Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Draft Blog-Circulated Petition Against Traffic Stop Police Brutality

To the Civil Rights Division, US Justice Department:

We respectfully request that the Civil Rights Division of the United States Department of Justice review events surrounding the epidemic of police brutality against Black drivers and passengers at traffic stops to identify and prosecute cases in which the civil rights of drivers and passengers have been violated.

Law abiding Black professionals including retired police officers and nationally recognized sports figures caring for family members in times of emergency have been taunted, harassed and humiliated. Black and pregnant women rushing to the hospital have been stopped and denied medical care, leading to miscarriages, with the offending police officers asking, "How is that my problem?"

Each of the abused is but one example of the the menace that Black motorists and passengers face throughout the United States, simply for driving while Black.

According to a 2007 US Department of Justice Bureau of Justice Statistics press release:
  • The most common reason for police contact in 2002 and 2005 was a driver in a traffic stop, accounting for about 40 percent of all contacts.
  • Blacks were almost three times as likely as whites to report that excessive force was used against them in contacts with law enforcement, while Latinos reported excessive force twice as often as whites.
  • Police searched three times as many Blacks and Hispanic drivers as white drivers.
We urge the US Justice Department to adopt a policy of vigorously investigating complaints of traffic stop police brutality in every state where it occurs.

We urge that Justice Department financial support for state and local police activities be conditioned upon findings that such police organizations vigorously screen, discipline and terminate police officials whose color-aroused and abusive behaviors, and tolerance of such behaviors, make all police activity seem suspect in minority communities.

We further urge that police make an effort to distinguish between law abiding Americans and others, rather than treating all Black Americans as guilty and inherently insusceptible of being proved innocent.

To underscore our determination that law-abiding Black drivers and passengers be perceived and treated as such, we hereby announce our intention to scrupulously observe each and every traffic law intended for the protection of the public, in every case, and we willingly accept as a group -- with patience, prayer and diligent meditation -- any traffic delays that may result from our determination to be perceived and treated as models of perfect traffic law obedience.

We urge all Americans to be patient with us as we demonstrate, through rigorously responsible driving behavior, that our greatest priority when driving, in addition to traffic safety, is that we be treated with the respect and consideration that all human beings deserve, regardless of how long it takes us to get there.


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Friday, March 27, 2009

Dallas Police Officer Should Be Fired!

As reported by the Associated Press, A Dallas police officer was put on desk duty after pulling over an NFL player rushing to see his dying mother-in-law in the hospital and holding him in the hospital parking lot as she died. Dallas Police Officer Robert Powell stopped Houston Texans running back Ryan Moats' SUV outside Baylor Regional Medical Center during the early hours of March 18 after Moats rolled through a red light.

The Dallas Morning News provides an unedited Dallas police dashboard camera video shows traffic stop of NFL player Ryan Moats. The Dallas Morning News provides the nearly 17-minute video shows the entire incident involving Houston Texans running back Ryan Moats and Dallas police officer Robert Powell. Moats was rushing his wife and two of her family members to a hospital, where his mother-in-law lay dying. She died while Moats and his wife's grandfather waited outside the hospital for the officer to issue a ticket. Edited

Moats and his family had gotten a call saying his mother-in-law was dying.
Video from a dashboard camera inside the officer's vehicle, obtained by Dallas-Fort Worth station WFAA-TV, revealed an intense exchange in which the officer threatened to jail Moats.
He ordered Moats' wife, Tamishia Moats, to get back in the SUV, but she ignored him and rushed inside the hospital to see her mother, Jonetta Collinsworth, 45, and was by her side when she died a short time later. She had breast cancer.

"Get in there," said Powell, yelling at 27-year-old Tamishia Moats, as she exited the car. "Let me see your hands!"

"Excuse me, my mom is dying," Tamishia Moats said. "Do you understand?"

Moats explained that he waited until there was no traffic before proceeding through the red light and that his mother-in-law was dying, right then.

Moats couldn't find his insurance paperwork, and was desperate to leave.
"Listen, if I can't verify you have insurance...," Officer Powell said. "My mother-in-law is dying," Moats interrupted.

As they argued, the officer got irritated. "Shut your mouth," the officer said. "You can either settle down and cooperate or I can just take you to jail for running a red light."
By the time the 26-year-old NFL player received a ticket and a lecture from Powell, 25, at least 13 minutes had passed.

When he and Collinsworth's father entered the hospital, they learned Collinsworth was dead, The Dallas Morning News reported in today's editions.
The Moatses, who are black, said they can't help but think that race might have played a part in how Powell, who is white, treated them.

"I think he should lose his job," said Ryan Moats, a Dallas native.

Powell was placed on disptach duty pending an investigation. The ticket issued to Moats was dismissed, Lt. Andy Harvey told WFAA-TV.

"There were some things that were said that were disturbing, to say the least," he told the Dallas Morning News.

Powell told police officials he believed he was doing his job, said Dallas Police Assistant Chief Floyd Simpson.

AAPP: What do you think should happen to this cops job? Should he be fired? Was he just doing his job?

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Black Man Tased and Beaten in Peoria, IL.

A Peoria man was punched in the face, kicked, stomped on at least 20 times and repeatedly stunned with a Taser during his arrest by police after leading them on a brief chase in May.


Peoria Police Officers (above) Andrew Smith, left, and Gerald Suelter, were charged Wednesday with multiple counts of official misconduct and other charges in connection with the beating of another man.

Two of at least seven Peoria police officers involved in the arrest were formally charged Wednesday with multiple counts of official misconduct as well as mob action and battery for the alleged beating of then 33-year-old Bryce Scott.

Officers Gerald W. Suelter, 39, and Andrew R. Smith, 29, each face four counts of official misconduct and one count each of battery, mob action and aggravated battery. Both men appeared in court via video from the Peoria County Jail, where they have been held since their arrests on Monday.

Assistant State's Attorney Steve Pattelli on Wednesday offered details of the May arrest, both seen and those not caught on tape from an in-car video camera, that began after Scott stopped his SUV near Abington and Perry streets after a brief chase.

"One officer punched the driver at least twice in his face, and while three officers were handcuffing the driver, Peoria police officer Gerald Suelter approached and drew his electronic Taser . . . Suelter removed the air cartridge from his Taser and began to repeatedly stun the driver," Pattelli said, noting Scott was Tasered by Suelter at least three times.

"Peoria police Officer Andrew Smith was the last of the officers to arrive . . . after (Scott) had been pulled from the vehicle and was on the pavement with five other police officers above him," Pattelli continued. "When Smith arrived, he began to kick and stomp the driver at least 20 times, at one point repositioning himself for leverage." MORE HERE

By Denise Jackson at WEEK-TV reports:

Two Peoria police officers arrested for allegedly beating a man last May remain in custody tonight. They face a barrage of charges including aggravated battery and mob action.

The officers, Andrew Smith and Gerald Suelter (SEWL'–ter) are among six police officers named in a lawsuit filed by the victim Bryce Scott.

Dan Cusack is the attorney for Bryce Scott the man allegedly beaten by Peoria police officers last May after a chase in the North Valley.

The chase was captured on videotape in the squad car. After pulling over Scott put his hands out of the window as instructed by police and got out of his vehicle. The tape shows officers approaching Scott who is on the ground . Scott's attorney says without the videotape they would not have a good case against the police.

"To me it's just absolutely wrong. It's not about lawsuits. It's about a constitution and it's about activity and Bryce Scott is entitled to the constitution as much as Mother Theresa and he wasn't doing anything wrong at that point," Cusack said.

In January of this year Bryce filed a lawsuit against the police officers and the city. Cusack says his office has received about 30 complaints since the Scott incident. He is not sure if there is a pattern of excessive force among some Peoria cops.

He does not expect the civil lawsuit to go to trial until next year. The two police officers Smith and Suelter (SEWL'–ter) are scheduled to appear in Peoria County court tomorrow. More HERE

Now we learn that Taser International has a plan to gain millions in Obama stimulus money. More on this later!

Cross posted on African American Political Pundit and the blog Tasered While Black