It is one of the great ironies of the U.S.-led war on terror and post-Cold War transatlantic relations that democratic accountability and human rights protections at times seem stronger in the former Soviet bloc than they do in the United States. This lesson was driven home again last week when Poland paid a quarter of a million dollars to two terror suspects tortured by the CIA in a secret prison on Polish territory between 2002 and 2003.
Imposed by the European Court of Human Rights, the penalty issued against Poland prompted outrage among many Poles who felt they were being unfairly punished for American wrongdoing. “We might have to pay compensation even though our personnel did nothing wrong,” said Radoslaw Sikorski, Poland’s former foreign minister. Sikorski noted that Poland is the only country that has sought to hold accountable its own senior officials whose decisions allowed the CIA to commit human rights violations on its territory.
This lack of accountability also goes for the United States, which has failed to investigate or prosecute any of the senior officials who authorized the human rights violations at secret CIA prisons in Poland or anywhere else.
Of the 119 known detainees held in CIA black sites between 2001 and 2006, at least 39 were subjected to torture by CIA personnel, according to the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee report on torture released last December. The two individuals tortured in Poland, Abu Zubaydah and Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, were eventually sent to Guantanamo Bay, where they have remained since 2006.
While al-Nashiri is currently on trial for allegedly orchestrating the 2000 bombing of the USS Cole, Abu Zubaydah is considered one of Guantanamo’s “forever prisoners,” with no charges or trial foreseen. Not even a preliminary ruling has been made on his case in nearly seven years. In a May 12, 2015 article, ProPublica noted that his case has been stalled “for 2,477 days and counting.”
As one of his lawyers, Helen Duffy, wrote in the Guardian last December following the long-delayed release of the Senate report’s executive summary, “Abu Zubaydah might now be described as exhibit A” in the CIA’s rendition and torture regime.
“He has the regrettable distinction of being the first victim of the CIA detention programme for whom, as the report makes clear, many of the torture (or ‘enhanced interrogation’) techniques were developed, and the only prisoner known to have been subject to all of them,” Duffy wrote.
The Senate report contains about 1,000 references to Abu Zubaydah specifically, and confirms the ECHR’s findings regarding the interrogation techniques that he endured.
Among these were “wallings” (being slammed repeatedly against a wall), sleep deprivation for up to 180 hours (usually nude and in stress positions), and waterboarding. The waterboarding of Abu Zubaydah, to which he was subjected 83 times in one month alone, was authorized at the highest levels of the U.S. government.
He was also subjected to extreme confinement.
“Over the course of the entire 20 day ‘aggressive phase of interrogation,’ Abu Zubaydah spent a total of 266 hours (11 days, 2 hours) in the large (coffin size) confinement box and 29 hours in a small confinement box, which had a width of 21 inches, a depth of 2.5 feet, and a height of 2.5 feet,” according to the Senate report. “The CIA interrogators told Abu Zubaydah that the only way he would leave the facility was in the coffin-shaped confinement box.”
Duffy notes that beyond Abu Zubaydah’s torture, the Senate report revealed how much misinformation was generated to justify his indefinite detention. Several of the CIA’s claims, in some cases reiterated long after they were known to be false, were repudiated point by point in the report.
For example, despite repeated assertions that Abu Zubaydah was “the third or fourth man in al-Qaida,” the report noted that the “CIA later concluded that Abu Zubaydah was not a member of al-Qaida.” It also refuted the government’s claims regarding his involvement in 9/11, that the interrogating team was “certain he was withholding information” and claims that his torture led to valuable actionable intelligence.
The case of Abu Zubaydah also led to the only prosecution to date in the United States associated with the CIA’s torture program – although not for anyone who was involved with his ill-treatment, but for the CIA whistleblower who first exposed it.
In a 2007 interview with ABC News, former CIA officer John Kiriakou described the waterboarding of Abu Zubaydah and later allegedly provided to a journalist the name of a covert officer with the CIA’s Counterterrorism Center who worked on the operation to capture and interrogate Abu Zubaydah. For this offense, Kiriakou was charged under the 1917 Espionage Act and accepted a plea bargain for which he spent two years in prison.
The prosecution of Kiriakou was criticized at the time by some segments of the international community. The Parliamentary Assembly of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, for example, in a resolution adopted in 2012 “condemned the prosecution that U.S. authorities have initiated against former CIA agent John Kiriakou, who is accused of providing journalists details regarding the capture of Abu Zubaydah, an al-Qaeda suspect who is said to have been tortured in a secret CIA prison in Poland and is one of two individuals granted ‘victim status’ by prosecutors in Warsaw.”
Former U.S. Congressman Jim Moran (D-VA) said on the House floor on Nov. 17, 2012 that the government’s targeting of Kirakou represented a “selective prosecution.” He asked President Barack Obama to pardon Kiriakou and called the 15-year CIA veteran “an American hero.”
With Kiriakou out of prison after serving his term but the CIA’s torture victims still languishing in Gitmo with no end in sight, Poland has faced not only the political fallout for these policies but also the practical challenges of complying with the ECHR’s rulings considering the logistics of compensating individuals who are incarcerated – one a Palestinian and one a Saudi.
Nevertheless, “Poland is applying the ECHR’s decisions,” foreign ministry spokesman Marcin Wojciechowski said. “In the case of one person, the money was paid into a bank account indicated by his lawyers, in the case of the other, hit by international sanctions, we requested the creation of a judicial deposit,” he added.
In accordance with the ECHR ruling, Poland has also asked the United States to rule out the death penalty for the two men in line with an EU-wide ban on capital punishment, Wojciechowski told AFP.
It irks many in Poland that their country is facing legal repercussions for the secret rendition and detention program which the CIA operated under then-President George W. Bush in several countries across the world after the 9/11 attacks. In Poland, the notion that the former Communist country would tolerate a secret CIA prison in which torture was being used was for years derided by the country’s politicians, journalists and the public as a crackpot conspiracy theory. Polish officials consistently denied the existence of any such prison.
But a string of revelations and political statements by Polish leaders acknowledged for the first time that the United States did indeed run a secret interrogation facility for terror suspects in 2002 and 2003 in a remote region of the country. In December 2014, Poland’s former President Aleksander Kwaśniewski officially admitted that a secret CIA prison had existed at an airbase where terror suspects were brought for interrogation, but he insisted that Warsaw had no knowledge of abuse happening at the site.
It appears now though that the denials of knowledge regarding torture may have been a case of willful ignorance or plausible deniability enforced by millions of dollars in cash payoffs. The Senate torture report revealed that despite initial threats by Poland to halt the transfer of terror suspects to the black site 11 years ago, the government became more “flexible” after the CIA started giving it large amounts of money. Reportedly, the CIA paid Polish officials as much as $50 million in cash to look the other way.
But according to Radoslaw Sikorski, Poland’s former foreign minister and now marshal of the lower house of the Parliament, the prison was set up out of friendship with the United States. He now concedes however that the covert relationship has proved detrimental to Poland.
“We have been embarrassed by it, but even so we do not apologize for having the closest possible security and intelligence relationship with the United States,” he said. “We might have to pay compensation even though our personnel did nothing wrong. You can imagine how Polish people feel about it.”
“This left bad feelings on our side,” said Tadeusz Chabiera, founder of the Euro-Atlantic Association think tank in Warsaw. “We are a small country that was badly treated by a great power.”
The regrets and feelings of betrayal being expressed in Poland follow a long-established pattern that goes back at least a decade. Signs of this frustration first emerged in 2004 during the U.S.-led occupation of Iraq, to which Poland committed 2,400 troops.
At the height of the Iraqi insurgency, David Ost reported in The Nation magazine on Sept. 16, 2004, “George W. Bush has managed to do what forty-five years of Communist rule could not: puncture the image of essential American goodness that has always been the United States’ key selling point.”
America’s Eroding Image
In Poland, as in many countries around the world, much of that positive image was restored following the election in 2008 of Barack Obama and the promise of change that he seemed to represent. But as the Pew Research Center reported in 2013, “pro-America sentiment is slipping.”
“The decline is in no way comparable to the collapse of U.S. standing in the first decade of this century,” according to Pew, which noted that at the time of the 2013 global survey, more than six-in-ten in Poland, France, Italy, and Spain had a favorable opinion of the U.S. “But the ‘Obama bounce’ in the global stature of the United States experienced in 2009 is clearly a thing of the past.”
It remains to be seen whether the recent developments on CIA torture will play any significant role in further eroding the image of the United States, but the incongruity of a small country like Poland bearing the brunt of liability for these illegal policies while no one in the United States answers for them should not be lost on any of the U.S.’s other allies.
In some of the countries that cooperated with the U.S. rendition program, the wheels of justice are still spinning, albeit slowly.
A criminal investigation is ongoing in Lithuania, where prosecutors are focusing on a possible illegal border crossing involving CIA prisoner Mustafa al-Hawsawi who was allegedly tortured at a Lithunian black site code-named Violet.
Meanwhile, calls are growing for authorities to conduct a comprehensive investigation into the existence of a CIA black site in Romania, with former Romanian President Ion Iliescu revealing last month that he had approved CIA requests to set up at least one secret prison where prisoners were subject to torture. Iliescu said he deeply regrets that decision.
Calls also continue for the United States to launch credible investigations into its own role, and to offer reparations to the victims of the rendition and torture program.
Coincidentally, the ECHR’s penalty against Poland was imposed the same week that the U.S. was urged by the United Nations to financially compensate victims of the U.S. torture regime and to prosecute the perpetrators of this abuse.
According to a report by the UN Human Rights Council’s Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review, issued on May 15, the U.S. should “ensure that all victims of torture and ill-treatment – whether still in U.S. custody or not – obtain redress and have an enforceable right to fair and adequate compensation and as full rehabilitation as possible, including medical and psychological assistance.”
Further, the U.S. should “ensure proper and transparent investigation and prosecution of individuals responsible for all allegations of torture and ill treatment, including those documented in the unclassified Senate summary on CIA activities published in 2014 and provide redress to victims.”
With a September deadline to respond to the UN’s recommendations, the Obama administration will have to make a stated commitment to the world by deciding which of the recommendations will be accepted, and which will be rejected.
When it comes to torture prosecutions and compensation, it is safe to say that the world will be watching.
MPCID and the Military Prosecution refuse to do the bare minimum required in the investigation of the death of a protester: find out where the shooters stood
This blog has dealt more than once with cases in which MPCID negligence and intentional delaying seemed so exceptional, that you had to wonder whether they involved negligence or a calculated attempt to disrupt the investigation. The case before us, that of Palestinian protester Bassem Abu Rahmeh, moves in the same trajectory.
The Abu Rahmeh case, discussed here previously, is really quite simple. On April 17th, 2009, Abu Rahmeh protested near the separation wall in his village, Bil’in, in the West Bank. (We note that at the time, the wall followed a route that in 2007 the HCJ ruled to change, but the IDF was in no hurry and changed it only in 2011.) Abu Rahmeh was unarmed, and did not employ any violence, and yet, at the moment he protested the security forces shooting another demonstrator, an Israeli security forces personnel in uniform fired an extended-range tear gas grenade (a grenade used to disperse demonstrators from a distance) directly at him. The grenade hit Abu Rahmeh in the chest, and quickly led to his death.
Note and this is important: these facts are not being disputed. Even so, six years and counting after Abu Rahmeh’s death, the IDF – through MPCID and the Military Prosecution – is still doing its best to avoid trying the man who shot him. To quote the appeal we submitted to the HCJ with B’Tselem in April 2015, “From the chain of events, it is evident that this is (at best) a case of severe negligence on part of the respondents, and contempt of a most severe case of killing an unarmed protester, who was protesting peacefully. Military and civil law enforcement entities have allowed the case of a killing of an innocent man to fall through the cracks time and again, requiring the court to intervene repeatedly… Abu Rahmeh was killed by IDF soldiers who – at best – shot him negligently, and the investigation of the responsibility for his death was smothered for years by the investigative and prosecutorial bodies’ inexcusable red-tape behavior”.
Here is the chain of events, in chronological order:
17.4.2009 – An Israeli security forces personnel in uniform shoots Abu Rahmeh. The shooting is documented by three separate video cameras.
Due to the investigation policy at the time – which was changed only in 2011 – MPCID does not automatically investigate in case of death, unless explicitly ordered to by the Military Prosecution. The latter refuses to order an investigation of this case.
28.3.10 – Ten months after Abu Rahmeh’s death, the Military Prosecution provides an unusual argument for its refusal to order an MPCID investigation: the possibility that the grenade hit the fence and then ricocheted at Abu Rahmeh; the chance that the fact that Abu Rahmeh was standing on a rock when he was shot caused him “to converge” with the grenade’s course.
A reasonable person might think this is precisely what an investigation is supposed to find, since an unarmed demonstrator was shot during a non-violent demonstration, but apparently reasonable persons need not apply for work at the Military Prosecution.
3.6.10 – In response to the Military Prosecution’s peculiar statement, human rights organizations Yesh Din and B’Tselem do their work for them, and send the prosecution an expert opinion based on forensic architecture. As noted, Abu Rahmeh’s death was documented by three separate cameras, and the experts used the three videos to build a simulation showing where the shooter stood. According to this expert opinion, we don’t know the shooter’s identity, but we know where he was standing.
11.7.10 – Based on the expert opinion – new evidence obtained 15 months after the shooting – the Prosecution orders an MPCID investigation.
28.6.11 – Nearly a year after an MPCID investigation it initiated and 26 months after the killing, the Chief of the IDF Ballistics Department informs MPCID that “the only way such ordnance reached the target is if it was fired directly”, rather than above or below the target. That is, MPCID’s expert contradicts the Military Prosecution’s position from March 2010. We learned this bit only after the investigation was closed.
3.2.13 – Chief of the IDF’s Photo Reconnaissance Department informs MPCID that IDF orders forbid shooting directly at persons with this ordnance, and recommends the MPCID reconstruct the scene to establish where each of the shooters stood at the time of the shooting. MPCID refrained from conducting this elementary investigation. The Chief’s opinion came almost four years after the killing of Abu Rahmeh and almost 20 months after the Chief of the IDF’s Ballistics Department rules that the tear gas canister was indisputably fired directly at Abu Rahmeh.
3.3.13 – Some three years after the beginning of the MPCID investigation, we petition (with B’Tselem) the HCJ, demanding the Military Prosecution conclude the unending investigation and serve indictments – at the very least for negligent manslaughter.
September 2013 – The Military Prosecution closes the investigation, claiming it is unable to determine who shot Abu Rahmeh.
29.10.13 – Given the Prosecution’s decision to close the case, the HCJ rules that our petition is no longer relevant, but rules that “we are of the opinion that if there is an appeal, it must be dealt with speedily, so as not to delay proceedings further”.
4.11.13 – We request the investigative materials for preparation of an appeal.
27.3.14 – Five months pass before we receive part of the materials – not all of it.
7.4.14 – We request the missing material. Ten days before the fifth anniversary of Abu Rahmeh’s death.
27.5.14 – The missing material arrives.
24.7.14 – We appeal, with B’Tselem, including an expert opinion responding to the IDF’s opinion.
Our demands in the appeal were fairly simple: there are three suspects who admitted to firing extended-range tear gas grenades, and we wanted MPCID to carry out a complimentary investigation and implement the Chief of the Photo Reconnaissance Department’s recommendation to reconstruct the scene of the shooting to determine where each suspect stood. According to the data we gave MPCID, this would be enough to determine the identity of the shooter who killed Bassem Abu Rahmeh.
Furthermore, during the investigation of one of the three soldiers, he said that he not only fired tear gas grenade but he also took photos of the incident, and since MPCID did not bother to locate those photos, we wanted them to make an effort to. Let’s consider this for a moment: the Military Police’s Criminal Investigative Division heard, during an investigation of a killing, about the existence of evidence – and made no effort to obtain it.
A third point made in the appeal is the commanders’ responsibility for Abu Rahmeh’s death. An extended-range gas grenade is to be used at range of 200 meters or more; the demonstrators were much closer. From the investigation files we received we learned that most of the soldiers suspected of firing tear gas grenades during the demonstration complained during the investigation that they did not receive proper training on using the weapons they used, and furthermore, that they complained about this to their commanders previously. MPCID did not bother to investigate the commanders about this matter. Given that the investigation meandered on for more than three years, it’s will to be difficult to claim it was for lack of time.
Although the HCJ ordered that in the event of an appeal against the decision to close the case “it must be dealt with speedily,” and although our appeal included rather simple and clear demands, eight months have passed without any response from the prosecution.
Therefore, at the end of March, 2015 – nearly six years after Bassem Abu Rahmeh was killed – we were forced to petition the HCJ again, this time demanding a decision on the appeal.
During these six years, the Military Prosecution did its best not to investigate a relatively simple case of a man killed; six years in which human rights organizations had to provide the Prosecution with the evidence it itself did not bother to collect. During these six years, against the recommendation of IDF officers, MPCID did not reconstruct the scene of the crime to determine who stood where. In these six years, the IDF’s official investigative bodies did their negligent best to prevent the trial of a man who killed a non-violent protestor.
But when MPCID and the Prosecution carry out an investigation so unwillingly and so negligently it can barely be called an investigation, they put the soldiers at risk. To avoid a situation in which soldiers are tried outside their country, the investigation of the crime they carried out must be thorough and swift. No reasonable person would call the farce carried out by MPCID and the prosecution in the Abu Rahmeh case thorough or swift. If this is how they handle an investigation of a death, how do they investigate lesser offenses?
Omran Omar Abu Dheim, 41, from the Jabal al-Mukabbir neighborhood in occupied East Jerusalem
JERUSALEM – Israeli forces shot and killed a Palestinian man in the Al-Tur neighborhood on the Mount of Olives east of the Old City of Jerusalem after he allegedly attempted to run over border guard police officers with his vehicle.
Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld told Ma’an the man tried to run over two police officers with his car, leaving them moderately injured. Witnesses told Ma’an that Israeli officers then opened fire at a young man in a grey Land Cruiser at the main crossroads of Al-Tur, critically injuring him.
The Israeli forces sealed the area, preventing locals from accessing the injured young man to give him first aid. The young man succumbed to his wounds shortly after he was shot.
The forces reportedly fired stun grenades at those who attempted to access the man after he was shot, head of a local follow-up committee of Al-Tur, Mufid Abu Ghannam, told Ma’an.
Locals identified him as Omran Omar Abu Dheim, 41, from the Jabal Al-Mukabbir neighborhood in occupied East Jerusalem.
An eyewitness denied the Israeli claims that the driver was trying to run over Israeli border guard officers.
“He was trying to make a U-turn in the middle of the road,” the witness claimed.
Israeli forces later raided several commercial stores in Al-Tur, confiscating surveillance cameras which held footage of the shooting of Abu Dheim by Israeli forces. Al-Tur committee head Abu Ghannam told Ma’an that Israeli forces, intelligence officers, and undercover officers were deployed in the neighborhood after the shooting and raided all shops near the scene of the crime. The officers confiscated all surveillance cameras “which documented the killing of Abu Dheim,” Abu Ghannam added. Abu Dheim’s vehicle was also confiscated. Palestinian shop owners have been targeted by Israeli forces in the past when private shop surveillance cameras capture incidents involving Israeli forces. The Israeli military ordered shop owner Fakher Zayed to dismantle his surveillance cameras after capturing footage of Israeli forces shooting and killing two Palestinian teenagers during a demonstration in May 2014. Zayed was interrogated, threatened and ordered to remove his security cameras in 24 hours, and had his ID withheld, Human Rights Watch reported at the time.
Abu Dheim’s death and alleged attack are currently under investigation, Israeli sources said.
Reprieve | May 13, 2015
Human rights NGO Reprieve has welcomed the US Department of Defense’s decision, announced today, to drop proceedings against a military nurse who refused to carry out force-feedings at Guantanamo Bay.
In July last year, information received by Reprieve lawyers from one of their clients held at Guantanamo revealed that one military medical professional had refused to carry out force-feedings on prisoners engaged in a peaceful hunger strike. The Miami Herald’s Carol Rosenberg subsequently obtained confirmation from the DoD that a medical provider had been unwilling to carry out the procedure, and as a result had been reassigned.
Since then, it emerged that the DoD was considering action against the nurse – which today has been dropped.
Involuntary force-feeding has been criticized as unethical and inhuman by medical organizations including the American Medical Association (AMA), and other bodies including the UN.
Lawyers at Reprieve are continuing to fight for the release of video tapes of force-feedings which are held by the US Government. Last Friday (May 8) saw a hearing in a US appeal court at which the Obama administration argued that the public had no right to see the tapes, and the court no ability to challenge that decision. A judgement in the case is pending.
Commenting on the DoD’s decision to drop proceedings against the nurse, Reprieve attorney Cori Crider said: “Better late than never, DoD has rightly dropped its case against the nurse who decided he could not ethically force-feed Guantanamo detainees. It took enormous courage for him to swim against the tide. And as someone who has watched the force-feeding videos, I am certain he did the right thing. If the tapes are ever made public, the American people will watch in horror at what we have asked this man, and many other young servicemen and women, to do.”
Reprieve | May 12, 2015
Saudi Arabia has been urged to spare the lives of two juveniles and an aging political activist, after plans emerged to execute at least one of them this Thursday.
Sheikh Nimr Baqir Al Nimr, a 53-year old critic of the Saudi regime, and two juveniles, Ali Mohammed al-Nimr and Dawoud Hussain al-Marhoon, were arrested during a 2012 crackdown on anti-government protests in the Shiite province of Qatif. After a trial marred by irregularities, Mr Al Nimr was sentenced to death by crucifixion on charges including ‘insulting the King’ and delivering religious sermons that ‘disrupt national unity’. This week, it emerged that the authorities plan to execute him on Thursday, despite protests from the UN and Saudi human rights organizations.
The planned execution of Mr Al Nimr has prompted fears for the safety of the two juveniles, who were both 17 when they were arrested and eventually sentenced to death on similar charges. Both teenagers were tortured and denied access to lawyers, and faced trials that failed to meet international standards. All three prisoners, including Mr Al Nimr, have not yet exhausted their legal appeals.
Saudi Arabia has carried out executions at an unprecedented rate since the coming to power of King Salman in 2015. On May 6th 2015, the Kingdom carried out its 79th execution of the year, and it is already close to surpassing its 2014 total of 87 executions. Human rights organization Reprieve has urged the European Union to intervene with Saudi Arabia to prevent the killings.
Commenting, Maya Foa, director of Reprieve’s death penalty team, said: “Saudi Arabia’s wave of executions since the start of this year has provoked widespread disgust. But these killings, if they are allowed to go ahead, will mark a new low. The sentencing to death of children and the elderly on blatantly political charges is inexcusable, and smacks of an attempt to silence internal dissent in the Kingdom.”
Bothaina Al-Najjar, 42, is fearful and cautious while harvesting the wheat and barley on her farm. She can hear the Israeli tanks roaring just a couple of hundred metres away from the Gaza Strip city of Kuza’a. On Friday, Israeli snipers positioned on the Gaza border in the north of the besieged territory shot a Palestinian farmer, causing him serious injuries.
This is an almost daily experience, she told Anadolu reporter Hani Al-Shaer. Israeli tanks could be seen from time to time aiming their barrels towards them during the interview. They also felt that they were in the cross-hairs of Israeli snipers.
Wearing her traditional dark dress and almost hidden by the wheat crop, she said, “I come to my farm in the early morning and start working very fast in case I am targeted by the Israeli forces.” She does not know why the Israelis target the Palestinians in their land. “We are civilians and they know very well that we pose no danger to them.” Al-Najjar added that she and her family have been there for decades.
Nearby, the Anadolu journalist spotted a 70-year old man who was, along with his wife and sister, harvesting their barley crop. Mahmoud Qdeeh had arrived on his farm at 9:30am. When Al-Shaer approached to speak to him, gunfire could be heard, fired from the Israeli side of the border.
Qdeeh ignored the shots, but his sister insisted that he should leave. They collected what they had harvested, packed it onto a donkey cart and fled.
Recalling her youth, Al-Najjar told the journalist that at harvest time the farmers used to prepare big meals and invite their neighbours to eat. “But, after 2000, the Israeli occupation razed hundreds of acres of Palestinian farmland and made our lives hell.”
Police officers are more likely to be struck by lightning than be held financially accountable for their actions.—Law professor Joanna C. Schwartz (paraphrased)
“In a democratic society,” observed Oakland police chief Sean Whent, “people have a say in how they are policed.”
Unfortunately, if you can be kicked, punched, tasered, shot, intimidated, harassed, stripped, searched, brutalized, terrorized, wrongfully arrested, and even killed by a police officer, and that officer is never held accountable for violating your rights and his oath of office to serve and protect, never forced to make amends, never told that what he did was wrong, and never made to change his modus operandi, then you don’t live in a constitutional republic.
You live in a police state.
It doesn’t even matter that “crime is at historic lows and most cities are safer than they have been in generations, for residents and officers alike,” as the New York Times reports.
What matters is whether you’re going to make it through a police confrontation alive and with your health and freedoms intact. For a growing number of Americans, those confrontations do not end well.
As David O. Brown, the Dallas chief of police, noted: “Sometimes it seems like our young officers want to get into an athletic event with people they want to arrest. They have a ‘don’t retreat’ mentality. They feel like they’re warriors and they can’t back down when someone is running from them, no matter how minor the underlying crime is.”
Making matters worse, in the cop culture that is America today, the Bill of Rights doesn’t amount to much. Unless, that is, it’s the Law Enforcement Officers’ Bill of Rights (LEOBoR), which protects police officers from being subjected to the kinds of debilitating indignities heaped upon the average citizen.
Most Americans, oblivious about their own rights, aren’t even aware that police officers have their own Bill of Rights. Yet at the same time that our own protections against government abuses have been reduced to little more than historic window dressing, 14 states have already adopted LEOBoRs—written by police unions and being considered by many more states and Congress—which provides police officers accused of a crime with special due process rights and privileges not afforded to the average citizen.
In other words, the LEOBoR protects police officers from being treated as we are treated during criminal investigations: questioned unmercifully for hours on end, harassed, harangued, browbeaten, denied food, water and bathroom breaks, subjected to hostile interrogations, and left in the dark about our accusers and any charges and evidence against us.
Not only are officers given a 10-day “cooling-off period” during which they cannot be forced to make any statements about the incident, but when they are questioned, it must be “for a reasonable length of time, at a reasonable hour, by only one or two investigators (who must be fellow policemen), and with plenty of breaks for food and water.”
According to investigative journalist Eli Hager, the most common rights afforded police officers accused of wrongdoing are as follows:
- If a department decides to pursue a complaint against an officer, the department must notify the officer and his union.
- The officer must be informed of the complainants, and their testimony against him, before he is questioned.
- During questioning, investigators may not harass, threaten, or promise rewards to the officer, as interrogators not infrequently do to civilian suspects.
- Bathroom breaks are assured during questioning.
- In Maryland, the officer may appeal his case to a “hearing board,” whose decision is binding, before a final decision has been made by his superiors about his discipline. The hearing board consists of three of the suspected offender’s fellow officers.
- In some jurisdictions, the officer may not be disciplined if more than a certain number of days (often 100) have passed since his alleged misconduct, which limits the time for investigation.
- Even if the officer is suspended, the department must continue to pay salary and benefits, as well as the cost of the officer’s attorney.
It’s a pretty sweet deal if you can get it, I suppose: protection from the courts, immunity from wrongdoing, paid leave while you’re under investigation, and the assurance that you won’t have to spend a dime of your own money in your defense. And yet these LEOBoR epitomize everything that is wrong with America today.
Once in a while, the system appears to work on the side of justice, and police officers engaged in wrongdoing are actually charged for abusing their authority and using excessive force against American citizens.
Yet even in these instances, it’s still the American taxpayer who foots the bill.
For example, Baltimore taxpayers have paid roughly $5.7 million since 2011 over lawsuits stemming from police abuses, with an additional $5.8 million going towards legal fees. If the six Baltimore police officers charged with the death of Freddie Gray are convicted, you can rest assured it will be the Baltimore taxpayers who feel the pinch.
New York taxpayers have shelled out almost $1,130 per year per police officer (there are 34,500 officers in the NYPD) to address charges of misconduct. That translates to $38 million every year just to clean up after these so-called public servants.
Over a 10-year-period, Oakland, Calif., taxpayers were made to cough up more than $57 million (curiously enough, the same amount as the city’s deficit back in 2011) in order to settle accounts with alleged victims of police abuse.
Chicago taxpayers were asked to pay out nearly $33 million on one day alone to victims of police misconduct, with one person slated to receive $22.5 million, potentially the largest single amount settled on any one victim. The City has paid more than half a billion dollars to victims over the course of a decade. The Chicago City Council actually had to borrow $100 million just to pay off lawsuits arising over police misconduct in 2013. The city’s payout for 2014 was estimated to be in the same ballpark, especially with cases pending such as the one involving the man who was reportedly sodomized by a police officer’s gun in order to force him to “cooperate.”
Over 78% of the funds paid out by Denver taxpayers over the course of a decade arose as a result of alleged abuse or excessive use of force by the Denver police and sheriff departments. Meanwhile, taxpayers in Ferguson, Missouri, are being asked to pay $40 million in compensation—more than the city’s entire budget—for police officers treating them “‘as if they were war combatants,’ using tactics like beating, rubber bullets, pepper spray, and stun grenades, while the plaintiffs were peacefully protesting, sitting in a McDonalds, and in one case walking down the street to visit relatives.”
That’s just a small sampling of the most egregious payouts, but just about every community—large and small—feels the pinch when it comes to compensating victims who have been subjected to deadly or excessive force by police.
The ones who rarely ever feel the pinch are the officers accused or convicted of wrongdoing, “even if they are disciplined or terminated by their department, criminally prosecuted, or even imprisoned.” Indeed, a study published in the NYU Law Review reveals that 99.8% of the monies paid in settlements and judgments in police misconduct cases never come out of the officers’ own pockets, even when state laws require them to be held liable. Moreover, these officers rarely ever have to pay for their own legal defense.
For instance, law professor Joanna C. Schwartz references a case in which three Denver police officers chased and then beat a 16-year-old boy, stomping “on the boy’s back while using a fence for leverage, breaking his ribs and causing him to suffer kidney damage and a lacerated liver.” The cost to Denver taxpayers to settle the lawsuit: $885,000. The amount the officers contributed: 0.
Kathryn Johnston, 92 years old, was shot and killed during a SWAT team raid that went awry. Attempting to cover their backs, the officers falsely claimed Johnston’s home was the site of a cocaine sale and went so far as to plant marijuana in the house to support their claim. The cost to Atlanta taxpayers to settle the lawsuit: $4.9 million. The amount the officers contributed: 0.
Meanwhile, in Albuquerque, a police officer was convicted of raping a woman in his police car, in addition to sexually assaulting four other women and girls, physically abusing two additional women, and kidnapping or falsely imprisoning five men and boys. The cost to the Albuquerque taxpayers to settle the lawsuit: $1,000,000. The amount the officer contributed: 0.
Human Rights Watch notes that taxpayers actually pay three times for officers who repeatedly commit abuses: “once to cover their salaries while they commit abuses; next to pay settlements or civil jury awards against officers; and a third time through payments into police ‘defense’ funds provided by the cities.”
Still, the number of times a police officer is actually held accountable for wrongdoing while on the job is miniscule compared to the number of times cops are allowed to walk away with little more than a slap on the wrist.
A large part of the problem can be chalked up to influential police unions and laws providing for qualified immunity, not to mention these Law Enforcement Officers’ Bill of Rights laws, which allow officers to walk away without paying a dime for their wrongdoing.
Another part of the problem is rampant cronyism among government bureaucrats: those deciding whether a police officer should be immune from having to personally pay for misbehavior on the job all belong to the same system, all with a vested interest in protecting the police and their infamous code of silence: city and county attorneys, police commissioners, city councils and judges.
Most of all, what we’re dealing with is systemic corruption that protects wrongdoing and recasts it in a noble light. However, there is nothing noble about government agents who kick, punch, shoot and kill defenseless individuals. There is nothing just about police officers rendered largely immune from prosecution for wrongdoing. There is nothing democratic about the word of a government agent being given greater weight in court than that of the average citizen. And no good can come about when the average citizen has no real means of defense against a system that is weighted in favor of government bureaucrats.
So if you want a recipe for disaster, this is it: Take police cadets, train them in the ways of war, dress and equip them for battle, teach them to see the people they serve not as human beings but as suspects and enemies, and then indoctrinate them into believing that their main priority is to make it home alive at any cost. While you’re at it, spend more time drilling them on how to use a gun (58 hours) and employ defensive tactics (49 hours) than on how to calm a situation before resorting to force (8 hours).
Then, once they’re hyped up on their own authority and the power of the badge and their gun, throw in a few court rulings suggesting that security takes precedence over individual rights, set it against a backdrop of endless wars and militarized law enforcement, and then add to the mix a populace distracted by entertainment, out of touch with the workings of their government, and more inclined to let a few sorry souls suffer injustice than challenge the status quo or appear unpatriotic.
That’s not to discount the many honorable police officers working thankless jobs across the country in order to serve and protect their fellow citizens, but there can be no denying that, as journalist Michael Daly acknowledges, there is a troublesome “cop culture that tends to dehumanize or at least objectify suspected lawbreakers of whatever race. The instant you are deemed a candidate for arrest, you become not so much a person as a ‘perp.’”
Older cops are equally troubled by this shift in how police are being trained to view Americans—as things, not people. Daly had a veteran police officer join him to review the video footage of 43-year-old Eric Garner crying out and struggling to breathe as cops held him in a chokehold. (In yet another example of how the legal system and the police protect their own, no police officers were charged for Garner’s death.) Daly describes the veteran officer’s reaction to the footage, which as Daly points out, “constitutes a moral indictment not so much of what the police did but of what the police did not do”:
“I don’t see anyone in that video saying, ‘Look, we got to ease up,’” says the veteran officer. “Where’s the human side of you in that you’ve got a guy saying, ‘I can’t breathe?’” The veteran officer goes on, “Somebody needs to say, ‘Stop it!’ That’s what’s missing here was a voice of reason. The only voice we’re hearing is of Eric Garner.” The veteran officer believes Garner might have survived had anybody heeded his pleas. “He could have had a chance,” says the officer, who is black. “But you got to believe he’s a human being first. A human being saying, ‘I can’t breathe.’”
As I point out in my new book Battlefield America: The War on the American People, when all is said and done, the various problems we’re facing today—militarized police, police shootings of unarmed people, the electronic concentration camp being erected around us, SWAT team raids, etc.—can be attributed to the fact that our government and its agents have ceased to see us as humans first.
Then again, perhaps we are just as much to blame for this sorry state of affairs. After all, if we want to be treated like human beings—with dignity and worth—then we need to start treating those around us in the same manner. As Martin Luther King Jr. warned in a speech given exactly one year to the day before he was killed: “We must rapidly begin the shift from a ‘thing-oriented’ society to a ‘person-oriented’ society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered.”
Natalie Abed Rabbo
JERUSALEM – A young Palestinian woman from occupied East Jerusalem has accused security guards at an Israeli light rail station, along with Israeli police officers, of physically and verbally assaulting her on Thursday.
Natalie Abed Rabbo, 18, told Ma’an that she had bought a light rail ticket and was boarding the tram, when “all of a sudden, a security guard approached me and accused me of boarding the tram without a ticket.”
She said that she showed her ticket to the the guard, but that he ignored it. She added: “I asked him to check the surveillance cameras to make sure that I had bought a ticket, but he refused.”
Abed Rabbo said that she then asked to speak to an officer to submit a complaint, but before she was able to do so, “eight security guards attacked me and pushed me into a corner, grabbing me by the neck.”
She said that a female Israeli police officer tried to take away her handbag, but that she held onto it.
Abed Rabbo said she was able to use her mobile phone to call her family, and that her mother and brother soon arrived on the scene.
However, she said: “Special force officers then arrived and they beat my mother and brother, and they cuffed my hands and my feet.”
The young woman said she was taken to the Russian Compound police station where she said she was again physically assaulted.
The interrogator “accused me of boarding the tram without a ticket, as well as assaulting security officers and police personnel,” she said.
Abbed Rabbo was released several hours later having paid a bail of 3,000 shekels. She said she was also forced to pay a fine of 200 shekels for breaching tram regulations.
On Monday, a Palestinian man was shot in the foot by a security guard at a light rail station near the illegal Israeli French Hill settlement in East Jerusalem.
The security guard alleged that Hatem Salah had been attempting to stab passengers, although police later withdrew the allegations after it became clear that Salah had not been in possession of any sharp objects at the time.
Early investigations showed that Salah had been physically assaulted by two Israeli light rail guards on Sunday, the day before he was shot.
The light rail service began operating in 2011 along a 14-kilometer (nine-mile) route which begins at Mount Herzl and passes through West Jerusalem before heading through the Palestinian east of the city and ending at the illegal settlement of Pisgat Zeev.
Land belonging to Palestinians in Shuafat was confiscated in 2001 by the Jerusalem Municipality for the construction of the light rail, which will eventually link more illegal settlements in occupied East Jerusalem to West Jerusalem upon its expected completion in 2016.
Reprieve | May 8, 2015
The Obama Administration today told a US appeal court that it had no right to challenge the wholesale suppression of video evidence of prisoner abuse at Guantánamo Bay.
Lawyers for the Administration insisted that every single frame of video evidence – no matter how disturbing or unlawful- must remain an unchallengeable secret, beyond the review of judges or the public right of access.
The Administration further defended its absolute right to classify any information wrongfully — such as, hypothetically, censoring the Gettysburg address.
The federal hearing in Dhiab v Obama relates to a challenge by Guantánamo’s hunger strikers, whereby prisoners’ lawyers presented classified footage of a prisoner being violently removed from his cell and force-fed by the military authorities. On June 20, 2014, 16 media organizations sought the public release of the videos on First Amendment grounds. On October 3, Judge Gladys Kessler ordered the footage to be released, with appropriate redactions on national security grounds.
In defiance of this order, the Obama Administration failed to redact the tapes – a prerequisite to any release – and instead chose to appeal Judge Kessler’s decision.
In oral arguments today, the Administration defended its decision not to commence redactions, insisting that the judiciary must defer entirely to the executive on secrecy, and that not a single frame of the videos should ever be released to the public.
In response to the hypothetical question of whether a judge could challenge the manifestly wrongful classification of the text of the Gettysburg Address, the Administration replied that the judge could not — the court must simply trust the reasoning of the executive.
Reprieve argued that the Obama Administration was attempting to strip courts of the right to review their own records for a First Amendment public right of access, thereby eroding the separation of powers underpinning the US constitutional system.
Reprieve attorney Alka Pradhan said: “The Obama Administration made an audacious power grab today, insisting that no judge can ever review the executive’s addiction to hiding wrongdoing through secrecy. It is disturbing that such a tyrannical argument can be made by a former constitutional law professor. Today, it is the abuse of Guantanamo prisoners that is being wrongfully suppressed. Tomorrow, who knows?”
Before the dust has had a chance to settle on the report detailing the American Psychologists Association’s complicity in the CIA torture program, the psychologist found to have violated the ethics code now appears to be helping the FBI do the same thing.
In late April, a 60-page report entitled ‘All the President’s Psychologists’ pointed to Susan Brandon as the White House architect behind the policies regulating the legality of an interrogator’s actions – something that goes against the APA’s own rulebook, which prohibits psychologists from making such judgments.
The document alleges the APA’s close coordination with the White House, the CIA and the Department of Defense on the formulation of a legal policy that would exempt the interrogators from prosecution, following a scandal involving allegation of torture at Iraq’s notorious Abu Ghraib prison. “Susan Brandon … played a central role in the development of the 2005 [Psychological Ethics and National Security] policy,” the report alleges – the second inquiry investigating the medical role in the practice.
“What we see is associations. And the associations with the apparent supervisor of [James] Mitchell and [Bruce] Jessen at each step of the process over a period of three years,” the report said then, in reference to the two masterminds of the CIA torture program, whom Brandon was allegedly in contact with in 2003, as evident from a string of emails.
Brandon’s complete role in the program is at this point unknown, but one particular email she was included on focuses on the pair “doing special things to special people in special places.”
“The issue here is not about what she thinks about torture; the issue is about what she did in the past to knowingly or unknowingly create a legal heat shield for the president using the ethics of the APA. That’s the issue. This is not a question of torture. It’s a question of alleged corruption,” says the report’s co-author and program director at the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative, Nathaniel Raymond, according to the Huffington Post.
Now Brandon is advising the FBI’s High-Value Detainee Interrogation Group – essentially the Obama’s administration continuation of the CIA program regarded as having crossed the line. She is tasked with research into determining whether a crime has been committed in the course of an interrogation.
The FBI has not officially commented on the claims yet. Journalists might not get a reply from Brandon anytime soon, as she’s still an HIG adviser and is not expected to break protocol – the association has a policy of operating in secrecy, according to fellow member Mark Fallon.
The initial reason for the government’s acceptance of the CIA torture program hinged, in part, on the presence of psychologists and their expertise acting as a check, as is evident from a 2005 Justice Department document.
The reason the APA had to be called in was apparently due to the CIA’s own psychologists’ refusal to sign off on the memo, claiming that the proposed assessments simply strayed outside of medical professionals’ competence.
As a result, Brandon’s Psychological Ethics and National Security policy became the document that could be “seen as opening the door for psychologists to fulfil a function that [CIA Office of Medical Services] health professionals were resisting,” according to the report.
Brandon’s own language went in a separate direction from the CIA doctors’, effectively paving the way for a psychologist’s role in judging the harm and effectiveness of an interrogation.
The APA has denied the report’s findings. Its own review of the complicity in the Bush-era program is ongoing.
Brandon’s role as one of the HIG’s top specialists is now under scrutiny, but she has defenders as well. Fallon, for one, has since said that Brandon “is a research scientist who was helping craft language, from what I can read in those emails, that might in fact be totally appropriate.”
“[Was] it a witting collaboration, or is it an unwitting person within the government who’s a research scientist looking to ensure that we’re at least learning lessons? I just could not conceive that she would ever do anything that would support degrading and inhumane treatment,” he added.
Of the three cops charged over the death of African-American man Freddie Gray, media hand-out photos show that three of the arraigned officers are themselves of black ethnicity or “people of colour”.
The brutal death of 25-year-old Gray from a severed spinal cord while in police custody has become the latest symbol of racist policing in America.
Amateur video footage shows the young Baltimore man being hauled into a police van, limp and in agony, moments after his prone body on a sidewalk had been knelt on by at least two officers. Gray died a week later on April 19, with an autopsy showing that at least three of his spinal vertebrae had been crushed.
Maryland state attorney Marilyn Mosby has concluded that Gray’s death was homicide and she has moved to bring criminal charges against all six police officers involved in the man’s arrest. He had, by the way, been arrested for no probable cause, or as some witnesses said because he merely “looked at the cops the wrong way”.
All across America, thousands of indignant citizens — black, white, latinos and others — have taken to the streets over the past week to proclaim “Black Lives Matter” and to denounce “racist policing”. One protest banner read: “End America’s Blue KKK” — comparing the blue-uniformed law-and-order force to the white supremacists of the banned Klu Klux Klan.
But what do we mean by “racist policing” when three of the officers charged over Freddie Gray’s killing are themselves non-Caucasian?
Moreover, the public face of Baltimore’s police force has emerged as senior officer Anthony Batts — an African-American — who has been leading the force’s media response.
The Maryland state attorney, Marilyn Mosby, who delivered the homicide charges on the suspected police officers in the Gray case, is also of African-American heritage.
Justice campaigners and the Gray family welcomed Mosby’s decision to prosecute as a step in the right direction. Previous cases of black men dying as a result of police misconduct have conspicuously gone without any prosecution of the officers concerned, compounding the anger of civil rights and justice advocates. State attorney Mosby trenchantly declared that “no-one would be above the law” before her announcement on the filing of charges.
Furthermore, it is noted that the mayor of Baltimore City — whose population is 63 percent black — is an African-American woman.
And while we are at it, let’s go all the way to the top here to include President Barack Obama — the first elected black holder of the White House. Also only last week, Obama appointed another African-American, Loretta Lynch, as the US federal attorney-general — the highest law-and-order official in the country.
With African-Americans featuring prominently in the Gray case — from the prosecuting attorney to the three cops who are being charged over the man’s death — what does it mean to accuse US police forces of racism? Some might ask, is it even appropriate to level the accusation given the circumstances of Baltimore?
These apparent contradictions in the Gray case are just that. The operative word is “apparent”. That three police officers who allegedly meted out lethal force to Freddie Gray are themselves black should not distract from the fact that in the vast majority of cases black people are the victims of a largely white police force.
The deaths last year of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, and of Eric Garner in New York are much more typical of the circumstances surrounding police violence. Black men are 20 times more likely than whites to die from lethal police force. And, disproportionately, in such cases no officer is ever charged.
What we are dealing with is the structural nature of police violence and impunity in America. And a racial aspect of this structural problem is irrefutable. From stop-and-search practices on the streets, to traffic police harassment of “driving-while-black”, to prison incarceration rates and ultimately the use of lethal extra-judicial force — the oppressive problem is predominantly burdened on African-Americans and people of colour.
America therefore surely has institutionalised racist policing.
However, it would be mistake to see the problem as merely a racial issue.
What needs to be addressed is the structural condition of oppressive state policing that is now prevalent in America. Last week, the Washington Post published an analysis of deaths at the hands of US police officers during the last 10 years. It reported that out of thousands of deaths over the past decade, only 54 police officers ever faced criminal charges, and most of those prosecutions resulted in the officers being acquitted.
The increasing militarisation of America’s police force, from the deployment of heavy-duty weaponry to the use of “war on terror” tactical assaults on inner-city communities, seems to be the bigger issue that needs to be addressed. Black communities, being disproportionately impoverished and ghettoised, are at the front-line of this systematic police state violence.
But it is all marginalised communities within the US that are potential targets for the country’s surge in militarised policing.
Growing poverty, social exclusion and the erosion of civil liberties for all citizens across the US go hand-in-hand with this increasingly oppressive police power.
The debate over racist policing in American needs to be broadened to confront the general state of oppressive policing that is directed against all those — the majority of the population — who are increasingly disenfranchised by an oligarchy where one per cent of the nation owns nearly 90 per cent of the total wealth. That polarisation of wealth and massive impoverishment of the majority is itself a form of state violence inflicted on the nation; and the police are the front-line enforcers of this systematic violence.
The fact that three police officers implicated in the brutal death of Freddie Gray are non-whites; the fact that the police chief and mayor of Baltimore are African-Americans; the fact that government attorneys are black; and the fact that the president of the United States is also black, all that serves to show that the inherent nature of police state violence in the US is both structural and endemic. The problem of how America has now degenerated into an oppressive police state is thus the central issue.
Today over 2.2 million people are imprisoned in jails across America — an incarceration rate that is said to be the highest in the world.
Some observers have noted that the US has locked away more people in its jails than there were even during the supposed Stalinist despotism of the former Soviet Union. Now that is saying something about the Orwellian nature of life in present-day USA — the “land of the free”.
Police Have Officially Killed 400 People in 2015, A New Grieving Family Every Seven and a Half Hours
As of May 5, 2015, the police in the United States of America have killed 401 people that we know of.
Deaths By Law Enforcement 2015:
- 91 in the 31 days of January
- 85 in the 28 days of February
- 115 in the 31 days of March
- 101 in the 30 days of April
- 8 people in the 5 days of May
Extrapolating those numbers out to an hourly figure and the police have killed someone on average, every 7.48 hours. While there is no government-run database, Killed By Police has taken it upon themselves to keep track, and are doing a fantastic job thus far. It’s truly a Cop Crisis.
The three youngest are A’donte Washington, Jason C. Hendrix, and Kendre Omari Alston who were all only 16-years-old. The oldest was 87-year-old Lewis Becker. At least four officers have also been shot and killed by other officers.
Meanwhile, the Officer Down Memorial Page is reporting gunfire related deaths of on-duty officers is down 43%.
Law Enforcement Deaths 2015:
- 9/11 related illness: 2
- Accidental: 1
- Assault: 1
- Automobile accident: 12
- Gunfire: 8
- Gunfire (Accidental): 2
- Heart attack: 10
- Motorcycle accident: 1
- Struck by vehicle: 2
- Vehicle pursuit: 2
The death by assault was Patrolman George Nissen, and they are referring to injuries sustained 10 years earlier when he was attempting to break up a large fight on February 13th, 2005.
A look at the two which were struck by vehicles, both were accidents, with one occurring while the officer was off duty and had stopped to help someone on an icy road. The other was an accident where a semi truck crashed into the officer’s vehicle.
That leaves the eight by gunfire as deaths due to suspects actively attempting to harm them this year.
Deaths of officers directly at hands of suspects this year:
- 0 in January
- 0 in February
- 6 in March
- 0 in April
- 2 in May
This means that in the 125 days of 2015, the police have been killed after being shot by a suspect, on average, every 375 hours.
According to an FBI report, Americans are less violent than ever, yet the police seem to be growing increasingly violent. These numbers seem to agree.
Being a police officer isn’t even close to being in the top 10 most dangerous jobs in this country. According to the 2013 report by the Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics on work-related fatal injuries, “Police and sheriff’s patrol deputies” ranked as the 41st most dangerous occupation.
Just some numbers for you to consider next time you or someone you know tries to claim that the “brave” men and women in blue are perpetually “fearing for their life” so that they “can get home to their families.”
Every seven and a half hours our police leave another family planning a funeral. Enough is enough; visit our #solutions section if you’d like to find out some of the many ways we can change this paradigm.