Police Abuse

Police Abuse Breeds Disrespect

Defensive official reactions to corruption encourage the attitude that troubles the attorney general.

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The day before Attorney General William Barr complained about disrespect for the police, Harris County, Texas, District Attorney Kim Ogg announced that her office had identified 69 more convicted drug offenders who may have been framed by a veteran Houston narcotics officer. The skepticism that Barr decries cannot be understood without taking into account the sort of corruption that Ogg is investigating.

Speaking to police officers in Miami last Friday, Barr condemned "a deeply troubling attitude" toward police. "Far from respecting the men and women who put their lives on the line to protect us," he said, overzealous critics "scapegoat and disrespect police officers and disparage the vital role you play in society."

While Barr may prefer to believe that attitude has no basis in fact, every day brings news of police officers who foster such disrespect by lying, using excessive force, and abusing their power for personal gain. Although it is unfair to portray those cases as an indictment of the entire profession, the way police officials respond to such revelations often invites that conclusion.

The former officer at the center of Ogg's inquiry, Gerald Goines, was employed by the Houston Police Department (HPD) for 34 years. He faces state murder charges and federal civil rights charges because he invented a heroin purchase by a nonexistent confidential informant to obtain a no-knock warrant for a 2019 raid that killed a middle-aged couple, Dennis Tuttle and Rhogena Nicholas, in their home on Harding Street.

As a result of that disastrous operation, which discovered no evidence of drug dealing, Ogg's office is reviewing thousands of cases handled by Goines and his colleagues in the HPD's Narcotics Division. So far prosecutors have dismissed dozens of pending cases and backed the claims of two men arrested by Goines in 2008 who were recently declared innocent.

"We need to clear people convicted solely on the word of a police officer whom we can no longer trust," Ogg said last week. But the HPD's problems clearly go beyond the crimes of one rogue cop.

Another narcotics officer, Steven Bryant, faces state and federal charges in connection with the deadly Harding Street raid because he backed up Goines' fictional story. If Goines falsely implicated people in drug crimes for a dozen years or more, it seems likely that other officers actively helped him or looked the other way, which would make their testimony suspect as well.

Goines' supervisors also deserve a share of the blame for failing to properly monitor his use of warrants, informants, and department money. Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo, who initially hailed Goines as a hero while posthumously tarring Tuttle and Nicholas as dangerous heroin dealers, has announced several belated reforms, including limits on no-knock warrants, using body cameras during drug raids, and a new commitment to the oversight that HPD supervisors were supposed to provide.

Acevedo nevertheless insists that Goines' crimes did not reveal a "systemic" problem, and he wants credit for not sweeping them under the rug. "What would have been more tragic for this community, and for this department, than the incident itself is for the department to have failed to investigate it to the extent that we did," he said in a recent Texas Monthly interview.

At the same time, Acevedo wants the public to accept the inevitability of outrages such as the senseless deaths of Tuttle and Nicholas. "I don't think there's a policy or a process that can guarantee 100 percent that something like this would not happen," he said. That's the message Acevedo is sending Houstonians looking for reassurance that they can trust police to respect their constitutional rights.

After three interview questions about the biggest scandal to hit his department in decades, Acevedo lost his patience. "This is the last I want to talk about it," he said. "We need to move on to something else." That attitude is at least as troubling as the one that bothers Barr.

© Copyright 2020 by Creators Syndicate Inc.

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  1. Fuck the police. Also, first.

    1. First, last, and always fuck tha police.

      1. With a telephone pole, sideways…

        1. You messed it up….you were supposed to say something about that shit ‘coming straight from the underground.’

          1. It’s true.

    2. This shit doesn’t help either……….

      https://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2020/03/two-10-year-old-boys-arrested-on-felonies-for-playing-with-toy-guns-in-colorado/

      From the article:
      A Fort Carson family wants to share their story with others after their 10-year-old son was arrested and charged with Felony Menacing, a Class 5 felony, which has since been expunged.

      “They came back over, told me my rights, and told me what was going to happen. They put handcuffs on me, and I got into the car,” 10-year-old Gavin Carpenter said.

      The incident happened in July of 2019.

      FOX21 exclusively interviewed the 10-year-old. Gavin said he and a friend were playing outside with toys near N. Powers Blvd and Constitution Ave. He said they were playing a version of the video game Fortnite.

      “The toy bow was an orange Nerf bow. It didn’t work. Nothing could shoot out of it. Nothing would come out of it. The weapon, well toy I had, had an orange tip. It was also broken and couldn’t shoot anything out of it,” Gavin said.

      Gavin stated they pretended to shoot at about 5 to 10 cars until one man stopped. He said he and his friend ran to his friend’s grandparents’ house.

      “He slammed his breaks and started reversing as fast as he could,” Gavin said. “He came up and started getting very heated and was very mad. I was at the time, very scared.”

      The man called the police. According to the Carpenter family, El Paso County Sheriff’s deputies arrived and arrested both Gavin and his friend. He was handcuffed and taken to the Colorado Springs Police Department for mugshots and fingerprinting.

      Gavin’s parents, Chris and Stephanie, followed the cars to the police station. They said that night Gavin wasn’t released until 10:30 p.m.

      They immediately hired an attorney to help get the charge expunged from Gavin’s record. They were set a court date, and when they arrived, they were taken to a separate room instead of seeing a judge.

      “It was just a hard no, that the District Attorney wasn’t going to throw this out,” Gavin’s father Chris said. “That is when we moved into the diversion program.”

      The diversion program required Gavin to do community service, submit an essay, and other tasks before the expunge could happen. After 216 days of fighting it, the felony was finally expunged.

      EPSO released this statement when we asked about the arrest:

      “If anyone is dissatisfied with the actions of any employee of the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office, they have administrative avenues available to them. We encourage citizens to take advantage of those avenues.“

      1. 10-year-olds? They’re arresting 6-year-olds for felonies at school nowadays.

    3. OT: ‘Beefy Cameltoe’ is a good name for band made up of pre op trannys.

  2. Recently someone I knew was praising Avocado for his courageous stand against the National Rifle Association. They were outraged when I suggested that Avocado was trying to distract attention from this scandal which the other person had never heard of, and what did that have to do with this brave police chief courageously taking on the NRA?

    1. I think they meant that they praise him for reneging on his oath of office and attacking the second amendment.

  3. Speaking of police abuse, remember the Orange County Sheriff’s Department? They’ve been working hand-in-hand with the Orange County DA to deny justice to and frame as many innocent people as they could since sometime back in the ’80’s and, despite federal orders and a court banning the entire DA’s office from appearing before them because they couldn’t trust one single word coming out of a prosecutor’s mouth, they’re still at it.

    Both the sheriff’s department and the DA’s office have been plagued by scandals in recent years. Spitzer came into office on Jan. 7, 2019 after campaigning as a reformer against his predecessor, Tony Rackauckas.

    “Rackauckas has been in office for 20 years. This breeds corruption, complacency and a public failure of leadership,” Spitzer’s campaign website reads. “I will uphold justice, fight for our civil liberties and act as a model of ethical conduct with honesty, integrity and complete transparency.”

    Says the guy who has declined to pursue prosecutions against 17 sheriff’s deputies who had been referred to his office for criminal investigations after secret audits had disclosed wide-spread mishandling of evidence that could affect some 22,000 cases – cases in which defense council had not been notified that evidence had never existed, never been booked or had grossly deficient chain-of-custody records.

    Same old same old in Orange County it seems, isn’t 40 years long enough to give up and just burn it all down?

  4. Still, still, still waiting on more arrests/indictments for that corrupt Houston Police Force Narcotics division. You’re not going to convince me without some fucking exhaustive proof that nobody ever vouched for Goines’ lies prior to Steven Bryant.

    He’s probably obtained dozens if not hundreds of bullshit warrants thanks to his buddies vouching for him. They enabled a pattern of behavior that victimized innocent civilians and eventually led to two murdered civilians (that we know of). Remember, one bad apple spoils the barrel-that barrel must be considered tainted to the core.

    1. You mention innocent civilians. Cops *are* civilians, they are not military personnel.

      1. Don’t let the cops hear you saying that.

      2. No, they are not “civilians”. I will grant that they do not report to the Department of Defense and are not subject to the UCMJ but police departments everywhere are categorized as “paramilitary” forces who are authorized to use lethal force to advance the government’s aims.

        1. Categorized where?

          1. Well, the Geneva Conventions for a start. If sent to fight (and historically, many are), a police unit easily meets all the conditions necessary to be considered an “armed force”. Specifically:
            – commanded by a person responsible for his subordinates
            – have a fixed distinctive emblem recognizable at a distance
            – carry arms openly
            – conduct their operations in accordance with the laws and customs …

            Invading armies are expected to minimize civilian casualties. But those same invading armies but may and do routinely consider police and their facilities as legitimate military targets without any subsequent accusations that the invaders were violating the laws of war.

            The Quadripartite Agreement that covered the governance of Occupied Berlin is another example of a treaty recognizing that police are paramilitary and thus technically forbidden within the city.

            More to the point, though, police forces are designed and operated along the same lines as military forces, right down to their rank structures, uniforms, gallantry medals, training, command hierarchies and descriptive language. They wear stripes and badges on uniforms in military color schemes and use firearms, often indiscriminately. That’s pretty much the definition of “paramilitary”.

            So let me turn the question around. Other than some self-serving police union reps trying to deflect accusations about the latest abuse, who doesn’t consider police a paramilitary force?

        2. The fuck they aren’t. They’re as much citizens as I am. I’m a civilian to an invading military in a war or to domestic military personnel with a service commitment, not to a bunch of fat-assed pansy retards with well-deserved inferiority complexes.

      3. Even Pete Buttgag is less of a civilian than a cop.

      4. Here’s what Merriam-Webster says:

        ci·​vil·​ian | \ sə-ˈvil-yən
        also -ˈvi-yən \

        1 : a specialist in Roman or modern civil law
        2a : one not on active duty in the armed services or not on a police or firefighting force

        So unless you have a different definition for “dictionary,” too…

      5. But look at the small town police chiefs with 4 stars on their collars and more fake medals on their chest than MacArthur

    2. Don’t we have video evidence from a phone where you can hear them “fixing” the scene after the fact? You can’t do that without the rest of the squad knowing what’s up.

  5. Art Assinvader needs to be sacked.

  6. Funny how cops want citizens to snitch on each other but they’ll almost never turn in sorry cops

    1. Ratting out on another cop is one of the few things that can actually get a cop fired. That and trying to deescalate a situation rather than using deadly force.

  7. I meant dirty cops

  8. Houston is almost as bad as Chicago.

    1. How dare you!!

  9. I wonder if Acevedo is regretting moving to Houston. Just think, he could still be in Austin dealing with the great homeless freakout.

  10. They don’t need your respect, only your abject obedience. And you better respect them while you’re obeying, too.

    1. For a second there I had flashbacks to the rev.

  11. “I don’t think there’s a policy or a process that can guarantee 100 percent that something like this would not happen,”

    Has he tried serving warrants with by a uniformed officer in daylight?

    1. A good start, but I would go directly to the heart of the problem and say END PROHIBITION, altogether.

  12. “Although it is unfair to portray those cases as an indictment of the entire profession,”

    True, but the fact that the so called “good cops” do nothing to stop or prevent such cases is a very fair indictment of the entire profession.

    1. “True, but the fact that the so called “good cops” do nothing to stop or prevent such cases is a very fair indictment of the entire profession.”

      In addition, when one considers how many crimes go unreported, as we are often reminded, it is fair to conclude that there would be no greater category, than police misconduct, for which that would be more true given the obvious and inherent difficulties and lack of confidence in a just outcome. Not to mention biased investigators for which would, again, be disproportionately true for police misconduct and criminal acts.

  13. Hey Art,

    When are we going to see the shooting report for what happened at the Tuttle shooting?

    1. Sorry…Privacy protections prevent releasing that information.

    2. If the HPD has it’s way, the shooting report will be released on the third Tuesday after the 4th of Never.

  14. I remember seeing Frank Serpico taking about corruption and he said it will never change until the bad cop fears the good cop, not the other way around.

  15. If there’s a hero in this story, it’s Ogg. We’ll see if he has the guts to go after all the corruption, and not just stop at the obviously culpable. My guess is Acevedo is in it up to his neck.

    1. I looked at the picture again. I dont think he actually has a neck. His head seems to be directly attached to his upper thorax.

  16. ‘”Far from respecting the men and women who put their lives on the line to protect us…”‘

    No cop has ever put his or her life on the line to protect me. In fact, I lived in California for most of my life, where the cops are the ones who were preventing me from protecting myself.

  17. Of course it’s systemic. Until the idiotic law enforcement leadership acknowledges the obvious and significantly modifies training, the police will continue murdering the citizens it is supposed to be protecting.

    1. Modifying the training by itself won’t help. Better training and policies will not help unless they are enforced with an iron hand and zero tolerance.

      Yes, the current training and policies suck and they contribute to the problem, but there is no real enforcement when they are violated.

  18. “I don’t think there’s a policy or a process that can guarantee 100 percent that something like this would not happen” means “I don’t give enough of a shit about you people to even try to make sure that it doesn’t.” Fuck you, too, Asseater.

  19. Didn’t they initially attempt to sweep the issue under the rug?

  20. This dude Acevedo is as clueless as the Houston Asterisks front office, but at least the Asterisks only cheated at a game. They didn’t kill anyone. What a piece of shit.

    1. Right on. Meet the problem.

  21. Corruption only works from the top down. Our corrupt social leaders, lead by example.

    Nobody complains about corruption when they are benefiting from it.

    You say you’re more altruistic than that? Then support criminalizing all lying.

    1. Damned Joooooooossssss! Right Misek.

  22. when the good cops refuse to go against the bad cops, or when they do and then the higher ups bury them for it, its hard to feel bad for the police.

    they bring this on themselves.

  23. He says: “”… respecting the men and women who put their lives on the line to protect us,” Very nice . But they keep killing us, too. Not only in street situations, but completely deliberately, as well. Real: In the middle of night, when good family are asleep, Police breaks into the house, allegedly looking for drugs. The father wakes up, grabs his gun and shoots at the door-breakers, killing one of them. The Police found no drugs. The father is in jail now, charged with murder. On another occasion the Police placed two bullets in the back of a woman driving slowly and distributing leaflets or newspapers. “Ooops!”

    Some actions of Police like breaking into houses, high-speed street chases – kill many people in the name of keeping order.
    Police has zero respect for peoples’ lives, but a lot respect to their own. In that school-shooting in Florida, the Police stayed idle, and some Policeman explained why, in a discussion: “We have been trained that in such situations, our first priority has to be to to stay alive because if we are killed, we won’t be able to help anyone”. So much about “respecting the men and women who put their lives on the line to protect us.”

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  25. If they want people to trust cops, then I have this crazy idea: HIRE COPS THAT ARE TRUSTWORTHY.

    1. The problem isn’t that some untrustworthy people are hired to become police officers. The problem is that it’s incredibly rare for police officers to face any consequences when they lie and telling the truth is often punished when that truth makes police (or some other government official) look bad.

      1. And who should be holding cops accountable when they abuse their power? Oh, yeah, OTHER COPS. It’s not just “some” cops who are untrustworthy; it’s the whole damn institution.

  26. “No policy that could guarantee these kinds of things wouldn’t happen”? One of the prerequisites for being a drug warrior seems to be the willingness to let people believe you’re an idiot. (Some cops are idiots, but I don’t believe Acevedo is) Because there IS, in fact, a policy that would guarantee that people don’t get gunned down during drug raids. Stop the damn raids. Drug prohibition is the law, and granted, police chiefs don’t have the power to change the law. But the way those laws are enforced is policy, and police chiefs absolutely do have the power to change policy.

  27. So…who else is reading the article this evening about police run amok, after this morning having the police pull a pistol on them for no apparent reason?

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