As far as the national Washington-based news media is concerned, cases of police brutality, corruption and systematic injustice in the court system are strictly limited to the cases that get a lot of coverage – such as the cases of Rodney King and Trayvon Martin. These are viewed as isolated, even rogue instances of injustice, the kind that only occur every now and then. I won’t attempt to speculate why certain cases of injustice become more notorious than others, but it is clear that brutal assaults carried out by law enforcement officers permeate the entire system, regardless of whether we’re talking about State or Local law enforcement agencies. In fact, police brutality has become so inseparable from the overall American experience that it could be happening anywhere, at any given moment, regardless of region or state of the Union. Below are some instances in which video evidence was able to bring to the surface what police undoubtedly prefer to keep under wraps. Some of them are shockingly graphic in nature and I’d advise you not to view them in the presence of small children.
1. We begin with a surveillance video from the Salvation Army Halfway House in Chattanooga, Tennessee on the night of June 14, 2012. An inmate by the name of Adam Tatum allegedly became “unruly” after he declined to urinate in a cup for a requested drug-screening. The two police officers initially called to the scene, Adam Cooley and Sean Emmer, later claimed they’d been notified of Tatum having “pulled a knife” on a member of the Facility’s staff. However, a subsequent search of the entire facility failed to produce the said knife. Regardless, the following scene, which includes a total of about 17 officers in all, is so immensely heart-wrenching and tragic that whatever may or may not have happened prior to it must be rendered completely irrelevant. What these white, skin-head police officers did to this 36-year old unarmed African American man can be described only as an unbridled act terror. Cops not only slammed Tatum on the ground, but they used their heavy batons to inflict the most excruciatingly painful blows to his legs, arms, and just about everywhere else on his body. All the while they yell and scream at him as if he is a dog, demanding him to lay on his stomach and put his hands behind his back. His cries to the officers to have mercy on him and spare his life cannot penetrate the hearts of these cold-blooded savages. At one point he can vaguely be heard saying, “I know what you’re trying to do”, meaning he knows what these monsters are capable of doing once they indeed have him handcuffed. After all, it’s painfully obvious that he is desperately needed to have his hands unrestrained, or else he wouldn’t have been able to protect his head and body from further damage – or worse, from being killed. Both of his legs were fractured (the same legs the officers are seen dragging him around on the floor with); with 6 fractures to his right leg and 2 to his left, one of which is a compound fracture (in other words a bone in his left leg had pierced through his outer skin tissue). Officers Cooley and Emmer were eventually terminated in early March, 2013. However, they are challenging their terminations as “unlawful”, and are not facing any criminal charges. What this video certainly makes clear is that none of the other 15 or so officers who were present at the scene sought to in any way challenge these wicked acts of torture being carried out by their colleagues right in front of their very eyes.
2. It appears even the elderly are not immune to some of the most ruthless and bloody tactics of the Police. If you’re finding this difficult to imagine, I’m willing to bet that footage of what happened to this 87-year old woman as she was walking across a Wal-Mart parking lot one afternoon will change your mind.
3. Footage of another shameful incident emerged recently from a surveillance camera at the Clark County Family Court in Nevada. A 29-year old mother named Monica Contreras and her 2-year old daughter were present in a family Courtroom for what was supposed to be a 10-minute meeting, simply to sort out final issues of her divorce case. In the video, as her meeting with Judge Patricia Doninger comes to a close, Contreras is seen smiling and politely thanking the Judge. But as she and her daughter are gearing up to leave, they are stopped by Family Court Marshal Ron Fox, who orders Contreras into a waiting room by herself for an unexplained “drug search.” Subsequent investigations and Contreras’s own testimony later confirmed that during this so-called “search,” Officer Fox touched Contreras’s breasts and butt in very inappropriate manners, before ordering her to lift her shirt. Upon this request, Monica Contreras rushes back into the courtroom. She is so shocked and dismayed by what has just happened that she requests that Judge Doninger assign a female officer to conduct the search instead. In fact, she’d just made the same request to Officer Fox before he sexually harassed her, but the request was, of course, denied. One can detect a sense of fright and horror in her voice as she explains to Doninger that she was “offended that he would ask me to do that.” Even Contreras’s very young daughter can sense that something has gone terribly wrong, and she pleads with Judge Doninger to listen to what her mother has to say. Court Marshal Fox by this point realizes that he must quickly silence his victim’s accusations and asks, “So the story still stands?” Before Contreras can even utter the word “what”, Fox has ordered an overweight courtroom officer, who he calls “Jimmy”, to “handcuff her!” Stunned and confused, Contreras innocently asked the arresting officer, “For what, sir? Why would I be arrested?!” Following Fox’s order, the “Jimmy” continually barks at her, ordering her to “put your hands behind your back.” As all this is happening, the female Judge Doninger simply looks on helplessly as a male officer arrests a woman simply for protesting sexual harassment, whilst the order for her arrest is given by the man who only moments before sexually harassed her! Officer Fox decided at that point that he needed to pull an explanation for the arrest out of his ass, and says that she is being arrested “for [making] false accusations against a police officer.” I-Team News’s investigation tried, but could find no law that could possibly support such an arrest. After a lot of back-and-forth, Contreras breaks down upon being told that the only way she can avoid spending time in jail is if she takes the stand and recants every word she just said. It appeared as if they had finally verbally battered her into submission, but when she approached the stand, she refused to take back her testimony, and instead tries to appeal to Judge Doninger’s inner humanity. “He asked me to lift my shirt without a witness,” she cries. But this truly pathetic Judge’s heart is made of ice, and she turns away in disgrace. As the officers place Contreras’s arms in handcuffs, she understandably feels betrayed by Judge Doninger and cries out, “How could you do this to me?! .. How could you watch?! How could you watch?!” And if this wasn’t enough to tear at your heart, her adorable 2-year old daughter is seen running up to the arresting officer and demands him that he “Don’t take Mamma! .. That’s my mamma. Leave her alone!” Finally, Contreras kisses her little angel good-bye and is escorted out of the courtroom before being sent to country jail. Court Marshal Fox placed the young girl in Child Haven while her mother served 2 months behind bars. Fox and Doninger have recently lost their jobs.
4. Cops in St. Louis, Missouri one night came to the conclusion that one man looked awfully “suspicious” after he’d been seen purchasing a cigarillo from a local convenience store (cigarillos are sold legally in stores, so why should this be grounds for them to stop him? We know why). Judging from the video, it appears their “sense” that he possessed illegal substances that, even though they could not locate any anywhere on him, they refused to accept that he was he innocent. At one point, an officer is seen punching the man uncontrollably in the face, demanding that he tell them where he’s hiding the nonexistent drugs.
5. An African American family in Toledo, Ohio were recently the subject of an attack by a white off-duty police officer named Robert Adams. As the family finished loading into the car the groceries they’d just purchased at the grocery store, Adams harassed them, followed them, and even shattered the window of their car. All of this happened in the presence of a young child, and the family has found this entire experience very traumatic. Officer Adams was allegedly intoxicated, but he remained on “paid leave.” (translation: He will be returning to work after the departments ‘”internal investigation” sham is finished.
6. The following video has managed to garner a relatively fair amount of attention in the blogosphere as of late. Unfortunately, much of that coverage has focused exclusively on the tragic fate of the dog in the video (which is by all means worthy of attention!), while neglecting to mention the absurdity of the young man in the video being handcuffed and arrested by police for nothing other than the “crime” of capturing the officers’ actions on video. My heart goes out to the man in the video, who was profiled by police while saddled with the additional burden of losing a loyal companion in in the process. From his reaction, it’s clear that this canine was a true friend in every sense of the word, who lost his life defending his owner against people who wish to do him nothing but harm. Love & Respect.
7. A local television news station in Tennessee conducted a state-wide investigation into the various operations of state and local police departments and came to a conclusion that surprised no one except maybe them – that police officers aren’t “policing drug crime”, but are in fact mainly “policing for profit.” The ongoing “War on Drugs” and the agencies tasked with its enforcement, the investigation concludes, are not motivated by an interest in stopping the flow of drugs in communities whatsoever. Get into the details in the news report below:
8. Next we move to San Juan, Texas where, on March 17, 2011, the then-local Sheriff Deputy, Dale Frazier, and his partner were “questioning” two brothers over their alleged role in a reported bar fight that occurred that evening. But if San Juan is really interested in ridding its communities of violence, their #1 culprits are the men they have currently tasked to enforce the town’s laws! Not quite sure what I’m getting at? Check out the brutal scene below:
9. Jesse Thornton, a 64-year old retired firefighter who resides in the metropolitan town of Surprise, Arizona, knows better than anyone what it’s like to be constantly harassed and stereotyped by police. Despite having no prior record, he’ll always be “guilty” in the eyes of the law for “Driving While Black” – literally. This may sound rather cliche to some, but consider the following. Recently, Thornton went out for a swim at a nearby LA Fitness gym in order to help loosen up his hip, in preparation for a hip-replacement surgery he was scheduled to undergo two days later. As he was driving home, he noticed the familiar cop lights and sirens, and he pulled over accordingly (this was his 10th time being pulled over recently, despite never having been involved in any crime). When the law enforcement officer approached Thornton’s window, he looked directly into Thornton’s eyes and announced, “I can tell you’re driving DUI by looking in your eyes… You have bloodshot eyes.” Mr. Thornton politely countered that he had just been swimming at LA Fitness, but the officer still insisted, “I think you’re DUI.” He called for back-up, and 2 or 3 more cops arrived on the scene. Then Thornton was ordered to take a breathalyzer test, which he of course passed with flying colors, registering at .000%; in other words – no impairment whatsoever. He attempted to explain to the officers that he’d been swimming because his Doctor had advised him to, to prepare for the surgery he was soon to undergo. The police had no use for rational explanations however, and collectively responded, “Why don’t you stop whining?!” Despite validation of Mr. Thornton’s claim to sobriety, he was handcuffed and taken to jail anyway. While there, his blood was drawn to test for narcotics influence and, as he’d attested to from the very beginning, the results revealed he tested negative for narcotics usage as well. Yet, this still was not good enough for the cops. In an blatant disregard for the truth, the officers ignored their own report’s assessment that Jesse Thornton was not under the influence of any illegal substance whatsoever, and went ahead and charged him with DUI anyway and had his truck impounded. The charges were eventually dropped and Thornton sued the police department, but the fact that this ever could have occurred in the first place reveals quite a lot about how reliable police and their so-called “instincts” are.
10. Halfway across the nation in Philadelphia, the so-called “city of brotherly love”, a 28-year old named Askia Sabur is speaking out about his near-fatal clash with officers of the Philadelphia Police Department. Back in 2010, Sabur was charged with “resisting arrest” and committing “aggravated assault against a police officer(s)” late one night as he stood on a street-corner in downtown Philadelphia. Fortunately, someone had their cell phone video camera on record, and the captured footage enabled Sabur to tell his story in ways that words could never. What this video footage showed was that the story as put together by police was a complete fabrication. Far from Sabur being the aggressor, it was an entire gang of Philadelphia Police Officers who aggressively kicked, punched, and beat Askia Sabur with deadly weapons such as metal nightsticks and batons, and not an inch of his body was free from their attacks. It’s truly a miracle that he was able to sustain such an assault. The injuries to the back of his head are so severe that stitches can be seen stretching from one earlobe all the way to the other. Thanks to the video, and the video alone, Sabur was rightfully found “not guilty” of having committed any crime. Unfortunately however, so were the cops.
11. What happens when a Latina woman returning from a day of Fiesta celebrations stops at a local Shell Station on her way home and accidentally takes a wrong turn into an employee stockroom? As far as the San Antonio Park Police are concerned, it’s an indicator that the woman in question is a shoplifter and should be detained as such. This is exactly what happened to San Antonio, Texas resident Christina Oliver when she attempted to use the convenient store’s public facility but instead ended up in the wrong room. Upon doing this she immediately realized her mistake, turned around, and preceded to look elsewhere for the women’s restroom. The on-duty officers were not having it, and handcuffed her as if they’d somehow caught her in the act of shop-lifting. When Oliver’s family came inside to protest what they felt was an unreasonable arrest, the patrol officers became angry and confrontational. The went from being angered to enraged, however, when they noticed that Christina’s brother was filming the arrest on his cell phone video camera. In fact, one officer was so enraged that he violently slammed Christina Oliver’s face against the store’s glass window, and proceeded to do it over and over again. The abuse she suffered at the hands of the police officers caused “bruising and swelling all over her body”, including her neck and her arms, as well as a fractured nose. What’s more, the initial offense she’d been charged with, “resisting arrest”, was outrageously upgraded to a “felonious assault against a peace officer.” .. Really?! Come again… a “PEACE” Officer?!!
12. Finally, let’s take a look at what happened on a regular Tuesday afternoon in an ordinary neighborhood somewhere in St. Paul, Minnesota on the date of August 28, 2012. Everything seemed to be going pleasantly, and a group of young children from the local community were gathered around the local Lewis Park for a child who lived in the neighborhood’s birthday celebration. While at the party, several adult witnesses took notice of a cop car rolling by them slowly. The officer who was manning the vehicle, Jesse Zilge, appeared as if he was looking for somebody in particular, though nobody had an idea who. Not far from the Park, 30-year old Eric Hightower was innocently walking down the street with a group of friends, laughing and joking, when out of nowhere, Officer Zilge swerved in front of them, parked his car, and yelled for him and his friends to “get down on the ground!” The cop’s actions must have caused quite a scene, for immediately after he got out of his car, the children at Lewis park “stopped what they were doing” and took notice of what was going on. Eric Hightower, taken aback by this sudden inexplicable demand, inquired to know for what purpose he was being ordered to get on the ground (as anyone in a similarly-placed situation would undoubtedly like to know). Zilge thought it beneath him to to explain himself, and ordered that they “get on the ground” once again. This time Hightower decided it was in his best interest to comply with the police officer’s demand, but before he could even get on the ground, he was sprayed in the face with a bottle of mace – the intoxicant chemical spray designed to incapacitate people for an extended amount of time. Hightower’s friends crossed the street and notified the police officer that all of his actions on were being recorded on video camera, to let him know any potentially deadly moves he might do would not go unnoticed. As Hightower was on the ground and now clearly in compliance with Officer Zilge’s orders, and so he inquired to know one more time for what purpose he had come under attack. After refusing to provide a sufficient answer the first 5 or so times he’d been asked, Zilge finally informs Hightower that there was a warrant issued for his arrest for the crime of threatening his ex-girlfriend the night prior. Then, without any further provocation, he then took out his taser-gun and wielded it directly in Hightower’s face. However, shouts from the onlookers who were disturbed and outraged by the situation caused Zilge to reconsider using the taser-gun at this point in the arrest, possibly sensing some unknown ramifications. Or perhaps, he took note of the fact that the chemical intoxicants were clearly having the desired effect on Mr. Hightower, as he could clearly be heard incessantly coughing and intensely struggling to catch his breath. Despite the desperate and helpless disposition his victim is in, Officer Zilge is next seen walking over to Hightower and, without warning, delivers a swift and direct kick into Hightower’s chest before jumping on him and handcuffing him. A second officer, Steve Petron, arrives on the scene next and calls for more backup. Together, the two officers, out of nothing other than spite and cruelty, mercilessly pull Hightower by his dreadlocks. As more police officers arrived from seemingly every corner of the earth, Hightower is dragged to his feet and slammed repeatedly on the hood of a police car, as members of the community watch and react with outrage. Hightower would later share his account of how the officers attempted to throw him in the cop car “head-first”, dragging him by his hair, at one point holding his head down and macing him directly in his right ear. “I can’t even hear anything out of my right ear,” he testified. “My whole right side of my face is completely numb; my skin is irritated.” What’s worse, his humiliation didn’t at all stop when the cameras stopped rolling. After he was driven off and taken to Ramsey County jailhouse, he was locked inside a tiny cell where staff purposely tried to humiliate him by confiscating his pants. During the first night he was left unattended to as he suffered from “impaired hearing, bloodshot eyes, irritated skin, and no pants.”