Houston officer kills unarmed man walking with trousers down

28 March 2018

https://www.bbc.com/news/av/embed/p062lw9q/43574249

Media captionVideo shows unarmed man before fatal shooting

A US police officer shot dead an unarmed man walking in traffic with his trousers down, and his family says it looks like “premeditated murder”.

Police dashcam video shows Danny Ray Thomas, 34, walking towards the officer on a road in Houston, Texas, last Thursday before a gunshot rings out.

Deputy Cameron Brewer repeatedly shouts “get down on the ground” before firing.

Mr Thomas’ family say he suffered from depression after his children died.

His sister, Kita Thomas-Smith, attended a Houston City Council meeting on Tuesday where she tearfully urged politicians do to something about “police brutality”.

Mayor Sylvester Turner told her: “I certainly feel your pain. We are certainly sorry for any life that is taken.”

Outside city hall, Ms Thomas-Smith told the Houston Chronicle of the dashcam video. “It feels like premeditated murder.

“He was clearly walking, not running, toward the deputy not trying to hurt or harm him.”

Deputy Brewer, who had a Taser with him, has been placed on administrative leave as police investigate the shooting.

Houston Police Department said in a statement last week that Mr Thomas was found “walking in the middle of the intersection” of a busy road in the city.

Deputy Brewer noticed him with “his pants around his ankles, talking to himself and hitting vehicles as they passed by”.

“Thomas then struck a white vehicle, and the driver exited and engaged in a physical altercation with the suspect,” Houston police said.

The Harris County Sheriff’s deputy saw the fracas and stopped his car to intervene.

“Fearing for his safety, the deputy discharged his duty weapon, striking Thomas once in the chest,” said Houston police, which is leading the investigation.

In a different video taken by a bystander and published by the Chronicle last week, onlookers at a bus stop are heard laughing as they predict the officer will use a stun gun on the jaywalker.

“He’s about to get tased,” says Kaaryn Young as she films.

Gunfire rings out.

She is heard asking in disbelief: “He shot that man?

“He should have gotten tased!

“He shouldn’t have shot that man in the street.”

According to relatives, Mr Thomas’ partner murdered his two children in 2016.

She is awaiting trial for the deaths, which happened while Mr Thomas was in prison serving a three-year drug-related sentence.

28 March 2018, BBC, “Houston officer kills unarmed man walking with trousers down”, https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-43574249

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20 Shots in Sacramento: Stephon Clark Killing Reignites a Furor

Hundreds of people filled Sacramento City Hall to protest the killing of Stephon Clark, who was shot by police officers who mistook his cellphone for a gun.CreditCreditMax Whittaker for The New York Times

By Jose A. Del Real, March 28, 2018

 

SACRAMENTO — Two police officers, 10 minutes, 20 bullets. Another young black man dead, this time in his grandmother’s backyard in California’s capital.

In the 10 days since Stephon Clark, 22, was fatally shot by officers investigating a vandalism complaint in his south Sacramento neighborhood, protesters have stormed City Hall and taken to the streets in anger. In a city that is mostly white and Latino, the killing, they say, is a sign of a police force that treats black residents with disdain and unfairly targets their neighborhoods.

Questions about excessive force hover over the case. A police helicopter was sent to a routine call. Officers fired 20 times at Mr. Clark. The police have also been accused of not giving Mr. Clark, who was unarmed, enough time to put his hands up and of waiting too long to call for medical help.

Adding to the scrutiny is the fact that the police muted their body cameras in the minutes after the shooting and can be seen on camera talking animatedly while Mr. Clark lay dead on the ground.

Stevante Clark, the brother of Stephon Clark, at the Sacramento district attorney’s office on Wednesday. Stephon was shot by officers responding to a vandalism call.CreditMax Whittaker for The New York Times
Image
Stevante Clark, the brother of Stephon Clark, at the Sacramento district attorney’s office on Wednesday. Stephon was shot by officers responding to a vandalism call.CreditMax Whittaker for The New York Times

The shooting has reignited the kind of protests against police killings that spread over the past several years in cities like Ferguson, Mo.; Baton Rouge, La.; and Milwaukee. Last week, protesters here shut down traffic on Interstate 5 and blocked the doors to a Sacramento Kings basketball game.

“Everybody knows that we’re getting killed regularly out here; that’s the buildup to this,” said Tanya Faison, who founded the local chapter of Black Lives Matter.

The mood was decidedly hopeful in August, when Daniel Hahn took over the Police Department as the first black police chief. Mr. Hahn defended his department in an interview on Wednesday and said that every officer had undergone training to discourage race-based discrimination, as well as de-escalation training. Though he said he could not discuss the case, he acknowledged: “Race permeates everything we do in our country. To think anything else would be naïve.”

Mr. Hahn said he had asked Xavier Becerra, the California attorney general, for help with the case. Mr. Becerra announced on Tuesday that the state’s Justice Department would join the investigation.

Local clergy and community members linked hands after a City Council meeting on Tuesday.CreditMax Whittaker for The New York Times
Image
Local clergy and community members linked hands after a City Council meeting on Tuesday.CreditMax Whittaker for The New York Times

The case began with a report of property damage. On the evening of March 18, two officers from the Sacramento Police Department were dispatched to investigate a complaint that someone was breaking vehicle windows.

A helicopter from the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department was also hovering over the scene looking for a potential suspect when it identified a man with a crowbar heading toward a nearby house.

A few minutes after responding to the call, with the apparent guidance from the sheriff’s helicopter, the city police officers spotted Mr. Clark, who they said ran from them. They followed him into the backyard and ordered him to show his hands, police video shows. Seconds later, in the dark, one officer shouted, “gun, gun, gun, gun!” and they shot 20 times at Mr. Clark. The officers believed Mr. Clark had a weapon and opened fire “fearing for their lives,” according to a police statement.

The entire encounter lasted roughly 10 minutes. The officers looked for a gun but all they found was a cellphone.

2:20How Stephon Clark Was Killed by Police in His Backyard
Stephon Clark, a 22-year-old unarmed man, was shot by the police in his grandmother’s backyard in Sacramento on March 18. Police body camera and helicopter footage shows details of what happened.CreditCreditSacramento Police Department

Minutes later more officers arrived and the team handcuffed Mr. Clark, who lay mortally wounded.

As other officers arrived, the two involved in the shooting muted the audio feeds to their body cameras. One of the officers was black and the other was white. They are both on paid leave, Mr. Hahn said.

Timothy Davis, president of the Sacramento Police Officers Association, called the event a tragedy and voiced his support for the officers involved. “No police officer ever wants to have to take a life,” Mr. Davis said. “Our officers are out there serving this community, leaving their family behind to serve this community.”

It remains unclear if the decision to mute the cameras went against official protocol, but the act alone has prompted intense suspicion. The Clark family’s lawyer, Benjamin Crump, said that the move “reeks of impropriety” and that the Police Department was trying to cover something up. Mr. Crump represented the families of Trayvon Martin, who was shot by a neighborhood watch volunteer in 2012, and Michael Brown, killed by the police in Ferguson two years later.

Mr. Hahn said that the department could not explain why the officers muted their cameras, but that the officers’s actions were under investigation. The department had been considering banning muting cameras outright before Mr. Clark was shot, he said.

Black Lives Upended by Policing: The Raw Videos Sparking Outrage

This is a collection of the viral footage that has prompted a national conversation about race and policing.

“In their training they are told a couple different instances when they can mute their body cameras. The bigger ongoing question that we are already looking into and revising our policy is: Are those reasons acceptable?” Mr. Hahn said. “Should we continue to allow people to mute those cameras for those reasons?”

Dozens attended the wake for Mr. Clark on Wednesday and hundreds are expected to attend his funeral on Thursday, including activists from outside the city and from the Black Lives Matters movement, including the Rev. Al Sharpton. More vigils and protests are planned in cities across the country in the coming days.

Anger over Mr. Clark’s death has not let up in the days since the shooting. For four hours on Tuesday night hundreds of residents gathered at a Sacramento City Council meeting to complain that Mr. Clark’s death was just the latest in a long list of injustices against the black residents.

Late last year, a young black man was punched by a county police officer repeatedly during a jaywalking stop. Video of the attack attracted widespread attention on social media and the county later settled a lawsuit in response.

On Tuesday, speakers cried as they described the poverty and increasing income inequality between wealthy parts of Sacramento and its poorer neighborhoods.

Just beyond the council chamber’s doors, angry protesters took over City Hall’s main lobby and in one instance skirmished with police officers. “You shoot us down, we shut you down!” they chanted. Later, they blocked entry to another Sacramento Kings game.

Ms. Faison said the body-camera video of Mr. Clark’s death, which the police released in the days after the shooting, painted a damning portrait of the police.

“That’s just disgusting, honestly. That video. I don’t even know. I feel like they started shooting before they even looked at him. It looked like they were coming around the corner shooting and he was walking toward them to see what the noise was,” she said. “Why would you fly a helicopter for someone breaking into cars?”

Mayor Darrell Steinberg of Sacramento, who has received the brunt of the criticism and led the council meeting, said in an interview Wednesday that he was sympathetic to the complaints and that people of color in Sacramento have genuine grievances about the police.

“Regardless of the outcome of the investigation, which will be based on the current laws and the current policies and the current training, what happened here, the outcome, was plain wrong,” he said. “A 22-year-old man should not have died in this way.”

Jose A. Del Real, March 28, 2018, NYTimes, 20 Shots in Sacramento: Stephon Clark Killing Reignites a Furor”, https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/28/us/sacramento-stephon-clark.html

Phoenix man paralyzed by police shooting makes claim of brutality

Attorney Tom Horne speaks during a Sept. 24, 2018, press conference with client Edward Brown, who was was left paralyzed after being shot by a Phoenix Police officer Aug. 5, 2018. (KTAR Photo/Ali Vetnar)

https://omny.fm/shows/ktar-reporter-audio/edward-brown-shooting/embed?style=cover

PHOENIX — On Aug. 5, 36-year-old Edward Brown was shot in the back by a Phoenix Police officer, leaving him paralyzed.

At a press conference Monday, Brown, who is black, claimed he was a victim of police brutality and excessive force because of his race.

Brown was joined by his attorney, former Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne, and Phoenix civil rights activist Rev. Jarrett Maupin.

The police report on the incident indicated that Brown was shot after attempting to grab an officer’s gun near Glenrosa and 22nd avenues after police attempted to stop him when they received a call for suspicious activity involving drugs.

Brown and his representatives said there are errors and inconsistencies in the police description of the shooting.

The report said Brown ran through the yards of several homes before reaching a fence he couldn’t hop over. When the officer drew his gun from about 20 feet away, the report said, Brown ran at the officer.

The report said as Brown approached the officer he “swiped” at the gun, and the officer indicated he felt the tip of his gun get hit. That is when he stepped back and fired, striking Brown one time.

Brown admitted to running from police because he has a felony warrant, according to the report. However, the report said, Brown denied running toward the officer or attempting to grab his gun. He also indicated the marijuana was planted by the officer.

“If Edward had been trying to take a gun from the police officer as has been alleged in the publicity that has come from the police department, he would have been shot in the front, not in the back,” Horne said during the press conference.

He was charged with aggravated assault on an officer and possession of marijuana.

Maupin displayed a medical marijuana card that he said belonged to Brown and was in effect at the time of the shooting.

Brown’s family plans to hold a protest outside City Hall on Friday night. Brown wants all charges dropped and is planning a lawsuit.

When reached, the Phoenix Police Department said it does not comment on cases pending litigation.

ALI VETNAR, SEPTEMBER 24, 2018, “Phoenix man paralyzed by police shooting makes claim of brutality”, http://ktar.com/story/2232585/phoenix-man-paralyzed-by-police-shooting-makes-claim-of-brutality/

Dallas Police shooting illustrates dangers of police brutality and victim blaming

Guyger+was+charged+with+manslaughter+and+was+later+released+on+bond.

Guyger was charged with manslaughter and was later released on bond.

Carrie Pommerening,

 

Dallas police officer Amber Guyger’s story sounds like a dark plot of a Saturday Night Live skit, and it contradicts what the neighbors claimed to have heard.

On Sept. 6, Guyger, 30, shot and killed Botham Jean, 26, in his own apartment at South Side Flats.

Guyger claims to have mistaken his apartment for her own, and that the door to the apartment was already open when she tried to insert the key. This made her suspicious. According to Guyger, she didn’t know she was in the wrong apartment until she turned the lights on after shooting Jean from across the room.

According to Lee Merritt, the attorney for Jean’s family, two neighbors heard someone knocking on the door before the shooting. One witness says they heard someone shout “Let me in! Let me in!” Another claims to have heard Jean yell out “Oh my God! Why did you do that?” after hearing shots fired.

It’s sickening to think of the possible reasons why Guyger would want to kill Jean. Family and friends of Jean have spoken highly of his character to the news. Alyssa Kinsey, a neighbor of Jean’s, told CNN that he was a “quiet, friendly and super chill” neighbor. She also said they would “talk about life together, smiling and laughing. He had a huge smile.”

The police wasted no time in trying to find ways to smear this friendly character. According to an article from Fox News, within hours of Jean getting shot, the police asked a judge for a search warrant to search his apartment for drugs and other things. On Thursday, Sept. 13, the results of the search warrant were released. Investigators had found 10.4 grams of marijuana and a marijuana grinder.

Seems like the new way to investigate murder is to criminalize the victim.

This trend of victim-blaming has plagued the justice system. Most of the black men killed by police officers have been criminalized in some way. Back in 2014, the Ferguson police tried to criminalize Michael Brown after he was shot and killed by officer Darren Wilson. According to the New York Times, they claimed that he had stolen cigarettes, and even punched Wilson before being shot. The reports from witnesses say otherwise. How dare victims like Michael Brown get shot? Police only protect and serve, and they never do anything wrong.

How dare Jean get shot in his own home.

The only right thing the police have done in this case was arrest Guyger. If only this didn’t happen three days after the shooting or in another county. This is probably why we haven’t heard about the investigation of claims that Guyger and Jean were previously in a relationship. Even if they start investigating that, they’ll likely point the finger at Jean somehow. Until then, Jean’s family does not know what happened that night, or why Guyger killed their loved one.

Carrie Pommerening, “Dallas Police shooting illustrates dangers of police brutality and victim blaming”, https://www.hilltopviewsonline.com/16205/viewpoints/dallas-police-shooting-illustrates-dangers-of-police-brutality-and-victim-blaming/

 

Elkhart cops to be charged after video shows them beating handcuffed man

Elkhart Police
A still frame from security camera footage of Elkhart Police officers punching a handcuffed man while in their custody.

Two Elkhart police officers who punched a handcuffed man in the face more than 10 times will face criminal charges — 11 months after the fact, and only after the South Bend Tribune requested video of the incident as part of an ongoing investigation with ProPublica.

The two officers, Cory Newland and Joshua Titus, will be charged with misdemeanor counts of battery, the police department announced Friday. Both have been placed on administrative leave pending the case’s outcome, department spokesman Sgt. Travis Snider said.

The department also released video of the beating after 5 p.m. Friday — more than three weeks after The Tribune requested a copy.

Five months ago, the two officers were disciplined for this incident. But they received only reprimands rather than suspensions or possible termination.

Speaking to the city’s civilian oversight commission in June, Police Chief Ed Windbigler said the officers used “a little more force than needed” with a suspect in custody, and “just went a little overboard when they took him to the ground.” But Windbigler offered no other details, saying nothing of the two officers punching the man in the face.

The video was recorded in the police station’s detention area after the Jan. 12 arrest of Mario Guerrero Ledesma, who was 28 at the time. The footage shows Ledesma, in handcuffs, sitting in a chair while Newland, Titus and two other officers stand nearby. At one point, Ledesma prepares to spit at Newland, and the officer warns him not to.

As Ledesma spits, Newland and Titus immediately tackle him, and the back of his head strikes the concrete floor. The two officers then jump on him and punch him in the face repeatedly while one calls him an expletive.

Video: Video: Elkhart cops repeatedly punch handcuffed man in station

The two other officers walk up casually as the punches are being thrown. “Stop,” one can be heard saying, as the beating ends.

Ledesma pleaded guilty in July to charges of domestic battery and resisting law enforcement, and he was sentenced to a year in jail, with 133 days suspended.

The Tribune and the nonprofit news organization ProPublica have been investigating criminal justice in Elkhart County, looking at police accountability, among other issues.

A Tribune reporter requested the Ledesma video after noting a disparity between Windbigler’s public description to the Police Merit Commission — the city panel that exercises civilian oversight — and what the chief wrote in personnel records.

In a June 12 letter of reprimand to Newland, Windbigler wrote: “I completely understand defending yourself during an altercation. However, striking a handcuffed subject in the face is not acceptable and will not be tolerated. We cannot let our emotions direct our reactions or over-reactions to situations such as this.”

Windbigler ended his disciplinary letters, to both Newland and Titus, on an upbeat note: “I consider this matter closed!”

At the June 25 meeting of the Police Merit Commission, chairman James Rieckhoff asked Windbigler if anyone had been injured in this incident.

“No,” Windbigler said.

Windbigler, explaining why he opted for only reprimands, told the commission that Titus “had no previous complaints.” He said of Newland: “Here, again, he had no other incidents in his file, so this is his first incident of any type of force.”

“Any questions on this one?” Rieckhoff asked the commission’s other members.

“Just a comment,” commissioner Thomas Barber said. “I like how you police your own.”

“Yes, sir,” Windbigler said.

On Friday, The Tribune requested an interview with the chief. But Snider, the police spokesman, said the department would have no further comment beyond its announcement of the pending charges. Neither Newland nor Titus immediately returned messages left at their department phone lines. Attempts to reach them at other phone numbers were unsuccessful.

History of misconduct

For Newland, the reprimand was not his first disciplinary incident. It was his ninth, according to personnel records gathered by The Tribune and ProPublica.

After being hired in 2008, Newland was suspended six times and reprimanded twice in his first five years.

In 2009, Newland was “very rude and unprofessional,” using profanity toward a member of the public while responding to a call, personnel records say. The police chief at the time, Dale Pflibsen, suspended Newland for one day. “You have been employed for just over one year and this is not the first allegation of you verbally loosing (sic) control towards the public,” Pflibsen wrote to Newland.

“I want to emphasize we will not tolerate this behavior from you towards anyone,” Pflibsen added. “If you plan on continuing your career at the Elkhart Police Department I suggest you seek counseling for anger management.”

The next year, in 2010, Newland was suspended one day for causing a car crash.

In 2011, Newland received a three-day suspension for conduct unbecoming an officer. After arresting a woman for public nudity — she and her boyfriend were having sex in their car, in

Elkhart’s McNaughton park — Newland sent her a friend request on Facebook and seven text messages, asking to “hang out.”

“Needless to say you attempting to establish a relationship with this female, a defendant in a criminal case, is unprofessional,” Pflibsen wrote to Newland. “This type of conduct will not be tolerated by you or anyone else.”

One year later, in February 2012, Newland was suspended again, this time for one day. Newland, while off duty, flipped off another driver — who, it turned out, was a jail officer in St. Joseph County, according to a disciplinary letter. Newland also drove recklessly, “brake checking” the other driver, according to disciplinary records.

“Should there be another sustained allegation of this type of misconduct on or off duty I will seriously consider your termination from the Elkhart Police Department,” Chief Pflibsen wrote to Newland.

Exactly one week later, still in February, Newland received a three-day suspension for not turning on his video-audio recording equipment “while on numerous calls and traffic stops,” a disciplinary notice says.

Newland’s last suspension — and his longest, for 35 days — came in the summer of 2013. Newland failed to investigate a woman’s complaint of domestic violence, then lied about it to his superiors, according to disciplinary records.

When asked directly by supervisors if the woman had said her husband hit her, Newland “indicated that she had not made any such statement, and only that there was some pushing involved,” a disciplinary letter said. But “within minutes of the end of the interview,” Newland “returned and informed his supervisors that the victim had, in fact, reported being hit by her husband.”

An audio recording captured the woman telling Newland she had been hit, and that her husband did so in front of her children, a disciplinary letter says.

Newland’s failure to be truthful did more than violate department policy, Chief Pflibsen wrote to the civilian oversight board. If a police officer testifies as a witness, authorities must disclose if the officer “has been dishonest in his or her official capacity,” Pflibsen wrote, adding: “This incident has been referred to the Prosecutor’s Office and may have a significant detrimental impact on their ability to prosecute this case.”

“Elkhart cops to be charged after video shows them beating handcuffed man”,  https://www.southbendtribune.com/news/publicsafety/elkhartjustice/elkhart-cops-to-be-charged-after-video-shows-them-beating/article_401f6756-613b-53b0-91ad-b15b6276489a.html

Six California officers shot man as he woke in his car

13 February 2019

Willie McCoy pictured with another music artist and his cousinImage copyrightDAVID HARRISON/FACEBOOK
Image captionWillie McCoy (right) in an image shared by his cousin David Harrison (centre)

California police have said a 20-year-old black man who was shot and killed in his car by six officers last week had reached for a gun first.

But Willie McCoy’s family has pushed back, saying the aspiring rapper was not a threat to the officers as he was just waking up.

Vallejo police had been called for a wellness check when a driver was spotted slumped over in his vehicle.

The man was pronounced dead at the scene on 9 February.

“Any loss of life is a tragedy,” police chief Andrew Bidou said in an updated report of the incident on Tuesday.

The police report does not name Mr McCoy as the driver, citing the ongoing investigation, but local media identified him after speaking with family members.

Vallejo is a city near San Francisco that has been the site of several alleged cases of police brutality against black residents.

What do Vallejo police say?

According to the police department, officers received a call from employees at a Taco Bell fast food restaurant on Saturday night, requesting a check-up on a driver in the parking lot.

When they arrived on scene, they saw Mr McCoy unresponsive in his vehicle with a semi-automatic handgun on his lap. More officers were called while Mr McCoy slept.

Police had planned on opening the car door and retrieving the weapon before engaging Mr McCoy, but were unable to do so as the doors were locked.

Mr McCoy then woke up and looked at the officers, who commanded him to keep his hands visible. Police then say he did not comply and “quickly moved his hands downward for the firearm”.

“Fearing for their safety, six officers fired their duty weapons at the driver,” the news release stated. Multiple rounds were fired in a span of four seconds.

“Officers continued to yell commands at the driver and ultimately reached through the broken glass of the driver’s window to unlock the vehicle.”

Police attempted medical assistance but the driver died at the scene. An official post-mortem examination is still under way.

A preliminary investigation found that the gun had been reported stolen in Oregon.

The officers have not been named and have been placed on administrative leave for the duration of the investigation.

Photo of Willie McCoy and his cousin David HarrisonImage copyrightDAVID HARRISON/FACEBOOK
Image captionWillie McCoy (left) and his cousin David Harrison

What does the family say?

Mr McCoy’s family has disputed this police account.

During a vigil on Sunday, Mr McCoy’s older brother Mark said police had surprised Mr McCoy and fired too quickly.

“My little brother was just shot for no reason,” he said, according to CBS News.

“If I wake you up… if I knock on your front door and, ‘Bang bang bang!’ you’re going to jump off the bed,” he said. “Why wouldn’t you be safe while you wake him up and then [say] ‘Driver, exit the car’?”

David Harrison, Mr McCoy’s cousin, told the Los Angeles Times on Monday that Mr McCoy was raised by relatives after his parents passed away when he was a child.

He said his cousin had finished up a session in a recording studio before he drove to the Taco Bell.

In an emotional Facebook video, Mr Harrison pleaded with other young people to listen to their parents and keep away from cops.

“I want no other parents, no other kid’s parents, to go through this ever again,” Mr Harrison said. “They can’t just keep killing us in the street like this. My little cousin was asleep in the car.”

Mr McCoy’s family has hired civil rights attorney John Burris – who recently took on a case where a homeless man sleeping in Oakland was killed by police – to represent them, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

13 February 2019, bbc, “Six California officers shot man as he woke in his car”, https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-47229247

Salinas PD investigating alleged police brutality in April arrest posted to YouTube

Joe Szydlowski and Chelcey Adami, Salinas Californian,  Nov. 2, 2018

The Salinas Police Department is initiating an internal investigation of an arrest last spring, after a complaint was filed and video of the man’s arrest became public this week.

On Tuesday, someone posted a video to YouTube depicting body-camera footage from an April arrest.

In the footage, more than a half-dozen officers are seen chasing a man identified on YouTube as Jeffrey Mackay. The man tries to scale a fence but falls after officers use two stun guns on him.

Jeffrey Tyler Mackay, 27, was arrested late on the night of April 23 after two car chases, according to Monterey County Superior Court documents.

Officers spotted him running a stop sign in a 1998 silver Honda Civic at about 11:07 p.m. at San Vicente Avenue and West Acacia Street, documents show.

When he sped away, they chased him for a short time. Officers abandoned the chase as he went the wrong way on a one-way street, documents show. A short time later officers spotted him again and chased him to an apartment complex on Archer Street, where Mackay left his car, which then rolled into another vehicle.

After a foot chase, several officers eventually stopped him using the stun guns, punches and kicks, which appear to be shown in the YouTube video.

The person who posted the video, who goes by the name “Jack and Hennessy” and was identified as Mackay’s fiance in other news reports, wrote that the videos were released last week after Mackay was sentenced.

He had pleaded no contest to driving the wrong way on a street while fleeing from an officer, a felony, and misdemeanor resisting arrest, court records show. Charges of assault with a deadly weapon, evading police and hit-and-run were dismissed.

He was sentenced to four years in prison with credit for 341 days, the records show.

The video, which begins as the man is being Tasered, appears to have been spliced together from several different body cameras.

“We are investigating the actions of the officers to make sure that they followed policy based on the allegations that were brought forward,” said Salinas Police Assistant Chief Roberto B. Filice. “We hold our officers at a high standard because that’s what’s expected by our community and our officers have no issues with that. To be fair to the public and the officers, we need to investigate it.”

Filice said “the video that has been out there has been altered,” and that the same actions are played over and over “so that it appears it’s ongoing.”

The person who posted the videos wrote: “I have full original videos. They are simply cropped together to see both angles from different cameras at once.”

The department opens internal investigations when it receives a complaint, and one was received regarding this specific incident within the last few days, Filice said.

Alleging brutality, the person who posted the video writes that the footage “shows the helpless victim being tased, punched, and kicked multiple times, even after being fully incapacitated. All cries for mercy were ignored.”

The video was viewed nearly 1,800 times as of Friday morning.

In Mackay’s mugshot from that night, he has a black eye and some scrapes on his face. He is now incarcerated at North Kern State Prison, according to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

He also suffered “a ruptured eardrum that will likely lead to permanent hearing loss,” Mackay’s attorney wrote in a Monterey County Superior Court document seeking police records on officers’ conduct.

Attorney Roland L. Soltesz, who also represented Mackay, viewed the body camera footage, he said in a court filing.

“Mackay was submitting to the arrest following being Tasered and falling to the ground,” Soltesz said. “Though the officer reports claim that Mr. Mackay was continually resisting arrest by tensing his arm, placing his hands under his stomach and refusing to listen to commands, the (body camera) footage shows Mr. Mackay immediately said, ‘I’m done… I’m not resisting’ upon falling to the ground.”

When an officer placed a handcuff on one of Mackay’s hands, his “hair became tangled in the handcuff,” Soletsz said.

“Mackay was trying to cooperate with the officers but was instead beaten until his eardrum ruptured,” Soletsz said.

Mackay’s attorney had asked for any police misconduct records involving officers Jordy Urrutia, Robert Hernandez, David Puckett, Edgar Garcia, Cameron Mitchell, Ryan Keating, Froyland Aranda, Jose Luis Fletes Jr. and Clifton Smith.

Fletes originally tried to pull Mackay over, while Garcia and Puckett used their Tasers on Mackay, court documents show.

Urrutia, Aranda and Mitchell also struggled with Mackay after he was taken to the ground. Keating had spotted Mackay after he escaped police during the first chase.

Hernandez patted down the suspect, noting in his report “it took… four officers on each side in an attempt to retrieve the suspect’s arms” that he allegedly was keeping under his stomach.

Smith’s role in the struggle, if any, isn’t clear. The defense filing included some but not all police reports related to the arrest.

Rhonda Combs, senior deputy city attorney for the city of Salinas, objected to disclosing records of the officers’ conduct in a June 15 filing.

Combs did, however, acknowledge the body camera footage showed Mackay’s “long hair was tangled into a cuff or something and that is why he was refusing to cooperate,” she said.

“He would have had to pull his own hair to tender his left hand (for) officers to cuff,” she said.

Officers used a “kick to the shoulder and closed-fist hits” to finish handcuffing him, she wrote.

Nonetheless, Combs added that the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that excessive force accusations must be viewed from the vantage of the moment it happened.

“Officers are often forced to make split second judgments — in circumstances that are tense, uncertain and rapidly evolving — about the amount of force necessary,” she said.

She also noted that Mackay had led officers on two car chases and then ran away from them after 11 p.m.

“He is doing his time for his mistakes that night,” the person who posted the video wrote on YouTube. “This video is only to bring to light the other side of the story. I am a strong supporter of police but they need to be held accountable as well.”

In the lead-up to the struggle, Salinas police officers noted Mackay had repeatedly reached for his waistband while running in the dimly lit apartment complex, the police reports show.

After two officers used the stun guns on him, Mackay, lying face down, wouldn’t remove his hands from underneath his stomach, the reports say.

Officers said they feared he was trying to access a weapon in his waistband or front pockets, so they began striking him until he said “OK. I’m done. I’ll stop,” police said.

After they handcuffed him, Mackay was evaluated by paramedics before being taken to the jail. Officers reported injuries from the struggle, including one officer whose left middle finger “was bent backwards,” according to the reports.

The reports did not mention the handcuff snaring some of Mackay’s hair.

Mackay has had many encounters with law enforcement, some of them violent, Monterey County Superior Court records show.

In April 2016, he was accused of resisting arrest and seriously injuring Monterey County Sheriff’s deputy Brandon Smith.

The more serious charge was dismissed after he pleaded no contest to resisting or obstructing an officer. He was sentenced to 90 days in jail and three years of formal probation.

In January 2011, Mackay was charged with resisting arrest. He pleaded no contest to the charge and was sentenced to three years probation, according to court records.

A year before, he’d been charged with felony battery on a peace officer and pleaded no contest, court records show.

He also was accused of felony DUI in 2010, to which he pleaded no contest, which led to the suspension of his driver’s license.

On April 22, the day before Salinas police allegedly used excessive force, Mackay was caught by Marina police on suspicion of driving on a suspended license. Court records show that charge was later dismissed.

Filice said after a formal complaint is received, the case is assigned to the police department’s internal investigations sergeant. He or she then conducts interviews with all involved and gets as much information as possible to compile a report.

That report is given to the chief of police and executive staff to review whether policy violations took place, Filice said. If a violation is found, action is taken, he said.

Internal investigations may take months to complete.

“Obviously we try to address complaints as expeditiously as possible but we can’t say how long it will take because we do not know,” Filice said.

The chief will make the final determination on what information from the investigation will be shared with the public, he said.

“One of the things that I’d like for people to consider is that the video has been altered and what they are depicting there is not what happened,” Filice said. “Unfortunately, since we have an internal investigation going, we can’t share any videos we have at this time … I would ask people to keep an open mind.”

Filice added that the police department has seen increased trust with the community and the police chief’s goal is to be “as transparent as possible.”

“We ask the public to be patient and let us go through the process of investigating the incident and then the chief will be able to share the facts once we know all the facts,” he said. “But we do want to thank the community for all the support we have received.”

Filice said Friday the police department has not been served with any notice that a civil lawsuit has been filed in this case.

 

Joe Szydlowski and Chelcey Adami, Salinas Californian,  Nov. 2, 2018, “Salinas PD investigating alleged police brutality in April arrest posted to YouTube”,  https://www.thecalifornian.com/story/news/2018/11/02/salinas-police-brutality-alleged-case-posted-youtube/1854456002/

Fellow officers testify as police brutality case continues

 

Prosecutors and defense attorneys dissected video footage taken outside bars on Chippewa Street during testimony on Tuesday in the alleged brutality case against a Buffalo police officer.

The focus on the second day of testimony in Corey R. Krug’s trial – in which two fellow officers took the witness stand – centered on the early morning hours of Thanksgiving Day 2014, as what’s known as the biggest bar night of the year was winding down in downtown Buffalo.

The civil rights case against Krug centers on what happened on Chippewa more than four years ago, along with two other separate allegations that he used excessive force. Krug’s defense attorneys argue his force was justified.

Jurors on Tuesday repeatedly were shown footage taken by a WKBW-TV photographer before, during and after Krug allegedly pushed a man against a car, took him to the ground and repeatedly hit him with a nightstick.

Devin Ford, of Lackawanna, the man seen in the video with Krug, had just been ejected from a Chippewa bar, along with another man after the other man sucker punched Ford inside, according to the testimony of two men who were out with Ford that night.

After the parties exited the former Indulge Bar & Night Club sometime around 3 a.m. on Nov. 27, 2014, the two sides nearly got into another physical confrontation in the middle of Chippewa Street, but were dispersed after police officers used pepper spray.

Men on each side of the dispute, despite the urging of officers to leave the area, seemed to be close to fighting again when officers intervened near the corner of Chippewa and Pearl streets, witnesses testified.

Officer Anniel Vidal, who was Krug’s partner that night working a special police detail in the Chippewa area, testified the apparent dispute that started inside Indulge lingered out on the street.

Police intervened because it appeared the men were going to start fighting again, Vidal told the court.

“All I saw was Officer Krug standing and I saw the guy on the ground,” Vidal testified. As he approached, Vidal said he ordered Ford – who was on his back – to get onto his stomach because he thought he was going to be arrested.

But Ford was not arrested and was allowed to walk away.

Officer Maurice Foster, who was stationed at the corner of Chippewa and Pearl that night, said he first noticed the WKBW cameraman walking down Chippewa. When Foster noticed the videographer was following Krug, he said he approached Krug to tell him the cameraman was following him.

Foster, who testified he had just separated two men involved in the dispute from inside the bar who had thrown punches, said he wasn’t telling his fellow officer because he felt Krug was doing anything wrong, but he wasn’t sure if Krug had heard him.

Krug’s defense attorneys grilled the day’s two other witnesses: Ford’s best friend, Sean M. Dechent, and his older brother, Justin Dechent, both of whom had accompanied Ford to a bar in Lackawanna before the trio came to Chippewa and visited two bars.

Ford’s injuries, including cuts and bruises on his legs, made him decide to sit out an annual football game played among friends later on Thanksgiving morning, Sean Dechent testified.

Ford, now 26, testified Monday about his encounter with Krug. “I just remember being on my back, saying ‘I didn’t do anything. I didn’t do anything,’ ” he said in court.

After video footage of their encounter first became public, the FBI investigated and found evidence of two other alleged incidents of brutality, both of them documented in earlier civil suits against the officer.

Krug, a Buffalo officer since 2000, was charged in August 2015 with deprivation of rights under color of law and faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison if convicted.

U.S. District Judge Richard J. Arcara at several points during Tuesday’s testimony found problematic some defense attorneys’ questions of witnesses about what was seen in the footage.

“The video speaks for itself,” the judge said at one point.

Defense attorneys argued Ford was lying in his accusations in order to bolster his pending lawsuit against Krug, the Buffalo Police Department and the City of Buffalo. The defense is also expected to introduce evidence of Krug’s record, including having made more than 1,000 arrests and his reputation for working in the city’s toughest neighborhoods and the everyday risks that go along with the job.

Krug’s trial is scheduled to resume Wednesday.

Prosecution witnesses are expected to be called about an August 2010 incident in which Krug was accused of hitting a man with a metal flashlight during an alleged confrontation at the man’s Langmeyer Street home.

|Published |, Buffalo News, “Fellow officers testify as police brutality case continues”, https://buffalonews.com/2019/02/05/fellow-officers-testify-as-police-brutality-case-continues/

Jury awards man $250,000 in police brutality suit

January 31, 2019

BOSTON (AP) — A federal jury has awarded $250,000 to a Massachusetts man who said Springfield police used excessive force when they responded to his home for reports of a domestic disturbance.

Lawyers for Lee Hutchins Sr. told Masslive.com that the jury found Wednesday that one of the three responding officers used excessive force and the other two unlawfully entered Hutchins’ home in January 2015.

Hutchins said in the suit that police pepper-sprayed his eyes and beat him with batons while he was trying to defuse a domestic melee.

The jury also found that “the city of Springfield had a custom of failing to discipline officers and this custom demonstrated deliberate indifference to the rights” of citizens.

A city lawyer said Springfield is “reviewing all of its options for post-trial motions and appeals.”

January 31, 2019, Associated Press, “Jury awards man $250,000 in police brutality suit”, https://www.apnews.com/25ccb302f60143dcb5ec092de89ad435

‘We want justice’: Family of George Robinson calls for JPD officers to be jailed

Alissa Zhu, Mississippi Clarion Ledger Published 5:24 p.m. CT Jan. 24, 2019 | Updated 9:25 a.m. CT Jan. 25, 2019

More than a dozen members of George Robinson’s family gathered in front of a white and light blue house in Washington Addition on Thursday afternoon.

A white Chevy Impala — with two San Francisco 49ers hats peaking out the rear window — was parked out front, next to a large evergreen tree.

News cameras surrounded the sunlight-bathed scene.

Attorney Dennis Sweet IV, with Sweet and Associates, addressed the onlookers.

“You all are not at a press conference today. Today, we are at a crime scene,” Sweet said.

Sweet announced that he and his father are representing Robinson’s family. They have hired an independent investigator to look into the death of the 62-year-old, who died of a head injury two days after he was arrested by Jackson police officers.

“Upon our preliminary investigation, we believe that Mr. Robinson died as a result of police misconduct. We believe that Mr. Robinson died as a result of the use of excessive force by Jackson police officers,” Sweet said.

Last week, the Jackson Police Department announced it launched an internal investigation into Robinson’s death.

Hinds County Coroner Sharon Grisham-Stewart confirmed Wednesday Robinson’s death was ruled a homicide. That same day, Jackson Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba announced three officers involved with Robinson’s arrest have been placed on paid administrative leave.

Sweet said Robinson was sitting in the car the night of Jan. 13, when officers approached him.

“(They) pulled him out of the car, and beat him — brutally beat him. And that beating resulted in his death. To add insult to injury, they gave him a citation for disobeying a police officer,” Sweet said.

Police said those officers, who are part of JPD’s K-9 unit, were searching for the men suspected of killing the Rev. Anthony Longino as he opened his church, one block away from Robinson’s home, earlier that Sunday. Two men have since been charged with Longino’s murder.

Robinson was arrested for failing to obey an officer and resisting arrest, police said. He was released, with the expectation he would show up for a later court date.

Robinson’s sister, Bettersten Wade, said the officers involved “should be in jail.”

JPD is not releasing the officers’ names. Sweet also declined to identify them at this point.

“We want justice for George,” Wade said. “…(Police) are supposed to protect and serve us. But instead, we did not get protected, we did not get served. We did not get justice. Not yet.”

Wade said Robinson had suffered a stroke on Christmas, which he was still recovering from at the time of his arrest.

Wade said their mother, who has lost two sons in recent weeks, is “suffering.”

Sweet said independent investigator Tyrone Lewis, a former Hinds County sheriff, has conducted several interviews and is in the process of collecting statements.

“We want to see these officers prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” Sweet said. “This man was brutally beaten. That caused his death. That is a murder.”

WAPT-TV reported witnesses saw police slam Robinson to the ground and hit him in the head with a flashlight. During last week’s press conference, Jackson Police Chief James Davis said it was too early in the investigation to confirm if that’s what happened.

A JPD spokesman said he is not aware of any body camera footage of the arrest.

Robinson was kind, generous and uplifting, his friends and neighbors said.

One friend called him a “source of happiness” in the neighborhood.