“Nicole Harper, pregnant with her daughter, was driving her SUV home on a Arkansas freeway in July 2020 when Arkansas State trooper Rodney Dunn decided to stop her for allegedly driving 84 in a 70 mph zone. He turned on his lights in an attempt to make her pull over.
Following what she understood to be standard safe procedure in this situation, Harper moved into the right lane, slowed down, turned on her hazards to indicate to the officer that she understood what was going on, and was seeking a safe shoulder or exit to pull over.
No sane person could have imagined, given Harper’s behavior, that she was involved in any active attempt to escape the raw justice of a speeding ticket. Fewer than two or three minutes had passed since the cop first turned on his lights.
Corporal Dunn was having none of that. Using an insanely dangerous strategy that police in Arkansas are using more and more—144 times last year, double the number of times the year before—he slammed into her SUV causing her to hit the concrete median, flipping her SUV. The practice, called the “precision immobilization technique” (PIT), killed at least three people in 2020.”
“The Court’s ruling is a crash course in the lopsided logic behind qualified immunity, which requires that the facts of any given case be reflected almost identically in a previous case should a victim of government abuse want the privilege of bringing their suit before a jury.”
“His victims, many of whom had prior records or were working to stay sober, had their lives upended. One man lost custody of his daughter.”
“A New York police officer is under investigation after video emerged showing him intentionally damaging a person’s car while executing a search warrant.
The local news outlet North Country Now reports that the police department in Massena, New York, has launched an internal investigation following the release of a 20-second video. The video shows the officer, identified by North Country Now as Brandon Huckle, entering a garage. The door hits a silver car as Huckle enters. Huckle then intentionally grabs the door and swings it twice more into the side of the car.
There have been countless accusations over the years of police maliciously ransacking houses during the executions of search warrants, but it’s not often captured on video.”
“Women account for less than 4 percent of fatal police shootings, but according to our analysis of the Post’s data, almost 20 percent of the women fatally shot by police are Black, even though Black women make up only around 13 percent of women in the U.S. And since 2015, when the Post first began tracking fatal police shootings, at least 51 Black women have been killed. Half of those women have gotten some national media attention in the 60 days surrounding their death, according to FiveThirtyEight’s analysis of media reports, but in most cases, the coverage is limited — five stories or fewer.”
“Researchers at Brookings Institution and the University of Maryland analyzed nearly 300 phrases used as Twitter hashtags between August 2014 and August 2015, a year after the killing of 18-year-old Michael Brown. Though these hashtags are often used to name Black victims of police brutality, not one specifically mentioned a Black woman or girl.
“Mainstream narratives are often still written by men or are tailored toward a male perspective,” said Keisha Blain, a history professor at the University of Pittsburgh and the president of the African American Intellectual History Society. “For these reasons, among others, Black women’s experiences with police violence are too often marginalized.””
“When Ronald Greene, 49, was killed after an encounter with Louisiana state troopers in 2019, the authorities originally told his family he died when his car crashed into a tree during a high-speed chase.
That description turned out to be a lie. In reality, Greene was brutalized by the troopers who pulled him over, tased, beaten up, and even dragged. The initial crash report made no reference to a fight with police, but a medical report from an emergency room doctor documented that Greene’s injuries included stun-gun prongs in his back. The injuries did not add up. Though official documentation indicates that Greene died of cardiac arrest, it’s actually not fully clear how he died, due to the subsequent secrecy from Louisiana State Police about what happened.
Just over two years later, the Associated Press has obtained 46 minutes of body camera footage recorded by one of the state troopers on the scene and has released clips and described the footage.
Greene did apparently lead troopers in a high-speed chase after they attempted to pull him over for an unspecified traffic violation outside Monroe, Louisiana. The chase did end in a crash, but that’s not what killed him. The car only suffered some minor body damage. The body camera footage the A.P. released Wednesday shows troopers approaching Greene’s car after the crash, and as Greene attempts to tell the troopers that he’s scared, they immediately start tasing him. He is forced down to the ground on his stomach, attacked, and tased repeatedly by the troopers even as he wails apologies.
Greene is handcuffed and then left on his stomach for at least nine minutes, something police use-of-force experts interviewed by the A.P. say cops are specifically taught not to do to avoid suffocating someone. The suspect is supposed to be turned to one side or put in a seated position. At one point in the video, Greene attempts to turn himself to his side, but one of the troopers uses his foot to force him back down on his stomach. After Greene’s wrists and ankles are shackled, Trooper Kory York drags him briefly along the ground by his ankles.”
“The A.P. didn’t get the video due to a public release of body camera footage from the Louisiana State Police. In fact, the police still refuse to release any body camera footage and responded to the A.P. with a press statement that “premature public release of investigative files and video evidence in this case is not authorized and…undermines the investigative process and compromises the fair and impartial outcome.”
That response might have had more credibility had the troopers not initially lied to the family about the circumstances behind Greene’s death and if the state hadn’t waited 474 days to open an internal administrative investigation to determine what actually happened. Local prosecutors declined to charge the troopers involved with any crimes, but did refer the incident to the Department of Justice, which is independently investigating the circumstances of Greene’s death.”
“The entire incident shows why body camera footage can be so valuable. Yes, the emergency room report highlights the suspicious nature of Greene’s injuries compared to the official police account, and yes the family was made suspicious when they saw that Greene’s car suffered only minor damage from the crash. But absent body camera footage, would anything have come from those suspicions? It took over a year and a lawsuit for the Louisiana State Police to even start investigating its own troopers’ behavior.”
“A $1.9 billion emergency funding bill to boost security at the US Capitol in the wake of the January 6 insurrection barely passed the House on Thursday. The measure, which would also provide additional personal security for lawmakers facing an intensifying wave of threats and harassment in Washington and their home districts, received no Republican support, and exposed fissures within the Democratic Party over the issue of increasing funding for any police force.
The bill ultimately passed on Thursday, following last-minute negotiations led by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, with 213 votes for the bill and 212 against.
Every voting Republican voted no on the bill, claiming that it cost too much money and that there was no guarantee the funding would be properly spent enhancing security. Those votes followed recent statements from Republicans that downplayed or outright fabricated facts about the violence that transpired at the Capitol on January 6.
More strikingly, Democrats were not unified among themselves. Left-wing members of the House, including the members of the so-called Squad, broke from the party out of what could be described as a defund-the-police rationale.”
“State transportation codes include hundreds of rules governing the operation and maintenance of motor vehicles. Many of them are picayune (e.g., specifying acceptable tire wear, restricting window tints, and dictating the distance from an intersection at which a driver must signal a turn) or open to interpretation (e.g., mandating a “safe distance” between cars, requiring that cars be driven in a “reasonable and prudent” manner, and banning any windshield crack that “substantially obstructs the driver’s clear view”).
“The upshot of all this regulation,” University of Toledo law professor David Harris observed in a 1998 George Washington Law Review article, “is that even the most cautious driver would find it virtually impossible to drive for even a short distance without violating some traffic law. A police officer willing to follow any driver for a few blocks would therefore always have probable cause to make a stop.”
In the 1996 case Whren v. United States, the Supreme Court said such stops are consistent with the Fourth Amendment’s ban on unreasonable searches and seizures even when the traffic violation is merely a pretext for investigating other matters. If an officer stops a car for a traffic violation in the hope of finding illegal drugs or seizable cash, for instance, that is perfectly constitutional, even without any evidence of criminal conduct.”
“On January 28, 2019, plainclothes narcotics officers broke into a house on Harding Street in Houston and killed all three occupants: Dennis Tuttle, a retired 59-year-old machinist; his 58-year-old wife, Rhogena Nicholas; and their dog. The couple’s families marked the two-year anniversary of that deadly home invasion by filing federal civil rights lawsuits against the city, its police chief, and 13 officers implicated in the operation.
The raid, which was triggered by a phony tip, was based on a no-knock search warrant that Officer Gerald Goines obtained by falsely portraying Tuttle and Nicholas as -dangerous drug dealers. The centerpiece of Goines’ search warrant -affidavit was a fictional heroin purchase by a nonexistent confidential informant. Another narcotics officer, Steven Bryant, backed up Goines’ story. Goines and Bryant eventually were charged with several state and federal crimes, including two counts of felony murder against Goines.
Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo, who hailed the cops who killed Tuttle and Nicholas as “heroes” and 10 months after the raid was still dismissing “the chances of this being systemic,” would like the story to end there: with two bad apples whose lies led to the regrettable but necessary use of deadly force against two people who, in turned out, were not actually heroin dealers. But the lawsuits argue that the blame extends to 11 other cops who helped instigate the raid, executed it, or allowed it to happen; Acevedo, who has never apologized for posthumously defaming Tuttle and Nicholas or given a full explanation of why they died; and the city, which built a moldy barrel where apples were bound to go bad and spread their rot.”
“Goines was not the only allegedly corrupt officer in Squad 15. Since the Harding Street raid, Harris County District -Attorney Kim Ogg has charged a dozen current or former narcotics officers with felonies, including lies about overtime and drug purchases.
“Houston Police narcotics officers falsified documentation about drug -payments to confidential informants with the support of supervisors,” Ogg said in July. “Goines and others could never have preyed on our community the way they did without the participation of their supervisors; every check and balance in place to stop this type of behavior was -circumvented.””