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I have to go to work, but I guess just try to imagine that there are some transitions between slides and The Ghost of Tom Joad is playing in the background while you’re watching this.

My video is supposed to play as a video, with music, not a slide show. I followed the Mac instructions for save as video, I followed the youtube instructions for uploading, I’ve tried everyway possible on this site, and it’s still playing like this. I’ve been trying for the past hour and nothing works. Why won’t my video play? Is is because it’s quicktime? I really can’t handle this right now.

This is my video for police misconduct in the U.S.  I mainly stayed with the issues of violence and touched slightly on some other issues. Violence by police seems to be most prevalent these days than anything else. My goal for the video was to hopefully educate people on some things they may not have known about the police such as the database abusing. I also hoped to inspire some people to be aware that we are not helpless. The citizens of this country have the power to fight anything that we view as wrong if we come together and police misconduct is no exception. I hope you enjoy. I’ve had quite a hard time making it since I had to use a Mac, but I think it turned out how I wanted it.file:///Users/alexanderskalatsky/Desktop/CES%20SLIDESHOW.mov

Copwatch.com is a gem of a website when it comes to reporting police misconduct. I urge everyone to visit sometime.

This here is quite the nifty little nugget from the site.

http://www.copwatch.org/databaseabuse.html

It’s a very disturbing thought to know that if you’re in that database, they can look up anything about you for no reason. And even more disturbing is that sometimes they do. It got me thinking, maybe citizens should have our own database to keep an eye of cops in our neighborhood. They would say that it would make them vulnerable and unable to feel safe, but we could make the same argument. If we don’t feel safe then why should they? Don’t we have a right to privacy?

Of course that would never happen. A man can dream though.

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/10/13/nyregion/13cops.html

In the above article is bit of shining light. Granted it’s from two years ago, but I take what I can get. A retired police lieutenant was given a prison sentence for taking drug money. At the time he had up to 40 narcotics detectives working under him. He admitted to taking $110,000 over three years and was caught when he was videotaped stealing $169,000. Wow.

It makes you wonder how many other officers like Mr. Maguire there are out there pocketing drug money for their own gain while pretending to keep it off the streets.

In this case it states, “The investigation ultimately implicated as many as 10 current or retired detectives, but only Mr. Maguire, the two men caught on videotape and a third detective were charged with crimes. Another detective has been fired. The department is seeking to fire two others.”

My parents don’t tell me much because they don’t like to see me upset. However I was home recently and came across a letter from our lawyer from the case of my brother. Apparently he’s only worth how much money he would have made in his lifetime according to his life expectancy. Golly gee, I always wondered if there was an equation for a person’s worth. The state of Washington has one. On a side note, in 6 years still not one of the officers involved in his death have been punished. I’m sure they got a stern talking to though.

This article (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/24305660) was recently sent to me about the 50 shot killing of a Sean Bell as he exited a club after his bachelor party. The police thought that one of the men he was with had a gun and the place was under investigation for prostitution. The officers were found not guilty. 

While this story is in fact very disturbing, I felt that the list of other wrongful deaths by N.Y.P.D. towards the bottom of the first page was even more disturbing.  In 1999 it states, “African immigrant Amadou Diallo is shot to death at the front door of his Bronx apartment building by four officers who said he fit the description of a rape suspect. They mistook his wallet for a gun. The officers were acquitted. Diallo’s mother received a $3 million settlement.”  In 2000 “Patrick Dorismond, a security guard, is shot to death by an undercover narcotics detective during a scuffle in Manhattan. A grand jury cleared the officer of wrongdoing. The city paid $2.25 million to Dorismond’s family.”  In 2003 “African immigrant Ousmane Zongo is shot in a warehouse by police investigating counterfeit CDs and DVDs. Zongo had no connection. The officer was convicted of criminally negligent homicide and sentenced to five years’ probation and 500 hours of community service. Zongo’s family got a $3 million settlement.”  In 2004 “Timothy Stansbury, a 19-year-old, is fatally shot by an officer apparently startled by their sudden encounter on the roof of a Brooklyn housing project. The officer was cleared of all charges. The city agreed to pay Stansbury’s family $2 million.” Then in 2006 the killing of Sean Bell described above happened.

Will New York pay the Bell family as well?  One also has to think that in a city as large as NYC, these can’t be the only occurances of this sort of violence. There seems to be a growing trend here of black men getting shot wrongfully and their families simply being paid off.  Is that justice?  Is this how we conduct ourselves in the “free world”? Apparently the police can kill as many people of color as they want as long as they appear somber about it and live in a city that’s willing to throw money at the families to make them go away.

It isn’t always about race either. Two of the men who shot Sean Bell were African American. In this case it could indeed still be profiling and if not maybe it was just plain old fashioned negligence. Racially fueled or not, these shootings need to stop. Money can’t make them all go away.

The U.S. tries to inforce our ideals of justice, democracy, and fairness on the rest of the world when we can barely uphold it ourselves. In a city on a pedestal such as NYC there should be better practices than this. You can argue that the police have to make split second decisions and it’s a hard job, but don’t they know this going into the job? If they aren’t ready for a decision such as making the distinction between a wallet and a firearm than they shouldn’t have a gun and a badge.

By now, everyone has seen the video of the student getting tased by campus security at the John Kerry event. That is not the only incident. Tasers can potentially be helpful to police officers and the public if they are used responsibly.  They can be of great use in apprehending dangerous people that could harm innocent people without having to beat or shoot them.  However, these law enforcement tools seem to be used more excessively these days without just cause.

This video is from a UCLA library

http://www.youtube.com/v/5g7zlJx9u2E&hl=en

The student is repeatedly tased and then told to stand up. When he asks for the officers’ information and does not stand, they continue to tase him over and over again. If this isn’t excessive force than I don’t know what is. The student is already restrained, and it is only because they don’t want to carry him that they continue to electrocute the hell out of him. It seems that when the term nonlethal is applied to a weapon then it can be used to the police’s heart’s content. However, are they 100% nonlethal?

This is a news clip from a story about a non-English speaking, unarmed, polish man being tasered to death in a Canadian airport by police.

http://www.youtube.com/v/_3Ggpme5nUA&hl=en

This is a video of a Utah man getting tased in front of his pregnant wife for refusing to sign a speeding ticket.

http://www.youtube.com/v/IMaMYL_shxc&hl=en

My favorite part is when he threatens to tase him again for asking to have his rights read to him. It’s a good thing we give our officers these nice toys so they don’t have to do all that annoying talking and work… or explaining themselves. There should most definitely be better training for these devices. Just because the officers get tased once for training doesn’t give them free reign to just bust it out anytime for any reason.

This is an article I found today which I found to be very interesting and a little disturbing.

(http://www.illinoistimes.com/gyrobase/Content?oid=oid%3A4961)

A policeman who upholds the law is forced into retirement and the lawbreakers are free to continue their misconduct. The blue wall of silence protects it’s own even against the ones doing the right thing.

It was January 17th 2002 when my brother was taken from me.  He was going for a ride in a stolen vehicle with some friends and they had all been doing drugs.  It wasn’t a normal accident that killed them: the kind you read about in the papers where wreckless kids lose control of their car and careen into a tree or take a corner too fast and flip.  This was an accident which could have been prevented, but the hasty actions of the police were a death sentence for two twenty year old boys.

They were flying down the highway after they were met by police vehicles at the end of a friend’s driveway.  They had not been on the run for long when the Pierce County Sheriff’s department decided it was time to deploy stop strips up the road.  The stop strips only spread half way across the road, thus only deflating the tires on the left side of the SUV.  The vehicle flipped six times before it came to a stop and it killed the two boys in the front.

The stop stick deployment was in the official report when it came out.  However, when the vehicle was investigated, there was a different tire on the SUV and the police denied using the spikes. 

Stop sticks are not supposed to be used if they are damaged.  I have tried and tried to find a procedural guideline for these things, yet all I seem to come up with are police procedurals aimed at protecting the officer and hardly any mention of the outcome for whoever they are chasing.  Here are some examples:

 http://beavertonpolice.org/about/generalorders/go090800.pdf

http://www.cheshire.police.uk/uploads/policy%20-%20vehicle%20stopping%20device.pdf

There are usually not many to no guidelines at all for what could possibly harm the driver or his passengers.  Nick (the driver with my brother) was a bad man, and if it had just been him I could see the use of stop sticks.  However, we are talking about a passenger vehicle with four other human beings inside besides the driver. 

Perhaps this is just a coincidence, but I think the most chilling thing about this case is that Nick’s mother told my parents that a month before, the police came to her door saying they may have to kill Nick to stop him.  I wouldn’t say that this situation happened intentionally, however, I would say that the police probably had it in mind as an option.  

My mother, still to this day is still going to court trying to get new restrictions put on the use of these stop sticks and she has a good deal of support, but nothing definite.  We also have a wrongful death lawsuit against the Pierce County Sheriff’s department which is going nowhere fast.  They have basically told us that Kyle would be worth more injured than dead.  That is the one statement of theirs that I can agree with.  I’ve heard local cops in my town talk about how they were glad that it happened the way it happened also.

My brother Kyle and his friend Nick weren’t saints, and they deserved to go to jail that night, but not to die.  The fact that the police acted so hastily in this situation and have shown no remorse to date makes me fearful of the police.  I am not going to run from the cops because that is not a smart thing to do.  Everyone knows that.  What scares me is that they showed disregard for human life, they are not sorry, and they are getting away with it.

-Erik J. Sheets

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