New reports from across the country show that police departments are unable to keep their numbers up as fewer people are applying to be cops and record numbers of cops are seeking early retirement or simply quitting. There is a police recruitment crisis in America but this should not surprise anyone and can serve as a major opportunity, if we seize it.
Though calls for police accountability have been becoming louder over the last few years, the movement sparked by the murder of George Floyd set off a powder keg which has led to historical reform from coast to coast. As a result of the push to be held accountable for their actions, cops are upset and are leaving the force in record numbers.
According to a report out of New York, more than 5,300 NYPD uniformed officers retired or put in their papers to leave in 2020—a 75 percent spike from the year before.
A whopping 2,600 cops quit the job while another 2,746 officers filed for an early retirement. These number make up approximately 15% of the entire NYPD. The trend is continuing into 2021 as well. As FOX reports, through April 21 of this year, 831 cops have retired or filed to leave—and many more are expected to follow suit in the current anti-cop climate, according to Joseph Giacalone, a retired NYPD sergeant and adjunct professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice.
“Cops are forming a conga line down at the pension section and I don’t blame them,” Giacalone said, according to FOX. “NYPD cops are looking for better jobs with other departments or even embarking on new careers.”
Naturally, police are playing the victim here and claiming the calls to hold them accountable amount to a war on cops and this is driving them out.
Police Benevolent Association President Pat Lynch told The Post, “The Mayor and City Council are absolutely trying to abolish the police. They’ve kept our pay absurdly low. They’ve ratcheted up our exposure to lawsuits. They’ve demonized us at every opportunity. And they’ve taken away the tools we need to do the job we all signed up for, which is to keep our communities safe.
“Now the NYPD is spending money on slick recruiting ads to replace the experienced cops who are leaving in droves. City Hall should just admit the truth: police abolition-through-attrition is their goal. They won’t stop until the job has become completely unbearable, and they’re getting closer to that goal with every passing day.”
The trend is not just in New York. In Albuquerque, officers are quitting too and making a spectacle as the do it. Earlier this month, during a police brutality protest, more than a dozen APD officers quit the Emergency Response Team (ERT) following a counterprotest, according to KOB 4.
“This comes down to a lack of trust,” said Shaun Willoughby, president of the Albuquerque Police Officers’ Association.
“They don’t feel supported here, and they don’t feel trust. They feel second guessed, and they don’t feel that they can do their job, no matter how perfect they do their job, without getting in trouble,” Willoughby added.
On the West Coast, the problem is the same. Seattle police officers are leaving the department in droves as well. Hundreds of officers in Seattle have quit the force since the end of last year, according to KIRO 7.
Exit interviews show many cops are retiring early while some are moving to other departments, apparently with less accountability.
While some Americans may see this decline as a negative situation, it is important to examine the possible reasons for it and understand that this isn’t necessarily a bad thing and can actually be beneficial.
The very essence of policing is being debated in many cities, often because of controversial video recordings of police officers’ actions like Derek Chauvin and others. Community trust has eroded, and the professionalism of the police is being questioned, as it should be.
This questioning is necessary. This scrutiny is deserved. And, this decline in police officers is a sign that things need to change.
There is no doubt that being a police officer can be a grueling, dangerous, and often times extremely unrewarding job. But much of this stress is due to a failed job description.
While many cops out there have saved lives and have been recognized for their heroism, others, who are ‘just doing their jobs’ have continued to drive a wedge between the police and the policed.
Enforcing laws for victimless crimes, extorting people over arbitrary traffic laws like seat belts and window tint, and kidnapping and caging people for marijuana does not make you a hero. It makes you a tool for the prison industrial complex and the police state.
When taking a quick scroll down Facebook posts, websites, and Twitter feeds on any number of subjects, it is easy to find negative comments about police officers. Despite police unions and police apologists claiming these negative comments and criticisms are coming from criminals and thugs, the reality is much different.
Of course murderers, rapists, and thieves hate cops but these are not the people openly criticizing police. This criticism comes from mothers and fathers who’ve watched their children get harassed constantly because of the neighborhoods they live in or the color of their skin.
This criticism comes from the millions of people who have a family member whose life has been ruined because police caught them with a plant. This criticism comes from the millions of other people who have to decide between paying their electricity bill or paying their $300 seat belt ticket.
Many police departments even take to social media to brag about enforcing these laws in which there is no victim. Why, exactly, these departments brag on Facebook about such a waste of taxpayer money and oppression of the poor is a mystery—but they do it—a lot.
The decline in the number of cops is a sign that things need to change. This sign can be taken as an opportunity for Americans to move forward and foster a more free society, or it can be squandered and covered in excuses by playing victim. The choice is ours.
On the day he was attacked by those he has been told are their for his protection, high school sophomore, Carlos Rodriguez had committed no crime, was not suspected of committing a crime, and was simply being a kid. However, his innocent, compliance with officer orders, and his young age were no defense against the brutal and despicable actions of Harris County sheriff’s deputy Bert Dillow.
The incident originally took place on March 26 and despite video evidence capturing the unprovoked assault on a child, Dillow remained a deputy for over a month and was only just fired last week. He has yet to face any charges.
Video of the incident was published by the immigrant civil rights group FIEL last week, who issued the following statement:
We are deeply troubled by the events we have witnessed on the chilling video. And there are more questions than answers after seeing the video. What led to the sheriff acting so violently? Why was Carlos targeted to begin with? And why is this officer still in law enforcement, when we have seen that he has been involved in other ‘incidents’ with people of color. We want answers for our community and the Rodriguez Family who after this violent encounter have been left fearing for their son. No young child should be treated and intimidated in this manner. We are tired of seeing incidents like this and we must do everything in our power to make sure that these events don’t happen to anyone else. Our community deserves answers, our families deserve answers, and most importantly Carlos deserves answers.
As the video shows, Rodriguez is sitting on an ATV at a gas pump when Dillow walks out of the gas station with a coffee in his hand. For some reason, Dillow targets the teen and begins verbally berating him and demanding his identification.
Rodriguez fully complies and gives the officer his ID but this wasn’t enough. Dillow begins manhandling the skinny teenager, who was half his size, and when Rodriguez steps away to avoid being hurt by the officer, all hell breaks loose.
“Don’t run from me, boy. I’ll beat your f**king a** right here,” Dillow says as he grabs Rodriguez by the shirt. “Turn around and put your hands behind your back before I beat the s**t out of you.”
“Don’t be f**king stupid,” Dillow yells as he cocks back his arm and delivers a haymaker punch to the child’s face, sending Rodriguez crashing to the ground and fulfilling his promise to “beat the sh*t out” of the teenager.
The massive cop then positions his 300 pound body on top of the teen in an effort to dish out several more punches to his head.
“All I was gonna do is talk to you, but now you’re f**ked,” Dillow said.
After the violent and unnecessary arrest, Dillow was originally placed on desk duty and for nearly 5 weeks the department “investigated” his actions. Amazingly enough, his firing didn’t come until after the video was released publicly.
In a statement over the weekend, the sheriff’s office announced their decision:
Deputy Bert Dillow was terminated on April 28 following an Internal Affairs Division investigation into a video posted on social media that showed a use-of-force incident involving a juvenile male. The investigation began March 29 and Deputy Dillow was placed on administrative duty on April 1.
The Sheriff’s Office Administrative Discipline Committee reviewed the investigation’s findings and determined policies regarding the following activities were violated: Conduct Prohibited, De-Escalation and Response to Resistance (Use of Force), and Reports.
Dillow can, and likely will, appeal his termination as per the Sheriff’s Civil Service procedures.
As you watch the video below, imagine for a moment that the person attacking an innocent child was anyone but a cop. Had an angry civilian walked up to a child at the gas station and began beating the hell out of him, that person would be sitting in jail. But because Dillow—who has a history of excessive force—had police officer status, he has yet to be charged with a crime.
The Cedar Rapids police department was slapped with a lawsuit this week by the mother of a 13-year-old boy who was mauled by a police K-9 as he slept in the backyard. According to the lawsuit, the boy was wrongly accused of being involved in a car theft when he was attacked by the K-9 and arrested “simply by virtue of his race and appearance.”
The attack unfolded on August 12, 2020 and was captured on police body camera. The boy’s mother, Tonya Marie Adams filed an open records request in November to get the video and it was released this week.
According to the Cedar Rapids Gazette, the lawsuit asserts excessive force was used by officers involved in the arrest, as well as K-9 officer Nathan Trimble and his canine partner; that there was negligence in police canine training, and racial discrimination that amounted to reckless disregard for the rights and safety of others, including 13-year-old A.H., as he is identified in the suit.
According to police, they were pursuing a suspect in a stolen vehicle investigation who may have been armed. The suspect was eventually captured, however, as they searched for him, officers came upon the boy.
Brad Kaspar, an attorney for Adams, explained how the boy was set to sleep at a friend’s house that night but due to a mix-up in communication the friend wasn’t home, so he fell asleep waiting for him in the back yard.
While sleeping in the backyard, the boy was shaken out of his slumber by the teeth of a police K-9 named Ace, handled by officer Nathan Trimble. The dog latched onto the boy’s arm and began shredding his flesh.
Not knowing what was going on, the boy freaked out and began screaming. Despite police clearly seeing that the boy was unarmed and posed no threat, the dog was not immediately pulled from his arm. Instead, it continued to tear into his shoulder and upper arm.
“I moved up my leash to gain positive control of Ace’s harness,” Trimble said in the report. “With the footing it was extremely difficult to maintain balance on as the logs were all around and I fell down several times. I did verify that the subject had nothing in his hands. I grabbed ahold of Ace’s collar and removed him.”
According to the lawsuit, the boy was then told he was under arrest for car theft and firearms charges after the officers falsely accused him of taking part in the burglary.
The boy’s injuries were so bad that he wasn’t immediately brought to jail. Instead, he was brought to the hospital and as doctor’s worked on his arm, police finally realized he was innocent and had nothing to do with the alleged car theft. He was then released to his mother without charges.
According to the Gazette, the lawsuit states the police dog handled by Trimble has in at least one previous incident attacked a citizen “without provocation or command.” In this case, Trimble failed to adequately control the police dog as it “sporadically darted throughout the neighborhood,” the suit asserts.
The lawsuit states the boy was treated by the police in this manner, assumed guilty, and mauled by the police dog because of his race and appearance. According to the lawsuit, police didn’t look for any evidence at all before allowing the dog to maul the boy, detaining and arresting him.
The family is seeking an unspecified amount for physical and emotional injuries and damages inflicted on the boy by the Cedar Rapids police department and their K-9.
Once again, the police apologists—who constantly parrot the line of ‘don’t do anything wrong and you have nothing to worry about’—are proven wrong. This is no isolated incident either. Just last month, TFTP reported on the case of Joel Domingo Alejo, who, like the boy in the incident above, was asleep on his own property when police forced their K-9 to maul him. Predictably, none of the officers were held accountable.
On Tuesday former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin found guilty of unintentional second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.
Chauvin was seen on video kneeling on the neck of George Floyd — who was handcuffed and not resisting — for over 8 minutes, until he died. Had video of the incident not existed, the chances of Chauvin even being charged would have been non-existent. Even with the video, Chauvin’s case is extremely rare as cops who kill are almost never held accountable.
Finding a police officer facing a murder charge for an on-duty shooting is like finding a unicorn in your front yard. As TFTP has reported, despite horrifying police killings, many of which were captured on video and rocked the nation, the arrest rate for cops who kill people on-duty remains as low as ever. According to reports, since 2005, just 126 police officers have been arrested for murder or manslaughter in relation to an on-duty killing.
Of those 126, just 44 have been convicted, with 31 of their cases still pending, and just eight cops total, including Chauvin, have been convicted of murder. The other 37 cops were convicted on charges ranging from manslaughter to official misconduct, with many of them receiving no jail time.
Chauvin’s case proves, however, that it is indeed possible to charge cops who unnecessarily kill people. If he can be convicted of murder, others should be as well. The Free Thought Project has composed a list of killer cops whose crimes were just as, or more horrific as Chauvin’s but who were never charged.
Mesa Police Officer Philip Brailsford
On Jan. 18, 2016, Mesa Police Officer Philip Brailsford murdered Daniel Shaver on video. Shaver — a father of two — was unarmed, crawling on his knees, innocent, and begging for his life when the cold-blooded killer opened fire on him in a hotel hallway.
Unlike Chauvin, Brailsford will not see the inside of a jail and though he was fired after killing Shaver, three years later he was hired back. After he was rehired, he then immediately retired from law enforcement winning the equivalent of a lottery jackpot in retirement earnings.
Wichita Police Officer Justin Rapp
In December of 2017, police responded to a prank call, also known as a “swatting,” at the home of Andrew Finch. This prank call was made by a man named Tyler Barriss who did not know Finch but who led the police to his home anyway. When the entirely innocent and unarmed father answered the door during the raid, Officer Justin Rapp was recorded on video killing him in cold blood.
After the coverage died down in the press, and as TFTP accurately predicted in January 2018, the Wichita District Attorney quietly announced that there will be no charges.After letting the cop who did the actual shooting off with no charges, the person who made the phone call, Tyler Barriss, was sentenced to 20 years.
Aurora Officers Nathan Woodyard, Jason Rosenblatt and Randy Roedema
As TFTP reported at the time, Elijah McClain was killed by 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, McClain had never gotten so much as a speeding ticket in his life. Moments after police approached McClain claiming that he fit the description of a suspect. They claim that he resisted arrest and needed to be subdued. McClain had committed no crime when police initiated force against him. He was merely walking home from the store after purchasing some tea. At the time, police claimed body camera footage showed McClain reaching for a gun, but this was later proven to be false.
“He is laying on the ground vomiting, he is begging, he is saying, ‘I can’t breathe.’ One of the officers says, ‘Don’t move again. If you move again, I’m calling in a dog to bite you,’” said Mari Newman, the McClain’s lawyer, completely dismantling the official story.
Officers Nathan Woodyard and Randy Roedema and former officer Jason Rosenblatt were never prosecuted for McClains’s death.
Midlothian Police Officer Ian Covey
Early on a Sunday morning back in November 2018, a tragedy took place in Illinois after a hero security guard stopped what was quickly becoming a deadly mass shooting. Instead of being honored for his heroism, he would be shot by police moments later. Jemel Roberson, 26, was working security at Manny’s Blue Room when his heroism got him killed. In October 2020, two years after the Roberson’s tragedy fell out of the news cycle, police announced that the cop who killed him, Midlothian Police Officer Ian Covey will not face charges.
The incident began after multiple individuals were asked to leave the bar for being unruly. Witnesses say all the men left and then returned and one came back in with a gun opening fire into the bar. As everyone else ran for cover, Roberson according to witnesses, engaged the shooter with his own gun.
Roberson then apprehended one of the men involved in the shooting and held him at gunpoint as the police showed up. Four people had been shot, but thanks to Roberson, no one else was hit, and those four people were transported to a local hospital and treated for their injuries. Sadly, Roberson would not be so lucky and when officer Covey arrived, he immediately kill this hero.
Deputies John Aguillon, George Herrera, Jesse Arias and Johnny Longoria
In December 2017, the Free Thought Project reported on the tragic death of 6-year-old Kameron Prescott whose life was stolen from him when police opened fire on an unarmed woman suspected of stealing a car. In June of 2018, the family of the little boy who was gunned down by police found out that the cops who killed their son all went back to work. Then, in March of 2019, the family found out that none of the officers responsible for the death of her son would face charges.
At the time, the incident received widespread coverage as the mainstream media reported that Kameron was hit with a “stray bullet.” However, this bullet was anything but “stray.” The shot that killed young Kameron was deliberately fired at an unarmed woman. In fact, he was hit twice.
The officers’ guns did not accidentally go off. Deputies John Aguillon, George Herrera, Jesse Arias and Johnny Longoria all deliberately shot at an unarmed woman, and their fear, poor judgment, and carelessness led to the death of an innocent child.
Video released last year shows a DPS helicopter informing the deputies below that Jones was unarmed but they opened fire anyway, killing her and Kameron in the melee.
While it is certainly a welcome gesture to see that Derek Chauvin has received justice, as the above cases, and the thousands of other similar cases prove, he was the exception to the rule. Until more cops are held accountable for killing unarmed and often innocent people, we can expect more bloodshed.
Unless you never turn on the television or go on the internet, then you likely know American police kill hundreds of people every year with impunity. 1,127 — that is the number of lives brought to an end by “peace officers” in the land of the free in 2020. One-thousand, one-hundred, and twenty seven lives taken by the bullets, tasers, vehicles, fists, and knees of American cops.
If the governments of other countries were killing their citizens in such large numbers, the United Nations would have declared it a humanitarian crisis. But in the land of the free, it’s policy. Of the 1,127 deaths carried out at the hands of US cops, just 16 officers were charged in 2020.
According to a recent analysis of police killings in 2021, carried out by the folks at PoliceViolenceReport.org, the majority of police killings involve calls in which there was no crime or that the suspect is only suspected of a non-violent offense.
“Most killings began with police responding to suspected non-violent offenses or cases where no crime was reported,” the report states.
It gets worse.
Of the 1,127 people killed by police in 2020, only 277 of them were suspected of a violent offense. The majority, 658 were suspected of a non-violent offense or no crime at all, while another 121 were killed over a traffic violation.
These shocking numbers highlight a major problem when it comes to how police are policing. For starters, police have proven their incompetence in dealing with mental health issues. Since 2015 alone, police in America have killed over 1,400 people during a mental health crisis. Many of these folks were never accused of a crime prior to police arriving on the scene.
This inability to resolve mental health issues without using deadly force is the impetus behind programs like the Support Team Assistance Response (STAR) program in Denver.
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.
This is why some municipalities have begun removing cops from the situation entirely.
On June 1, 2020, 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. When we first reported on the program in October 2020, their results were fantastic. Now, it seems that departments who continue the old way are doing a disservice to the mentally ill.
According to their latest data, STAR has responded to more than 2,500 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 and no one was ever arrested.
They have settled every single call without killing someone, beating them, ruining their lives, or using violence. Imagine that.
Another type of encounter which turns deadly all too often is the traffic stop.
While most everyone in America commits these same traffic infractions designed for revenue collection instead of safety, most of the people targeted by police for these crimes are the poor and minorities. Often times, officers treat these stops as gateways to fish for drug activity or other victimless crimes. While ending the drug war would have a much more profound effect, some municipalities have kicked around the idea of removing traffic stops from the mission of police officers.
Traffic stops in the land of the free, are a means of bolstering the prison industrial complex by extracting revenue from those who can pay and incarcerating others who cannot.
For those too poor to pay their tickets, routine traffic stops end up in repeated imprisonment due to mounting fines. Cities across the country are running a de facto debtors’ prison this way.
When cops aren’t routinely extorting and locking people up for petty traffic offenses, they are killing them.
Walter Scott was 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.”
The list of folks killed over traffic stops is as long as it is infuriating.
This is why the City of Berkeley, California has proposed ending police traffic enforcement. The effects of such a radical shift in policing could be massive.
Though it is a step in the right direction, because government relies on revenue generated from traffic stops to fund itself, this proposal stops short of actually ending the practice of extorting citizens.
Instead, according to the report, Berkeley’s City Council will vote on a proposal to create a Department of Transportation and use employees in that department to make traffic stops instead of Berkeley Police officers.
If the effects of this move are anything close to the STAR program, we could be well on our way to revamping the role cops play in the United States. And, the thousands of dead bodies over the last several years, is evidence enough that it is high time this happens.
Since Saturday night, Derek Brown and Julie-Barecki Brown have been morning the loss of their 18-week-old puppy named Apollo. Apollo didn’t die from being hit by a car or from medical complications, however, his life was taken from him by a member of New Orleans’ finest.
The couple told 4WWL they had gotten in a verbal argument the night a New Orleans police officer entered their yard and killed their puppy.
“Married couples do that,” Derek Brown said of the argument, adding that it shouldn’t have warranted a police response,” We weren’t drawing guns.”
Julie told the outlet she heard her gate open and just seconds later, she heard three gunshots. The couple’s puppy would be killed instantly.
“I ran out here, and the puppy was right there, writhing,” Brown said. “I feel responsible. It’s my job to protect that little guy.”
Two months before he was killed by police, the couple adopted their puppy from Marcus Gandy who fosters dogs who need a home.
“I have his brother here with me. They’re both small enough to carry under your arm,” Gandy said.
“Apollo and his mother arrived the day after the rest of the litter at the Trampled Rose Rescue & Rehab on the Northshore,” the program’s founder Holly Williams said.
“We actually took his mother and her 9 puppies into our rescue the day after they were born, Mama dog was so skinny you couldn’t tell she was pregnant,” Williams said. “Then popped out 9 incredibly tiny babies. Miraculously and thanks to the expert care of our vet, all of the puppies survived.”
“He was not at all a threat,” a friend of the couple, Jennifer Lee said. “He couldn’t even bark.”
“He’s the kind of dog that if he jumped on you, you wouldn’t even feel it,” Gandy said. “They killed a puppy.”
According to the couple, they had two dogs in the backyard and Apollo was the smallest as he was just a puppy. Their other dog weighs 65 pounds but apparently the officer felt more threatened by the harmless 18-week old puppy.
After police killed their puppy, they stayed at the couple’s home for four hours. Though police didn’t identify the officer who shot Apollo, Derek says it was easy to pick him out.
“It was obvious who the cop was that shot him because he was pretty distraught,” said Derek Brown, his voice breaking. “All he said was, ‘I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry.’”
Eventually, police left and took Apollo’s remains with them to conduct an investigation into the shooting. The couple has asked to get his ashes back when the investigation is complete.
“I know cops don’t have an easy job, they’re walking into crazy stuff all the time,” Derek Brown said. “But it sucks being on the receiving end of it.”
Indeed it does.
As TFTP has reported, while civilians are attempting to document the number of people killed by police officers per year (which tops around 1,200 annually), there’s no official number of family pets killed per year and it’s assumed that the number may be astronomical. After all, just as the Evangeline Parish officer claimed, the police only have to claim they were in fear and they can be legally justified in killing a family pet, regardless if the animal is being aggressive or not.
Rarely if ever do families sue, and even rarer still do they win in court when they try to receive compensation for emotional or actual damages when police kill family pets. Complicating matters for dog owners, as TFTP has reported, courts in the United States have sided with law enforcement on the issue of law enforcement’s right to kill animals in the line of duty.
In the land of the free, police can come onto your private property, gun your tiny dog down in broad daylight, and this is called ‘standard procedure.’ Well, it’s a damn good thing that postal workers, delivery truck drivers, pizza delivery drivers—and all the other jobs that require people to go to someone’s home and not kill their dog—don’t claim the same rights as cops, or family pets would probably be extinct.
For decades, Maryland and dozens of other states across the union have upheld a special set of rights for cops which citizens do not get to enjoy. It was called the police bill of rights and it shielded cops from accountability by blocking civilian inquiries into misconduct on the force and erasing records of complaints filed against officers after a period of time. But this special privilege and above the law status is no longer.
According to the Maryland Coalition for Justice and Police Accountability, the special rights enjoyed by police in the state are vast. They include:
Generous protections during the investigation of misconduct
Limits on what discipline can be imposed for certain infractions
Strict time limits on alleging a complaint, including for police brutality.
Allowing only other law enforcement officers to investigate misconduct
Allowing a delay before questioning an officer about misconduct
Expungement of disciplinary records
“As a result, only a very small percentage of complaints actually result in discipline. At the very least, we must know that law enforcement agencies are taking police discipline seriously, and not protecting officers who engage in misconduct,” the group wrote in a statement.
A battle to remove this blue privilege in Maryland has been brutal and came to a head on Friday when Governor Larry Hogan vetoed legislation that was set to end the police bill of rights. The governor vetoed three of the five bills in the police accountability package, claiming the legislation would be devastating to police recruitment and public confidence.
“These bills would undermine the goal that I believe we share of building transparent, accountable, and effective law enforcement institutions and instead further erode police morale, community relationships, and public confidence,” Hogan said in a statement. “They will result in great damage to police recruitment and retention, posing significant risks to public safety throughout our state.”
If people quit being cops because they will actually have to be held accountable for violating a citizen’s rights, this is a good thing, However, police state proponents like Hogan keep screaming it from the rooftops as a reason not to follow through with police reform measures.
Because they held no water, Hogan’s vetoes fell on the battleground Saturday when the state legislature voted to override all three vetoes and Maryland became the first state in the country to end the police bill of rights.
On top of holding officers accountable for their actions, the legislation also revamps the process for no-knock warrants forcing officers to apply for approval by a supervisor and the State’s Attorney and between 8 a.m. and 7 p.m., outside of “exigent circumstances.”
Police officers are now also required to use force only if it is “necessary and proportional” to the situation. The new legislation states that such force can only be used to halt “an imminent threat of physical injury” or to “effectuate a legitimate law enforcement objective.” If an officer has been found to use excessive force, they can now be subject to a criminal penalty. The training and use-of-force limits begin in July of next year, while body cameras will be statewide by July 2025, according to a report from the Intelligencer.
The new legislation also opens up the police disciplinary process to civilians by establishing local administrative charging committees which will recommend what sort of internal discipline a cop should face.
Previously, officers’ discipline records have been shielded from public scrutiny as well but thanks to this new legislation, bad cops can no longer hide their records from the citizens they serve.
“Maryland is leading the country in transforming our broken policing system,” Maryland House of Delegates Speaker Adrienne Jones wrote in a tweet Saturday. “Now, for the first time in our nation’s history, the rights of officers will not be held above the rights of individuals, and policing in Maryland will be transparent and citizen-centered.”
Hopefully, this legislation leads to real change and states across the country stop treating cops like a protected class that can lay waste to rights with impunity.
A tragedy unfolded in 2019 in Houston, Texas when a Baytown police officer approached a woman, 44-year-old Pamela Turner, and killed her. Turner’s last words before she was shot five times by the officer were “I’m pregnant.” Now, nearly two years later, the family has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the city and the officer in federal court.
Today, April 8, would have been Turner’s 46th birthday. Turner’s mother, Tamika Palmer has asked everyone to share the video of her daughter’s death so that justice may be served.
Turner’s death was so egregious, Baytown officer Juan Delacruz was indicted last year on charges of aggravated assault. The officer’s attorney maintains his client acted in self-defense after fearing for his life. But when we see the video and the facts of the case, this claim becomes laughable.
At the time of her death, Turner was reportedly struggling with mental illness, however, her neighbors and family said she was peaceful and kept to herself, which is why the video of the incident had family members claiming that this shooting was unjustified. More than a year later, the justice system finally agreed and began to hold Delacruz for his alleged crimes.
“We have faith and trust in our judicial system, and as we wait for this case to proceed through the legal process, we ask that our community continue to be patient and have trust and faith in those processes,” the police department said after the indictment. “We also ask that our community continue to have faith and trust in the Baytown Police Department and the dedicated, professional men and women who are committed to serving all members of our community with integrity, compassion and professionalism.”
While the case moves forward, Delacruz remains gainfully employed with the Baytown police department and has been placed on non-enforcement status. Non-enforcement status means Delacruz is not working the streets and his police powers have been suspended but he still gets paid.
According to police, the officer approached Turner because she allegedly had outstanding warrants, later reported to be for petty misdemeanor accusations.
“Baytown Police Lt. Steve Dorris said an officer on patrol saw a 45-year-old woman the officer had had prior encounters with,” CBS News reported at the time. “He knew the woman had outstanding warrants, so he approached her to arrest her.”
Her family says that Turner was on medication for schizophrenia and had a history of mental illness.
Despite the officer claiming he had a “history” with Turner, he clearly didn’t attempt to de-escalate the situation when she tried to walk away from him. Furthermore, he used dangerous escalation tactics on a person suffering from schizophrenia—which is always a terrible idea.
“I’m walking. I’m actually walking to my house,” Turner is heard saying on the video before the officer began to physically accost her. “Ow!” she screams as he grabs her neck.
“You’re actually harassing me,” Turner says as the officer pulls out his taser.
According to police, when Turner tried to walk away—otherwise known as “resisting” to them—the officer pulled out his taser and shocked her.
Clearly this did nothing to help resolve the situation and only made Turner enter into an excited and panicked state, so she tried to defend herself from her attacker by grabbing at the taser. When she was able to remove the taser from the officer’s hand, he pulled his gun and shot her five times.
“During the course of the attempted arrest, the female began struggling with the officer, which forced the officer to deploy his Taser,” Baytown Police Department Lt. Steve Dorris said. “That deployment was not effective, and the female was able to get the officer’s Taser away from him. (She) actually tased the officer, which forced the officer to draw his duty weapon and fire multiple rounds at the suspect.”
But documents obtained by Houston Public Media from the city of Baytown via an open records request show that the Taser model Delacruz used was an X26P — a model that is incapable of shooting a second set of darts.
“He absolutely knew that Taser could not be fired again without her changing the cartridge,” Turner’s family’s attorney, Ben Crump, told Houston Public Media. “And he did not have to use deadly force while she was laying on her back.”
The last words to leave her mouth before the cop opened fire were, “I’m pregnant.”
It would later be revealed that Turner was not pregnant. However, Turner’s sister, Antoinette, told KPRC that the woman had two children in their 20s and three grandchildren.
While police claim Turner tasered the officer, this is not clear in the video. Also, police noted that the officer was not injured. Sadly, we cannot say the same about Turner.
Witnesses told KPRC that Turner was “not a bad person” and she would “just walk around, smoke her cigarettes and walk her dogs.”
This is what she was doing when the officer approached her and ended her life.
“Antoinette also said the officer was Turner’s neighbor and she had previously complained about the officer harassing her,” KPRC wrote.
After the video was posted to the internet, Lt. Dorris told the media that it was unfortunate that someone filmed the incident and uploaded it to social media.
“It’s extremely disrespectful for everybody involved,” Dorris told CBS News. “But that’s the day and age we live in with social media.”
However, the family disagrees as it shows that the shooting was likely unnecessary and will serve as evidence in a case against the killer cop. Indeed, without the video below, Delacruz may have never been indicted.
#PamelaTurner’s death is terrifyingly similar to the many cases we’ve seen before. Ofc. Juan Delacruz shot her FIVE times while on the ground because he “feared for his life.” 4/8 would be Pamela’s 46th birthday… Share this video so EVERYONE can see how the police killed Pam! pic.twitter.com/zfFqo9NFVI
As TFTP has consistently reported, police officers in the United States have an exceedingly higher rate of domestic violence than any other occupation. The average rate of domestic violence among most families in America is around 10%. As the National Center for Women and Policing points out, two studies have found that at least 40% of police officer families experience domestic violence. That is a four-fold increase. This number is likely far higher due to the fact that much of this abuse goes unreported and is covered up. One case out of Holden, Missouri won’t be covered up, however, because a woman and wife of the town’s police chief, has the hammer marks in her head to prove the actions of her violent husband.
Holden Police Chief Trent Neal was arrested last week after police were called out to his residence over his attack on his wife with a hammer. According to police, Neal is suspected hitting his wife in the head with a framing hammer while the pair were in their garage, rendering the woman unconscious.
After knocking his wife unconscious with hammer blows to the head, Neal left her there for dead. Luckily, his wife did not die and when she came to, Neal was gone. His wife then called a friend, who in-turn called police to report the abuse.
According to court documents obtained by FOX 4, Neal’s wife said before he hit her with the hammer, he grabbed her by the neck and smashed her head into the wall. She told authorities she tried to hide behind a wooden table in the garage, and that’s when Neal allegedly grabbed the hammer.
“The primary aggressor (Neal) was arrested and transported to Johnson County jail,” MSHP Sgt. Bill Lowe said.
According to police, when they asked Neal how his wife received the grotesque injuries to her face from the hammer and the wall, Neal told investigators he “had no idea.” He then claimed that when the couple got home, they put their child to sleep and went to bed. Investigators immediately pointed out the discrepancies in Neal’s story, however.
“We’re realizing that this is a serious crime, a serious offense,” Lowe said, “and we’re doing what we can to make sure that we help the victim.”
But judging on the history of abuse, as described by the victim, “help” was the last thing she’s ever received from the department.
In court documents obtained by FOX 4, the woman said Neal “has a history of abusing her.” She said he’s “assaulted her multiple times each month over the past two years.” Neal’s wife went on to say he’s always threatening to take their child, telling her he’s a police chief.
She told investigators she feared losing her child and worried Neal “will harm her or kill her if she seeks help,” according to court documents.
Sadly, as TFTP reports on a regular basis, this is a situation countless spouses find themselves in from coast to coast. As we reported last week, in an investigation by the Boston Globe found that in most instances of domestic violence, the officers face no discipline much less criminal charges.
According to the report, “of the dozens of State Police andBoston police officers who have been investigated over the past decade for domestic-abuse-related offenses, more than half have gone entirely undisciplined, records show — while some have remained on the job despite multiple allegations against them.”
But it gets worse, even when female cops complain that their husband cops beat them, this was ignored as well.
The Globe’s investigators contacted Lou Reiter, a policing consultant and former deputy police chief with the Los Angeles Police Department, who confirmed this problem is rife from coast to coast.
“Most departments,” explained Reiter, “want to just shut their eyes and cover their ears.”
If, in the extremely rare chance this cop is convicted of beating his wife with a hammer, he faces a maximum sentence of four years behind bars. Had the victim attacked a police officer in the same manner with a hammer, she’d be facing 10 to 30 years. And we still call this a “justice” system.
Despite police and their apologists constantly reminding us that “if we do nothing wrong, we have nothing to worry about,” innocent people continue to be arrested, beaten, and even killed by police carrying out deadly mistakes. Willard J. King, a Great-Grandfather from Sequatchie County, Tennessee found this out the hard way when he was beaten bloody by police in his own home during a wrongful raid, according to a lawsuit.
King filed a lawsuit this month for the incident which unfolded in October of 2019 when police raided his home and attacked him in front of his granddaughter and her baby daughter.
According to police, the raid was conducted as police looked for a missing person, Matthew Henry. Authorities from several state and federal agencies, looking for the answer to Henry’s whereabouts, raided King’s home on October 3, 2019. Despite leaving behind a path of destruction and literal blood, authorities found nothing.
“I thought we were getting attacked by terrorists. I thought the United States was being attacked by terrorists,” said Willard’s granddaughter Shelby Grindstaff.
Grindstaff and her 4-month-old baby had to flee the home as tear gas and pepper spray filled the air. King says as police rushed in, they attacked him with a shield for no reason.
According to the lawsuit, defendants Marion County officers Brian Davis, Justin Graham and Andrew Voss, attacked King, beat him bloody and then “dragged his bloodied body by his feet outside of the residence.”
“That’s where I laid and bled till they handcuffed me then they drug me out here and onto the porch and you can still see blood out here that ain’t got cleaned up yet,” King told News 9 at the time.
Naturally, police claim this great-grandfather with a house full of family, attempted to attack the heavily armed militarized cops with shields, tasers, tear gas, and rifles, so they acted in self-defense.
“[W]e do not believe the allegations of the plaintiff in this case have merit regarding any wrongdoing on the part of our deputy or on the part of the county,” R. Dee Hobbs, the attorney for Hamilton County, said.
After the raid, King was arrested, only to be released without charges after the warrant was carried out. When local media attempted to get a copy of that warrant, they were told it was sealed by a judge. The body camera footage and arrest affidavit have also been withheld, per the request of District Attorney Mike Taylor. reports the Chattanooga Times Free Press.
King’s attorney Roger Dereck Layne, maintains King was “unlawfully seized and detained against his will” while officers were “executing a broadly granted search warrant that did not define any area or residence” to be searched.
According to the lawsuit, officers “recklessly used excessive force in order to cause [King] injury” despite the fact he “was not acting with harm” toward officers or anyone else.
The conduct of the participating officers “was unjustified, unreasonable and grossly disproportionate to the actions of [King], if any, and was deliberately indifferent to the substantive due process liberty interests” of King, violating his Fourth Amendment and Fourteenth Amendment rights.
According to the lawsuit, the raid caused King to “sustain severe, permanent injury, and emotional distress.” He is now seeking $1 million in compensatory damages and $2 million in punitive damages, along with unspecified damages for medical and legal expenses, loss of future earnings, enjoyment of life and pain and suffering.
Despite raiding the home of a great-grandpa and permanently injuring him in the process, police have yet to locate Matthew Henry, who has been missing since April of 2018.
Despite much of their training consisting of shooting their weapons, police officers often shoot and even kill innocent bystanders while trying to kill something else. This happens so often that even their fellow officers aren’t safe from the crossfire. Illustrating this point is the fact that a Harrisonburg officer is currently hospitalized after his fellow officer shot him—while trying to kill a cow.
The incident unfolded on Saturday night when officers responded to reports of a cow that had escaped a livestock auction site. According to police, the cow actually struck an officer and then they killed it. Officers with the Harrisonburg Police Department responded to the complaint just before 10:30 p.m.
A press release from the department said the cow was reported running “at-large” in the northern end of the city. The release stated local ranchers attempted to capture the cow but failed and injured it in the process, so officers were forced to intervene.
According to the Daily News-Record, HPD Lt. Pete Ritchie said the incident is under investigation by the Professional Standards Unit and the Major Crimes Unit, which is standard when an officer discharges a firearm.
Ritchie said the HPD officer was struck once. He could not say how many shots were fired and if the officer was injured due to friendly fire, but he said the incident did take place after HPD officers took over the situation involving the cow.
Despite reports from officers that the cow charged them, Ritchie would not say whether or not the officer shot in response to the charging cow.
Police haven’t released many other details in regard to the shooting but noted that other details would be released upon completion of the investigation.
In their press release, authorities are asked that anyone who witnessed the shooting or has other information to contact HPD’s Major Crimes Unit at (540) 437-2640. To remain anonymous contact Crime Solvers at (540) 574- 5050 or text “HPD” plus their tip to CRIMES (274637).
As we reported earlier last year, and as this case illustrates, even their fellow officers aren’t safe from cops attempting to kill animals. Though the above example involves a cow, most of the time, the animals who find themselves in the gunsights of police are man’s best friend.
Officer Lane Butler fought for her life in 2019 in an Indiana hospital because one of her fellow officers pulled his gun on a dog and shot her instead.
According to police, officers were responding to a complaint of criminal mischief on a Tuesday morning in January when the shooting happened. Police were at a woman’s apartment to see if a person wanted on a warrant was inside. Police noted that the woman was cooperative and let officers search her home.
Before the officers entered the home, the woman warned them that her large dog was inside and in a cage. Butler and two other officers, LaFrene Butler and Aaron Wright, then entered the home and began searching it. As they searched the home, however, the dog reportedly escaped from the cage and the officers then fled the residence.
As the officers fled, Wright pulled out his pistol in a futile attempt to defend himself from the dog. Instead of shooting the dog, however, the officer shot Butler in the back as they walked out the door. Butler was wearing a bulletproof vest, but the round went in just above the protected area in her upper back.
After he negligently shot his fellow cop in the back, the department announced that Wright will face no discipline.
While Butler survived this shooting, others haven’t been so lucky.
Take for example the tragic case of Maggie Brooks. As TFTP reported at the time, the shooting happened at approximately 5:15 p.m. on August 1, 2019. Police were in the area to conduct a welfare check on a sleeping woman who was reportedly passed out in a grassy area near Canton Drive and North Collins Street. That woman was Brooks. Instead of receiving help, however, the cop feared for his life over her dog, and Brooks received a fatal bullet.
“It’s a puppy. This is a grown man afraid of a puppy. Who is the paid professional in this encounter? Every child, every mailman, every runner, jogger, bicyclist has dealt with a dog running at them and no one ends up dead. Why do you go to deadly force immediately?” Brooks’ father, Troy Brooks, said.
Last year, a Texas grand jury indicted the police officer after he was seen on video trying to kill a dog and killing an innocent woman instead.
The trial for three St. Louis cops who beat one of their own officers during an undercover operation begins this week, hoping to bring justice to several badge-toting thugs.
The three officers in question—Dustin Boone, Steven Korte, and Christopher Myers—were part of what was called a “civil disobedience team” to crack down on violence at protests. Their tactics, however, involved beating up innocent protesters for filming them and this was found out after they beat a fellow cop, Luther Hall, who was undercover as a protester.
In December 2011, St. Louis Police Officer Jason Stockley violated department policy when he grabbed his personal AK-47, premeditated, and then murdered Anthony Lamar Smith. The planning of the murder and the actual murder were captured on the officer’s dashcam. In spite of the overwhelming amount of evidence against him, a St. Louis judge in 2017 found Stockley not guilty of first-degree murder in the 2011 shooting death of Smith. Months of protests ensued immediately.
During the protests, undercover police officers were placed throughout the crowd in order to catch people who were attempting to instigate violence or destroy property. Police violence was so over the top, that four officers allegedly grabbed one of their own, a 22-year veteran of the department who was working undercover. Last month, Hall received a $5 million settlement from his lawsuit alleging that his colleagues slammed him down twice and then beat him with batons.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatchreports that Hall’s suit says one officer who participated in the beating, Joseph Marcantano, has since been promoted to sergeant, showing that“misconduct is not only protected but rewarded by the City and Department.”
Marcantano’s privilege has apparently extended into the criminal realm, as he is not on trial with his fellow officers and he is still employed with the department.
After the initial incident, officers Dustin Boone, Bailey Colletta, Randy Hays and Christopher Myers all faced federal charges of civil rights violation, obstruction of justice and lying to federal investigators.
In 2019, Colletta pleaded guilty to one federal charge and has admitted to lying to the FBI and a grand jury about the nature of Hall’s arrest, while the other three officers have pleaded not guilty and are headed to trial this week. In her plea, Colletta said other officers tackled Hall as he was following her orders and dropped to his knees.
The officers are accused of attacking their fellow officer without reason, throwing him to the ground, savagely beating him—causing serious bodily injury—and then destroying his camera.
Hall described his beating by these for cops as a “free for all” and told other cops at the department that he was beaten “like Rodney King,” according to court documents released earlier this year.
As TFTP reported at the time, during the protests, angry citizens took to the streets. They were met by hundreds of police officers in riot gear, who were armed with military grade weaponry and technology.
During the protests, story after story surfaced of officers using unnecessary force, beating protesters and making false arrests. This was in spite of the fact that the protests ran relatively smoothly and were far less violent than the ones last summer after the death of George Floyd.
Despite the peaceful nature of the protests, police officers were seen on video carrying out extremely disturbing acts. One such act involved trampling an elderly woman. Another act involved police chanting “whose streets? Our streets!” as they surrounded protesters—otherwise known as ‘kettling’— and began a brutal assault with pepper spray and police batons.
Hall was also one of these stories, however, his story was suppressed because the officers who beat him covered up what happened and lied to investigators.
Hall was not violent during the protests and merely carrying a Nikon camera attempting to photograph the protests when police approached.
At an intersection, police SUVs pulled up and a female officer ordered Hall to get to the ground.
As he was getting to his knees, Hall was picked up twice and slammed to the ground, face first, Boehlje wrote. His nose and lip were already bleeding when he was repeatedly kicked and hit with closed fists and sticks, Boehlje wrote.
Hall’s hands were in front of him on the ground, and although officers were telling him to put his hands behind his back, they were also standing on his arms, Boehlje wrote.
“Hall described it as a ‘free for all,’” the affidavit says.
Hall’s cellphone screen had been shattered from what Hall thought was a baton. After he was handcuffed, he watched as an officer took out his Nikon battery and threw the camera to the ground, breaking it, Boehlje wrote.
The affidavit suggests there may be video of at least part of the incident, as Hall’s cellphone was “actively recording” as he surrendered.
During the arrest, Hall did not want to blow his cover so he did not inform police he was undercover until he got back to headquarters. He told someone at headquarters that that officers “beat the (expletive) out of him like Rodney King.”
When investigators seized the cellphones of the officers, they found texts of them discussing the beating, essentially admitting to all of it.
Before the officers were dispatched to the protest, they stated their “disdain” for the protesters and expressed “excitement about using unjustified force against them and going undetected while doing so.
After the beating, Hays told Boone in regards to one of the officers smashing Hall’s camera and beating him that “the ass whooping can be explained. The camera thing can’t and we weren’t a part of that.”
Boone then replies to Hays saying that Hall “could’ve announced himself any time. And he wasn’t complying. The camera thing is just ignorant, nothing we all haven’t done and if it was a protester it wouldn’t be a problem at all.”
Reread that above text and let that sink in. These officers are describing a situation in which they can walk up to an innocent person, beat the hell out of them, smash their camera, and then get away with it. But, because their victim was a cop and not a protester, they won’t “get away with it.”
Below is a screen shot of just some of the texts exchanged by these cops who were quite literally begging to “f**k people up.”
For now, these violent criminals stand charged and they will be judged by a jury of their peers over the next two weeks.
Due to the egregious nature of these officers’ actions and their subsequent indictments, the St. Louis Circuit Attorney has dropped 91 cases with which these officers were involved.
Hopefully their case plays out different than the one of Jason Stockley and justice is actually served. Because their victim was a police officer, there is a higher chance that will happen.
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