Roaming Charges: Police Crime Blotter, 2021

Body cam image from the arrest and shooting of Daunte Wright.

January 1 

+ 981: the number of people in the US shot and killed by police in 2020.

+ A Boston police cop sexually assaulted an intoxicated woman after she passed out. He was suspended without pay for a year, but when he returned, he was promoted. This year, he bragged about hitting BLM protesters with his patrol car.

+ An investigation by Naples (Fla.) Daily News and the New Press found that thousands of police officers with records  of abusive (including criminal) behavior were returned to their jobs as cops. At least 505 of those law enforcement and corrections officers who were given a second chance later committed an offense that led to their decertification…

+ Even though most police departments refused to share details about investigations and discipline or even officers’ names into police abuse during the George Floyd protests, Pro Publica compiled 68 videos from across the country showing specific instances of where police officers escalated violence.

+ Testimony from the Chicago 8 (minus 1) trial…

Leonard Weinglass: “Did they tell you why you were arrested?”

Abbie Hoffman: “They said they arrested me because I had the word ‘fuck’ on my forehead. They called it an ‘obscenary’.”

January 8 

+ Mark my words, the legislative response to the sacking of the nation’s capitol will be a bipartisanship push for more money for police and more restrictions on civil liberties, to be imposed most devastatingly on BLM and anti-war protesters, tribal activists and environmentalists.

+ I don’t have the mentalist powers of the Amazing Kreskin, but a few hours after this column was originally posted, the Wall Street Journal reported that Biden supports the swift enactment of new “domestic terrorism” laws.

+ On the day cops once again learned that they could shoot people in public and face no legal consequences, the Capitol Hill police allowed a white mob to ransack the Capitol Building.

+ As Cockburn and I reported in our book, Five Days That Shook the World: Seattle and Beyond, during the World Bank/IMF protests in DC shortly after Seattle the police were given “shoot to kill” orders. Those don’t seem to be (and shouldn’t) the rules of engagement today…

+ Police didn’t attempt to protect the Capitol building because it was public not private property…

+ Do we need more proof that police don’t “prevent crime,” even as it unfolds right in front of them?

+Anyone else recall how the Capitol Hill police body-slammed 78-year old Ray McGovern during the confirmation hearing for the CIA torturer Gina Haspel?

+ Hannah Arendt: “Violence appears where power is in jeopardy.”

+ Take it from the guy who slugged a Guardian reporter and lied to the police about it…

+ Some of the people arrested during the J20 protests of Trump’s inauguration faced decades in prison for breaking a few storefront windows…

+ Two BLM protesters, Colin Mattis and Urooj Rahman (both lawyers) who vandalized an empty NYPD police car are facing federal charges with a sentence of 45 years to life.

+ Davontae Harris summarizes in one clear sentence what I’ve been struggling to articulate for the last 48 hours…

+ A DC Metro police officer: “The fact that police officers from other agencies have aligned themselves with such terorristic groups shows how scary it is to be black in America…They weren’t trying to hide who they are because they know nothing will happen to them. If these people can storm the Capitol building with no regard to punishment, you have to wonder how much they abuse their powers when they put on their uniforms.”

+ An off-duty Austin cop in his own car got cut off by another driver. Claiming the driver had a gun, the cop shot at the car and chased it down. Then on-duty police arrived and shot the man and his passenger, while a child was in the back seat.

January 15 

+ Systemic racism inside the Capitol Hill police has been evident for decades, even against its own black officers. Since 2001, over 250 Black cops have sued the department for discrimination. Some of those former officers told Pro Publica that they weren’t surprised when they saw how easily white nationalists were able to storm the Capitol building.

+ One of the federal charging documents against a group of men who stormed the Capitol during the riot says a Capitol Police officer shook their hands and said, ‘It’s your House now.’

+ Meanwhile, the Chief of Maine’s Capitol Police spread election fraud conspiracies, pushed anti-mask misinformation, and liked the idea of using napalm on BLM activists before deleting his Facebook page yesterday…

+ Sean Reyes, the Attorney General of Utah, expressed “surprise” this week at the number of people shot by police this year in the Beehive State: 30, tying the record set two years ago.  He didn’t note whether or not this was a “happy” surprise…

+ Traffic stops are the way most people come into contact with the police. In 2015, more 11% of fatal police shootings happened during traffic stops. As a result, some cities are moving to shift traffic enforcement from the jurisdiction of police departments.

+ Prosecutors in Kenosha County, Wisconsin prosecutors are seeking to modify shooter Kyle Rittenhouse’s bond after he apparently flashed white-power signs as he posed for photos, drank several beers in violation of his bail agreement and was “loudly serenaded” with the Proud Boys’ official song. The kid obviously needs help, but his star status among rightwing racists and gun nuts is only drawing him deeper and deeper into the abyss.

+ According to new statistics compiled by Princeton’s Armed Conflict Location and Event Data project, police in the US are at least three times more likely to use force against “leftwing” protesters, which seems, to those of us who have been out on the streets since at least the Seattle uprisings, a gross underestimation.

+ An internal review by the NYPD found that James Kobel, a deputy who headed the department’s Equal Employment Opportunity Division, wrote dozens of venomously racist posts about Black, Jewish and Hispanic people under a pseudonym on an online chat board frequented by cops….

January 22 

+ The US already deploys the most oppressive domestic police forces in the world who have surveilled & infiltrated nearly every domestic dissident group in the country from the KKK to the Quakers and they couldn’t (or didn’t) prevent the sacking of the Capitol, in part because many of those same police supported and abetted the rioters. More “capability” isn’t the cure, but it will almost certainly be used to harass and crackdown on Antifa and BLM.

+ Yet that’s exactly what’s happening, as Biden’s Justice Department rushes to print a new “domestic terrorism” law and 14 states have moved to enact new “anti-protest” laws.

+ On the very night of the inauguration, a federal strike force was gassing and clubbing anti-fascist protesters in Portland with no evidence that they were swinging their truncheons any less savagely than they had been under Trump…

January 29 

+ In the week since Biden was sworn in, at least 10 people have been killed by police in the US. How long until the next killing sparks nationwide protests and Biden is forced to show his true commitment to the airy rhetoric he preached Tuesday on racial inequities?

+ A former Baltimore Police detective was sentenced to 14 months for lying to the FBI about stealing and selling cocaine back in 2009. By the time he was interviewed, the statute of limitations had passed and he couldn’t be charged with the actual crime itself. The detective could’ve told the truth and walked. Instead, he lied and got charged with lying to the FBI. His defense attorney blamed the “blue code of silence.”

+ Recently released documents reveal that NYPD commissioners have regularly used their authority to reject the civilian review board’s disciplinary recommendations and even to overturn guilty pleas made by the offending officers themselves.

+ We should applaud Biden’s move to end Justice Department contracts with private prison companies and urge him to do the same for ICE prisons. But don’t expect that move alone to decarcerate the federal prison population. In fact when five states ended their ties with private prison contractors a decade ago, the number of incarcerated people in those states actually increase, while the national prison population fell by 2 percent….

+ A former Baltimore Police detective was sentenced to 14 months for lying to the FBI about stealing and selling cocaine back in 2009. By the time he was interviewed, the statute of limitations had passed and he couldn’t be charged with the actual crime itself. The detective could’ve told the truth and walked. Instead, he lied and got charged with lying to the FBI. His defense attorney blamed the “blue code of silence.”

+ Recently released documents reveal that NYPD commissioners have regularly used their authority to reject the civilian review board’s disciplinary recommendations and even to overturn guilty pleas made by the offending officers themselves.

February 5 

+ A federal judge in Oregon has ordered the state to begin giving COVID-19 vaccines to prison inmates immediately. To date, at least 42 inmates have died and more than 3000 have tested positive for COVID. The ruling came days after the most lethal month in Oregon’s prison system since the start of the pandemic. “From the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, it was clear that our country’s prisons were uniquely vulnerable to the transmission and spread of the virus,” Judge Stacie Beckerman wrote. “Oregon prisons have not been spared from this reality.”

+ That’s not the case in Texas, where the state has begun vaccinating prison guards and health care workers but not prisoners.

+ At least half of the people shot by Vancouver (WA) police in the last decade suffered from mental health issues

+ When your protocols allow you to slam a 9-year-old girl’s face in the snow and pepper spray her in the back of your police car, there’s something seriously wrong with your protocols…“The head of Rochester’s police union says protocols were not broken by the officers during the incident in question.”

+ At one point, a cop said, “You’re acting like a child.” The 9-year-old girl replied, “I am a child!”

+ Since Antifa came to town look what’s happened to the violent crime rate in Portland.

Now that’s what I call community policing.

+ As the disparate strains of the MAGAgruppen converged for their riotous denouement on Capitol Hill, federal prosecutors and FBI agents had been directed to engage in a nationwide snipe hunt for the chimerical forces of Antifa. It’s hard to find and infiltrate something which isn’t there…unless you have a few undercover operatives create it.

+ The people former Minneapolis cop Derek Chauvin choked before he choked George Floyd to death are beginning to tell the stories of their interactions with him….

+ So we now know from their own (still redacted) documents that the FBI planned, executed, covered up, and gave themselves bonuses for the assassination of Fred Hampton and Mark Clark.

February 12

+ Here’s Lindsey Graham blaming Capitol Hill police for not shooting enough people, instead of Trump for sending his horde of vandals there…

Sen Graham: “The legal theory they have is absurd. That somehow that Trump’s a secret member of the Proud Boys. I just can’t believe that we could lose the Capitol like that. I got mad. I mean these police officers had every right to use deadly force, they should have used it.”

+ If there was an “intelligence failure” regarding the raid on the Capitol, it was an entirely predictable one. The bigger the intelligence budgets get, the more the intelligence agencies look for phantoms in the dark and the less likely they are to detect the threat staring them in the face.

+ According to an analysis by the Washington Post, nearly 60% of the people facing charges related to the Capitol riot showed signs of prior money troubles, including bankruptcies, notices of eviction or foreclosure, bad debts, or unpaid taxes over the past two decades.”

+ Texas death row inmate Jorge Villanueva died this weekend after testing positive for Covid. He had been on the row 25 years, was blind, and had cancer. He was 66. (Like many long-term prisoners, Villanueva was toothless, but for years had been denied dentures by the Texas prison system.)

+ Five of the 10 people who died in Oregon jails last year had a mental health condition. Six of them died by suicide…

+ After spending a few hours drinking at a Fraternal Order of Police lounge, an intoxicated Philly cop named Gregory Campbell got into his car to drive home. A quarter of a mile away, while driving at 70 mph, he crashed into the living room a house, where a 53-year-old woman was “dragged and pinned” under the car, breaking her leg and collapsing her lung. He killed her dog.

+ Greetings from Ashbury Park Police….Ashbury Park taxpayers fund six-figure “sick day” payouts, $2,500 “perfect attendance” bonuses, and lucrative “extra duty” assignments for the police force.

+ The cops here in Portland, Oregon have the fifth-worst record for arrest disparities by race in the country. According to data from Campaign Zero, Portland police arrest Black people at a per capita rate 4.3 times higher than white people, the fifth-worst in the country. Cops in Portland also kill Black people 3.9 times more than white people.

+ Not a few bad cops, but a whole police force gone rogue

+ Meanwhile, the charges against the Buffalo cops who brutalized 75-year old peace activist Martin Gugino have been quietly dropped

+ And yet, there are signs that sustained protests are making a difference. A new study out of UMass-Amherst  finds  that communities with Black Lives Matter protests have experience a 15% to 20% decrease in police homicides over the following five years and the the decline ”is most prominent when protests are large or frequent.”

February 19

+ A student-led campaign successfully cut $25 million from the school police budget of LA Unified School District, removed cops from all campuses, and started the process of reinvesting those dollars in a culturally-competent support system needed to build a safer and healthier campus environment.

+ During an ice storm, Portland police were dispatched to a local grocery store (Fred Meyers) to stand guard over dumpsters from starving and freezing people seeking to glean discarded food. It’s the Grapes of Wrath all over again, when excess fruit and vegetables were doused in kerosene to keep them from being eaten by hungry migrants and Okies.

March 5

+ Early in the pandemic, the NYPD arrested a Bronx man for “jaywalking,” and turned him over the ICE, where he has spent months in detention, even NYC officials now admit that his transfer to ICE was an “egregious mistake“, which broke NYC laws. But ICE won’t release him and have him scheduled for deportation next week.

+ ICE has been using utility bills to track down undocumented migrants.

+ Riots Pay!…Capitol police today requested a budget increase of $103.7 million, a 20% increase from the $515 million they just got for 2021, a figure that is already 10 more than the entire budget for the operations of Congress itself.

+ So it seems perfectly clear to me that keeping the National Guard in DC and adding 100s of new positions to the Capitol Police will only serve to increase the threat of another violent insurrection mounted by militia groups…

+ Cities have shelled out more than $3 billion in police misconduct settlements. So effectively, the police are defunding other city programs in order to compensate for their own lawlessness. Wouldn’t it be better for all concerned to simply defund the police?

+ I was editing a story yesterday which stated flatly that the Patriot Act should be abolished because there have been no terrorist attacks since its passage. It’s a common argument on the Left. But one that’s simply not true and, in fact, counter-productive to those wanting to dismantle the mechanisms of the surveillance state we’ve been living under for the last 20 years. There have been quite a few attacks in the US since 2001: (Boston Marathon bombing, Orlando nightclub shooting, Ft Hood shooting, Chattanooga shootings, San Bernardino splatter-fest, NYC truck attack…to mention only the ones which grabbed headlines), which the Patriot Act, and associated repressive measures did nothing to prevent, which is probably a better argument against it than saying, incorrectly, that there haven’t been any attacks since it was enacted, which might, in fact, be an argument for its utility. It seems clear to me that repressive laws like the Patriot Act make terrorism more not less likely. Something to keep in mind as Congress gears up to impose even more laws in response to the sacking of the Capitol. So repeal the Patriot Act and don’t pass anything like it again, because not only don’t these kinds of laws work they actually make what they are aiming to suppress worse.

+ The FBI has arrested the first Trump appointee who joined the raid on the Capitol, a staffer named Freddie Klein. Klein is a veteran of Trump 2016 campaign, who was later rewarded with a ‘special assistant’ position at the State Department. According to his mother: “Fred’s politics run a little hot.”

March 12

+ Someone inside the Portland Police force leaked a false report to the press that City Commissioner JoAnn Hardesty, a fierce critic of the police department, had been involved in a hit-and-run car crash, even though she own a car that runs. This is the second time in less than a year that someone in the department has leaked incident reports regarding Hardesty to the press.

+ Meanwhile, lethal Portland Police violence has defunded Portland’s budget, again

+ Priorities, priorities….This year Alaska plans to spend $257 million on the University of Alaska, which serves 35,000 students, and $345 million on the state’s prison system, which houses 2,100 inmates. The State Department of Corrections employs 1,800 people, while UA at Fairbanks alone employs 3,700 people.

+ The way things are going in Kentucky, Breonna Taylor’s mother is much more likely to be charged for criticizing the conduct of the police who busted into her daughter’s apartment while she slept and shot her, than any of those same cops being held accountable for her death

+ Racists gonna bait…

+ In testimony submitted to the Oregon legislature this week, Oregon’s attorney general, Ellen  Rosenblum, came out in favor of ending disenfranchisement and enabling people to vote in prison.

+ If people spent even 10 minutes looking at Merrick Garland’s actual record as a federal prosecutor and judge (instead of simply comparing him to Barr or Sessions), they’d be much less exultant about his ascent to Attorney General…

+ A record 3,200 (and counting) migrant kids have been taken into ICE custody, with many of them confined for more than the legal. Of course, since this is happening under Biden, we must think of their detention as an extended sleepover…in a cage.

+ Stephen Miller may be gone, but his scumbag policies live on…

+ They go to church on Sunday, rat you out to ICE on Monday…

March 19

+ After the Dodgers’ won the World Series, chaotic celebrations spilled out onto the streets of Los Angeles, prompting the LAPD to declare unlawful assemblies, dozens were detained. But the police only demanded that the city to prosecute one person for failing to disperse: Lexis-Olivier Ray, a reporter for LA Taco, who had accused the cops of assault that night…

+ De-Phone the Police: 81 percent of Oregon voters support funding any city or county in Oregon willing to replace police with trained non-police first responders…

+ A Capitol Police officer was suspended this week after he was found with a copy of the anti-Semitic tract,  Protocols of the Elders of Zion, at a checkpoint in the Longworth Building. And you thought cops didn’t read…

+ Old drug warriors never die, they just become meaner and more malicious…The Biden administration is firing and demoting staffers for past marijuana use.

+ If there’s going to be a purge of pot-smokers in the Biden White House, I hope it includes Kamala Harris, an admitted toker, who then cruelly prosecuted black teens for minor possession offenses…

+ A Texas legislator has filed a bill making abortions a crime punishable by the death penalty. We know many of the Right-to-Lifers hate women and that their consciences are unruffled by the thought of putting them to death, but in executing women who have sought abortions aren’t they also wiping out sacred eggs and killing future unborn children?

+ Enbridge, the Canadian oil and pipeline company, is “funding and incentivizing” Minnesota police departments to crack down on its opponents, most of whom are female.

March 26

+ At least 36% of U.S. mass shooters have been trained by the U.S. military…

+ Americans make up about 4.4 percent of the global population but own 42 percent of the world’s guns.

+ There are been more than 29 shootings in the US with 4 or more fatalities in the last five years. Yes, but using Ted Cruz’s logic, think how many more mass shootings there would have been, if there weren’t 339 million guns in the US to protect us. (Cruz has pocketed more than $300,000 from gun rights groups.)

+ Meanwhile, in Cruz’s home state more seniors have access to guns than the internet, where only  25% of people over the age of 65 have reliable broadband.

+ Be sure to back the blue, even as they fantasize about napalming your ass…

+ Tell it to: Julian Assange, Chelsea Manning, Edward Snowden, Reality Winner, Jeffrey Sterling, John Kiriakou, Shamai Leibowitz, Stephen Jin-Woo Kim, James Hitselberger, James Risen and, of course, Wen Ho Lee….(There are many more, from Fred Hampton to Leonard Peltier, but I limited this list to Biden’s Zone of Complicity.)

+ The smirky self-righteousness of these Biden people really is disgusting…

+ Not surprisingly, it turns out that Jen Psaki previously worked for Any Vision, an Israeli surveillance outfit with a history of spying on Palestinians.

+ Anti-Reefer Madness…The Brevard County School Board in Florida voted 3-2 this week to fire a teacher for using medical marijuana, even though such use is legal across the state. Allison Enright worked at Space Coast High School. While the school district adopted a policy in 2019 to allow students to use medical marijuana, it never established one for teachers and the board used this loophole to ludicrously claim that Enright’s use of medical pot might keep the school from getting federal grants.

April 9

+ According to figures from the Federal Bureau of Prisons, almost half of the people currently in federal prisons (77,000 out of 162,000) were convicted of a drug offense.

+ Ruth Wilson Gilmore: “Abolition is about abolishing the conditions under which prison became the solution to problems, rather than abolishing the buildings we call prisons.”

+ The incarceration rate for Black people in Washington D.C. is nineteen times that of white people. And it almost certainly won’t change with DC statehood, which, of course, is no reason to delay making DC a state…

+ The police shooting of Michael Reinoehl in Lacy, Washington last September was hailed by Trump and Bill Barr has an example of how to deal with the violent threat of ANTIFA. A new investigation into the circumstance of the shooting, which a local coroner has already ruled a “homicide,” raises serious new questions the actions of the cops that fatal night. Among the findings:

+ cops were unable to talk to each other because of broken radios.
+ police began shooting at Reinoehl before they even parked their cars
+ there’s still no clear evidence that Reinoehl ever fired a shot, even though police were told he “wouldn’t be captured alive.”
+ Reinhoehl’s gun, which police still insist he fired, had a full clip.

+ Killer cop Derek Chauvin’s actions, his superiors say, were “totally unnecessary“…Yet similar actions by cops happen almost every day in police departments big and small across the country. The system trained, promoted and rewarded Chauvin (and thousands more just like him), now it wants to wash its hands of him by changing the machine that manufactured him.

+ Chauvin’s lawyer: “You called officers a bitch, right?”

Genevieve Hansen, off-duty firefighter on the scene: “Mmhm … I got quite angry after Mr. Floyd was loaded into the ambulance and there was no point in trying to reason with them anymore because they had just killed somebody.”

+ According to the Senator from Arkansas, we’re not jailing enough people, even though it’s the one thing America is still exceptional at….

+ The ten countries with the highest incarceration rates (per 100,000) are:

1) United States (639)
2) El Salvador (566)
3) Turkmenistan (552)
4) Thailand (549)
5) Palau (522)
6) Rwanda (511)
7) Cuba (510)
8) Maldives (499)
9) Bahamas (442)
10 Grenada (429)

+ Imagine! Number of prisoners in solitary in the US: 80,000, most of whom spend a few months in it, but at least a couple of thousand people have been in solitary confinement for six years or more. Some (see Albert Woodfox) have been held for decades.

+ Progressives endorsing the repressive Mann Act in a rush “to get Gaetz” (awful as he is) is one of the more dispiriting, but predictable, political episodes of the year. Excuse me while I drop the needle on Miles Davis’ Tribute to Jack Johnson for the next hour…

+ Gaetz: “I have definitely, in my single days, provided for women I’ve dated. You know, I’ve paid for flights, for hotel rooms. I’ve been, you know, generous as a partner. I think someone is trying to make that look criminal when it is not.”

+ For decades, marijuana possession busts accounted for one of the biggest and most costly activities of local police departments. Now that 17 states have fully legalized marijuana possession, none of the police department budgets in those states have declined. In fact, most have increased, in part because large percentages of the sales tax revenues from pot sales go to the police.

+ What was once known as “death squads” in Central America are now just “police”–though they continue to be trained and armed by the US.

+ Biden says he wants to reduce US gun violence, which is “an international embarrassment.” He can make a quick start in this direction by withdrawing troops from Afghanistan in a couple weeks and by ending US weapons transfers to local and state police departments.

+ Instead, police are on track to get more military hardware under Biden than they did under Trump…

+ The recent surge in gun ownership by black Americans (up 53% last year) is much more likely to spur gun control legislation than any mass shooting…

+ Increased security at the US Capitol will inevitably mean more attacks on “security,” which will prompt calls for yet more security, which means they’ll be providing security for security and still not feel secure.

April 16

+ Two police officers in the Minneapolis area, both with around 20 years experience as cops, killed black men detained for minor infractions. Both cops are culpable, but so is the system them that trained them and put them out on the street every day, year after year.

+ The cop who killed Daunte Wright was a “negotiator”–shoot first, talk if you survive.

+ Predictably, the local police union blamed Wright’s “non-compliance” for his own death, after a cop shot him with a handgun, thinking (allegedly) she had grabbed her taser.

+ Brooklyn Center, the small suburb of abandoned malls and deteriorating apartment complexes north of downtown Minneapolis, where Daunte Wright was killed by police is an economically distressed area, increasingly populated by people of color. Minneapolis itself is 60 percent white non-Hispanic. By contrast, Brooklyn Center is 60 people of color, largely African-American.

+ In the last decade, Brooklyn Center cops have killed six people, four of them black. Wright’s killer was at the scene of two of the shootings and as head of the police, union helped advise the shooters how to protect themselves from prosecution.

+ Michael Hudson (who contributed a significant new piece to CounterPunch in this Weekend’s Edition) dropped me this historical note about Minneapolis cops:

In the 1930s, they were used by trucking companies (my father said Walgreens was behind some murders) to break the great general strikes of 1936 et al, when Minneapolis was a Trotskyist city. My father and other strike leaders went to Governor Floyd B. Olson, who agreed to call in the national guard – to protect strikers and demonstrators from the police goons, who were like Pinkertons in their loyalties to the major employers. They were hated even then, at least by everyone I knew.

+ Derek Chauvin’s lawyers offering a video of a previous police stop, where George Floyd is a passenger confronted by screaming cops with guns drawn, who threaten to taser him even as he complies with their demands, doesn’t seem to do much, if anything, to help his defense, but is certainly ominous given the circumstances of the shooting of Daunte Wright.

+ If George Floyd was so incapacitated by drugs, why the urgent need to pin him down with a knee to his neck for 9 minutes?

+ When a cop is pointing a gun at you, as they were with George Floyd in a previous stop, and yells: “Undo your seatbelt” and “Keep your hands where I can see them.” What do you do?

+ Desperate for some good PR after another week of police atrocities, Indianapolis officials spent a lot of time this morning praising the selfless courage of the police, who arrived on the scene well after the Fed-Ex shooter had killed himself.

+ Meanwhile, bodycam footage from Chicago shows that cops shot a 13-year-old boy after he complied with their demands that he stop running and put his hands up.

April 23

+ Prosecutor: “This case is State of Minnesota vs. Derek Chauvin, not the state of Minnesota vs. the police. Policing is a noble profession…This is not an anti-police prosecution. It’s a pro-police prosecution.”

+ The decision to try Chauvin separately, and defer the prosecution of the other officers involved in the murder of George Floyd until later this year, helped the prosecutors paint Chauvin as an outlier, a rogue cop who had grossly transgressed the traditions, training and procedures of his police department.

+ Deploying the National Guard in advance of a jury verdict in a killer cop case probably isn’t the best way to reassure people that the government has gotten the message and is ready to embrace a de-escalation of violent policing…

+ Putting more police officers behind bars for their crimes will be the fastest route to systemic prison reform.

+ Brooklyn Center, the Minneapolis suburb where Daunte Wright was murdered by police, was founded by a member of the KKK..

+ Police in Minnesota detained journalists covering BLM protests last week, forced them to the ground and took pictures of their faces. The crackdown took place shortly after a judge issued a restraining order against police seizing cameras, audio recorders and the press pass from reporters.

+ From Stop and Frisk to Stop and Sniff

+ Good news: the Biden administration will no longer refer to migrants as “illegal aliens.” Bad news: they’ll still deport you and lock up your children.

April 30

+ We are becoming more and more inured to the death that surrounds us, to the uniquely American way of killing and dying. Is anyone else having trouble keeping up with all of the police shootings and suffocations that have occurred since the Chauvin verdict, which we were assured was a game-changer, a judicial cleansing of bad apples that would soon restore the honor and integrity of police departments across the country?

We await some new tragedy, more horrific than the last, to spark outrage when what’s really outrageous is what we’ve begun to tolerate as normal.

+ This week’s award for the use of the passive voice in police reports goes to the Alameda Police Department in describing the suffocation of Mario Gonzalez, after police officers penned him to the ground for 5 minutes for being drunk in a park, the day before the Chauvin verdict was announced: “An initial police report from Alameda, south of Oakland, said that “a physical altercation ensued” when officers tried to detain Mr. Gonzalez and that “at that time, the man had a medical emergency.””

+ Chauvin juror: “It felt like every day was a funeral.” Given the rate of police killings in America, it’s more like three funerals a day.

+ Virginia’s Jail Review Committee is urging the state to shut down the shutdown Hampton Roads Regional Jail where at least 53 people have died since 2008, including Jamycheal Mitchell, a mentally-disabled 24 year-old man jailed for stealing snacks from a local 7-Eleven.

May 7

+ Nearly 20 years ago, US special forces captured Zayn al-Abidin Muhammad Husayn (AKA, Abu Zubaydah) and named him a senior leader of Al Qaeda. In one of its early uses of “enhanced interrogation techniques,” the CIA tortured him until he became catatonic. But it turns out that Husayn wasn’t who the figure they thought he was and 15 years ago they admitted as much. But that didn’t matter. He’s still locked up in a cage, though his lawyers are making one more desperate legal move to free him

+ Speaking of Gitmo try your hand at deciphering this mish-mash from Tony Blinken on when (or if) Biden will move to shutter the US torture prison: Decipher this mish-mash… “We believe that it should be [closed,] that’s certainly a goal, but it’s something that we’ll bring some focus to in the months ahead.”

+ The obvious took a year to determine….an internal review found that Louisville cops shouldn’t have shot into Breonna Taylor’s apartment.

+ Just because Edward Snowden exposed what they were doing, doesn’t mean they’ve stopped doing it

+ Unlike autocracies, America doesn’t have political prisoners, except for Mumia, Leonard, Chelsea, Julian (by proxy), Reality and (fill-in-the-blank)….

May 21

+ A scathing new report on the brutal actions of Boston’s police commissioner, Dennis White, shows that the rot starts from the top:: White is depicted as having repeatedly battered his wife, holding her face to a stove, burning her hair, kicking and choking her. He also engaged in “heated fisticuffs” with a 19-yea- old girl. The BPD knew about it and covered it all up.

+ In San Diego last week, cops beat the crap out of a disoriented homeless man who was just trying to find a safe place to urinate: “the officer in question is heard saying expletives and telling Evans to stop resisting arrest as his fellow officer tries to gain control of the man’s legs. When officers instructed Evans to put his hands behind his back, they again punched his head and legs and continued to tell him to stop resisting.”

+ “Died after a pursuit” is a stunningly passive way to describe how Ronald Greene’s life actually came to such an abrupt end…”Ronald Greene, a Black man who died after a pursuit by Louisiana State Police in 2019, can be heard apologizing to officers and telling them he was scared before being tased, dragged and kicked in newly obtained body camera video by the Associated Press.”

+ The states which mostly stridently profess the sanctity of individual liberty are almost always the ones least likely to tolerate it in practice. A recent example: Mississippi’s Supreme Court just rejected a medical marijuana-legalization initiative approved by the state’s voters.

+ US House candidate Anthony Bouchard (running against Liz Cheney from the Trump right) told the Casper Star-Tribune this week that he had a relationship with and impregnated a 14-year old girl when he was 18, claiming: ‘It’s like the Romeo and Juliet story.’” Over to you, Tybalt, and don’t blow it this time…

May 28

+ Under the cover of a ceasefire, Israeli police are rounding up hundreds of Palestinian protesters and peace activists and holding them under the sinister “special detention” orders that have locked away so many Palestinians in the past, many of them teenagers. They’ve cynically dubbed the mass arrests Operation Law and Order. One Palestinian quipped that the next Gaza bombing will be titled Operation Crush Anti-Semitism.

+ 6: the number of days in 2021 when police haven’t killed anyone.

+ 937: the number of people killed by police since police killed George Floyd.

+ How many cease-and-desist orders does the Ghost of James Baldwin have to send before you stop quoting him?

+ As of 2019 African-Americans represented 12% of the American adult population, but 33% of its prison population

June 4

+ Lawyers for Derek Chauvin just filed his sentence mitigation brief, where he asks judge for a reduced sentence of “probation,” saying prison will inflict “long-term damage” on his “life prospects.”

+ Oakland Police Chief LeRonne Armstrong said at a press conference yesterday that his claims that protesters were preparing Molotov cocktails at last year’s 6/1 George Floyd protest were wrong (that is, he lied). He claimed that Oakland police weren’t justified in using tear gas and rubber bullets on protesters and issued 33 disciplinary actions, though none against himself or other leaders of his department.

June 11

+ Can’t blame the Republicans for this retreat: Illinois Democrats passed a policing & criminal justice reform bill months ago. But now, under pressure by police, they’ve already relaxed some of the new standards, including what constitutes misconduct and when “deadly force” can be used.

+ In 64 incidents of police abuse captured on videotape, only five NYPD cops faced in any serious disciplinary actions.

+ More than 100 police officers in North Carolina have been secretly deemed by prosecutors as “too untrustworthy” to testify in court, but they are still licensed to chase, arrest, taser, choke, suffocate or shoot you and the DA’s won’t disclose who they are.

+ Opposing the death penalty for innocent people is not taking a moral stand. It hardly qualifies as taking a stand at all.

+ Julian Assange’s fiance, Stella Morris, on his deteriorating condition inside Belmarsh Prison, as Biden administration tries to launch a new effort to secure his extradition: “Julian is not violent, he is not a danger to society. He is a publisher and this case is about freedom of information. This situation shames the UK’s justice system. It is a blight on the UK’s global reputation.”

June 18

+ The Radcliffe Institute at Harvard reviewed 7,305 Black Lives Matter protests that occurred after the murder of George Floyd. What they found may surprise Vladimir Putin: the overall level of violence and property destruction was minimal and most of the violence that did take place was leveled against BLM protesters. And that doesn’t include the violence waged by police, who made at least 8500 arrests and used tear gas against at least 210 different protests.

+ It’s very welcome news, indeed, that Reality Winner has been released from prison for “good behavior.” But Reality Winner was exhibiting “good behavior” when she “leaked” information to The Intercept. Some might say it was model behavior. Biden needs to pardon her and the reporters at the Intercept who burned their source need to apologize, abjectly.

+ People who are “surprised” by Merrick Garland never took the time to find out who Garland is or what his record was on civil liberties, police power & gvt secrecy. They just assumed that because Obama wanted him on the Supreme Court and McConnell opposed him he must be a good guy with progressive views on the Constitution. That assumption would be wrong.

+ Predictably, Biden’s anti-domestic “terrorism” initiative lumps Antifa, environmentalists and animal rights groups in with the neo-Nazis….

+ Obama from the Audacity of Hope. You can see how easy it was for him to become the deporter-in-chief…

+ Meanwhile, the conditions at Guantanamo, already one of the world’s most macabre prisons, have deteriorated since Biden assumed office. I think to die in Gitmo is better than to stay alive—it is a lonely life and prolonged detention is prolonged hopelessness, Life here is like a nightmare,” Asadullah Haroon Gul, who has been entombed in Gitmo for 14 years, told Vice News.

June 25

+ Biden is preparing to endorse a bill that will finally eliminate the sentencing disparities between power and crack cocaine, the cynical and outrageous policy he helped write as chair of the Senate Judiciary committee that put some many thousands of young blacks into prison for extended periods. This is still a thing because when Obama had a chance to do it, he only reduced the disparity to a ratio of 18 to 1, in a typical half-assed compromise that Biden fully endorsed. By that time everyone, including people like Bob Barr, knew any disparity was racially-motivated.

+ Here’s the real Biden, at last: He wants to redirect money meant for people who have lost their jobs, face mounting debts and eviction and give to it to augment already bloated police budgets, instead. No malarky. This is what he’s always be about. Austerity for the poor, enforced by more and more cops….”President Biden is expected to address a rise in gun violence in many cities, saying funding from a Covid-19 relief package could go toward hiring more law-enforcement personnel…”

+ Biden’s gun violence reduction plan is guaranteed to do at least one thing: increase gun violence by police.

+ Biden’s proposed funding for federal law enforcement agencies is as much as Russia spent on its entire military last year.

+ Day by day, Merrick Garland is crushing the life out of one liberal revenge fantasy after another. Just this week Garland rejected calls for an internal investigation into the actions of the Justice Department under Trump. A few days earlier, word leaked that Garland’s DoJ is preparing to defend Trump in lawsuits brought against him over the January 6 Capitol riots.

+ Biden is still running concentration camp for kids, where 14,661 children are held in dire conditions, where boys are constantly trying to escape, girls are sinking into depression and experiencing panic attacks, and the guards are banning pencils, toothbrushes, forks and other basic implements to try to prevent teens from attempting to hurt or kill themselves.

July 2

+ The dazzling US sprinter Sha’Carri Richardson tested positive for pot and may now miss the Olympic Games. These appalling marijuana regulations, which continue to penalize athletes, students and workers in the private sector, stand like Confederate monuments to the drug war…Maybe Clarence Thomas can fix that. Yes, Clarence Thomas.

+ Kashana Cauley: “As a person who used to run the 100, if you can do it in 10.8 seconds after smoking weed you should automatically get all the gold medals.”

+ Who cares? If so, it’s the best thing I’ve ever heard about Ginni Thomas, especially if she becomes a catalyst for eradicating these racist, punitive and absurd federal marijuana laws. Name it the Ginni Thomas Legalization Act.

+ Either Clarence Thomas is beginning to make more sense or the rest of the court is making less. My read on Thomas is that he doesn’t like anyone on the court and doesn’t want to associate with any of them socially or in opinions. He’d rather be in his RV in a Wal-Mart parking lot in Branson, Missouri. So he’s going to spend the rest of his tenure instructing his clerks to write furious dissents, against every thing and every one.

+ By ruling that St. Louis cops can be tried for pinning a man to the pavement until he died, the Supreme Court has opened a small fissure in the monolith of police impunity. Let’s hope it spreads…

+ By presenting perjured testimony from a convicted pedophile, the prosecutors in the US case against Assange now have dirty hands. The case should be dismissed. But since Assange is being prosecuted for showing just how dirty the hands of the US government are, they will likely blame him for this latest revelation of their misdeeds and redouble their efforts to keep him locked up for the rest of his life. If they can do this without an actual trial (or if he dies in prison), so much better for them.

July 9

+ Fallujah in St. Louis: “Don Clark Sr., a 63-year-old Army veteran, was fast asleep in his St. Louis home in February 2017 when more than a dozen SWAT team members rammed down his door and threw a stun grenade device inside. As Clark was startled awake, one of the police officers allegedly began shooting without warning, striking Clark nine times, according to a new lawsuit filed by the man’s family. As blood pooled underneath his body, Clark died almost immediately.”

+ Wauwatosa (Wisconsin) police department compiled a “protesters involved” list which had names of local activists. The document, which was obtained through an open records request, contains the names of nearly 200 people, including local elected officials, attorneys, local activists and a member of the media.  The Wauwatosa police sent the list to nearby law enforcement agencies, including the Milwaukee Police Department and the FBI.

+ Next week Eric Adams (NYC’s next mayor) will be draining vodka martinis with Rudy and Tutar at some Tiki bar in Chelsea…

+ As it stands his old colleagues in the NYPD are still refusing to release Adams’ disciplinary records from his decades on the force, despite a New York state law meant to require the disclosure of such reports.

July 16

+ Just look at what the awful Cuban secret police are doing now, honey! What? That’s Rochester? New York?? Well, never mind. But you still know what I mean, right?

+ Speaking of Gitmo, in court filings this week, the Biden administration “took no position” on whether detainees should be afforded due process rights, which is a cowardly way of advancing the position that Gitmo detainees should not have due process rights…

+ This dipshit masquerading as a hillbilly to try when an election in Ohio was a venture capitalist and went to Yale Law School…

+ Crime rate (per 1000 residents) in Cincinnati versus New York City…(You’re not afraid to go to Cincy, are you big boy?)

+ There’s a new media panic, fueled by politicians, police and prosecutors, about a crime surge. But the US hasn’t been this “safe” (from crime) in 30 years…

+ According to a dispatch in Rolling Stone, in the 1980s the pedophile-financier Jeffrey Epstein moonlighted as an arms dealer and intelligence operative for the Israelis (among others).

July 23

+ 65% of “line of duty” cop deaths last year were from COVID-19, whereas shootings and stabbings accounted for less than 15% of cop deaths…

+ During the pandemic, more than 4,000 non-violent federal inmates were released from prison on home confinement. Then in the waning days of his administration, Trump cruelly signed an executive order requiring all of the released prisoners to be returned to their cells once the pandemic ended. Supposedly, the Biden administration “studied” the Trump order for months before finally deciding to let it stand and force the released inmates back into federal prisons, even though they’ve fully abided by the strict terms of their release.

+ Every time you think the Biden administration has hit rock bottom, they continue to drill through new strata of political turpitude.

+ Portland policed photoshopped the photo of a man to make him look more like the description of a robbery suspect. A judge has ordered him released from jail.

+ In her book on Jeffrey Epstein, Perversion of Justice Julie K. Brown drives to the Florida panhandle to interview one of Epstein’s young victims, Courtney Wild, who was imprisoned at the Gadsden Correctional Institution, a privately run women’s prison notorious for its wretched conditions: “Inmates at Gadsden were living without hot water and heat, and were forced to walk through bathrooms flooded with human waste. They were on water rations because the septic tanks were jammed.”

+ Illinois is the first state to restrict the ability of police to lie to minors during interrogations. This is welcome news, naturally. But why limit the ban on lying to minors? In fact, why stop at “lying”? Police shouldn’t be allowed to interrogate minors at all. No competent lawyer would allow it, so those who are being interrogated have been duped into waving their right to counsel or have incompetent lawyers.

July 30

+ Police in Idaho Springs, Colorado knocked on Michael Clark’s door and almost immediately tasered him without warning, as he demanded, “What did I do?” Then dragged him by the legs down the hall and handcuffed him. Clark is 75 years old. He suffered a stroke, a burst appendix, and hearing loss after the assault.

They’ll tase you when you’re watching a tv show
They’ll tase you when you’re getting chemo
They’ll tase you when you’re sleeping in your bed
They’ll tase you 10 minutes after you are dead
I would not feel so dazed
Everybody must get tased….

August 6

+ Louisiana has just passed four laws making it illegal to step foot on oil and gas industry “property,” a felony punishable by three years in prison. The law applies not just to environmental protesters, but to anyone, including families visiting the gravesites of their ancestors who had been held as slaves.

+ Since 2015, police in the US have shot and killed more than 6400 people, including a record 1021 last year alone.

+ The girls were 4 and 9, when the Chicago police kicked down their door, woke them up, pointed guns at them, and ordered them on the floor. They had no warrant and no real reason to even knock on their door at that late hour. Yet, this shit just keeps on happening, almost every week, in cities from one coast to another, and all points in between, just like this is what the police are trained and meant to do…

+ Philadelphia police have been towing cars from legal spaces to illegal spaces, impounded the cars from the illegal spaces, and then trying to sell the cars at auction, in a racket of what amounts to city-sanctioned auto theft.

August 13

+ Despite his thumbs up to the Capitol Hill rioters, Sen. Josh Hawley isn’t exactly an outcast in the Senate. This week he slipped through this measure on a nearly unanimous vote (95-3), but will almost certainly continue to rail about the “defunding of the police”: “Hawley amendment to establish a deficit-neutral reserve fund relating to hiring 100,000 new police officers nationwide to combat the crime wave in the United States. (2734)”

+ The age of the Eric Adams Democrats has begun. (Although to be fair, it’s basically just a system upgrade from the Biden/Harris Democrats)..

+ FoxNews, which I’ve been compelled to watch while visiting a relative in a hospital in Indiana for the past couple of weeks, has endlessly focused on the recent shooting of a cop in Chicago, as proof of the “carnage” in the Windy City, and reported nothing at all about the cop who framed 88 innocent people and was sentenced to only 22 months in prison

+ The murder rate in New York City in July 2021 was 49% lower than the murder rate in New York City in July 2020. Where’s the press coverage?

+ Alleging an effort to curb “contraband”, Florida prisons are planning to eliminate prisoner access to handwritten mail. Instead, the prisons will scan and digitize the mail, which could then be viewed on a tablet you buy from JPay or on a kiosk (these break), or pay to print at $.25 per pg for black & white or $1 per page for color. Cruelty for profit.

August 20

+ A message to Cuba from the Secretary of State of the world’s largest carceral nation, a country that imprisons a higher percentage of its population than any other (US 639 per 100K, Cuba 510 per 100K), a country which a new report reveals spent a year targeting black activists for federal crimes for protesting police abuses, so that the protesters could be sentenced to longer prison terms and that the BLM movement would be crippled, much as the FBI had done to the Black Panthers a half-century earlier…

+ The fact that Reality Winner went to federal prison and David Petraeus (who leaked top secret documents to his lover) didn’t and that his opinion on Afghanistan is now solicited by outlets like the New Yorker tells you all you need to know about the level of near-absolute immunity afforded to foreign policy elites in the US–their rap sheets are cleansed before the blood is even dry…

+ David Grossman has trained thousands of police officers to kill without guilt or even a split-second of thought. He called it the “Warrior Mindset.” The result of this “mentality” is more than 6,000 fatal shootings by US police in the last five years.

“The term “killology” was coined by Dave Grossman, a former Army Ranger and U.S. Military Academy psychology professor who has zigzagged the country to bring his police seminars to thousands of officers. His 1995 book, “On Killing,” explores the psychological reaction to extreme violence. It asserts that people need, in a sense, to be trained to have a healthy emotional reaction to killing.”

+ According to a new “transparency report” from Google, “geofencing warrants“—where cops ask Google to tell them, everyone who was at a certain location at a certain time—have increased by 12 times over the past 3 years. In total, Google received 20,932 requests from 2018-2020.

+ A federal court struck down the most-used federal anti-immigrant statute (8 U.S.C. §1326 “illegal reentry”) as unconstitutional. Judge Miranda Du ruled the law in violated the Equal Protection Clause because it was passed with racist intent in 1929 and 1952.

August 27

+ In 2019, Phoenix police shot Jacob Harris in the back, killing the 19-year old. Three of Harris’ friends, who were in the car when the cops shot him, have been in jail awaiting a murder trial for his death ever since, under a legal theory that always prosecutors to charge people for the fatal actions of a third party, such as a police officer if the death is deemed a reasonably foreseeable outcome of the crime. Harris’ friends never fired a shot. The cops who killed Harris received no disciplinary measures. At least 13 states permit this kind of prosecution.

+ Q sure missed a lot that was going down right under its own tent: “The proximate cause of [Minnesota GOP chair Jennifer] Carnahan’s departure was a firestorm that engulfed the party in recent days, after a GOP donor she was close to, Anton “Tony” Lazzaro, was indicted on federal sex-trafficking charges… In addition to the charges against Lazzaro, the chairwoman of the University of St. Thomas College Republicans was arrested on charges she assisted him in trafficking minors for sex…”

September 3

+ Cuba’s incarceration rate–which recently prompted the Biden/Blinken State Dept to slap even more economic sanctions on the already embargoed nation–is half that of 3 US states: OK, LA and MS, and less than that of 38 states, including the US as a whole.

Source: Prison Policy Initiative.

+ The Roberts court, preoccupied with protecting slumlords, declined to hear a challenge to a draconian new Texas law that essentially bans abortions after the sixth week (that is before many women even realize they are pregnant) and deputizes neighbors, pastors and angry ex-boyfriends as abortion snitches. It could well represent the death knell for Roe.  But the erosion of abortion rights started the day after the Roe decision was handed down and the pro-abortion movement dissipated. Abortion rights for poor women were eliminated by the Hyde Amendment, which was renewed by both Democratic and Republican congresses (with Biden’s avid support) and administrations. The Supreme Court didn’t give women abortion rights, it was won on the street, through years of struggle, which is where the fight will have to take place again.

+ Those who bellow the most loudly about the sanctity of “limited government” are almost invariably the same people who brusquely support three of the most extreme powers of the state: the power to invade other countries, the power to execute citizens & the power to force women to give birth against their will.

+ To me the focus on exceptions for “rape or incest” is misguided. Either women have a right to control their bodies or they don’t. The Texas case clarified what’s at stake and how badly that basic right has been traduced, partly as a consequence of RBG’s extreme selfishness in clinging so long to her seat that she allowed one of the world’s most thuggish misogynists to name her replacement and partly as a result of the Democrats’ repeated failure to codify abortion rights during the decades when they had complete control of the government.

+ Remington, the gun manufacturer being sued by Sandy Hook parents, subpoenaed their slain children’s attendance, academic and disciplinary records…

September 17

+ In New Jersey, 22 cops died of COVID last week alone, even as the police union continued to fight against vaccination requirements.

+ A woman is facing 30 years in prison on involuntary manslaughter and assault charges because a speeding cop who was on the way to the scene of a car accident involving her struck and killed a fellow cop that was on the scene. And people describe Cuba as a police state?

+ $4,000,000,000: the amount of money CBP/ICE have awarded in 7,000 contracts to private industry for the likes of pressurized pepper ball launcher, thousands of rounds of ammunition, and funding for detention centers.

+ A new study has confirmed what’s been suspected for years: that hundreds of L.A. County Sheriff’s deputies said they have been recruited to join secretive, “gang-like cliques” that operate within department stations. What’s the difference between a “gang” and a “gang-like clique”? A badge?

+ The machete-packing guy with the pronghorns on his grill and swastikas painted on his Dakota pickup who was arrested outside the DNC headquarters in DC wasn’t from the Idaho panhandle or the UP of Michigan, but Oceanside, California, where the median house price is close to $800,000…

September 24

+ In the past few days, ICE has deported 1,400 Haitian refugees using over a dozen mass deportation flights. ICE uses two private companies to carry out most of its mass deportation flights – Omni Air and Fly Swift Air. Many of the refugees are shackled during the flight, their few belongings dumped out of the planes onto the runway, after landing in Port-au-Prince.

+ The scenes of whip-wielding Border Patrol agents on horseback, hunting down Haitian refugees on the Texas border were like watching Slave Patrols at work…Only worse. The slave patrols were legalized by the govt. These people are the government.

+ In moral and humanitarian terms, the abhorrent treatment of desperate refugees at the US border is even more despicable (because it is planned & calculated) than the treatment of Afghan refugees–yet it’s being cheered by those who decried the bungled exit from Kabul: “I thought the United States was a big country, with laws. They treated us terribly,” said Nicodeme Vyles, 45, who had been living in Panama since 2003, working as a welder and carpenter. “They didn’t even give me an interview with an immigration agent….What am I going to do?”

+ “This is why your country’s shit, because you use your women for this!”, a mounted Border Patrol officer, whip in hand, screamed at a Haitian migrant he was riding down, as the man sheltered with his family.

+ White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki defends border patrol agents on horseback whipping Haitian Refugees as “a Covid Safety Protocol”. Disgusting. There’s a much higher incidence of Covid in the US than in Haiti, though after their detention and deportations they whipped and rounded up refugees probably go back and spread the delta variant they acquired in US custody.

+ Looks like the plan is to detain the Haitian refugees at Gitmo….As it scrambles to round up Haitian migrants at the border, the Biden administration is seeking a private contractor to operate a migrant detention facility at Guantanamo Bay with a requirement that some of the guards speak Spanish and Haitian Creole.

+ Did Comma-la come up with this? Or was Biden himself flashing back to the early 90s, when he voted to keep Haitian refugees locked in Gitmo indefinitely, using AIDS as the rationale?

+ Following in Trump’s footsteps, Biden is using Title 42 to expel asylum seekers without their right to hearings,  citing COVID 19 as the justification, even though health experts say it has no medical basis. According to CNBC, it has been used to expel:

 440,000+ people under Trump
 690,000+ people under Biden

+ Biden: “If Haiti sank into the Caribbean, it wouldn’t matter.”

+ After an in-depth investigation of the regretful events on the Rio Grande, the Biden administration has determined that the problem at the border was caused by horses, which will now be confined to their stables at Del Rio. Presumably, Border Patrol will now conduct its roundups while riding Ford Broncos. It’s the humane thing to do.

+ Inside Biden’s migrant concentration camps a kind of chemical warfare is being used on the detainees: “Every day crowded cells holding people at an immigration detention facility in Florida have been doused with caustic disinfectants that have caused breathing problems and bleeding…”

+ Who needs Stephen Miller?

October 1

+ According to a study published in Lancet yesterday, police killings in the US were undercounted by about half, largely as a result of cop-friendly medical examiners attributing the deaths to other causes. In total, U.S. police killings were undercounted by more than 17,000 over the past 40 years. The police have killed Black people at a rate of 3.5 times higher than white people.

+ COVID-19 is the leading cause of death for on-duty law enforcement officers so far in 2021.

+ From 1977-2018, state and local government spending on police grew by 226 percent…more than for schools, universities, health care…or crime. But does anyone feel any “safer” from the conditions that really threaten their lives?

+ Raleigh, North Carolina will sell out $2 million to 15 Black men the city’s police wrongfully arrested in 2019-2020 on fake drug charges. The men spent a combined 2.5 years in prison, some missing cancer treatments, in a racially targeted campaign based on false claims made by a police informant. Another instance of the police defunding themselves, which will not elicit a word of protest from the Blue Lives Matter claque…

+ Meanwhile, Biden’s budget requests call for $3.98 billion in police grants from the Justice Department and Department of Homeland Security, 10% more than last year and 46% more than in 2017.

+ The Gothamist reports that the names of multiple active NYPD officers and NY GOP officials appear in a hacked cache of the secret membership records of the Oath Keepers, one of the militia groups that staged the January 6th raid on the Capitol.

+ Nine months into his first term and Joe Biden has issued exactly ZERO pardons.

+ Alabama, which has the highest death rate from Covid-19 in America, is planning to use $400 million Covid relief funds to finance the construction of three large prisons and the renovation of several others.

October 8

+ Eric Rice, the attorney for Jaleel K. Stallings, who was acquitted on all charges of shooting at Minneapolis police officers during the protests that followed George Floyd’s killing last year, has released body camera footage that shows he returned fire at police in self-defense before he surrendered and was assaulted by officers while on the ground. The footage shows police riding down the street in a van firing the marking rounds without warning at bystanders. The footage then shows cops encounter Stallings, who had ducked behind his pickup in a parking lot. At 10:53 p.m. an officer fired a marking round (rubber bullet) at Stallings, hitting him in the chest. Stallings, who didn’t realize the unmarked van was packed with police officers, returned fire three times as he ducked for cover. Stalling had a permit to carry a firearm in public, and did so because of repeated threats from local white supremacists.

“Once in cover, Mr. Stallings learned that the occupants of the van were law enforcement officers, and Mr. Stallings immediately surrendered,” Rice said in a statement. Surveillance footage shows Stallings immediately go to the ground, while Officer Justin Stetson and Sgt. Andrew Bittell started punching and kicking Stallings, who did not resist.  As he’s kicking Stallings, Stetson screams: “You fucking piece of shit!”  While on the ground, Stallings can be heard saying: “Listen, listen, sir!” When the cops finally pull Stallings into the recovery position, Britell kicks him once more in the ribs, while Stetson continues to pummel his head. Until finally, Britell yells: “That’s it; stop it. It’s OK.”

+ Earlier that night, body cam recordings reveal that Britell had given his unit orders to: “Drive down Lake Street. You see a group, call it out. OK great! Fuck ’em up, gas ’em, fuck ’em up.”

+ Footage from officer Justin Stetson’s body camera shows him repeatedly firing marking rounds at protesters before yelling “Gotcha!” while officer Kristopher Dauble laughs and the two fist-bump.

+ In other videos from that night, released by Rice:

Officer Michael Osbeck’s body camera shows him speaking with Lt. Johnny Mercil, who exclaims: “Fuck these media.” Then mockingly said, “Hold on a second, let me check your credentials, make a few phone calls to verify …”

Osbeck: “They think they can do whatever they want,”

Mercil: “There’s a fucking curfew.”

While watching a group of protesters and debating whether to make an arrest, Mercil said, “This group probably is predominantly white because there’s not looting and fires.” Mercil currently oversees MPD’s use of force training and was called as a prosecution witness in the trial of ex-officer Derek Chauvin, who was convicted of murdering George Floyd on May 25, 2020.

+ Officer Joseph Adams’ body camera shows him telling Commander Bruce Folkens “It was busy night”.

Folkens replies: “Tonight it was just nice to hear ‘We’re gonna find some more people instead of chasing people around … you guys are out hunting people now, it’s just a nice change of tempo …Fuck these people.”

+ Clifton McHale, the Boston PD sergeant who gloated about running over George Floyd protesters, has been reinstated to active duty:

“Dude, dude, dude, I fuckin’ drove down Tremont—there was an unmarked state police cruiser they were all gathered around,. So then I had a fucker keep coming, fucking running, I’m fucking hitting people with the car, did you hear me, I was like, ‘get the fuck—’”

+ Wal-Mart and the cops teamed up to track down a man who stole two boxes of diapers and some baby wipes, back down only after hundreds of strangers begged them to stop and offered to pay for the items themselves.

October 22

+ Reporters at the Associated Press analyzed 3,000 instances of police use of force against children under 16 over the past 11 years. Black children made up more than 50% of the juveniles who were handled forcibly, though they represent only 15% of the U.S. child population.

+ Defunding the police, city by city, county by county, state by state, one vaccine mandate at a time…

+ Harold “Hal” Uhrig, last seen representing George Zimmerman after he was charged with killing Trayvon Martin, was arrested this week, accused of pressuring a teenager who was allegedly raped when she was 9-years old to lie about the assault in court. Uhrig is defending the man accused of raping the girl.

+ Biden: “It’s a hard time to be a police officer in America. I just want to make sure you have the tools to be the partners and the protectors whom communities need.” Biden remains who he has always been…Frank Rizzo in shades.

+ Biden promise not to build “one more foot” of border wall; yet his Department of Homeland Security is still seizing land for the border wall easement.

+ Meanwhile, Biden’s pick to head Customs and Border Patrol, Tucson Police Chief Chris Magnus, indicated during his confirmation hearings that he supports two of Trump’s most vile border policies: enforcement of Title 42 to deport immigrants and asylum seekers as public health risks and the completion of the border wall.

October 29

+ Julian Assange shouldn’t be released from the dank chambers of Belmarsh Prison because the CIA contemplated assassinating him. He shouldn’t be released because a key witness against him admitted to fabricating his deposition. He should be released because he didn’t commit the crime for which he is charged and a country that treats journalism as a crime against the state shouldn’t have legal standing to bring extradition requests in the courts of nations that consider themselves democracies.

+ The combined costs to UK taxpayers for the courts, prosecutors and prison used for Julian Assange’s extradition case have already surpassed $433,000. The stakeout of the embassy cost another $12 million. To date, the USA hasn’t contributed a penny.

+ A Case of Infinite Jeopardy: “Even if we lose, we can start again with Mr. Assange and issue another extradition request,” James Lewis QC Thursday at the UK High Court on behalf of the US Government…

+ Police have received $25 million worth of military equipment from the Pentagon through its 1033 Program since July and $77 million since January.

+ Radley Balko on qualified immunity for cops: “Qualified immunity isn’t in the Constitution. It isn’t in the U.S. Code. It is judge-made law. It is judicial activism, by any definition of the term.”

+ Kenosha County Circuit Judge Bruce Schroeder has ruled on that Kyle Rittenhouse’s lawyers can refer to the men the young vigilante shot and killed in Kenosha, Wisconsin, in August 2020 as “rioters” and “looters,” but prosecutors may not call them “victims” at any time during the teen’s upcoming murder trial.

November 12

+ For 37 minutes after Houston police and firefighters declared a “mass casualty” event at Astroworld, rapper Travis Scott continued performing, ignoring pleas from fans to halt the show, including some who had climbed onto camera platforms to try to get help.

+ Cars have rammed into protesters 139 times since the murder of George Floyd. Less than half of drivers faced charges.

+ A linear regression analysis by Kathryn McKelvey of nearly 6 years of data on monthly police officer staff levels and crime levels in Portland, Oregon shows no correlation between the number of police officers and crime levels. Adding officers to the force will not decrease crimes in Portland. The recent uptick in crime is more attributable to seasonality, rather than a shortage of officers on the streets.

+ 481: the number of Indigenous people to die in custody in Australian jails and prisons.

+ Seven years after a federal judge ordered the NYPD to start using body-worn cameras, the NYPD still refuses to gives police abuse investigators full access to the footage.

+ Ed Mullins, the outgoing head of the Sergeants Benevolent Association, will be docked 70 vacation days for using slurs against New York City officials and leaking derogatory personal information about Mayor Bill de Blasio’s daughter following her arrest at a Black Lives Matter protest. 70 vacation days? I don’t think I’ve had 70 vacation days my entire working life…

+ 13,000: the number of people serving life without parole sentences inside Florida’s dank prison system.

+ Is there a creepier political figure on the scene today than Tulsi Gabbard?

+ Gabbard hasn’t changed. This is who she’s always been. She was a military cop and that remains her mentality…Charlie may not surf, but many cops do. Surfing doesn’t make them cool or any less dangerous.

+ The whole Gabbard phenomenon was one of the strangest mirages in recent American history, nearly as mystifying as the political cargo cults that congealed around the equally ridiculous figures of Howard Dean and John Edwards.

+ If all judges treated prosecutors with the same skepticism and disdain shown by the judge in the trial of the teenage white avenger Kyle Rittenhouse, what passes for a justice system in this country would function in a much more equitable manner.

+ Of course, if Rittenhouse had been a black youth walking down the street with a gun (real or play), like Tamir Rice, he’d have been shot on sight, no questions asked.

November 19

+ Kyle Rittenhouse’s lawyer during closing arguments: “Other people in this community have shot somebody seven times and it’s been found to be ok. My client did it four times…”

+ The lawyer is referring to the cop who shot Jacob Blake seven times not being charged. The prosecutor should have objected but didn’t, probably because it’s his office that didn’t bring charges against the cop who shot Blake.

+ You can see his point. NYPD cops shot Amadou Diallo 41 times for no justifiable reason and walked. Then they shot Sean Bell 50 times on the morning before his planned wedding and also walked.

+ Apparently the American police state–already the largest and most violent in the world–is no longer enough to deal with the long-term consequences of economic inequality, institutional racism, and environmental decay gnawing away at the social fabric of the nation. An auxiliary force is required to protect the security (largely psychological) of our financial elites–armed paramilitaries roving the streets, private gunslingers like you’d find in many of the dictatorships the US has financed around the world, able to strike at will with the same legal impunity enjoyed by cops on the beat. We have become (and probably always were) almost exactly the kind of violent and repressive society that we have inflicted on much of the world, under the banner of spreading freedom and democracy.

+ Biden on Rittenhouse verdict: “I stand by what the jury has to say. The jury system works.” It’s no surprise that Biden supports the verdict. Rittenhouse’s vigilantism is a privatized version of his 90s crime bills–and we all know Biden is a big supporter of privatization.

+ Biden’s endorsement of the Rittenhouse verdict is a pretty clear signal that Merrick Garland won’t be pursuing federal charges under the Civil Rights Act.

+ The people who shot Jacob Blake walked. The person who shot the people protesting the shooting of Jacob Blake walked. The only people who won’t walk are the people arrested for protesting those who did.

+ After Kyle Rittenhouse was acquitted for shooting three people on the streets of Kenosha, Donald (I could shoot somebody on Fifth Ave. and not lose any voters) Trump is going to have to come up with some new boast about the kind of outlandish behavior he can get away with, since this will soon become routine event in America…

+ Apparently, you can now walk down many streets in America carrying what looks like a military assault weapon. This gun might make other people nervous about your intentions. You perceive their anxiety about your gun as a potential threat to your safety & shoot them. Case closed.

+ The concept of Stand Your Ground has become a legal version of Hemingway’s a Moveable Feast–it goes wherever you go or, really, wherever your gun goes. Your ground is literally wherever you’re standing with a gun–even if it is on someone else’s street in someone else’s town with someone else’s gun…

+ But Rittenhouse shot white people! Doesn’t that prove he’s not a racist? No. He shot race traitors, white people protesting the police shootings of blacks. During Reconstruction some of the most sadistic murders in the South were committed against so-called Radical Republicans, Southerners who supported emancipation and black suffrage, a threat that needed to be completely neutralized before JIm Crow could be implemented.

+ I recall when many of the same people now celebrating the Rittenhouse verdict pointed to images of teenage paramilitaries roaming the streets of Mogadishu and Freetown with assault weapons as evidence that those nations were failed states in need of military intervention.

+ Like many suburban kids, I was force-fed the Dick and Jane readers in kindergarten. I guess in the updated post-Rittenhouse Patriotic editions of these books all the juvenile characters in the stories will be carrying AK-47s for self-defense, except Spot the dog and Puff the cat. I can imagine an episode where Spot and Puff are kidnapped by the evil Dr. Fauci for grotesque medical experiments on a island off the coast of Africa and have to be liberated in a commando raid by Dick, Jane, and Sally.

+ In yet another case of pro-active “self-defense,” new video shows that teenager Christian Hall had his hands in the air when he was gunned down in the street last year by Pennsylvania State Troopers…

+ A reminder: 907 people have been shot and killed by police in the US this year.

+ Can there be any doubt that Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt, knowing for several days knew he was going to commute the death of Julius Jones, sadistically waited until the last possible moment to do officially, forcing Jones, his family and friends, to endure all of the excruciating stress from the macabre protocols of executions in America.

+ Julius Jones isn’t free, as he so clearly should be, but he is alive and will be tomorrow morning, when his fight for freedom can begin again. Rarely is the specter of state-sanctioned murdered told to fuck off so successfully in America. And that’s something to celebrate. Yet look at the movement it took to compel the state it took to grudgingly do something so obvious and just. Executions have become political spectacles in America, where the customary virtues of justice, compassion, and empathy have been supplanted by vengeance, retribution and blood sacrifice for political gain.

+ Newly released documents reveal that the city of Portland, Oregon was operating a secret police force during the summer of 2020.  Will Anthony Blinken, who piously chastised Cuba for “intimidating” rightwing protesters this week, impose sanctions on Stumptown?

November 26

+ According to a new study by Brown University’s Cost of War Project on the effectiveness of the Department of Homeland Security after 20 years of draconian incursions on US civil liberties in the name of fighting “terrorism,” “Of the 230 unsuccessful attacks or plots in the U.S. since 9/11 … 28 were directed by foreign terrorist organizations, 118 were committed by homegrown violent extremists inspired by such organizations, and 84 were committed by domestic terrorists.”

+ Over a period of 8 years, Rochester Police Officer Matthew Drake drove his cruiser into a crowd, savagely beat a Black man, and repeatedly clubbed a protester with his riot stick, drove an inebriated young woman around in his own car for nearly an hour in violation of department policy and then, in March, he shot and killed Tyshon Jones. According to a report by The Appeal, Drake has faced no serious consequences for any of these actions.

+ Kevin Strickland, a 62-year-old black man who spent more than 40 years behind bars for a crime he didn’t commit, was finally released from prison on Tuesday. Under Missouri law, Strickland is not entitled to housing, counseling, or one penny of compensation. In the absence of any compensation for this grievous miscarriage of justice, a GoFundMe page has been established to help Strickland begin his life again.

+ Brian Bukle is a 62-year-old black man, who was jailed in California by ICE for over a month despite repeated explanations he is a US citizen, who has lived in the US since he was two-years old. The arresting contractors repeatedly taunted him. ICE officers ignored his pleas, falsified an I-213 report, and sent him in deportation proceedings. A therapist at the immigration jail urged him to just sign deport papers, leave behind his son, and get it over with.

+ A new study from researchers at the University of Wisconsin shows a causal link between heat and violence. Using weather data from Mississippi, the researchers found that when the average temperature is hotter than 80F the number of acts of violence in jails and prisons in the state were about 20 percent higher than on other days.

December 3

+ So Florida Governor Ron DeSantis wants to create a civilian military force for Florida that would be under his control. Can anyone think of a name for this unit? Gestapo, you say? Sorry, that one’s already taken.

+ + In 2020, 1021 people were shot and killed by police in the US. By contrast, 48 police were shot and killed in the line of duty. In the wake of the Rittenhouse verdict, many Americans may understandably be confused as to which party has the right to claim self-defense in an encounter with police.

+ “Barricade and Throw” has now replaced “Duck and Cover” in the kiss-your-ass goodbye safety drills of American schools…..One 15-year student at Oxford High School told the Detroit Free-Press: “‘It’s part of school protocol to barricade, so we all knew, barricade, barricade down. And we all started pushing tables’…They then lined up along a wall and grabbed something to throw, also part of the active shooter training they’ve had.”

+ In the post-Rittenhouse environment, the Oxford HS shooter could have easily claimed self-defense had he turned the gun on the parents who treated his psychological problems by giving him a semi-automatic handgun, ignored his increasingly strident pleas for help and then abandoned him after the inevitable happened.

December 10

+ The manslaughter charges against the Oxford HS shooter’s parents are excessive (as are the terrorism charges against a mentally disturbed teen),  but they certainly aren’t unprecedented, as the case of Nathaniel Woods indicates. Woods was unarmed when three Birmingham police officers were fatally shot by someone else in 2004. But Woods, who is black, was convicted of capital murder for his role in the deaths of the three white officers. And this is just happening at the state level in the death machine belt. The Clinton/Biden “Crime” bill authorized the federal death penalty for people who didn’t actually commit murder.

+ 84% of the men who commit sexual violence against Native women are non-Native. Yet federal and state laws strictly limit (and often prohibit) the Tribes’ ability to prosecute non-Natives, even on their own land.

December 17

+ This week a grand jury indicted an ex-Houston police captain after he was accused of running a man off the road and pointing to a gun to his head because he thought he was committing voter fraud in the run-up to the 2020 election. The indictment alleges that last October Aguirre began following an air condition repairman named David Lopez Zuniga. After four days of “surveillance,” Aguirre came to believe that Zuniga was the mastermind of a vote fraud scheme and that he was hiding 750,000 illegal mail-in ballots in his repair truck. On the 19th of October, Aguirre rammed his black SUV into the back of Zuniga’s box truck. When Zuniga got out to check on the damage, Aguirre confronted him with a gun and ordered him to the ground. As Aguirre pinned Zuniga to the ground with a knee to his back, two other cars pulled up driven by associates of Aguirre. The ex-cop told his pals to search Zuniga’s truck. When the cops arrived and told Aguirre to let Zuniga up, one of the defendant’s buddies drove off in Zuniga’s truck. The frantic Zuniga told  the cops that he thought he was being robbed and feared he might be killed. Aguirre’s story was that he believed Zuniga was working for Mark Zuckerberg, who had spent $9.7 million on a ballot harvesting operation, which used Hispanic children to sign ballots because “the children’s fingerprints would not appear in any databases.” Aguirre advised the cop who was interviewing him that he could be a “hero or part of the problem…I just hope you’re a patriot.”

+ Aguirre was apparently paid more than $266,000 from the Liberty Center for God and Country, to investigate the alleged voter fraud. The vast majority of the money — $211,400 — came the day after the alleged aggravated assault. Former Harris County Republican Party Chairman Jared Woodfill is president of the group; conservative Houston activist Steven Hotze is the group’s CEO, according to the organization’s website. Hotze used Aguirre’s voter fraud allegations in a lawsuit earlier this year. The former police captain, Mark Aguirre, was fired from the Houston Police Department in 2003 for his role in the Kmart mass arrests of 270 people during a notorious operation meant to crack down on illegal street-racing and which turned into a total fiasco.

+ 475: the total number of potential cases of voter fraud in the six battleground states of the 2020 election.

+ The media hysteria about retail theft is little more than scaremongering to draw attention away from the fact that no one wants to work for them anymore or buy shit in their stores. Nationwide, retail theft is barely up (0.2%), all of the losses they can probably write off…if, and that’s a big one, they’re paying any taxes at all.

+ Yet that didn’t stop SF Mayor London Breed from calling for more cops on the streets to protect Nordstrom, Tiffany’s and Louis Vuitton.

+ WEB DuBois: “A system cannot fail those whom it was never designed to protect.”

+ Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has taken the Texas abortion bounty hunter model and applied it to Florida’s schools, allowing “private enforcement” of his ban on teaching Critical Race Theory….

+ Michelle Odinet is a city court judge in Lafayette, Louisiana, who claimed last week that her house had been robbed by an armed black man. As she and her family watched security footage of the break-in, someone in the house recorded their reaction to the unfolding scene. One of the judge’s children is heard shouting: “Mom’s yelling ‘Nigger! Nigger!!’” And Odinet is heard to reply: “We have a nigger! It’s a nigger, like a roach!” When the video of the racist outburst was leaked to the Current, Odinet claimed that her “mental state was fragile” and that she “was given a sedative at the time of the video” and had “zero recollection of the video and the disturbing language used in it.” Blacks account for a little more than 30% of the population of Lafayette and a significantly higher percentage of those appearing in Judge Odinet’s courtroom. According to the Lafayette police, despite the judge’s accusation, no gun was found on the man who they arrested for the robbery.  I guess drug manufacturers will now have to put a warning label on sedatives: “Caution: May make some people repeatedly shout the N-word.”

City Court Judge Michelle Odinet. Photo: Lafayette City Court.

+ Another way to Defund the Police (and why they should be): Portland (Oregon) City Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty has filed a $5 million lawsuit against a police officer, the police union, and the former union head, alleging that leaked information falsely implicated her in a hit-and-run.

+ The number of imprisoned journalists hit a new high this year, rising by 15 over 2020. A least 24 journalists were killed because of their coverage, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists, and 18 others died in circumstances that make it too difficult to determine whether they were targeted because of their work.

+ Fourteen-year-old Valentina Orellana-Peralta was in a dressing room at a Burlington department store in North Hollywood and police officers opened fire on an assault suspect. After the shooting, the investigators found a hole in a wall of the store and behind it found Valentina on the floor of the room where she’d been trying on dresses for her quinceañera, dead at the scene from a gunshot wound to the chest.

+ Alex Karakatsanis: “Whenever you hear the Los Angeles police quoted in the media, remember that LAPD used the acronym NHI (“No Human Involved”) in their reports for years to describe crimes where they believed the victim to be a sex worker, gang member, drug addict, or unhoused person.”

+ There have been millions of column inches written on the trials of police shootings this year, while coverage of actual police shootings has almost disappeared. But with a few days to go in the year, police have killed at least 900 people to date in 2021.

+ Number of pardons issued by Joe Biden in 2021: 0.

Jeffrey St. Clair is editor of CounterPunch. His most recent books are Bernie and the Sandernistas: Field Notes From a Failed Revolution and The Big Heat: Earth on the Brink (with Joshua Frank) He can be reached at: sitka@comcast.net or on Twitter @JeffreyStClair3