Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Ed Flynn: Milwaukee Crime Lord, Citizen Disarmament Advocate

Police Chief Ed Flynn of Milwaukee believes that his department is at war with the gun-owning public. In his February 27 testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Flynn claimed that “in the last 20 years we’ve been in an arms race” with private citizens who supposedly out-gun the police. 

Flynn testified in support of a proposed federal ban on so-called assault weapons. But in the past he has made it clear that he considers a Mundane carrying a firearm of any kind is an unlawful enemy combatant subject to detention and forcible disarmament. 

“My message to my troops is if you see anybody carrying a gun on the streets of Milwaukee, we’ll put them on the ground, take the gun away, and then decide whether you have a right to carry it,” Flynn said a few years ago in response to a statement from Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen recognizing that residents of the state have a right to carry firearms openly. 

Flynn clearly sees himself as commanding an army of occupation. In practical terms, he is less a warlord than a crime lord who presides over an officially sanctioned street gang. 

Like most petty dictators of his ilk, Flynn is protected by a praetorian guard that will retaliate against people who speak ill of their dear leader. In November 2009, his “troops” arrested a local gadfly named Bob Braun, who had committed the unpardonable sin of publicly embarrassing Commissar Flynn. 

Braun and a friend picketed Milwaukee Police headquarters carrying signs describing Chief Flynn, who admitted to an extra-marital affair with a sycophantic reporter, as an adulterer. Citing the relevant section of Wisconsin law, Braun demanded that Flynn be prosecuted – a sentiment shared by many Milwaukee residents. Instead, Braun was arrested by Sgt. Mark Wagner and charged with disorderly conduct. The citation falsely claimed that Braun, a devout Christian, repeatedly told Sgt. Wagner to perform an anatomically impossible sexual act. 

When the case was heard before a jury, the only witnesses the prosecution could produce were Wagner and two fellow police officers – whose travel and subpoena fees were paid by Braun. The jury quite sensibly concluded that the officers – who are, let us not forget, trained liars -- were perjuring themselves in the service of the adulterer who commands them.  

Given the abysmal character of the chief who commands the Milwaukee PD, it shouldn’t surprise us to learn that the department has been a haven for uniformed sexual predators. 

 In July 2010, a single mother in Milwaukee (whose name has not been publicly disclosed) was raped by Officer Ladmarald Cates. After someone vandalized the woman’s home, she made the common mistake of calling the police in the entirely unfounded belief that they would be of help. Cates was the first on the scene. 

Acting on instinct and experience, the predator recognized an exploitable opportunity. The officer ordered the boyfriend to go to a nearby convenience store to buy some bottled water. Once he had isolated the victim, Cates maneuvered her into the bathroom, where he put her “on the ground” by forcibly sodomizing and raping her.

Immediately after the assault, the woman -- barefoot and wearing tattered clothing -- ran screaming from the house. Cates stormed out of the building and grabbed the victim by the waist, causing her feet to strike his partner. This gave the officers an excuse to arrest the battered and traumatized woman for “assaulting an officer.” 

The victim was taken to jail and held for 12 hours before receiving medical aid. After the hospital visit, she was sent back to jail for four days before being released without charges. 

This was not Cates's first assault -- but the department wasn't willing to take disciplinary action of any kind until DNA evidence corroborated the rape victim's account. Instead of prosecuting Cates, Flynn fired him for "idling or loafing on duty.” In January 2012, Cates was convicted of federal civil rights charges and sentenced to 24 years in prison.

Flynn would insist that Cates isn’t representative of his officers. This is true, but not in the sense Flynn would have us believe. What makes Cates an anomaly is not the fact that he was a purulent thug, but rather that he was actually punished for his crimes: The Milwaukee Police Department holds down the number two spot in the national police brutality rankings. Its distinguished contributions in the field of state-sponsored crime include a lengthy and growing list of suspicious deaths of people in police custody.

Cates was not the only uniformed sexual predator in Milwaukee who earned headlines in 2012. 

 Last September, four of Flynn’s “troops” who had followed his orders with exceptional zeal were charged with felonies for assaulting and strip-searching citizens both in the street and in district stations. In one case, three officers restrained a victim – one of them putting him into a choke hold, while another held a gun to his head – while a third jammed a hand into his rectum. 

The ringleader of this rape gang, Officer Michael Vagnini, was charged with 25 counts of sexual assault and related crimes.

In a press conference after charges were filed, Flynn professed to be “disgusted” by the conduct of his minions. 

“Crime cannot be fought with criminality,” warbled the costumed functionary who had publicly abetted criminal violence against innocent citizens – and who has actually protected an undisguised street gang within his department. 

This hyper-violent clique adopted the logo of a nihilistic comic book character called the “Punisher,” and they brazenly displayed the insignia on their police vehicles and their uniforms as they prowled the street in search of helpless people whom they could “put on the ground.” Among the formidable figures targeted by the Punishers was a male dancer named Frank Jude, who was nearly beaten to death in October 2004 because he was suspected of stealing a badge. 

After putting the terrified male dancer “on the ground,” the Punishers severely beat, kicked, and choked him – then put a knife to his throat and jammed a pen into one of his ears. The victim survived the assault, but was left with permanent brain damage. The officers later claimed that this amount of violence was necessary to “subdue” Jude – who was never charged in connection with the incident. The jury in the criminal trial accepted that claim and acquitted the officers – who were later found guilty of criminal civil rights violations. 

Former Milwaukee Police Officer Jon Bartlett, the ringleader of the gang beating, was eventually convicted -- along with six others -- on federal civil rights charges. An internal affairs investigation conducted by MPD Commander James A Galezewski produced a detailed description of the Punishers in official reports filed on two separate investigations -- one in 2005, the other in 2007. He also described his findings at length in a sworn deposition in November 2010

One training supervisor and at least one active-duty police officer were identified as current members of the gang. Nonetheless, as late as January 2011, Flynn insisted that the existence of the gang was merely a matter of "rumor.” A reasonable surmise would be that Flynn wasn’t engaging in conscious deception; after all, the moral gradient separating his normal “troops” from the berserkers who belong to the “Punishers” gang isn’t very steep. 

Every city police department is an armed gang organized to implement the will of the municipal corporation that employs them. Under the rule of Ed Flynn the Milwaukee PD has become one of the most malodorous outfits of its kind in the Midwestern United States. He and his “troops” appear to be determined to validate every syllable of Albert Jay Nock’s famous capsule description of the State:

"Everyone knows that the State claims and exercises [a] monopoly of crime ... and that it makes this monopoly as strict as it can…. It punishes private theft, but itself lays unscrupulous hands on anything it wants, whether the property of citizen or of alien.... Of all the crimes that are committed for gain or revenge, there is not one that we have not seen it commit – murder, mayhem, arson, robbery, fraud, criminal collusion and connivance."

If Ed Flynn presided over a police agency in Latin America or Africa, his deeds would be chronicled in the annual human rights reports issued by the State Department, which diligently catalogs the offenses of every regime but the one ruling us. 

Flynn’s misbegotten reign in Milwaukee reminds me of a comment made by Isaac Lappia of Amnesty International in Sierra Leone at the 2001 UN Small Arms Conference at the world body’s headquarters. 

The UN’s proposed international firearms treaty – which, in updated form, will likely be signed later this year by Barack Obama – was intended to disarm civilians. However, as Lappia pointed out, his organization’s studies proved “incontrovertibly that small arms are … used in many more countries to facilitate serious crimes by law enforcement personnel – including police, prison authorities, paramilitaries, and the army – where they commit persistent human rights violations, including rape, torture, `disappearances,’ and arbitrary killings.”

This reads like a profile of the department Ed Flynn commands – and it’s on the basis of a record of this kind that Flynn was invited to testify on behalf of the Obama regime’s citizen disarmament initiatives. Res ipsa loquitur

(The original version of this post mistakenly reported that the Milwaukee PD was responsible for the persecution of gun owner Brad Krause, who was arrested and chaged with "disorderly conduct" after being spotted carrying a gun in his backyard. Mr. Krause is a resident of West Allis, which is part of the Milwaukee municipal area but has its own police department. I regret the error.)



Dum spiro, pugno!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

"No Hesitation"

You know the score… You’re not a cop, you’re little people!

LAPD Captain Harry Bryant to retired “Blade Runner” Rick Deckard, who was reluctant to resume his career as  a state-licensed killer.

Barack Obama’s advertised purpose in visiting Minneapolis on February 4 was to combat the scourge of gun violence. The substantive purpose of his visit was to promote a state monopoly on gun violence, exercised by people who are trained and authorized to kill pregnant women, children, and the elderly.

If the traffic is favorable, it would take about fifteen minutes to drive from the Special Operations Center in downtown Minneapolis – the site of Obama’s photo op with hundreds of area police -- to the home office of Law Enforcement Targets, Inc., in nearby Blaine. The company, a contractor for the Department of Homeland Security, produces training targets that are “designed to give officers the experience of dealing with deadly force shooting scenarios with subjects that are not the norm during training,” according to its promotional literature. 

Among the training targets are images depicting “non-traditional threats,” such as pregnant women, children, and grandmotherly women – in other words, “Little People” – carrying guns. 

The company’s marketing team explains that the “non-traditional targets “ were created at the request of police officers and trainers, who are seeking to dis-inhibit the killing instincts of police “when deadly force is required on subjects with atypical age, frailty or condition…. This hesitation time may be only seconds but that is not acceptable when officers are losing their lives in these same situations…. If that hesitation time can be cut down due to range experience, the officer and the community are better served.” 

That is to say, it can condition them to overcome the natural and indispensable reluctance to kill the innocent and helpless. This is summarized in the company’s sales slogan: “No more hesitation.” 

A few years ago, the media experienced a brief but acute spasm of indignation over the fact that pictures of Obama were being used as targets at arcade games. This was done to capitalize on a commendable impulse – unfettered contempt for a corrupt official who kills and impoverishes others under the color of “authority” – that had curdled into simple rancor. The paying customers at that shooting gallery, however, had not been indoctrinated in the belief that they had social license to engage in discretionary killing, nor were they being conditioned to kill others without hesitation. 

According to Law Enforcement Targets, Inc., its training materials are used by several federal agencies, every branch of the military, and “thousands of law enforcement agencies at the municipal, county, and state levels.” Its materials were almost certainly used to train some of the officers assembled at the Special Operations Center for Obama’s February 4 photo-op. It’s likely that company officials had been invited, as well. 

That fact didn’t perturb the Secret Service as it made security arrangements for the photo-op. However, the presidential security detail should have taken alarm over the fact that the assembly included the hyper-violent men who shot and killed Obama – not the politician, the six-month-old Pitbull puppy – three years ago.

On July 9, 2009, a ten-officer Minneapolis SWAT team attacked the home of Darrell and Cymonne Williams. The no-knock raid – which violated the terms of the search warrant – was staged to arrest Cymonne’s adult son, Tierre Caldwell, who was a suspect in a shooting. At the time of the raid the police knew that Caldwell lived at a different address.

With weapons drawn and wearing standard Stormtrooper attire, the police broke down the front door and barged into the home. Reacting to the commotion, Obama (the puppy) barged downstairs with Cymonne following behind him. Before she could clearly see the intruders, they had already shot and killed the dog. She retreated back up the stairs in terror, passing her alarmed husband, who had settled down for an afternoon nap after finishing work. Darrell was clad only in his underwear when he confronted the invaders.

“What the hell are you doing in my house?” he demanded. One of the officers yelled at him to get down. With his hands raised, Darrell reiterated his question. By way of reply, Sgt. Mark Sletta committed an act of aggravated assault by hitting Darrel in the face with the butt of his assault rifle. As the victim hit the floor, Officer Mark Durand kicked him repeatedly in the torso while two others zip-cuffed him. Two other officers pitched in by stomping on the prone and helpless man. The intruders briefly searched the home and, failing to find the subject of the arrest warrant, left with neither an explanation nor an apology.

Darrell Williams was taken to the hospital to be treated for severe trauma to his right eye, bruised ribs, and other injuries. The criminal violence inflicted on him by the armed tax-feeders who invaded his home caused Darrell to miss eight days of productive work.

After the Williams family filed a lawsuit against the department, the perpetrators invoked the familiar claim of “qualified immunity.” The US District Court for Minnesota, examining the incident with solicitous care for the privileges of the state’s punitive priesthood, ruled that the sacred imperative of “officer safety” justified the killing of Obama (the dog), the use of a rifle to attack Darrell Williams, and the act of stomping on his head once he was prone, handcuffed, and bleeding. 

For reasons not clear to the rational mind, the same court that approved of those acts of violence and property destruction said that Officer Durand’s act of kicking Williams in the ribs was not covered by “qualified immunity.” It’s possible that this was done to provide the family with a single actionale claim. This, in turn, gave the city an opportunity to negotiate a paltry civil settlement in order to make the case go away. The Williams family eventually received $75,000 from the City of Minneapolis.
SWAT handiwork: One of Rickia Russell's legs.

Minneapolis taxpayers were forced to underwrite a much bigger settlement with Rickia Russell, a young woman who suffered third- and fourth-degree burns to her legs during a SWAT raid on her boyfriend’s apartment.

On February 16, 2010, Russell and her boyfriend were eating a late dinner when a SWAT team broke down the door to the apartment. One of the raiders looked into Russell’s eyes before throwing a flash-bang grenade directly at her.
“Get on the ground!” grunted one of the stormtroopers as more than a dozen others swarmed into the room. While she was being zip-cuffed, Williams complained that her legs were “on fire.” Her legs were covered with shrapnel from the flash-bang grenade, which burns at a temperature of 3,800-4,200 degrees. The skin on both of her calves had been eaten away. 

The raid was staged in pursuit of a drug dealer who didn’t live at the address, and who wasn’t known by either Williams or her boyfriend. The city paid off the victim with a huge subsidized settlement, but the criminals who left her mangled were never punished. 

 Rickia underwent long and painful skin-graft treatments in which flesh was removed from her scalp in order to reconstruct her legs. She is still undergoing therapy to recover from her injuries. 

In December 2011, the City Council shelled out $1 million in plundered wealth to settle Russell’s lawsuit – and most of that sum will probably be devoured by medical expenses. One of her assailants, former Minneapolis Police Sgt. David Clifford – has subsequently been charged with first-degree assault for an unprovoked attack on a 40-year-old man named Brian Vander Lee at a bar last June

Vander Lee, a father of four who is employed in the productive sector, was talking on a cell phone when Clifford accosted him and then hit him with a punch to the head that knocked him to the ground. As a result of falling head-first onto a concrete surface, the victim suffered head trauma so intense that it required two brain surgeries and 40 hours on life support. 

The bold and valiant SWAT operator who sucker-punched the unarmed and puzzled victim – and then ran away -- insisted that he acted in “self-defense” – but don’t they always? He remains on paid administrative leave pending his trial in April.

In 2011, Minneapolis tax victims underwrote $4.7 million in legal settlements to “Little People” who suffered criminal violence at the hands of the municipality’s punitive caste – and to the survivors of people who were killed by them. City Attorney Susan Segal breezily dismisses that figure, and the carnage that produced it, as the kind of overhead that comes from doing a brisk business in official coercion. 

“Minneapolis Police have more than a million contacts with people every year, and our officers are constantly in harm’s way,” Segal sniffed. She apparently believes that the danger comes from the police coming into contact with the public they supposedly serve, when clearly the police themselves are the most prolific practitioners of violence. 

Duy Ngo and his wife, Mary.
 In 2007, another $4.7 million settlement was paid to a single victim -- the late Duy Ngo. Mr. Ngo was a Vietnamese refugee who enlisted in the Army the summer of his senior year in High School and became a police officer a few years later. In 2003, while working undercover with the Metro Gang Strike Force, Ngo was shot by a fellow officer

Ngo, who was sitting in an unmarked police vehicle in an area frequently by drug dealers, was shot by a would-be carjacker. His bullet-resistant vest saved Ngo’s life during the initial shooting. After calling for assistance, Ngo pursued the attacker, but lost him within a few blocks. Seeking to catch his breath, and dealing with abdominal pain from the point-blank shots fired into his vest, Ngo slumped to his knees at an intersection, then waved his hands feebly when a police car pulled up. A few seconds later, Officer Charles Storlie emerged from the car and immediately opened up on Ngo with his MP5 semi-automatic machine gun. Ngo survived the second shooting, but was left permanently disabled. 

More painful than his physical injuries was the sense of disillusionment that descended on Ngo as he found himself being treated as one of the “Little People.” 

The department he had served ventilated rumors that Ngo, an Army reservist, had staged the initial shooting in an attempt to avoid deployment to Iraq. When Storlie visited Ngo in the hospital, the shooter informed the victim that although he regretted Ngo’s condition, he believed that he had done the right thing in the circumstances by shooting him – and that he would do exactly the same thing in the future in similar situations.

Ladies and gentlemen: Behold a police officer who meets Law Enforcement Training, Inc.’s “No Hesitation” standard.

Ngo eventually underwent twenty-six surgeries. The department, employing every dilatory tactic it had perfected in dealing with excessive force complaints filed by Mundanes, dragged out the official inquiry through four years and the administrations of three police chiefs. In 2007, the city approved a $4.7 million civil settlement to Ngo. 

“The settlement was a staggering amount of money,” observed Mayor R.T. Rybak. “But it’s staggering how much officers put their lives on the line.”
Rybak deployed the appropriate cliché without considering the context: Ngo, once again, was shot to pieces by another police officer – that is, someone who represents the most dangerous element in the city. 

Ngo’s vest saved him from the first shooting. In the second shooting, his body was mangled but his life was spared because of the characteristically poor marksmanship of a police officer. But the wounds – and the concentrated viciousness of the bureaucracy that employed him – did eventually prove fatal: He committed suicide in June 2010

By that time, Ngo – who remained on the force – was confined to clerical duties. That means that he was a Cop In Name Only, a status just above that of the Little People. And in the eyes of the Exalted Purveyors of Officially Sanctioned Violence, such creatures are useful for little more than target practice. 

Obiter Dicta  

The irreplaceable -- and very generous -- Lew Rockwell interviewed me last week for his podcast. Among other things we discussed the Chris Dorner case and the always-relevant Golden Rule.

A couple of weeks ago, the equally indispensable Scott Horton interviewed me about the Chris Kyle case, state worship, and the always-relevant Golden Rule.

My family and I deeply appreciate your continued financial support, without which I could not continue to publish my blog. Thank you so much, and God bless!

Dum spiro, pugno!