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August 06, 2012

Los Angeles sheriff's deputy charged with smuggling drugs for skinhead gang

It gets worse. When a confidential informant in the jail told his police contact about the deputy smuggling drugs, his contact told the deputy about it. And someone in the prison's administration tried to have him killed. Tip of the iceberg. L.A. County sheriff's official allegedly undermined jail probe - latimes.com
As part of an elite intelligence team, Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies Michael Rathbun and James Sexton turn inmates into informants, looking for tips on crimes and gang activity inside the nation's largest jail system. Earlier this year, one of their informants offered up a bombshell: A fellow jail deputy was working as an operative for drug-smuggling, skinhead gangsters. Following protocol, the partners detailed the allegations in a direct memo to their boss, Lt. Greg Thompson, the head of jailhouse intelligence. . . . But what happened next stunned them. Thompson told the deputy suspected of working with the skinheads about the memo and revealed to him the names of the confidential informant as well as those of Rathbun and Sexton, according to sources close to the case. The informant's allegations echoed those against at least five jailers who have been convicted or fired in recent years over ties to a thriving drug trade behind bars. But the way this confidential information was handled was also part of a pattern. The Sheriff's Department has been accused in recent months of weak investigations of deputy misconduct and a corrosive code of silence that hamstrings those investigations from the start. . . .
(via Abhay on tumblr)

August 05, 2012

Arkansas police swear that a young black man who was handcufed in their squadcar shot himself in the temple with an invisible gun

The Curious Case of Chavis Carter - NYTimes.com
Let me get this straight: A young man is stopped by police, who find $10 worth of drugs on him; he had twice been searched by officers and then double handcuffed behind his back and placed in the back of a police car; yet, somehow, he retrieves a gun that both searches failed to find and uses it shoot himself in the right temple? That is what police in Jonesboro, Ark., say happened on the evening of Sunday, July 29, to Chavis Carter, a 21-year-old African-American man from Southaven, Miss., a suburb of Memphis. They say he committed suicide with a hidden gun while handcuffed in the back of a police cruiser. According to a local CBS News report, his mother was told that he shot himself in the right temple, but she claims that Chavis was left-handed. The strange circumstances of this case, which even the Jonesboro police chief, Michael Yates, called “bizarre” and said “defies logic at first glance,” have raised questions that sorely need answering. First, some background on how Carter came into contact with police that Sunday night. . . .

August 04, 2012

9th Circuit rules that police can be sued for unreasonable force, beating peaceful protesters

There is no way the police-friendly Supreme Court won't overturn this. Daily Kos: 9th Circuit ruling favorable for Occupiers to hold police, gov'ts accountable for excessive force
A three judge panel of the 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals filed an unanimous ruling in Nelson v. City of Davis. The student plaintiff, Timothy Nelson was seriously and permanently injured by the excessive use of force by police in a 2004 incident at UC Davis. The Court found that the police actions violated a basic constitutional right, the Fourth Amendment right to be free of unreasonable seizure and invalidated qualified immunity for the police, meaning that police could be held liable for damages. This ruling should offer considerable support to Occupiers pressing suit against police and governments for their often brutal and excessive use of force against peaceful protesters.