LA Police Commission Approves LAPD Drone Pilot Program Amid Protest

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By Wes Woods and Brenda Gazzar for Los Angeles Daily News – The civilian Los Angeles Police Commission on Tuesday approved a one-year pilot program for the use of drones by police in certain situations, despite significant concerns voiced by the public. The program was approved by a 3-1 vote after commissioners considered guidelines and took public comment. Steve Soboroff, president of the commission, said before his vote the issue wasn’t about drones. “The issue is a universal distrust and categorical distrust of the men and women of the Los Angeles Police Department,” said Soboroff, shouting above the crowd. “And I have a general trust and respect for the men and women of the Los Angeles Police Department, and I will vote for this policy.” Soboroff’s words came after commissioner Cynthia McClain-Hill said she was opposed to the “difficult” issue. “I am not satisfied that this department has done what it should do and needs to do in order to build the trust that is required to support the implementation of this technology,” McClain-Hill said. Meanwhile, commissioner Shane Murphy Goldsmith did not attend the meeting for reasons unclear. Many in attendance voiced their opposition to the program, and loud chants of “Shame on you!” broke out following the decision while four people were detained and issued citations. Afterward, some people in the audience briefly blocked Main Street and 1st Street outside of the meeting to protest of the decision.

Vancouver Environmental Group Stand.Earth Cries 'Corporate Intimidation'

On October 17, a pair of B.C. sheriffs visited the Vancouver headquarters of an environmental nonprofit named Stand.earth to collect money related to a failed court challenge.
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By Travis Lupick for The Georgia Straight – A Vancouver-based environmental group received an unwelcome visit by police today (October 17). “At this moment sheriffs are waiting outside the Stand.earth office at 207 W Hastings on Enbridge’s orders to seize all assets of the organization,” reads a media release issued by the nonprofit organization. “This morning our staff was served a notice of writ of seizure and sale, and two sheriffs showed up at our door, demanding to take all of our assets.” Stand.earth was previously known as ForestEthics and has operated out of a Vancouver office since 2000. This morning’s visit by police relates to a court challenge the organization mounted against the National Energy Board’s 2014 approval of an Enbridge pipeline that was planned to run from Alberta to eastern Canada. Enrbidge acted as an intervenor in the case. The challenge was eventually dismissed and Stand.earth was ordered to pay the oil and gas giant’s legal fees, which amounted to $14,000. Stand.earth never paid. Next, Enbridge obtained a court order concerning damages. Then, today, police officers responding to that court order visited Stand.earth’s headquarters in order to collect on the debt.

Convicted, But Still Policing

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By Jennifer Bjorhus and MaryJo Webster for Star Tribune – The creation of the POST Board in 1977 made Minnesota a pioneer in police accountability. A series of highly publicized police shootings and protests at the time — similar to the incidents involving Jamar Clark and Philando Castile — galvanized state lawmakers to create one of the nation’s first police licensing systems. Minnesota became the first state to require law officers to hold at least a two-year college degree — a point of pride even today. Since then, however, other states have expanded the powers of their licensing bodies, while Minnesota’s board has continued to emphasize training and education. Today, the range of behavior considered grounds for state discipline in Minnesota is narrower than in many other states — and has gone nearly unchanged since 1995. A felony conviction is grounds for mandatory license revocation, and a gross misdemeanor triggers POST Board review, but not necessarily discipline. For misdemeanors, the board concerns itself with only a select group of crimes. Convictions for misdemeanor drunken driving and 5th degree assault, for example, do not trigger a review. Neither does on-duty conduct such as excessive use of force, even when cities pay tens of thousands of dollars to victims to settle claims.

St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department’s Conflict Of Interest

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By Panda Monium for Rebz.Tv – It has finally come to the attention to the majority of St. Louis residents that Sgt. Brian Rossomanno’s national security contracting business, 0311 Tactical Solutions, LLC, is contracted to train the police department. Beyond this being a glaring conflict of interest, it is very telling of the type of training that St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department receives to be used against citizens. We have seen, day after day, heavily armored police attacking peaceful protesters, nearly always without provocation. And of course, leading his army of military-style tactically trained police, is the self-proclaimed #RiotKing Sgt. Rossomanno himself. Rossamanno is the head of SLMPD’s civil disobedience team, and is the one that makes the decisions to brutally attack peaceful protesters with chemical munitions, using illegal maneuvers such as kettling. In STLToday’s article that brought this subject to light, they stated: Rossomanno declined to be interviewed for this story. In an email on Friday, he said that 0311 Tactical did not bid on contracts from the St. Louis police because it would be an obvious conflict of interest. Later that day, his company’s website was edited to delete the St. Louis police department and its SWAT team as clients.

Rahm’s Police Academy Plan Met With Youth-Led Backlash

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By Maya Dukmasova for Chicago Reader. Chicago, IL – As rain pelted the Fullerton el platform on Tuesday night, two dozen young people boarded a southbound Red Line train with printed and hand-drawn signs. “#NoCopAcademy” one read. “$95 million for schools, mental health care, and affordable housing!” declared another. The activists organized in protest of Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s plan to build a $95 million police and fire training academy in West Garfield Park. The training compound would occupy a 30.4-acre site along Chicago Avenue between Pulaski and Kilbourn and include a swimming and diving pool, driving course, shooting range, labs, classrooms, and auditorium, and a mock CTA station and apartment building.

Police Put Hoods, Earmuffs On Protesters Detained Outside Portland ICE Facility

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By Staff of The Associated Press – PORTLAND, Ore. — Authorities handcuffed several Oregon protesters who tried to block a bus from taking immigrants to a Tacoma, Washington, detention center. Dozens of protesters lined up Wednesday afternoon outside a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement facility in Portland. They blocked the entrance and exit for several hours while several activists linked themselves together. Federal Protective Services officers started arresting protesters at about 5:30 p.m. The agency has not said how many were detained. The Portland Mercury reported that six people were handcuffed — three members of the chain and three of their supporters. Videos showed Portland police placing hoods and earmuffs over the heads of protesters who were bound together. Portland police Sgt. Chris Burley said that was done for protection, because officers initially believed they needed spark-prone power tools to separate them. Burley said Portland police made one arrest, but it was not directly related to the protest.

Bigoted And Unprofessional Police Chief Backed By Michigan Governor

Michigan State Police Director Col. Kriste Kibbey Etue. (photo: M Live)

By William Boardman for Reader Supported News – This is an unsurprisingly nasty internet meme that was publicly shared by the director of the Michigan State Police on her Facebook page on Sunday, September 24. Director Col. Kriste Kibbey Etue apparently gave no thought to her pre-packaged, knee-jerk reaction to NFL players kneeling during the national anthem in protest of police treatment of African Americans in America. Col. Etue was apparently unprepared for the intense reaction to her casual castigation of fellow citizens, predominantly black athletes, acting on principle. A Michigan State Police spokesperson actually asserted that Col. Etue’s slanderous social media post was “not about race” — even though the issue wouldn’t exist without a racist justice system that allows cops (mostly white) to kill unarmed, innocent black people without suffering significant consequences. Roughly two days after the posting, Col. Etue issued a brief, substance-free non-apology apology for it, posted on the Michigan State Police website (not on Facebook): It was a mistake to share the message on Facebook and I sincerely apologize to anyone who was offended. I will continue my focus on unity at the Michigan State Police and in communities across Michigan.

City Of St. Louis Feeling Effects Of Ongoing Protests

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By Panda Monium for Rebz.TV – After 19 days of protesting, it seems that finally the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department is starting to see the light. It’s really expensive to pay these geared up cops… to the tune of 2.9 million dollars in overtime so far. Officers are beginning to reconsider their career choice. They are tired and frustrated, and the angry protesters insulting them is indeed making some of the cops feel bad about themselves, by being frankly told exactly what people think of their profession. There are a few cops that have a shred of humanity left, and are ashamed of how peaceful protesters are being treated. And I know for certain that there are officers who continue to retain their professionalism, and are appalled at the embarrassment their coworkers are creating for the police department as a whole. Of course, we’ll never see those kinds of admissions publicly, because that would be a sign of weakness and division, and these could be taken advantage of! But we see them.

What Were American Police Learning At An Israeli Counter-Terror Convention?

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By Joshua Leifer for Jewish Currents – IN RECENT MONTHS, activists have drawn attention to the ties between Israeli counter-terrorism forces and U.S. law enforcement agencies. Jewish Voice for Peace’s “Deadly Exchange” campaign, for example, has focused specifically on Jewish communal institutions, such as the Anti-Defamation League, that sponsor various programs that bring American police to Israel and, in some cases, Israeli police to America. Last week, the Intercept reported on the connections between the Anti-Defamation League’s police training program and the role these exchanges may play in the use of surveillance and stop-and-frisk measures against both Palestinians and Americans. Work to discover these connections has in the past been met with resistance, and even new laws restricting transparency. Israeli civilians also experience the effects of the growth of militarism. Through trips to the West Bank and trainings in crowd dispersal and surveillance, American police from departments around the country learn to use against American citizens the violent techniques designed to maintain a fifty-year military occupation of a civilian population — a system under which Palestinians are routinely surveilled, harassed, tortured, and detained without trial.

Police Unions, Police Officers, And Police Abolition

More than 80 members of New York City law enforcement unions held a rally August 19 in support of Colin Kaepernick.
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By Rosa Squillacote for Portside – Abolition of the carceral state is a fundamental political goal for the Left today: specifically, abolishing the carceral state’s logic and institution. Abolition is both a goal and a discourse: it informs the strategies we adopt, as well as the framework we use to critique the carceral state and describe alternatives. It is inherently forward-thinking: we are no closer to abolition than to the revolution. The question of how the Left should regard police unions is therefore a question of whether and how police unions fit into the goal of abolition. I argue that we must understand police officers as individuals, with different interests, experiences, and opinions about their work, in order to develop political strategies necessary in the long fight for abolition. Police unions can play a strategically useful role by reflecting this diversity of individuals and opening a conversation about the relationship between the conditions and consequences of law enforcement. Abolition is not around the corner: we have a long way to go in this battle. Reforms are therefore necessary, and happen as a result of strategic political action, not grandstanding. The carceral state is brutal, oppressive, and deadly, which is why we cannot afford to compromise our goal, and why we also can’t afford to reject political opportunities along the way – strategies, allies, tactics, etc.

Chicago’s ‘Green Zone’: Plans For Massive Police Compound Worries Community

An artist’s rendering of the city of Chicago’s planned $95 million public safety training campus in West Garfield Park, to replace the city’s police and fire training academies. (Photo: Chicago City Hall)

By Kevin Gosztola for Mint Press News – The city of Chicago plans to build a massive multi-million dollar training center for police and firefighters in the West Garfield Park neighborhood. But a coalition of community organizations contend the center will compound President Donald Trump’s “multi-pronged attack” on communities of color and expand the Chicago Police Department’s “capacity for violence.” Last week, the city’s Community Development Commission approved a 30.4-acre land acquisition in a northwest industrial corridor tax-increment-financing (TIF) district in Chicago. A $95 million “state-of-the-art” compound will be built by 2020 for police, firefighters, and emergency medical services teams to train together. Mayor Rahm Emanuel hailed the facility as a destination, where out-of-state police agencies can send officers for training. It will spur “real economic development” with people from the suburbs and downstate traveling to the center. Similarly, Alderman Emma Mitts, whose ward includes West Garfield Park, asserted the community is “excited” about having “a lot more police” in the area. She also claimed there will be new economic opportunities.

St. Louis Police Declare “We’re In Control” As Crackdown On Protests Enters Fifth Day

Protesters marched in silence down Market Street in St. Louis on Monday, marking the fourth day of demonstrations since a former police officer was acquitted in the 2011 shooting death of a black man. Credit Cristina Fletes/St. Louis Post-Dispatch, via Associated Press

By Genevieve Leigh for WSWS – “We’re in control,” announced the head of the St. Louis, Missouri Police Department, Lawrence O’Toole, at a press conference Monday after a weekend of unrest in the city over the acquittal of a white cop who shot a black man to death in 2011. “This is our city and we’re going to protect it,” O’Toole declared. The escalation of the brutal police crackdown in St. Louis came as the demonstrations entered their fifth day Tuesday. In sharp contrast to the largely peaceful character of the protests, police have displayed alarming levels of belligerence and arrogance in their repression of protesters. Groups of police officers in riot gear were heard early Monday morning marching through areas forcibly cleared of demonstrators chanting, “Whose streets? Our streets!” mocking protesters with a slogan commonly used at rallies. The authoritarian declarations of the police chief and his officers came on the heels of the arrest of 123 protesters in a massive roundup on Sunday night. The arrests were carried out using a highly criticized police technique called “kettling,” in which police surround and trap protesters so they cannot escape. They are then arrested en masse for alleged refusal to disperse. Nearly a day after the mass roundup, police were refusing to release information on how many of the arrested remained in custody.

Police Chant: ‘Whose Streets Our Streets’ After Mass Arrests In St Louis

Police officers watch demonstrators on Sunday night after Jason Stockley, a former St Louis police officer, was found not guilty of the murder of Anthony Lamar Smith in 2011. Photograph: Joshua Lott/Reuters

Police officers watch demonstrators as they continue to protest in St Louis Police officers watch demonstrators on Sunday night after Jason Stockley, a former St Louis police officer, was found not guilty of the murder of Anthony Lamar Smith in 2011. Photograph: Joshua Lott/Reuters View more sharing options Shares By Jamiles Lartey for The Guardian – Police officers in riot gear gathered alongside a St Louis boulevard late on Sunday night, chanting “whose street, our street”, a common refrain used by those protesting against the acquittal of a white former officer over the death of a black man, after successfully clearing the street of demonstrators and onlookers. At a news conference early on Monday, interim police chief Lawrence O’Toole said police had seized at least five weapons and said he was “proud to tell you the city of St Louis is safe and the police owned tonight”. “We’re in control,” he said. “This is our city and we’re going to protect it.” The chant drew criticism, however, from protesters, activists and some police officers. In a statement, Sgt Heather King, president of the Ethical Order of Police, a group founded by African American officers, said: “That chant goes against the very code of ethics we swore to abide by. “Whether we agree with demonstrations, protests or acts of violence, it is our job to do our job free of personal bias.” On Twitter on Monday, the group said: “We are human and we will make mistakes. We are also people who have the last word, which can be – arrest, freedom, or death. No need 2 chant.” Hundreds of officers had mobilized after another day of peaceful protests over the acquittal of Jason Stockley in connection with the death of Anthony Lamar Smith. The protest began at the police headquarters downtown. Hundreds of people marched through downtown streets, the posh Central West End and the trendy Delmar Loop area of nearby University City.

Police Tactics Kettling, Mass Arrests Questioned In St. Louis

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By Doug Moore for St. Louis Post-Dispatch – ST. LOUIS • Police used a technique called kettling on Sunday night to box in about 100 people at a busy downtown intersection and arrest them for failing to disperse. It’s a tactic used to corral a group of people who fail to follow police orders. St. Louis police took the action after several windows were broken and concrete planters and trash cans overturned. But some of those caught in the box made by rows of officers said police overstepped their bounds, using excessive force and chemical spray on people who were not protesting, including residents trying to get home and members of the media. As police closed in from all sides, they struck their batons in unison on the pavement, in a cadence march. Tony Rice, an activist who goes by Search4Swag on Twitter, said he was shocked by the police behavior. “It was the most brutal arrest I’ve ever experienced in my life,” Rice said. “I thought I was going to die.” He said he could not lie prone on the ground, as ordered, because he had his bike with him. Rice said his neck was being pressed against part of his bike, and he told the officers: “I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe.” Those bused to the jail seemed confused by what was happening, Rice said. Pedestrians were arrested along with legal observers, protesters, a freelance photographer and a doctor, he said.

Police Infiltrate Anti-Fascist Group:

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By Michael Roberts for Westword – This week, attorney David Lane expects to file a motion to dismiss charges against members of the Colorado Springs Socialists, a student protest group, over a March demonstration in Colorado Springs on the grounds of “outrageous conduct” by local law enforcement. The reason? Lane argues that undercover officers were improperly embedded among the nonviolent protesters, whose largest offense at the rally appears to have been jaywalking. Continue to read Lane’s explanation of the case, which was first reported by the Colorado Springs Independent. “This is a bunch of Colorado College students who call themselves a socialist organization, which doesn’t carry with it the connotations it used to, given that Bernie Sanders also carries with him the socialist moniker,” Lane says. “They were having a protest about injustice, and when the march moved from point A to point B, the cops told them to get out of the streets. They didn’t move out of the streets immediately, and they ended up assembling at a municipal building plaza — and when they were ordered to disperse, they said, ‘No.’” How did the cops react to this response? Lane knows, since their exchanges were captured on body camera footage his firm has obtained.