Criminal Justice

Cops Enter Person’s Yard, Shoot 18 Week Old Puppy That ‘Couldn’t Even Bark Yet’

Cops Enter Person’s Yard, Shoot 18 Week Old Puppy That ‘Couldn’t Even Bark Yet’

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.

Sadly, this trend shows no signs of slowing.

According to some estimates, as John Whitehead points out, a dog is shot by a police officer “every 98 minutes.”

The Department of Justice estimates that at least 25 dogs are killed by police every day.

The Puppycide Database Project estimates the number of dogs being killed by police could be upwards of 500 dogs a day

Because not all police departments keep track of canine shootings, these numbers vary widely. However, whatever the final body count, what we’re dealing with is an epidemic of vast proportions.

Incredibly, in 1 out of 5 cases involving police shooting a family pet, a child was either in the police line of fire or in the immediate area of a shooting.

The so-called “dangerous” breeds of dogs aren’t the only ones that are being killed in encounters with police either as this case and the one’s below illustrate.

Journalist Radley Balko has documented countless “dog shootings in which a police officer said he felt ‘threatened’ and had no choice but to use lethal force, including the killing of a Dalmatian (more than once), a yellow Lab , a springer spaniel, a chocolate Lab, a boxer, an Australian cattle dog, a Wheaten terrier, an Akita… a Jack Russell terrier… a 12-pound miniature dachshund… [and] a five-pound Chihuahua.”

To those who think cops killing dogs is not a problem, we encourage you to take a look through our puppycide archives here. 

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

Unprecedented: Maryland Repeals Blue Privilege

Unprecedented: Maryland Repeals Blue Privilege

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.

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

Cop Kills Innocent Woman, Taxpayers Liable

Cop Kills Innocent Woman, Taxpayers Liable

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.

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

Police Chief In Missouri Charged With Bashing Wife’s Head In With Hammer

Police Chief In Missouri Charged With Bashing Wife’s Head In With Hammer

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 and Boston 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.

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

Police Mistakenly Raid Home of Great-Grandfather, Permanently Injure Him

Police Mistakenly Raid Home of Great-Grandfather, Permanently Injure Him

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.

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

Cop Attempts to Shoot Cow, Shoots Fellow Pig Instead

Cop Attempts to Shoot Cow, Shoots Fellow Pig Instead

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.

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

Officers Mistake Fellow Cop for Protestor, ‘Beat Him Like Rodney King’

Officers Mistake Fellow Cop for Protestor, ‘Beat Him Like Rodney King’

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-Dispatch reports 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.

According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:

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.”

protest

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.

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

Yes, Republicans Are the Party of Drug Warriors

Yes, Republicans Are the Party of Drug Warriors

The federal government considers growing, distributing, buying, selling, possessing, or using marijuana to be a criminal offense, punishable by fines and imprisonment. Possession of marijuana will get you a maximum sentence of one year in jail and a minimum fine of $1,000 for a first conviction.

Yet there are fourteen states (plus the District of Columbia) where the recreational use of marijuana is legal.

In the Supreme Court case Gonzales v. Raich (2005), the Court ruled that the federal government has the authority to prohibit marijuana possession and use for any and all purposes because the Controlled Substances Act did not exceed Congress’s power under the commerce clause as applied to the intrastate cultivation and possession of marijuana for medical use.

Yet there are thirty-five states (plus the District of Columbia) where the medical use of marijuana is legal.

The federal government classifies marijuana as a Schedule I controlled substance under the Controlled Substances Act with “a high potential for abuse,” “no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States,” and “a lack of accepted safety for use of the drug under medical supervision.”

Yet there were six ballot measures in five states that related to marijuana in the 2020 election, and they all passed by either wide or comfortable margins.

What does all of that have to do with Republicans?

South Dakota voters were able to decide on legalizing both medical and recreational marijuana at the same time. Initiated Measure 26 sought to establish “a medical marijuana program in South Dakota for individuals with a debilitating medical condition.” It passed by a margin of 69.92 to 30.08 percent. Constitutional Amendment A sought to “legalize the recreational use of marijuana and require the South Dakota State Legislature to pass laws providing for the use of medical marijuana and the sale of hemp by April 1, 2022.” It passed by a margin of 54.18 to 45.82 percent.

Before the election, South Dakota governor, Kristi Noem, a Republican, publicly opposed both the measure and the amendment. And after the first of the year, she sought to thwart the will of the people of South Dakota.

Noem “announced a plan to delay the state’s medical marijuana program implementation until July 1, 2022, a year later than the dates included in the initiative.” She also led the effort to overturn the legalization of marijuana for recreational use (the first time a state governor has done such a thing). Noem said that voters made “the wrong choice” by deciding to legalize marijuana. She said that she directed the petitioners (two police officers) challenging the election outcome “to commence the Amendment A litigation” on her behalf.

What is so disheartening about this is that Noem is one of the “better” Republican governors, perhaps even the best one, when it comes to doing as little as possible to destroy individual liberty and property rights during the COVID-19 “pandemic.”

Regarding Measure 26, a compromise proposal was reached that would delay its implementation, but not for as long as originally sought by the governor. But regarding Amendment A, a Circuit judge ruled in favor of plaintiffs, “finding that the measure violated the state’s single-subject rule and was a revision of the constitution rather than amending it.” Thus, South Dakota was only briefly the fifteenth state to legalize the recreational use of marijuana.

Meanwhile, over in Virginia, the House (48-43) and Senate (20-19) recently passed HB 2312. It “eliminates criminal penalties for simple possession of up to one ounce of marijuana by persons 21 years of age or older, modifies several other criminal penalties related to marijuana, and imposes limits on dissemination of criminal history record information related to certain marijuana offenses.” The legislation, which the Democratic governor is expected to sign into law, passed without a single Republican vote. Although it would not begin legal marijuana sales until January 2024, it would establish a marijuana regulatory agency beginning this summer.

The action of the legislature is unusual because the path to marijuana legalization in most states has been ballot initiatives. However, the actions of Republicans in the Virginia legislature were as expected because Republican politicians are incorrigible drug warriors.

It was not because they were just being partisan and refusing to work with Democrats that not a single Republican in the Virginia legislature joined with Democrats in voting to legalize marijuana.

Republicans in the Virginia legislature joined with Democrats last year to repeal the state’s archaic laws against fornication (HB 245) and cursing (HB 1071). Although there was much Republican opposition, ultimately only five Republicans in the House voted against the former bill and only five Republicans in the Senate voted against the latter bill, which was co-sponsored in the House by a Republican. (A bill [HB 1070] to repeal the law against spitting in public was rejected.)

The actions of these Virginia Republican legislators mirror that of Republicans in Congress. A bill (H.R.3884) to decriminalize marijuana that “removes marijuana from the list of scheduled substances under the Controlled Substances Act and eliminates criminal penalties for an individual who manufactures, distributes, or possesses marijuana” passed in the U.S. House of Representatives late last year by a vote of 228-164. Only five Republican representatives supported the bill, “The Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act of 2019.”

Republican governors, legislators, and congressmen who oppose the legalization of marijuana for medical or recreational use are out of touch with rank-and-file Republicans in their states. It is impossible that it is just Democrats around the country who are voting to legalize marijuana in ballot initiatives.

But Republican politicians are out of touch with something else as well: freedom. They cannot conceive of people making their own decisions whether they will use marijuana. Instead of family, friends, acquaintances, churches, pastors, counselors, and physicians being the ones who help people make that decision, they feel that the government just has to be involved in some way. Go against their drug prohibitions and they think nothing of fining you, seizing your property, and locking you for years in a cage. All for possessing too much of a plant that the government doesn’t approve of. And woe be to those who are caught with drugs other than marijuana.

It all comes down to this: It is none of the government’s businesses what people want to smoke, eat, inhale, snort, or inject into their bodies. We own ourselves; the government does not own us. And we don’t need a government nanny to tell us how to live our life.

This article was originally featured at the Future of Freedom Foundation and is republished with permission.

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