops were merely following protocol -- which too often seems to be “shoot first, ask questions later.”

But what is officially reported and what actually happens on the street may differ. That's why having next-door-neighbor law enforcement agencies investigate the killings is starting to look more and more like damage control than independent or objective reviews. More bluntly: are they amounting to cover-up investigations by law enforcement departments tasked with investigating each other?

Lopez Family and Others Speak Out

Retired Cop asks: At what point do we say enough military equipment and military uniforms and military mindset?

Speak your mind: Are today’s cops too militarized? 
Jan 05, 2012  from PoliceOne.com

A reader emailed me the other day, concerned about some of the changes he’s seen in law enforcement since he retired four years ago as a county constable in Mississippi. His letter appears below.

How would you respond to the observations and questions he poses?

Dear Chuck,

Maricopa Arizona Sheriff's Bomb House: Mistaken Identity, Two Victims Severely Injured and One In Jail

I want to report an incident on January 13th 2011 of excessive force and false arrest of Brian Schelske by Maricopa County Sheriffs Office in Arizona.
Warrant # 8W 2011-000327.

The house was bombed with concussion bombs in military fashion at 3:30 am as if bombing the enemy. A tank rolled over the cyclone fence.

The two victims of police harassment were marched out with hands over their heads half naked. The 59 yo woman was made to stand naked with just panties breasts exposed, hands tied behind her back in the cold for 30 minutes. There had to be 15-20 cars lined up along the road for the display of public humiliation.

The woman was not arrested but has a perforated eardrum and is suffering from depression and PSTD after this horrific incident.

The man, a former mental health patient, does not even remotely fit the description on the original police report. The woman was off work on disability after a fall but worked as a Renal Dietitian and faculty at the local community college. She was also a Nutritionist on the Navajo Indian Reservation for the WIC Program.

The Killing of Cheri Lyn Moore

The killing of Cheri Lyn Moore on April 14, 2006 tragically illustrates the failures of a misguided and bureaucratized “public safety” system. In this writing we deliberately refer to Cheri Lyn Moore by her first name, as her friends and family do, and we acknowledge her as a real, feeling, dynamic human being; we want to counter the objectifying and criminalizing  references made by media and police, calling her "Moore", and devaluing her life by repeatedly describing her through only the claims made by the police who murdered her. Cheri was reaching out for help in a time of physical, psychological, and emotional crisis; however, rather than receiving the assistance and comfort that she needed, she ultimately met her death at the hands of an overzealous and militarized police force.

 

This is not an isolated incident: Eureka Police Department [EPD], much like many police outfits throughout the country, regularly criminalize people in mental and emotional crises (especially if those people are poor) and then often exaggerate or flat out lie about danger they were "threatened with" in order to justify killing or severely harming those civilians.  One remarkable distinction, however, between EPD and many other police departments who's officers are suspected or known to have used excessive violence or lethal violence, is the patent and utter refusal of EPD or the City of Eureka to fire, reprimand, or demote such officers- even if only for the purpose of instilling confidence in the communities which they 'police'.  Because EPD routinely ignores, downplays and covers up instances of wrongful and unjustified use of force, there is a climate of indulgence in the department, whereby officers – and particularly those with predilections for over-aggressiveness, violence and abuse of authority, feel free to violate peoples' rights while on duty, because they are confident no disciplinary consequences will arise.

Liles Gets Burgess Family Evicted From Home; He Targets His Victim's Families

REDWOOD CURTAIN COPWATCH December 9, 2007

To Chief Garr Nielson and all to whom it may concern:

It has come to our attention that Officer Terry Liles recently has been at the residence of Margorie Burgess and her children on at least two occasions. This letter is to firmly request that Officer Liles no longer be sent to her residence, that he be stopped in the future of going to any residence of Ms. Burgess, and that Officer Liles be reprimanded for threatening and harassing Ms. Burgess’ current roommates, who are her extended family.

Liles Gets Burgess Family Evicted From Home; He Targets His Victim's Families

REDWOOD CURTAIN COPWATCH     December 9, 2007
To Chief Garr Nielson and all to whom it may concern:
 
It has come to our attention that Officer Terry Liles recently has been at the residence of Margorie Burgess and her children on at least two occasions. This letter is to firmly request that Officer Liles no longer be sent to her residence, that he be stopped in the future of going to any residence of Ms. Burgess, and that Officer Liles be reprimanded for threatening and harassing Ms. Burgess’ current roommates, who are her extended family.