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Author Topic: Cops That Should Lose Their Badge, Pension And Freedom  (Read 269 times)
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Athos_131
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« on: July 13, 2019, 01:38:02 AM »

A Florida cop planted meth on random drivers, police say. One lost custody of his daughter.

Quote
The meth seemed to appear out of thin air.

Benjamin Bowling couldn’t figure it out. He had been clean ever since his release from prison on a DUI conviction, but now a Jackson County, Fla., sheriff’s deputy was accusing him of possessing a minuscule amount of methamphetamine.

It was October 2017 and Bowling was on his way to the store to pick up diapers with his friend Shelly Smith when they saw the flashing lights swirl in the rearview mirror. He had been out of prison for less than a year, doing everything he could to get his life back on track. He passed all his drug tests. He had recently been awarded custody of his daughter. But deputy Zachary Wester was escalating a traffic stop for swerving over a white line into a search for illicit drugs.

Bowling and Smith, confident they had nothing to hide, told Wester to go ahead and search the car after he claimed to smell marijuana, assuring him he wouldn’t find any.

He emerged with meth.

Now, nearly two years after Bowling lost custody of the daughter he had just gotten back, after he was convicted of felony meth possession, he knows exactly how it got there. Wester, state investigators now say, planted it himself — and Bowling was far from the only victim.

Wester, who was fired last September, was arrested Wednesday and charged with 52 counts of racketeering, false imprisonment, official misconduct, fabricating evidence and possession of controlled substances, among other charges. He’s accused of indiscriminately targeting innocent drivers and hauling them off to jail after planting meth or marijuana in their vehicles while feigning a “search."

“There is no question that Wester’s crimes were deliberate and that his actions put innocent people in jail,” Chris Williams, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement’s assistant special agent in charge, said in a news release.

Bowling, who has since been cleared, is just one of 11 known victims named in the affidavit, although the Florida Department of Law Enforcement said Wednesday that there may be more victims who have not yet been identified, and the case remains under investigation. At least 119 cases involving Wester have been dropped, the Tallahassee Democrat reported. In addition to the dropped charges, Circuit Judge Christopher Patterson ordered at least eight inmates released from correctional facilities last fall, as 263 cases remained under review.

Investigators said at a news conference Wednesday that there did not appear to be any rhyme or reason to the drivers Wester, 26, singled out for false arrests on drug possession. Some were parents with a diaper bag in the back seat. Others were young men and women, some crying as they insisted they had never touched drugs, let alone meth, in their lives.

Asked by reporters why Wester would do this, State Attorney William “Bill” Eddins of Florida’s 1st Judicial Circuit said that was a good question. Investigators were still trying to figure it out themselves, he said.

“You’re never certain of what lies in the heart of man,” he said.

Eddins said he does not plan to offer a plea bargain, and that Wester faces up to 30 years in prison. Wester’s defense attorney could not immediately be reached for comment.

Wester, who joined the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office in 2016, fell under suspicion last year after a prosecutor noticed inconsistencies in what Wester wrote in his reports and what was captured on his body camera — if he turned it on. The problem was he seemed to leave the device off most of the time, conveniently only recording after drugs were already “found” in a vehicle. In most cases, as in Bowling’s, he typically pulled someone over for a minor traffic infraction before asking if he smelled marijuana.

Yet, even after reporting on affidavits that he smelled or even thought he saw marijuana, he typically emerged finding meth. According to the affidavit, meth, marijuana and 42 pieces of drug paraphernalia were found in Wester’s trunk.

One case, that of Teresa Odom, was illuminating — appearing to capture Wester holding an unknown object in his left hand shortly before “discovering” meth in her truck, in the rare case his body camera was left on.

“Hi, how are you?” Wester asked her in a friendly voice as he rolled up to her window, according to footage released to the news media. “The reason for the stop is, um, your brake lights: They work one minute, and then the next minute they don’t work.”

He took her license, left momentarily, and returned to ask if he could search her vehicle. She said it was no problem with a shrug, as long as she could take her phone with her. “Hang tight, Ms. Odom,” He grabbed a pair of gloves from his cruiser — then appears to be holding a tiny plastic baggie inside his left hand, according to the video and affidavit.

The affidavit describes it like a magician’s sleight of hand: “Without putting on the glove, Deputy Wester’s left hand dropped out of view, down toward the front of the driver’s seat, and after a brief pause, reappeared empty.”

Shortly thereafter, Wester pulls a tiny plastic bag out of Odom’s purse: “Oh, Ms. Odom, how about this?” Wester asked, confronting Odom with the drugs.

“That is not mine,” she said. “No, sir. No, sir. What is it?” As another deputy who arrived for backup teased her that she was about to go to jail, she responded tersely: “It damn sure ain’t mine.”

It wasn’t. The Democrat reported that Odom wept at the news conference Wednesday announcing Wester’s arrest, saying she felt “overwhelmed."

In a few cases, some drivers were already suspected of other crimes, such as driving with a suspended license or having an outstanding warrant, or even admitting to having marijuana in the car — and yet Wester still planted meth on them, according to the affidavit.

But mostly the drivers were guilty of nothing. Erika Helms — whose brother, Lance Sellers, has sued the sheriff’s department alleging false arrest — told the Democrat that Wester “ruined lives.” Sellers, she said, had to spend a year in residential rehab after his arrest for possession of meth. The charges were later dropped. In addition to Sellers, more than a dozen people have filed notices of intent to sue, the Democrat reported.

“People are losing their lives, their freedom, their children, their marriages — all because of this one man,” Helms told the Democrat. “It’s not just innocent men. It’s innocent children. It goes a lot deeper than everyone realizes.”

It’s unclear if Bowling regained custody of his daughter since his arrest, or whether other parents faced the same fate.

At least one innocent mother feared she would, according to the affidavit.

Kimberly Hazelwood and her husband, Jeremy, were pulled over in June 2018 with their small children in the back seat, as Wester alleged that the Hazelwoods’ car insurance had lapsed. Wester zeroed in on a bottle of Excedrin he saw in her possession. He told the couple that he was calling in the K-9 unit to search the vehicle.

Soon enough, Wester claimed the Excedrin pill bottle contained methamphetamine, pulling Jeremy aside to tell him that he was going to arrest his wife for possession. “Jeremy appeared shocked and said Kimberly had never done drugs a day in her life,” the affidavit says.

Wester told the distraught father that he could tell Kimberly used meth “by the way her face was sunk and her teeth . . . Jeremy stated his wife has always been like that."

On the way to jail, Kimberly cried in the back of Wester’s cruiser, asking whether she was going to lose custody of her children.

It’s unclear whether she did. According to the affidavit, months later, Wester pulled over Jeremy again, asking where Kimberly was this time. “This upset Jeremy,” the affidavit says, “and he told Deputy Wester that it was none of his business."

Wester let him go.

#Resist
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« Reply #1 on: July 13, 2019, 01:39:35 AM »

MSP officer runs stops sign, hit by car, arrests other driver

Quote
A police officer in an unmarked SUV ran a stop sign before getting struck by a car on Wednesday.

The crash happened at the corner of Livernois and Cadet Street in southwest Detroit. Video surveillance from a neighbor's house shows a Michigan State Police officer in a silver SUV ignoring a stop sign and driving through the intersection.

That's when Carlos Martinez, driving a red car, collided with the side of the SUV, knocking it off the road.

"All he kept saying was 'you hit a cop, you hit a cop, you hit a cop,' and at no moment say 'how are you, are you okay,'" said Maria Martinez, Carlos's mother. "No, they just handcuffed him like a criminal."

After the two cars collided, the video shows an officer exit the SUV and order Martinez onto the ground. Then they handcuffed him.

"He told him call my parents, call my mother," Martinez said of her son. "The police officer say 'you're 27 years old, you're old enough, you don't need no parents and plus you don't have no rights right now."

Maria said her son is a U.S. citizen.

"He has no criminal history. He's not a criminal, he's never been in gangs," she said. "You don't treat people like that. We're human beings."

Both drivers, as well as a passenger in the officer's SUV, had minor injuries. Carlos has scratches and bruises. The police officer driving was treated for a broken rib and collar bone. His passenger was transported, evaluated and released for minor injuries.

FOX 2 reached out to the Michigan State Police, but MSP said they would not comment on the incident, stating the entire crash is under investigation.

"The grey car was in the wrong. They didn't stop," said one witness. "Unfortunately, it was the police but they were in the wrong."

Maria is still trying to get information from the police. She said MSP has Carlos's license and his phone.

"When I asked the cop to give me his supervisor's number, so I could call and get my son's items back, he didn't want to give me no information."

MSP said Thursday morning the driver had been released to a local hospital and has not been charged.

#Resist
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« Reply #2 on: July 13, 2019, 02:02:21 AM »


I nearly had one like that second post: I was in a left-turn lane with a green left turn arrow, and a motorcycle cop on the intersecting street (to my right) was in the far lane on the other side of a line of cars.  He blew the red light with NO lights and NO siren at full speed as I was making my turn.  I missed clipping his bike and throwing him off of it while he was doing in excess of 50MPH.

He pulled me over and ranted and raved about it, saying he could take me in for attempted assault on a police officer.  At one point he said "God damn it, that's the second time this week!" to which I smart-ass replied that he needed to ride more safely if he wanted to survive to old age, and blowing through red lights wasn't good for his health.  Luckily there was a traffic camera at that intersection, and I pointed it out to him and said I'd be happy to review the tape with him before a judge.  Still cursing, he got on his bike and rode away at WELL over the posted speed limit, again without lights or siren.  I reported the incident to the Mesa Police including the time and intersection, although I never saw his name tag.  I doubt they did anything about it.
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psiberzerker
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« Reply #3 on: July 13, 2019, 02:20:25 AM »

Mesa (Az) still as lax about police oversite as it was, like 20 years ago when I lived there?  Sounds like it. 

When I lived there, I was walking back from Tempe, drunk AF when a Chandler PD cruiser stopped me, on foot.  He proceeded to order me to say the alphabet backwards.  I pointed out that I'm dyslecix, to which he replied "Then it should be easier for you."  I finally hopped up on a wall (They don't have fences in the Valley of the spun, they have cinder blocks) and walked the top of it, 6' off the ground.

To my knowledge, walking drunk isn't illegal anywhere, but i got out of a Public Intoxication ticket by showing off.
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« Reply #4 on: July 13, 2019, 02:54:58 AM »

"... Wester, who joined the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office in 2016, fell under suspicion last year after a prosecutor noticed inconsistencies in what Wester wrote in his reports and what was captured on his body camera — if he turned it on. The problem was he seemed to leave the device off most of the time, conveniently only recording after drugs were already “found” in a vehicle."

  Good that justice is being done. The prosecutor who noticed, and did the followup, and the Officers who nailed this bad cop, should be commended.
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« Reply #5 on: July 13, 2019, 02:58:44 AM »


Yeah, Mesa is where the ones that barely passed cop school end up.  Tempe is the reverse.  You do NOT want to screw up in Tempe, especially in the summer time.  They'll bust you for kissing a double-yellow line with your tires by less than a foot in the summer.  All of the Tempe cops have Attitude (with a capital A for Asshat), but the Mesa cops are pretty fucking dense.  I have Stories about run-ins with dumb Mesa cops.

The local Trucker's School here in Mesquite used to have a full-semester course in HOW TO DRIVE ACROSS ARIZONA WITHOUT GETTING A TICKET.  If you can survive Arizona, you can drive without tickets in any of the other 49 states.  AZ cops watch commercial drivers like hawks, and don't hesitate to pop them if they fuck up.  Dunno if it's a higher price ticket for a commercial driver, but I suspect it is as they're LICENSED to know how to drive for a living.
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« Reply #6 on: July 13, 2019, 03:01:38 AM »

"... Wester, who joined the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office in 2016, fell under suspicion last year after a prosecutor noticed inconsistencies in what Wester wrote in his reports and what was captured on his body camera — if he turned it on. The problem was he seemed to leave the device off most of the time, conveniently only recording after drugs were already “found” in a vehicle."

  Good that justice is being done. The prosecutor who noticed, and did the followup, and the Officers who nailed this bad cop, should be commended.


Odd.  This is the same person who posted this:


Of course, Mr. Brown was not shot for having a nonworking taillight.

He gave a jumbled, sometimes conflicting story about the vehicle he was driving, had no paperwork, said he just bought it, then said he had not yet bought it but would do so "on Monday....", and could produce nothing written about the vehicle, registration or insurance.

He seemingly gave his drivers license to the Officer (some reports say he did not have a Drivers license), and the Officer was clearly in the process of checking Mr. Brown's history, and the Vehicle's owner status, or at least about to, when Mr. Brown bolted from the Mercedes and took off running.

The Officer ran after him, and attempted (not on video released to date, but audio from the Officer's microphone indicates) to stop Mr. Brown via use of a Taser. Mr. Brown continued running, with the Officer chasing him, and the Officer fired 8 shots, hitting him with a number of them before Mr. Brown stopped.

How ironic both this suspect and the man in Ferguson were named Brown...

Clearly the Officer used deadly force to stop and apprehend a fleeing suspect. The Officer has not made any statement since the incident, at least none that has been made public. His attorney quit, shortly prior to the Officer being charged and jailed, and his new attorney is reviewing the case prior to making any statement.

Did the Officer suspect the Mercedes was stolen, and the driver was in the midst of Grand Theft Auto... a felony? The suspect was warned to stay in the car, after an initial attempt to exit his vehicle, before he took flight. No alarm was expressed at what the Officer visually saw when he obtained the driver's license... No questions or comments were asked or made by the Passenger in the Mercedes.

Whether indeed Mr. Scott had permission to drive the Mercedes will come out, and likely is now known by Police and Authorities. What Warrants, if any, were on file for Mr. Brown (past due child support has been mentioned by one of his relatives as speculation about why he ran), will eventually be known by us all.

The charge of First Degree Murder seems a bit dramatic to me, and I expect that was the intent at the time the charge and arrest was made, and the Officer jailed. The right of a Police Officer to stop what he believes is a fleeing felon, and he knows is a fleeing suspect who is resisting arrest via flight on foot, who had disregarded direct orders at least twice, has limits, and I expect they were crossed here.

May this South Carolina town escape the circus that became Ferguson, MO.  It is Friday afternoon...


#Resist

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« Reply #7 on: July 13, 2019, 03:01:46 AM »

Tempe is the reverse.

Anywhere but Mill Avenue, unless that's changed?
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« Reply #8 on: July 22, 2019, 08:20:06 PM »

Officer suggests Ocasio-Cortez should be shot, after he read fake news on Facebook

Quote
It was not clear from his Facebook post whether police officer Charlie Rispoli knew he was responding to fake news when he suggested Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) should be shot.

“This vile idiot needs a round........and I don’t mean the kind she used to serve,” Rispoli, a 14-year veteran of the Gretna Police Department in Louisiana, said Thursday, referring to a gunshot and the lawmaker’s earlier career as a bartender, the Times-Picayune/the New Orleans Advocate reported.

The post, which appears to have been deleted along with Rispoli’s Facebook account, comes amid a reckoning with racist and violent social media posts by police and federal law enforcement officers. As posts have been made public, firings and investigations have followed across multiple departments.

Ocasio-Cortez and three other minority freshman lawmakers dubbed “the Squad” have become frequent targets of President Trump, who said the four citizens and members of Congress should “go back” to the “totally broken and crime infested places from which they came.”

Rispoli’s comment was made in response to a post on a self-described satirical page, tatersgonnatate.com, with the headline “Ocasio-Cortez on the Budget: ‘We Pay Soldiers Too Much.’ ”

Gretna Police Chief Arthur Lawson did not respond to a request for comment. In an interview, he called Rispoli’s comment “disturbing” and probably in violation of department social media policies, but he stopped short of describing it as a threat.

“I will tell you this: This will not go unchecked,” Lawson told the Times-Picayune/Advocate. “I’m not going to take this lightly and this will be dealt with on our end. It’s not something we want someone that’s affiliated with our department to make these types of statements. That’s not going to happen.”

Belinda Constant, the Democratic mayor of Gretna, a city of about 18,000 outside New Orleans, did not reply to a request for comment. Nor did any of the four city council members. Rispoli could not be reached for comment.

Eva Malecki, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Capitol Police, declined to say whether the agency viewed the posting as a threat. “We do not discuss how we carry out our protective responsibilities for Congress,” she said. A spokesman for Ocasio-Cortez did not respond to a request for comment.

Police officers nationwide have faced waves of scrutiny following investigations of social media posts by 3,500 current and former police officers published by the nonprofit Plain View Project. In Philadelphia alone, 72 officers were pulled from street duty. The department plans to fire 13 of them for violent, racist and homophobic posts.

Rispoli’s comments appear to be on his page marked for friends and friends of friends only. It was not clear how his comments circulated.

Lawson told the Times-Picayune/Advocate that his department is investigating Rispoli’s comments, although disciplinary actions, if any, will not be made public.

“Whether you agree or disagree with the message of these elected officials and how frustrated you may or may not get, this certainly is not the type of thing that a public servant should be posting,” Lawson said.

#Resist
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Stratton: "A hundred other guys out there like me - what are you going to do, change the world?"

B.J.: "No, just our little corner of it."

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psiberzerker
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« Reply #9 on: July 22, 2019, 08:36:03 PM »

This just says something about the state of Law Enforcement, when a uniform cop can threaten a federal legislator with being shot, without reprecutions.

If they can threaten her, they can threaten anyone, and get away with it.  It's not illegal, if the police won't investigate it.
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« Reply #10 on: July 23, 2019, 04:54:42 PM »


Two Cops Fired Over Facebook Post Suggesting Rep. Ocasio-Cortez Should Be Assassinated

Quote
Two police officers in Gretna, Louisiana have been fired over a Facebook post that suggested Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez should be killed. One of the officers published the content and another police officer liked it.

Charlie Rispoli, a 14-year veteran of the Gretna police force, shared an article on Facebook last week that included fake quotes attributed to Rep. Ocasio-Cortez. The article, which was marked as satire, contained a fake quote from Ocasio-Cortez about members of the U.S. military being paid too much.

Rispoli, apparently believing that the article was real, wrote that Ocasio-Cortez was a “vile idiot,” and that she, “needs a round, and I don’t mean the kind she used to serve.” The congresswoman was previously a bartender before she was elected to Congress.

Angelo Variscom, another officer from the Gretna PD, reportedly liked the post according to local news outlets, and both officers were fired on Monday for violating the police department’s social media policy. Gretna Police Chief Arthur Lawson called the actions an “embarrassment” at a press conference yesterday.

Ocasio-Cortez is frequently the target of far right social media trolls and has been singled out by President Donald Trump during his neo-fascist rallies. Most recently, the president sat back while one of his crowds in North Carolina chanted “send her back” about another congresswoman, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota. Omar was born in Somalia but became a U.S. citizen as a child and the chant was clearly racist. Representatives Omar and Ocasio-Cortez are both part of an informal group known as “The Squad,” which also includes congresswomen Rashida Tlaib and Ayanna Pressley.

“This is Trump’s goal when he uses targeted language & threatens elected officials who don’t agree w/ his political agenda,” Ocasio-Cortez tweeted on Monday. “It’s authoritarian behavior. The President is sowing violence. He’s creating an environment where people can get hurt & he claims plausible deniability.”

Ocasio-Cortez was also singled out in a Facebook group comprised of current and former members of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) that was recently revealed by the news outlet ProPublica. One of the Facebook posts in the group showed a photoshopped image of President Trump participating in a violent sexual assault of Ocasio-Cortez. Last week, the congresswoman asked Acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan about the posts in an opening hearing.

“Those posts are unacceptable,” McAleenan said. “They are being investigated but I don’t think that it’s fair to apply them to the entire organization or that even the members of that group believed or supported those posts.”

But the the image wasn’t out of character for the group and it wasn’t comprised of just a small minority of CBP. According to a report from the Intercept, the Facebook group was so normalized within DHS culture that Border Patrol chief Carla Provost was even a member.

“Mr. Secretary, so you don’t think that having 10,000 officers in a violent, racist group sharing rape memes of members of Congress points to any concern of a dehumanized culture?” Ocasio-Cortez asked last Thursday.

McAleenan countered that the agency was “absolutely committed to the well-being of everyone that they interact with.”

But new reports come out every single day that contradict McAleenan’s claims. Just yesterday, NBC News published the story of a 17-year-old who described horrific conditions in one American run concentration camp at the U.S.-Mexico border. The Guatemalan teenager described children going hungry, border agents taunting kids, and the lights being on 24-hours per day.

“Sometimes, we would give one [hamburger] to the little ones. Because the little ones were the ones that wanted to eat more than others. At least, [the older kids could] stand the hunger a little more,” the teen said.

And on top of all that, American citizens are now being swept up into President Trump’s system of concentration camps. Dallas News published a report yesterday about an 18-year-old born in Dallas, Texas who was recently apprehended. The teen, Francisco Erwin Galicia, was detained at a CBP checkpoint on June 27, and now sits in an ICE facility despite the fact that his mother has provided his American birth certificate.

The Trump regime also published a new rule yesterday that will allow border agents to deport anyone who can’t prove that they’re an American citizen and have been in the U.S. for at least two years.

“The Trump admin’s new ‘expedited removal’ rule should terrify us all,” Congresswoman Diana DeGette of Colorado tweeted yesterday. “It will allow ICE officers to approach ANYBODY in the U.S. (w/o probable cause) & demand they prove they’re a citizen or have been in the US for 2 years. If they can’t, they’re deported. No trial, no hearing.”

The U.S. is now legitimately under proto-authoritarian rule and it’s going to get so much worse very quickly. And the rest of the world is going to see it play out on social media through the Twitter and Facebook posts of not just cops, but the President of the United States himself.

#Resist
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« Reply #11 on: August 06, 2019, 07:07:33 PM »

Officers on horseback led a black suspect through the streets by rope. The chief apologized.

Quote
In a pair of photos, two white lawmen atop horses guide a bound black man with a rope down a wide and empty street. If it weren’t for the cars and pavement, a quick glance may lead to the conclusion that they were colorized plates from the antebellum South.

But it was Saturday in the island city Galveston, Tex., and officers arrested Brandon Neely on suspicion of criminal trespassing. They had horses, and a rope, but no patrol car to take Neely away. The officers attached the blue rope onto his handcuffs, and Neely, 43, was led to a mounted officer staging area.

Bystander photos from the arrest went viral across social media, with many African Americans saying the photos were reminiscent of captured slaves in the 1800s. The outcry prompted an apology on Monday from Galveston Chief Vernon L. Hale III, who called the arrest an “unnecessary embarrassment” for Neely.

“I believe our officers showed poor judgment in this instance and could have waited for a transport unit at the location of the arrest,” Hale said in a statement. The officers did not have “malicious intent,” Hale said.

The officers trained in the arrest technique for crowd control and other scenarios, Hale said, but the public blowback led the department to rethink how the practice was applied to a sole suspect amid a national discussion about police treatment of African Americans.

“We understand the negative perception of this action and believe it is most appropriate to cease the use of this technique,” the department said on Facebook.

Neely was freed on bond, the Associated Press reported. He does not have a listed number and could not be reached to comment. His family’s attorney did not immediately respond to a request for comment, but told KPRC that she was appalled by the arrest.

“I believe the way they handled him was disgusting,” she said. “The family is offended. The family is upset.”

The department identified the officers only by their first initials and last names, P. Brosch and A. Smith. It is unclear whether they will face an investigation or administrative review. The department did not return a request for comment. Their body-worn cameras were activated during the arrest, the department said.

It was unclear what circumstances led to Neely’s arrest, although the department said he had been warned not to trespass several times at 306 22nd St., an office building that includes space for the investment firm Merrill Lynch.

It was also unclear why the officers used the rope arrest in the first place. Police said Neely was being led to 21st and Market — about a block away from where he was allegedly trespassing, although police did not say whether that is where they arrested him.

#Resist
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« Reply #12 on: August 20, 2019, 04:17:56 AM »

[img=https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/nypd-fires-officer-daniel-pantaleo-chokehold-eric-garner-s-death-n1041336]http://NYPD fires Officer Daniel Pantaleo for chokehold in Eric Garner's death[/img]

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Daniel Pantaleo, the New York City police officer seen on video using a chokehold during Eric Garner's deadly arrest five years ago ⁠— sparking mass protests ⁠and becoming a rallying cry for the Black Lives Matter movement — was fired by the department on Monday.

NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill announced he'll enforce an administrative judge's recommendation, made this month, that Pantaleo be terminated over the July 17, 2014, confrontation as Garner was being arrested on Staten Island for selling loose, untaxed cigarettes.

Pantaleo, who has been with the NYPD since 2006, was suspended as soon as that departmental verdict was reached, in keeping with long-standing practice when there is a recommendation for firing. The 13-year veteran had been on desk duty as his case made its way through legal and administrative circles.

"It is clear that Daniel Pantaleo can no longer effectively serve as a New York City police officer," O'Neill announced.

"There are absolutely no victors here today, not the Garner family, not the community at large and certainly not the courageous men and women of the police department who put their own lives on the line every single day in service to people of this great city."

O’Neill said Pantaleo was properly making an arrest, up to the point where he had Garner on the ground but still had a forearm on the man's throat.

"Had I been in Officer Pantaleo's situation I may have made similar mistakes," O'Neill said. "I would have wished I had released my grip before it became a chokehold."

O'Neill also heaped blame on Garner himself, saying he was wrong to have resisted arrest.

"Every time I watch that video I say to myself ... 'to Mr. Garner, don't do it. Comply. Officer Pantaleo, don't do it,'" the commissioner said

"I say that about the decisions made by both Officer Pantaleo and Mr. Garner. But none of us can't take back our decisions."

Pantaleo's lawyer, Stuart London, said his client "is disappointed, upset but has a lot of strength and wants to go forward."

Pantaleo plans to fight his termination under Article 78, a New York civil code that sets a path for challenges to rulings by a government agency.

"After the Article 78, if we need to appeal beyond that we will," London said. "We are looking for him to get his job back."

If the termination stands, Pantaleo would still be entitled to all pension benefits he had accrued through Monday, according to O'Neill.

And O'Neill admitted that if he were still an officer in uniform — as he'd been for 34 years before taking charge of America's biggest municipal police force — he too would be upset with this decision.

"I've been a cop a long time and if I was still a cop, I'd probably be mad at me. 'You're not looking out for us,' but I am," O'Neill said.

"It's my responsibility as police commissioner to look out for the city and certainly to look out for New York City police officers. They took this job to make a difference. You all know the city has been transformed — had a lot of help, but it's the cops out there right now and the thousands that have come before who continue to make this city safe."

Emerald Snipes Garner, one of Eric Garner's daughter, thanked the family's supporters and O'Neill for his decision on Monday.

"Commissioner O'Neill, I thank you for doing the right thing," she told reporters during a press conference at the Harlem headquarters of the National Action Network. "I truly, sincerely thank you for firing the officer, regardless to however you came up to your decision. You finally made the decision that should've been made by five years ago."

Garner's loved ones and NAN's founder, the Rev. Al Sharpton, who is also an MSNBC host, said they'll push lawmakers to make the chokehold illegal, and not just a violation of any individual department's internal policy.

"We can’t talk about what happened in the past," Emerald Snipes Garner said. "We can only talk about what we’re gonna do to move forward."

And while O'Neill said he found fault in Garner's actions, Emerald Snipes Garner said she had a different take: "When I watch the video, I see my father being killed."

Pantaleo's termination seemed to be in the cards for weeks.

The NYPD's No. 2 official, First Deputy Commissioner Benjamin Tucker, accepted the judge’s ruling that Pantaleo should be fired, two law enforcement officials familiar with the case told NBC New York last week.

Tucker reviewed the findings and had passed them on to O’Neill for his final review, sources said. Tucker reportedly found no new evidence to reverse the judge’s decision.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said the NYPD's administrative process led to the correct result.

"We watched a fair and impartial trial. We watched an objective decision by a deputy commissioner of the NYPD, affirmed by the first deputy commissioner and affirmed by the police commissioner," the mayor told reporters at City Hal. "Justice has been done. And that decision has resulted in the termination of officer Pantaleo."

The mayor conceded O'Neill's ruling might not mean much to Garner's loved ones.

"For the Garner family, which has gone through so much agony for so long, and has waited this long just to have one trial finally conclude with a decision, I hope today brings some small measure of closure," the mayor added.

The New York Civil Liberties Union fell well short of praising O'Neill's ruling.

"It may be tempting to call this justice, but it's not," it said in a statement. "We cannot lower our standards just because the NYPD has kept the bar so low."

Patrick J. Lynch, president of the city's Patrolmen's Benevolent Association, last week warned O'Neill that Pantaleo's termination would be a blow to the morale of his members.

Minutes after the police commissioner announced his ruling on Monday, Lynch said O'Neill had permanently lost the confidence of officers on the beat.

"The NYPD will remain rudderless and frozen, and Commissioner O'Neill will never be able to bring it back," Lynch said in a statement.

"Now it is time for every police officer in this city to make their own choice. We are urging all New York City police officer to proceed with the utmost caution in this new reality, in which they may be deemed 'reckless' just for doing their job. We will uphold our oath, but we cannot and will not do so by needlessly jeopardizing our careers or personal safety."

Monday's announcement by O'Neill marked the first formal, government action that went in favor of Garner's loved ones in their yearslong pursuit of criminal, civil or career consequences for Pantaleo.

A Staten Island grand jury declined to indict Pantaleo and, this summer, the Justice Department said it would not bring federal civil rights or criminal charges against him.

Pantaleo was among two officers who were initially confronting Garner, 43, about his alleged sale of cigarettes in an incident captured on bystander Ramsey Orta's cellphone.

As back-up arrived, Pantaleo jumped on Garner's back, wrapped his left forearm around the suspect's neck and rode him to the pavement.

Four other officers came to assist Pantaleo, as he shoved Garner's face into the sidewalk, all while the 6-foot-2, roughly 400-pound man repeatedly pleaded: "I can't breathe."

The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner of New York ruled Garner's death a homicide based on compression of his neck and chest. Though the forensic investigators also said Garner's acute and chronic bronchial asthma, obesity and heart disease were contributing factors.

About five months after Garner's death, a Staten Island grand jury declined to indict Pantaleo based on the evidence presented by the office of then-District Attorney Dan Donovan.

The borough's top prosecutor, Donovan, insisted he presented all the evidence — though transcripts of grand jury proceedings have never been released.

And earlier this summer, federal prosecutors ended their five-year-long probe of the matter and elected not to pursue any civil rights charges against Pantaleo.

Attorney General William Barr made the final decision not to charge Pantaleo, choosing to follow recommendations of Brooklyn prosecutors, a senior Justice Department official told NBC News in July.

At Pantaleo's departmental trial, his defense insisted the officer did not employ a chokehold, which is banned by the NYPD. Instead, Pantaleo's defense argued he was using "seatbelt" move, wrapping arms around a suspect's shoulders to bring an arrest.

"I can't breathe" became a chant for protests that summer and beyond for Black Lives Matter activists.

Garner's death came less than a month before Michael Brown, an unarmed 18-year-old African American man, was fatally shot by police Officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson, Missouri.

Garner and Brown's deaths became flash points for coast-to-coast protests against police brutality and systemic racism. Staffers working for members of the Congressional Black Caucus staged a walkout on Dec. 11, 2014, in protest of Garner and Brown's deaths — and the lack of local prosecution of the police officers involved.

Earlier this summer, New York City reached a $5.9 million settlement with Garner's family, which had sued for wrongful death.

“Today is a day of reckoning, but it can also be a day of reconciliation," O'Neill said. "We must move forward together as one city determined to secure safety for all New Yorkers and safety for every police officer working daily to protect all of us."

#Resist
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Stratton: "A hundred other guys out there like me - what are you going to do, change the world?"

B.J.: "No, just our little corner of it."

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