sharlton

Lessons to learn from Ferguson

The Police have no accountability anymore:

  • Police have repeatedly not worn proper identification, which is absolutely crucial for the accountability of individual officers, as well as the group as a whole.
  • Police are allowed to use intimidation tactics on anyone, anywhere.
  • Police are incredibly over-militarized, with full body armor, automatic weapons, tear gas, flashbang grenades, and military surplus vehicles which are often newer than those actually in use overseas. They rarely have any form of military training and as such they have no understanding of the restraint required when supplied with such power. 
  • Police can surround innocents, tell them to leave (while knowing that they are making it impossible to do so), and then use force (including teargas, rubber bullets, and flashbangs) when they “don’t comply.”
  • Police are allowed to suspend citizens’ rights to peacefully assemble by claiming ‘fear of violence’ much in the same way they can shoot innocents by claiming they 'thought they were armed’
  • Police can and do lie to protect their own from the legal system.
  • Increased oversight, including cameras both on the persons and in the cruisers of police officers, is absolutely necessary if this insanity is to stop

Corruption in Ferguson and Missouri as a whole:

  • Prosecutor Bob McCulloch was born to a cop who was later killed in the line of duty (this is precedent for not wanting to pursue the indictment of a cop in a shooting, aka conflict of interest).
  • McCulloch’s brother, cousin, and nephew are all cops (more precedent).
  • McCulloch has had several cases where a cop was involved in a questionable shooting reach his desk, and yet NONE were indicted (pretty strong evidence of a conflict of interest).
  • Missouri State Sen. Jeff Roorda is a former cop who lost his job for making a false statement about a witness. He later became CHIEF at another station in the same county.
  • Roorda has since become the loudest cheerleader for reducing oversight of police officers in the Missouri Senate, fighting legislation which would require police to have cameras in their cruisers or on their bodies while introducing bills which would hide the names of officers involved in fatal shootings unless they were being formally charged.
  • Roorda helped fundraise for Darren Wilson, who has not lost his job and has gotten over $400,000 in donations over the past 3+ months and has even gotten married.
  • Gov. Jay Nixon helped campaign for Jeff Roorda in this year’s elections. The GOVERNOR of Missouri was actively working to ensure that a man who lives to make police legally untouchable would stay in power.

Black Citizens’ lives are legally worth less than Whites’

  • Fatal encounters where the perpetrator was one or more white police officers and where the victim was both black AND not carrying a deadly weapon are practically weekly events. Just a few examples SINCE THE BEGINNING OF AUGUST below.
  • Michael Brown: unarmed when shot and killed by Officer Darren Wilson on Aug 9th in Ferguson, MO: NO CHARGES
  • John Crawford: holding a BB gun when shot without warning and killed by Officer Sean Williams on Aug 5th in a Walmart in Beavercreek, OH, after a call was made claiming he was threatening civilians with a rifle: NO CHARGES
  • Ezell Ford: mentally ill and unarmed when shot in the back and killed by Officers Sharlton Wampler and Antonio Villegas on August 11 in Los Angeles: NO CHARGES
  • Dante Parker: unarmed when tased repeatedly, causing his death 2 days later, by multiple officers on Aug 12th in Los Angeles: NO CHARGES
  • Vonderrit Myers: fired his sandwich before being shot and killed by off-duty Officer Jason Flannery on Oct 8 in St. Louis: NO CHARGES
  • Darrien Hunt: carrying a replica sword as part of a cosplay when shot and killed by Officers Matt Schauerhamer and Nicholas Judson on Sep 10 in Sarasota Springs, Utah: NO CHARGES
  • Akai Gurley: unarmed when shot and killed for being in the wrong stairwell by Officer Peter Liang on Nov 20 in New York City: too early to know if there will be charges
  • Tamir Rice: 12-year-old boy holding a TOY gun shot and killed by two as-yet unidentified officers on Nov 22 in Cleveland, OH: charges seem likely due to convincing surveillance footage

TL;DR

  • Police can currently act with impunity, effectively creating a police state.
  • The entire system is racist and corrupt and police exist to protect the system, not keep the peace
  • Prosecutor Bob McCulloch had major conflict of interest and should never have been the prosecutor in such an important case involving police violence
  • The Missouri Government is thoroughly corrupt in ways that give police even more excessive freedom from the law than other states.
  • No indictment of Darren Wilson is a public statement that the lives of black HUMAN BEINGS are worth less than others.
latimes.com
BREAKING: #NoJusticeYetForEzellFord: LAPD clears 2 officers in fatal shooting of Ezell Ford, sources say
Los Angeles police Chief Charlie Beck and the Police Department's independent watchdog have determined that two officers were justified in fatally shooting Ezell Ford, a mentally ill black man whose killing last year sparked protests and debate over the use of deadly force by police, according to sources with knowledge of the investigation.
By Los Angeles Times

Los Angeles police Chief Charlie Beck and the Police Department’s independent watchdog have determined that two officers were justified in fatally shooting Ezell Ford, a mentally ill black man whose killing last year sparked protests and debate over the use of deadly force by police, according to sources with knowledge of the investigation.

Department investigators found evidence indicating that Ford had fought for control of one officer’s gun, bolstering claims the officers made after the shooting, said two sources who spoke on the condition that they not be identified because they were not authorized to publicly discuss the case.

Ford and one of the officers, Sharlton Wampler, had scratches on their hands, and the holster for Wampler’s gun was scratched as well, the sources said. Tests found Ford’s DNA on the weapon, according to the sources.

The shooting occurred Aug. 11, after Wampler and his partner, Antonio Villegas, members of an anti-gang unit in the department’s Newton Division, saw Ford walking down a street near his South L.A. home.

Alex Bustamante, the Los Angeles Police Department’s inspector general, found the shooting justified, but he faulted the officers for how they approached Ford in the moments leading up to the shooting, according to the sources.

LAPD officials have never offered an explanation for why the officers stopped the 25-year-old Ford, but the sources said that the officers told investigators they decided to detain him because they believed Ford was trying to discard narcotics as he walked. The department has never publicly said whether narcotics were found.

Bustamante concluded in his report to the commission that it was unclear whether the officers’ observations were sufficient justification to approach Ford and then try to detain him, the sources said.

And as the officers reached Ford, Wampler put his hands on him — a move that Bustamante found unacceptable. Department protocols instruct officers in such situations to address a suspect from a position of safety, such as behind an open car door.

Ford’s death became a local rallying cry against killings by police, particularly those of black men. Ford, who had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, died two days after the fatal police shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., which prompted nationwide demonstrations and a heated conversation about race and policing.

Ford was one of 18 people killed and nine others wounded in LAPD shootings last year, the department said. As of Monday, police officers had shot and killed eight people and wounded another eight so far this year, the department said.

The Police Commission, a civilian panel that oversees the LAPD and makes the final ruling on all serious uses of force by officers, is scheduled to discuss the shooting in private on Tuesday after its weekly public meeting.

As with all shootings, the commissioners will determine whether the officers’ decisions to draw their weapons and then use deadly force fell within department policies. The board also will rule on whether the tactics the officers used throughout the encounter were acceptable.

Beck, according to the sources, will recommend to the commission that the officers be cleared in all three categories, while Bustamante, whose office conducted its own investigation of the shooting, will recommend the board fault the officers for their tactics.

If the commission follows Bustamante’s recommendation, it would then be up to Beck to decide what discipline, if any, to impose. Often when an officer’s decision to use deadly force is found to be justified but the tactics flawed, Beck opts to order the officer to undergo retraining instead of handing down a punishment.

Bustamante and Cmdr. Andrew Smith, an LAPD spokesman, declined to comment, saying it would be inappropriate to discuss the shooting before the commission issues a ruling . The two officers involved in the shooting are assigned to administrative duties, Smith said.

Last year, Beck offered a brief account of the shooting. The officers, he said, told department investigators that they shot Ford during a violent struggle in which Ford forced one officer to the ground and grabbed his gun. The officer reportedly yelled for help, Beck said, prompting his partner to fire at Ford. The officer on the ground used a backup weapon to reach around Ford’s body and shoot him in the back.

An autopsy showed Ford was shot three times, including once so closely in the back that the muzzle of the officer’s gun left an imprint.

Ford’s mother was emotional when she learned of the department’s and inspector general’s recommendations Friday from a Times reporter.

“Wow,” Tritobia Ford said softly. “Oh, wow.”

She said that she shared the same concerns as the inspector general over the officers’ decision to stop her son, and that she wanted the U.S. Justice Department to investigate her son’s death.

“Why didn’t they just allow him to keep walking? He wasn’t doing anything. He wasn’t committing any crime. He wasn’t bothering anybody,” she said, her voice breaking as it rose. “He was minding his own business.”

The officers’ attorney, Larry Hanna, said his clients had little choice but to make contact with Ford when they saw him turn away and appear to conceal something.

“I’m hoping the commissioners will see it was within policy,” he said.

Craig Lally, president of the union that represents rank-and-file officers, declined to comment on the officers’ tactics prior to the shooting, saying he did not know all of the facts.

But he defended their use of deadly force, saying the situation escalated when Ford grabbed Wampler’s gun.

“The only reason you try to take a gun away from an officer is to use it against the officer or use it against somebody else,” Lally said. “Had that person not escalated to try and get the gun away from the officer, this would be a non-event in everybody’s life. The suspect dictated what happened in this.

"The officer has a right to defend themselves,” he said. “They have no other alternative.”