Police in America: "Licensed to Kill"
October 8, 2013
Stephen Lendman / Global Research
Commentary: Violence in America is systemic. America glorifies wars. It has the highest homicide rate among all developed nations. It’s obsessed with owning guns. Violent films and video games are popular. Police spurn constitutional protections and act with impunity. Each year sees thousands of instances of police misconduct and hundreds of civilian deaths. When officers are held accountable, most often discipline imposed is mild.
WASHINGTON, DC (October 6, 2013) -- Miriam Carey is the latest victim. She deserved to live, not die. (More on her below.) Incidents occur daily across America. Blacks and Latinos are most vulnerable. Police shoot innocent suspects for any reason or none all. Rarely are officers or their superiors held accountable. On average, US police kill one or two people daily. Most often, incidents go unnoticed.
Violence in America is systemic. Previous articles discussed it. America glorifies wars. It does so in the name of peace. It has by far the highest homicide rate among all developed nations. It’s obsessed with owning guns.
Violent films are some of the most popular. So are similar video games. Peace, stability and security are convenient illusions. Imperial wars and domestic violence crowd them out.
Communities, neighborhoods, schools, work places, commercial areas and city streets are affected. Driving while black is dangerous.
A 1999 ACLU report discussed it. Titled "Driving While Black: Racial Profiling On Our Nation’s Highways," it said:
It’s longstanding practice in America. In 1967, dozens of witnesses told Kerner Commission members that "stopping of Negroes on foot or in cars without obvious basis" was a key reason for riots the previous summer in cities across America.
The Fourth Amendment assures "(t)he right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures."
The Eight Amendment prohibits "cruel and unusual punishments."
What’s crueler than state-sponsored cold-blooded murder.
The Fifth Amendment prohibits "depriv(ing) (anyone) of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law."
The 14th Amendment forbids states from "depriv(ing) any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law." It affirms "equal protection of the laws."
Police across America spurn constitutional and US statute laws. They do so with impunity. According to ACLU:
"No person of color is safe from (mis)treatment anywhere, regardless of their obedience to the law, their age, the type of car they drive, or their station in life."
"In short, skin color has become evidence of the propensity to commit crime, and police use this ‘evidence’ against minority drivers on the road all the time."
"This vicious cycle carries with it profound personal and societal costs. It is both symptomatic and symbolic of larger problems at the intersection of race and the criminal justice system."
"It results in the persecution of innocent people based on their skin color. It has a corrosive effect on the legitimacy of the entire justice system."
It’s worse than that. Blacks and other people of color risk death at the hands of out-of-control cops. They’re licensed to kill. They murder with impunity.
Overwhelming evidence proves it. In 2010, Injustice Everywhere (IE) published a National Police Misconduct Statistical Report.
It found thousands of instances of police misconduct. Hundreds of civilian deaths followed. When officers are held accountable, most often discipline imposed is mild.
Criminal justice in America is systemically unfair. Victims are cheated. A previous article discussed Trayvon Martin’s murder.
It asked when is killing a non-threatening, unarmed teenager not murder? It’s when Jim Crow justice trumps fundamental civil rights.
It’s when victims are black. It’s when killing them is OK when whites do it.
It’s when institutionalized racism threatens all people of color. It’s when longstanding practice turns a blind eye to killing them.
It’s when cops are licensed to kill. On October 3, Washington, DC police gunned down Miriam Carey. They did so in cold blood. They did it willfully.
Doing so reflects epidemic levels of state-sponsored violence across America. Cops call killing non-threatening civilians "justifiable homicides."
Unarmed Blacks and Latinos are victimized. Post-9/11, police have increasingly been militarized. It’s justified on the pretext of waging war on terror.
Mariam Carey was a 34-year old Stamford, CT dental hygienist. Previously she lived in Brooklyn. She was unarmed. Capitol police killed her after a car chase. Reportedly she tried breaching a White House security barrier. Police banged on her car window. They ordered her to stop.
She appeared to back up into a police vehicle. She fled. She did so after cops opened fire. Capitol police and Secret Service officers gave chase.
They fired multiple times at her vehicle. Why on busy DC streets? Why when backup units could have blocked her safely?
Why wasn’t she taken alive, detained and questioned? Why do cops routinely shoot first? Why are they allowed to get away with it?
Things ended violently near the US Capitol. Miriam’s car crashed. She got out. She was clearly unarmed. She was non-threatening.
Cops shot her to death. They riddled her body with bullets. Doing so was cold-blooded murder. Bystanders nearby could have been harmed. Miriam had her one-year daughter with her when she was killed.
Family members said she suffered from postpartum depression. The Mayo Clinic says many new mothers experience the "baby blues" after childbirth.
Mood swings and crying spells follow. Usually they fade quickly. Sometimes they last longer. The behavioral pattern isn’t a character flaw or weakness.
Change of life at times affects people this way. Some need more time than others to adjust. Given today’s dire economic conditions, doing so is harder than during more normal times.
Mariam’s sisters want answers. Amy Carey-Jones said there should’ve been "another way instead of shooting and killing" her.
Valerie Carey said she "didn’t deserve to have her life cut down" this way. Her mother, Idella, said she had no history of violence. She threatened no one.
Mariam’s friends, neighbors and associates were shocked.
Next door neighbor Erin Jackson said she doted on her daughter, Erica. She often took her on picnics. "She was pleasant. She seemed very happy with her daughter, very proud of her."
Former Brooklyn neighbor, Jeff Newsome, said he was shocked to hear what happened. "I would have never, never thought that she would do something like this. I can’t believe it."
Angela Windley was a former high school classmate. She remained a close friend. She was "floored and sad," she said.
Mariam "was just a very sweet person, very determined and driven in order to get out of the neighborhood and do better for herself," she added. "She wasn’t violent or anything like that. I looked up to her a little bit. She was kind of like a big sister."
According to psychiatrist Ariela Frieder:
"If it’s just a case of postpartum depression, you usually don’t see people hurting others or getting aggressive."
Mariam worked for periodontist Barry Weiss. She was fired, he said, about a year ago. He wouldn’t say why.
He did say a head injury requiring hospitalization prevented her from working for a time. Several weeks after returning, she was fired.
It’s unknown why she tried breaching a White House security barrier. She turned her car around to flee. Cops opened fire. Doing so, of course, terrified her.
She likely panicked. She sped off. She wanted to get away safely. She wanted to protect her daughter.
Being shot at is terrifying. So is being chased by armed cops and Secret Service agents. She didn’t threaten them. She deserved to live, not die.
According to Dr. Mark Mason:
"Given the fact that we have an unarmed female, the police have come forward to say she was unarmed."
"There was an infant in the car. There was no gunfire of any kind that came from the car at any time."
"A lot of questions need to be asked. The police in Washington DC way-way overreacted."
"There are alternatives to respond to situations short of deadly force."
She could have been stopped by blocking city streets or shooting out her tires. Failure to do so shows the mentality of trigger-happy cops in America today.
It bears repeating. They kill one to two civilians in America daily. They do it willfully and maliciously. Most victims are unarmed. Most committed no crimes.
Most are Blacks or Latinos. Cops shoot first. They ask questions later. Their answers don’t wash.
Militarized America leaves no one safe. Trayvon Martin, Mariam Carey, and countless others like them learned the hard way.
Their deaths reflect a national sickness. It’s a national addiction. Violent cultures operate this way. Among all developed countries, America’s by far the worst.
Raheim Brown. The $995,000 Murder
The Labor Solidarity Committee
OAKLAND, Calif. (October 6, 2013) -- Raheim Brown was shot twice, then moments later five times more in his car by OUSD Officer Barhin Bhatt in 2011. Bhatt claimed Raheim was threatening his partner with a screwdriver.
Bhatt’s partner, Jonathan Bellusa ultimately came clean earlier this year, saying that Bhatt fired the last five rounds into Raheim after Raheim had been incapacitated, effectively executing him. Asked why he did not shoot at Brown, Bellusa said: "I didn’t see a threat."
Barhin Bhatt has never been indicted for the murder of Raheim Brown (just as no on-duty cop save Johannes Merserle has ever been charged with murder by the Alameda District Attorney).
But now the taxpayers of Oakland get to assume the liability for Bhatt’s actions, just as they have done in the past for police murders of Gary King and others and will likely do in the matter of OPD
‘s execution of Alan Blueford.
The Oakland Unified School District has agreed to pay $995,000 to settle two lawsuits filed in connection with a fatal police shooting outside a school dance that was later questioned by one of the two officers present at the scene, officials said Friday.
The Raheim Brown Free School was a part of Occupy Oakland from the beginning of the encampment on October 10th, 2011.
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