Suspect Killed in Phoenix

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In the wake of many vehicle- based terrorist attacks around the globe, we are starting to see more people use their cars to create havoc. In this case, 48 year old Erik Pamais refused to pull over for speeding after being followed by officers and instead lead a chase to a shopping center. After being barricaded and essentially cornered by the police vehicles in the pursuit, Pamais proceeded to ram the police cars in an effort to escape. This all happened near a used clothing store for children that had customers inside. Eventually, Pamais broke free from the barricade and started to drive towards the used clothing store. For fear of the loss of lives, an officer chose to open fire and hit Pamais. Pamais was declared dead after being brought to the hospital, but this was an instance in which deadly force was permissible. Too often we see deadly force being used at a whim by police, but in this scenario, it was both effective and necessary.

2 Georgia Police Officers Fired

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http://www.latimes.com/nation/nationnow/la-na-georgia-police-officers-fired-20170414-story.html

In Georgia on Wednesday, two officers that had been with the Gwinnett County Police Force for years were removed from their positions. This is in the aftermath of reports that they forcefully assaulted a man at a traffic stop in which one of the officers called for backup. The report states that the officers pulled over Demetrious Bryan Hollins for a tail light issue and failure to signal to switch lanes several times. The officer report states that Hollins began to “act strange”, which required back- up. When this back- up arrived (according to the officer report), the officers used a stun-gun to apprehend the “resisting” culprit. However, video from people looking at the arrest shows one of the officers punching Hollins in the face when he had his hands up, and the other officer stomping on his head when he was lying on the ground with his hands behind his back. Prior to this case, one of the officers was considered “an excellent example of a team player with a strong work ethic” and received various awards and recognitions from the department. It goes to show that despite tenure and experience, the methods of policing are starting to change and if you’re not willing to adapt, you could very easily lose your job.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Airport Police Officers See Punishment After United Airlines Dragging Incident

Two more airport police officers suspended over United Airlines dragging incident

If you have not heard about the United Airlines incident that happened this past Sunday, it is likely that you have been living under a rock for the last few days. This event has garnered an insane amount of press; being all over social media as well as television. Furthermore, the reputation of United Airlines has gone significantly with many vouching to never travel through United ever again.

To sum things up, the first class section of the airplane was overbooked and because of that, the airline was forced to kick somebody off of the plane. Instead of informing this individual before boarding, they informed the man that he would need to reschedule his flight while he was already on the plane sitting down. The 69-year-old man, David Dao had a meeting the following morning and was unable to take a later flight. He responded by saying something along the lines of: “The only way you’ll get me off this flight is if you drag me out of here” and the airport police officers did just that. They picked him up from his seat and dragged him off the flight as he was screaming in terror. This led to Dao seeking medical attention as he suffered a concussion, a broken nose, a damaged sinuses and two lost teeth. (A video of this altercation can be seen at the bottom of this page).

David Dao plans to file a lawsuit against United Airlines and some of the airport police officers involved. In terms of individual punishments for the officers, all of those involved have been placed on leave with many calling for the end of their career in the police field.

 

We Need Federal Laws Against Stop and Frisk

200_snfDuring the 2016 Presidential Election, “stop and frisk” was a topic that was highly debated between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. For those of you who don’t know, stop and frisk is a controversial police practice where an officer can detain a “suspicious” individual and lightly run their hands over their body to see if they are carrying a weapon. The justification behind this practice is that it prevents crimes from happening, but in reality the practice does more harm than good. The practice of stop and frisk should be banned in police departments nationwide because it is racially biased towards minority men.

 

In 2013, a federal judge ruled that the way the NYPD was conducting stop and frisks was unconstitutional. The main argument in the ruling was that between 2003-2013, the NYPD was targeting minority men with their stops, which violated their constitutional rights. One statistic the court cited was that Black and Hispanic men were more likely to be stopped for “furtive movements,” or for looking like they are trying to hide something. This is problematic because it shows how officer’s unconscious or conscious racial biases can lead them to target minority men. If they are unconsciously racist toward minorities, then of course they will think they are “acting suspiciously” when they are not doing anything wrong.

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This issue is not just found in the NYPD. Evidence of racially biased stops were also found in Philadelphia in 2015. They found evidence that “one-third of all stops and 42 percent of all frisks were conducted without a valid reason, and the vast majority of the people searched were black.” In addition, “out of 794 illegal stops, 71 percent targeted black people.” This shows that not only are these stops racially motivated, but a majority of the stops are being performed illegally! If an officer can’t differentiate between a valid stop and an illegal stop, then the practice of stop and frisk will only lead to more corruption in our police system.

 

This problem does not only exist in New York and Philadelphia, but they are two prime examples of how our citizens are being mistreated by the police. A program that was designed to help our society has unfortunately given the police more power than they should have. Officers should not have the right to simply stop someone they deem as being suspicious. They also should not have the option to stop someone just because of their racial biases. We do not need our citizens to be stopped and frisked, we need police reform.

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Why Police Militarization Isn’t About Protecting Officers

In the far-right news website Breitbart, there was an article named “Police Militarization: It’s Not About the Equipment, It’s About Keeping the Peace.” The author makes a few outdated, illogical arguments for the militarization of police. Like many proponents for police militarization, the author takes a very narrow view of the world and ignores the negative consequences of militarization.

The first argument he makes is that the Pentagon and Department of Homeland Security have given billions of dollars in military weapons to police departments nationwide and a bill to stop this program was shot down by Congress. Since Congress hasn’t objected, he thinks that there is no issue.

Really?

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His argument is that if the government doesn’t seem a problem with it, then it must be okay? This argument is flawed for many reasons, especially since it is the government that has the power to oppress citizens. Of course the government wouldn’t immediately find fault with a program that gives them more power. Just because the government allows something does not mean it is morally correct or the right policy decision. Remember when African Americans were enslaved? Or when women couldn’t vote? The author should think twice before using this logic again in the future.

Secondly, the author argues that officers need military weapons because there is more violence against police officers. While there are cases where officers are attacked by citizens, this should not justify billions of dollars spent on military grade equipment. If officers who already have guns can’t defend themselves against an attacker, how will giving them an armored vehicle protect them? How will instilling values of force and violence towards citizens protect them from an attack? The militarization of police is not a solution for officer deaths, it just adds to the problem of police aggression and force.

Although the author cites that police officer murder has been on the rise, this is actually not the case. According to a BBC article, the number of officers killed by a criminal act has actually decreased since the 1970s.

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Another interesting trend that debunks the authors claims is that the number of police officers in our country has increased. This combined with the stat above shows that officers are less likely to be killed now than they were in the past.

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Those who support militarization are missing the big picture: there are problems in our country surrounding police officer safety, but the answer is not to give officers more expensive weapons and promote violence towards citizens. If individuals want to protect police officers, they should try to fix the deeper issues that make citizens distrust police and kill them.

We don’t need officers with bigger guns, we need police reform.

Militarization of Police: A Threat to Democracy

According to multiple definitions of the term, militarize means “to equip with military forces”, “to train for war,” or “when society organizes itself for military conflict or war.” While these definitions make sense for the way our armed forces operate, they have no place in our police force.

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Over the past few years, our society has seen our police force become more and more militarized. Police officers are equipped with armed vehicles, heavy duty weapons, and crowd control instruments that can permanently injure protesters. So the question is, what effect does this have on an officer’s mentality?

First and foremost, the militarization of our police force makes officers think that the use of force is more acceptable. If they are equipped for  violence and have the tools to inflict harm, it makes sense that they would be more willing to.  There could be instances where an officer has the option to peacefully detain a suspect or control a crowd, but chooses to use force because they have the power to. This doesn’t seem right, does it?

Police militarization has the power to turn a peaceful protest into a riot. According to the First Amendment, Americans have the right to assemble peacefully and protest against the government. However, in recent years, we have seen protesters brutally attacked and beaten by officers just for not complying with their requests. According to a NewsWeek article, the following are situations that have occurred between the police and peaceful protesters:

  • During the Ferguson Protests, a cop yells “Bring it, you f****** animals, bring it!”
  • During a Chicago protest, a cop yells at the crowd “Run, you bastards, run!”
  • During a peaceful protest in Ferguson, police attack protesters with tear gas

Americans have the Constitutional right to peacefully assemble. Therefore, why are we allowing our police force to attack innocent people while they are doing so? When police officers are given more powerful weaponry and bring it to protests, they are going into the situation planning to use force, not saving it as a last resort.

Our police force is not our military. There is no need for officers to have the same weapons that members of our armed forces have. If a police unit is unable to handle a peaceful protest and keep the public safe without force, then they cannot do their job. We need police reform, not police militarization.

 

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Police brutality investigation bill passes Alabama House committee

http://www.al.com/news/montgomery/index.ssf/2017/03/police_brutality_investigation.htmlcompensation

An Alabama committee recently passed a bill that would set up means of compensation to victims of police brutality for the people of Montgomery County, Alabama. Furthermore, the bill also establishes procedures on how to go about investigations that regard wrongdoings and misconducts by police officers. In fact, this bill was first introduced last year, just days after a white male police officer was charged for the murder of an African-American man. When the killing of 58-year-old Greg Gunn occurred, the city was filled with protests and intense media coverage.

This bill is incredibly significant due to the fact that it displays that Alabama and other states are finally coming to the realization that police brutality is a significant issue in America and that the creation of laws and bills on this subject is extremely necessary. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, a group that monitors policy, ten other states as well as the city of Baltimore have developed written protocols addressing police use of force incidents.

Kendall Jenner Sends a Message About Police Brutality Through a Pepsi Commercial

http://thetab.com/us/2017/04/04/kendall-jenner-pepsi-commercial-64336

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A recent Pepsi commercial with Kendall Jenner is recieving massive backlash for its wrongful stance on Police Brutality and racism. In the advertisment, despite being armed with only one can of Pepsi, Kendall succesfully breaks up an argument between the police and group of protestors simply through the process of handing over a a can of an ice cold drink to an officer.

The group of protestors are very diverse group each doing various odd acts. There are  girls in hijabs, black guys with glasses making peace signs, and trendy-looking lesbians holding signs that say things like “Join the conversation!” Kendall leaves her modeling shoot, takes off her wig, and joins the crowd.  After the riot police come to the scene, Kendall saves the day. Through her handing over the Pepsi, the cops are happy to leave the protestors alone and the crowd goes wild. Despite not doing too much, Kendall saved the day.

 

Update: As of 3 PM on April 5th, Pepsi has pulled the advertisement after the backlash it recieved on Twitter. Pepsi stated that the commercial “missed the mark.”

Here are some of the Tweets that may have prompted Pepsi’s decision: Screen Shot 2017-04-05 at 3.55.08 PM

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