Robby Soave, Daily Caller
America’s police force can claim many victims this year: From senior citizens gunned down in their own homes during botched drug raids to non-violent offenders murdered via police neglect for their most basic needs.
The Daily Caller chronicled the worst police abuse stories of 2013, and has learned a few unfortunate lessons: You can be killed by police for possessing trivial amounts of marijuana — or even no drugs at all. If your autistic son tells you he met a new friend at school, that friend could be a narcotics officer trying to trick him into selling drugs. And whatever you do, stay the hell away from New Mexico cops.
Without further adieu, here is TheDC’s Dirty Dozen: The 12 most terrifying, representative police abuse stories of 2013.
12) Father arrested for picking up his kid from school — Parent be warned: If you do not rigorously adhere to the Orwellian pick-up laws at your kids’ elementary schools, you can and will be hauled off to jail. Tennessee father Jim Howe recorded his exchange with a school administrator and safety officer, in which he was told that trying to bring his kids home a little early was “disorderly conduct.”
The officer also threatened to arrest Howe’s girlfriend for recording the incident. If the cops let everybody record them, how would they get away with their bad behavior?
11) Shock video: Police slams inmate’s head against wall, producing bloody smear – Mistreatment of suspects and jail inmates is a sad, recurring police motif. But few were as visceral as this one. Drunk driving suspect James Duckworth was handcuffed and cooperative when officer Charles Broaderick slammed his head into the wall. Duckworth was bleeding and barely conscious as the abuse continued: Broaderick even tried to wrap a plastic bag around the suspect’s head.
Kudos to the Marion County police department for charging Broaderick with assault and bringing a measure of accountability to the situation.
10) Felony weapons charge for student who brought fishing supplies to school — This is mostly the fault of the school district for having in place a draconian ban on weapons both real and imaginary. Still, it was an unwarranted police search that led to the discovery of the cache of weapons — a dreaded fishing tackle box! — in student Cody Chitwood’s vehicle.
Chitwood, an avid fisherman, is worried the felony charge will interfere with his dream of joining the Air Force. But at least his school is safe from the terrible threat of a couple fishhooks.
9) Police allegedly beat 13-year-old with cell phone, broke his nose — This Chicago-area teen evidently knows more about his Constitutional rights than the police do. After wisely declining to answer police questions without first consulting a lawyer — or at least his mother — an officer smashed his face in with a cell phone, according to his lawsuit. Thirteen-year-old Jonathan Garcia left the police station with a broken nose and considerable skepticism about police authority.
“If the police is doing this, who do I call if I’m in danger because they’re the ones doing the danger,” he said in a statement.
8) Kids no longer sure who to trust after police arrest all their friends; Autistic kid entrapped — The sheriff’s department in Riverside County, California must be obsessed with the recent movie “21 Jump Street,” which follows the exploits of two fictional narcotics officers pretending to be high school students in order to bust a local drug dealer inside the school. Maybe it’s funny when Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill do it, but in real life, it’s just awful.
At the end of the semester at Perris High School and Paloma Valley High School, students watched as dozens of their classmates were hauled off to jail for possessing or selling various drugs, including marijuana and cocaine. The arrests were made by undercover officers who had posed as high school students.
Even worse was a story of an earlier sting operation at a different high school, where one of the arrested students was an autistic boy. His parents said he had always had trouble making friends, and was caught off guard by the sudden friendship of another student, who proved to be an undercover narcotics officer. The officer tricked the boy into selling him drugs, according to the parents.
But hey, what’s more important: an autistic teenager’s trust issues, or relentlessly prosecuting the War on Drugs?
7) Police force black men to act like chimps, film it — Certain members of the police force of Grosse Pointe Park–a wealthy, largely white suburb of Detroit — were found to have frequently stopped black men on the streets of Detroit, asked them to make ape-like gestures and noises, and filmed the results. The cop or cops involved then shared the abjectly racist videos and pictures with friends.
The police department is investigating, and has handed out suspensions. It’s going to take a lot more than that to convince minority citizens of GPP and Detroit that the police are on their side, however.
Whatever the answer to that question, two recent cases provided textbook examples of how NOT to react to vaguely offensive internet speech. Fearing that clearly sarcastic messages were indeed actual threats, police raided two teenager’s homes last year and arrested the perpetrators in two distinct situations: 17-year-old Justin Carter and 19-year-old Josh Pillault.
Neither teen possessed weapons, motives or actual intentions to commit violent acts. Yet both were held in jail for months before authorities decided what to do with them–and now face huge fines and decades in prison.
At least the cases have generated nearly unanimous outrage. From National Review’s Charles C.W. Cooke: “Even if one considers that Carter’s joke met the ‘imminent lawless action’ threshold — which I absolutely do not — the subsequent search and questioning of the suspect rendered it demonstrably clear that Carter did not present anything close. That the case has been carried beyond that point is astonishing — and unconstitutional.”
5) Jail guards ignore 22-year-old inmate’s dairy allergy, killing him – The most depressing story of police-on-inmate brutality this year isn’t actually brutal. What killed minor drug offender Michael Saffioti wasn’t guns, fists or billy clubs: It was nothing more than sadistic negligence.
Saffioti was serving a short stint in jail for missing a court hearing relating to a prior marijuana conviction. The 22-year-old lived in constant fear of his debilitating allergies, and used pot to calm his nerves.
Snohomish County Jail officials were well aware of Saffioti’s dairy allergies when they gave him breakfast. He even asked specifically whether the food was dairy-based, fearing the worst. But after being repeatedly told to just eat his food, Saffioti complied. Soon after, knowing he was as good as poisoned, the man begged his guards to bring a doctor. Instead, they shuttled him back to his cell, where he died — a casualty of marijuana prohibition and bureaucratic dehumanization.
4) Family calls 911 for help, cops show up and kill son — An adverse reaction to diabetes medication sent 43-year-old Jack Lamar Roberson into an agitated state. Fearing for his safety, rather than their own, Roberson’s family members called 911 to send medical help.
Instead, the dispatcher sent two officers, who shot Roberson to death upon their arrival at the home.
The police claimed that Roberson was armed and dangerous — a fact disputed by Roberson’s devastated mother.
“We don’t own two decent knives,” she said in a statement.
3) Police smell meth, raid home, kill 80-year-old man, find no meth — If the Roberson case demonstrates that you can be killed by the police for doing very little wrong, what happened to Eugene Mallory is evidence that you can be killed by the police for doing almost nothing wrong. Los Angeles County deputies raided Mallory’s home in the middle of the night after smelling chemicals while outside — the ingredients for manufacturing methamphetamine, they assumed.
Inside, police found no meth. What they did find was a half-asleep 80-year-old man with bad eyesight. Frightened by the disturbance, Mallory apparently reached for a gun and was killed by an officer. Police insist that the old man fired first, though his wife disputes this.
After the fact, a police spokesperson implied that Mallory’s fate was the old man’s old fault: “The lesson here is, and forgive me for stating the obvious, but don’t pull a gun on a deputy.”
Perhaps a more obvious lesson would be “Don’t assault on old man in his own home in the dead of night on a completely unfounded pretext.”
2) Car crash victim calls for help, is shot to death by police instead — If the Roberson case demonstrates that you can be killed by the police for doing very little wrong, and the Mallory case demonstrates that you can be killed by police for doing almost nothing wrong, what happened to Jonathan Ferrell is evidence that you can be killed by the police for doing absolutely, objectively nothing wrong.
Ferrell was in a bad car crash. He exited the vehicle and ran to a nearby house for help. When the Charlotte, North Carolina police arrived, they shot and killed him.
It’s difficult to deny the racial details of the case. Ferrell, a black man, had the stocky build of a former Texas A&M football player. The owner of the home thought he was trying to break into the house, and called the police. And the cops, of course, assumed he was up to no good.
Ferrell was just shy of his 25th birthday, and engaged to be married.
The police department agreed that the shooting was unwarranted, and has charged the offending officer with voluntary manslaughter.
1) Horror: Police force man to undergo invasive anal operation; it happened again; STOP THE MADNESS — The previous 11 stories on the list are tragic and horrifying, but not surprising to anyone who has followed police brutality stories over the years. This story, on the other hand, will shock even the most cynical anti-authoritarian.
In at least three instances, police have pulled over random drivers, hauled them to a nearby hospital and forced them to undergo invasive procedures, operations and surgeries — all for the purpose of finding nonexistent drugs in their body cavities.
One of the victims — a woman — has claimed sexual abuse, since the officers actually started sticking their fingers in her vagina before taking her to a hospital to continue the investigation.
The other two victims — both men — suffered old-fashioned, regular abuse and the hands of New Mexico police. The first victim, David Eckert, was suspected of carrying drugs because he was believed to be clenching his buttocks. So police requested a warrant from a judge, which they then received. Eckert was transported to a nearby hospital, where doctors were asked to perform inspections. The doctors quite rightly refused, so Eckert was taken to another hospital: Gila Regional Medical Center. Long after the warrant had expired, Eckert was poked, prodded, forced to defecate in front of police and Gila Regional medical staff. He was then given full-on surgery: a colonoscopy.
Even more shocking: The hospital had the nerve to send Eckert the bill for his own abuse.
No drugs were found on — or inside — any of the three victims, of course. And it seems that a drug-sniffing dog with an expired license was the instigator in at least two of the investigations.
The silver lining for the three victims is that their lawsuits — against the police department and hospital — will likely net them millions of dollars.
The rest of the inhabitants of New Mexico are left to wonder whether aliens could treat them any worse than their own police force.
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