All the news seems to be focused on Baltimore these days, with lots of commentary about the riots and/or the news coverage thereof. So I thought it would be good to have some coverage of some stories that have absolutely nothing to do with Baltimore whatsoever – just completely unrelated things that do not at all pertain to the civil unrest there at all.
First of all, let me just drop this video here:
For some context:
Palm Beach County Sheriff’s deputy Adams Lin was watching schoolchildren waiting for a bus.
Later, he would say he followed Stephens to give him a traffic ticket for not bicycling properly. But he also would acknowledge he was suspicious of Stephens, whom he had not seen in the neighborhood before that morning, according to court records.
* * *
When Stephens turned down a side road, Lin followed, stepping on the gas, turning on the siren and then the lights. He thought the way Stephens rode his bike was suspicious. He thought the way Stephens got off his bike was suspicious.
And four seconds after Lin got out of his patrol car, he shot Stephens four times, leaving him paralyzed from the waist down.
Lin said he opened fire because Stephens was reaching in his back waistband, possibly for a gun.
There was no gun.
An internal investigation and the State Attorney’s Office have both cleared Lin of the September 2013 use of force. It was a good shoot, they ruled.
But the Stephens shooting illustrates key findings identified in a joint year-long Palm Beach Post/WPTV NewsChannel 5 investigation analyzing every officer-involved shooting in Palm Beach County and the Treasure Coast since 2000: In roughly one of every four shootings, Palm Beach County deputies fired at unarmed suspects. The Department of Justice has criticized jurisdictions where the percentage of shootings at unarmed suspects was sharply lower. Deputies disproportionately shot at young black men, a third of whom were unarmed. Non-deadly force options, such as Tasers or batons, were seldom used prior to shooting. PBSO rarely found fault with a deputy’s decision to shoot, sometimes basing its decisions on cursory or incomplete investigations.
Anyway, none of that has anything to do with Baltimore at all. Neither, for that matter, does this story:
Officer Cedric Greer, 24, was arrested by New Mexico State Police after video evidence showed him turn his lapel cam off just before beating a man, then turning it back on afterward. According to the report, the video shows his finger reaching for the camera to turn it off.
Witnesses to the assault say that Greer acted without being provoked and that the victim complied with all orders both before and after the attack.
State police issued a statement Friday stating that Greer “battered an individual during a call for service that he was conducting at a local Albuquerque hotel. He struck the individual’s head several times with a closed fist and then delivered several strikes to the individual’s chest causing bruising. Witnesses claimed the individual was cooperative with Mr. Greer before and after the battery.”
Greer was arrested for misdemeanor aggravated battery because a police cadet turned him in after witnessing the incident.
* * *
Greer is currently out on a $5,000 bond and enjoying a paid vacation.
This is the second instance this month of a police cadet reporting brutality within the APD. Last week we reported on District Attorney Kari Brandenburg, who tells us that a police cadet turned in an officer and quit the academy after witnessing cops beat a homeless man.
Anyway, another story that has nothing to do with Baltimore, about how cadets who report completely unjustified police brutality and officer cover ups really have no place on a police force.
In other surprising and non-Baltimore related news, between 2002 and 2004, the Chicago PD received over 10,000 citizen complaints of brutality. A total of 19 officers – or 0.19% were disciplined as a result of these complaints.
In other news not related to Baltimore, between 1999 and 2014, NYPD officers shot and killed 179 civilians, 88% of which were either black or Hispanic. A grand total of 3 officers were indicted as a result of these incidents, and only one was convicted – for a non-jail time offense.
To give you yet more relief from news pertaining to Baltimore, between 500 and 1000 people are shot and killed by the police every year, of which a substantial percentage are unarmed. This is compared to between 30 and 40 police who are killed by civilians wielding weapons every year. During a seven year period, a total of 41 officers nationwide were charged with either manslaughter or murder for officer-involved shootings. This means that between .5% and 1% of officers who shoot suspects – including unarmed ones – face criminal charges of any kind. Which is not to mention that police, when charged, are convicted at a rate that is roughly half that of the general public.
Anyway, just a random smattering of news that will hopefully give everyone a welcome respite from all this Baltimore coverage. Enjoy your Tuesday.