You are browsing the archive for 2014 December 15.

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Texas Cop Tasers 76-Year-Old Man with Expired Inspection

December 15, 2014 in Blogs

By David Edwards, Raw Story

Video captures a cop slamming an elderly man into the hood of his patrol car and forcing him to the ground.

A Texas police officer was placed on administrative leave on Friday after he reportedly used a Taser on a 76-year-old man after the suspect had already been forced to the ground.

The Victoria Advocate reported that 76-year-old Pete Vasquez was driving a work-owned vehicle back to his place of business on Thursday when 23-year-old Officer Nathanial Robinson pulled him over for an expired inspection.

Vasquez said that he explained that the car belonged to a car lot, and that the dealer tags made it exempt from having an inspection.

But dashcam video obtained by the paper shows Robinson using force to arrest Vasquez for what should have been a Class C misdemeanor. In the video, Vasquez pulls his arm away from Robinson, and the officer slams him into the hood of the patrol car. The two men disappear from camera range as Robinson places Vasquez in a hold, and then forces him to the ground.

According to police, Robinson shocked Vasquez with a Taser twice while he was on the ground.

“He just acted like a pit bull, and that was it,” Vasquez recalled. “For a while, I thought he was going to pull his gun and shoot me.”

Vasquez was placed in the patrol car, and then transported to Citizens Medical Center for treatment, where he spent the next two hours in police custody. He was eventually released with out being charged or cited.

Chief J.J. Craig offered a personal apology to Vasquez on Friday.

“Public trust is extremely important to us,” Craig explained. “Sometimes that means you have to take a real hard look at some of the actions that occur within the department.”

“You want to make sure you give the right kind of person a badge and a gun,” he added.

Larry Urich, who works as a sales manager at the car lot, told the Advocate that the officer should be both fired from the force and prosecuted for assault.

“I told the officer, ‘What in the hell are you doing?’ This gentleman is 76 years old,” …read more


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There Is an Unbroken Line of Police Violence in the US that Takes Us All the Way Back to the Days of Slavery’

December 15, 2014 in Blogs

By Stuart Jeffries, The Guardian

A conversation with activist Angela Davis.

‘There is an unbroken line of police violence in the United States that takes us all the way back to the days of slavery, the aftermath of slavery, the development of the Ku Klux Klan,” says Angela Davis. “There is so much history of this racist violence that simply to bring one person to justice is not going to disturb the whole racist edifice.”

I had asked the professor, activist, feminist and revolutionary, the woman whom Richard Nixon called a terrorist and whom Ronald Reagan tried to fire as a professor, if she was angered by the failure of a grand jury to indict a white police officer for shooting dead an unarmed black man, Michael Brown, in Ferguson, Missouri earlier this year. “The problem with always pursuing the individual perpetrator in all of the many cases that involve police violence,” the 70-year-old replies, “is that one reinvents the wheel each time and it cannot possibly begin to reduce racist police violence. Which is not to say that individual perpetrators should not be held accountable – they should.”

We’re talking at the Friends Meeting House in London before a memorial service to her friend and colleague Stuart Hall, the black British cultural studies theorist and sociologist, who died in February. It was Hall, she tells me, as much as her mentor, the German Jewish philosopher Herbert Marcuse, who made her think about the structural issues in any given political struggle.

Not that Davis is insensitive to the outrage over specific cases of police violence against black men, be it the riots in Ferguson, the worldwide protests over the death of Eric Garner in police custody, or Trayvon Martin. Davis focuses on the latter to make an incendiary point about the racism endemic in Obama’s America. In 2012, she …read more


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The Five Worst Examples Of Fox News Hosts Trivializing Torture

December 15, 2014 in Blogs

By Lis Power, Media Matters

Here are some of the network's worst attempts to minimize the severity of torture.

Fox News Hosts: “We Humiliated A Few Terrorists” And Subjected Them To “A Little Bit Of Cold”

The Five Hosts: ”All Of [The Detainees] Got Three Hot Meals.” On the December 10 episode of Fox News' The Five, co-hosts Dana Perino and Eric Bolling repeatedly dismissed the severity of torture techniques, referring to the interrogation as ”tough talk to some terrorists” and arguing that the tactics could not have been that bad because “[a]ll of them got three hot meals”:

PERINO: I'm not going to call it torture. Enhanced interrogation. Tough talk to some terrorists.


BOLLING: Take both sides of the story. Fair and balanced, find out what — let's hear from the other side as well. And by the way, why are we taking sides. This is our safety we're talking about. Greg, you pointed out — 39 enhanced interrogations. Three were waterboarded. Five rectal rehydrations. But zero died. Zero dismembered. Zero jumped to their death. All of them got three hot meals. [Fox News, The Five, 12/10/14]

Brian Kilmeade: “Some [Detainees] Had Sleep Deprivation. Some Had A Little Bit Of Cold.” While attempting to compare whether the CIA's use of torture was worse than drone strikes carried out by the United States, Fox & Friends co-host Brian Kilmeade described some torture techniques as simply “sleep deprivation” and “a little bit of cold”:

KILMEADE: You're talking about, oh, Abu Zubaydah was waterboarded, and Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was waterboarded. And some had sleep deprivation, and some had a little bit of cold and whatever it was. Well what is worse? Having that and still be alive and getting to play soccer in Cuba right now, or having you be blown up when a hellfire missile hits you in the head? [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 12/11/14]

Jesse Watters: “So We Humiliated A Few Terrorists. No One Cares.” On Outnumbered on December 9, Fox News correspondent and guest co-host Jesse Watters said of potential backlash to the report, “So we roughed up a few of them. So we humiliated a few terrorists. No one cares.” He followed up saying, “It's not torture.” [Fox News, Outnumbered, 12/9/14]

Neil Cavuto Dismisses “Torture” Label: “You'd Almost Think We Were Chopping People's Fingers Off.” Attempting to draw a distinction between enhanced interrogation …read more