Redwood Curtain CopWatch, based in the north coast of California, is part of a larger movement of self organized CopWatch groups throughout the US. Our local efforts seek to intervene in the drastic rise of the presence, militarization, and violence of the police, and build support networks based on self-determination, caring, and concrete needs.
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ZACHARY: Remembered and Loved by many!
On January 4, 2007, Eureka Police officer Terry Liles shot Zachary 16 times, killing him. Zachary had just turned eighteen years old. Zachary left behind many friends and family who adored him. Liles continues to be a Eureka Police Officer, now a detective. Liles has continued his terror, harassing Zachary's young relatives and friends.
Just two months before Liles shot Zachary, he murdered, by fatally shooting in the heart, 16 year old Christopher Burgess. Liles also continued to terrorize the Burgess family and Christopher's friends.
At the height of the Occupy Wall Street evictions, it seemed as though some diminutive version of “shock and awe” had stumbled from Baghdad, Iraq, to Oakland, California. American police forces had been “militarized,” many commentators worried, as though the firepower and callous tactics on display were anomalies, surprises bursting upon us from nowhere.
There should have been no surprise. Those flash grenades exploding in Oakland and the sound cannons on New York’s streets simply opened small windows onto a national policing landscape long in the process of militarization -- a bleak domestic no man’s land marked by tanks and drones, robot bomb detectors, grenade launchers, tasers, and most of all, interlinked video surveillance cameras and information databases growing quietly on unobtrusive server farms everywhere.
Killer Cops Aren't Heroes: We Need Police Who Think Like Firefighters, Not Like Soldiers in a War Zone
By Dave Lindorff Created 01/07/2012
The tragic slaying of troubled eighth-grader Jaime Gonzalez in Brownsville, Texas by trigger-happy local police illustrates the sad an dangerous state we have arrived at as we turn our local police forces into SWAT team soldiers up-armed with assault rifles, black facemasks and stun grenades.
The reason Gonzalez, who had no hostages and was just armed with a pellet gun, was killed by police bullets was because the primary concern of the officers confronting him was to eliminate the threat to themselves, not to rescue a troubled kid.
To analyze this situation, we need to step back and consider firefighters, that other group of uniformed public employees (or often volunteers!) who also have to rescue people and whom we simply expect to face life-and-death situations on our behalf. As my cousin, a retired urban police officer, once pointed out to me, police don't face anywhere near the risk that firefighters face. As he explained, police officers in truth rarely face life-and-death situations on the job, and when they do, they generally have the upper hand, given their guns and their training. Firefighters, on the other hand, know that they could die every time they respond to an alarm.
A decade of billions in spending in the name of homeland security has armed local police departments with military-style equipment and a new commando mentality. But has it gone too far? Andrew Becker and G.W. Schulz of the Center for Investigative Reporting report.
Dec 21, 2011 Nestled amid plains so flat the locals joke you can watch your dog run away for miles, Fargo treasures its placid lifestyle, seldom pierced by the mayhem and violence common in other urban communities. North Dakota’s largest city has averaged fewer than two homicides a year since 2005, and there’s not been a single international terrorism prosecution in the last decade.
But that hasn’t stopped authorities in Fargo and its surrounding county from going on an $8 million buying spree to arm police officers with the sort of gear once reserved only for soldiers fighting foreign wars.
SWAT kills: Beware returning officers, Mike Johnson and Rocky Harpham
On April 14, 2006, Mike Johnson and Rocky Harpham, working for the Eureka Police Department SWAT, shot Cheri Moore EIGHT times, killing her. Both officers left the area- Rocky Harpham to Texas. Soon after, former Humboldt County Risk Managment agent, Kim Kerr, left Humboldt for employment in Ione, CA. She promptly brought Johnson and Harpham there to be officers in Ione. The people of Ione were unaware of these cops' past, but learned quickly of their violent ways through experience. In Ione, Johnson became Chief and Harpham became Seargent.
Redwood Curtain CopWatch has received calls from several people regarding Johnson and Harpham's really abusive behavior in Ione. (One call over 2 years ago said "They are acting like Nazi's on our streets') And NOW THEY ARE COMING BACK HERE!!
SWAT & Murl Harpham vs. Garr Nielsen, the "Coup": The Eureka City Council and Manager recently went along with a coup by the EPD SWAT thugs, and fired Chief Garr Nielsen against his contract. Nielsen had not only demoted long-time, violent Murl Harpham (Rocky's father), but moreover Nielsen had disbanded SWAT. Now, Murl Harpham is the interim police chief, SWAT is back to terrorize our community, and the Eureka government is considering Mike Johnson as Chief of the Eureka Police Department!
The Militarization Of The US Police Force
Posted June 28, 2011
See ENTIRE MOVIE HERE
"When I was a "police officer" back in the early '70s the transformation was just starting to take place from a mentality of a public servant working for the citizens to "law enforcement". The first I noticed of it was when the police departments started preferential hiring of ex-military people returning from Viet Nam. They started introducing military tactics into the department, including the first S.W.A.T. team. They quit referring to people on the street as citizens and started calling them "civilians", or more commonly "assholes".
"They looked for opportunities to use their new toys provided from "federal assistance" monies in the war on drugs. They changed the uniforms from the blue-suited cop with an 8-sided hat with a shield on front to a set of black or navy fatigues and a ball cap. They started shaving their heads and pumping iron. They gave up on the idea that they put themselves in the line of fire to protect and serve the public and took on a combat marine attitude of protect their own above all else. I've known them to murder cop-killers in the street, but have a could-care-less attitude when a civilian is killed."
The Growing Militarisation of Police: Is access to military-grade weapons changing the mentality of crowd control?Submitted by copwatch on Sun, 01/01/2012 - 5:44am
Retired Cop asks: At what point do we say enough military equipment and military uniforms and military mindset?Submitted by copwatch on Sat, 02/11/2012 - 5:29pm
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?
Recently I have read several articles talking about all the military-type equipment and high-powered weapons that local law enforcement is getting as a result of federal grants.
Many local police forces are starting to look very intimidating and militaristic in their everyday appearance, wearing BDUs with Kevlar helmets and soldier-looking ballistic vests on the outside of their uniform shirt. I even saw video of officers wearing ski masks at a driver’s license/DUI checkpoint while having thigh-holstered handguns and an M4 slung over their shoulders. Basically, the SWAT look has gone to everyday officers on patrol.
Some departments, including small rural departments where the threat of terrorism is very slim indeed, are getting Army tanks, armored personnel carriers, and Humvees with .50-cal. automatic weapons inside rotating turrets.
Letter To the Editor: Press Democrat August 20, 2011
[Regarding Article "Santa Rosa Mayor Defends Kids Handling SWAT Weapons" Read below]
It is useless to try logic with people who have become so desensitized that they don't instinctively react with outrage at the idea of our local police using guns and tanks in an attempt to "reach the community" through its children via the "cool" factor as was just done in South Park.
The federal government has supplied local police departments with military uniforms, weaponry, vehicles, and training.
Just after midnight on May 16, 2010, a SWAT team threw a flash-bang grenade through the window of a 25-year-old man while his 7-year-old daughter slept on the couch as her grandmother watched television. The grenade landed so close to the child that it burned her blanket. The SWAT team leader then burst into the house and fired a single shot which struck the child in the throat, killing her. The police were there to apprehend a man suspected of murdering a teenage boy days earlier. The man they were after lived in the unit above the girl's family.
Documents Released on May 18th (PDF format):
- Sign the national petition to Drop the Charges Against Carlos Montes, Stop the FBI Attack on the Chicano and Immigrant Rights Movement, and Stop FBI Repression of Anti-War Activists NOW!
- Please send us statements from your organization condemning the raid on Carlos Montes' home. E-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Battle over the future of ethnic studies in Arizona rages on.
To watch a multi-part interview, click the link
below (if you don't see the segment you are
looking for, it's probably not yet published)US Student Protests
By PAUL CRAIG ROBERTS
Police in the US now rival criminals, and exceed terrorists, as the greatest threat to the American public. Rogelio Serrato is the latest case to be in the news of an innocent person murdered by the police. Serrato was the wrong man, but the Monterey County, California, SWAT team killed the 31-year old father of four and left the family home a charred ruin.
Oceanside Police Chief's Wife Allegedly Shoots At Police. SWAT Shoots Bean Bag Gun. Now She's Looking at Prison.Submitted by copwatch on Fri, 12/24/2010 - 8:36pm
I guess ya have to be white, married to a cop, and an ex-councilman's wife to not get murdered by the cops- even if you shoot at them! "Assault with a semiautomatic firearm on a peace officer"?
Ex-councilman's wife charged with shooting at police
By RACHANEE SRISAVASDI, THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER, Dec. 22, 2010
SANTA ANA The wife of a former Cypress councilman was charged Wednesday with shooting at police officers who came to her house after she called 911, and then initiating a brief standoff with police.
Brinda Sue McCoy, 47, of Cypress is charged with five felony counts of assault with a semiautomatic firearm on a peace officer and two felony counts of discharging a firearm with gross negligence with sentencing enhancements for the personal discharge of a firearm, according to the Orange County District Attorney's Office.
WHAT HAPPENED TO PETER STEWART
IN HOOPA, June 4, 2007
A mentally ill man WHO COMMITTED NO CRIME, Peter Stewart, was murdered on June 4, 2007 by out of control police who shot 50 rounds of tear gas into his house and then when one of the rounds caught on fire, watched the house burn down with Peter in it. Fire trucks were sitting in the driveway and Peter’s friends from school who are firemen begged the SWAT team to allow them to put out the fire. Peter was found dead in the bathtub naked and wrapped in sheets where he had apparently tried to ease the pain of the burns from the teargas. His family was never allowed to talk to him. Keep in mind that Peter Stewart had not committed nor was he accused of any crime.
September 7, 2007 Rally at the Capitol, Sacramento
Remarks made by Jacqueline Marshall-Alford
Grieving Mother of Peter Stewart
Did you know???
After PUBLIC OUTRAGE AND PRESSURE over the Eureka Police Department’s killing of Cheri Moore resulted in a coroner’s inquest, grand jury indictments, and prosecution of ex-Chief of Police David Douglas and SWAT’s Tony Zanotti, the Eureka City Council decided that the PUBLIC WOULD PAY $75,000 + for private attorney, Bill Bragg, to defend Douglas against criminal charges of involuntary manslaughter???!!
Not only did the Eureka City Council decide that WE would pay for Douglas’ defense for the killing of Cheri Moore, but the Council made the decision in CLOSED SESSION right before X-mas! And the City Council meeting following the CLOSED SESSION decision was on Thursday (not Tuesday, like all other City Council meetings) and was not broadcast live... (like all other City Council meetings)!!
CALL FOR CORONER'S INQUESTS! REGARDING DEATHS IN 2007 of Peter Stewart, Martin Cotton, and James "Hans" PetersSubmitted by copwatch on Wed, 10/10/2007 - 3:20pm
Demand CORONER'S INQUESTS
regarding the deaths of
& JAMES "HANS" PETERS
Three young men dead within three months of each other (2007) in"unexplained and violent deaths."
Each of these men died in custody of and/or during an interaction with local 'law enforcement' officers.
In some U.S. cities, every time a person dies in police custody or during contact with police, there is a coroner's inquest. The Humboldt Coroner, District Attorney, and Sheriff, the Hoopa and Eureka police chiefs, & the Eureka City attorney have been at best NEGLIGENT and at worst CORRUPT in their failure to call for coroner’s inquests regarding the deaths of Peter Stewart, Martin Cotton, and James “Hans” Peters. The deaths of Peter Stewart, Martin Cotton, & James "Hans" Peters are quintessential subjects for a coroner's inquest. The Coroner must hold an inquest if requested to do so by any of the following:
- District Attorney, Paul Gallegos
- Sheriff, Gary Philp
- City Prosecutor
- City Attorney, Sheryl Schaffner
- foreman of the Grand Jury
- a chief of police of a city in Humboldt County
Christopher Arrion Burgess, 16 year-old Native American boy. He was pepper sprayed by a probation officer who stormed into a house where Christopher was watching a movie with friends. EPD officer Terry Liles, who had pulled Christopher out of sleep about 3 years earlier (13 years old) and beat him until the boy's skull was fractured, chased Christopher on October 23, 2006, and shot him in the heart. Killed him. And this, after years of Christopher being systematically criminalized, and still being a kind and much-loved kid. Cheri Lyn Moore, a grandmother, who was distressed about the anniversary of her son's death and called the Humboldt County Mental Health Dept, was killed by an overzealous Eureka Police Department SWAT team. Cheri lived in an apartment, but was a friend to the streets. EPD, behaving like they were in an action movie, made what they call a "welfare check" after calls from mental health, and rather than allow Cheri to speak with friends and be comforted from her despair, staked out her apartment with snipers, forced themselves into her apartment, and shot her multiple times. Killed her.
Eureka Police Department Officer Terence Liles killed two teen boys in a 2 1/2 month period. He's ARMED, DANGEROUS, REMORSELESSSubmitted by Anonymous on Sat, 05/05/2007 - 3:21pm