Thursday, August 21, 2014

Website Deadspin Begins Compiling Police Shooting Database


If one good thing has come out of the ugliness, race-baiting and national embarrassment ongoing in Ferguson, MO it is an increasing awareness of the American police state. The response to largely peaceful protests  by a small army of heavily militarized police goons has for the first time since September 11, 2001 – the day that changed everything – triggered an overdue pushback against the fascism that has been imposed on Americans.  The USA after that day ceased to exist as we knew it, being turned into something that is a blasphemy to the republic envisioned by the founding fathers.  The country is now often referred to as The Homeland, a label that  is eerily similar to the German term Heimat and the presence of paramilitary police stormtroopers makes it all the more foreign in nature.

There were wars waged for politics and profit, unprecedented domestic warrantless surveillance and data-mining on millions of innocent citizens and most of all, the arming and weaponizing of the police. For the first time the red, white and blue curtain has been pulled back and Americans have glimpsed the monster that has been hiding behind it. A rational person could have figured that the overwhelming paramilitary and police response in the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombings where a large portion of a major U.S. city was place under a state of martial law would have been a wake-up call. Black Kevlar clad thugs patrolled the streets, conducting warrantless house to house searches in search of one murderous little punk. It was overkill but being wrapped in the guise of vengeance it was not only accepted but later celebrated while providing Leviathan with the perfect chance to conduct a large scale martial law drill.

Ferguson was now quite so egregious but is coming to be the proverbial straw that broke the camels back. The police brutality, police shootings, police murdering of dogs and the growing “us versus them” mindset have been evident for quite some time now and the rise of social media have provided citizens with a tool to fight back. Today there is growing momentum to put a choke chain on the attack dogs of the police state and to take away all of their toys that belong on a battlefield and not American streets.
An example is the filming of a deranged police officer in Ferguson pointing his automatic weapon at the crowd and menacingly growling “I will f*cking kill you, get back”. This is not the conduct of a dedicated public servant but rather that of a psychotic, power-drunk fascist and thanks to social media the cop was quickly identified and removed from the area. An account of the incident as well as stills and videos can be seen at the watchdog website Police State USA "Cop aims rifle at crowd of protesters and journalists, says he “will f***ing kill” them":

FERGUSON, MO — In the middle of a crowded street filled with protesters and journalists, an officer erratically swept the crowd with his rifle and threatening to kill civilians.
The incident occurred on August 19th, 2014, on West Florissant Avenue which was filled with people holding cameras and signs, protesting police brutality and perceived government injustice.
Civilians with cameras spotted a deranged officer and became immediately alarmed at his behavior.

“Oh my God… gun raised, gun raised, gun’s pointed,” said a voice off-camera.
“My hands are up bro, my hands are up,” said a man filming the event, broadcasting live on his UStream account.

“I will f***ing kill you, get back,” hissed the unstable officer, sweeping his muzzle back and forth over a crowd of innocent people.

Someone in the group can be heard asking, “You’re going to kill him? What’s your name, sir?”
The officer replied: “Go f*** yourself.”

The crowd immediately latched onto the nickname, “Officer Go F*** Yourself.”

The officer was later identified as Lt. Ray Albers of the St. Ann Police Department, in St. Ann, Missouri. He is a 20-year veteran officer and severed 4 years in the U.S. Army.

Amazingly, the experienced officer managed to ignore years of firearm training by aiming his rifle directly at numerous innocent people. The act might have been called “gross negligence” up until the point where he actually articulated homicidal intentions to bystanders. At that point, he was demonstrating that he had both the means and the intention to kill innocent civilians.

Citizens routinely get shot on sight by police officers for holding garden hoses, golf clubs, cell phones, wallets, toys, and all manner of other harmless items. In this incident, Lt. Albers was actually sweeping a crowd with a real rifle — a deadly threat by any objective standard.

The act was witnessed by dozens, including other police officers. Albers was neither shot nor arrested. Instead of disarming and handcuffing the gunman, another officer was filmed gently redirecting him and walking away. The criminal behavior was apparently of no concern.

UPDATE: Lt. Albers has been suspended, pending an investigation.

Such behavior by so-called law enforcement has to end if we are to remain a free country and right now that is hanging by a very thin thread.  I am old enough to remember the days when the police did not roll up in military grade armored vehicles dressed in Darth Vader costumes and armed to the teeth with machine guns and grenade launchers. The motto of to “protect and to serve” now has been flipped to “search and destroy” stop.

A critical part of fighting the police state is in documenting the reports of abuses and the website Deadspin which is normally devoted to publishing an alternative version of sports stories has taken the lead. Deadspin is asking for the help of all volunteers in assisting with the compilation of information to put into the database. The article is here and is entitled "We're Compiling Every Police-Involved Shooting In America. Help Us" from which I excerpt:

The United States has no database of police shootings. There is no standardized process by which officers log when they've discharged their weapons and why. There is no central infrastructure for handling that information and making it public. Researchers, confronted with the reality that there are over 17,000 law enforcement agencies in the country, aren't even sure how you'd go about setting one up. No one is keeping track of how many American citizens are shot by their police. This is crazy. This is governmental malpractice on a national scale. We'd like your help in changing this.

Here, we're going to take a cue from Jim Fisher, who as far as we can tell has compiled the most comprehensive set of data on police shootings in 2011. Fisher's method was simple: He searched for any police-involved shooting every day for an entire year. By our lights, this is the best way to scrape this information—any time a police officer shoots and hits a citizen, it will almost certainly make a local news report, at least. However, this is a time-intensive process, and our manpower is limited. Having gathered some of the data, we can say it will take the few of us here a very long time to do this on our own. So, we're setting up a public submission form and asking for help with this project.

The guidelines for participation are listed in the article so please go and take a look for yourself. It is imperative for the survival of the very idea of America as a free country to get the police state under control now while there is still a chance. Hopefully Deadspin's project will lead to spin-offs that track actual incidents of no-knock nighttime raids, police beatings, puppycides and other examples of police harassment that can be further used to spread awareness and influence politicians.

The time to act is now before Orwell's grim vision of the future: "imagine a boot stamping on a human face -  forever" becomes  the enduring national legacy that is passed on to our children and grandchildren.