Phoenix police get training on people with mental issues

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PHOENIX (AP) — Phoenix police officers must undergo training on dealing with people who have mental health issues under the latest reform being rolled out to improve accountability and trust, the agency’s chief said Monday.

Chief Jeri Williams announced hundreds of officers who patrol the streets of the nation’s fifth-largest city must attend an eight-hour “mental health first aid” course over the next two years to help them better deal with people who are mentally ill or have substance abuse problems.

“The city is committed to having the best police department possible,” Williams told reporters, acknowledging “we have a lot of work ahead.”

Phoenix recently began deploying the last of 2,000 body-worn cameras for a force approaching 3,000 members. It also requires officers to keep records of when they point their guns at people and is working with community members to come up with some kind of independent civilian review board.

In a city-commissioned report, the National Police Foundation early this year recommended exploring better ways to deal with the mentally ill after finding Phoenix had 44 officer-involved shootings in 2018, more than any other agency during that time period.

The report said community and police leaders agreed that Phoenix police “are not the best equipped to respond to mental health crisis” and urged the city to work with the community and public health agencies to identify better practices.

The push by Phoenix to adopt reforms began early this year with the release of the foundation’s report.

It was speeded up in June after a videotape emerged showing officers pointing their guns and cursing at a black family. The videotape sparked national outrage with calls for Phoenix to fire the officers who were investigating a shoplifting complaint. Williams said Monday the incident is still under investigation.

[GRAPHIC RAW VIDEO: Citizens record on cellphones alleged Phoenix police misconduct]

The couple said their 4-year-old daughter took a doll from a store without their knowledge. They have filed a $10 million claim against the city.

The city-commissioned report did not indicate that mental health issues played a role in last year’s spike in shootings in Phoenix, but law enforcement agencies are regularly criticized for how mentally ill people are handled.

The Albuquerque Police Department is under a federal consent decree after an investigation found a “culture of aggression,” including some 20 fatal shootings over four years and the use of unreasonable force against mentally ill people.

Police Sgt. Gates Townsend, of the Phoenix department’s crisis intervention team, said there are two squads trained to deal with the mentally ill working across the city six days a week. He said officers across the department transport about 700 people undergoing a mental health crisis to urgent care psychiatric facilities each month.

Posted “Phoenix police get training on people with mental issues”, https://www.azfamily.com/news/ap_cnn/phoenix-police-get-training-on-people-with-mental-issues/article_ec189655-9c83-5c35-8fcc-7a9e75442df1.html

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After 4 police shootings in a month, Allegheny County Council plans to move forward on police review board

Allegheny County Councilman DeWitt Walton, center, talks about his experiences of protesting police brutality and his own negative experiences with police and why it is important that his resolution to help create a countywide civilian police review board be passed at the Allegheny County Court House on Tuesday July 10, 2018, in Downtown Pittsburgh.

After 4 police shootings in a month, Allegheny County Council plans to move forward on police review board

Since mid-July, Allegheny County has seen four police shootings, three of them fatal, in Shaler, South Park, Ross and Penn Hills.

None has sparked the kind of public outcry that followed the June 2018 shooting of Antwon Rose, an unarmed black 17-year-old, in East Pittsburgh, but one piece of legislation that came out of the aftermath of Antwon’s death finally may see the light of day this month.

According to Allegheny County Councilman Dewitt Walton, D-Hill District, if all goes according to plan, his legislation to create a countywide civilian police review board, introduced over six months ago, will have a committee hearing and a vote by the end of August.

The committee hearing is scheduled for Wednesday at 4 p.m. in the County Courthouse’s gold room, where council meetings are held.

They plan to have a vote before council at the regular meeting Aug. 27, Mr. Walton said.

According to Mr. Walton, recent shootings have not affected the timeline. “While those incidents have generated some concern, it has had no impact on our decision-making, on when we brought it for a final committee hearing and vote.”

Khalid Raheem, who helped organize the Committee for a Civilian Police Review Board of Allegheny County, said, “We definitely support the legislation. It’s not completely what we wanted but it’s a very good start. It’s a move in the right direction.”

Two of the recent shootings did not involve officers from departments in the county:

• On July 23, 31-year-old Omari Ali Thompson, of Pittsburgh, was shot and killed in Ross by an officer from the state Attorney General’s office.

• On Aug. 3, a 29-year-old man was shot in South Park by a Monongahela police officer, following a car chase that began in Washington County.

The other two shootings were by officers from Allegheny County municipal departments:

• On July 14, Onaje Dickinson, 20, of Pittsburgh, was fatally shotby a Penn Hills police officer.

• On Aug. 6, 49-year-old Don Babbit, of Shaler, was shot and killed by Shaler and Hampton police officers outside his home.

All police-involved shootings in the county are investigated by Allegheny County Police and then turned over to the district attorney for potential charging decisions.

Neither the county police nor the district attorney’s office has reported any information on the recent shootings yet. A spokesman for the county police said they expect “more info to be released” this week.

The county ordinance initially would cover exclusively the Allegheny County Police, as the county government does not have jurisdiction over municipal agencies. But municipal governments could choose to opt into coverage, and Mr. Walton has said that several local officials have said they intend to do so. Sharpsburg Mayor Matthew Rudzki has been public about his intention to bring his town’s force under the county board’s oversight.

“We want to encourage the other municipalities and police departments to embrace this concept,” said Mr. Raheem.

The ordinance creates a board with the ability to investigate allegations of misconduct and then to recommend actions, either to prosecutors or to relevant municipalities and police departments, but no power to compel action. If an agency does not hand over documents or witnesses, the board would be able to ask the courts to intervene, and if it determines misconduct occurred, it can refer the case to state or county prosecutors, or recommend that the police department discipline the officer or make reforms.

The board would be required to freeze investigations during criminal proceedings, such as a case filed by the district attorney’s office.

The bill’s original sponsors, Mr. Walton and Paul Klein, D-Point Breeze, remain its only sponsors, and it has faced vocal opposition from some of the council’s Republicans, who hold four of 13 seats.

“Every one of the communities that wants this, they have the ability to form their own,” said Councilman Sam DeMarco, R-South Fayette.

“I don’t want to relieve elected officials from the responsibility to oversee the police in their communities. The public shouldn’t either,” continued Mr. DeMarco, who chairs the county Republican committee and county council’s Republican caucus.

But eight of the members, a majority, voted to hold public hearings last year, and other major county Democrats have not expressed opposition.

County Executive Rich Fitzgerald does not comment on specific county council ordinances before the council votes, but has said he supports some amount of civilian police oversight in principle.

Mike Manko, District Attorney Stephen Zappala’s spokesman, said in an emailed statement, “If the residents of the county, through their respective council members, believe that such a board gives them a stronger voice in police matters, District Attorney Zappala would not oppose such a development.”

If the bill does not pass, said Mr. Raheem, “The people again will continue to voice our opposition to police misconduct and our support for some sort of community oversight.”

 

CHRISTOPHER HUFFAKER, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, AUG 17, 2019, “After 4 police shootings in a month, Allegheny County Council plans to move forward on police review board”, https://www.post-gazette.com/news/crime-courts/2019/08/17/police-review-board-allegheny-county-council-shootings/stories/201908180072

Ohio man awarded $50 million in police misconduct lawsuit

Jury Awards Man $50 Million After He Says Officers Beat Him, Locked Him in Closet

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EAST CLEVELAND, Ohio – Arnold Black of East Cleveland still relives being locked in a closet.

“I remember. I remember being in that room more than anything because I was afraid,” Black told WJW.

Seven years ago, Black claims East Cleveland police locked him in a storage closet for four days with no toilet and nothing to eat or drink but a carton of milk.

“I didn’t know if I was ever going to come out of the room. I didn’t know anything. I banged on the door yet the whole police station ignored me,” said Black.

But a jury heard Black’s cries for justice when they awarded him $50 million on Friday after he sued the city of East Cleveland for police misconduct.

“The courage it takes to go to court, testify, be cross examined by the city’s lawyers, be taunted, picked at, it takes a special person to endure all that,” said Bobby Dicello, attorney.

Black says he was wrongly arrested and beaten so severely that he suffered concussions and required brain surgery.

“They literally just kidnapped me off the streets. They never booked me; they put me in a closet until the county came and got me,” said Black.

It’s been a seven-year journey with setbacks.

Back in 2016, a jury awarded him $22 million; however, that award was overturned by an appeals court.

“It was never about the money. I never knew I would get rewarded anything like this period. I just want the world to know what they are doing to me and other people. I would hate to see someone go through what I went through,” said Black.

The city of East Cleveland has already filed a motion requesting a new trial.

 

“Ohio man awarded $50 million in police misconduct lawsuit”, https://wtvr.com/2019/08/14/jury-awards-man-50-million-after-he-says-officers-beat-him-locked-him-in-closet/

California reducing number of School Resource Officers because of “fears of police brutality”

California reducing number of School Resource Officers because of “fears of police brutality”

In yet another stroke of genius that puts California in a group all to itself, the Sacramento City Unified School District voted 6 to 1 this past Thursday night to reduce school resource officers (SROs) on campus.

If only it were merely a budgetary concern. However, school leaders said it was part of a larger discussion about the overall role of officers in a school setting.

The plan calls for reducing school resource officers from eight to three with a police sergeant. It also calls for hiring a director of school safety.

“I think that there is general recognition that we have to do more to think about school safety in a different model than what we’ve had in the past,” said Jessie Ryan, school board president.

Ryan joined members of law enforcement, parents and educators in discussing how to better use the $1.5 million set aside for SROs. Apparently, cutting the number of available officers is the best way to spend that money.

According to Sacramento’s ABC10, the other objectives include:

  • Training for existing staff, including, but not limited to, implicit bias and restorative practices that focus on building a stronger positive school climate and developing stronger supports for students by caring district and site staff;
  • Identifying and seeking increased funding for mental health support to students; focusing on the role of site administrators as the primary contact on discipline matters;
  • Eliminating school-based assignments for SROs;
  • Centralized data monitoring where non-school site SROs’ assistance is requested and provided;
  • Building more robust processes and procedures pertaining to comprehensive school safety plans, emergency drills, and related policies and protocols through the development of a broad work group; and engaging students and families in the planning and monitoring of school safety investments.

It would be very difficult to have school-based assignments when you consider that they are only going to have three SROs for 70 campuses.

“I’m not sure how you take three people and divide them amongst 70 plus school sites,” said Rosemont High School science teacher Julie Snider. “I’m just not sure how that’s supposed to work. To me, we need to stick with what is tried and true and with what we know to be working. Both staff and parents and the community at large is being blindsided. There has not been a general announcement about this policy change.”

And in a statement that you probably saw coming, Carl Pinkston of the School Resource Officer Coalition stated:

“One of the challenges is that in urban areas where there are predominantly Black and Latino students, we are overly policed, which creates a pipeline to prison.”

He believes there is a role for police on school campuses in cases of “really egregious crimes that take place and impacts the campus.”

But when that really “egregious” act takes place, what are 3 SROs going to do? There will be very little they can do, as they are not likely to be on the campus when it happens. It would be nearly impossible when each officer is assigned 23 campuses.

Snider said she feels the school resource officer is an important part of life on campus.

“He councils potential runaways. He talks with kids who are becoming suicidal. He does a lot of things that are above and beyond what you would think a police officer would do,” she explained.

Snider’s wife said with all the recent mass shootings, removing officers from campuses seems ill-advised.

“And to all of a sudden remove that, not have anybody there as a buffer so that people think twice about their behavior, just seems rather ludicrous at this day and time,” she said.

In sentiment that similarly reflects Pinkston’s, a representative of the district said that some have complained that armed uniform officers on campus have made them feel uneasy, especially among minority students.

The alternative district safety plan states the presence of a police officer on campus causes concern due to reports across the country of alleged police brutality.

What are leaders in Sacramento thinking?

In Nebraska this February, a bill was introduced by Omaha Senator Ernie Chambers that would ban police officers from being school resource officers.

It’s mind boggling.

The bill specifies that peace officers actively employed by a law enforcement agency wouldn’t be allowed to serve as a school resource officer.

Now in case you started thinking this has something to do with budgets – it doesn’t.  It has to do with race.

Chambers says that SRO programs “disproportionately impact students of color and those with disabilities”, creating the same “toxic, discriminatory impact” found in society at large.

That’s right.  He’s essentially saying that SROs are racist at their core and so is all of society.

“It is counterproductive to the purpose and goals of education and its processes, to convert conduct that in the past was handled within the school context, into a basis for arrest and entanglement in the court system with the possibility of being locked up,” he said.

The bill wouldn’t apply to a peace officer responding to a safety threat at a school or providing security for an extracurricular event.

Not that it’s a surprise, but Rose Godinez, representing the ACLU of Nebraska, spoke in favor of the bill. Try and follow her logic here.  We sure can’t.

She says that diverse communities tend to have more school resources officers, and that somehow leads to a disproportionate impact on students of color.

“While adding police officers in schools may be well intentioned, educators and policymakers are overlooking the harmful and disparate educational impacts that harsh discipline … can have [on students],” Godinez said. “LB589 ends the routine policing of school which criminalizes everyday behaviors.”

Harsh discipline is now apparently a bad thing.  Perhaps a better approach would be letting kids run schools and inmates run prisons.

As you might imagine, the chief of police in Hastings is adamantly opposed to the bill, arguing it would have a significant and negative impact on the safety and education of students in Nebraska schools.

“Within our nation there has been a dramatic increase in recent years with tragic events in schools,” he said. “Being present within our schools helps us to prevent [these events] and take immediate action to ensure the safety of our students and staff.”

The committee bill was up for discussion on February 14, but they took no immediate action on the bill.

One has to wonder… how did we get to this point?  How is it that the moment there’s a school shooting, it’s blamed on guns?  But when we have opportunities to put in place safety measures to protect children and teachers, it’s somehow racist?

Why aren’t we having a conversation about how parents don’t discipline their children anymore and it’s impacting schools?  Why aren’t we talking about the cultural and socio-economic differences in various communities and how they play a role in creating violent offenders regardless of race?

The Senator isn’t making an argument based on stats or data.  As a matter of fact, the data would suggest he is flat out wrong.  Let’s look, for example, at some recent numbers about police-involved shootings.

According to 2016 FBI data, black men commit murder 572.8% more than white men.  Rapes are committed at a level of 146.1% greater, robbery at 617.9% greater, aggravated assault at 203.3% greater and violent crime in total at 263.6% greater.

Now let’s look at 2018 Police Deadly Use of Force data.

In 2018 there were a total of 998 Police Deadly Use Of Force incidents. Of these incidents, 95.3% of suspects were armed:

  • Gun – 555
  • Knife – 185
  • Replica weapon – 33
  • Vehicle – 38
  • Other – 105
  • Unknown – 35
  • Unarmed – 47

Of the 47 (4.7%) that were “unarmed”:

  • White – 23
  • Black – 18
  • Hispanic – 6

Note: In almost half of the cases (22) where the suspect was unarmed, non-lethal force was attempted & failed prior to the use of deadly Force.

Of the 998 total Police Deadly Use of Force, here is the breakdown by Race & Age:

Race

  • White – 456
  • Black – 229
  • Hispanic – 165
  • Other – 41
  • Unknown – 107

Age

  • Under 18- 15
  • 18 to 29- 286
  • 30 to 44- 379
  • Over 45- 253
  • Unknown- 65

Wait a minute.  Stop the train.  In 2018, more white people were shot and killed by police than black, Hispanic and other ethnicities COMBINED?

But… how can that be? This doesn’t seem to fit the argument of Omaha Senator Ernie Chambers or the countless others (including those kneeling in front of the flag), who allege that cops are disproportionately shooting black men.

If we’re going to have a serious conversation about “police brutality” in America, let’s do it.  But let’s base it on facts and data, not “feelings”.  And let’s not start by putting our kids at risk by removing the protectors who are working to keep them safe.

LET Unity

Kyle S. Reyes | Aug 18, 2019 , “California reducing number of School Resource Officers because of “fears of police brutality””, https://www.lawenforcementtoday.com/california-reducing-number-of-school-resource-officers-because-of-fears-of-police-brutality/

New California law tightens rules for police use of force to only when necessary

Eric Garner’s cry of “I can’t breathe” became a battle cry for the Black Lives Matter movement against police brutality. USA TODAY

California has adopted one of the nation’s strictest laws regulating police use of force, hoping it will deter shootings by law enforcement agents.

Gov. Gavin Newsom on Monday signed Assembly Bill 392, which changes the standard for police officers’ justified use of deadly force from instances when it’s “reasonable’’ to when it’s “necessary.’’

The law redefines when police can resort to deadly force “based on the totality of the circumstances’’ and encourages the use of de-escalation techniques and crisis-intervention methods.

“We are doing something today that stretches the boundary of possibility and sends a message to people all across this country that they can do more and they can do better to meet this moment,” Newsom said as he stood alongside family members of people killed by police.

Modifications to the previous law, advocated by activist groups like Black Lives Matter, were prompted by officer-involved shootings such as the March 2018 killing of Stephon Clark, an unarmed black man gunned down outside his grandparents’ house in the state capital of Sacramento when police mistook his cellphone for a firearm.

Newsom said the new law will reduce the number of lives lost and begin to heal communities.

The measure by Democratic Assemblywoman Shirley Weber of San Diego, which initially met fierce resistance from law enforcement organizations, made it through the state Legislature with bipartisan support after it was amended to address police concerns.

The law still contains the strongest language of any state, according to the American Civil Liberties Union, which proposed the bill and negotiated the changes.

Weber said the law “changes the culture of policing in California.” It is linked to a pending Senate bill requiring that officers be trained in de-escalating confrontations and finding alternatives to using lethal force.

Newsom’s signature on the new California law comes on the same day the New York Police Department announced the firing of Daniel Pantaleo, the officer who put petty-crime suspect Eric Garner in a chokehold that contributed to his death in July 2014. Garner’s repeated cries of “I can’t breathe’’ as he gasped for air became a rallying cry in the movement against police brutality.

Similarly, Clark’s death at 22 precipitated major protests and demands for changes and a higher level of police accountability. The officers who shot him were ruled to have acted lawfully and were not disciplined.

Joy Johnson, a pastor who leads a faith-based advocacy organization in Sacramento, was among those who commemorated the anniversary of Clark’s death in March while pushing for a legal change.

“We’re trying to raise the public’s consciousness to see that, if you say you followed the law to the letter and the law says it’s justifiable to take the life of an unarmed person, then we believe the law needs reexamining,’’ she said.

On Monday, the law’s reexamination resulted in a significant change.

 

Jorge L. Ortiz, USA TODAY, Aug. 19, 2019, “New California law tightens rules for police use of force to only when necessary”, https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2019/08/19/police-shootings-new-california-law-raises-standard-use-force/2054368001/

Retired cop explains what his job taught him about police brutality

August 20, 2019

In this week’s episode of “Professional Confessional,” retired police officer and author of “Police Brutality Matters” Joseph Ested shares some secrets behind one of the world’s most dangerous jobs. Hear about his split-second decision that saved a life and why he believes patience is the key behind every successful pursuit. The former officer also shares his ideas on how he thinks the nation can lessen the strong divide that currently exists between the public and police, including the importance of taking accountability for “bad policing.”

 

August 20, 2019, NY Post, “Retired cop explains what his job taught him about police brutality”, https://nypost.com/video/retired-cop-explains-what-his-job-taught-him-about-police-brutality/

The NYPD Still Thinks Eric Garner Shares Responsibility for His Own Death

Former-NYPD Officer Daniel Pantaleo.

Former NYPD Officer Daniel Pantaleo. Photo: Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/AP/Shutterstock

Daniel Pantaleo, the New York City police officer who killed Eric Garner in 2014, was fired on Monday. The announcement from Commissioner James P. O’Neill resolves a crucial aspect of the fight over the 34-year-old’s fate, which drew renewed attention last month when New York mayor Bill de Blasio, a candidate for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, was greeted at a nationally televised debate by protesters chanting, “Fire Pantaleo!

It’s been a costly process in all respects: The five years since Garner’s death have seen his friend Ramsey Orta, who filmed the killing and distributed the footage, harassed by police and sent to jail in what many saw as retaliation; his daughter, Erica Garner, dead of a heart attack at age 27, having become an outspoken activist for police accountability after her father’s death; and Garner’s family receiving a $5.9 million wrongful-death settlement from the city — the payment of which Ed Mullins, head of the Sergeants Benevolent Association, derided as “obscene” and “shameful” in its tacit indulgence of a man who “repeatedly chose to break the law and resist arrest.”

But until now, accountability for the perpetrator remained elusive. Pantaleo was confined to desk duty but faced no other administrative repercussions. He was still being paid upward of $100,000 annually as the police department mulled and stalled on holding disciplinary hearings and William Barr’s Justice Department announced it would not file civil-rights charges against him. Yet even as O’Neill’s decision was widely and preemptively affirmed — including by Judge Rosemarie Maldonado, who wrote after a June departmental trial that Pantaleo had lied about using an illegal chokehold on Garner — it was still a grudging one, at times veering perilously close to blaming the victim. That the commissioner spent a significant portion of Monday’s press conference suggesting that Garner might still be alive had he been in better shape and not protested his arrest conveys that, for him, the person most responsible for the 43-year-old’s violent demise is still a subject of dispute.

“It is unlikely that Mr. Garner thought he was in such poor health that a brief struggle with the police would cause his death,” O’Neill said, alluding to Garner’s weight and asthma. “He should’ve decided against resisting arrest, but a man with family lost his life, and that is an irreversible tragedy.” He added that Pantaleo has suffered as well. “[A] hardworking police officer with a family, a man that took this job to do good, to make a difference in his home community, has now lost his chosen career. And that is a different kind of tragedy.” O’Neill also framed Garner’s death as a cautionary tale — not about the dangers of hair-trigger police, but the perils of questioning their authority: “The street is never the place to argue the appropriateness of an arrest,” he said. “That is what our courts are for.”

Taken together, this framing gives the impression that blame for Garner’s death is shared between him and the man who killed him — as if being choked to death by a police officer was, at its core, a matter of one’s personal health or physical fitness. “Every time I watch that video, I say to myself, as probably all of you do, to Mr. Garner, ‘Don’t do it. Comply,’” said O’Neill. “To Officer Pantaleo: ‘Don’t do it.’” The reality is that no police officer had to approach Garner that July day in 2014, or to try arresting him for selling loose cigarettes, which he was not actually doing. And nothing about the situation required Pantaleo to wrap his forearm around Garner’s neck and clasp hands, choking him to the ground even as he waved his arms and gasped, “I can’t breathe,” 11 consecutive times.

That the precise chokehold Pantaleo used was banned by the department years ago is almost incidental, but renders the delay with which he was disciplined that much harder to excuse. Still, the narrative persists that Garner played a leading role in his own death, as articulated most bluntly by Pantaleo’s lawyers during the June departmental hearings. “[Garner] died from being morbidly obese,” Stuart London, the police union attorney leading the defense team, claimed in his opening statement, according to the Washington Post. “He was a ticking time bomb that resisted arrest. If he was put in a bear hug, it would have been the same outcome.”

There’s no evidence to suggest that this is true, and yet it’s not a surprising claim: The same ethos informs rationales for police killings of black men and boys in plenty of other cases. Whether it’s being too overweight, too asthmatic, or in cases like those of Mike Brown and Terrence Crutcher, respectively, too “demon”-like or “bad”-looking, the go-to narrative is that these victims are primarily responsible for their own deaths, a claim that serves the added function of relieving police of total culpability. This is part of the process by which officers are regularly exonerated for wrongdoing. According to CNN, citing data compiled by Bowling Green University criminal-justice professor Philip Stinson, who tracks police misconduct convictions, just 80 officers nationwide were charged with murder or manslaughter for killing someone while on duty between 2005 and 2017, and only 35 percent of those were convicted.

Pantaleo has thus far avoided criminal indictment locally, a civil-rights case federally, and still may face no criminal charges at all — a record of evasion unblemished until his firing today, and aided further by the narrative that Garner played a major role in his own killing. That O’Neill trafficked in this delusion at Monday’s press conference is not just irresponsible. It demonstrates how Garner’s death (and its fallout) was not the product of individual misconduct alone, but of a system designed to protect that individual even in the course of rebuking him.

“The NYPD Still Thinks Eric Garner Shares Responsibility for His Own Death”,

https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2019/08/pantaleo-garner-share-blame.html

Video shows Colorado Springs police shoot De’Von Bailey in the back as he runs away

Police yelled “Hands up! Hands up!” before shooting multiple times

PUBLISHED:  | UPDATED: 

Colorado Springs police have released body camera video that shows two officers shooting 19-year-old De’Von Bailey in the back as he ran from them, ignoring their commands to put his hands up.

The graphic footage from two officers’ body cameras shows Bailey fall to the pavement, weakly attempt to raise his right hand up above his head as blood poured from gunshot wounds on his back and pooled on the street.

Bailey soon collapsed and moaned as officers handcuffed him. He died later after being transported to a hospital.

The Colorado Springs Police Department on Thursday released the video of the Aug. 3 officer-involved shooting along with audio from a 911 call that led to the police encounter with Bailey. The El Paso County Sheriff’s Office said Thursday it had concluded its investigation into the shooting and had turned over findings to the Fourth Judicial District Attorney’s Office, which includes El Paso County.

The Fourth Judicial District Attorney’s Office said in a series of tweets Thursday afternoon that it was committed to a “thorough, fair and neutral review” of the case. The office’s prosecutors could conduct follow-up interviews as well as additional testing and examination of evidence. Police shooting investigations typically take 90 to 120 days, the tweet said.

The DA’s office could determine the shooting was justified, file charges or refer the case to a grand jury, the tweet said.

The shooting has been controversial, and the Bailey family and their supporters have held demonstrations outside the police department’s headquarters to demand an independent investigation into the shooting. They have said the El Paso county sheriff and district attorney’s office cannot conduct an impartial investigation because they work closely with each other on other criminal investigations. They also had called on police to release the body camera footage.

“It is released at this time at the assurance of the investigative agency that doing so will not likely impede the investigation,” the department said in a news release Thursday.

The El Paso County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the officer-involved shooting.

Denver attorneys Darold Killmer and Mari Newman released a statement Thursday afternoon on behalf of Bailey’s family.

“The family is devastated at having seen this evidence of the wholly unjustified killing of their beloved family member,” the statement said. “Since the wake for De’Von Bailey is today and the funeral is tomorrow, and given the circumstances, the parents of De’Von will not be available for public comment today, as they are grieving and attending to the burial of their son.”

The statement also said that U.S. and Colorado laws prohibit law enforcement officers from shooting and killing a fleeing suspect unless the officer has probable cause to believe the suspect is imminently about to kill or seriously injure the officer or someone else.

“The video evidence released today demonstrates that De’Von was not presenting any threat to the officers who shot and killed him while he attempted to flee,” the statement said. “In addition, there is not a shred of evidence that De’Von presented an imminent threat or risk that he was imminently about to use a gun to harm anyone else. Instead, it is clear that he was merely trying to get away from the situation.”

Colorado Springs police identified the officers who fired their handguns at Bailey as Sgt. Alan Van’t Land and Officer Blake Evenson. Van’t Land has been on the police force since 2008. Evenson started working at the department in 2012.

The fact that Bailey was running with his back turned to police will be a factor in whether prosecutors charge the officers in the case, but the district attorney’s office will have to look at other information as well, said Stan Garnett, the former district attorney for Boulder County. In his nearly 10 years in the role, he examined 26 fatal shootings by police for potential criminal charges and did not file charges in any, he said.

“The law is very favorable to law enforcement,” he said.

The Colorado Springs district attorney also will evaluate what the officers knew at the time of the shooting, how they perceived the level of danger to themselves and others, the severity of the crime they were investigating and whether they had any knowledge of Bailey prior to the fatal encounter, Garnett said.

Videos of police shootings often evoke deep emotional reactions, he said, but the video is only part of the evidence that will be examined.

“The issue is going to be how did all of this appear to the officers,” he said.

After prosecutors make their decision whether to file criminal charges, the Colorado Springs Police Department will evaluate whether the officers followed the department’s use-of-force policy. The policy emphasizes de-escalation tactics and states that officers should warn a person of impending use of physical force when possible. The policy also states officers can use deadly force to prevent the escape of a person suspected of committing a felony with a deadly weapon.

Officers Van’t Land and Evenson were investigating a report of an armed robbery when they contacted Bailey.

The 911 recordings and body camera video provide second-by-second details of what happened.

The incident began with a 911 call to police by a robbery victim outside a nursing home on the 2300 block of East Fountain Boulevard. “I was walking down the street, and some men just confronted me …” a man told the 911 operator.

Two black men had asked him what was in his pockets and he had told them he didn’t have anything. Then, one of the suspects began hitting him and the other man pulled out a gun that looked like a Glock 23, the caller said. They took his wallet.

The 911 caller told the dispatcher he knew the suspects and that they still were in the area. He described one as a 19-year-old man with an afro and a goatee who went by the nickname “Spazz.” The other man was heavy set, he said. .

Body camera video then shows Van’t Land driving up to two men on a street and telling the dispatcher, “I’ve got two that may match the description …”

The sergeant jumped out of his patrol car and said “Hey guys, can I talk to you a sec?”

Bailey, wearing black shorts and shirt, and another larger man wearing a red T-shirt, walked slowly toward Van’t Land.

“All right. What’s going on today? What are your names? All right,” Van’t Land said. “So, we got a contact that, uh – keep your hands out of your pockets.”

“Oh, sorry,” Bailey replied. Van’t Land explains that police had just received a call about an assault. “Oh, I didn’t touch him,” Bailey said.

The sergeant asked for his name, and Bailey replied, “De’Von.” Bailey denied that his nickname was “Spazz.”

“Put your hands up for me a sec,” the sergeant repeated. “Put your hands up. So we got a report of two people of similar descriptions, possibly having a gun, all right. So don’t reach for your waists. So we’re just going to check and make sure you don’t have a weapon, all right?”

As Officer Evenson could be seen walking behind Bailey, the teen suddenly jumped and ran away.

“Hands up. Hands up. Hands up,” Van’t Land yelled. Bailey ignored the orders and kept running away. Within moments gunshots could be heard in rapid succession. Bailey fell to his butt as an officer continued yelling, “Hands up. Hands up. Hands up.”

Bailey weakly lifted his right hand and then rolled onto his stomach. He was bleeding from wounds on the left side of his back.  Police handcuffed him. The officers found a handgun in his shorts, but had to cut off his shorts to secure it.

Reporter Elise Schmelzer contributed to this story.


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Video shows Colorado Springs police shoot De’Von Bailey in the back as he runs away

The NYPD Finally Fired the Cop Who Killed Eric Garner — but the Police Reaction Shows How Little Will Change

Natasha Lennard, August 20 2019, 9:30 a.m.

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - MAY 21: Gwen Carr, mother of Eric Garner, joins others during a news conference outside of Police Headquarters in Manhattan to protest during the police disciplinary hearing for Officer Daniel Pantaleo, who was accused of recklessly using a chokehold that led to Eric Garner’s death during an arrest in July 2014 on May 21, 2019 in New York City. Last week text messages between police officers revealed a response from Police Lt. Christopher Bannon stating that Garner’s death was “Not a big deal.”  (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - MAY 21: Gwen Carr, mother of Eric Garner, joins others during a news conference outside of Police Headquarters in Manhattan to protest during the police disciplinary hearing for Officer Daniel Pantaleo, who was accused of recklessly using a chokehold that led to Eric Garner’s death during an arrest in July 2014 on May 21, 2019 in New York City. Last week text messages between police officers revealed a response from Police Lt. Christopher Bannon stating that Garner’s death was “Not a big deal.”  (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Eric Garner’s mother Gwen Carr joins others during a news conference outside of New York Police Department Headquarters in Manhattan to protest during the disciplinary hearing for Officer Daniel Pantaleo in New York City on May 21, 2019.

Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

FOR FIVE YEARS, the public — along with the New York Police Department itself — has known that Officer Daniel Pantaleo killed Eric Garner on a Staten Island street corner using a prohibited chokehold maneuver. We have known, for all those years, that Garner called out, “I can’t breathe,” 11 times before he could take no more breaths. A deputy police commissioner, acting as a judge in Pantaleo’s department trial this year, wrote in her opinion that the officer had been “untruthful” and that fellow cops who testified in his defense were “unhelpful and unreliable.”

Pantaleo’s long overdue firing is scant justice for a life so callously and brutally ended.

Pantaleo deserved at the very least to be fired and lose his pension. This simple fact has long been established but was only officially recognized by the police department on Monday. In a press conference, Police Commissioner James O’Neill announced, “In this case, the unintended consequence of Mr. Garner’s death must have a consequence of its own. Therefore, I agree with the Deputy Commissioner of Trial’s legal findings and recommendations. It is clear that Daniel Pantaleo can no longer effectively serve as a New York City Police Officer.”

Pantaleo’s long overdue firing is scant justice for a life so callously and brutally ended. Furthermore, as O’Neill’s specific comments make clear, Monday’s decision will not alter the entrenched police ideology that allows for deaths like Garner’s to proliferate. As a study published this month in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found, black men and boys stand a shocking one in 1,000 chance of dying at the hands of police, making death-by-cop more than twice as likely for them than for white men.

NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 19: New York City Police Commissioner James O'Neill speaks during a press conference to announce the termination of officer Daniel Pantaleo on August 19, 2019 in New York City. Officer Pantaleo has been fired from the NYPD after his involvement in a chokehold related death of Eric Garner in 2014. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 19: New York City Police Commissioner James O'Neill speaks during a press conference to announce the termination of officer Daniel Pantaleo on August 19, 2019 in New York City. Officer Pantaleo has been fired from the NYPD after his involvement in a chokehold related death of Eric Garner in 2014. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

New York City Police Commissioner James O’Neill speaks during a press conference to announce the termination of officer Daniel Pantaleo on August 19, 2019 in New York City.

Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

“TODAY IS A day of reckoning, but can also be a day of reconciliation,” O’Neill said. The rest of his remarks made clear that it will be no such thing. “If I was a cop, I would probably be mad at me,” said O’Neill about the decision to fire Pantaleo. The comment was as grim as it was revealing of the police assumption of impunity in even the gravest cases.

In this case, it was a police officer who deployed a banned, fatal chokehold on an unarmed civilian and was then deemed “disingenuous” by a judge. On cue, the reliably blustering Police Benevolent Association, the largest police union in the city, released a furious statement, accusing the commissioner of siding with “anti-police extremists.” The union has already stated that it will argue for Pantaleo to be able to appeal his termination, as is permitted under New York civil service law. That the officer’s firing would still raise police ire evidences an institution rotten to the core.

That the officer’s firing would still raise police ire evidences an institution rotten to the core.

Anti-racist and anti-police brutality activists have meanwhile stressed how Pantaleo’s dismissal is not only insufficient but a potential boon for a police department seeking absolution through bad-apple narratives. “While Eric Garner’s killer has finally been punished for his actions, albeit not in a court of law, the officers who assisted Pantaleo in aiding his attempted cover up have largely evaded justice,” said Carmen Perez, co-founder of the Women’s March and organizer for the #ICantBreathe campaign, in a statement. “Today is a sad day, because the firing of a dishonest officer provides cover to the NYPD to continue resisting our continued calls for more accountability and transparency.”

Indeed, the commissioner’s speech was littered with false equivalences worthy of Donald Trump comparing far-right violence and far-left protest. O’Neill called Garner’s death an “irreversible tragedy” but then added that “a hard-working police officer with a family and a man that took this job to do good, to make a difference in his home community has now lost his chosen career. And that is a different kind of tragedy.”

O’NEILL WENT SO far as to direct blame at the deceased Garner. “He should have decided against resisting arrest,” O’Neill said, adding, “It is unlikely that Mr. Garner thought he was in such poor health that a brief struggle with the police would lead to his death.” Such a diminishment of the NYPD’s violence and racist targeting, which are the only causes of Garner’s death, betrays how little justice is being delivered with Pantaleo’s minor punishment.

 

The police commissioner’s comments and the police union’s fervid response together send a message from behind the thin blue line that those hoping to see serious change in New York policing and beyond should take to heart. The commissioner showed undue, albeit unsurprising, sympathy for the killer cop, and the police union nonetheless accused O’Neill of politicized, anti-police bias. In 2014, hundreds of NYPD officers, led by the PBA, showed similar belligerence when they turned their back on New York Mayor Bill de Blasio during a murdered cop’s funeral. In the wake of major protests following Garner’s death and the decision not to indict Pantaleo, the mayor had called for minor policing reforms. In response, the union claimed that its officers were under attack by city politicians.

To call the firing of an officer like Pantaleo an act of “anti-police extremism” shows once again that the suggestion of even minor policing reform when it comes to deadly racist practices will be met with screeching resistance. If police impunity accorded by the legal system is a problem, then the fraternal culture of reactionary defensiveness is a corollary obstacle to anything like justice. And lest we forget, the cops who stood by while Pantaleo choked the life from Eric Garner and the officers who tried to cover for the killer in court continue to patrol our streets.

 

Natasha Lennard, August 20 2019,, the intercept, “The NYPD Finally Fired the Cop Who Killed Eric Garner — but the Police Reaction Shows How Little Will Change”, https://theintercept.com/2019/08/20/nypd-eric-garner-daniel-pantaleo/

Ex-Lansing officer pleads no contest to sex assault charges

Lansing – A former police officer has pleaded no contest to charges that he attempted to kiss and molest three girls at a Lansing high school and in his patrol vehicle.

Matthew Priebe will be sentenced in October on criminal sexual conduct, assault and battery and other charges.

Priebe was jailed Monday following his plea. A no-contest plea isn’t an admission of guilt but is treated as such at sentencing.

Priebe was a resource officer with Lansing schools. The victims were between 14 and 17 at the time of the assaults which took place over a three-year period. He resigned in June after 10 years with the Lansing Police Department.

The Lansing State Journal reports that prosecutors said not more than 12 months in jail is the recommended sentence. Priebe also will have to register as a sex offender.

Associated Press, Aug. 13, 2019, “Ex-Lansing officer pleads no contest to sex assault charges”, https://www.detroitnews.com/story/news/local/michigan/2019/08/13/former-lansing-police-officer-contest-assaulting-teens/39949187/