Washington Post - Compared with other feds, FBI whistleblowers have less protection against retaliation by management, the GAO says, and current procedures could discourage whistleblowing.
The GAO found that a major problem is the limited list of officials designated to receive whistleblower complaints. If FBI employees report waste, fraud or governmental abuse to supervisors not on that list, those employees have no protection against management retaliation, such as being demoted or fired.
Gawker - According to the forthcoming report on the Justice Department's investigation into the Ferguson, Mo. police department for alleged civil rights violations, the department has demonstrated a history of racial profiling that has intensified race relations in the St. Louis suburb.
Officials familiar with the report tell the New York Times that the Justice Department has found the Ferguson police department to be pulling over and ticketing a disproportionate number of the city's black residents and using those incurring fines to pad the city's budget:
Blacks accounted for 86 percent of traffic stops in 2013 but make up 63 percent of the population, according to the most recent data published by the Missouri attorney general. And once they were stopped, black drivers were twice as likely to be searched, even though searches of white drivers were more likely to turn up contraband.
For people in Ferguson who cannot afford to pay their tickets, routine traffic stops can become yearslong ordeals, with repeated imprisonments because of mounting fines. Such fines are the city's second-largest source of revenue after sales tax. Federal investigators say that has provided a financial incentive to continue law enforcement policies that unfairly target African-Americans.
The report, the Times reports, "will force Ferguson officials to either negotiate a settlement with the Justice Department or face being sued by it on civil rights charges."
Guardian - The Chicago police department operates an off-the-books interrogation compound, rendering Americans unable to be found by family or attorneys while locked inside what lawyers say is the domestic equivalent of a CIA black site.
The facility, a nondescript warehouse on Chicagos west side known as Homan Square, has long been the scene of secretive work by special police units. Interviews with local attorneys and one protester who spent the better part of a day shackled in Homan Square describe operations that deny access to basic constitutional rights.
Alleged police practices at Homan Square, according to those familiar with the facility who spoke out to the Guardian after its investigation into Chicago police abuse, include:
Keeping arrestees out of official booking databases. Beating by police, resulting in head wounds. Shackling for prolonged periods. Denying attorneys access to the secure facility. Holding people without legal counsel for between 12 and 24 hours, including people as young as 15.
At least one man was found unresponsive in a Homan Square interview room and later pronounced dead.
Brian Jacob Church, a protester known as one of the Nato Three, was held and questioned at Homan Square in 2012 following a police raid. Officers restrained Church for the better part of a day, denying him access to an attorney, before sending him to a nearby police station to be booked and charged.
Homan Square is definitely an unusual place, Church told the Guardian on Friday. It brings to mind the interrogation facilities they use in the Middle East. The CIA calls them black sites. Its a domestic black site. When you go in, no one knows whats happened to you.
The secretive warehouse is the latest example of Chicago police practices that echo the much-criticized detention abuses of the US war on terrorism. While those abuses impacted people overseas, Homan Square said to house military-style vehicles, interrogation cells and even a cage trains its focus on Americans, most often poor, black and brown.
Unlike a precinct, no one taken to Homan Square is said to be booked. Witnesses, suspects or other Chicagoans who end up inside do not appear to have a public, searchable record entered into a database indicating where they are, as happens when someone is booked at a precinct. Lawyers and relatives insist there is no way of finding their whereabouts. Those lawyers who have attempted to gain access to Homan Square are most often turned away, even as their clients remain in custody inside.
Portside - The largest organization of public defenders in the country is building a cop accountability database, aimed at helping defense attorneys question the credibility of police officers in court. The database was created by the Legal Aid Society, a New Yorkbased nonprofit that represents an average of 230,000 people per year with a staff of more than 650 lawyers. The database already contains information about accusations of wrongdoing against some 3,000 NYPD officers, and is being used regularly by Legal Aid lawyers. The ambition behind the project is to create a clearinghouse for records of police misconductsomething the NYPD itself does not make publicand to share it with defense lawyers all over the city, including those who do not work for Legal Aid.
Alternet - According to the Chicago-based Peoples Law Office, members of the Chicago Police Department carried out hideous acts of torture against more than 120 Chicagoans, mostly African-American men. The abuse, which took place inside of police stations, lasted from 1972 until the early 1990s, and was instigated by police commander Jon Burge. Burge and his detectives subjected suspects to cattle-prodding of the mouth and genital areas, hours-long beatings, suffocation, and other forms of abuse to force them to confess to crimes of which they were often innocent. Most of the torture was carried out against residents of the citys predominantly African-American Southside neighborhood.
Burge was fired from the force in 1993 for mistreating a suspect but it took until 2010 for him to be convicted on perjury charges for lying about using Chicagos jails as torture chambers; as of 2015, he has not been convicted for torturing any of his victims. Burge was released from prison into a halfway house in Florida in October. Though the statute of limitations has expired for most of his victims to sue for damages, Burge still collects a $4,000-per-month pension and has cost the city and Cook County more than $100 million in legal fees and settlements. Approximately 20 of his victims have received $67 million in settlement money in connection with the torture they endured.
Because many of the victims arent able to sue for damages, local activists are pursuing reparations. They argue that the damage Burge caused cant be fixed with money alone. Joey Mogul, a partner at the Peoples Law Office, drafted a reparations ordinance that is under review by the city councils financial committee. The ordinance seeks, among other things, $20 million in damages for the victims of Burges torture; a mental health clinic to be built on the Southside that will help the citys underserved people; the introduction of courses into the citys public school curriculum to teach students about the police departments history of torture; free tuition for torture victims and their families at city colleges; and public evidentiary hearings for victims who suffered at the hands of Chicago police officersincluding those who are locked up.
Former Seattle Police Chief Norm Stamper, Yes Magazine - As Radley Balko points out in his superb book, Rise of the Warrior Cop: The Militarization of Americas Police Forces, SWAT incidents ... are proliferating at a frightening pace. In the 70s, the nations roughly 18,000 municipal, county, and state police forces conducted a few hundred such operations a year. By the 80s the number had grown to approximately 3,000. And in 2005, the last year of collected data, there were more than 50,000 SWAT operations. Todays count is surely much higher....
How is it that so many of todays police officers have come to resemblein appearance, weaponry, and tacticsinfantrymen in the U.S. military? A retired army combat sergeant, recently returned from Afghanistan, was interviewed on CNN during the protests in Ferguson, Missouri. He was shown footage of a St. Louis County police officer sitting high atop an MRAP (mine-resistant, ambush-protected vehicle) and pointing a sniper rifle at the crowd. The soldier was astonished and appalled. This shouldnt be happening in America, he said...
There is a time and place for military-style tactics, carried out by police officers who do, in fact, look more like soldiers than cops. Think active shooter situations, or armed and dangerous suspects whove taken hostages and barricaded themselves. Think service of warrants accompanied by a reasonable suspicion that the suspects are armed and poised to do violence. Think terrorists.
But it is the routinization of police militarism that ought to concern us all. Americas police departmentsaided and abetted by the federal governments 1033 program, which allocates to local law enforcement military surplus, including armored vehicles, weapons, even aircrafthave gradually morphed from images of Officer Friendly, neighborhood-oriented cops to those of war zone occupiers...
But how to reverse the militarization trend? As Seattles police chief during the World Trade Organizations 1999 Battle in Seattle, and acutely aware of my own unwise reliance on militarized tactics, I realize just how difficult the task will be. But that should not stop us. Here are five steps that can help us turn things around.
1. Residents of cities across the country must rise up and reclaim their police departments.
The police in America belong to the people, not the other way around. An organized, mobilized citizenry is essential to the kind of structural and cultural reforms necessary for reasoned, responsible, and responsive policing.
2. Sustained social and political pressure for demilitarization is essential.
Mayors, city council members, sheriffs, and police chiefs should be elected or selected, in significant measure, on the basis of their dedication to authentic community policing. At the heart of community policing is a demonstrable commitment to a problem-solving partnership between the police department and the people it serves. Citizen-police partners must work together to identify, analyze, and solve crime, traffic, and other neighborhood problemsincluding the nature and quality of the relationship itself. Indeed, police officers and their civilian partners must act in unified fashion on agency policies and procedures, program development, and crisis management. No more unilateral decisions about whats best for the community.
3. Local political jurisdictions must implement independent citizen oversight of police practices.
Currently, no single model works flawlessly, and many flounder. But successful approaches in the future will incorporate investigative authority, including subpoena powers, for oversight bodies. Professionalism, competence, and cooperation between police management and labor are essential. It wont happen by Tuesday of next week. But the hard, thorny work must begin, urgently.
4. It is vital that all law enforcement agencies, in conjunction with their communities, set and enforce rigorous standards for the selection, training, and systematic retraining of SWAT officers and their leaders.
Also crucial: a similarly demanding definition of what justifies a SWAT mission. Emphatically not part of that definition is the use of chemical agents on nonviolent, nonthreatening protesters or the conspicuous presence of military weaponry (including sniper rifles, as seen in Ferguson) at political protests.
It is the people of America...who can bring an end to those horrifying pre-dawn raids and to the specter of a military-like occupation
5. End the drug war.
Eighty percent of all SWAT raids are in service of search or arrest warrants, the vast majority of them aimed at low-level, nonviolent drug offenders. Indeed, it was in the early prosecution of the drug war that we sowed the seeds of police militarization. Certainly, in the aftermath of 9/11 we witnessed a dramatic expansion of police militarization (as well as a deeply troubling attack on our civil liberties). But it has been the War on Drugs, with its reliance on the thoroughly bankrupt policy of prohibition, that has done such terrible damage to individuals, families, and neighborhoods, and to the community-police relationship. Ending the drug war, replacing prohibition with a regulatory model, will do much to demilitarize our local PDs.
In a Facebook post headed "Kids will be Kids?", St Louis County police told parents to warn their children that if they prompted an emergency call by playing with toy guns in public, "police will respond as though it is a real gun".
Police departments spend nearly $3 billion per year to settle brutality & wrongful death claims.
interference in domestic affairs
Where police abuse people the most
FOOLS' GOAL: ZERO TOLERANCE: How infinite intolerance of some things -- but not others -- is damaging our land