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Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Brutal Police Beating of Homeless Man Kelly Thomas Reveals the Need for More Transparency - E.D. Kain - American Times - Forbes

Mike Riggs writes:

The savage police beating of schizophrenic homeless man Kelly Thomas gets more bizarre and upsetting by the day. On Friday an anonymous man claiming to be a police officer called the John and Ken Show on KFI AM to express his and other cops’ anger at what happened to Thomas. The caller claimed that a street camera controlled by a police dispatcher showed one cop beating Thomas with the butt of his Taser until blood splattered on his arms, and then dropping his knee on Thomas’s face and neck.

The same cop called back in to the show later, this time disguising his voice. He claimed that:

it was [a] one-eyed officer doing the beating….He said the quality of the surveillance camera is so good that it could pinpoint the freckles on a person’s chest once it is zoomed in.

He said the district attorney’s office is choosing to not release the video.
Click to read more.

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Botched Paramilitary Police Raids: An Epidemic of "Isolated Incidents"

"If a widespread pattern of [knock-and-announce] violations were shown . . . there would be reason for grave concern." —Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, in Hudson v. Michigan, June 15, 2006. An interactive map of botched SWAT and paramilitary police raids, released in conjunction with the Cato policy paper "Overkill: The Rise of Paramilitary Police Raids," by Radley Balko. What does this map mean? How to use this map View Original Map and Database

Key

Death of an innocent. Death or injury of a police officer. Death of a nonviolent offender.
Raid on an innocent suspect. Other examples of paramilitary police excess. Unnecessary raids on doctors and sick people.
The proliferation of SWAT teams, police militarization, and the Drug War have given rise to a dramatic increase in the number of "no-knock" or "quick-knock" raids on suspected drug offenders. Because these raids are often conducted based on tips from notoriously unreliable confidential informants, police sometimes conduct SWAT-style raids on the wrong home, or on the homes of nonviolent, misdemeanor drug users. Such highly-volatile, overly confrontational tactics are bad enough when no one is hurt -- it's difficult to imagine the terror an innocent suspect or family faces when a SWAT team mistakenly breaks down their door in the middle of the night. But even more disturbing are the number of times such "wrong door" raids unnecessarily lead to the injury or death of suspects, bystanders, and police officers. Defenders of SWAT teams and paramilitary tactics say such incidents are isolated and rare. The map above aims to refute that notion.

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