TIME police

Maryland Governor Sends State Troopers to Baltimore Protests

Hundreds of people march through the streets of Baltimore to seek justice for the death for Freddie Gray who died from injuries suffered in Police custody, Baltimore on April 22, 2015.
Samuel Corum—Anadolu Agency/Getty Images Hundreds of people march through the streets of Baltimore to seek justice for the death for Freddie Gray who died from injuries suffered in Police custody, Baltimore on April 22, 2015.

"The last thing we need is more violence in Baltimore City"

Maryland Governor Larry Hogan said Thursday he sent state police troopers to Baltimore as protests over a man’s death following an injury in police custody heat up.

“People legitimately have concerns, and the community is out in force protesting,” Hogan said, The Baltimore Sun reports. “I want to thank the folks involved in that. So far it has been peaceful. We want to try to keep things under control. The last thing we need is more violence in Baltimore City.”

Protests have popped up in Baltimore in the past few days as investigations continue into Gray’s case. The 25-year-old died Sunday after suffering an injury during an arrest on April 12, but exactly how he sustained the fatal injury—his spine was 80% “severed at the neck,” a family attorney said earlier—remains a mystery.

Thirty-two troopers reached Baltimore on Thursday afternoon to support and assist police, who Hogan said will continue to be at the protests, after the city requested state help.

While speaking to reporters in Annapolis, Hogan also expressed support for a recently passed police body-camera bill. “Having the real evidence of of exactly what happened, having everything videotaped, is a step in the right direction,” he said.

Several videos of the arrest have emerged in the wake of Gray’s death. One witness said he saw officers have Gray “folded up like a crab.”

 

[Baltimore Sun]

TIME Crime

Grand Jury Clears Dallas Cops in Deadly Shooting of Man Wielding Screwdriver

A federal civil rights case is still pending

A grand jury has decided not to indict two Dallas police officers in the fatal shooting of a mentally ill man brandishing a screwdriver.

A Dallas County grand jury on Thursday found that John Rogers and Andrew Hutchins, two officers with the Dallas Police Department, did not act unlawfully in June when they shot 38-year-old Jason Harrison, who family members said was schizophrenic and bipolar but was not taking his medication.

Police were responding to a 911 call from Harrison’s mother requesting help getting him to the hospital. Video from a police body camera shows Harrison, who was black, in the doorway of his home holding a screwdriver, which officers demanded he drop.

The police shot Harrison and later said he was moving toward them aggressively, but Harrison’s lawyer said there is no evidence to substantiate those claims.

“Our view of the evidence is the film didn’t show any lunging, didn’t show any jabbing, didn’t show any thrusting,” Geoff Henley, an attorney for Harrison’s family, said. A federal civil rights lawsuit is still pending.

[Dallas Morning News]

 

TIME Crime

Michael Brown’s Family Files Wrongful Death Suit Against City of Ferguson

Benjamin L. Crump, Anthony D. Gray, Lesley McSpadden
Jeff Roberson—AP Lesley McSpadden, mother of Michael Brown, wipes her eye as she is flanked by her attorneys Anthony D. Gray, left, and Benjamin L. Crump, right, during a news conference April 23, 2015, in Clayton, Mo.

But the lawsuit's claims conflict with the findings of a DOJ investigation

A wrongful death lawsuit filed by the parents of Michael Brown against the City of Ferguson, Mo. claims the black teenager had his hands up and told Officer Darren Wilson “don’t shoot” — in contrast to the findings of a U.S. Department of Justice investigation into the incident.

The lawsuit was filed Thursday by Michael Brown Sr., and Lesley McSpadden against the city, Officer Darren Wilson and former Police Chief Thomas Jackson. The family claims that the city engaged in a pattern of unconstitutional behavior involving stops, detentions and arrests, excessive force and a practice of racial bias against the city’s black residents.

There is, however, one key difference between the facts laid out in the family’s civil lawsuit and the DOJ’s findings: the family claims that Brown was holding his hands up at the time of the shooting and told Officer Wilson not to shoot because he was unarmed.

“In a final attempt to protect himself, and prevent additional bodily harm and/or imminent death, MBJ turned around and raised his hands in a non-threatening manner,” the lawsuit says, referring to Brown. “Upon information and belief, MBJ conveyed the following statement to Defendant Wilson: ‘Don’t shoot. I don’t have a gun. I’m unarmed.’”

Although the DOJ report did find a history of explicit racial bias among Ferguson police officers, it concluded that the claim that Brown had his hands up at the time Wilson shot him could not be substantiated by the physical evidence of the crime scene and accounts by credible eyewitnesses. Instead, the federal government found that Brown was running toward Wilson, which contributed to the decision by the justice department not to pursue federal charges against the officer. A grand jury also elected not to charge Wilson, who is white.

After some eyewitnesses claimed Brown had been holding his hands up at the time of his death, the phrase “Hands up, don’t shoot” became a rallying cry of demonstrators in Ferguson and around the country.

The lawsuit asks for punitive and compensatory damages from the city of Ferguson on seven counts of what are described as unconstitutional practices but doesn’t specify a dollar amount. The suit also seeks changes to the police department’s patrol techniques and asks for a compliance monitor to oversee the city’s use of force practices for the next five years or until a court has determined that reforms have taken place.

TIME Crime

Witness Protests in Baltimore Over the Death of Freddie Gray

Protests erupted in Baltimore on Tuesday and continued Wednesday, as demonstrators demand answers on what happened to Freddie Gray, who died of a spine injury after he was arrested by police

TIME Crime

Freddie Gray Was ‘Folded Up Like a Crab,’ Witness Says

Suspect Dies Baltimore
Patrick Semansky—AP A child watches a protest march for Freddie Gray as it passes by April 22, 2015, in Baltimore. Gray died from spinal injuries about a week after he was arrested and transported in a police van.

Kevin Moore, who filmed the Baltimore man's arrest, describes what he saw

A Baltimore man who filmed the arrest of Freddie Gray, the Baltimore man who died from a spinal injury after being detained by police, says he witnessed officers placing their heels in Gray’s back and having him “folded up like a crab.”

Several videos have now emerged showing the arrest of the black 25-year-old, which has once again focused national attention on police use of force following a series of earlier incidents in Ferguson, New York City, Cleveland and North Charleston, and has sparked protests around Baltimore.

According to the Baltimore Sun, Kevin Moore, who lives in Gilmor Homes, a Baltimore housing complex where Gray was arrested, filmed part of the incident in which Gray can be seen screaming while two officers have him handcuffed and pinned to the sidewalk.

“They had him folded up like he was a crab or a piece of origami,” Moore told the Sun. “He was all bent up.” Moore says one officer had his knee in Gray’s neck and that Gray was telling them he couldn’t breathe and needed an asthma pump.

A police report of the incident said Gray was detained without use of force on April 12, but authorities have so far provided little detail on how Gray came to be fatally injured. He died on Sunday a week after his arrest.

The six officers involved have been suspended with pay pending an investigation by the police department, which will be released May 1. The Department of Justice has also opened an investigation.

 

TIME police

New Protests Erupt in Baltimore Over Freddie Gray Case

The Rev. Westley West leads a march for Freddie Gray to the Baltimore Police Department's Western District police station on April 22, 2015, in Baltimore.
Patrick Semansky—AP The Rev. Westley West leads a march for Freddie Gray to the Baltimore Police Department's Western District police station on April 22, 2015, in Baltimore.

A look at the developments on Wednesday

(BALTIMORE) — A 25-year-old Baltimore man died a week after his spine was mysteriously injured while he was in police custody.

A look at the developments Wednesday in the case of Freddie Gray.

___

LYNCH MOB?

A statement released by the Baltimore police union comparing protesters of Gray’s death to a “lynch mob” drew criticism on Twitter by users who called it racially insensitive and inappropriate, given that the demonstrations have been peaceful.

A little later, at a news conference, union President Gene Ryan backpedaled, saying, “Maybe I should reword that.”

“I don’t want it to turn into a lynch mob,” he said.

“I’m afraid of the crowd becoming hostile,” said a tense-sounding Ryan. “They have been very peaceful to this point. My main concern is for the public and the police officers that they remain peaceful and exercise their constitutional right to do what they’re doing.”

Ryan said he feared violence because of protests in Ferguson, Missouri, and New York that followed police-involved deaths of unarmed suspects.

___

#WeHearYou

One of two groups of protesters marched in the streets for 20 blocks Wednesday night, blocking intersections and disrupting traffic for short periods of time before moving on. They passed near the hospital where Gray died, and continued on to the Inner Harbor before stopping in front of City Hall.

Once there, some paused in front of a fountain and raised their hands, saying, “Hands up, don’t shoot.” They then approached barricades and officers protecting a courtyard directly in front of City Hall. A man with a bullhorn chanted, “No justice, no peace.”

The group then marched to an onramp of Interstate 83, a highway that cuts through the city. The ramp was blocked by several police cruisers and a line of officers, their arms linked.

Pastor Wesley West of Faith Empowered Ministries linked arms with Gray’s cousin, Carron Morgan, and they faced the crowd. After West led chants for justice and peace, and called for a moment of silence, protesters headed away from the interstate.

Morgan, 18, turned and quickly shook one of the officer’s hands.

Asked why, he said: “At the end of the day, I don’t think all cops are bad, just that some are corrupt.”

Baltimore police took to Twitter to provide updates of where the marchers were, using the hashtag, #WeHearYou.

___

ANGER

At a second protest at the Western District police precinct, more than 100 demonstrators pushed on a barricade, and about 30 police officers pushed back. Some protesters hurled obscenities and threw soda cans and bottles at the line of police behind the barricades, but none hit the officers and the demonstration remained largely peaceful.

For the most part, police ignored the insults did not react to provocations from the protesters.

At least three people were detained. No one was injured.

Mark Hill said anger in the community reached a boiling point after Gray’s death, but that the frustration is longstanding.

“It’s getting charged out here because people are really getting tired,” Hill said. “There’s a fear in the community of what police might do to you.

He said he has little confidence that police will be forthcoming about what happened to Gray.

“This is not an isolated event. This has been going on forever,” he said.

Bernadette Washington said she has been marching every day since Gray’s death.

Washington grew up with Gray and called him a good person who didn’t need to die. She didn’t understand why the six officers involved in Gray’s arrest are still drawing a paycheck while they’re suspended.

“All we want is justice,” Washington said.

___

INVESTIGATONS

Five of the six officers involved in Gray’s arrest gave statements that day, a week before his death, police said Wednesday while declining to reveal the content of what they said.

An attorney who works with the Baltimore Fraternal Order of Police had mentioned the statements earlier in the day as a way of showing that the officers involved have been cooperative.

Police said the department’s internal investigation into Gray’s arrest will be turned over to the Baltimore State’s Attorney’s Office for review on May 1. The prosecutor’s office can determine whether to file charges against the officers involved or present the case to a grand jury.

The U.S. Justice Department has opened a civil rights investigation into Gray’s death.

Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said she welcomed the Justice Department’s involvement. She has called along for an outside review.

“Whenever a police force conducts an internal investigation, there are always appropriate questions of transparency and impartiality,” she said in a statement. “My goal has always been to get answers to the questions so many of us are still asking with regards to Mr. Gray’s death.”

Gray’s family has an attorney who is working on his own investigation.

___

GOVERNOR’S VIEW

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan said he has spoken with city and state officials about the situation and won’t be ordering any further investigations.

He said he believes the current investigations are being handled properly and that “the last thing we need is people stepping all over each other.”

“We don’t want to make politics out of this tragic situation,” Hogan told reporters after an Earth Day event in Annapolis.

He said his heart goes out to Gray’s family “and everyone involved in the entire incident.”

“Like everyone else, we are hoping to get to the bottom of it and find out the facts.”

__

Associated Press reporters Amanda Lee Myers and David Dishneau contributed to this report.

TIME police

Feds Open Investigation Into Baltimore Man’s Fatal Injury in Police Custody

Gloria Darden, third from left, mother of Freddie Gray, walks with supporters and family members of Gray in a march to the Baltimore Police Department's Western District police station during a vigil for Gray on April 21, 2015, in Baltimore.
Patrick Semansky—AP Gloria Darden, third from left, mother of Freddie Gray, walks with supporters and family members of Gray in a march to the Baltimore Police Department's Western District police station during a vigil for Gray on April 21, 2015, in Baltimore.

Protesters are asking for answers from city officials

The Justice Department announced Tuesday it opened a federal inquiry into a Baltimore case involving a man who was arrested earlier this month and later died after an apparent spinal injury, the latest incident of a police-related death of a black man to drive the national debate about race and excessive force.

Federal investigators will look into whether the civil rights of Freddie Gray, who died Sunday, had been violated after his arrest on April 12. The incident has ignited protests around Baltimore, a city that has struggled for years to maintain trust between police and residents, and put a spotlight on law-enforcement officials and the mayor as the case continues to raise more questions than answers.

According to the Baltimore police department, which released the names of the six officers involved in the incident and suspended them with pay, Gray was arrested after he “made eye contact” with police and ran. Authorities later said Gray was carrying a knife that was clipped to the inside of his pocket. In a video recorded by a bystander, Gray is seen being placed inside a police van and appears to have trouble walking.

Police have denied using force against Gray, whose spine was described by the family’s attorney as 80% “severed at the neck.” Gray eventually lapsed into a coma and died.

“I know that when Mr. Gray was placed inside that van, he was able to talk,” Baltimore deputy police commissioner Jerry Rodriguez told reporters on Monday. “And when Mr. Gray was taken out of that van, he could not talk, and he could not breathe.”

William “Billy” Murphy, Jr., an attorney representing Gray’s family, told TIME the bystander’s video is “suggestive of the injury happening during arrest.”

“We know that while in police custody, this guy was extraordinarily injured,” he said. “What we don’t know yet is exactly who did it, why they did it or how they did it.”

Gray was arrested near the Gilmor Homes public-housing complex, which is in a neighborhood that has experienced years of frayed relations between residents and law-enforcement officers. “There’s a huge amount of distrust in this community,” says Baltimore city councilman Nick Mosby, who represents the district where Gray was arrested. “It’s an us-vs.-them type of approach.”

The complex itself has also had problems. In 2010 a federal grand jury indicted 22 people on drug-conspiracy charges centered on the residences. In 2014 a woman accused Baltimore police of using a Taser on her as she held her 11-month-old brother within the complex. Police denied the allegations and said she was not holding the baby at the time.

“What you have is a terrible, terrible police-community relationship, and you essentially have the police with the unenviable task as they would see it trying to take control and keep a lid on neighborhoods that are so ridden with hopelessness and anger and disconnected people,” says Barbara Samuels, an ACLU attorney who has worked on behalf of black public-housing residents. “But at the same time, they don’t feel protected at all by the police. It’s just a very toxic situation.”

The Gray incident follows several high-profile cases around the U.S. involving police use-of-force, including incidents in Ferguson, New York City, Cleveland and North Charleston, S.C., in which police actions contributed to the deaths of black men.

Baltimore police commissioner Anthony Batts has called for changes in the way the city’s police move arrested individuals and said the department would re-examine how it provides medical attention to those in custody. Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake has pledged that officials will conduct a thorough review of the incident to determine how Gray sustained life-ending injuries.

“This is a very, very tense time for Baltimore city, and I understand the community’s frustration,” Rawlings-Blake said in a news conference Monday. “I understand it because I’m frustrated. I’m angry that we are here again, that we have to tell another mother that her child is dead. I’m frustrated not only that we are here, but we don’t have all of the answers.”

But repairing trust between citizens and the police in Baltimore is something that will take far longer than determining how and why Gray died.

“Just like in Ferguson, Cleveland and North Charleston, people are saying, I’d rather the police not come here,” says Mosby, the councilman. “Maybe I don’t want my neighbor’s son pulled over and ultimately wind up a victim of some kind of incident that could’ve been handled a different way.”

TIME India

The Unusual Way One Indian Town Is Enforcing Its Controversial Ban on Beef

111919733
Photo by Evgeni Zotov—Getty Images/Flickr RF

Photographing every cow, calf and bull is also providing photographers with a decent payday

Some six weeks after one of India’s largest states banned the consumption and sale of beef, prompting widespread outrage, consternation and existential questions for those who depend on the meat for their livelihoods, one of its towns has deployed a rather unique way of ensuring compliance.

Police in Malegaon in the western Indian state of Maharashtra are making sure no one slaughters the bovine creatures by taking photographs of each and every cow, calf and bull (along with their owners) in the town, the Indian Express reports.

The photos are then tabulated in the imaginatively titled “Cow, Bull, Calf” register at each of Malegaon’s seven police stations.

Cow slaughter has always been banned in Maharashtra under a law dating back to 1976, but the government’s attempt to expand it to include bulls and bullocks in 1995 was only officially implemented this year. The move caused a great deal of controversy, with many accusing the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party of Prime Minister Narendra Modi of unfairly targeting minorities (cows are sacred in Hinduism, and a significant portion of the country’s cattle traders are Muslims, while beef is mainly consumed by impoverished lower-caste communities).

“We aren’t picking and choosing,” the town’s additional superintendent of police Sunil Kadasane told the Express. “Every cattle owner — Hindu or Muslim — will be a part of the exercise.”

The government justified the beef ban on Monday, the Times of India reported, claiming to the Bombay High Court that it was a “reasonable restriction” and did not violate food-security laws as a public petition alleged. Maneka Gandhi, India’s Women and Child Development Minister, advocated the expansion of the ban to the entire country in an interview Monday night.

A total of 312 cattle belonging to 174 owners have been recorded in the three weeks since the photo initiative began — right down to the address, occupation and family members of the owner as well as from whom the animal was purchased, and an undertaking signed by the owner that reads, “We will neither slaughter nor give away our pet for slaughter.”

The police register has received mixed reactions from Muslims within the Malegaon community.

“If it’s a law, it’s a law,” Nayim Rehman, who got his picture taken on the very first day, told the Express. “There is no harm in getting my cattle photographed by the police. It’s for my protection.”

But cattle trader Farookh Qureshi is furious. “It only targets Muslims, as if we love to slaughter animals,” he says.

Malegaon is no stranger to religious tensions, having seen communal riots following the infamous Babri Mosque demolition in 1992, as well as terrorist attacks in 2006 and 2008. But the slaughter ban’s impact is mostly being felt in its small-scale industries — leather and jewelry manufacturers as well as soap factories and bone-crushing units have all shut down.

The only ones truly happy, if you don’t count the cows, seem to be the photographers. “I will make some good money. There are several farmers who own cows in Malegaon,” Mohsin Shaikh told the Express. “A picture of each, and imagine a register full of my photographed animals.”

TIME Crime

Baltimore Mayor ‘Angry’ About Lack of Answers in Man’s Death After Arrest

Demonstrators protest the death of Freddie Gray outside Baltimore City Hall on April 20, 2015.
David Dishneau—AP Demonstrators protest the death of Freddie Gray outside Baltimore City Hall on April 20, 2015.

Freddie Gray died Sunday, a week after his arrest

Baltimore has suspended six police officers with pay as authorities said Monday they would continue to investigate a man’s death following a spinal injury he apparently sustained while in custody.

Officials held a news conference to update a frustrated community that is demanding answers to what they perceive as another instance of excessive police force. Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said she understands the community’s concerns and shares their frustrations.

“I’m angry that we’re here again, that we have had to tell another mother that their child is dead,” Rawlings-Blake said. “I’m frustrated not only that we’re here, but that we don’t have all the answers.”

The news conference comes one day after the death of Freddie Gray, who was fatally injured after an arrest on April 12. Gray was stopped after running away from an area where he saw a police presence, and a pocket knife was found in his pants pocket, the Baltimore Sun reports.

Gray had an injured spinal cord, but officials said an autopsy has not revealed evidence of how the physical trauma occurred. On Sunday, a lawyer for Gray’s family said in a statement that Gray had fallen into a coma after his spine was 80% “severed at his neck.”

Police Commissioner Anthony Batts said that an independent board would review the case after the investigation is concluded by May 1.

TIME Crime

This Town Has 1 Cop for Every 2 Residents

An Oakley police car on March 14, 2014 in Oakley, Mich.
Jeff Schrier—AP An Oakley police car in Oakley, Mich., on March 14, 2014 .

And one of them might be Kid Rock

A town in Michigan with a population of just 300 has roughly 150 police officers in an alleged “pay-to-play” scheme that allows reserve officers to get around the state’s gun restrictions.

The town of Oakley, Mich., has dozens of people apply to become cops in the tiny town, The Guardian reports, among them rapper Kid Rock, a football player for the Miami Dolphins, and various Michigan businessmen.

Those accepted to become reserve officers, who pay sums of up to $4,000 to join the force, are then authorized to carry firearms in places that generally ban them, like schools and bars. The Saginaw News reported that the law enforcement agency had raised almost $250,000 from 2008 to 2014.

The allegations are part of a lawsuit intended to make the Oakley police force more transparent. A lawyer involved in the case told the Guardian that all the reservists but one live at least 90 minutes drive from the town.

Reserve officers have come under scrutiny in recent weeks after the apparent accidental shooting of Eric Harris by Robert Bates, a 73-year-old volunteer deputy in Tulsa, Okla. Harris was shot and killed by Bates, who said he meant to use his Taser instead of his gun.

[Guardian]

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