February 10, 2016
SHOW NOTES AND MP3: https://www.corbettreport.com/?p=17810
Although it gets short shrift in the history textbooks, in many ways the modern American empire can find its origins in the Spanish-American War. Today we talk to James Perloff of JamesPerloff.com about his article on the war, “Trial Run for Interventionism,” and how the bankers used their media and political connections to launch the war and introduce foreign interventionism to the American psyche.
Ongoing colonization in Hebron: Israeli forces prepare the illegal invasion of Palestinian houses by Israeli settlers
Hebron, Occupied Palestine – On February 3rd 2016, Israeli occupation forces violently opened the door of houses in the vicinity of the Ibrahimi mosque by cutting the door locks with a disk grinder, and then entered these houses.
The houses are located in al-Sahla Street near the Ibrahimi mosque, settlers illegally invaded and occupied them two weeks ago, but were then evicted by the police and army the next morning.
After the Israeli army removed the door-locks of the two houses, Israeli construction workers took the external an internal dimensions of both Palestinian properties as if they are already owned by Israeli settlers. The settlers were protected during their illegal activities by large groups of soldiers.
Palestinian residents who walked trough the checkpoint in front of these houses were body-checked and harassed by the soldiers. The video below illustrates how inhumande and degrading these body-searches and ID-checks are, with soldiers ordering Palestinians to take off clothing regardless of weather and treating them without even a slight bit of dignity.
Hillary Clinton repeats George Bush and Dick Cheney’s talking points to a tee.
In a past interview with Mike Wallace of 60 Minutes, Morgan Freeman dropped a bombshell that sent ripples through the race-focused crowd everywhere.
As Wallace attempted to paint him as a radical for his views, in only a few brief moments, Morgan Freeman laid waste to stereotypes, and worked wonders for bridging the racial divide in America.
None of these buildings collapsed into their own footprint at near-freefall acceleration, so why did the World Trade Center buildings?
Edward Said’s book ORIENTALISM has been profoundly influential in a diverse range of disciplines since its publication in 1978. In this engaging (and lavishly illustrated) interview he talks about the context within which the book was conceived, its main themes and how its original thesis relates to the contemporary understanding of “the Orient.”
Said argues that the Western (especially American) understanding of the Middle East as a place full of villains and terrorists ruled by Islamic fundamentalism produces a deeply distorted image of the diversity and complexity of millions of Arab peoples.
Director: Sut Jhally, 1998.
According to a report on his own You Tube channel, LaVoy Finicum was killed on the evening of January 26, 2016 by a US special forces unit while the deceased Arizona rancher “was on his knees with his hands up.”
Finicum is said to have been shot “three times” in an episode that also included the arrest on Highway 395 in Oregon of some of the leadership of the Citizens for Constitutional Freedom. Nevada Assembly woman Michele Fiore also reported in a tweet that Finicum was shot by federal authorities with his hands up.
In a more recent report, North West Liberty News published an interview with Victoria Sharp who was in the “ambushed” car carrying the targeted entourage with LaVoy Finicum at the wheel. She said that Finicum was shot six extra times by special forces police after he was already downed by police gunfire.
Sharp confirmed that Finicum was initially shot outside the car with his hands in the air. She dismissed the story of three bullets being shot as bunk and indicated that at least 120 shots were fired at the car. She spoke of about 4o police vehicles being involved in the ambush with “FBI snipers” posted everywhere, including on perches in surrounding trees.
The group had left the camp of the armed protestors that took control of the federal building overseeing the Federal Malheur Wildlife Reservation. The entourage, including Ammon Bundy and Ryan Bundy who was wounded in the episode, was on their way to address a meeting in the Oregon community of John Day. Police reportedly apprehended a second group in an episode that at this moment remains ill defined.
Inevitably Finicum’s death will be viewed by many as a political assassination by a US federal government that has become accustomed to extrajudicial killing all over the world. A veteran of the controversial standoff at Cliven Bundy’s ranch in Nevada in 2014, Finicum was emerging as a compelling voice of a movement that some see as a patriotic defense of the rule of law in the United States. Where some see freedom fighters, others see as drove of coddled terrorists cut way too much slack by the federal authorities.
A member of the Church of Jesus of Latter-day Saints who grew up on the Navajo Reservation in the Four Corners area of the American West, Finicum was fast acquiring prominence as a go-to person by journalists covering the evolving standoff. Again and again Finicum threw out sound bites addressing in an usually clear way major issues whose scope goes far beyond the immediate issues of federal regulation of ranchers on federal lands in the American West. Finicum made history, for instance, when he commented eloquently on his own filmed removal of a spy camera from a lamp post in the vicinity of the protest camp.
After coming down from the ladder with the spy camera in hand, Finicum fended off pressures from his fellow protesters to destroy the expensive spy device. He made a point of letting it be known the spy ware would be sent back to the appropriate authorities in Washington DC. The symbolic importance of this ritual on contested federal lands is obvious during an era when Edward Snowden must live in exile in Russia, ruthlessly criminalized for exposing the pervasive, permeating, privacy-obliterating illegality of the national security state’s quickly expanding apparatus for “Total Information Awareness.”
Confounding the “Progressive” Left’s Stereotypes of Militia Members as Ignorant Red Neck Bigots
Most interesting to me was Finicum’s success in confounding the “progressive” left’s stereotypes of of militia members as ignorant Red Neck bigots. Citing his experiences growing up on the Navajo Reservation, Finicum made it very clear he well understood that the federal Bureau of Indian Affairs applies to the America’s Indian reservations many of the same repressive indignities visited on many non-Indian citizens by the Interior Department’s deeply corrupt and politicized Bureau of Land Management. The image cannot be easily brushed aside of LaVoy Finicum declaring days before his death, “The Native American People Need to Be Free…. The Tribes Need to Be Free.”
The symbolic sinew of Finicum’s outreach to the First Nations was his inspection of the deplorable conditions of the First Nations “artifacts” being held in the dank basement in federal headquarters of the Malheur Wildlife Reservation. Finicum made it clear that the artifacts should be “returned to their rightful owners.” Why should this collection of First Nations material culture be “locked away” apart from the communities whose properties they most genuinely are.
From these comments Finicum demonstrated his familiarity with the “repatriation” discourse among First Nations people. As this discourse has unfolded, museums around the world have been returning to their true owners material items such as ceremonial pipes, implements and regalia. The giving back of these embodiments of distinct heritages and cultures of Indigenous peoples signifies respect for living societies trying to secure places in the future by claiming for their posterity the material evidence of their own histories.
Finicum repeatedly called for representatives of Native Americans to come forward to begin a dialogue transcending the Hollywoodized mythology of cowboys and Indians. Finicum’s apparent sensitivity to the need for dialogue with Native Americans was part of a plea to find common ground in order to host and support a rainbow confederacy of constituencies all imperiled by an out-of-control federal juggernaut menacing the entire global community in this era of never-ending 9/11 wars.
Finigan made a point of telling the cameras that he and those for whom he was speaking are not “anti-government.” Rather it has been the failure of the federal authority to adhere to even its own laws that has made it necessary for the creation of a mass movement of citizens opposed the imposition of various forms of tyranny from above. As Finicum declared in the hours before his death, “This is not just a little occupation. This is a mass movement involving tens of millions of people.”
In my estimation Finicum was way too conservative in assessing the true extent of those who have lost all confidence that the federal authority in the USA, or in my own country of Canada for that matter, has any chance of redemption under current conditions. Like some of the leading activists of the Occupy movement, Finicum seemed well aware of the reality that the federal government of the United States has been taken over by a tiny cabal perfectly prepared to advance its interests through fascism, genocide, eugenics, forced migrations, geoengineering and banking frauds.
This of list of federal malevolence and malfeasance is far from complete. Under our current conditions only a popular mobilization on a massive scale capable of transcending many different types of divide has even a chance of holding back the onslaught. This onslaught of debt enslavement, militarization and environmental holocaust is being forced upon us by an extremely elaborate, old and well organized criminal gang that has rendered the federal authority of the world’s ailing superpower as a blunt weapon exclusively available for its own disposal.
Assassination or Suicide?
Finicum’s death is already raising bitter controversies even before his body is buried. Senior Veterans Today Editor, Gordon Duff, has already suggested Finicum’s killing by federal bullets amounted to “suicide by cop.” This characterization of Finicum’s death introduces a meme that will probably reverberate across media venues of the controlled opposition. It is true that Finicum spoke openly about his unwillingness to be incarcerated in “a concrete box.” Going from there to making Finicum the author of his own death, however, is a huge leap for the veteran special forces expert to make. Such a judgement while the body is literally still warm raises the ante of interpretation concerning the death of a person who will almost certainly be regarded as a martyr taken down in defence of a higher ideal.
Cliven Bundy, the Nevada-based patriarch of the US movement of which Finicum was a part, left no doubt of where he stands on the federal killing. The owner of the Nevada ranch at the eye of the conflict with the Bureau of Land Management in 2014 asserted, “It appears that America was fired upon by our government. One of liberties finest patriots is fallen… We’ve got one killed and I can say he was sacrificed for a good purpose.”
The killing is throwing up huge controversies for the USA’s Utah-headquartered Mormon Church that has many of its members involved in various capacities with the libertarian militia movement. How will this rich and successful religious denomination respond? In this election year, how will many right-wing politicians including Donald Trump respond to the death of such an iconographic family man, the natural and foster patriarch of a large extended Mormon clan? Is Mitt Romney or LaVoy Finicum a better embodiment of Mormon family values, of idealized patriotism growing out of love of country?
Mormon broadcaster Jake Morphonios has already disagreed with the Church establishment’s ruling that the Citizens for Constitutional Freedom are operating outside acceptable Mormon behaviour. For Morphonios, the CCF was engaged in the Nevada and Oregon standoffs in “a legitimate self-defence against and aggressive and abusive bureaucracy that is far outside the rule of law.”
Paul Craig Roberts versus Russia Today
Another emerging controversy over the meaning of Finicum’s death was foreshadowed in disagreement between conservative American pundit, Paul Craig Roberts, and Russia Today. Emphasizing, for instance, the huge implications of the 9/11 false flag event, Israeli domination of US foreign policy, and the undermining of America’s worldwide interests by a kleptocratic banking cabal based on Wall Street and the City of London, Roberts welcomed the militia stand in Oregon as a part of a necessary resistance to the grotesque neocon abuse of federal power.
Roberts criticized Russia Today for looking away from this larger picture and emphasizing instead the disparity of police treatment between the public demonstration by the protestors at the Black Lives Matter demonstration in Ferguson Missouri and the arms bearing “ranchers” who have gathered at the Malheur Wildlife Reservation. While the racism of the US police state was certainly a factor in the contrast, Roberts pointed out how this slant in coverage plays right into the divide-and-conquer agenda of the likes of American plutocrat George Soros.
It is well known that Soros funds the completely compromised and ineffective so-called peace movement. Multi-billionaire Soros also funded the so-called colour revolutions that laid the foundations for the Ukranian-Russian divisions presently pushed and exploited by NATO. It is less well known that Soros is also busily funding the Black Lives Matter movement. It seems that all is well with the dominant global cabal of organized crime as long as potential opponents of their bought-and-paid-for devices of pseudo-democratic government are sliced and diced into as many isolated fragments as possible.
Militia Fanatics or Average Americans Standing Up to Fascism?
Gordon Duff is utterly contemptuous of the “Bundy/Oregon militia,” alleging that its members’ are subject to a plague of “race hatred, religious extremism and tasteless ignorance.” No doubt the group Duff thus dismisses does have some factions and members that display some of these symptoms of extremism in varying degrees. How could it be otherwise in an American failed state permeated with racism, religious extremism, and forms of ignorance that are aggressively and insidiously promoted by a media culture that profits hugely from the dissemination of disinformation and round-the-clock PR bullshit.
But who of us is without sin? What religious extremist was it that said something like, “let he who is without sin cast the first stone?” Are we only qualified to work for revolutionary transformation of our present intolerable conditions when we follow Gordon Duff’s lead in rising above all the foibles and weaknesses inherent in the societies around us?
Part of Duff’s criticism is based on probably-true accusations that the group in and around the Wildlife Reservation protest camp is riddled with undercover federal agents. This observation itself, however, should speak to the covert thuggery of a federal authority that has removed from the vast majority of citizens the protections of social security and the rule of law including due process for the redress of grievances. The domestic and international versions of the national security state are all in place, at huge expense to us, so that no true movement for genuine redress can even get off the ground before the instruments of Full Spectrum Dominance kick in.
The name Pete Santilli seems to come up often when possible undercover agents are mentioned in this context. Santilli is the You Tube-making blogger of the protest camp who was apparently among those arrested. One could observe the great gulf between the positions of Santilli and of LaVoy Finicum. Shortly before his death Finicum vowed that the federal building on the Wildlife Reservation will never be returned to Washington. He spoke of it being handed over instead to the local Harney County government
This statement of intent contrasts dramatically with a You Tube of Santilli at the height of the crisis driving along somewhere in Oregon looking from time to time into the camera. He speaks into the recording device advising the FBI to hold back from attacking the protest camp said to be full of women and children. A female voice in the car echoes this caution. As justification for this advise, Santilli declares his intent to go to the camp and clear out its inhabitants.
Finicum himself described the build up of spy planes and spy drones over the camp in the hours before the mobilization of federal actions that led to his death. He anticipated “kinetic action” on the part of the feds stating, “I have no intention of spending my days in a concrete box. There are things more important than your life and freedom is one of them.”
Update January 29, 2016
Video shows execution occurring at 9:25:
Almost two dozen people, including civilian rescuers and an ambulance driver from an MSF-affiliated hospital, have reportedly been killed after Saudi-led coalition planes carried out repeated airstrikes on the same target in Sa’ada province, Yemen.
Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) confirmed the fatal air raids in Sa’ada, saying the “planes went back to bomb areas already hit.”
“An ambulance driver from an MSF hospital [was] killed,” the NGO wrote, explaining that the first responders at the scene had been trying to help those wounded in the first round of strikes.
The ambulance had just picked up the victims when a direct strike killed everyone inside it, said the director of the Jumhuriya Hospital in Sa’ada province, according to the New York Times.
Yemen’s Health Ministry has strongly condemned the coalition’s actions as a “heinous massacre” that first targeted a residential building in Sa’ada, Saba news agency reports, citing ministry spokesperson Dr. Nashwan Attab.
According to reports, at least 20 people were killed and another 35 wounded, in what the medics claim was a deliberate attack. Following the initial air raid in the Dhahyan district of Sa’ada, first responders rushed to the scene to care for the wounded. But the planes soon returned to strike again in an attempt to “completely eliminate the few remaining medical staff in the province,” Dr. Attab said.
WARNING! DISTURBING VIDEO, VIEWER DISCRETION IS ADVISED!
“There are still people under the rubble and it is difficult to get them as a result of targeting by Saudi aggression of paramedics and medical personnel in the region,” he added.
Earlier this week, MSF said that the Saudi coalition continues to engage civilian targets on the ground, in particular medical treatment facilities, noting that over 100 hospitals have witnessed attacks since the Saudi-led intervention began last March.
The constant bombing of health clinics in Yemen has created conditions in which locals fear for their lives and try to avoid hospitals at all costs, MSF said. The United Nations has criticized the Saudi-led bombing campaign in Yemen for the disproportionate number of civilian deaths and the destruction of infrastructure.
The UN estimates that the violence has resulted in a dramatic increase in civilian casualties, with more than 5,800 people killed in Yemen since March.
Why is there still the word “probably” in the report of the UK public inquiry into the death of former Russian FSB officer Aleksandr Litvinenko? Was the inquiry really public? Are we seeing an increased strain in UK-Russia relations? RT asked experts.
The UK has conducted a public inquiry into the death of the former Russian FSB officer Aleksandr Litvinenko. According to the report, Vladimir Putin and his administration ‘probably’ had motive to murder Litvinenko. British judge Robert Owen, who was leading the inquiry, claimed the poisoning of Litvinenko by former KGB members Andrey Lugovoy and Dmitry Kovtun was a part of the operation of the Federal Security Service (FSB.) Litvinenko died in a London hospital from polonium poisoning in 2006.
“This man was killed, was murdered in London almost 10 years ago. This latest report was set up in July 2014 – interestingly, just a couple of weeks after the MH17 disaster. So it was set up in this particular climate, this anti-Russia climate, and it has gone on now for 18 months. And what have they come up with – they’ve come up with a verdict that ‘probably’ this was the work of the Kremlin. “Probably” – is not evidence,” Journalist and broadcaster Neil Clark told RT.
“What is lacking – is any hard evidence, this is just conjecture; this is just a theory put forward; one of the theories is that the Kremlin was behind this. But there are other theories too to explain why this man may have been murdered,” he said. “We’ve got to look at the context of this. The fact was this man died in 2006, and we’ve got an inquiry set up in 2014 in the very month when the West was taking very anti-Russian line.”
“… If to look at the bigger picture, in 2006 relations between Britain and Russia were improving. So what logic would there have been in the Kremlin ordering this murder in a very public place in London? It doesn’t really make sense, does it? If you think about it from the Russian point of view, this man is a minor figure; he wasn’t as if he was going to stand for president and pose a real threat to Putin. The risk would have been very high and that is what makes me skeptical of the fact that the Kremlin was behind this, and there are other theories to explain this man’s murder,” Clark added.
Litvinenko Inquiry: ‘story confounded by misleading information from beginning’
The UK report on the causes of Litvinenko’s death doesn’t have any supportive evidence, and is partly based on statements fabricated by figures like Berezovsky, said William Dunkerley, author of “The Phony Murder.”
RT: Is the public inquiry really that public? And how different is it from a regular trial?
William Dunkerley: First of all it is not a trail at all, this isn’t a judicial procedure, it is a public inquiry. The term ‘public inquiry’ is actually a misnomer, because the rules in the UK allow a public inquiry to be conducted behind closed doors.
RT: The coroner’s inquest into Litvinenko’s death was suspended in July 2014 to start a public inquiry shortly after. What can you say about this timing?
WD: The timing is interesting, the coroner’s inquest sort of came to an end when the Home Secretary told the coroner to stop conducting an illicit criminal investigation. The coroner is supposed to concentrate on judging the cause of death. Sir Robert [Owen] was not doing that, he wasn’t doing his job. The Home Secretary finally reined him in, told them to concentrate on his statutory duties and asked him to not go off on a witch-hunt for Russian culpability in the case.
Then, things changed when Prime Minister [David] Cameron got involved. He put the whole issue back on the table, and turned [Sir Robert] Owen, now chairman of the public inquiry, loose on his search for Russian state culpability. And this coincidentally happened on the day that the EU announced additional sanctions against Russia, in a sort of part of the sanctions frenzy that the public inquiry was opened.
RT: It’s been almost a decade since he died, why is the UK launching an investigation now?
WD: The story was really confounded by misleading information right from the beginning. One of Putin’s political adversaries Boris Berezovsky, who was a fugitive oligarch hanging out or hiding out in London, made a lot of fabricated statements about the Litvinenko case, that incriminated the Russian state and in particular President Putin.
RT: Isn’t the fact that that the inquiry was held behind the closed doors make the investigation more complicated?
WD: Yes, it is a complication in the investigation that the public inquiry was able to hold hearings behind closed doors. Most of the media reports gave the impression that the public inquiries going to add transparency to the case, but actually the opposite was true.
RT: Are we seeing the increase of strain in UK-Russia relations?
WD: Well, the UK- Russia relations have sort of been up and down throughout the course of this whole thing. At one point the Berezovsky people, Mrs. Litvinenko and others were critical of the UK for not coming to a conclusion about this that would agree with their version of the case. They said that the UK was avoiding doing that, because it didn’t want to offend Russia, in order to preserve relations between the two countries. Now some people theorize that since the UK- Russia relationship is so bad that it doesn’t matter if there is offence given by the report from the public inquiry…
…. People are conditioned to believe in the story that has been going on in the news. It is not based on facts and there have not been supportive evidence, but people have been exposed to this story for a long, long time now. The truth that I’ve found in my research is counterintuitive to people who have been following all of the Western news reports.
Martin McCauley, former senior lecturer at the School of Slavonic and East European Studies at the University of London on latest Litvinenko inquiry: “ All they can do, as they said, “we have a prima facie case which proves that Lugovoy and Kovtun were acting as part of the FSB,” which goes right up to Nikolai Patrushev. But prima facie only means on the face of it. Therefore, the case is not proven. In other words it is a probability, and in an English court it wouldn’t stand up, because you couldn’t convict Lugovoy and Kovtun on the evidence, which has been presented in the report… They didn’t cross-examine or interview Lugovoy or Kovtun…”
The Albuquerque Police Department has found its way into another lawsuit. This time a former employee is suing on grounds of wrongful termination for not complying to Police Chief Gorden Eden’s orders to find ways to deny public records request.
The New Mexico police agency has been a long-time violator of public records requests. Just last month, PINAC News reported on the many lawsuits that have been brought against the department for violating public records laws or increasingly delaying public records request.
The lawsuit, which can be read here is being brought by Reynaldo Chavez, who is the former records custodian for the police department.
Chavez is seeking monetary damages for conspiracy, breach of contract, spoliation and violations under New Mexico’s Whistle Blower Protection Act.
Named in the suit is Albuquerque Police Department Police Chief Gorden Eden, Assistant Chief Robert Huntsman, Legal Counsel Kathryn Levy, and the Executive Director of its Administrative Support Bureau William Slausen.
According to the suit, Chief Eden constantly ordered Chavez to find ways to avoid releasing public information to requesters such as the media, private individuals and bloggers.
The suit specifically states Chavez was ordered to, ” deny, withhold, obstruct, conceal, or even destroy records.”
Chavez goes on to say in the suit that he was told to:
“Creatively identify an allowable exception [of] the Inspection of Public Records Act to withhold production of responsive public records in an effort to “baffle” or frustrate the requestor or otherwise burden them,” and ” to fabricate reasons to burden requestors with additional requirements when such requirements were not needed such as case numbers or increased particularity in a given request.” and “arbitrarily delay production of responsive public records without justification supporting such delay.”
The Albuquerque Police Department released the following statement:
“[We] carefully evaluate document requests to ensure that it does not release sensitive information, such as social security numbers, documents that are confidential by law, or evidence that could compromise an investigation. Albuquerque Police Department is committed to transparency and strives to improve how quickly it is able to respond to requests from the public.”
Chavez eventually became fed up with the Chief’s unlawful demands and as a result Chavez complained to upper level police officials. Once word got back to the Chief, Chavez was fired.
In the lawsuit, Chavez included 11 exhibits of proof showing how the police department gave incomplete reply’s to records requests; one of which included a quote from Police Department Legal Counsel Kathryn Levy saying, “There are items we just will not release and we will just pay the fines or lawsuits.”
In another instance, Levy instructed Chavez to give a KRQE reporter a box of records that had nothing to do with the requested information regarding the Department of Justice’s investigation into the beleaguered police department.
Recently, Eden’s department has been under scrutiny by even the United States Department of Justice, which usually gives a free pass to departments with excessive force issue.
According to TIME :
A federal investigation into the Albuquerque police department found “a pattern or practice of use of excessive force, including deadly force” that violated the Fourth Amendment, the Justice Department said Thursday. The probe, launched in 2012, found that the Albuquerque Police Department too often uses deadly force, applies less lethal force—like Tasers—unnecessarily, and too often uses force against people with mental illness. The report also details problems within the department that include inadequate training and lack of accountability.
Chavez also claims the defendants do not qualify for immunity, because they were acting outside of their official duties when they instructed him to impede various requests and then retaliated against him by firing him.
All states have Freedom of Information Act Laws, so complying with those laws was the main scope of Chavez’s duties.
After the shooting death of a mentally ill man, James Boyd, which made national headlines, Chavez received numerous records requests seeking email correspondence, a list of personnel involved in the incident, forensic ballistic reports, audio and video tape as well as many other requests pertaining to the murder of Boyd. The video involving the shooting death of Boyd can be seen below.
Chavez’s lawsuit also alleges that, “Defendants individually and collectively reviewed responsive information and instructed Mr. Chavez to withhold or delay production of certain materials to requesters without a lawful exception allowing such withholding or delay.”
Chavez says the department was “tactically coordinating” which records requests would be fulfilled and which ones would be delayed, or not fulfilled at all, so certain requests would not be granted to the media. In other requests, Chavez was instructed to give them so much material that the requester would tire from sifting through it all, and never actually find what they were requesting.
Also implied in the lawsuit is that, “Upon information and belief, responsive material, including video footage, relating to the shooting of Mr. Boyd remains unproduced to requesters.”
But perhaps even more alarming than withholding unseen video footage in the Boyd case are claims that APD monitored following protests against the officers who shot Boyd and that, “APD deployed as many as four detectives dressed in plain clothes to observe the protesters. One of these detectives surreptitiously recorded various citizens.”
Chavez’s lawsuit also claims that when he went to his superiors and told them that he believed in good faith that their actions were improper, and in violation of the law, that he was retaliated against–and then fired, which is where the violation of New Mexico’s Whistleblower Protection Act comes in to the suit.
Ultimately, according to Chavez, the defendants worked in concert with one another for the purposes of retaliating against him for standing up to his superiors who apparently still have something to hide regarding the Boyd shooting.
After much outrage and many protests from the public, the two officers involved in Boyd’s shooting were finally charged with 1st degree murder, but that was later reduced to 2nd degree murder for both of them. Keith Sandy retired over a year ago. And Dominique Perez was ultimately fired. Their trials are set tentatively for August of 2016.
Back in June of 2015, PINAC reported that officer Keith Sandy planned and premeditated to shoot Boyd in the penis before he even arrived on the scene where the mentally ill, homeless man was camping. His statements were captured on his own dash cam recording.
An attorney seeking justice in the Boyd case claims that Sandy would have indeed shot Boyd in or near the penis, except for Boyd turned around after officers tossed a flash grenade in his direction and began shooting him. Ballistic reports show Boyd was shot in the buttocks instead.
They also claim Boyd was a threat, even though he was standing at least 30 ft away from the heavily armed officers. Boyd was holding two knives, but never came towards the officers before they shot him.
Not surprisingly, APD claimed, as every department does, that the shooting was justified because Boyd was making “threatening gestures” with the knives he was holding, although the video shows that obviously isn’t the case.
While police unions are indeed a problem for departments that would like to ferret out the so-called bad apples, one could also conclude that so is a chief who talks out of both sides of his mouth.
On one hand, Chief Eden admits there are bad apples and the police union protects them, so he can’t fire them to clean up his department. On the other hand, Chief Eden [allegedly] encourages his records custodian to impede public records requests so the public isn’t able to see the problems within his department.
In light of the lawsuit filed by Reynaldo Chavez, perhaps it’s reasonable to conclude that Chief Eden falls into the category of police who are on the force who don’t belong on the force. The public deserves transparency from the government that is supposed to serve it, and that’s much of what PINAC is all about. A media outlet shouldn’t fear standing their ground on records requests for fear that they may lose access to news in the future. This lawsuit highlights how that often happens, and not just with the Albuquerque Police Department.
PINAC writer Ben Keller contributed to this report.