“He was reaching for his waistband,” “He was holding something,” and “He lurched towards me” are also popular. Of course, it doesn’t matter what the dead victim was reaching for or if what he was holding was not a weapon. His “transgression” was that he made the cop “fearful,” apparently the most easy to scare cowards on the planet. Prosecutors and judges declare the murderous cops innocent because just fearing for their lives is enough of a reason in their minds to kill a man, woman, or child. This has even been upheld in the Supreme Court. For example, in 1989 in the decision of Graham v. Connor, Justice William Rehnquist ruled“The “reasonableness” of a particular force must be judged from the perspective of a reasonable officer on the scene, rather than with the 20/20 vision of hindsight.” Therefore, essentially whether or not a murder by a cop is justifiable in hindsight is irrelevant. It only matters to courts how the cop “felt in the moment”. That case involved a black man, Dethorne Graham, who was assaulted by police when having an insulin reaction because they thought he was drunk.
There are a number of other legal mechanisms that grant cops impunity in cases of murder and unjust use of force. Because of the doctrine of “qualified immunity” established by the Supreme Court, it doesn’t matter if a fed or cop acts with malice. It only matters whether or not he or she knew at the time that his or her action was in violation of obvious laws. But the supposed function of their job is to enforce the law. How exactly are they supposed to do that if they don’t know it and can use the excuse they didn’t know whatever they did was against the law? The public can’t use the same defense. It is an obvious double standard for the parasites in power. “Qualified immunity” prioritizes the thoughts and knowledge of the agents of the state over the law, just as the decision of Graham v. Connor prioritizes the subjective feelings cops have about danger over evidence of actual danger. Similarly, “absolute immunity” prevents prosecution and civil suits against state officials in every other situation so long they are acting “within the scope of his or her judicial, legislative, or executive authority” as Michigan’s statute for absolute immunity states.
In Tennessee cops have another legal protection to grant them impunity: TC39-11-620, Tennessee Code, Title 39, chapter 11, part 6, which gives cops the power to use deadly force when a suspect flees “if all other reasonable means of apprehension have been exhausted or are unavailable” and the suspect has committed a violent crime or the cop fears he will.
Cops use fear as an excuse to execute people every day but what exactly are they afraid of? They have the law on their side, constantly declaring them innocent no matter what the circumstances. They have entire police stations filled with cops who they can call for backup, armories with high-tech weaponry, bullet-proof vests, body armor, riot gear, bullet-proof cars, armored vehicles, helicopters, sound cannons, batons, mace, and more. Some stations even have grenade launchers and tanks and governors with a phone call can bring in the National Guard or other military to support cops. How much sense does it make to hire someone as a cop who’s still afraid of some poor unarmed man, woman, or child, even with all of these resources at his disposal?
Being a cop is not a dangerous job, despite what cops and the corporate media tell the public. According to the US Department of Labor, the workplace fatality rates for fisherman, loggers, pilots, extraction workers, roofers, iron and steel workers, garbage collectors, farmers and ranchers, truck drivers, power-line repairman and installers, construction workers, and taxi drivers are all higher than they are for cops,1 yet you don’t see fishermen murdering people in the streets and using fear as an excuse to merit impunity. And you also don’t see anyone declaring any of these professionals “heroes” unlike cops. Meanwhile, cop apologists attempt to justify these murders, claiming “It’s a stressful job” or “better him than the cop”. Cops are not keeping people safe. They are terrorizing the public.
State officials and cops are certainly not above the people they call criminals and they are often worse. Many even do business with them. The more honest among them do not, but all police act as tools of the system so long as they follow police hierarchy and enforce laws that hurt innocent people. They often make decisions to prosecute all people guilty of any kind of crime, regardless of the circumstances or what they believe because this is what they get paid to do and they can be punished for doing otherwise.
By joining the police force or a federal branch of government, individuals are putting themselves in a position in which they have to trust the system. They have to trust lawmakers, juries, attorneys, and judges will make good decisions. Cops can put their lives on the line for laws they may or may not agree with. If they don’t agree with the law or they do not have trust in lawmakers and the so-called“justice” of the system, then their intentions are not to protect the people. Many join the police force and prison staff just because they desire power and the ability to control, hurt, or kill others.
The kinds of corrupt cops that do business with those branded as criminals believe they are above the law and many are motivated by the same the ideologies the richest criminals have. These cops figure it is easier to shake people down than it is to be honest. They rarely get caught because they have the most power, prosecutors and judges often favor them in court, and few people expect them to commit criminal acts. Those who do see corruption are often afraid to testify because they are often defamed, intimidated, or killed before they can. But they will only have the law on their side so long as we give them that power. They are civil servants and they are supposed to serve and protect us, not prey on the public for money or a lust for power.
American police killed about 1100 people in 2014, almost twice the number killed by mass shooters since 1982.2 In America you are 58 times more likely to be killed by a cop than a terrorist.3 According to UNODC data, in 2013 a total of 12,253 Americans were murdered. That is 3.9 murders for every 100,000 people. The police murder rate, however, is astronomically higher. In 2008 there were about 765,000 sworn police officers with powers to arrest in America according to a census by the Bureau of “Justice,”4 which translates to a murder rate of 145 for every 100,000 cops. Therefore, the police who are supposed to “protect and serve” murder about 37 times more people than citizens who don’t work for the state. The 2008 US population according the US Census Bureau was 304.1 million, which means there was 1 cop for every 397.51 people, making up about 2 ½ tenths of once percent of the total population. In other words this .251% of the populous made up of cops was responsible for about 8.333% of the total murders that year. The victims are primarily society’s most vulnerable people like addicts, people of color, the poor, the homeless, leftist dissidents, and the mentally troubled.
A report from December 2015 by the Office of Research and Public Affairs entitled “Overlooked in the Undercounted: The Role of Mental Illness in Fatal Law Enforcement Encounters” found that people with mental illness are 16 times more likely to be killed by police than other civilians. The report states “By all accounts – official and unofficial – a minimum of 1 in 4 fatal police encounters ends the life of an individual with severe mental illness. At this rate, the risk of being killed during a police incident is 16 times greater for individuals with untreated mental illness than for other civilians approached or stopped by officers”5 And it’s not just murder of innocent adults that police are guilty of. Police have beaten and killed children like 7-year-old Aiyana Stanley Jones, shot in the head and killed in a raid on the wrong house by Detroit police officer, Joseph Weekley, who was cleared of all wrongdoing and later received a promotion. 12-year-old Tamir Rice was killed by officer Timothy Loehmann in Cleveland Ohio for playing with an airsoft gun. Franklin Township police Officer, Nicholas Locilento of New Jersey struck and killed 10-year-old Matthew McCloskey while speeding in his police car with the emergency lights and sirens off in the rain. No charges were filed. In 2014 when Habersham County Special Response Team in Atlanta raided a home for drugs, they threw a flash grenade into a 2-year-old’s playpen, resulting in serious burns that left the child in critical condition. In January 2014 Cody Marrone, a Hernando County Florida detention deputy was arrested for repeatedly scorching a 3-year-old toddler’s genitals with the end of a hot hairdryer for “not letting him sleep.”
Police also invade the American school system and disproportionately harm kids, as does the juvenile “justice” system they toss them into. According to Democracy Now, there are over 17,000 “school resource officers” in more than half of the public schools in the United States and only a small percentage of them have been trained to work in schools. In 2014 over 92,000 students were arrested at school for infractions as minor as not wearing a belt to school. According to the ACLU, “Southaven, Mississippi Police Sergeant Tomas Aguilar and Officer Lee Holiday responded to an argument between three students on the bus by arresting a half-dozen black students, choking and tackling a black female student, and threatening to shoot the 30 students on the bus between their eyes.” According to the US Department of Education Office for Civil Rights, “While black students represent 16% of student enrollment, they represent 27% of students referred to law enforcement and 31% of students subjected to a school-related arrest.” This is not because black students commit more crimes but because most police are racist and they expect black and brown people to commit more crimes. Further, Lisa Armstrong revealed in The Intercept that:“The United States is the only country in the world that routinely sentences children to life in prison without parole, and, according to estimates from nonprofits and advocacy groups, there are between 2,300 and 2,500 people serving life without parole for crimes committed when they were minors.”
Police have also raped adults, children, and infants. Officer Stephen Young of Boise Idaho confessed to raping over a dozen infants over the course of 30 years as a cop. His sentence was a mere 20 years in prison with possibility of parole while innocent civilians have received life sentences for cannabis.6 As another example, on New Year’s Day of 2011, NYPD officer Darrin Nemelc found and raped a 14-year-old girl sitting alone on a park bench in Washington Heights. Despite 75 counts of stalking and harassment, Stephen Rozniakowski of the Colwyn Borough police department was not fired and in 2015 he shot and killed a woman and wounded her daughter. In 2014 in Ferguson Missouri, corrections officer Jaris Hayden raped a pregnant woman who preferred to remain anonymous. In November 2013 Sorrento, Louisiana police chief, Earl Theriot, pleaded guilty to raping an unconscious woman after tying her to a chair with his belt and received zero jail time and a mere $2,500 fine and 2 years of probation.
Police have also maliciously injured pregnant women. In 2014 in Denver Colorado after suspecting David Nelson Flores of possessing heroin, Denver police proceeded to beat Flores repeatedly until his 7 and 1/2 months pregnant wife stepped in. The police threw her to the ground on her stomach and began beating her as well. The incident was filmed and saved to the cloud. One of the officers deleted the video off of the filmer’s phone but it survived on the cloud and was given to a local Fox news station. Unconscionably, commander Matt Murray, chief of staff of the department defended the brutality, stating “On each level, the officers were found to be within the law and within the department’s policy.”
Police regularly target Native Americans as well as black and brown people .For example, Native American Allen Locke of Rapid City attended a protest against police brutality and was shot five times the next day, killing him instantly after police raided his Lakota community for unknown reasons.
Police have also killed through negligence. In 2014 58-year-old Brenda Sewell and her sister, Joy Biggs, were pulled over by a Kansas Highway patrol officer and arrested for possession of a small amount of pot. Biggs who shared a cell with her sister demanded medical care for her sister after she began vomiting but police ignored her requests until she began vomiting blood. After one hour ta the hospital she was brought back to jail and died the next day in her cell.
Many police have also sold drugs. In 2014 NYPD “Cop of the Year,” Philip LeRoy was arrested for trafficking 10 kilos of cocaine. Cops also regularly plant evidence, frame individuals, steal evidence, harass, humiliate, stalk, and generally terrorize the population, and this has been corroborated by cops themselves. For example, in 2014, former New York City narcotics detective, Stephen Anderson, testified in court that the NYPD regularly plants drugs on innocent people in order to reach arrest quotas. According to Counter Current News, in 2013 “The NYPD arrested over 50,000 people for low-level marijuana offenses. As it turns out 86% of them are African American and Latino.”
The FBI (and almost every government agency) has the same policy of framing innocent individuals to reach arrest quotas, increase funding, and to make it look as if they’re “needed.” For example, Human Rights Watch published a 214-page report, entitled “Illusion of Justice: Human Rights Abuses in US Terrorism Prosecutions,”7 which detailed several cases of entrapment within the FBI wherein they targeted vulnerable and some mentally disturbed people, (usually Muslim) pressured them to commit a crime, provided them with resources and money, and then arrested them. Essentially, the FBI creates its own terrorist plots and then “thwarts them” in an attempt to justify its own existence and funding. One such example in the report is the case of the “Newburgh Four,” in which one undercover FBI agent joined a mosque in the Bronx and incited four, struggling, lower-class, black Muslims to commit a crime, offering one of the four, James Cromitie, $250,000 who then offered the other three a share of the money. They were all sentenced to 25 years in prison for a crime that the FBI concocted.
In another case called the Fort Dix Five, Mohammed Shnewer a 19-year-old recluse was approached by FBI informant, Mahmoud Omar who hounded Shrewer to collect and replicate DVDs, showing “jihad-oriented violence.” In a recorded conversation on August 1 2006 Shnewer brought up the killings of Muslims in Chechnya. Omar asked him “What shall we do,” to which Shnewer suggested prayer and to “call upon our Lord.” Omar continued to pressure him about taking more concrete action and suggested targeting Fort Dix. On the flimsy basis of this conversation in 2008 Shnewer and four others were sentenced to life in prison for “conspiracy to murder members of the US military,” a plot once again concocted by the FBI.
As another example Zoe Elizabeth Voss, a paid FBI informant encouraged a group of green anarchist activists to sabotage the Nimbus Dam, the fish hatchery, nearby cell phone towers, and power stations due to their highly ecologically destructive impacts. She provided the activists with transport, capital for raw materials, information on how to make bombs, and then arrested all of them for the plot she concocted and funded. One of the activists, Eric McDavid of the Earth Liberation Front, was sentenced to 20 years in prison but released after just under 9 years after it was revealed that the FBI failed to disclose 2500 pages of potentially exculpatory evidence. In another example FBI informant (rat) Brandon Darby encouraged two activists, David McKay and Bradley Crowder, to make Molotov cocktails and imprisoned them just for the plan. Crowder received 24 months in prison while McKay received 48 months after alleging in court that Darby entrapped him. The FBI has also illegally seized data and then created fake investigations preceding the procurement of the data in an attempt to justify its seizure.
In one of the most heinous cases of police terror in recent history, former Chicago police commander with strong ties to the KKK8, John Burge, along with other white detectives who reported to him tortured 118 innocent black men picked randomly off the street over the course of nearly two decades (1972 to 1991) to force false confessions. Burge employed electrical shocks, genital torture, suffocation, bludgeoning, and isolation as methods of torture. Burge was sent to prison, not for his use of mass torture but for lying about it in court. Burge was sentenced to a mere four years for perjury and he still collects a $4000 per month pension as a former “peace officer.” (What exactly would a cop have to do to lose his pension if John Burge’s crimes don’t qualify?) Burge was released to a halfway house in Tampa Florida after serving only 3 and 1/2 years of his sentence. $66.8 million dollars of tax payer money was given to his victims without Burge receiving a single fine. $20 million more was spent on the legal defense for Burge and his cronies, and investigating and prosecuting Burge cost the state an additional $15 million. After hearing that his victims were receiving compensation, Burge responded, “I find it hard to believe that the city’s political leadership could even contemplate giving `reparations’ to human vermin.” Burge’s reign of terror only lasted so long because of the complicity of Cook County prosecutors and Mayor Richard M. Daly who supported all of Burge’s terrorism and used false confessions obtained via torture to sentence 12 innocent black men to death row. In 2013 the Nation reported “Some of the prosecutors kept a scorecard of their “accomplishments,” comparing the weights of their convicted defendants in a competition called “niggers by the pound”...In 2006, special prosecutors given $7 million in public funds to investigate Burge and his men somehow managed never to mention the racist nature of the torture in their 192-page report.”9
Police terror is by no means limited to America either. For example, in Montreal an officer who was not responding to an emergency and traveling at 122 km/h on a road with a 50 km/h speed limit struck and killed 5-year-old, Nicolas Thorne Belance, and the cop faced no punishment. In Brazil 56,337 people were killed in 2012 alone,10 many by police who kill children and residents of favellas (ghettos) with impunity. That year 90% of Brazil’s homicide victims were male, 77% were black, and 54% were between the ages of 15 and 29. According to a report from Amnesty International, from 2005 to 2014 police killed 8,466 people in the state of Rio de Janeiro alone,11 9 of 10 of which that occurred in the municipality of Acari in Rio were extrajudicial, intentional executions of people who had already surrendered or been apprehended. The reports also states “Publicly available information shows that, in the city of Rio de Janeiro, of 1,275 registered cases of killings by on-duty police between 2010 and 2013, 99.5% [of the]victims were men, 79% were black and 75% were aged between 15 and 29.” In 2011 Brazilian civil police investigated just 220 police murders in the city of Rio de Janeiro and as of April 2015 only one resulted in prosecution by the Public Prosecution service.
If there were truly “good cops” they would testify against criminal cops in court. But they don’t because cops follow what is known as the “blue code of silence,” which means they almost never rat or snitch when other cops commit crimes, and yet they constantly force citizens to rat on other citizens. Police are a criminal cult, nothing more. When a state official covers up crimes committed by his or her colleagues, it is often motivated by malice or money. Sometimes, it is motivated by a horribly misplaced and dangerous, blind, unwavering, sycophantic trust in the system. They feel there must be a government, and crimes committed by the government must be covered up to avoid embarrassing the state and undermining public trust in government. For them, the ends justify the means, no matter how horrific and barbaric. Covering up state crimes is also often motivated by selfish desires. If cops or feds reveal the crimes of their colleagues, their department may lose funding and they could lose their power and expensive toys, an inconceivable proposition. Even if they recognize those crimes are completely unjustified and inexcusable, they may still not report them to avoid losing power and receiving ridicule and harassment from other cops or feds. When Emma Goldman was on trial, her judge literally asked the jury not to consider who was right but what was the law. Who knows how many times such a request has been made? With mandatory minimum sentencing and three strikes laws, even judges make verdicts they don’t agree with or see as unjust simply to comply with the immoral law.
None of this is very surprising when you consider the fact that the first American police forces were formed to enforce Jim Crow laws and as stated many members from the runaway slave patrols joined the first police forces in America. This tradition of hiring dumb racists as cops continues today. Police departments don’t want thoughtful, compassionate, intelligent, empathetic human beings on the force. Very few such people even apply to become cops because they know that the job is inherently oppressive. But to prevent such people from joining police departments police departments actually have a policy of rejecting anyone with a relatively high IQ according to former CIA contractor Steven Kelley in an interview with Press TV.12 He further explained “They require people that are incapable of logical compassionate thinking.”
Police forces cannot be “reformed.” When a cop murders an innocent civilian, if the corporate media can’t blame the victim, they usually call for “reforms” like more body cameras as do other departments of the government. But cops have been recorded on body cameras killing civilians and still declared innocent. Officer Bron Cruz’s murder of Dillon Taylor is one example. Bron claimed Dillon was “reaching” for a weapon, even though he was unarmed, and this irrational fear was enough to declare the killer cop innocent. Furthermore, North Carolina’s HB 972, one of the most ridiculous bills passed perhaps in recent history, prohibits body camera footage from being released to the public, literally defeating the entire purpose of having body cameras in the first place. This gives police departments the power to investigate and prosecute themselves and they always without exception declare themselves innocent. Letting a defendant on trial withhold evidence is illegal. But when it’s a cop on trial suddenly it’s legal because judges say so. Body cameras can also be turned off.
Stop contacting your congress person, begging for change. They don’t read your emails. They have staffers send form e-mails as “responses”. Stop filming, (unless all you are physically capable of is filming due to a handicap) and start physically fighting back to prevent police brutality. The “fear” cops claim to feel is an excuse to kill, nothing more. They don’t kill because they’re afraid. They kill because they are a stupid, hateful, racist, primitive scourge of apes, disturbingly regarded as “heroes” by most people. Police must abolished. Community watch groups work but police employed by the state with a monopoly on violence who are continually granted immunity by the state that sides with cops and doesn’t want the public to “lose faith” in government are an abomination. Further, if communities were actually built voluntarily with the consent of all common people living there instead of being built on stolen land and slavery as America was, people in them would be far less inclined to hurt one another and far more inclined to help and support one another, negating any “need” for “policing.”
5.22 Larger Wars
As I have shown, the institutions that control us do so globally. International corporations exploit people all over the globe for their labor and natural resources. Religious missionaries often exploit vulnerable, poor people abroad with their dogma, and most major media outlets broadcast their propaganda and disinformation worldwide. Governments also control people globally in more violent ways. They wage drug wars and culture wars on citizens in their own country and abroad, and they wage larger wars with the rest of the world for similar reasons. Sometimes, they speak of the supposed necessity to “eradicate drugs,” “bring democracy” or to “defeat terrorism” as excuses to invade other countries, but their intentions are almost always the same.
Every war and major US military operation that was not meant to be defensive or provide relief has been fought for the benefit of American corporations. The American government starts wars and kills leaders they believe to be a threat to capitalism because it needs this system to stay rich and maintain American hegemony. In negotiations Gorbachev told Reagan if the US gave up their militarization of space, then Russia would eliminate its entire nuclear arsenal but Reagan refused because of the money to be made in developing these machines of war. Most governments aren’t interested in peace because war is more profitable. America and other imperial nations aren’t called empires anymore, but they are empires by strict definition. They have just been re-branded to appear more “civilized.” They have also helped empower some of the very same people they want the world to fear and hate the most like Saddam Hussein. The Bush cabinet was friendly with Saddam (and other terrorists) and sold him arms, but then turned on him after he threatened American oil interests. Arming governments and then subsequently invading them is another habit of the American government and other empires that act much like arms dealers who will sell you a weapon, shoot you in the head, and take it back.
While tax payers suffer from the trillions of dollars that is extorted from them to fight the governments’ wars, many big businesses profit because they supply the equipment and weaponry to fight them. Many companies also benefit from the resources extracted during war. Energy companies, mining companies, and many electronics companies benefit from the oil, precious metals (used in American cell phones, computers, PDAs and many other devices), and precious stones taken from war-torn countries. Private military contractors make billions as well.
The American government wants to continue to be the largest, richest government in the world at any expense, and there is no market it won’t touch, including the drug market. As stated, under the Taliban, the opium trade in the Afghanistan was fairly suppressed. But when America invaded, they ignored the cartels and some soldiers even helped to distribute it. Opium is now Afghanistan’s most valuable resource and “to the victor go the spoils” as the saying goes. This has also occurred during many other wars as well, such as the Vietnam War, Iraq War, and the Nicaraguan Revolution. In the next section, I will explain how the American government has used war to expand its empire and how the guise of “communism,” “socialism,” and anarchy got in the way.
(The featured image is homeless man, Thomas Kelley, in the hospital after he was brutally beaten by police. He later died from the wounds inflicted.)
1 Christopher Cannon, et al: The Deadliest Jobs in America, Bloomberg. May 13, 2015. https://www.bloomberg.com/graphics/2015-dangerous-jobs/
8 Willis, Anita: A NATION OF FLAWS JUSTUS IN THE HOMELAND. 2015. Page 16. Lulu Press. https://books.google.com/books?id=f42uCgAAQBAJ&printsec=frontcover#v=onepage&q&f=false
9 Flint Taylor: Racism, Torture and Impunity in Chicago. The Nation. February 20, 2013. https://www.thenation.com/article/racism-torture-and-impunity-chicago/
10 Julio Jacobo Waiselfisz, et. al: OS JOVENS DO BRASIL. Mapa da Violência 2014. Secretaria-Geral da Presidência da República Secretaria Nacional de Juventude Secretaria de Políticas de Promoção da Igualdade Racial. page 35. Tabela 3.1.1. http://www.mapadaviolencia.org.br/pdf2014/Mapa2014_JovensBrasil.pdf
11 Anistia Internacional Brasil: You Killed My Son: Homicides by military police in the city of Rio de Janeiro. Praça São Salvador, 2015. Page 8. https://www.amnesty.org/download/Documents/AMR1920682015ENGLISH.PDF
12 US police do not hire intelligent people: Ex-CIA contractor. Jun 9, 2015. Press TV. http://www.presstv.com/Detail/2015/06/09/414999/US-POLICE-BRUTALITY-BLACK-PEOPLE-AFRICAN-aMERICANS