When Officer Friendly Becomes Delta Force

By BitcoDavid

I find myself bombarded by images and news stories of police committing what can only be called atrocities on American citizens. I’ve struggled with this for the past few weeks, because we’ve talked before – on this site – about the dangers of militarization of the police. Recently, our publisher asked me to do a research piece based on a simple question. Are police abuses of power actually increasing, or are we seeing them more, because people are recording them on cell-phone cameras?

The ’50s and ’60s were rife with cases of police brutality. Prior to Miranda in 1966, interrogations were commonly brutal, and in many cases actual torture. It wasn’t uncommon in those days, for police with no warrant to enter one’s home and search. Traffic stops – same thing. And of course, any of us who were involved in the counterculture movement of the late ’60s and early ’70s remember well, being stopped and carded on the streets. It actually became habit to reach for one’s wallet, upon seeing a cop.

But I never felt the animosity, the vitriol, the general ill will, that I’m feeling today. And that, on both sides of the equation. Growing up, we certainly were no fans of the police, but there was a tenuous mutual respect – not for each other, so much as for the game. We were the gazelles. Minding our own business, eating our leaves in peace. They were the cougars, slavering and slobbering to rend our flesh from our bones. But gazelles and cougars both, know the rules of engagement – the law of nature. They understand the life they have chosen, or should I say the hand they’ve been dealt. And if nothing else, we both understood the hands we’d been dealt.

I even developed strong and lasting friendships with many cops, during those tumultuous years. On duty, these men and women had a job to do. Off duty, they were just people – no different from you and me.

The difference, nowadays, is that cops are being armed like soldiers and trained to fight citizens – even perhaps, criminal citizens but citizens nonetheless – as insurrectionists. I hold two important milestones in our history, as responsible for this paradigm shift. September 11th, and a program that began in 1997, known as the 1033 Program. Section 1208 of the National Defense Authorization Act of 1990 allowed transfer of military hardware from the Department of Defense to law enforcement agencies, as an aid in prosecuting the War on Drugs. By ’97, the law had undergone a retrofit and became the 1033 program. Under this program, law enforcement agencies, regardless of size or jurisdiction, can obtain full scale military hardware. Everything from fighter jets to tanks to flack jackets.

What they aren’t getting however, is training. In the old days, cops were judiciously issued a .38, and taught to rarely – if ever – use it. Nowadays they’re handed an AR-15, and told that everybody out there is either a dope dealer or a terrorist. They used to get a Plymouth Fury with a Slant-6, now they get a Halftrack with a Gatling Cannon.

Retired cops have told me that in 20 years on the force, they never once drew their guns. Today, you can’t open a paper or log-on to a Web site, without reading about another shooting of an innocent civilian. Add to that the beatings, the wrongful enforcement of warrants, the over use of  SWAT teams – and the staggering number of dogs shot by officers, and you have a climate of outright warfare.

Some statistics:

Number of SWAT deployments nationwide in 1974 – 300. In 2014 – 50,000 (and the year isn’t over yet.) There are currently over 100 SWAT Team raids, in America, every day.

5000 individuals have been killed by law enforcement officers since 9/11.

--Adama - Battlestar Galactica. Image: Utah Politico Hub

–Adama – Battlestar Galactica. Image: Utah Politico Hub

Between 2005 and 2012, a White officer used deadly force against a Black person 1.85 times per week. 20% of those cases involve juveniles. White juveniles killed by police, amount to 0.125% of the total number of interactions.

Number of justified police killing (not just shooting, but killing) of civilians in the U.S. in 2012 – 409.
Number of justified police killing of civilians in Britain in 2012 – 1.

The above are just some of the many facts I have discovered, researching this post. I have become convinced that I can answer our venerable publisher’s query, with an undeniable and unconditional yes. Absolutely. And staggeringly, mind-bogglingly so. It hasn’t been an increase, it’s been an exponential increase. An increase by orders of magnitude. In fact, it’s fair to say that the whole science of policing has undergone an evolutionary change. What was once a job done by members of your community – your neighbors and friends –  have morphed into the forces of Xerxes writ with modern death-dealing technology. Welcome to the new Thermopylae. The new Gallipoli.

BitcoDavid is a blogger and a blog site consultant. In former lives, he was an audio engineer, a videographer, a teacher – even a cab driver. He is an avid health and fitness enthusiast and a Pro/Am boxer. He has spent years working with diet and exercise to combat obesity and obesity related illness.

Top Criminal Justice Degrees Shares Infographic

By BitcoDavid

Flatfoots
Source: TopCriminalJusticeDegrees.org

BitcoDavid is a blogger and a blog site consultant. In former lives, he was an audio engineer, a videographer, a teacher – even a cab driver. He is an avid health and fitness enthusiast and a Pro/Am boxer. He has spent years working with diet and exercise to combat obesity and obesity related illness.

Driving While Deaf – From the ACLU

By BitcoDavid

This was taken from the ACLU Web site.

Rights for deaf Americans.

Being stopped by the police can be difficult for everyone. For those of us who are deaf, the experience can be far worse.

For Pearl Pearson, a 64-year-old deaf man, a routine traffic stop led to a brutal assault by police. When an officer shouted instructions, he attempted to show the patrolman that he was deaf. That’s when the officer pulled him from his car and according to Pearson, beat him for not following verbal orders.

The Department of Justice can help put an end to these tragedies. Police departments need up-to-date guidance and training from the DOJ on how law enforcement must interact with deaf and hard of hearing individuals, as obligated under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

We know the DOJ is listening. Mobilized by violence against transgender individuals, activists recently pushed the DOJ to issue similar guidance on how law enforcement must interact with the trans community.

The police are here to serve and protect us all – including the deaf and hard of hearing. Let’s make sure they get the guidance and training they need to fulfill their duty. Sign the petition to the DOJ now.

BitcoDavid is a blogger and a blog site consultant. In former lives, he was an audio engineer, a videographer, a teacher – even a cab driver. He is an avid health and fitness enthusiast and a Pro/Am boxer. He has spent years working with diet and exercise to combat obesity and obesity related illness.

Petitions Delivered

By BitcoDavid

UPS has informed me, that all our petitions have been delivered. We have done our part, now it’s up to Florida to do theirs. This was a learning experience for me, because it was neither easy nor cheap. It required several trips to Staples for printing, as well as a large amount of printing here, at the massive DeafInPrison.com Plaza. Between the printing costs, and the shipping costs… well… let’s just say, I felt the bite.

But this is a happy post. A genuine Emoji.  Florida’s  Praetorian Guard now have hard-copy proof of our labor. They are awed by the sheer magnitude of the names, and shamed by their own state’s wrongheadedness and inhumanity.

We have issued our Concordat. The Jacobin have stormed the Bastille. This is our Battleship Potemkin moment.

Scott Carey – armed with nothing more than a nail – has confronted the spider.

BitcoDavid is a blogger and a blog site consultant. In former lives, he was an audio engineer, a videographer, a teacher – even a cab driver. He is an avid health and fitness enthusiast and a Pro/Am boxer. He has spent years working with diet and exercise to combat obesity and obesity related illness.

Petition In Brown Truck and Heading South

By BitcoDavid

English: Mabel Capper and Suffragettes with a ...

Mabel Capper and Suffragettes with a petition 1911 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It is not without a certain amount of sadness, that I report to you that we have closed down the petition, printed up all 35 pages of it, and sent a copy to each of the four members of the Clemency Board. I’m actually quite happy about this, and about Felix’s extra shot at freedom, but I have nursed this petition along for almost 3 years, now. I’ve checked it once a day, intervened when it went dark, or got mistakenly closed. I’ve posted about it, maybe 100 times on here, and at least that many, on the other social networks. I’ve e-mailed about it, telephoned about it, and snail mailed about it. In short, I feel like a parent whose child is gone off to college. Sniff! [Tear] My son, the petition! Sniff!

Pat Bliss has informed me that if you are writing letters to the Clemency Board, she asks that you do not refer specifically to December, but rather just make the case for clemency. Apparently, it is viewed as an arrogance, for us to cite the date. This is of course, political and legal mumbo-jumbo, but we have to play the game as visitors, and Florida is the home team.

Here’s a copy of the petition as it appears in hard-copy form. This and my personal letter is exactly what the Board will receive on Wednesday of next week.

Here’s a copy of my enclosed letter.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of you who signed, and all of you who have supported Felix – and us – during this long uphill slog. It is my sincerest hope that all this work does not go unrewarded.

I would also like to thank Care2 for all their hard work and cooperation on this project. We couldn’t have completed this petition without them, and on numerous occasions, their technical support staff. Wonderful job guys, thanks for all you do.

Well, that’s about it. Remember, we’re not done yet. Keep writing those letters. And don’t forget to leave December out of it, and please keep the language family friendly. We don’t want to rub these people the wrong way.

But, Pam Bondi, if you’re reading this – and I suspect you are – please, free Felix. You know it’s the right thing to do.

#JusticeForFelix, #FreeFelix.

BitcoDavid is a blogger and a blog site consultant. In former lives, he was an audio engineer, a videographer, a teacher – even a cab driver. He is an avid health and fitness enthusiast and a Pro/Am boxer. He has spent years working with diet and exercise to combat obesity and obesity related illness.

Some Great News

By BitcoDavid

Pat Bliss has informed me that the option for clemency for Felix Garcia is not dead, after all. She states that the possibility exists for a new clemency hearing, in December. What’s more, she tells me that there’s been a renewed interest in the case, amongst members of Florida’s justice system.  She has asked me to reach out one more time, to our readers, asking for your support. The pro bono attorney handling the case, Reginald Garcia has asked that we mail in our petition on Monday. He wants it sent to all 4 members of the Clemency Board.

I am glad to do so, and will be sending them via registered mail to each of the 4 members. I will be accompanying that packet with a letter of my own, imploring them to reexamine the case, and grant Felix the clemency he deserves.

Here’s where you can help. We are still 120 signatures shy of our goal of 1000. I will be sending the petition out regardless on Monday, the 14th. But I honestly believe that with one last push, we can reach our goal before then. Please, go sign our petition. While I’m sure the Board will be impressed with 880 signatures, 1000 would mean so much more.

If you feel like going that extra mile, for Felix, Ms. Bliss has also requested that as many of you as are able, write and send your own letters to the Board. Unfortunately, in cases such as this, e-mail and other electronic methods of communication hold little weight. These letters must be sent via U.S. Mail, in hard copy. They need something they can wave around in their hands, while pleading his case. I realize that to most of us, nowadays, those men in the little blue shorts who drive around in those funny little Jeeps, are somewhat of an enigma, but unfortunately nothing else will work.

As Dickens pointed out, the law is an ass. Furthermore, nobody ever accused the Government – state or Federal – of being overly hip. So, it’s U.S. mail or nothing.

Here are the addresses you can send your letters to:

 

Office of Governor Rick Scott

Thomas Winokur, Clemency Aide

400 S. Monroe St.

Rm 209, The Capitol

Tallahassee, FL 32399

Office of Attorney General Pam Bondi

Gwen Thomas, Clemency Assistant

366 M. Collins Bldg.

Tallahassee, FL 32301

Office of Chief Financial Officer

Jeff Atwater

Robert Tornillo, Clemency Aide

LL26, The Capitol

Tallahassee, FL 32301

Office of Commission of Agriculture

Adam Putnam

Reagan Russell, Clemency Aide

407 Calhoun St., Suite 520

Tallahassee, FL 32399-0810 

Pat also sent me a draft you can use:

Dear Governor Scott and Florida Clemency Cabinet.
Felix is innocent;  he was framed by his siblings and they have recanted; he has a 7 hour alibi; has served 33 years in prison; paralegal Pat Bliss has been on his case 17+ years and is his “mom”  where he will go home to in Virginia.

Personally, I would prefer it if you used your own words, but please – remember that we’re writing to plead with these people. Try to avoid pejoratives and off color language. Keep in mind, you catch more flies with honey.

You will need to send all 4 members – listed above – copies of your letters. I realize this is an inconvenience, not to mention a small personal expense. We thank you in advance for your efforts, and Felix – who’s made far greater sacrifices – will thank you as well.

BitcoDavid is a blogger and a blog site consultant. In former lives, he was an audio engineer, a videographer, a teacher – even a cab driver. He is an avid health and fitness enthusiast and a Pro/Am boxer. He has spent years working with diet and exercise to combat obesity and obesity related illness.

Jack’s Annual Independence Day Plea

Jack byline

By Supporter Contributor and Internet Rock Star, Jack

 

Happy and safe 4th to everybody.

Happy and safe 4th to everybody.

It’s coming! I can feel it in my bones, and I’m not a happy Lab-Chow. Fourth of July! The worst day to be a dog, of all the days to be a dog. BitcoDavid lets me write a post once a year, imploring you to take caution when enjoying this holiday, as it is often an unsafe and very scary time for your bestest – us.

Look. Fireworks scare us. I mean they really scare us. I’ve heard about dogs running out of the house and getting lost, kidnapped or even hit by cars. I’ve heard of dogs getting sick – heart problems, digestive tract issues, shock – all from fear. I’ve even heard of dogs breaking bones or suffering other injury by trying to hide under furniture, behind refrigerators and stuff like that.

No to cake, but yes, please to Greenies.

No to cake, but yes, please to Greenies.

But it’s not just the fireworks. We really shouldn’t be out back with you, during the Barbecue. We can inhale smoke, get burned by charcoal or knock the whole thing over, by accident. Sometimes your friends give us beer, or feed us chocolate or onions. It might even look like we’re having fun, but we’re not. Those things are bad for us, and in some cases can even kill us.

Some people take their fur-children and fur-friends with them to other people’s parties, and leave us in the car. Can you believe that? It happens all the time. Do you know that the inside of a car can get up to 140 degrees? We have fur coats, and we don’t sweat the way you do. The only way we can cool off is through our tongues and our feet. You could be inside in the AC, partying and having the time of your life – but meanwhile, the guy who’s trusted you with his life, is dying.

This is me, after a bath. Sheesh.

This is me, after a bath. Sheesh.

So please, give some thought to what I’ve said. You can enjoy this holiday. Far be it from me, a little black dog, to ruin your fun. Just know that this is an unsafe and very scary time for us. And who do you care more about than your dog? Huh? I ask you?

Be safe, have fun and follow state and local laws. If you want to learn more about this, visit my close friend RumpyDog. He’s a Malamute, but that doesn’t mean he can’t write well.

Jack is a Lab-Chow. He was born into a Georgia dog fighting ring, but abandoned due to his size. He rescued BitcoDavid, and Mrs. BitcoDavid and now lives happily in Massachusetts. He enjoys barking at the dog in the mirror, and Greenies. As you can see, he’s an accomplished writer.

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