Tag: excessive force

Activist and Police Shooting Survivor Leon Ford, 25, to Run for Pittsburgh City Council

Leon Ford speaks at Philander Smith College (Photo Credit: Instagram)

by Christina Santi via ebony.com

Activist Leon Ford, 25, who was shot and paralyzed by police in 2012, announced his bid for Pittsburgh City Council on Thursday, according to WTAE, Pittsburgh Action News 4.

“I have been speaking all over the country encouraging young people to not only vote, but to run for office,” Ford wrote in a statement. “I never considered running for office until I realized that I was one of the only voices bold enough to stand up for the people and speak truth to power.”

He will be running for a seat to represent District 9, which is now held by Rev. Ricky Burgess, who had held the position since 2007.

Ford was shot by detective David Derbish after a traffic stop. He later filed a civil rights lawsuit which was led to a $5.5 million settlement with the city. The council consented to the payout, but Rev. Burgess was absent for the vote.

The young activist went viral in 2017 after sharing a video of his son encouraging him to learn to walk again. The young boy can be heard saying, “Keep pushing. Don’t give up,” as he helps Ford with a walker.

Ford tweeted the sentimental moment, writing, “When you get shot by a police officer 5 times–and docs say that you will ever walk but your son says keep pushing.”

Ford said his campaign will focus on “restoring hope in our neighborhoods, creating new economic opportunities for our residents and healing one another to make all of our communities safe, vibrant, prosperous and livable for all.”

According to The Incline, Ford decided to embark on a political career after the fatal police shooting of Antwon Rose II, an unarmed 17-year-old, in East Pittsburgh in June.

“I’m a candidate now,” he told the publication. “I never considered running for public office. In fact, there was a time that I was against it, but now I’ve learned more about politics and policy and, it’s like, I’m tired of protesting and showing up at community meetings where the decisions are already made.”

Ford will host a campaign kickoff on Nov. 11, six years to the date of his shooting. Below is his TEDx Talk on”Turning Pain into Purpose”:

Source: https://www.ebony.com/news-views/police-shooting-survivor-running-pittsburgh-city-council

Walter Scott’s Relatives Reach $6.5 Million Settlement With City of North Charleston

Walter Scott (image via facebook.com)
Walter Scott (image via facebook.com)

The relatives of police shooting victim Walter Scott have reached a $6.5 million settlement with the city of North Charleston. According to CNN, the settlement was approved Thursday night by the North Charleston City Council.

“This is the largest settlement of this type case in the history of South Carolina,” said Brady Hair, North Charleston’s City Attorney.

Mayor Keith Summey appears to be pleased with the settlement.

“I’m glad the city and the family were able to reach a settlement without the necessity of a lawsuit,” said Summey.

According to the Scott family’s attorney, the money will be used to support Scott’s four children.

“He was a good father,” said his brother Anthony Scott. “People say how was he a good father and behind on child support? The system needs to be changed. There needs to be some things changed in the system, so there is a balance. His children loved him, and he loved his children.”

He continued:

“The city of Charleston’s actions have ensured that Walter did not die in vain,” he said. “The city sent a message, loud and clear, that this type of reckless behavior will not be tolerated.”

Scott was gunned down in April by former police officer Michael Slager following a routine traffic stop. Slager was indicted in Scott’s murder shortly after the shooting.

article by Jazmine Denise Rogers via madamenoire.com

NYPD Cop In James Blake Arrest Used Excessive Force, Panel Rules

2015 U.S. Open - Day 12
James Blake (Getty Images)

An undercover officer who assaulted tennis star James Blake on a Manhattan sidewalk last month used excessive force, “according an investigation by the Civilian Complaint Review Board, New York City’s independent agency for police misconduct,” reports The New York Times.

The board substantiated the charge of excessive force against New York Police Department Officer James Frascatore and recommended punishment that could result in suspension or dismissal, writes the news outlet.

Blake received word about the findings Tuesday in a letter from the panel. The incident took place during the U.S. Open on Sept. 9 in front of the Grand Hyatt Hotel on 42nd Street in Midtown. The assault, captured on video surveillance camera, reignited national outrage over the use of excessive force by police against people of color.

From The New York Times:

[Frascatore] will now face an internal Police Department trial; the police commissioner, William J. Bratton, has the final say on discipline of officers.

“I want to express my appreciation to the Civilian Complaint Review Board for their quick and thorough review of the incident where I was attacked,” Mr. Blake said in a statement. “I have complete respect for the principle of due process and appreciate the efforts of the C.C.R.B. to advance this investigation.”

Blake’s lawyer, Kevin H. Marino, told The Times that his client “looks forward to participating in the forthcoming trial.”

article by Lynette Holloway via newsone.com

Bill from CA Senator Holly Mitchell to Bar Secret Grand Juries in Police Deadly Force Cases Signed into Law by Governor Jerry Brown

Both measures were part of a spate of proposals introduced by lawmakers earlier this year on police accountability; some of the more controversial bills dealing with body-worn cameras or reporting on use-of-force incidents have stalled in the Legislature.

Sen. Holly Mitchell (D-Los Angeles) offered the grand juries measure in response to high-profile incidents in Ferguson, Mo., and New York City, where grand juries declined to indict police officers for the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner, respectively.

Mitchell said her bill, SB 227, would help make judicial proceedings more transparent and accountable. Los Angeles and Santa Clara counties already have opted not to use grand juries when an officer’s actions may have caused someone’s death.

“One doesn’t have to be a lawyer to understand why SB 227 makes sense,” Mitchell said in a statement.  “The use of the criminal grand jury process, and the refusal to indict as occurred in Ferguson and other communities of color, has fostered an atmosphere of suspicion that threatens to compromise our justice system.”

The measure was opposed by law enforcement groups, including the California Assn. of District Attorneys, which argued the grand jury system was a useful prosecutorial tool.

Continue reading “Bill from CA Senator Holly Mitchell to Bar Secret Grand Juries in Police Deadly Force Cases Signed into Law by Governor Jerry Brown”

Henry Davis Wins Appeal Against Ferguson Cops Who Beat Him; Can Now Sue for Excessive Force

Henry Davis was charged with bleeding on police officers' uniforms after Ferguson protests (photo: DailyBeast.com)
Henry Davis was charged with destruction of property for bleeding on police officers’ uniforms in Ferguson (photo: DailyBeast.com)

The Ferguson cops charged Henry Davis with destruction of property because he bled on their uniforms when they beat him.

Then, as if fearing it might be outdone in ridiculousness, a federal district court ruled that Davis could not sue the cops for violating his Fourth Amendment rights because they had not injured him badly enough as he lay handcuffed on the jailhouse floor, a working man arrested on a traffic warrant in a case of mistaken identity.

“As unreasonable as it may sound, a reasonable officer could have believed that beating a subdued and compliant Mr. Davis while causing only a concussion, scalp lacerations and bruising with almost no permanent damage did not violate the Constitution,” the district court ruled in tossing out the case.

Davis appealed and his attorney James Schottel responded to absurdity with legal reasoning. He argued that the decisive factor was not the seriousness of Davis’s injuries but the nature of the officers’ actions.

The district court had ruled that the officers enjoyed “official immunity” because they “acted within their discretion and caused only de minimis [slight] injuries.”

Schottel contended that official immunity “does not apply to discretionary acts done in bad faith or with malice.”

The appeals court could not have been clearer in its response on Tuesday.

“We agree.”

The court went on to say, “That an officer’s conduct caused only de minimis injuries does not necessarily establish the absence of malice or bad faith as a matter of law.”

In recapping the case, the appeals court noted that Davis had been arrested by Police Officer Christopher Pillarick early on the morning of September 20, 2009. Davis was brought to what the appeals court calls “the crowded Ferguson jail.” Pillarick and Police Officer John Beaird escorted Davis to a cell where the only bunk was occupied.

“Davis requested a mat from a nearby stack,” the court says. “Pillarick refused because Davis was not cooperating. Davis refused to enter the cell.”

The cops radioed for backup. Police Officer Kim Tihen and Police Officer Michael White responded, along with Sergeant William Battard.  “The deposition testimony differs dramatically concerning what happened next,” the court says. “It is undisputed that White pushed Davis into the cell and a short, bloody fight ensued.”

The court notes that there is no video of the incident, but there is “testimony supporting a claim that White, Beaird and Tihen each beat or kicked Davis after he was handcuffed and subdued on the floor of the cell.”

The lower court had contended that “a reasonable officer” could believe that in beating their handcuffed prisoner they were not violating the Constitution.  The court further notes, “After the incident, Beaird completed four complaints charging Davis with the offense of ‘Property Damage’ for transferring blood onto the uniforms of Beaird, Tihen, White, and Pillarick.”

Continue reading “Henry Davis Wins Appeal Against Ferguson Cops Who Beat Him; Can Now Sue for Excessive Force”

Justice Department Finds Pattern of Police Bias and Excessive Force in Ferguson

04FERGUSONweb-articleLarge
Ferguson, Mo., police officers at a news conference in August. A Justice Department report will force Ferguson officials to either negotiate a settlement with the department or face being sued by it on charges of violating the Constitution. (WHITNEY CURTIS FOR THE NEW YORK TIMES)

WASHINGTON — Police officers in Ferguson, Mo., have routinely violated the constitutional rights of the city’s black residents, the Justice Department has concluded in a scathing report that accuses the officers of using excessive force and making unjustified traffic stops for years.

The Justice Department, which opened its investigation after a white Ferguson police officer shot and killed a black teenager last summer, says the discrimination was fueled in part by racial stereotypes held by city officials. Investigators say the officials made racist jokes about blacks on their city email accounts.

Ferguson is a largely black city with a government and a police force that are mostly white. After the shooting of the teenager, Michael Brown, the city erupted in angry, sometimes violent protests and looting. Since then, Ferguson has been at the center of a national debate over race and policing that has drawn in President Obama, Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. and the F.B.I. director, James B. Comey.

The report’s findings were summarized by a federal law enforcement official. The full report is expected to be released on Wednesday. A separate report is expected to clear the officer, Darren Wilson, of any civil rights violations in the shooting of Mr. Brown.

Ferguson officials now face the choice of either negotiating a settlement with the Justice Department or potentially being sued by it on charges of violating the Constitution.

In compiling the report, federal investigators conducted hundreds of interviews, reviewed 35,000 pages of police records and analyzed race data compiled for every police stop. They concluded that, over the past two years, African-Americans — who make up about two-thirds of the city’s population — accounted for 85 percent of traffic stops, 90 percent of citations, 93 percent of arrests and 88 percent of cases in which the police used force.

Black motorists were twice as likely as whites to be searched but were less likely to be found in possession of contraband such as drugs or guns.

The findings reinforce what the city’s African-American residents have been saying publicly for the past year: that years of discrimination and mistrust created the volatile environment that erupted after Mr. Brown’s shooting.

article by Matt Apuzzo via nytimes.com

Cleveland Police Cited for Abuse by U.S. Department of Justice

A memorial for Tamir Rice, shot by the Cleveland police. (TY WRIGHT FOR THE NEW YORK TIMES)

CLEVELAND — The Justice Department announced on Thursday that a nearly two-year civil rights investigation into the Cleveland Police Department had found a pattern of “unreasonable and unnecessary use of force” that resulted in dangerous and reckless behavior by officers, pointing out the kinds of problems that have angered black residents here and touched off demonstrations across the country in recent weeks.

The abuses cited in the report included excessive use of force by the police involving not just firearms, but also less-than-lethal weapons like Tasers, chemical spray and fists, which were sometimes used for retaliation. The report also said the police had used excessive force against mentally ill people and employed tactics that escalated potentially nonviolent encounters into dangerous confrontations.

Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr., in a sign of the Obama administration’s growing concern about contentious police shootings and other use of force — and with demonstrations in New York; Ferguson, Mo.; and elsewhere — traveled to Cleveland on Thursday to announce the findings himself. The city has been roiled by the fatal shooting last month of a 12-year-old African-American boy by a rookie police officer.

“Accountability and legitimacy are essential for communities to trust their police departments,” Mr. Holder said, “and for there to be genuine collaboration between police and the citizens they serve.”

Continue reading “Cleveland Police Cited for Abuse by U.S. Department of Justice”

Marlene Pinnock, Woman Beaten by California Highway Patrolman, Settles for $1.5 Million

pinnock_zps1d313f5a

Marlene Pinnock, the 51-year-old woman punched repeatedly by California Highway Patrol officer Daniel Andrew on the side of a freeway in an incident caught on video, will receive $1.5 million under a settlement reached Wednesday night, and the officer has agreed to resign.

On July 1, a passing driver captured video of Pinnock being repeatedly pummeled by Andrew, and she filed suit in August.

marlenepinnock_zps31e51969The Associated Press reports that Pinnock and the CHP reached an agreement after a lengthy mediation.

“When this incident occurred, I promised that I would look into it and vowed a swift resolution,” CHP Commissioner John Farrow said in a statement. “Today, we have worked constructively to reach a settlement agreement that is satisfactory to all parties involved.”

The statement said that Officer Andrew, who joined the CHP in 2012 and has been on paid administrative leave since the incident, “has elected to resign.”

Andrew could still be charged criminally in the case. The CHP forwarded the results of its investigation of the incident to Los Angeles County prosecutors last month, saying he could face serious charges but none have been filed yet.

The bulk of the settlement will take the form of a special needs trust for Pinnock, the CHP said. Pinnock’s attorney Caree Harper said the settlement fulfilled the two elements her side was looking for.

“One of the things we wanted to make sure of was that she was provided for in a manner that accommodated her unique situation in life,” Harper said, “and that the officer was not going to be an officer anymore and we secured those things.”

article via forharriet.com

The Good Things Black People Do, Give and Receive All Over The World
%d bloggers like this: