Multiple Washington D.C. news outlets are reporting this morning on the injuries a 27-year-old man sustained during an arrest last Sunday. Take particular notice of the assaulting a police officer now facing the bruised and battered complainant. Almost all victims of police brutality are charged with assault on an officer, producing an interesting “guilty-until-proven-innocent” quandary I always find ironically paradoxical.
Jeremy Gordon, a student at Howard University, was driving home from work around 5:30 p.m. and had just got off the phone with his girlfriend when he noticed flashing lights in his rearview mirror. Gordon told reporters this week that he pulled over and complied with requests but was was then pulled from his car, thrown to the ground, pepper sprayed, handcuffed and struck with fists multiple times.
Officers said Gordon was drunk and combative. Cops have shot people for less, so Gordon can feel good about at least being alive. Note: no blood alcohol tests have been released by police, and dash cam video has not yet been made available to the press. The same goes for audio recordings of the arrest—particularly noteworthy because of a venomous taunt Gordon said was made after he was handcuffed, bleeding and dripping with pepper spray. NBCWashington reported at least one officer at the scene is accused of saying “welcome to Washington D.C.,” a snarky reference to Gordon’s New York license plates.
Gordon’s left eye is still swollen shut, and he says a long-term damage prognosis is still unknown. The officers involved in the incident, as many as 10 and all still unidentified, remain on duty.
Detroit: A 27-year-old Lebanese immigrant was bicycling home from his dishwashing job last December when the chain popped. Forced to attempt a curbside repair, Ali Beydoun was startled when flashing lights approached. Dash cam video shows an officer ignite his spotlight, flip on his flashing lights and approach Beydoun.
Struggling with English and scared, Beydoun—who also reportedly suffers from an undisclosed mental disability—attempts to show the officer that the chain on his bike has broken. NOTE: the officer puts on gloves BEFORE asking Beydoun for identification—clearly illustrating his intent to search a civilian without cause. The officer then attempts to initiate a search of Beydoun for “weapons.” Beydoun resists, saying over and over “no.” A violent struggle ensues, and a second officer arrives at around the video’s 2:45 mark. I love how even two cops can’t seem to subdue a meekly resisting Beydoun. Too bad because Beydoun pays for their ineptness.
The cops DRAG BEYDOUN OUT OF DASH CAM RANGE, and we only have horrifying audio to piece together exactly what happens next. We can, however, see repeated knees being delivered to Beydoun’s midsection. Screaming, Beydoun is then pounced on by a third officer arriving on the scene. The three officers are still unable to get a crying Beydoun in cuffs. but we do see he feet kicking frantically as officers presumably apply a choke hold.
Finally, Beydoun is taken into custody, and a lieutenant or captain with at least some level of competence arrives. Beydoun is transported to the police station, and in-squad video clearly shows his face badly bruised and bloodied.
The Dearborn Police Department issued the following statement: “A thorough Police Department review of an incident in December 2013 involving Ali Beydoun, who resisted police officers’ lawful instructions, resulting in the necessary use of force, showed the officers acted and reported the incident appropriately and according to approved department protocols.”
Now the Department of Justice has taken notice because attorneys say Beydoun’s civil rights were violated without provocation and, in part, because of his ethnicity. With video finally released to the press and rigged internal investigation complete, attorneys for Beydoun say they are ready to file suit against the Dearborn Police Department and the individual officers involved.
I was sent the following by a member of OccupyMinnesota. I thought I’d share it today. It was first posted back in March.
As many people in the community are aware, Minneapolis police officers harass, beat, and even kill community members on a regular basis with impunity. The Star Tribune recently reported that out of 437 complaints against police officers in a year-long period, not one of the officers implicated had been punished. It is egregious enough that Minneapolitans, especially people of color, the homeless, and the poor, are being routinely harassed and beaten; but to make matters worse, when an officer is successfully sued for police brutality, it’s the taxpayers that pay for it. That’s right. When an officer is sued – sometimes in excess of $1 million in one case – the city automatically pays for these lawsuits out of the city’s general fund. This has amounted to $20 million of wasted taxpayer money in the past 7 years, in Minneapolis alone.
In response to these myriad injustices, members of the Minneapolis group Communities United Against Police Brutality (CUAPB) banded together to form the Committee for Professional Policing (CfPP). CfPP’s first big undertaking is a charter amendment campaign to require police officers in Minneapolis to carry professional liability (malpractice) insurance. As previously mentioned, Minneapolis is currently self-indemnified, meaning that when an officer is successfully sued for brutality, the city automatically pays for the lawsuit and all court fees from the general fund.
By requiring officers to carry professional liability insurance, the city will benefit from a risk management mechanism against brutality. In other words, an officer will face increased premiums on his/her insurance after each lawsuit. This will act as a deterrent to brutality, since the police will finally be held directly responsible. Moreover, after several repeat offenses, an officer will find him/herself uninsurable and no longer able to serve in Minneapolis. Under this model, the survivors and family members of victims of police brutality will still receive the compensation they deserve, while officers are being directly punished.
The wording of this charter amendment proposal was scrupulously crafted with the help of insurance agents and lawyers, so as to ensure its viability and compliance with state and federal laws. Furthermore, the wording of the amendment proposal would give the city the option to cover the base premium for each officer. This would ensure that honest cops are not punished for no reason.
But this isn’t going to happen just on its own; WE NEED YOUR HELP. In order to get this amendment proposal placed on the ballot for November, 2014, CfPP needs to collect a minimum of 10,000 signatures from registered Minneapolis voters. Since these signatures will need to be submitted directly to the City Clerk, they may not be collected electronically. Additionally, the city will conduct quality checks on the signatures and dismiss those that are not legible or fully completed. To compensate for this, CfPP’s goal is to collect 15,000 signatures.
Our goal is to have the signatures collected by the middle of May. Although they are due in the first week of July, submitting them early will give us time for legal wrangling with the city. Also, it will give us more time to conduct an extensive Get Out the Vote effort throughout the summer and leading up to the November elections.
Committee for Professional Policing’s office is located at 4200 Cedar Avenue South, Minneapolis. We hold office hours every Monday and Wednesday, 1:30-5:30pm, and every Thursday, 5-8pm. Call or email Eric at 612-715-8784 or firstname.lastname@example.org to set up a meeting so that you can sign the petition, get trained on messaging and petitioning, and help collect these signatures! Thank you!