VIDEO: Cop Tortures Pregnant Mother With Taser

VIDEO: Cop Tortures Pregnant Mother With Taser

For four months, Officer Leon Davis with the Springfield [Massachusetts] police department escaped accountability for a most disturbing act of using his taser on a pregnant woman—repeatedly—in a sickening attempt to inflict punishment. However, the actions by Davis were too much for the department to sweep under the rug, and this week Davis was arrested and charged for torturing a pregnant woman with his taser.

Luckily for Davis’ victim, 27-year-old Bryonna Parrillo, Springfield officers were recently fitted with body cameras. Had Davis not recorded himself repeatedly tasering a pregnant woman, it would have been Parrillo’s word against his, and we know how that ends up.

The incident unfolded on September 29, after Parrillo made the poor decision to text her boyfriend’s boss threatening messages for firing him.

Police arrived on the eighth floor of the hotel and attempted to get into the room where Parrillo and her boyfriend were staying, per an agreement for out-of-state workers refurbishing the hotel. Instead of immediately letting the officer in, Parrillo attempted to hold the door shut with her hand, so Davis pulled out his taser and shocked her hand.

After he shocked her hand, Parrillo realizes her actions are futile and then lets him in, cowers behind the door and immediately starts apologizing. She is not resisting and poses no threat whatsoever. Despite the pregnant woman completely submitting to the officer, Davis decided it was time to dole out punishment for not immediately opening the door.

“What’s up? You want to play those games? You want to play games?” Davis says as he prods the pregnant Parrillo with his taser all over her body.

The situation looked like the school bully going after the smallest child in school, holding them down and torturing them. Unfortunately, the school bully was a cop and the smallest kid in school was a 27-year-old mother to be.

“I know. I know. I know. I’m sorry…we just have to get our stuff,” Parrillo says as she curls up and attempts to defend herself from the multiple taser strikes doled out by Davis.

Parrillo is curled up on the floor, begging for Davis to stop—not posing a threat at all—yet Davis continues to shock the pregnant woman.

Even after Parrillo tells Davis she is pregnant, this sadistic cop hits her with another zap.

“I’m sorry, please, I’m pregnant, no, I’m pregnant. Please, I’m pregnant. Please, stop. Please stop, I’m pregnant, please, please,” she says just before Davis deploys the taser again—in the longest zap yet. Apparently, hearing that his victim was pregnant made him want to give it a little more effort.

“No!” Parrillo screams.

After being unnecessarily tortured, a pregnant Parrillo is then dragged to her feet and arrested on a charge of disorderly conduct.

As MassLive reports, Davis has been charged with one count each of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon and assault and battery on a pregnant woman. Documents show he not only faces the two felony criminal charges, but that he also blatantly violated department policy, according to a report by a supervisor.

Apparently it is against department policy to taser pregnant women in any situation.

Those violations included “deployment of the device in a punitive or coercive manner; use on a handcuffed or secured prisoner, absent overtly assaultive behavior” and “use of electronic control weapons against…women believed to be pregnant.”

Despite the charges and clear violations, Davis remains employed with the department on administrative leave. They department has not released a statement as to why it took them four months to charge the officer or why he wasn’t put on leave immediately after the incident.

“The evidence shows that this officer’s actions are clearly outside of his training, as they were punitive and grossly excessive, and therefore criminal,” Hampden District Attorney Anthony Gulluni said after announcing charges. “This type of conduct has no place in policing and police officers who engage in abusive and excessive uses of force must be identified and immediately re-trained or fired.”

He continued, “As we have seen here and across the country, this kind of misconduct undermines the trust that the community must have in its police departments and serves to sully and frustrate the work and reputation of the many good police officers who make up the vast majority of those departments.”

We agree. Sadly, it is an all too common occurrence. 

“This incident should not be a surprise to anyone. While it might be a shock to the conscience for some, to many of us it is merely a culmination of poor leadership that is too stubborn to realize that they cannot change this police department from the inside out,” said Springfield City Councilor Justin Hurst.

This article was originally featured at The Free Thought Project and is republished with permission.

Cop Kills Unarmed Pastor as Family Watches in Horror

Cop Kills Unarmed Pastor as Family Watches in Horror

Patrick Warren Sr. was a loving father, husband, and pastor in his community whose life was taken from him on Sunday after his family called police for help. The family asked for a mental health expert, but according to their attorney, one was not available, so a Killeen cop showed up instead. Less than two minutes after showing up, the officer would kill Warren in his own front yard as Warren was unarmed.

The shooting was captured on the family’s Ring doorbell camera as well as cellphone footage and it is causing quite the uproar online.

Lee Merritt, a national civil rights attorney who represents victims of police brutality across the country said that Warren’s family called police to ask for a mental health professional when they noticed changes in Warren’s behavior.

Merritt said the family was told a mental health deputy was not available, so a police officer was sent.

Merritt explained how the incident unfolded in a post to Twitter.

As the video shows, the officer rings the doorbell, then enters the home. Merritt explained that Warren then asked the officer to leave his home, which he does.

After the officer backs up into the yard, Warren walks outside as the officer pulls his taser. Remember, Warren had not committed a crime and his family had only called police for help. Nevertheless, the officer escalates the situation when he could have simply gotten back in his car, walked away, or left.

When the officer tells Warren to get on the ground, Warren refuses and the officer tasers him. Warren then keeps walking as the video changes to a cellphone. Warren’s children and wife are on the porch begging Warren to “sit down” but he does not.

Just as the family asks the officer not to shoot him, the cop fires multiple rounds into the unarmed man — killing him in his own front yard.

According to Merritt, the officer shot Warren once, then pointed the gun at Warren’s wife, telling her to get back. Merritt said the officer then fired his weapon at Warren again.

“The family of Patrick Warren Sr. demands the immediate firing and arrest of the officer responsible for his death,” Merritt said in a press release. “Bell County District Attorney Henry Garza must be prepared to conduct an independent investigation and prosecution of this officer.”

According to the Killeen police department, the officer has been placed on administrative leave — which is standard procedure — as the Texas Rangers investigate.

Warren’s son, Patrick Jr., created a GoFundMe account to pay for his father’s funeral expenses and as of the writing of this article, it has far exceeded its original goal of $20,000, showing the support from the community.

It is entirely possible that this officer will not face charges as Killeen cops are notoriously corrupt. Disturbing video of from Killeen was published in 2017 by the Free Thought Project of a man being murdered in broad daylight. The Free Thought Project reported on this video to help seek justice for Curtis E. Shelley after police refused to arrest his killer.

After two years of doing nothing, the killer — who is the son of a Killeen police officer — found out that he would face no charges for the murder of an unarmed man that was captured on video.

This article was originally featured at The Free Thought Project and is republished with permission.

If You Care About Ashli Babbitt, You Should Care About George Floyd

If You Care About Ashli Babbitt, You Should Care About George Floyd

As she breached multiple doors in the U.S. Capitol, while accompanied by dozens of other rioters, Ashli Babbitt’s last moments alive were spent attempting to break into a heavily barricaded area, climbing through a window before being shot in the chest by a police officer. Though she was breaking the law, she was unarmed when she was killed.

Babbitt was a wife and a veteran and despite her royally screwed up mistakes and disregard for the law on January 6, her life mattered. That is undeniable.

Sadly, however, her death is being used to further stoke divide between the left and the right. Many on the right are hailing her as a hero and a martyr who died fighting for freedom. But is that really the case?

Babbitt was shot by a Capitol police officer, after “multiple individuals forced entry into the Capitol building, and attempted to gain access to the house and attempted to gain access to the house, room, which was still in session,” Washington, D.C. Metropolitan Police Department Chief Robert Contee said last week.

Babbitt’s special treatment by police on the way into the capitol undoubtedly gave her extra confidence as she continued down her path into the back rooms of the capitol. Literally, right up to the moment she was shot, police showed her special treatment and, in fact, moved out of the way to allow Babbit to climb through the window where she would be shot.

Sadly, though Babbitt thought she was a patriot fighting for freedom, in reality, she was there to make sure Donald Trump stayed in power. She was there to support a man who advocated for a policy which ultimately led to her death. In May, Trump famously advocated for the extrajudicial execution of people for doing exactly what Babbitt died doing. Remember, “when the looting starts, the shooting starts”?

Because the right didn’t speak out against their ruler when he called for the extrajudicial murder of people for misdemeanors in May, it was ultimately used against them. This is the case 100 percent of the time and why standing up to tyranny should never take a back seat to party politics.

Sadly, many on the right continue to remain oblivious to these facts. At the same time, however, the left is calling her a thug terrorist who deserved it and praising her death which is just as dangerous and repugnant.

Amazingly enough, when Twitter banned tens of thousands of pro-Trump and anti-establishment voices on Friday, the person above, who is literally advocating for the genocide of his political enemies, came through it unscathed and their tweet remains active. But that is another point entirely.

Perhaps Babbitt should have been arrested and charged under a domestic terrorism charge, but she never got that chance because she was gunned down while unarmed. It is not up police or to Twitter or anyone else to decide who lives and who dies for their alleged crimes. In America we are guaranteed due process and no one has the right to remove that, even for the most vile of criminals.

In May, after George Floyd was killed, he became a martyr for the left who said that his life mattered and he should not have been killed. They were entirely correct in this assertion. However, just like left is calling Babbitt a thug and a terrorist, at the time of his murder, the right called Floyd a thug and a criminal and repeated the phrase of “if you don’t want to get killed by police, don’t break the law.”

Now that the right is experiencing the same police state that the left has experienced, instead of finding common ground and standing against tyranny, both sides are holding onto their contradictory ideologies in hopes that they can one day point the police state back at their political rivals.

This is how freedom dies—political power is wielded over and over by both sides until there is nothing left by the police state, who then silences ALL dissent, regardless of party.

Unjustified police killings of unarmed individuals is not some weapon to be pointed at your political enemies. Either you support due process and equal justice for all or you support despotism.

There is no picking sides when it comes to the state playing judge, jury, and executioner. When you support extrajudicial murder and removal of due process because it benefits you politically, you are not only a hypocrite but you are a cog in the wheel that is the police state and you deserve the hellish technocracy and violence you so adamantly supported when it inevitably comes back to be pointed at you.

This article was originally featured at The Free Thought Project and is republished with permission.

Big Tech Cracks Down On Social Media Dissidents

Big Tech Cracks Down On Social Media Dissidents

Whipping Americans into a tizzy to use their anger against them for political gain, has and always will be the modus operandi of the state. Fear, anger, and divide are extremely powerful tools used by tyrants to gain the compliance and obedience of the masses.

Although these tools of the state use deceptive language, half-truths, and outright lies to manipulate the masses, prohibiting them from saying it would be a disservice to the protection of free speech. After all, if you can censor anyone, you can censor everyone.

Nevertheless, the information controllers in the mainstream media and big tech are doing exactly that. On Wednesday, Donald Trump repeated the same debunked rantings about the stealing of the election on Twitter. Twitter immediately suspended the Tweets and would not allow anyone to like or share them.

This has been done before, but inside Trump’s last two tweets on Wednesday, he called for his supporters—who were currently rioting and storming the capitol—to stop what they were doing, be peaceful, and “go home.”

Despite Trump calling for his supporters to leave, both Twitter and Facebook deplatformed the president. This is ominous for two reasons. The first reason is that if these unelected tech giants can silence the president of the United States, they can silence anyone.

The second reason is that by silencing the president of the United States, these tech giants made a chilling declaration — they are bigger and more powerful than the most powerful government in the world. Read that again if it didn’t sink in, these tech giants are acting like they are bigger and more powerful than the most powerful government in the world.

In fact, Mark Zuckerberg had no problem taking to Facebook to lambast the president and explain why he needed to punish him. Mark Zuckerberg has no authority over anyone, much less the president of the United States. The same goes for Jack Dorsey at Twitter.

No one elected these people, no one has given them authority, and yet they wield it like a monarchy would.

It is important to point out that this is not a defense of Trump’s use of social media, nor is it a defense of Trump. He is, like the ones alluded to in the first paragraphs above, a cog in the gears of tyranny who uses fear and divide to seek obedience and loyalty.

However, silencing him will not make the violence go away or the assaults on the capitol stop — it will make it all worse. Silencing people doesn’t magically make the bad ideas go away. Instead, it gives credence to the bad ideas, justifying them by allowing the leaders pushing these bad ideas to say, “see, they are censoring us because we are right!”

This inevitably ends up fomenting extremism as confused and otherwise entirely peaceful people seek refuge in far right or left groups that will accept them.

Instead of questioning the dystopian nature of such a move by big tech, echoing the famous sentiment of Rahm Emmanuel of “never (letting) a serious crisis to go to waste,” mainstream media jumped on the bandwagon and decided to push the envelope even further.

The New York Times jumped at the chance to push for more censorship, vomiting out two heinous pieces calling for more draconian measures by big tech. The first piece was titled “The storming of Capitol Hill was organized on social media” and the second, “Violence on Capitol Hill Is a Day of Reckoning for Social Media

The Associated Press also put out a piece lambasting the free exchange of ideas on social media and blaming them for the “coup” in Washington.

“This is what happens,” Jennifer Grygiel, a Syracuse University communications professor and an expert on social media told the AP. “We didn’t just see a breach at the Capitol. Social media platforms have been breached by the president repeatedly. This is disinformation. This was a coup attempt in the United States.”

But was this really a coup? If it were a coup, Trump would’ve been on the ground with his supporters, leading them into the capitol, seizing it and demanding to stay in power. But that did not happen.

Instead of a coup, this was a ragtag group of Trump supporters who gave into their hive mind mentality and were essentially allowed by law enforcement to walk into the capitol. During this time, they didn’t begin issuing demands, instead, they posed for pictures, stole podiums, and took for selfies with cops, while other followers attempted to gain access to more secure areas. Unfortunately for one of the group, her decision to enter more secure areas ended up proving to be a deadly mistake.

This was not insurrection as much as it was devoted fans of an arrogant demagogue making poor decisions after getting duped by their messiah—who pretended to be “anti-establishment” so he could fulfill his egotistical lust for power.

Rest assured, these folks had zero effect on altering the course of the status quo in their favor. Their actions on Wednesday, however, are already being touted by mainstream media as insurrection and attempt at a coup and being used to further progress down the path of technocracy.

As Caitlin Johnstone pointed out:

We will likely see many more such articles in the coming days, arguing for increased regulation of internet communication to prevent future incidents like today.

In and of itself this won’t sound terribly concerning to the average citizen. Nothing wrong with taking steps to prevent people from plotting violence and terrorism on social media, right?

But how do you predict what protests are going to be “violent”? How do you decide which protests and what political dissent need to be censored and which ones should be permitted to communicate freely? Do you just leave it up to Silicon Valley oligarchs to make the call? Or do you have them consult with the government like they’ve been doing? Are either of these institutions you’d trust to regulate what protests are worthy of being permitted to organize online?

Because the actual power structures in the United States seem to be interested in simply censoring the internet to eliminate political dissent altogether.

Unfortunately, it seems that anti-establishment voices online are seeing their days becoming numbered. We’ve already witnessed unprecedented acts of censorship in just the last year thanks to social media giants attempting to control the narrative on COVID-19 and the election cycle. These moves included outright banning of information that would later be proven 100% true, having significant impacts on the outcome of election results as well as traversing the pandemic.

If we continue to allow these groups to tell us what is acceptable to say and read online, peaceful dissent will be obliterated in the name of some false sense of security.

Do we want to continue to allow Facebook to treat us as a product while making billions off censoring peaceful anti-establishment voices, potentially kicking off a massive civil war in the process? Or, do you want to do something as simple as using the new model, one that doesn’t steal your information and peddle it to the highest bidder?

Over the past couple of years, we have been helping to build this new model and with your help, it can replace the tyrannical old one.

You can find us on MeWe.com at the following links:

Matt Agorist

Jason Bassler

The Free Thought Project

Police the Police

If you find me personally after signing up on MeWe, I will share your profile with all of my followers to help get you started in building your new social media presence.

While MeWe is certainly the cream of the crop, we are also on minds.com which treats users like customers and does not censor.

We are on telegram too.

If you are not on our email list, please sign up here.

If you’d like to subscribe to our site to aid in the battle against the censors and receive special perks along the way, you can do so at this link. 

This article was originally featured at The Free Thought Project and is republished with permission.

Your Permanent Record: Police Are Labeling Children With Bad Grades as “Potential Criminals”

Your Permanent Record: Police Are Labeling Children With Bad Grades as “Potential Criminals”

In the ostensible land of the free, we are told that all people are presumed innocent until proven guilty by their peers. To those who’ve been paying attention however, we know that “innocent until proven guilty” is a farce into today’s police state. If you doubt this assertion, you need only look at the data to see that a whopping 74% of people in jails across the country — have not been convicted of a crime. 

While it is true that many of these folks are awaiting trial for crimes they did commit, there are innocent people behind bars for the sole reason that they cannot afford bail. A free country — who claims to protect the rights of citizens — should not be keeping hundreds of thousands of presumed innocent people in cages, yet this is the status quo.

A recent report from the Tampa Bay Times shows just how determined the American police state is to guarantee an assembly line of otherwise entirely innocent people to continue this process. Police in Florida are targeting children in an attempt to label them as criminals at a young age — despite the children being entirely innocent.

The Pasco sheriff’s office has a secret list of students it believes could “fall into a life of crime” based on ridiculous standards like their grades.

By these standards, people like Thomas Edison, one of the most successful inventors in human history, could’ve been labeled a criminal after he was kicked out of school at age 12 for being poor at math and unable to concentrate.

Steven Spielburg, the famous movie producer, may have been labelled a criminal as well after he temporarily dropped out of high school only to return to be put in a “special ed” class.

Kids often make poor choices when they are younger and these choices should never put them on some police watch list or criminal database. This is nothing short of “pre-crime” tactics that ultimately lead to segregation of dystopian societies based on ratings from the state.

Nevertheless, the Pasco Sheriff’s Office uses data from the Pasco County Schools district and the state Department of Children and Families to compile this very list from middle and high schools who they think will turn out to be criminals.

According to the Tampa Bay Times, the sheriff’s office defended the tactics and said its data-sharing practices with the school district goes back 20 years and are intended to keeping school campuses safe. Only a juvenile intelligence analyst and the school resource officers have access to the information, it said.

The department says they use this information to help troubled kids, but the parents of these kids have no idea that police are surveilling their children to potentially label them as future criminals.

“These programs, in conjunction with the School District’s Early Warning System, provides recommendations to community or school based programs or resources, and mentorship to those who have experienced adverse childhood experiences, something academically proven to lead the possibility of increased victimization, mental health concerns and other aspects,” a sheriff’s spokeswoman said.

School officials explained that they didn’t even realize this child surveillance was happening.

School District Superintendent Kurt Browning and the principals of two high schools told the newspaper they were unaware the sheriff’s office was using school data to identify kids who might become criminals.

“We have an agreement with the Sheriff’s Office,” Browning said in a statement. “That relationship has been strengthened in the wake of the tragedy at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School in 2018, and that includes processes for a two-way sharing of information that could save lives and result in timely interventions with students who are at risk.”

The program, called the Early Warning System tracks students’ grades, attendance and behavior. If a student was a victim of abuse or witnessed abuse, this increases their chances of police labelling them a criminal.

What qualifies for an “at risk” designation could be anything from getting a “D” on a report card to missing school more than three times in a quarter, according to the program’s manual. Other factors include witnessing domestic violence, having a parent in prison and being the victim of abuse or neglect.

The sheriff’s office then compiles this information—combined with grades and other data sets—and puts it into a system that scores children in 16 categories. The unwitting children are then each assigned a label: On Track, At Risk, Off-Track or Critical.

Hundreds of children are on this list.

The sheriff’s office denies that the list is used to label kids as criminals, and claims it is instead used to identify kids at risk for victimization, truancy, self-harm and substance abuse. As the Times reports, however, future criminal behavior is the only designation on the list and the office had a hard time proving anything else:

But the intelligence manual — an 82-page document that school resource officers and other deputies are required to read — doesn’t mention those other risks. Instead, in five separate places, it describes efforts to pinpoint kids who are likely to become criminals.

The office could not provide any documents instructing school resource officers to interpret the list another way.

Intelligence Led Policing ManualThe idea of cops spying on children in an effort to predict future criminal behavior is chilling. Thankfully, the Tampa Bay Times’ report has shed some much needed light on the practice.

“Can you imagine having your kid in that county and they might be on a list that says they may become a criminal?’ Linnette Attai, a consultant works with student privacy laws, told the Times. “And you have no way of finding out if they are on that list? This is a district that is sending millions of dollars to the sheriff of Pasco County to target its students as criminals.”

Indeed, this is worse than minority report.

This article was originally featured at The Free Thought Project and is republished with permission.

Since 2015, American Police Have Killed 1600% More U.S. Citizens Than ‘Mass Shooters’

Since 2015, American Police Have Killed 1600% More U.S. Citizens Than ‘Mass Shooters’

Tragically, in America, mass shootings—in which murdering psychopaths go on rampages in public spaces—have claimed the lives of 392 people since 2015. While this number is certainly shocking and far too high, during this same time frame, police in America have claimed the lives of 6,571 citizens, according to Mapping Police Violence.

That is over 16 times more citizens killed by those sworn to protect and serve than the ones they claim to protect us from.

While some of these citizens were armed and dangerous, others were innocent, unarmed, and include small children. Daniel Shaver was one of these people whose life was brought to a screeching halt as he begged on his knees for police not to shoot him. Despite being innocent and unarmed, this father of three was murdered in cold blood by Philip Brailsford who was never held accountable and allowed to retire from the police force with his pension.

Jeremy Mardis was another one of these citizens who was gunned down in cold blood by two killer cops. Mardis was just 6-years-old when he was murdered by these killer cops—one of whom was released last month after serving less than two years for his role in this innocent child’s death. 

Another one of these deaths was Elijah McClain who was innocent, unarmed, and killed by cops for simply being an introvert.

The list goes on. Yet despite its increasing length, most American citizens think that reining in America’s deadly police problem is somehow “unpatriotic” or “un-American.” Instead of the right realizing the threat to freedom caused by cops who can kill thousands with impunity, they blame the left. Instead of the left realizing the threat to freedom caused by cops who kill with impunity, most of them blame guns.

The result of this complacency and failure to address the problem has been less freedom and more gun grabs. 

Sadly, most people who call for gun control fail to realize what that actually means—only the government has the guns. And, if the above numbers are any indicator of what that would mean, this would be a horrific scenario.

Every time a lunatic, who is usually on some form mind-altering pharmaceutical, goes on a shooting rampage, the do-gooders in Washington, with the aid of their citizen flocks, take to the TV and the internet to call for disarming the American people.

The citizens who call for themselves and their neighbors to be disarmed, likely think no deeper than the shallow speeches given by the political blowhards, designed to appeal to emotion only. They do not think of what happens during and after the government attempts to remove guns from society. They also completely ignore the fact that criminals do not obey laws and making guns illegal would have zero effect on criminals possessing guns.

In the perfect statist world in which only the government has guns, we’re told that crime rates would plummet, people wouldn’t be murdered, gun violence would be brought to its knees, and a disarmed heaven on Earth would ensue. But how effective would disarming the citizens actually be at preventing gun violence, while at the same time keeping guns in the hands of government?

One simple way to determine the outcome to look at the above numbers and compare mass shootings in America with those killed by police. It is entirely too easy to compare all senseless murders carried out by the state to those carried out by citizens, so we will zoom in with a microscope.

However, just as a point of reference, in the 20th Century alone, governments were responsible for 260,000,000 deaths worldwide. That number is greater than all deaths from illicit drug use, STD’s, Homicides, and Traffic Accidents — combined.

Now, on to the micro-comparison.

According to a comprehensive database of all American mass shootings that have taken place since 2015, constructed by Mother Jones, there have been exactly 392 deaths attributed to mass shootings that have taken place on American soil.

As Mother Jones notes, in their database, they exclude shootings stemming from more conventional crimes such as armed robbery or gang violence. Other news outlets and researchers have published larger tallies that include a wide range of gun crimes in which four or more people have been either wounded or killed. While those larger datasets of multiple-victim shootings may be useful for studying the broader problem of gun violence, our investigation provides an in-depth look at the distinct phenomenon of mass shootings—from the firearms used to mental health factors and the growing copycat problem.

If we compare the 392 citizens killed in mass shootings to citizens killed by police in the same time frame, the comparison is off the charts. We are talking about a 1,670 percent difference.

As 2020 comes to an end, American police have killed 1,066 people. This number is set to increase by one, on average, every 8 hours. 

Since 2015, cops in America have killed 6,571 citizens.And most people are not saying anything about it.

As Truth Out recently reported:

The institutional racism rooted in American policing prevents the public from categorizing police shootings as gun violence, Natacia Knapper with Stop Police Terror Project DC explained to Truthout via email. “A large swath of people in our nation — white people in particular, but many others as well — don’t want to reckon with the horrors police have caused in communities of color because to do this would call into question the entire way we have viewed these systems and their roles in our society.” News media consumption, television shows and movies constantly reinforce the belief that policing is an irreplaceable institution keeping society safe and stable. Unlearning this “truth” is akin to unlearning that the Earth is round. Knapper continued, “For many Americans, I think it’s easier to compartmentalize the type of gun violence that comes from the police as “other” and incidents that result in the brutalizing and death of American citizens — Black, Brown or otherwise — are treated as individual instances that are not connected to a larger, overarching problem.” Police and the media exploit this divide when they describe the police violence victims’ unrelated criminal history or the victims’ possession of a gun or pocket knife, regardless of whether it was a factor during the killing. The underlying message is that the deceased deserved to die in order to keep everyone else safe.

As the blowhards spew their nonsense about grabbing guns from law-abiding citizens and those in government demand action, all of these people conveniently ignore the giant pink elephant in the living room—cops in America are killing citizens at an alarming rate.

Ironically enough, those calling for taking guns from citizens are often times the ones most critical of police killings. How, exactly, they rationalize disarming the citizens and having only police, who kill far more people than mass shooters, be the sole possessors of guns, is a mystery.

Indeed, in a 2017 tweet, Radley Balko summed up the mental gymnastics of both parties perfectly in regard to the distorted realities held as “truth.”

In the United States, the overall homicide rate is 4.9 per 100,000 among the citizens.

Thanks to independent watchdog groups who have decided to document this number on their own, we have a total number of citizens killed by police. Given that America has roughly 765,000 sworn police officers, that means the police-against-citizen kill rate is more than 145 per 100,000.

The police kill rate is nearly 30 times that of the average citizen, yet somehow people still call for disarming citizens and say nothing about the police. And no, the citizens are not becoming more violent. In fact, humanity is at its safest time in history—ever—and, in spite of the lunatic terrorists shooting up public places, violent crimes as well as all crime continues to drop, significantly.

Crime Rate ChartThe next time your friends try to tell you that citizens should be disarmed, tell them what that really means; they only want government, who has a history of racism and violence, who kill indiscriminately, with zero accountability, and far more often, to be the ones with guns.

This article was originally featured at The Free Thought Project and is republished with permission.

The Real Murderers: 34 Police Departments Kill Americans At Higher Rate Than National Average

The Real Murderers: 34 Police Departments Kill Americans At Higher Rate Than National Average

According to the most recent count of police killings, police in America have killed 1,039 people this year. Exactly 21 of these victims were at or under the age of 18 when their lives were taken by police officers who swore an oath to protect and serve. Many were unarmed while others were entirely innocent. All of them, however, were innocent until proven guilty — yet never got the option to plead their cases.

So far this year, there have only been 17 days in which police have not killed someone.

The problem of police violence was brought to the forefront of the national discussion earlier this year as millions of Americans took to shouting in the streets, rioting, and looting over the death of George Floyd. It became such a massive issue that even mainstream media was forced to admit that the United States has the most violent and deadly law enforcement system on the planet.

But did it lead to massive change, reform, or less police violence? That answer is a resounding no. In fact, on the day George Floyd was killed, as TFTP reported at the time, 5 other people were also killed.

While a few cities across the country made incredible changes to the way they police their citizens, including sending mental health experts instead of cops to hundreds of 911 calls, other cities carried out business as usual.

Though this is business as usual, it is no less shocking. The Free Thought Project decided to look into some numbers maintained by the organization at Mapping Police Violence and compare police killings with the national murder rate. These numbers are disturbing.

According to the most recent data from Pew Research in 2019, the US murder rate was 5.0 per 100,000, for a total of 15,498 murders. This is the national average, though there are many cities who exceed it and many who are far below.

When we compare cops in major cities to the national murder rate, we find a massive problem. According to the most recent data, there are a whopping 34 departments across the land of the free who kill people at higher rates than the US murder rate.

If we zero in on just black men, 8 of the 100 largest city police departments kill black men at higher rate than the US murder rate. This is shocking, especially considering the fact that many of these folks are unarmed and innocent.

According to the data compiled from 2013-2019, the most deadly department in America happens to kill people at a nearly 370% higher rate than the national average. That department is the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department who became infamous for their tactics of war during the Ferguson Mike Brown protests.

Another department is Oklahoma City, who has a penchant for killing unarmed black men. As we reported earlier this year, Oklahoma city cops killed an unarmed man on video as he repeatedly told them he can’t breathe.

Derrick Scott, 42, repeatedly told cops that he couldn’t breathe during his arrest last May, but cops couldn’t have cared less, and in fact, told this to Scott as he died.

“I don’t care,” one of the officers, Jarred Tipton, can be heard replying to Scott as he took his last breaths on this planet.

Another one of these 34 departments is in Aurora, Colorado who witnessed massive protests this year after several high profile police killings.

As TFTP reported, last August, Elijah McClain was killed by Aurora police after he was put in a chokehold and given the sedative ketamine. The incident began when someone in the neighborhood called the police because McClain was walking down the street with groceries while wearing a mask. McClain reportedly always wore the mask because he was anemic , and often got cold, and he was an introvert.

At the time of his death, he had never gotten so much as a speeding ticket in his life. He was completely innocent.

Breonna Taylor was also completely innocent when she was gunned down in her home by cops with the Louis Metropolitan Police Department, who also happens to be among the 34 deadliest departments in the country.

The fact is that this article could go on for days, naming all the people killed by police officers in these departments. But that wouldn’t solve anything.

What we need right now is major changes inside police departments to curb their violent tendencies. Until we end the war on drugs we can expect this problem to remain the same. Until we end qualified immunity for police, the problem will not get better. Until cops are held personally liable like doctors who commit malpractice, they will continue to pass their liability along to the taxpayers. Finally, until police in America stop preying on citizens for victimless crimes and bring predatory policing to its knees, this problem will not go away.

We are ready for this change. Are you?

This article was originally featured at The Free Thought Project and is republished with permission.

NYPD Values Abusive Cop’s Pension Over Child He Starved and Froze to Death

NYPD Values Abusive Cop’s Pension Over Child He Starved and Froze to Death

New York, NY — The death of 8-year-old Thomas Valva shocked the nation earlier this year when it was discovered his New York cop father was alleged to have beat him and starved him before throwing him into an unheated garage where he froze to death. As the investigation unfolded, we learned that authorities were warned by multiple people on multiple occasions that NYPD officer Michael Valva was horrifically abusing his children, and, in a disgusting display of blue privilege, no one acted. In fact, the only actions taken were against the mother, and helped Valva continue the abuse.

Now, this officer’s blue privilege is being exposed once again as he was quietly allowed to resign this week—to protect his pension.

“He voluntarily resigned today,” Valva’s attorney John LoTurco said. “He executed paperwork in that regard today,which protects his benefits and his pension. There’s no admission of any wrongdoing. It allows him to forgo any disciplinary hearing and in exchange, he will no longer receive any salary or any future benefits.”

As we reported at the time, 8-year-old Thomas died of hypothermia on January 17 after he was allegedly starved, beaten and locked outside overnight by his NYPD officer father. Valva allegedly washed the body of his autistic child in an attempt to warm the corpse, then lied to cops by claiming the boy fell in the driveway. On Jan. 24, Valva and his fiancee Angela Pollina were arrested and charged with murder.

After their arrests, we found out that Justyna Zukbo-Valva, Thomas’ mother, had filed multiple complaints—with physical evidence—alleging the abuse. Instead of helping her authorities simply looked the other way. Not only was she never given help, Zukbo-Valva was treated like she was the abuser and lost custody as the true monster continued his horrifying treatment of his children.

According to the NY Daily News, who received the documents from Zukbo-Valva, after losing custody, this mother feared for the safety of her children, fought to save them, and was ignored and punished until Thomas was tortured to death.

In meeting after meeting with Child Protective Services, beginning in 2017, Zubko-Valva implored caseworkers to get involved and protect her boys now living with their father in Center Moriches, L.I. The mother, recalling a Dec. 6, 2017, meeting, says caseworker Michelle Clark blamed her rather than NYPD officer Valva for the regressing autism of Thomas’ older brother Anthony.

Clark also declined to read progress reports from the special school where the mother enrolled the brothers before Valva pulled both of them out.

“She informed me she will not take any evidence from me,” wrote Zubko-Valva about the caseworker. “If I try to provide my evidence to her, she is not going to take them into consideration.”

Despite clear signs of physical abuse, including testimony from the victims and physical injury—black eyes, and bald patches from his hair being pulled out at the roots—according to the News, Clark, in five reports filed between Oct. 31, 2017, and Jan. 15, 2018, found no safety factors that “place the children in immediate danger” and quickly closed the investigations into the father’s treatment of Thomas and 10-year-old Anthony.

This cop’s blue privilege stretched far and wide and ultimately ended in a child’s death. According to the News:

According to the mother’s records, her estranged husband Valva erupted in anger on Jan. 13, 2018, when Thomas accused Pollina of hitting him. Valva forced the boy to lean over a table with his hands outstretched, then hit the child repeatedly on his buttocks and lower back on the right side — leaving bruises confirmed by a neighbor.

Zubko-Valva filed another complaint. But her estranged husband simply refused to open the door when CPS sent a caseworker his home for an interview him, records show. Three days later, the bruised little boy told child welfare worker Michele Clark that he was still in pain from his father’s beating.

Despite being told by the child that he was being beaten by his father, Clark’s reaction was to lift a protection order against Valva and order one against the mother. As the News points out, this decision is now coming back to haunt them.

“Michele Clark abused her power to falsely accuse me in order to protect Michael Valva,” writes the distraught mom.

On the night Zubko-Valva was told she was losing custody of her children, she reportedly told Kimberley Berens, who ran the Fit Learning school, which educated autistic children before they went to regular schools that Valva was “going to kill my kids.”

Unfortunately, she was right.

Despite authorities eventually finding out that Valva was savagely abusing his autistic son, the court chose not to send them to their mother and put them right back with their father and then moved to sweep it under the rug while continuing their assault on this poor mother.

On the contrary, after Valva got away with child abuse, the boys’ mother was forced to justify why she chose to put Thomas’ older brother Anthony in a special school for autistic kids. Unlike Valva, Zubko-Valva was forced to go through a full trial with witnesses and arguments just to prove she’d done nothing wrong by sending her kids to a special school.

To sum it up, the entire system acted on behalf of the officer — likely due to the fact that he had a badge — while proactively going after the mother who was only trying to expose her ex-husband’s abuse of their children.

It gets worse.

On Oct. 1, 2018, Zubko-Valva filed a request to get a new case worker, citing the clear special treatment given to her cop ex-husband. Instead of doing this, the very next day, CPS caseworker Edward Heepe closed three investigations into the father’s treatment of his children. He omitted the January beating incident from his report. In November 2018, court-appointed lawyer Donna McCabe was singing the praises of Valva and Pollina—even as teachers at the boys’ school were repeatedly calling the state child abuse hotline, according to the News..

Even more disturbing is that Zubko-Valva is now claiming that video evidence from surveillance cameras inside the home and the garage where Thomas died — which can prove without a doubt that Valva murdered his child—have all been deleted.

“I was told two weeks ago by the District Attorney’s office that they cannot get the images from the day that Tommy died, because, allegedly, they were deleted,” Zubko-Valva said. “But as you know we live in the technological age of everything being stored somewhere and can be, you know, brought back.”

The system actively set out to smear a caring mother while protecting a vicious child abuser which resulted in the tragedy in January. Sadly, as TFTP has reported before, this is but a broken record of a system and occupation that experiences domestic violence at a far greater rate than the rest of society and goes out of their way to sweep it under the rug.

If you think a system that protects an abusive cop and allows him to resign to protect his pension, has your interests in mind, you need to think again.

Matt Agorist is an honorably discharged veteran of the USMC and former intelligence operator directly tasked by the NSA. This prior experience gives him unique insight into the world of government corruption and the American police state. Agorist has been an independent journalist for over a decade and has been featured on mainstream networks around the world. Agorist is also the Editor-at-Large at the Free Thought Project. Follow @MattAgorist on TwitterSteemit, and now on Minds. This article was originally featured at The Free Thought Project and is republished with permission. 

Utah Proud Boys and BLM Join Together Against Racism, Call for Police Reform

Utah Proud Boys and BLM Join Together Against Racism, Call for Police Reform

Something pretty incredible happened earlier this month in Utah and because it showed two ostensibly opposing groups come together instead of promoting divide, it was curiously absent from nearly all mainstream media. The Proud Boys—who are considered a hate group by the SPLC—came together with Black Lives Matter—who they are allegedly supposed to hate—and did something inspiring. They denounced racism and white supremacy and explained how they are now working together.

Not surprisingly, over the past several weeks, the mainstream media has run with stories of protesters and counter protesters fighting with each other rather than show Black Lives Matter of Northern Utah finding common ground with the Salt Lake chapter of the Proud boys. But that is why The Free Thought Project exists, to bring you the news that shows it is possible to think past labels and petty fighting and realize that we are all human.

DISCLAIMER: It is sad that this disclaimer is necessary but before anyone claims that The Free Thought Project is a supporter of the Proud Boys, we are not. We are supporters of peace and unity and putting differences aside to create a more freer world, and the following scenario out of Utah is a perfect example of this.

Jacarri Kelley, the leader of Black Lives Matter, Northern Utah said she was perplexed during a protest two months ago in Cottonwood Heights when she saw a member of the Proud Boys, who was not white, being accused of being a white supremacist.

“How can he be a white supremacist if he is Hispanic?” Kelley asked. “Or Polynesian? I originally thought he was black.”

This made the open minded BLM head reach out to the Proud Boys, who told her they were there simply to make sure that “nothing goes down.”

That is when they got together and decided they could help each other. For two months that is what they have done and during a protest in Salt Lake City two weeks ago, they held a press conference to talk about the importance of unity and reaching across labels to find out that just because someone has a different political view than you, doesn’t make them a bad person—unless of course they advocate hating people or superiority for having a certain skin color.

But Kelley dispelled that myth quite swiftly—at least with the Proud Boys at this particular protest—noting that they are not white supremacists. She also stated that they agree on more issues than which they disagree. She said they both have a problem with how the media is stoking constant divide.

Kelley explained that the rioters and looters don’t represent what the BLM movement is about, but that is how many in the media portray them. Kelley went on to say that her grandfather and her father served in the military and they have a right to say they are “proud Americans” just like the Proud Boys have a right to say it.

Kelley then said the Proud Boys “just need a little bit of respect and education to bridge gaps,” before introducing the chief of the Salt Lake Proud Boys to speak. She said the two groups have worked together for a couple of months and their work has opened the Proud Boys’ eyes to what Black Lives Matter is all about.

“Obviously, I am not black, so I cannot understand what Jacarri goes through every day,” said Thad, the group’s chief. “But meeting with them has given us understanding and now we can work together.”

Imagine that. A little empathy can go a long way.

When questioned about the group’s founder, Gavin McInnes—whose racism has been heavily documented online—the two Proud Boys explained that he is an instigator and is no longer part of the organization for that exact reason.

“He’s gone, he’s not part of the organization anymore,” both men said before officially denouncing racism all together.

“I will go out and say that the Proud Boys as a whole—I will say this on behalf of the entire national organization—denounce White supremacy,” the chief of the Proud Boys Salt Lake Utah Chapter said when the reporter questioned him, adding that being called white supremacists threatens their safety.

Thad said that the Proud Boys are simply “proud” of their country. “It means that the west is the best—western civilization is the best. That’s our opinion,” Thad said.

“We are in no way, shape or form White supremacists,” Thad said. “We have a vetting system that gets those people out of our hair. We do not have anything to do with White supremacy. We do not have anything to do with the Ku Klux Klan. We denounce those organizations.”

After Thad spoke, the president of the Salt Lake Proud Boys, who gave the name Seth, got up to speak.

“I don’t care what color your skin is, we’re all Americans, and we need to find a way to come together instead of divide,” he said.

Seth then explained that this bridging of the divide has led to the Proud Boys working with BLM to achieve police reform.

“Meeting and talking and having that understanding allowed us to move forward with working together on police reform,” Seth said.

Kelley, who first met the Proud Boys at a protest in Cottonwood Heights, says the partnership is real.

“We do need to be able to reach across the aisle and have these tough conversations,” Kelley added. And she is right, according to KUTV, the Salt Lake chapter of the group says they’ll continue to link arms with Black Lives Matter, Northern Utah.

This is how progress is made. When people put their differences aside and have meaningful conversations while practicing empathy, peace is the inevitable result. Sadly, the media is so hell bent on pushing divide and keeping people inside their own little bias-confirming bubbles, that conversations like this one are rare.

Instead, we see people blindly hating each other, screaming in each other’s faces and now have resorted to violence.

The world can learn a lot from Jacarri, Seth, and Thad, they just have to listen. It is high time we start doing more listening than screaming.

As the great Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said, “one day we must come to see that peace is not merely a distant goal we seek, but that it is a means by which we arrive at that goal. We must pursue peaceful ends through peaceful means. All of this is saying that, in the final analysis, means and ends must cohere because the end is preexistent in the means, and ultimately destructive means cannot bring about constructive ends.”

Matt Agorist is an honorably discharged veteran of the USMC and former intelligence operator directly tasked by the NSA. This prior experience gives him unique insight into the world of government corruption and the American police state. Agorist has been an independent journalist for over a decade and has been featured on mainstream networks around the world. Agorist is also the Editor-at-Large at the Free Thought Project. Follow @MattAgorist on TwitterSteemit, and now on Minds. This article was originally featured at The Free Thought Project and is republished with permission. 

Denver’s Replacement of Cops With Mental Health Workers Has a 100% Success Rate

Denver’s Replacement of Cops With Mental Health Workers Has a 100% Success Rate

As The Free Thought Project has previously reported, the Virginia-based Treatment Advocacy Center, an organization dedicated to eliminating the barriers faced by those with severe mental illnesses, released a jaw-dropping report in regard to police interactions with the mentally ill. In their report titled, Overlooked in the Undercounted: The Role of Mental Illness in Fatal Law Enforcement Encountersresearchers discovered that people with an untreated mental illness are16 times more likely to be killed during an interaction with police than anyone else.

According to the study, by all accounts—official and unofficial—a minimum of 1 in 4 fatal police encounters ends the life of an individual with severe mental illness.

Where official government data regarding police shootings and mental illness have been analyzed – in one U.S. city and several other Western countries – the findings indicate that mental health disorders are a factor in as many as 1 in 2 fatal law enforcement encounters.

This startling number highlights a critical problem with police and how they handle incidents with the mentally ill and it explains why so many people who simply need help, receive bullets instead.

“If this were any other medical condition, people would be up in arms,” John Snook, the report’s co-author and executive director of the Treatment Advocacy Center said.

One would assume that since these numbers are so great, police have taken action and are training their officers to interact with the mentally ill. However, one would be wrong. Even cops who voluntarily attend Crisis Intervention Training (CIT), have shown that they are quick to the trigger when dealing with the mentally ill.

As The Free Thought Project has pointed out in the past, the overwhelming majority of time spent by police during training is devoted to shooting their weapons. Very little time is set aside for training in de-escalation tactics, and most departments receive zero training in dealing with the mentally ill.

The list of unarmed and often completely innocent mentally ill people killed by police is immense. TFTP archives are full of tragic stories in which police were called to help someone in a crisis and end up murdering them. People are killed even when they aren’t in a crisis and simply act differently like Elijah McClain, who was on his way home from buying groceries and was murdered by police because he was an introvert and wore a ski mask.

Instead of attempting to save the sinking ship that is cops responding to mental health crises, some municipalities are thinking outside of the box. Denver, Colorado is one such place. After the George Floyd protests sparked the debate the problem of police killing the mentally ill was pushed to the forefront of the conversation and many municipalities like Denver asked the question, should trained gunman, whose only tool is violent escalation, be the first line of response to those in a mental health crisis?

The obvious answer to that question is no. The over whelming majority of calls involving mentally ill people do not involve crimes, so why on Earth would we send in armed state agents to address them?

On June 1, Denver began the Support Team Assistance Response (STAR) program, which sends a mental health professional and a paramedic to some 911 calls instead of cops. According to their latest data, STAR has responded to nearly 400 calls to 911 in which police would have normally been sent out. The STAR team — armed only with experience and compassion — has never once called police to back them up.

They have settled every single call without killing someone, beating them, ruining their lives, or using violence. Imagine that.

“We’re really trying to create true alternatives to us using police and jails,” said Vinnie Cervantes with Denver Alliance for Street Health Response, one of the organizations that helped start the program.

“It really kind of proves that we’ve been working for the right thing, and that these ideas are getting the recognition they should,” Cervantes said.

This situation is a win win as it also frees up police time so they can focus on actual crimes like rape, theft, and violence.

“It’s the future of law enforcement, taking a public health view on public safety,” Denver police Chief Paul Pazen said. “We want to meet people where they are and address those needs and address those needs outside of the criminal justice system.”

Carleigh Sailon from the Mental Health Center of Denver—who has responded to many of these calls, spoke to lx.com last week to explain the program’s success.

Those who have called for help or to report someone slumped against a fence, camped out on private property, or simply talking to themselves, are impressed when the STAR team shows up and resolves the problem without tasering, choking, or shooting anyone.

“We’ve gotten great feedback from the community, from individuals who’ve said that this felt really comfortable, really supportive, that we were able to show up and offer other solutions that were really helpful in that moment,” Sailon told lx.com. “People have been just overwhelmingly positive and very accepting of the options that we have to offer. And kind of surprised, I think, too, that a social worker and a medic kind of hop out of this van in street clothes and are there to help vs. police or an ambulance.”

When we hear catch phrases like “defund the police,” this is what it’s about. The apologist crowd says things like, “let me know how it turns out when you send a social worker to deal with a violent criminal” in an attempt to discredit this movement but as more cities like Denver continue to show a 100% non-violent success record, that crowd looks sillier and sillier.

The idea of a state function shifting its focus from violence to compassion is revolutionary on many fronts. While a 100% success record nationwide is unlikely, it is obvious that this is the direction in which we need to head.

Matt Agorist is an honorably discharged veteran of the USMC and former intelligence operator directly tasked by the NSA. This prior experience gives him unique insight into the world of government corruption and the American police state. Agorist has been an independent journalist for over a decade and has been featured on mainstream networks around the world. Agorist is also the Editor-at-Large at the Free Thought Project. Follow @MattAgorist on TwitterSteemit, and now on Minds. This article was originally featured at The Free Thought Project and is republished with permission.

Public Letter, Signed By Prosecutors, Judges, and Cops, Demands Congress Expunge All Marijuana Convictions

Public Letter, Signed By Prosecutors, Judges, and Cops, Demands Congress Expunge All Marijuana Convictions

The organization formerly known as Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP), now known as Law Enforcement Action Partnership, along with the National Black Police Association, and Fair and Just Prosecution have signed onto a revolutionary letter to Congress urging the federal government to legalize marijuana and expunge all past convictions relating to marijuana. In addition to the three major groups signing on to the letter, dozens of current and former prosecutors, judges and police officers. Cook County State Attorney Kim Foxx and Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison (D) also signed on.

The letter went out last month and is addressed to Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.). It calls on House lawmakers to “swiftly bring” the bill, dubbed the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act, to the floor for a vote this month.

The group accurately portrays the problem created by the war on marijuana and how it degrades trust in police.

A significant driver of public distrust in law enforcement is our focus on low-level marijuana arrests. As the most visible part of the justice system, we police are already met with animosity every day. Our effectiveness and morale should not suffer unnecessarily. If marijuana had never been criminalized, many more Americans would greet us with warmth and cooperation rather than fear and malice. Without the trust of the people we serve, we lose a valuable crime-fighting resource. When community members refuse to talk to us, fail to present evidence or even to report crime, our jobs become much more difficult. Legalizing marijuana will help alleviate this tension and allow us to focus on our shared priorities: responding to emergencies and curbing serious crime.

The resources used to enforce marijuana law violations could be shifted and used to more effectively tackle serious and violent crimes. Americans were arrested for marijuana seven million times between 2001 and 2010, the vast majority of which were just for possession. Even as more states legalize marijuana, police made more than 663,000 marijuana arrests—92% of them for possession—last year alone. Meanwhile, homicide and sex crimes units struggle to get evidence examined in a timely manner. While that evidence sits in storage for years collecting dust, predators roam free to harm more innocent people. This misallocation of resources is disgraceful. By legalizing marijuana at the federal level, we will send a message to every police department in this country about our real priorities. Our allegiance lies with crime survivors and would-be victims, not with marijuana prohibition. By focusing on serious crime and creating safe neighborhoods—rather than arresting people for a drug most Americans think should be legal—we will be able to solve more crimes and earn back the trust of our communities.

This letter contains no new information. However, the fact that it is receiving coverage in the mainstream and is directed at Congress is encouraging. This conversation is long overdue and it needs to change now as the war on drugs fosters a violent and criminal society.

It should go further, however, and move to decriminalize all substances, not just marijuana.

As readers of TFTP know, America has the largest prison population in the world. It is estimated that victimless crime constitutes 86% of the federal prison population. That means the only reason that these individuals are incarcerated is because the state deemed their non-violent personal choices, “illegal.” The majority of that 86% is for illegal drugs only.

Most of the people who are thrown in prison are non-violent. However, when they are locked in cages with society’s worst and treated like cattle in a factory farm, they come out forever changed. America is breeding a torturous and violent environment, and they have the audacity to call this the “justice system.”

This system—whether or not the right wants to admit it—disproportionately targets minorities, fostering a violent and tyrannical environment. The research cited in the letter also points this fact out.

If you honestly believe that black lives matter, it is your duty to call for an end to the drug war. Ending the drug war would have profound effects on police interactions in black communities.

No longer would cops be able to launch fishing expeditions in an attempt to catch black people with a substance deemed illegal by the state. This would drastically reduce the amount of police interactions as a whole. What’s more, as the letter points out, it would decrease crime by eliminating the monopoly on drug sales held by organized criminal gangs. It would defund the gangs and remove much of the incentive to wage violence in their community.

To understand why this would have such a drastic effect, you have to realize that when the government makes certain substances illegal, it does not remove the demand. Instead, the state creates crime by pushing the sale and control of these substances into the illegal black markets—usually monopolized by gang members in poor communities. All the while, demand remains constant. Because this market is not regulated by free market principals, safety and child possession fall to the wayside. The authors of the letter understand this and point out how legalization would curb this problem.

Regulation reduces youth access and keeps adult consumers safe. Criminalizing marijuana has been a boon to the illegal market where there are no regulations, product testing, etc. Resourceful teenagers do not usually have trouble accessing marijuana when it is illegal. Underground sellers do not have to obtain age verification before making a sale and may sell
other far more dangerous substances. Legalizing marijuana shrinks the size of the market available to teens, which simultaneously reduces their exposure to criminal activity in general.

A profitable underground market supports the high demand for marijuana, much as it did during the prohibition of alcohol in the 1920s and ‘30s. Calling marijuana a “controlled” substance is illusory; where it is illegal, we have no control. We cannot ensure the purity of the product, require the use of childproof containers, or determine who can buy and sell it. Over time, marijuana legalization will drive out the underground market, just as alcohol bootleggers disappeared after repealing alcohol prohibition. Right now, the underground market still flourishes because marijuana is legal in some places and not others. The most impactful way to take marijuana profits away from criminal organizations and reduce youth access is to regulate marijuana similarly to how we regulate alcohol and cigarettes.

The illegality of drug possession and use is what keeps the low-level users and dealers in and out of the court systems, and most of these people are poor black men. Black people are more likely to receive a harsher punishment for the same drug crime as a white person.

This revolving door of creating and processing criminals fosters the phenomenon known as Recidivism which is the tendency of those who are processed into the system and the likelihood of future criminal behavior.

The War on Drugs takes good people and turns them into criminals every single minute of every single day. The system is set up in such a way that it fans the flames of violent crime by essentially building a factory that turns out violent criminals.

The system knows this too!

As stated by the law enforcement experts in their letter, when drugs are legalized, gang violence drops—drastically. Not only does it have a huge effect on the localized gangs in America, but the legalization of drugs is crippling to the violent foreign drug cartels too. 

Until Americans educate themselves on the causeof this violence, uninformed and corrupt lawmakers will continue to focus on controlling the symptoms.

We will see more senseless killings and more innocent lives stripped of opportunity by getting entangled in the system. We must end the drug war now.

Matt Agorist is an honorably discharged veteran of the USMC and former intelligence operator directly tasked by the NSA. This prior experience gives him unique insight into the world of government corruption and the American police state. Agorist has been an independent journalist for over a decade and has been featured on mainstream networks around the world. Agorist is also the Editor-at-Large at the Free Thought Project. Follow @MattAgorist on TwitterSteemit, and now on Minds. This article was originally featured at the Free Thought Project and is republished with permission.

A Protected Class: Police Union Issues ‘Get Out of Jail Free’ Cards to Civilians

A Protected Class: Police Union Issues ‘Get Out of Jail Free’ Cards to Civilians

Known as blue privilege, there is an unwritten law among police officers: when they catch their fellow cop, or even their fellow cop’s family member or friend breaking the law, they are let go without consequence. Situations that have led to the murder of minorities and poor people end far differently when its police and their families caught committing the same crimes. A recent report out of Vice shows that this corruption runs so deep that police unions actually issue courtesy cards to friends and family of cops that allow them to get out of minor infractions.

The cards are issued by the Police Benevolent Association, or other police unions and they are known as “courtesy cards.” They have the issuing officer’s name and signature on the back, along with a phone number for the ticketing or arresting officer to call to verify the relationship.

As Vice reports, the cards are designed to be presented in a low-stakes police encounter, like a traffic stop, as a laminated wink-and-nudge between officers that says, “Hey, would you mind going a little easy on this one?” When a cop is handed a PBA card, they can call the number on it to verify the relationship between the cardholder and the issuer, then decide whether it means they should give the cardholder a break.

Vice interviewed a man identified only as Mike, who told them he’s been a courtesy card carrier for decades. Mike told Vice of one police encounter in which he was driving a car that was not his, had no license plate, and was illegally driving on the shoulder through a police check point when he was stopped. Despite Richard breaking numerous laws in front of police, when they stopped him, he pulled out the card and he was sent on his way.

“That was probably the tightest spot I could’ve been in,” Mike said. “Because [the offense] could’ve been ‘driving without a plate,’ ‘driving with no registration…’”

The PBA isn’t even trying to keep it a secret. As Vice reports, New York City’s largest police union issues these courtesy cards—nicknamed “get out of jail free cards”—to its members on a yearly basis. Members can pass the cards out to whomever they choose to provide them with a little extra protection.

While cops don’t have to necessarily abide by the card and can use discretion either way, the fact that the cards exist highlight a glaring problem with police.

TFTP has reported on countless cases in which minuscule traffic infractions have led to brutal beatings, shootings, and killings of otherwise entirely innocent people.

One prominent example of this is Philando Castile—who was executed by police—despite breaking no law. On July 6, 2016, Minnesota police officer Jeronimo Yanez pulled over a 32-year-old African American male named Castile for a broken tail light. During the stop Castile informed Yanez he had a legal fire arm in his vehicle. The admission caused Yanez to issue a rapid sequence of conflicting orders resulting in Yanez “fearing for his life,” and subsequently killing Castile, despite the fact that he had committed no crime—other than the alleged vehicle infraction.

Yanez was cleared of all wrong doing in the execution of Castile. Had Castile been carrying a PBA card, he would likely be alive today. But we’re guessing these cards don’t make their way to the hands of too many poor and minority people.

This list of police killings for minor infractions goes on and on.

The odds weren’t in Walter L. Scott’s favor. Reportedly pulled over for a broken taillight, Scott—unarmed—ran away from the police officer, who pursued and shot him from behind, first with a Taser, then with a gun. Scott was struck five times, “three times in the back, once in the upper buttocks and once in the ear — with at least one bullet entering his heart.”

Samuel Dubose, also unarmed, was pulled over for a missing front license plate. He was reportedly shot in the head after a brief struggle in which his car began rolling forward.

Levar Jones was stopped for a seatbelt offense, just as he was getting out of his car to enter a convenience store. Directed to show his license, Jones leaned into his car to get his wallet, only to be shot four times by the “fearful” officer. Jones was also unarmed.

Bobby Canipe was pulled over for having an expired registration. When the 70-year-old reached into the back of his truck for his walking cane, the officer fired several shots at him, hitting him once in the abdomen.

Dontrell Stevens was stopped “for not bicycling properly.” The officer pursuing him “thought the way Stephens rode his bike was suspicious. He thought the way Stephens got off his bike was suspicious.” Four seconds later, sheriff’s deputy Adams Lin shot Stephens four times as he pulled out a black object from his waistband. The object was his cell phone. Stephens was unarmed.

Had any of the aforementioned individuals been given one of these PBA cards, they would likely be alive today.

The sad part about this is that the connected class’s preferential treatment through the issuance of these cards allows them a pass when they can actually pay the fines imposed on them through these traffic stops. The majority of traffic citations in most areas, however, go to poor people and minorities who often cannot afford to pay them. When they fail to pay their citations, arrest warrants are issued and these folks get processed into the system ensuring a lifetime of suffering.

The solution here isn’t to start ticketing more rich people, it’s to stop predatory policing all together and usher in a society where a police union get out of jail card is moot because cops stop extorting people for being unable to fix a broken tail light.

Matt Agorist is an honorably discharged veteran of the USMC and former intelligence operator directly tasked by the NSA. This prior experience gives him unique insight into the world of government corruption and the American police state. Agorist has been an independent journalist for over a decade and has been featured on mainstream networks around the world. Agorist is also the Editor-at-Large at the Free Thought Project. Follow @MattAgorist on TwitterSteemit, and now on Minds. This article was originally featured at the Free Thought Project and is republished with permission.

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