POLICE BRUTALITY

Mike Steindel (CLaw7MAn@webtv.net)
Sat, 20 Mar 1999 16:27:48 -0800 (PST)


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A couple of days ago I wrote an objection about the city of Palo Alto
handing over 60 Grand to the cops for a nurse and social worker. Police
Dept's all across the United States are engaged in commiting acts of
terrorism against the homeless, helpless, mentaly ill, minorities, young
people and those without the funds to fight back....In other words they
target easy prey. These thugs and bullies should not be trusted to give
aid to anyone. Can you really see yourself asking someone with a
billyclub mentality for help. I think any politician who claims we need
more cops or poses with them for photo ops is not to be trusted. The
cops protect and serve the rich and influential. In a society that is
bent on filling jails with the most needy of its population the last
group you should look for help from is its jailors...permission is
granted to reprint my rant....mike

here is the article that got me started..... 
-------------------------------- 
Via Workers World News Service
Reprinted from the Mar. 25, 1999
issue of Workers World newspaper 
-------------------------------- 
POLICE BRUTALITY -- FROM L.A. TO N.Y., IT HAPPENS EVERY DAY 
By Fred Goldstein 

Police brutality is an institution that is as widespread and deeply
rooted in capitalist society as exploitation itself. Indeed,
exploitation cannot be maintained without police. And wherever there are
police there is racism and brutality. 

When cases such as those of Amadou Diallo, Abner Louima or Rodney King
break into the headlines because police have been caught in the act
red-handed, the capitalist establishment feigns outrage and shock. But
this is strictly for the benefit of the public. 

Year after year, the bosses dish out hefty salaries, large budgets and
high honors to police chiefs and commanders across the country who
administer and cover up for the armies of cops in every municipality and
township, large and small, that brutalize the oppressed peoples and the
working class on a daily basis. 

A recent Human Rights Watch report, "Shielded from Justice: Police
Brutality and Accountability in the United States," focused on police
brutality in a sample of 14 cities. This relatively modest study
compiled enough information on police brutality to form the basis of
several congressional inquiries, presidential commissions, talk show
panels around the clock on all the networks, banner headlines in the
tabloids, interviews with victims, purges of government and police
officials, and massive criminal prosecutions of cops at all levels. 

That is, it would have if the establishment had the least interest in
abolishing police brutality instead of covering it up. 
For example, the U.S. government, always on the lookout for so-called
"human rights violations" by governments that Washington is trying to
undermine or overthrow, could have started the search in any city in the
U.S. 

TORTURE IN CHICAGO 
In Chicago 65 incidents of police torture were documented between the
years 1972 and 1991. They included the use of electric shock applied to
suspects' genitals and other parts of their bodies, burning a suspect on
a hot radiator, and psychological torture techniques by and under the
supervision of a Commander Jon Bunge. No one was ever prosecuted. 

Some of the cops who took part in the torture were retired with full
benefits. Another was recommended for valor by the mayor and promoted
from captain to lieutenant. 

In 1996 there were 3,000 complaints against the Chicago police, most by
Black and Latino residents, for brutality, racist treatment and abuse of
authority. In only six cases was dismissal contemplated. No one was
dismissed. 

LAPD HASN'T CHANGED 
In Los Angeles, according to HRW, "the videotaped beating of Rodney King
exemplified so much that was (and in some cases still is) wrong with the
LAPD._ Many of the components of the King incident are common to
less-publicized abuse cases. There was the obvious race factor. _ The
beating followed a vehicle pursuit, and once stopped, the defendant was
not considered compliant enough--a common scenario in police beatings.
When the man who videotaped the beating and King's brother _ attempted
to report the incident, they were turned away or ignored. Inaccurate
reports were filed by the police. 

"Three out of the four officers eventually indicted _ had been named in
prior complaints_. In fact, it is likely that, if this incident had not
been videotaped and broadcast widely, any complaint about the beating
would not have been sustained, since the sustained rate for complaints _
was about 2 percent." 

According to the HRW report, Black people and Latinos are still
routinely "proned out" just for walking the streets or driving in their
vehicles. The vicious K-9 dogs trained to bite are still used to
terrorize people. Many of the killer cops identified by the Christopher
Commission after the Los Angeles rebellion are not only still on the
force, but two have shot and killed people since. Furthermore, L.A.
police commissioner Parks disregarded even the mild recommendations of
the Christopher Commission when he took over in 1997. 

NEW YORK ENDEMIC BRUTALITY 
In New York City in 1992, Mayor David Dinkins appointed the Mollen
Commission to investigate corruption in the NYPD after cops in the 30th,
9th, 46th, 75th and 73rd precincts were caught selling drugs and beating
people to keep them from talking. 
"What emerged," wrote the HRW report, "was a picture of how everyday
brutality corrupted relations among police officers and city residents.
The Mollen Commission heard from officers who admitted pouring ammonia
on the face of a detainee _ from another who threw garbage and boiling
water on someone hiding in a dumbwaiter shaft. Another _ doctored an
`escape rope=B4 used by drug dealers so they would plunge to the ground
_ and the same group also raided a brothel while in uniform _ and
terrorized and raped the women there. Mollen found `Brutality _
sometimes serves as a rite of passage to other forms of corruption and
misconduct.=B4" 

Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, like chief Parks in L.A., disregarded the mild
measures of oversight recommended by the Mollen Commission. These
recommendations are never mandatory, legally binding, but are basically
window dressing. 

Since then, Abner Louima has been tortured, unarmed Aswan Watson was
gunned down by 18 bullets, Amadou Diallo was shot down in a hail of 41
bullets, and Anthony Baez was choked to death. These are just the most
notorious of their crimes. 

PHILADELPHIA'S REPUTATION THE WORST 
"Philadelphia's police," reported HRW, "are grappling with the latest of
the corruption scandals that have earned them one of the worst
reputations of big city police departments in the United States. _[There
is] an undisturbed culture of impunity that surfaces and is renewed with
each successive scandal, as each new generation of police officers is
taught through example that their leadership accepts corruption and
excessive force. 

"As a result, police officers _ have unlawfully injured and killed
citizens, the city has paid enormous sums in settlements and awards _
and many minority communities are distrustful of police officers, who
too often act like criminals. The shortcomings of the department are
reinforced by a police union that tirelessly defends officers accused of
human rights violations." 

SAN FRANCISCO NO BETTER 
"According to a 1996 report by the San Francisco Examiner," reports HRW,
"the city was paying large amounts in civil lawsuits following
officer-involved shootings, but the officers were not being disciplined
by the department, or criminally prosecuted. The study compared police
shootings per 100 murders; San Francisco officers shot fatally on the
average of 4.1 people for every 100 murders between 1990-95, a higher
rate than Los Angeles, New York or Oakland. About 75 percent of the
people shot and/or killed by the police between 1993 and 1996 were
minorities or people in low-income areas." 

San Francisco has 1,000 to 2,000 complaints against the cops a year. No
cop has been prosecuted for any on-duty shooting in the city. 

The story of brutality, racism, corruption and cover-up is repetitively
similar reading through the report. 

OTHER CITIES 
New Orleans: "As noted astutely by police abuse expert Prof. James Fyfe,
some cities' police departments have reputations for being brutal, like
Los Angeles, or corrupt, like New York, and still others are considered
incompetent. New Orleans has accomplished the rare feat of leading
nationally in all categories." 
Indianapolis: "The police are _ harassing African American youths and 
treating them as if they were violent gang members._" The cops have
"jump out boys" who jump out of squad cars and swoop down on Black
youths. There have been two rebellions since 1995 over police brutality. 

Providence: "A nationwide report published by the Justice Department in 
1991 _ cited three Rhode Island police departments as second only to New
Orleans in the number of excessive force complaints." 

Minneapolis: "Minneapolis's police force has a history of using
excessive 
force. Said former police chief Tony Bouza, `Police will abuse their
power._ They feel themselves leashed. The want to be free to `thump=B4_.
When someone gives them lip, they want to be able to kick their asses
and when you don=B4t let them they feel shackled.=B4" 

Portland: "In 1985 two Portland police officers were reinstated by an 
arbitrator after they were fired for selling `Don=B4t Choke `em, Smoke
`em=B4 t-shirts on the day of the funeral" of someone who had been
choked to death by the police. In 1990," continued HRW, "the internal
affairs unit had a unique record in dealing with complaints of excessive
force--of 78 complaints, the division found in favor of the officer in
every case." 

The HRW study does not include any of the notorious police departments
in the South and Southwest, such as Houston, Phoenix, Dallas or
Birmingham. But the picture painted is sufficiently clear to issue an
indictment against the entire police establishment, the politicians who
appoint them and cover up for them, and the ruling class that promotes
the system of police terror against the population. 

It is absolutely naive to regard this virtually universal existence of
police brutality as something "out of control," something that has
escaped the supervision of the authorities, a result of poor
administration. 

The art of administration has been brought to its highest pinnacle of
development by U.S. capitalism. Wall Street and the Fortune 500 can
administer global empires that stagger the imagination. 

They can summon armies of efficiency experts at a moment's notice when
it comes to downsizing the workforce or merging giant monopolies. 

The State Department, the Pentagon and the CIA can reorganize whole
governments in foreign countries, as they did in Chile after Pinochet's
coup, or in Poland, the Czech Republic and Hungary after the collapse of
the USSR, or in south Korea, where they organized the military, the
police and the Korean Central Intelligence Agency. 

WHY IT DOESN'T STOP 
If the ruling class were so inclined, they could wipe out police
brutality. But the very idea that the bosses and bankers, the
millionaires and billionaires who control the arteries of political and
economic life, the big business parties and the state and local
governments throughout the country, would put a stop to the intimidation
and terror practiced against the workers and the oppressed is like
expecting them to voluntarily cut off their right hand. 

The cops are there to make sure that during this great Wall Street boom
there is no rebellion by the masses of people, whose wages are getting
relatively lower, whose working hours are getting longer, who are forced
to give up social services like health care, welfare, childcare,
education and housing to serve the balanced budget of the bond holders,
and the military-industrial complex and the Pentagon. 

The cops are there to feed the prison-industrial complex with Black and
Latino youth who can't get jobs on the outside but are forced to work at
slave wages on the inside. 

It is impossible to regard the phenomenon of police brutality as
anything other than a systematic policy of the ruling class to
intimidate by force and violence the millions of oppressed people, both
in and out of the work force. 

As such, it must be opposed by an equally systematic organization of the
masses into a powerful force that can defend itself against the terror.
Commissions, review boards, government investigations of every kind
always leave the same parasitic and brutal structure intact after all
the publicity is over. The communities, the unions, the movement are
still left to face the cops. 

The working class and community organizations must ultimately organize
to defend themselves against these cowardly hired thugs of capitalism. 
=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=
=A0
=A0 =A0 =A0 =A0 =A0 =A0 =A0 =A0 =A0 =A0 =A0 - END - 
(Copyright Workers World Service: Permission to reprint granted if
source is cited. For more information contact Workers World, 55 W. 17
St., NY, NY 10011) 
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