From George Floyd To Ronald Greene;The Epidemic Of Lying In Police Reports

George Floyd’s death at the hands of Minneapolis police on 05/25/2020, will go down in history as one of the seminole moments in the push for policing reform, not just in the United States, but globally. It was one of those rare occasions where people on both sides of the police reform debate, after viewing video footage of the incident, agreed that there needs to be changes in the way police officials interract with people of color, and especially, Black people.

Another major takeaway from the George Floyd incident, that rarely gets it’s deserved mainstream media coverage, was the stark difference between how the Minneapolis Police Department(MPD) characterized the event in their police report, and what the public actually saw on the video footage. Simply put, but for the cell phone video footage from a teenage girl, the world would never know what really happened to George Floyd on that fateful day, even after going through the MPD incident report. Police Departments lying on police reports is a very serious issue, so it’s very encouraging to see the mainstream media beginning to address it as such, a good example being this CNN piece by Josh Campbell.

Josh Campbell’s piece highlights the cases of George Floyd, Walter Scott, Laquan McDonald, Breonna Taylor and Ronald Greene, all Black victims whose deaths at the hands of police, resulted in very stark differences between the narratives in the initial police reports, and video footage of the events. The initial police reports basically lied about what actually led to the deaths of these Black suspects in their custody, a sad state of affairs indeed. Naturally, this has raised two elephant-in-the-room questions among members of the public; (1) What else do police lie about? and (2) Is lying in police reports more prevalent than we think?

The latest incident involving Ronald Greene, where Louisiana State Patrol officers put out outright lies in their police report about the circumstances of Greene’s death, will certainly lead any reasonable person to conclude that lying in police reports, is probably more prevalent than the public wishes to admit. Think about that, Louisiana State Patrol officers had video footage of the event, yet continued lying to the public for two years. The truth about the incident only came out after a reporter dug into the story, forcing the release of the video footage. There is nothing to suggest that Louisiana State Patrol officers would have ultimately done the right thing, and told the public the truth about Ronald Greene’s death, absent the dogged journalism by this reporter. This just goes to show the very crucial part good journalism plays in not only the fight for police reform, but also good governance generally.

Yours Truly has raised this “good journalism” issue before, with mainstream media taboo topics like “targeted individuals” and “gangstalking”. For those of you not familiar with these terms(not sure what rock you live under), there are growing complaints from individuals in the United States, believing to have been watchlisted, claiming that they are often the targets of abuse by various U.S. law enforcement agencies. Among the most common abuses cited by these people is “organized stalking” or “gangstalking”, conduct if proven to be true, would constitute torture(violation of Geneva Conventions). Despite the seriousness of these allegations, the mainstream media has chosen to totally ignore them, choosing instead to characterize people who make such claims as paranoid nutjobs, or dismissing them as “conspiracy theorists”.

With the rising epidemic of lying in police reports about the circumstances of minorities dying in police custody, one has to wonder whether time has come for the mainstream media to lift it’s embargo on discussing targeted individuals, gangstalking, and many other taboo topics related to law enforcement. Given what we know now about police departments’ propensity to lie to cover up their injustices, can the mainstream media justify it’s embargo on discussing targeted individuals, gangstalking et al, any longer? What if targeted individuals have been telling the truth all along?

Bottom line folks, the number one lesson from George Floyd to Ronald Greene, is that there is an urgent need for policing reform in this country, and legislative fixes like the proposed George Floyd Justice In Policing Act will go a long way in achieving these desired reforms. True policing reform however, will only be achieved and sustained, if we have accompanying “media reform”, meaning, going back to our good old fashioned investigative journalism days, and ditching the present “access journalism”. Simply put, the media must go back to posing tough questions to law enforcement/government officials instead of always seeking ways to be liked by them for the sake of “access”.

Yours Truly has been consistent on the importance of good journalism, and so should you.

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Police Chief says Trump Is “Last Hope For White People”

An interesting case out of New Jersey is getting a lot of attention because of a very peculiar reason. The case involves a former Bordentown Township Police Chief Frank Nucera Jr, who is on trial for a hate crime, among other charges, after he slammed a Black teenager’s face into a doorjamb during an arrest.

Because the 62 year old Nucera is charged with a hate crime, it is important for the prosecution to show that he harbors racial animus towards Blacks. It is against this backdrop that prosecutors have dug up comments attributed to him in 2016, prior to the U.S. presidential election.

Nucera, a Trump supporter, apparently said in 2016 that Trump was the “the last hope for white people.” Nucera specifically said, “I’m telling you, you know what, Donald Trump is the last hope for white people, cause Hillary (Clinton) will give it to all the minorities to get a vote…..That’s the truth! I’m telling you.”

Yours Truly will not go into the merits and demerits of the hate crime case laid out against Nucera. It is very noteworthy however that Nucera’s case yet again illustrates the fact that even in 2019, there are still people who occupy very high places in our criminal justice system who have very racist views.

The criminal justice system as we know, disproportionately affects poor people of color, especially Blacks. The racist comments Nucera made back in 2016 were probably well known by people in his department but nobody raised a finger. In other words, Nucera’s racial issues should have been addressed way before his unfortunate incident with the Black teenager. In the Washington Post article, prosecutors even allege that Nucera had a “significant history” of racist behavior and routinely referred to Blacks using the “n” word, which further proves Yours Truly’s point that people knew.

Bottom line folks, with every passing day we are being forced to confront reality and that is, there continues to be systemic racism in our criminal justice system. Our focus here, hard as it may seem, should not be to exact maximum punishment on former police chief Nucera but rather to address how someone like him with glaring racial issues even rose to become a police chief. Simply put, focus on the systemic racism in the criminal justice system rather than Nucera’s potential prison sentence.

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Florida Police Arrested 6 Yr Old Black Girl Over Tantrum At School

In one of the most outrageous cases illustrating the ease with which children of color get caught up in the criminal justice system, we now get a shocking report out of Florida that police in Orlando arrested, handcuffed, fingerprinted and took a mugshot of a 6 year old Black girl because she threw a tantrum at Lucious & Emma Nixon Elementary School where she’s a first-grader. Yeah, Orlando police charged first-grader Kaia with battery and threw her in the back of a squad car for a trip to a juvenile detention center. Absolutely outrageous!!

According to her visibly upset Grandma Meralyn Kirkland, Orlando police charged her granddaughter with battery because she got upset and kicked somebody (presumably one of her classmates). Kirkland says she tried to explain to an officer that her granddaughter had a medical condition (sleep apnea) which the family was trying to resolve but the officer was very dismissive. The officer she spoke to apparently responded saying, “I have sleep apnea and I don’t behave that way.”

Rebecca J. Kavanagh a New York City Public Defender has dug up the name of the officer who arrested little Kaia and surprise surprise, the officer, Dennis Turner, also arrested an 8 year old Black boy on the same day for an unrelated incident. Folks, it appears the school-to-prison pipeline is alive and well in Orlando, Florida.

Bottom line folks, there are a lot of problems with the criminal justice system and it may be easy for us members of the public to simply sit on the bleachers and point fingers at law enforcement for all the problems. The reality however is that these are systemic problems in the criminal justice system that sooner or later consume even well-meaning, good-natured individual officers. In other words, even though the officer mentioned above is cast in very negative light, the real problem is that he finds himself in a culture at the Orlando Police Department where it is very normal to criminally prosecute children of color for being children. While there will certainly be an effort to go after officer Dennis Turner individually, one only hopes that this troubling incident will spark a real debate about the real systemic problem which is the school-to-prison pipeline.

On a lighter note, if little Kaia can kick so hard at 6 years old as to warrant a battery charge, maybe the Miami Dolphins or Jacksonville Jaguars should keep an eye on her for a future Hall of Fame Kicker spot.

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You may reach the author via email at author@grassrootsdempolitics.com or author@emolumentsclause.com