Injustice Roundup: My Weekly Roundup of Stories on Abusive Police Officers, Prison Guards, and Prosecutors
Police brutality is roaring ahead
I use this database to track police brutality in the United States. Many other databases exist, but this simple one is the most up to date and links to local news stories covering each case. Take those news stories with a grain of salt, though, because they tend to only cover the law enforcement narrative early on.
In a few days we will cross over 1,000 people killed by American police this year — keeping 2017 to be one of the deadliest years for police brutality ever measured.
NFL team owner compares players to prison inmates he needs to put in check
As the National Football League continues to bungle its response to players protesting police brutality and injustice in America, team owners are scrambling to meet about how they can somehow stop the protests. In a brilliant new piece for ESPN Magazine revealing the behind the scenes talks, something very disturbing came out.
Bob McNair, the largest single donor to Donald Trump in the NFL, compared the protesting players to prisoners. Here’s the full context…
The three most conservative owners, each Trump donors, are speaking — Jerry Jones of the Dallas Cowboys, Daniel Snyder, of the Washington Redskins (I hate even typing that name), and Bob McNair of the Houston Texans. And the conversation goes like this:
As Jones spoke, Snyder mumbled out loud, “See, Jones gets it — 96 percent of Americans are for guys standing,” a claim some dismissed as a grand overstatement. McNair, a multimillion-dollar Trump campaign contributor, spoke next, echoing many of the same business concerns. “We can’t have the inmates running the prison,” McNair said.
Some may say, “that’s just a figure of speech,” but aren’t all words figures of speech? That Bob McNair, of all metaphors, chose to compare protesting players to inmates running the prison, is disturbing. I’ll leave it at that.
Please take some time out to watch this video
I love social media, but it often reduces very complex conversations about the criminal justice system to points that simply don’t translate well on such mediums. The teams from Participant Media, The New Yorker, and The Marshall Project came together to produce a project they are calling “We Are Witnesses.” It’s one of the best things out today and I really do hope you will take time out today (or soon) to watch it.
It has powerful, personal, up-close interviews with people from every aspect of the criminal justice system giving you a searing and transparent look into it better than almost anything out there right now.
These two NYPD officers should be in jail for rape right now
My colleague Natasha Lennard of The Intercept wrote a very important pieceabout two NYPD officers who should absolutely be in jail for rape right now. I’ve mentioned this case before, but this is the best piece out on it. The officers, Richard Hall and Edward Martins, claimed they each had consensual sex with a teenager they had in custody. Lennard, rightly so, blows this foolish alibi wide open. Sex can never be truly consensual when someone is in police custody — PERIOD. The teenager reported that she was raped. The rape kit came back positive. The DNA of each officer was found.
This case is open and shut. It’s a disgrace that they still have jobs and it’s a failure of the system that charges have not yet been filed.
In a separate case, a 15 year old cadet in an LAPD training program has filed a claim against the city in a sexual abuse scandal rocking the department.
UPDATE: These officers have now been indicted.
Private prisons companies now holding their meetings on Trump properties
The GEO Group is the largest private prison company in the country. Their stock has been soaring since Trump took office. Now, they’ve moved literally their annual meeting to Trump’s Florida golf resort — which brings in the largest stream of revenue in the Trump organization.
We live in a time where people, politicians, and corporations clearly no longer feel like they have to disguise their motives or feelings anymore. The GEO Group has multiple very lucrative federal contracts and it is a disgrace that they now just openly hosting their meetings on a Trump property — which many legal experts continue to express is a clear conflict of interest.
Three California officers arrested for a beating of an unarmed teenager that they lied to cover up
Three officers participated in a brutal assault of an unarmed, non-violent, compliant teenager in 2015 before wrongly arresting him. He did nothing wrong. Thankfully it was filmed. Here’s some of the account from the LA Times,
Jensen, 50, and Hutchinson, 31, knowingly lied in the reports they wrote about the incident and later when they testified at the boy’s trial, prosecutors allege. Jensen also faces a charge of violating Aguilar’s civil rights by using excessive force.
In his report of the incident, Jensen falsely claimed he struck Aguilar after the teen attempted to punch him in the face, according to the charges against the men. And he wrote that Aguilar had come within an “arms length” of the officers who were escorting his father.
Hutchinson gave a similar account in his own report, falsely saying the boy had run to within a few feet of the other officers and then yelled at onlookers in an attempt to “incite unrest” as he was being led away, federal authorities said.
$44.7 million verdict reached in Chicago police misconduct case
While cities like Chicago continue to claim they don’t have the funds to properly support public education and recreation, they continue to pay hundreds of millions of dollars out in police misconduct settlements/verdicts. Chicago Police Officer Patrick Kelly shot Michael LaPorta, an unarmed non-violent man, rendering him paralyzed for life. Kelly, who has a disturbing history, has long claimed he didn’t shoot LaPorta, but that he shot himself. The civil jury wasn’t buying it. It’s outrageous. And now they’ve awarded LaPorta the largest police misconduct verdict in a city that has had thousands of them.
It’s a type of victory for LaPorta, but he’s paralyzed and Patrick Kelly is still free. That’s not fair punishment.