Wednesday, July 2, 2008

STUDENT DIES AFTER POLICE ALLEGEDLY ABUSE HIM

Phil Leggiere, Don't Tase Me Bro - Citizens group is calling for an investigation, claiming 22-year-old Emmanuel College student David Woodman, on the way home from a bar after celebrating the Celtics NBA championship, was tackled and beaten into a comatose state by eight officers on a street corner after saying "Wow, it seems like there's a lot of crime on this corner", eventually dying from his injuries. The Boston police department is insisting that no excessive force was used against Woodman who was holding only a plastic beer cup.

The Boston Globe reports: "Police Commissioner Edward F. Davis vowed this afternoon that there would be a thorough and transparent investigation of the arrest of David Woodman on last month, but said an initial review found that officers acted appropriately. The 22-year-old man stopped breathing while in custody during the June 18 celebration of the Boston Celtics NBA championship and died on Sunday."

"It appears from the evidence we have reviewed thus far that officers did not use excessive force," Davis said during a 10-minute press conference at police headquarters. "No [pepper] spray or batons were used in this incident."

Howard Friedman, a Boston lawyer who represents the Woodmans, said this afternoon that he has asked the US Attorney's office to have the FBI investigate. The family has scheduled a press conference later this afternoon.

Woodman's parents told the Globe that their son did not receive prompt medical attention while lying unconscious, face down on Brookline Avenue with his hands cuffed behind his back. They also accused police of failing to give them a full account of what happened. . .

David Woodman, who was charged with drinking in public and resisting arrest, remained hospitalized after the incident and awoke June 23 from a medically induced coma. His parents said he recognized them but had difficulty communicating and whispered, "What happened?"

He smiled at a Globe reporter during a brief visit Thursday, spoke softly to his parents, and appeared confused. A large scrape was visible near his right eye. On Saturday, he was asking to go home, according to his parents, who believed he would survive and face lengthy rehabilitation.

At 2:30 a.m. Sunday he died at the hospital. The family is awaiting autopsy results. . .

David Woodman, who had been a history major at Emmanuel College and planned to return in the fall after taking a semester off, was walking from a bar with friends after the game when they passed about 10 or 12 uniformed officers at the corner of the Fenway and Brookline Avenue, according to two friends who spoke on the condition they not be named.

According to one of the friends, as Woodman passed the officers, he said, "Wow, it seems like there's a lot of crime on this corner." Officers grabbed Woodman, who was carrying a plastic cup of beer, and as they struggled to handcuff him pushed him face down onto the ground, according to Woodman's friend.

"He wasn't being a punk or anything like that," said the friend. "I don't understand why the officers used such brute force to arrest him." Woodman's friends said an officer yelled at them to leave, saying they would be arrested if they didn't.

37 Comments:

At July 2, 2008 7:01 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Eight cops beat one unarmed kid, but because they had no Tasers or nightsticks, the chief can opine that excessive force was not used.

I don't know which is scarier: the cops simply flat-out lying; or the thought that they might actually believe that no excessive force was employed in this scenario.

 
At July 2, 2008 8:38 PM, Anonymous Nothing to see here, move along now... said...

The U.S. is looking more like occupied Palestine every day. Little wonder when police officers, Homeland "Security", and military officials travel to Israel routinely for "training." Police brutality is rampant in the U.S and has been for decades. There are really no effective, impartial oversight bodies, much in the same way the military commits routine torture and gets away with it. Expecting justice when the police investigate themselves is like expecting the IDF to discover human rights abuses by Israeli soldiers.

 
At July 3, 2008 3:30 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's really sad how this is just going to slip away mostly unnoticed. Nobody ever calls the cops on their bullshit. They can kill and maim without a care. And all congress wants to do is give them free assault rifles and night vision goggles. To hell with the cops and the politicians that enable them.

 
At July 3, 2008 9:05 AM, Blogger Lars said...

Firstly, the cops are not just getting away with it. As somebody who works in Boston I can say that this story is getting a lot of attention locally. After a young woman was killed by a bean bag gun used inappropriately during the 2004 World Series celebration, the Boston police have tried to avoid over use of force.

A friend of mine attended Game 6 of the NBA Finals and was around the Banknorth Center after the game. He was impressed with the way the celebration was mostly peaceful and the way the crowd was generally pacified by the police.

This does not mean that this young man's death was not caused by excessive force. But the snippet of this story on the Progressive Review fails to mention that this young man had a heart condition. Not only that, but his anonymous friends were most likely drinking as well. I know that I don't remember things with total clarity when I'm drinking. So their account of what started the incident has to be regarded with some suspicion. And how did this young man's drinking affect his heart condition?

Nonetheless, Boston is not Palestine and we are not an occupied people. The police will be investigated and the city will be sued. Some version of justice will be distributed. Not everybody will like that. But to quickly jump to the conclusion that the police were totally in the wrong here is incorrect.

 
At July 3, 2008 10:54 AM, Anonymous more assholes with badges said...

Bar owner: Cops harassing me after fake bust
BY NICOLE BODE
DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER

Tuesday, July 1st 2008, 11:42 PM

A Queens bar owner claims the NYPD is trying to run him out of business because he helped prove his patrons were framed in a fake drug-dealing sting.

Eduardo Espinoza, 36, of Elmhurst, was hit with more than a dozen violations from the 110th Precinct - including two for failing to have liquid soap and paper towels in his bar bathroom - after handing over a videotape suggesting undercover officers made up a buy-and-bust deal in his club in January.

"I been harassed so much, I'm selling my business," said Espinoza, owner of Delicias de Mi Tierra on 91st Place in Elmhurst.

"Every two to three weeks, there's cops in here, searching the bar. If there's no violation, they'll make it up. I lost all my clients - everybody's scared to come in my place right now."

Espinoza was working in his bar about 1:40 a.m. on Jan. 5 when undercover officers busted brothers Jose and Maximo Colon and friends Raul Duchimasa and Luis Rodriguez for allegedly peddling $100 worth of cocaine.

Queens prosecutors dropped those charges last week because of Espinoza's security video showing that the undercover officers had no contact with them in the bar, Colon's lawyer said.

Prosecutors and the NYPD's Internal Affairs Bureau are investigating whether to bring charges against the officers. Investigators are also poring over the officers' prior cases for signs of misconduct, sources said.

An NYPD spokesman said the department would look into the matter. But sources blamed the frequent police visits on community complaints.

Espinoza said he thinks police are retaliating against him because of a strange phone call he received shortly before the harassment began.

A man who identified himself as the officer who made the drug arrest in his club demanded to know if Espinoza had taped the events of that night.

"I said I already gave it to the defendants," Espinoza said, "He said, 'Oh s--t.' He hung up."

Espinoza, who has owned the bar for 2-1/2 years, said he'd gotten only two summonses before this year.

Most of his summonses have been tossed - including one for having an 8-foot neon sign without a permit, he said.

He's still fighting a $2,500 fine from the Buildings Department for being overcapacity and a summons for ignoring police orders when he tried to park outside the 110th Precinct stationhouse last month.

"I knew they were innocent from the first moment," Espinoza said of the framed men. "I felt so bad, I put myself in their shoes. Now [the cops] keep harassing me
http://www.nydailynews.com/ny_local/queens/2008/07/01/2008-07-01_bar_owner_cops_harassing_me_after_fake_b.html

 
At July 3, 2008 12:59 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lars, I would not want to accuse you of naivete, but in virtually every one of these types of beating deaths, the victim invariably suffered from some heretofore unknown and undiagnosed 'condition' that was the "actual" cause of his/her demise--as opposed to being gang-beaten by a frenzied mob of cops.

 
At July 3, 2008 2:17 PM, Anonymous I wish you'd stop bein' so good to me, Cap'n. said...

Here is a case that's probably the most revealing instance of Scalia's "new professionalism" that I've seen.
"Once they realized their mistake, the officers handcuffed Ms. Johnston and left her to bleed and die on the floor of her own home while they planted marijuana in her basement."
http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,312240,00.html

 
At July 3, 2008 2:21 PM, Blogger Lars said...

Re: Anonymous 12:59

Again, I do not exclude that the police officers are at fault for this young man's death. However, I feel it is unfair to immediately accuse the police of a murder before all the facts are known and a thorough investigation is completed. Questions have to be asked of both sides. Yes, what did the police do? Is there evidence of their actions? Will the autopsy results show evidence of physical trauma?

But at the same time, it's fair to ask questions about the young man and his friends. What was his heart condition (we're told he played basketball that day by his parents which means nothing)? How much had he and his friends been drinking? Can we trust their testimony if they were completely drunk?

I also meant to point out that this is not a case that will be swept under the rug as other commenters had suggested. Interest in this case locally runs very high.

 
At July 3, 2008 4:35 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lars, cosidering the endemic rise and spread of this type of police violence on a national level, I'm afraid I'd have to say that, yes, overall, I'd be rather more inclined than not to disbelieve the police version of this young man's death. As I said above, it reeks too much of precisely the same facile accounts that the police give in way too many of these deaths. You may have a point that one ought not to judge til all facts are in, but there is no polite way around the fact that anecdotal and circustatial evidence skews damned heavily away from the cops favor.

 
At July 3, 2008 4:39 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I might add to my post that I also still maintain that there is something deeply wrong in a mindset that can seriously contend that eight men beating down one unarmed, likely unresistant(or at very most likely too incapacitated to offer meaningful resistance)male does not constitute use of 'excessive force'. Does this simple thought not trouble you at all?

 
At July 3, 2008 7:08 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

David - I Miss You. You were a great person and you always made me smile. I wish I had seen you more recently. Rest In Peace.

 
At July 3, 2008 9:54 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nonetheless, Boston is not Palestine

Not until they beat a pregnant woman to death.

 
At July 4, 2008 2:58 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Someone once described Boston as being the cerebral cortex of America.
All of those impressive schools.
A lot of smart folks.
So, how is it that given all of this cerebral power and talent the kids aren't clever enough to know that if you mouth off in the wrong company, you might get your teeth pounded down your throat or worse?
It's not just about cops, look what happened to Javar Walker in Las Vegas.
Seems that common sense isn't so common any more.

 
At July 4, 2008 4:59 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tha facts are that the police were charged with upholding the law, not with using their jobs as cover to vent their neurotic deficiencies onto to some tipsy kid. The issue isn't his behavior, it's the officer's inappropriate respone. It's just more evidence that every police dept. needs an independent civilian revue board.

 
At July 4, 2008 5:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tha facts are that the police were charged with upholding the law, not with using their jobs as cover to vent their neurotic deficiencies onto to some tipsy kid. The issue isn't his behavior, it's the officer's inappropriate response. It's just more evidence that every police dept. needs an independent civilian revue board.

 
At July 5, 2008 7:44 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nothing more pathetic than blaming the victim 2:58. No where in the Boston Globe story, nor the police charges, nor the Commissioner's statement was it alleged that he was "mouthing off." What is not in dispute is that he was killed at the hands of the police. Neither drinking in public nor "mouthing off" carry the death penalty in the U.S.

Common sense would be to jail police who abuse their power to properly ensure public safety..

Seems that common sense isn't so common any more.

 
At July 6, 2008 3:48 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

That's right, the 'victim' was an idiot.
"According to one of the friends, as Woodman passed the officers, he said, "Wow, it seems like there's a lot of crime on this corner." "
So, from one of Woodman's own cohorts we know that he had at least that much to say.
To make the point once again, it is clear the Boston PD are a bunch thugs and jerks. They've been a bunch of thugs and jerks for as long as memory serves. They've continually demonstrated little interest with regard to the legitimate service of up-holding the law.
It is also true that Boston sports fans are given to moments of savage behavior, a savagery exceptional for a community that tends towards rudeness and aggressive behavior as a condition of normalcy.
So, mix in a Celtics victory, a group of testosterone poisoned young men pounding down beers all night, still at it & saying stupid shit, a bunch of neurotic power crazed cops, and there's the perfect recipe for an incident.
" "He wasn't being a punk or anything like that," said the friend."
Oh, really? Cops just love it when folks toss out tid bits like, "you got your bullet Barney?", "does anyone else smell ham around here?", "Wow, it seems like there's a lot of crime on this corner".
Does any sane person actually believe they can get away with that unscathed? ---especially during the potentially volatile atmosphere following a Boston championship victory?
Words of advice: When in Boston during a sporting frenzy, mind your own business and watch what you say. It's probably also a good idea to leave the Yankee hats home.

 
At July 6, 2008 9:25 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

more words of advice, coming from a Boston resident just waiting to get the hell out: stay away from boston athletic events. The celtics, the socks, and heck, even the pats all help to make this rude, violent and--above all--stupid city all the more rude, violent and stupid. Everyone in this city is always itching for a fight, and the booze and testosterone that accompanies athletic events around here just compound matters. It's too bad; Boston is a beautiful city with a great history and lots of opportunity. Unfortunately, a culture of rank meanness has taken over, and the city is being held back from its potential glory as a result.

 
At July 8, 2008 10:38 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The first amendment allegedly provides for free speech, which would include comments such as the one the victim made and others described above. The police are supposed to be protecting the public from criminal activity, not beating them senseless because that made a catty remark.

 
At July 8, 2008 1:15 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If 348 actually supports the idea of police gang-beating an unarmed man to death for making foolish remarks under the influence of drink, then it's a goddamned certainty that the 'victim' isn't the only idiot around here.

I wonder if perchance 348 might just be a boy in blue, mayhap?

 
At July 8, 2008 5:31 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

348 supports the idea of individual accountability.
348 abhors violence.
After venturing upon nearly six decades of life experience upon this plant, among 348's observations has been the association of violence with stupid acts.
Therefore, by extension, 348 finds willful acts of stupidity leading to situations that would otherwise be avoidable also abhorrent. Personal accountability.
There is a favorite fable I enjoy passing along:

"Now I am going to tell you about a scorpion. This scorpion wanted to cross a river, so he asked the frog to carry him. 'No', said the frog. 'No, thank you. If I let you on my back you may sting me, and the sting of the scorpion is death.' 'Now, where,' asked the scorpion, 'is the logic of that?' (for scorpions always try to be logical). 'If I sting you, you will die, and I will drown.' So the frog was convinced, and allowed the scorpion on his back. But just in the middle of the river he felt a terrible pain and realized that, after all, the scorpion had stung him. 'Logic' cried the dying frog as he started under, bearing the scorpion down with him. 'There is no logic in this!' 'I know', said the scorpion, 'but I can not help it---it is my character.'
Let's drink to character..."
---from the Orson Welles 1955 film, Mr. Arkadin

 
At July 9, 2008 9:47 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Huh? What does that old chestnut have to do with the case at hand?

 
At July 9, 2008 9:49 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It means that anyone who doesn't assume every police officer is a Nazi thug will suffer severe consequences.

 
At July 9, 2008 4:54 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It also means that 348 in reality supports violent behavior by those in positions of authority just as long as a suitable rationale can be concocted to plausibly justify it. I suppose if one has spent sixty years on the planet in a posture of cringing servility to anyone who chooses to claim the right of violent authority over him/her, that sort of mindset is to be expected.

 
At July 9, 2008 11:36 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If 348 in reality supports violent behavior by those in positions of authority, why did he also make the comparison in his initial post with the Las Vegas pummeling of Javar Walker?
No cops involved on that one.
Nobody in any official position of authority on the scene.
Should Javar have been clever enough to figure out that when one, flashes big wads of cash around and buys $1500 bottles of champagne just to spray on folks in a nightclub frequented by those best described as an underworld element, they might be asking for trouble?
Gangtahs, cops, what' the difference?
Hey gang, grow up, and get a little street smarts.

By the way, someone sixty years old would be embarking on their seventh decade. So sorry, have not arrived there, yet. Subtle point to mention, however, it seems that it is matters of subtly that somehow prove elusive for many posting here.

 
At July 10, 2008 10:51 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pity, 348 (whatever decade you're in), that you're 'reasoning' is so subtle no one else can grasp it. Oh well, The Good Book tells us that does Satan specialize in those oh-so-'subtle' nuances of logic.

You support violence by those in 'authority', to state it plain, just as long as it's directed against those who violate your personal parameters of 'acceptable' and 'unacceptable' behavior. You are nowhere near so subtle in your thinking as you'd have the rest of us believe. I still have strong suspicions that you are or were in law enforcement, BTW, as your 'subtle' logic displayed here is often a hallmark of people in that profession. And if you are not or were not, you certainly missed your calling.

 
At July 10, 2008 12:48 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"He who knows when he can fight and when he cannot will be victorious.

Therefore I say: 'Know the enemy and know yourself; in a hundred battles you will never be in peril. When you are ignorant of the enemy but know yourself, your chances of winning or losing are equal. If ignorant both of your enemy and of yourself, you are certain in every battle to be in peril.'

Invincibility depends on one's self; the enemy's vulnerability on him.
The experts in defence conceal themselves as under the ninefold earth.
Subtle and insubstantial, the expert leaves no trace; divinely mysterious, he is inaudible. Thus he is master of his enemy's fate." ---Sun Tzu The Art of War

 
At July 10, 2008 4:44 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Hiding behind the words of others does not sweeten one's own love of violent repression."

-Me

 
At July 10, 2008 5:21 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"He who is brave in daring will be killed;
He who is brave in not daring will survive.
Of these two kinds of bravery, one is beneficial, while the other proves harmful.
Some things are detested by Heaven,
But who knows the reason?
Even the Sage is baffled by such a question."
---Lao Tzu Tao Teh Ching #73

"When a wise scholar hears the Tao,
He practices it diligently.
When a mediocre scholar hears the Tao,
He wavers between belief and unbelief.
When a worthless scholar hears the Toa,
He laughs boisterously at it.
But if such a one does not laugh at it,
The Tao wouldn't be the Tao!"
Lao Tzu Tao Teh Ching #41

 
At July 11, 2008 12:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You've shown your real views 348. When challenged directly on your thoughts regarding the uses, and more importantly, abuses of police power, you hide behind a smokescreen of tacky quotations lifted from the copy of "The Art of War" that you bought from the Barnes and Noble sale table; and you think it makes you sound profound. What it really makes you sound like is a troll who knows he can't trust his own words to speak for themselves, for fear they'll give away his game. People like you are beyond reach and beyond insight.

 
At July 11, 2008 1:05 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

12:00, you are so right.

Or, to put it another way:

"Smoke blown from the anal orifices of the ignorant in great quantity may do much to obscure the truth; but it can never obliterate truth completely."

--from "Shih Tzu: On the Art of Paper Training".

 
At July 11, 2008 1:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Do you not recall?:


Wouldn't it have been nice if a few more people had bothered to read The Art of War? Maybe we wouldn't have been foolish enough to become embroiled in Southwest Asia?
Consider:
"Victory is the main object in war. If this is long delayed, weapons are blunted and morale depressed. When troops attack cities, their strength will be exhausted.
When the army engages in protracted campaigns the resources of the state will not suffice.
When your weapons are dulled and ardour damped, your strength exhausted and treasure spent, neighboring rulers will take advantage of your distress to act. And even though you have wise counselors, none will be able to good plans for the future.
Thus, while we have heard of blundering swiftness in war, we have not yet seen a clever operation that was prolonged.
For there has never been a protracted war from which a country has benefited.
...Where the army is, prices are high; when prices rise the wealth of the people is exhausted."

There is wisdom to be found at the Barnes & Noble sale table.
Just as an aside, I own four different translations of Sun Tzu's classic.
Additionally, if you might recall, the post was supplemented with excerpts from Lao Tzu's Tao Teh Ching (of which I own at least five different translations, including Henrick's translation based on the recently discovered Ma-wang-tui texts, in addition to three versions in the original Chinese)
the Tao Teh Ching is fundamental to the understanding of Sun Tzu. In the first chapter of the The Art of War, Sun Tzu cites the Tao as a mandatory prerequisite. Of the five fundamental factors, "The first of these is knowledge of the Way."

"The strategists have a saying:
I dare not be a host, but rather a guest;
I dare not advance an inch, but rather retreat a foot.

This is called marching without moving,
Rolling up one's sleeves without baring one's arms,
Capturing the enemy without confronting him,
holding a weapon that is invisible
.

There is no greater calamity than to under-estimate your enemy.
For to under-estimate the strength of your enemy is to lose your treasure.

Therefore, when opposing troops meet in battle, victory belongs to the grieving side."
---Tao Teh Ching #69

or as Sun Tzu might put it:

"Thus, those skilled in war subdue the enemy's army without battle. They capture his cities without assaulting them and overthrow the state without protracted operations.
Your aim must be to take All-under-Heaven intact. Thus your troops are not warn out and your gains complete."

Witness, if you will, the execution of just such an offensive strategy with regard to China's usurpation of the United States' global hegemony.
The hubris of the US is manufacturing its own downfall.

So, I guess that's really the point at hand, here. Hubris, irresponsibility, and foolish bravado can lead to disaster. What occurred in Boston was the New England equivalent of Billy Bob Bubba saying "Hey, I bet you ten dollars you can't shoot this beer can off my head".

 
At July 11, 2008 1:29 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You're defending eight cops beating an unarmed man to death, 348. No amount of your bullshit quotations will change that. Nor will your allegedly high-minded stance re. 'Southeast Asia'.

You stink of blue pig, really; it's that simple.

 
At July 11, 2008 1:34 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wonder what quotes 3:48 might pull out of his ass to justify the doings in Guantanamo? Bet he can find plenty.

You're right--this guy is a troll. Forget him.

 
At July 11, 2008 2:04 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, a fascist who owns not one, not two, not three, but *five* different translations from the 'Tao te Ching'! Impressive, that. Too bad he's gleaned no more wisdom from any of them than he has. Seed fallen on barren ground, one might say. In fact Lao Tzu, after reading his earlier comments would probably say just that. As would any other truly wise man. Quoting the wisdom of others sure as heck doesn't necessarily make the quoter wise, as we have just seen. Thanks for the object lesson, buddy.

 
At July 15, 2008 9:07 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Interesting that some of the people posting here think that it's possible for eight (EIGHT, for God's sake) cops to beat a skinny kid to death, and there may be "facts" that make this somehow acceptable? Is there no decency left? Have you completely surrendered to depravity?
The police have condemned themselves out of their own mouths. Ask yourself, defender of filth, what would now be happening to eight civilians who did the same as these "police?" Or are you not capable of so subtle a thought? --wam

 
At July 20, 2008 9:36 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Precisely. And just imagine what would happen if eight 'civilians' beat an unarmed cop to death. The freaking National Guard would be called out to deal with that scenario.

 

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