Wednesday, June 24, 2009
Totalitarianism In One City: Shreveport's Gun-Grabbing Mayor
Shreveport's Big Boss Man, Cedric Glover, and unidentified flunky: According to Glover, an advocate of civilian disarmament, his police have the power to "suspend" the rights of any motorist they stop, and can seize a civilian's firearms at will. Not that long ago, bigoted white southern mayors could be heard making the same assertions about black people.
Any time a motorist is stopped by a police officer, insists Shreveport, Louisiana Mayor Cedric Glover, "Your rights ... have been suspended." This includes not only the freedom of movement, but also, in the event the officer inquires as to whether the driver is carrying a weapon, "Your right to be able to hold on to your weapon and say whether [you] have a weapon or not" -- as well as the right to retain possession of that weapon, should the officer decide to confiscate it from you.
Should you choose not to answer the question, or answer it in the negative, the officer could still choose, "in the interest of officer safety, to secure you in a safe position" -- this most likely means outside the car with your hands cuffed behind your back -- "and then do an appropriate inspection of your vehicle."
The phrase "appropriate inspection" is more honestly rendered "Unconstitutional warrantless search."
Should the police officer then turn up a firearm or other weapon in the car, the driver "would be guilty or potentially guilty of even a more severe offense" than whatever he had allegedly done to precipitate the traffic stop, according to Mayor Glover. Police officers, according to Glover, are invested with "a power that the President of the United States does not have ... and that is the ability to be able to suspend your rights."
This is "one of the things that I say to each and every one of the police officers who graduates from the Shreveport Police Academy since I've been mayor." Fortunately for the public, one supposes, Mr. Glover remembers the lesson that Peter Parker learned from his kindly and sagacious uncle Ben -- that is, with great power comes great responsibility. "You have to understand there is a great deal of power that is vested within ... the law enforcement personnel of this country," Glover insists. "It's why there is a great deal of responsibility that has to go along with it."
Glover offered those remarkable observations, and many others like them, in a recorded phone call with Shreveport resident Robert Baillio.
Mr. Baillio had called to complain about a recent traffic stop in which an SPD officer, who-- before dealing with any other matter of business -- asked if Baillio had a firearm, then temporarily seized it from him.
Louisiana law recognizes the right of the state's residents to carry loaded weapons in their vehicles, and Baillio has a state-issued concealed carry permit -- that is, a piece of paper in which the state generously recognizes one facet of Baillio's innate right to bear arms.
According to Baillio's account, he was cordial and polite when he was stopped after supposedly neglecting to use a turn signal. That this was almost certainly a pretext stop is illustrated by the fact that Baillio never received a ticket. Supplemental evidence is offered by the fact that the conversation between the officer and Baillio focused entirely on the issue of gun ownership, including a question about Baillio's membership in the National Rifle Association.
This would be a heart-warming picture if it didn't feature a gun-grabber: Cedric Glover is consoled by one of his sweeter constituents after failing to win a role in "Nutty Professor II: The Klumps."
Baillio doesn't conceal his NRA membership; it's advertised by a sticker on the rear windshield of his truck, as are his very passionate views of the right to armed self-defense. "Armed We Are Citizens! Un-Armed We Are Subjects!" exclaims another bumper sticker, expressing a core truth of our republican heritage. Yet another sticker displays various kinds and grades of ammunition captioned by the directive, "Celebrate Diversity."
It's the safest of bets that what triggered the stop, as it were, was not a traffic infraction by Baillio, but rather the police officer's conditioned reflex to treat the public expression of pro-gun ownership sentiments as innately suspicious.
In brief, Baillio was a victim of political profiling of the sort being encouraged by the Department of Homeland Security and the totalitarian "watchdog" groups who have spent decades indoctrinating the police.
In his telephone chat with Glover, Baillio -- who was persistent but unfailingly polite -- pointed out that he "answered the [officer's] question honestly and he disarmed me."
"Which would be appropriate and proper action, sir," replied Glover. "The fact that you gave the correct answer -- it simply means that you did what you were supposed to do and that is to give that weapon to the police officer so he could appropriately place it in a place where it would be no threat to you, to him, or to anyone in the general public."
"Well, you know, he still had a gun," observed Baillio, hoping to underscore the fact that guns -- as objects, rather than actors -- do not pose a "threat" in and of themselves. "How is he --"
"Because he's a police officer," interjected Glover before he could finish the question. "As I've just related to you, that police officer has powers, sir, that you do not have."
Let's unpack that reply, shall we?
From Glover's perspective, it is only when firearms are in the hands of people other than the state's uniformed enforcers/oppressors that they constitute a threat, not only to the public and those in charge of exercising official violence but also to the private gun owner himself.
Glover, a member of Mayors Against Illegal Guns, clearly believes that any firearms in civilian hands should be considered illicit. This is, in both a cultural and constitutional sense, entirely un-American.
Interestingly, it is in harmony with the UN's position, however, as summarized in the world body's 2000 agitprop film Armed to the Teeth: The World-Wide Plague of Small Arms. That film insists that the only "legal" weapons are those "used by armies and police forces to protect us" -- as if the word "protection" describes the uses to which weapons are put by the enforcement organs of the criminal states that compose the UN.
It is his attitudes toward civilian firearms ownership and the plenary power of police, not his ethnicity or any similar accident of birth, that would make Glover a very suitable ruler of any of the scores of squalid Third World thugocracies represented in the UN.
According to Glover, a police officer may properly disarm any civilian at any time, and the civilian's duty is to surrender his gun -- willingly, readily, cheerfully, without cavil or question. This is because police officers, as numinous beings anointed by the Holy State, exude the essence of pure goodness and would never commit acts of criminal violence against disarmed civilians.
Tell that to Angela Garbarino, a woman who was arrested by the SPD last year for DWI and wound up lying in a pool of her own blood after being "subdued" in a police holding cell.
Gaps in the security camera record of the incident occur at convenient intervals, so it's not clear exactly how Garbarino wound up bloodied on the floor. In a photograph taken later Angela displays the marks of a severe beating, including two black eyes, a broken nose, and a cut on the forehead that required stitches.
Wylie Willis, the hired thug who administered the beating, can be observed in the video checking his hands to see if there is blood on them. He was dismissed after the incident for "violating departmental policy," but faced no other sanctions.
Like any other pseudo-male who beats a defenseless woman, Willis lied that his victim "slipped and fell."
Like any other police officer who loses his job after a criminal assault on a "civilian," Willis insists that his firing was unjustified.
And like any other police union anywhere in our once-free country, the Shreveport Police Union(led by Michael Carter -- see the photo above and to the right) insists that the abusive cop should get his job back.
She was protected and served: Angela Garbarino displays the results of a beating she received while handcuffed in the custody of Shreveport police.
Obviously, Willis should at the very least be prosecuted for felonious battery. Or, better yet, he should be put into a room, unarmed, with several of Angela's male relatives and given an opportunity to demonstrate the unalloyed martial prowess that enabled him to beat an intoxicated woman half his size whose hands were cuffed behind her back. Willis appears to have been a serial abuser of women, as do several others among Shreveport's ahem, finest. \
In April, Jasmine M. Winston filed a civil rights suit against the City of Shreveport. A couple of years ago she was beaten by a baton-wielding Officer Willis outside a nightclub and then slammed face-first into the concrete by fellow SPD thug Daniel Sawyer. Oh, the undaunted courage these two armed "men" displayed in double-teaming a solitary woman.
A lawsuit filed by Darlene Atkins in 2006 claims that Willis put a gun to the head of her son Dillion Freeman following a brief pursuit and threatened to shoot Dillion if any of his family approached him. Another suit filed that year by resident Tomeka Bush claimed that after she filed a complaint in the Atkins incident, Willis retaliated by seizing her car. As in the subsequent beating of Angela Garbarino, there were anomalies in the official video record of the Atkins incident; in this case, the entire video was missing. The SPD "investigated" the matter just long enough to satisfy itself that Willis (let's say it all together, shall we?) acted in accordance with department policy. He always did -- until his officially sanctioned criminal violence was documented beyond dispute.
Loathsome as he is, Willis is not exceptional.
In 2007, eight SPD officers were arrested for various offenses, including perjury, falsification of official reports, falsifying tickets, DWI, drug charges, and maintaining an "inappropriate" on-line relationship with an underage girl.
Of those offenses, the most striking are those committed in an official capacity. Given the latitude offered to Willis, it's difficult to imagine how blatantly an SPD officer would have to perjure himself before facing punishment.
Oddly enough, Cedric Glover didn't mention the corruption roiling in the SPD when, roughly a year ago, he vetoed a police retention plan that included a pay raise. And now that the "stimulus" spigots have been thrown open, Glover is eager to build his police department into a fighting force of extraordinary magnitude.
"We're asking for 90 additional police officers ... with this stimulus package [because] there is a portion that is available for cop spending and we want to go out there and capture as much of it as we can," oinked Cerdo, er, Cedric last February as the Holy One, His Munificence Barrack the Blessed (peace be upon him) hoisted the slop bucket over the national trough.
Along with expanding the local "infrastructure," Big Cerdo's chief priority for the stimulus is to use federal funds to expand his own herd of gun-grabbing Cerditos.* The same is probably true of dozens of other mayors across the country, some of which may boast police departments even more corrupt than the one afflicting Shreveport.
Shreveport resident Ken Krefft, president of a neighborhood association, is understandably worried that the SPD's corruption could damage the city's tourism industry: "This is not a good thing for the city [to tell tourists] -- `Come to Shreveport, we've got crooked cops.'" It used to be that Americans would have visit such destinations as Cuba to experience what it's like to deal with corrupt police who can disarm, beat, and presumably kill innocent people with impunity. Cedric Glover has thoughtfully turned his city into a totalitarian theme park we can visit without leaving the United States -- in a geographic sense, in any case.
(My emphatic thanks to "Liberranter" for tipping me to this story.)
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*"Cerdo" is Spanish for "pig."
On sale now.
Dum spiro, pugno!