Wednesday, June 6, 2007

"Because We Want To"

Sir, what did I do to deserve handcuffs?”

It's law enforcement's view you used foul language, and because we want to. I told you to give me your boarding pass.”

I tried to give you my boarding pass, sir.”

You tried to be a jerk.”

A few seconds after that exchange, which took place on March 10 at Las Vegas's McCarran Airport, Mark T. England was severely beaten by his interlocutor, a Las Vegas Metro Policeman identified as Officer Jennings.

I was struck on the left hand and left leg,” England recalls in his account of the assault. “I was in complete disbelief. I stood with my hands extended out to my side ... with open palms. Officer Jennings again swung his baton at me. I brought my arms inward perceiving where the baton was going to strike me. Officer Jennings struck me on my left side around the 5th and 6th intercostal ribs. This baton strike made me double over. Officer Jennings swung his baton at me yet again and struck me behind the left ear. This caused me to stagger. I backed away from him and again placed my hands out to my side with open palms and asked him why he was doing this. At no time did I give Officer Jennings reason to believe I was going to harm or assault him.”

As Jennings inflicted this unprovoked beating on England, a second officer scurried to the scene, armed with a Taser. The Las Vegas Metro Police guidelines covering Taser use specify that this often lethal device is to be used only against suspects who aggressively resist the police; England was entirely passive as he underwent the beating. Nonetheless, the second officer fired his Taser at England.

The effect of the Taser blast caused England to slam his head against the corner of a door frame, severely injuring his eye. Prone on the floor, bleeding from his eye, and still reeling from the baton strike to the head, England was ordered to roll to his stomach – which was impossible, since he was still paralyzed from the Taser strike. So he was Tased again. And again. While this was happening, another police officer stood at a distance, mocking and laughing at England as he fell to the floor.

Eventually, Tucker was handcuffed and taken to a police substation in the airport, where Officer Jennings told him that the brutal beating he had suffered was appropriate, because he was “being uncooperative.” He was booked into jail on "suspicion of violating airport rules and resisting arrest," but no charges were filed.

While incidents of this sort have become infuriatingly common, this specific episode is remarkable for the fact that it involved potentially lethal violence from one element of the Warfare/Homeland Security State against another: England, a Sergeant and Medic in the U.S. Army, had traveled to Las Vegas from Orange County, California to enjoy “NASCAR Weekend” before being re-deployed to Iraq.

England had indeed used foul language earlier that evening, in dealing with a Transportation Security Administration supervisor. England was surprised to learn that it was forbidden to take a soft drink through TSA checkpoint. He pressed the issue, believing that it was permitted to take beverages through the checkpoint as long as they were purchased in the airport, only to be told that this wasn't so. He took up the matter with a supervisor, who claimed to be a Lieutenant in the US Army and “spoke to me as if giving me a military order from a superior.”

This was when Officer Jennings materialized and demanded to see England's military ID and boarding pass. Curious about the TSA supervisor's claim, England requested to see that individual's military ID; that request was turned down, prompting England to make the ill-advised comment, “with all due respect sir, that's f****d up.” After the supervisor admonished England to watch his language, Officer Jennings materialized, handed England his ID and boarding pass, and told him to board his flight – which by that time had already taken off.

To this point, England – who admits to consuming a couple of beers, but insists that his conduct was generally respectful – had done nothing more than make persistent but polite inquiries of the tax-fattened TSA drones loitering around the security checkpoint, apart from the one unfortunate use of the Anglo-Saxon vulgarism for illicit carnal union. He had obviously done nothing to justify being treated as a security threat or a criminal suspect, or else he would not have been permitted to board his flight, or at least attempt to.

After missing his flight, England decided to renew his inquiry with the TSA supervisor. Jennings intervened, asking England to walk about 50 feet from the checkpoint. The officer again demanded to see the boarding pass; England fumbled through his pockets, mistakenly pulling out a dollar bill that the officer pulled from his hand and threw to the floor.

Would you mind picking up that dollar bill from the floor?” England politely asked. This provoked Jennings to pull out his handcuffs and order England to turn around. As Jennings issued that order, he placed a hand on England's shoulder. Asking why he was being handcuffed, England instinctively rolled his shoulder away. At that point Jennings withdrew his baton and ordered England to “get down”; it was while England was complying with that order that Jennings began his assault.

What I find interesting about the prelude to England's beating is the explanation he offered for his persistence in seeking an explanation from the TSA supervisor.

I know it sounds weird, but I have a problem with being in the military and having some civilian tell me I'm wrong when I actually thought I was right,” he told the Las Vegas Review-Journal. If I'm wrong, I'll admit I'm wrong. But it was their attitude” that set him off.

What a coincidence: It was England's uncooperative “attitude” that led to the assault he suffered at the hands of Officer Jennings and his Taser-toting comrade. England had already been positively identified as a soldier. But unlike the police, England wasn't wearing his State-issued costume at the time of this confrontation; if he had been, I suspect things would have turned out differently.

It appears clear to me that both England and his assailants simply took for granted the idea that their status as uniformed executors of State violence conferred on them privileges not extended to hoi polloi.

Also noteworthy is Sgt. England's view regarding the latitude given to American police officers in carrying out discretionary violence against unarmed people.

If I was in Iraq, and I was talking to a suspected insurgent, and he did something to upset me, and I pulled out a baton and started beating him like that – if I hit him like I was hit in Las Vegas – I would have been relieved of duty,” England commented during an interview with Las Vegas's ABC affiliate, KNTV.

While there's reason to believe that the standards of battlefield comportment aren't quite that strict, Sgt. England's assessment brings to mind a fascinating – and troubling – anecdote contained in Evan Wright's book Generation Kill, a memoir of his experiences while embedded in Iraq with a Marine Corps Company.

"These young men represent what is more or less America's first generation of disposable children," Wright observes. "More than half of the guys in the platoon come from broken homes and were raised by absentee, single, working parents. Many are on more intimate terms with video games, reality TV shows and Internet porn than they are with their own parents." "We're like America's little pit bull," one Marine told Wright. "They beat it, starve it, mistreat it, and once in a while they let it out to attack somebody."

Another lieutenant commented to Wright that during World War II, when the Marines hit the beaches in the Pacific campaign, “a surprisingly high percentage of them didn't fire their weapons, even when faced with direct enemy contact," one lieutenant told Wright. "Not these guys. Did you see what they did to that town? They f*****g destroyed it. These guys have no problem with killing."

Even so, as Wright points out, these full-time killers had much higher standards than their colleagues in the part-time military – Reservists and Guardsmen, many of them drawn from stateside law enforcement agencies, both local and federal.

Roughly three quarters of the way into the book, relates Radley Balko in a review, “Wright explains how the full-time Marines were getting increasingly irritated with a reserve unit traveling with them. The reserve unit was mostly made up people who in their civilian lives were law enforcement, `from LAPD cops to DEA agents to air marshals,' and were acting like idiot renegades”:

"Some of the cops in Delta started doing this cowboy stuff. They put cattle horns on their Humvees. They'd roll into these hamlets, doing shows of force—kicking down doors, doing sweeps—just for the f**k of it. There was this little clique of them. Their ringleader was this beat cop.... He's like five feet tall, talks like Joe Friday and everybody calls him 'Napoleon.'"

“The unit ends up firebombing a village of Iraqis who'd been helping the Marines with intelligence about insurgents and Iraqi troops,” continues Balko. That episode “suggests that to say some of our domestic police units are getting increasing militaristic probably does a disservice to the military.”

Question: Is this a terrorist, or a US law enforcement agent? Answer: Yes.

Here's a thought certain to chase away sleep: Iraq is a training academy not only for Jihadists who go there for on-the-job training, but also for many American personnel who will fill positions in the Homeland Security apparatus that supposedly exists to protect us from terrorism.

Obiter Dicta

This Friday night (June 8) I will be on Dr. Stanley Monteith's "Radio Liberty" program from 9:00-10:00 PM.

I will be a guest next Tuesday from 3:00-4:00 PM Eastern Time on Chris Arnzen's program "Iron Sharpens Iron" on WNYG in New York City.

Make sure to stop in at The Right Source.


Anonymous said...

It is wrong to just focus on the taser, that police baton is just as deadly a weapon.
Many years ago, I trained in it's use. We were trained to only strike the upper and lower arms, upper and lower legs. If someone really needed to be taken down, we taught to break the collar bone. Head, body and joint hits were forbidden. But then we were also taught various take downs and submission holds using the baton, making it much more than a club.
For this cop to use a deadly weapon on an unarmed man, offering no resistance other than a shoulder shrug would be a criminal matter in a just society.

Zachary said...

I can sympathize with England. I maintain my composure in stressful situations fairly well, but when I have to go through a security checkpoint at an airport, my pulse temporarily skyrockets and I get palpitations. My emotional state is a mixture of sadness, nostalgia, and feral rage at the sheeple, happy to go through this exercise, and the mildly retarded TSA agents. I understand England's agitation and confrontational attitude here. But, once a department is created, it is almost impossible for it to be disbanded. The TSA will be most likely be with us forever. I fantasize about someone putting an IED up their butt so I can see the debate about whether there will be rectal examines as security procedure.

Jerri Lynn Ward, J.D. said...

I have spent hours today obsessed and totally outraged over this story. I've called the Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce (they claim they didn't know about this) and the police department (who hung up on me despite the fact that I was very polite).

Now, I'm going to start investigating how I might get on whatever citizen's police oversight group exists in my county. It's either that or have a heart attack.

liberranter said...


Head on over to

Anonymous said...

Speaking of police states. I live in Plainfield, NH. A very peaceful town most of the time. Unfortunately the Fed goons arrived with their puppets ( the NH state police) and literally placed our town under siege all day. It was extremely disturbing. State police armed with M16s stopping you randomly to question where you are going at that given moment. Truly we are a country that has entered a total state of Facism. The only comfort I take is that the US Central Govt is absolutely broke. This lunacy will only exist as long as foreign central banks allow it to. When they decide they have had enough my greatest hope is that this giant edifice will crumble like a cheap house of cards. And once that happens the people of this great country can once again trade freely and peacefully with one another - free from the hindrances of that inept, bumbling, resource destroying, apparatus known as the Federal govt.

Jerri Lynn Ward, J.D. said...

Now I'm really about to explode. Go look at this story out of Waxahachie, Texas.

I have a feeling I'm going to be on the telephone tomorrow.

Anonymous said...

"...[we] do not believe our officers acted outside policy."

When do they ever say otherwise? Apparently, "policy" is whatever these tax parasites want to do to the rest of us.

It's all within the bounds of "policy" to beat a man to a pulp and shoot him with a taser THREE TIMES because you don't like his attitude.

And we all know, if they had killed this man, they would still have "acted appropriately under the circumstances," according to "policy." If you "look" menacing while you're coughing up blood on the ground, or they think you "might" want fight back, even if you aren't doing so now, they are in their rights to shoot you dead. Your life isn't worth even a hypothetical scratch on a police officer's face.

Civilians (even off-duty military like Mr. England) are disposable. We are punching bags and target practice for bureaucrats with badges.

The saddest part is that most civilians don't really care, as long is it isn't happening to them personally. When it's the other guy, he probably had it coming; he should have stayed quiet and obeyed orders, they think to themselves.

The will to freedom has been lost in America. Apathy toward the police state is just a symptom of that reality. Prison inmates probably have more self-respect than so-called "free" Americans.

Anonymous said...

"The saddest part is that most civilians don't really care, as long is it isn't happening to them personally. When it's the other guy..."

This has been especially true with regard to Murder by abortion.

dixiedog said...

Damn, perhaps Virginia is a bit "out of touch" with the rest of the country, despite its close proximity to Leviathan's metro imperial capital.

I just came from a trip down to Winston-Salem on business with a buddy. Leaving out of Winston, we wound our way up Rt. 8 into Stuart, VA in the mountains to see one of his relatives afterwards. The next day (the 6th) we returned home, again Rt. 8, up to Christiansburg near Blacksburg (and Va Tech), onto I-81 to Staunton and I-64 to Richmond and down the Peninsula back to York County.

I only saw ONE Forsyth County, N.C. mounty on Rt. 8 during the return trip and that was it, except when we got back to the Richmond area where there was a bad accident on I-95/64 junction 30 mins. before we got to the junction that snarled traffic in the entire metro area.

Blacksburg area was presumably just like it was prior to the April VA Tech massacre. At least, no conspicuous and overt paladin presence in the area that I could see.

Well, I guess it's obvious as to where a major quantity of those huge Vegas casinos' [fed] tax payouts go: DHS -> LV Metro Polizei.

And since hoards of hoi polloi around the country seem to relish th'owing wads of their hard-earned bread into its hungry and gaudy mega casinos, which in my opinion amount to little more than Feed The State "charities" in essence, they get what they pay for. It seems that city actually thrives on greed from every segment, public and private.

The State LOVES the casinos as much as the hoi polloi do! Surprise... NOT!

Anonymous said...

Recently, in Pullman, Washington, a police officer became seriously pushed out of shape when a citizen, who had done nothing wrong, didn't cringe and grovel before His Officer's Highness. The man, who was not even the cop's object of interest, shrugged off the cop and started to walk away to de-escalate a ridiculous situation. The cop tasered him in the back from quite a distance. At the trial, this man's public defender remarked that the police department had just acquired the tasers only days before.

Anonymous said...

By ChristianPeper
This is why the people must be armed to fight back against the police state. Detectives and other law enforcement personnel use interrogations to get people to “admit” to crimes they did not commit. This is part of the reason we have the 5th amendment, to prevent false confessions.

I have been seriously abused by members of law enforcement and now realize that the only solution is to kill abusive police in self defense. If you are attacked do not be afraid to shoot cops. Control the arm used by the cop to draw his gun if you do not have a gun yourself. If you can disable the cop’s gun arm you will win in a fight against a cop even if you are unarmed.

Anonymous said...

Let me guess Christian Peper. You are an agent provacateur, hired by the Feds to troll through internet sites adding incendiary and violent statements to the discussion. Just a guess for all I know I might be wrong. But then again the times that we live in nothing would surprise me.

AJ said...

I feel that your article, unlike many in the blogosphere, is fair and balanced, telling of a uncooperative soldier meeting aggressive cop.

Most of the blogs have been perpetrated by England's wife and are very slanted towards England, this article takes into account the possibility of wrongdoing by Sgt England.

Thank you for the wonderful article.

j england said...

Update on Sgt. Mark England, my husband, my soldier~

We received some very disturbing news this evening from Las Vegas Metro Police Dept.

Sheriff DOUG GILLESPIE & his Internal Affairs Lieutenant,
LT. MICHAEL DALLEY have informed us in writing (letter copy below) that the officer's who BEAT, TASED (3 TIMES), LAUGHED AT AND MIMICKED MY SOLDIER, have been completely EXONERATED and Lt. DALLEY went on further to say that what these officers did to my Soldier was QUOTE 'JUSTIFIED, LAWFUL & PROPER'.

How can these hierarchies of Las Vegas Metro Police Dept. watch the same videos we all have, listen to the same audio we all have, and come to this conclusion.

Please, I am asking you all to please look at these newscast/videos again, listen to the audio (links all posted below) and then read the letter from Sheriff Doug Gillespies' office and tell us what you think.

I am asking you to please stand with us and not accept this. We need your help to spread the word, please update anything you have helped us write about this with this new information. If you should need any other info, please email me and I will gladly provide it. We will also post this information in our blog area!
We thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your unwavering support! Love you guys.

This is a complete outrage. Words cannot describe our disgust with this police dept.

Here are the newscast links~

The letter from Las Vegas Metro Police Dept. can be viewed here~

Judge for yourselves.....

Anonymous said...

If the LVPD can create policy, so can the general public. I would suggest that the officers be subjected to no more than what they subjected their victim. Since your husband was a family member, maybe there should be a policy having them experience what you did.

Anonymous said...

Please name the officers who assulted your husband, and others can post their residences.