Thursday, June 28, 2007

The Reign of the Bullies (IMPORTANT UPDATE; see bottom of page)

Kevin Bearly became a Los Angeles policeman for an eminently commendable reason: An idealistic young man with a deep streak of Irish pugnacity, Kevin couldn't countenance lawless bullies, and during his years on the LAPD he dealt with more than a few of them.

A few weeks ago, Kevin described an incident from early in his police career in which he learned how easily police officers can become street bullies.

Shortly after hitting the streets as a rookie police officer, Kevin and his partner -- a veteran officer -- visited the local skid row. One by one, the drunks were loaded onto a van. At one point, Kevin made a disparaging remark about one of them, an unkempt middle-aged man. The target of the ill-considered jibe fixed Kevin with an outraged look and then "hit me square in the face, knocking me flat on my back," he recalled.

Knocking Kevin down, I hasten to point out, is not easily or frequently done by anyone of any size.

Understandably, Kevin was infuriated, not just because nobody likes to be knocked down, but also because slugging a police officer was, and is, considered a serious criminal offense. His partner intervened, made sure that everyone was securely in the van, and then he took Kevin aside to impart some necessary wisdom, beginning with this unexpected assessment: "You got exactly what you deserved."

The officer went on to explain how the man who had made Kevin get his back dirty was a World War II veteran who had lived a good and decent life until a series of misfortunes had deposited him on skid row. He had been a man of accomplishment, and despite the weakness that left him on the streets, he still had a sense of dignity and self-worth. These are the kind of things that every Beat Cop needed to learn about the people in his patrol area, Kevin was told.

And his partner italicized another important principle:

"We have to treat everybody with respect. It doesn't matter whether we like them or not, or what their attitude toward us may be. We owe them respect."

This was the perspective of many law peace officers as recently as the 1970s. A residue of that honorable attitude can be found today: Even now, there are police officers who comport themselves with dignity and discipline, and see their role as that of protecting the rights of the innocent, rather than making the public submit to the power of the State.

Although it was probably never a good idea for the U.S. to import Robert Peel's system of "professional" police, this much can be said: Peace Officers like Kevin and his partner (I've been blessed to know a few, and correspond with many more) are more valuable than platinum, and they will be extinct within the next generation.

Their places will be filled by the likes of Joey Williams of the Hot Springs Police Department, the wretched skinhead in uniform who plays the starring role in this video:

Look particularly at what happens between 2:13 and about 2:00 in the video as the heroic Officer Williams places a chokehold on a 12-year-old girl, and then does the same thing to a male youngster of about the same age who came to her defense. The girl escaped, but the boy was taken down and cuffed -- after Officer Joey got some help from one of his buddies.

That's right, Joey: That kid you took down, with some help from another tax-guzzler, was more of a man than you will ever be (but then again, since you were named after a baby kangaroo I suppose you started out at a disadvantage). He came to the rescue of a girl being attacked by a lawless bully

"If you resist, then that's what happens," wheezed the carbohydrate sculpture in uniform, winded but triumphant after his mano-a-mano with an underfed 12-year-old girl, after one of the kids criticized Officer Joey for throwing her defender to the ground. "She wasn't too damn worried about it when she wanted to fight," added Joey, his words delivered with the kind of chest-thumping bravado one would expect had the subdued suspect been 6'5" of streaming steel, rather than a skinny kid barely into adolescence.

During this entire incident, that bald, corpulent sack of malice is heard sputtering about the skateboarders being in "violation of a city ordinance," and then listing all of the various offenses for which they were being arrested: "Fleeing," "disorderly conduct," "resisting arrest," and so

"See that blow on my knee?" he complains at one point. "That's battery."

Well, Officer Joey -- embodiment of the Thin (make that "chunky") Blue Line and retromingent enforcer of petty municipal ordinances -- putting a chokehold on an unarmed and unresisting 12-year-old girl is felony assault; it could be considered attempted homicide. More importantly, it is a violation of something that should be encoded on the DNA of every male, and reinforced by the social mores of the Old South: You don't commit acts of violence against young women.

Once again, it was the kid handcuffed on the street who lived up to that ideal, not the bully with a badge who put him there.

I don't care what costume you wear, what cheap jewelry you can flash in somebody's face, or who cuts your paycheck -- you don't lay your hands on somebody's daughter, much less wrap your arm around her throat and try (unsuccessfully, Joey: she got away from you) throw her to the ground.

Joey is on "administrative leave." This almost certainly means he'll be reinstated and given different duties as soon as the Hot Springs PD can find some way to justify the pre-ordained conclusion that his behavior was "in compliance with department guidelines." In fact, the Department is already working on a revised storyline.

"If a subject becomes confrontational, the officer has a right to defend himself," insists Department spokesperson McCrary Means. "There are certain steps: first of all a verbal command. Like I said, if that subject becomes combative, that officer needs to do all he can do to get that subject under control."

Really? A State-employed armed thug is entitled to "do all he can do" to ensure submission, even when the supposed offense is the equivalent of spitting on the sidewalk? Even when the "combative" subjects are unarmed, non-violent youngsters, including pre-teens?

Officer Joey, seen here strangling two unarmed adolescents.

In principle, "all he can do" means that a police officer can employ potentially deadly force, such as putting a chokehold on a 12-year-old girl; wouldn't that also mean that the same officer can pull his gun and shoot skateboarders, if he fails to make them submit to his commands?

This is why I refer to every law or ordinance -- however trivial it may seem -- as a potential death sentence.

Not only should Joey be cashiered from the force and prosecuted for several kinds of assault and battery, he should be locked in a room with that girl's male relatives for about an hour, during which time he would have every opportunity to justify his unearned swagger by displaying the martial prowess that gave him the upper hand in a fierce street struggle with a 12-year-old girl.

In case you're interested in expressing your admiration for the work of Officer Joey and the intrepid force he serves here's the contact information:

Phone: (501) 321-6789
Fax: (501) 321-6708
Chief of Police, Bobby Southard
641 Malvern Avenue,
Hot Springs, Arkansas 71901


Keith Graff, seen here with his father, Terry, before his life fell apart.

Something tells me I'm going to have a lot to say about this case, in which 24-year-old Glendale, Arizona man Keith Graff, a former US Army Paratrooper, who was murdered by a Officer Charles Anderson III in apparent retaliation for "assaulting" another officer -- Carla Williams, a She-Police with whom the first police officer was romantically involved. The murder weapon of choice was a "non-lethal" Taser gun.

A few weeks before he was killed, Graff -- who was the subject of a felony arrest warrant for meth use -- had a run-in with "Officer" Williams. As she tried to arrest him, Graff shoved her aside and escaped on foot. This was the second time Carla Williams, who had no business being a police officer, had let a suspect escape. The implications for her career were pretty ominous, and this might have been why her bed-mate, Officer Anderson, decided to track down Graff and punish him.

Anderson found Graff in a Phoenix apartment on May 3, 2005. Graff once again fled, but this time Anderson caught him and used his Taser to "subdue" Graff, who was uncooperative but non-violent.

The face of a killer:
Charles Anderson, the policeman who tracked down Keith Graff and electrocuted him as his bed-mate, Carla Williams (right, below) urged him on.

For "subdue" we should read "kill": Anderson fired the Taser into Graff's chest at point-blank range for 84 seconds, while Carla Williams (according to a witness) to "keep `it' on" him.

Four police officers were involved in the incident -- Anderson and Williams, and two other male officers who, one assumes, weren't sleeping together. One of them, Detective Carl Caruso, told a review panel that "after five or 10 seconds, the suspect stopped resisting." At that point, one of the officers should have cuffed Graff.

Yet Anderson kept pumping electricity into the prone, helpless, and dying 24-year-old man.

The Department's internal review of the incident...

Wait for it ... wait for it ...

"Cleared Anderson of any wrongdoing" in the matter, claiming that he had acted "in accordance with policy."

"Our use-of-force people concluded that the officers were within the policies we had in place," insists Phoenix PD spokesliar Lt. Dave Kelly, "and that's just the way it is."

Former LAPD SWAT Commander Ron McCarthy, who reviewed the same evidence, came to a markedly different conclusion:

"Anderson was punishing Graff with the Taser.... The fact that he held down the trigger for 84 seconds and at no time lifted the pressure of his finger to allow Graff to comply, when obviously he could have done so, is brutality."

It was also, whether prosecuted as such or not, second-degree murder, at the very least. And given the avidity with which Anderson tracked Graff down, premeditation has to be assumed. Furthermore, Williams would have to be seen as an accomplice, as would the other two officers who refused to intervene. A case can be made that the review board that didn't discipline Anderson in any way are accessories to the crime, as well.

Be sure to check out the Liberty Minute archive (today's installment is particularly relevant to the topic discussed above) -- and to visit The Right Source.


Taylor Conant said...

Hey, by the looks of that shot of Joey chasin' the youngster through the intersection, Arkansas looks pretty nice!

Unknown said...

When I sent an e-mail to Hot Springs' chief of police, it came back as "undeliverable." Only one city council member replied; simply an acknowledgement of my complaint. Since it was the city council which made it a "crime" to ride a skateboard, they'd hardly resent their armed minions "enforcing" their edicts.

The Hot Springs Visitors and Convention Bureau said they were only concerned with garnering visitors and conventions, not the misdeeds of the local police. A woman said she'd pass my e-mail along to Mayor Mike Bush. The same Mayor Bush who praised the police and said the young skateboarders "got what they deserved."

Hot Springs, AR has no monopoly on morally depraved city councils and LEOs. Here in Sioux Falls, SD, I've repeatedly been threatened with arrest by blackguards with guns and badges for feeding a flightless, crippled duck in a river adjacent to a city bike trail in violation of a ludicrous municipal ordinance. LEOs get really angry when you mention the words "police state."

Fred said...

Here we go again! Alleged adults wearing uniforms and picking on kids. The siren toward the end of the video gives us a clue how seriously this policeman took this CRISIS. He probably screamed for help. Heaven forbid a real emergency unfolds before him.

I have a bit more admiration for the kids on the side walk during this incident than I do for those who were present for the Tasering of the young man in the university library in CA.

They're kids, copper! Settle down.

Their awareness of unacceptable behavior on behalf of the state gives me hope. Maybe they'll make it through the selection process to be cops without getting axed for thinking "wrong".

Re: Update

Ron McCarthy's opinions are tough to beat. He is considered an unimpeachable witness on these matters - which explains his fees. If police departments or their insurance carriers can afford him they snatch him up as soon as possible.

BTW- a cop who is present at the scene of a use of force incident, and who witnesses excessive force being used, is obligated to intervene. Not only morally, but legally too. The detective set the stage when he said, "after five or 10 seconds, the suspect stopped resisting."

Anonymous said...

The Little Rock incident and that in Arizona are two completely different types of cases. The former shows a typical, and increasingly common, excessive use of force. The Arizona story, by contrast, is simply one of murder (not even second degree, but first) by those wearing the king's colors. What is revealed by both, though, is how we've allowed the citizens' protection against such kingly abuses, the grand jury, to "die on the vine," so to speak. Goodness, does no one even remember why the nobles forced the Magna Charta upon King John? Typical of what has evolved in our jurisprudence is Arizona's county grand jury, which may be used to bring criminal charges only at the instigation of the county's prosecuting attorney. But a grand jury should be so much more. We good citizens need to take steps to empower our grand juries with their once-powerful oversight role over the actions of the kings bruts. But of course police review committees will protect the king's men. That's their job! The proper body to determine if the king's men have committed treason against the people is the grand jury. Simple as that.

William N. Grigg said...

You're right, of course, that the Phoenix case is substantially different in both origin and details. This was a case of straight-up murder. The Hot Springs case was a matter of a uniformed thug getting caught on camera doing what such people do when they're confident they can get away with it.

In both cases, though, we see police behaving like the worst kind of street thugs. The Phoenix example brings to mind the kind of revenge killings one is told to associate with inner-city gangs.

I wonder if the youngster who videotaped Officer Joey will be charged with "wiretapping," an increasingly common tactic being used by police to criminalize efforts to document their misbehavior.

Hot Springs, btw, is Bill Clinton's real hometown. Perhaps not coincidentally, it was (according to Peter Maas's "The Valachi Papers") the site of a fairly major satellite operation for the Mafia.

dixiedog said...

It's quite clear that Mr. Means only speaks of the "right" or "wrong" reaction by a citizen and never qualifies that with whether the police action that preceded said reaction was right or wrong. After all, most folk don't become confrontational without some kind of provocation to kindle it.

Indeed, this is typical high-level bureaucratic "shepherd" psychobabble tailored neatly for "sheeple" consumption. And, unfortunately, they usually do consume it heartily.

Nathanael D Snow said...

The mayor's number in Hot Springs is (501) 321-6811.

Anonymous said...

Glad to see the story of my son lives on!Except the picture is of Keith and his (deseased) maternal grandfather.Keith was only wanted for misdemeanor probation violation,not felony.You failed to mention,Phoenix was so sure the police were right,they mediated a 2,000,000.00 settlement with us out of court.My son was robbed of his life, by two EVIL THUGS with badges.You would think other officers would have come forward to chastise these THUGS, but NO! How could money possibly HEAL this loss? Where is the Atty.General,FBI etc.?This is not the country I was born in!If I didn't have four GREAT Lawyers who were willing to work on contingency, no form of justice would have prevailed. Terry Graff

Melinda said...

I was with you until you linked to a site bashing female officers and soldiers. My mother was a Louisian State police officer. Back in her younger days when she was 5'4" and 120 lbs., I saw her slam a man 6'1" and 300 lbs. on his ass with a single blow. During her entire time on the force, she didn't have to pull her weapon even once despite the fact that she worked Harbor Patrol, one of the most dangerous assignments.

Any man who thinks women can't do the job should try going toe to toe with most female officers/soldiers or familiarize himself with the fact that women have been going to combat for thousands of years. During the Revolutionary and Civil Wars, women served in uniform in the guise of men. Only injury or death revealed that they were women.

Anonymous said...

Scary stuff, thanks for bringing this to people's attention. These cops who do these things are evil monkey scum, and so are those who protect them.

absurd thought -
God of the Universe says
abuse little kids

treat them like criminals
for acting like children

absurd thought -
God of the Universe says
be a BIG BAD policeman

don't use common sense
be tough handcuff children

Anonymous said...

whoever wrote this article should go fuck themselves okay...u know damn right well with the phoenix case that this wasnt what happened...It was for 4 and a half seconds and the guy died because of the reaction with the drugs...nobody should believe this article...this is just some fuckhead and some fuckedup dad trying to make cops look bad and get money...everyone knows this isnt what happened and after the cop tasered the guy...he even performed cpr to try to save his go screw yourself whoever wrote this and the dad who raised his kid to be a meth taker okay??fuk u and fuk u hard...everybody knows this is bullshit...trying to make it look like these two cops did something wrong...ik all the facts and u wrote so many lies...and for the dad...great job raising your son...Yea these cops are good people dont listen to some old men with nothing better to do than criticize cops...fuk u guys

Anonymous said...

yea you wont approve it u fuk go get laid u know ur lying u fukin asshole get a life u fukin idiot y dont u approve it and let the whole world see how much of a dick u are u fukin pussy...I hope u do something wrong and get thrown in jale fuk u u lyin son of a bitch

William N. Grigg said...

Given the choice of two profanity-laced harangues, I chose the second in order to remind (or, most likely, instruct) its author that there are some minimal rules of decorum for those who want to post here.

Whoever contributed this little missive is obviously both ill-educated and mentally unbalanced. This is why I'm nearly certain we're dealing with a tax-feeder of the gun-bearing, revenue-harvesting variety, aka a Cop.

He's also badly in need of some rudimentary instruction in manners. Luckily, I do provide personalized, and, when appropriate, hands-on instruction. If he's interested in some tutoring, he can always contact me directly at WNGrigg [at] msn [dot] com, and I'll see what we can arrange. I am rather busy, but chances are I could pencil him in sometime. Tootles!

Anonymous said...

if anybody thinks the phoenix police thing is tru ur wrong the fucking idiot who made this is a lying sone of a bitch who wouldnt even approve my other fuk u guy

William N. Grigg said...

That's the second exception I've made for you, my foul-mouthed little friend. My patience with you has been exemplary. It's now at an end. You desperately need a lesson in decorum before I permit you the privilege of posting here again. If you're interested in a personal tutorial from me, you know how to get in touch.

BudoKa said...

Don't agree that a 'choke-hold' was used on the girl. If the cops' forearm was across her throat,YES, but it was NOT. Having studied martial arts ≈18 yrs, I know.

Girl was told she was under arrest but RAN. Cop grabbed her, other guy intervened, that was how officer ended up holding 2 persons.

I've watched several versions of this vid and it doesn't show everything. Not being there,it is almost impossible to be sure what happened. Apparently store videos give a different story from kids version.

Cop could possibly have been a bit more gentle, but the kids WERE running away from him.
Cops says stop, STOP. Under arrest? DON'T resist. Plenty of witnesses, daytime etc. He wasnt going to bash them was he?

Had there been recent complaints about skaters? Had anyone been injured by a skater recently?
A lot of kids do have a "I can do anything I want and you can't touch me attitude".
WRONG, in many cases.

Wonder If cop had any other similar incidents? said...

My dad in arizona has been completely raped of his rights by a kangaroo court and victimized by prosecutor unlawfully incarcerated for self defence he was elderly crippled and forced to shoot an attacker on his property but railroaded to facilitate a revenge retaliation for a local officials family member who was shot for attacking him was a complete outrage that is not properly being tried assailant attacker criminal was suicidal and psychotic and hyped on pain meds for having pancreatic cancer which he was going to die from imminently and had a plan to provide for his wife after he was gone...