When the police become the enemy
It is really frightening when the police begin to go rogue, though certainly rogue elements have always been present among the police (and every other profession). Because of the unusual powers granted to police, though, they certainly must be held to a high standard. In Atlanta GA they are not. Ed Brayton:
Alison Kilkenny, who is married to the brilliant comic Jamie Kilstein, has a post about an appalling incident last year where a cop killed a teenager riding a bike with a taser shot at high speed.:
Late one night in October, a 17-year-old on a bike was chased by a police officer in a cruiser. When the boy refused to stop, the officer aimed his Taser out the driver’s window and fired. The boy fell off the bike and the cruiser ran over him, killing him.
Another report on the same incident:
At about 12:45 a.m., said Moultrie, Victor left on a borrowed bike. From there to where the chase started was about four and a half miles. But it was about 1:45 a.m. that Officer Jerald Ard spotted Victor. Where Victor went after leaving Moultrie’s house is unclear.
Ard would later say that he tried to stop Victor because he had seen him at a construction site and thought he may have stolen something. But witness Victor Stallworth said he saw Victor ride his bicycle past the construction site without stopping. Months later, Ard gave investigators a different reason for stopping Victor: He didn’t have a light on his bike — only two reflectors.
A video camera on the dashboard of Ard’s squad car recorded the brief chase:
Ard spotted Victor and did a fast U-turn to stop him. When Victor didn’t stop, Ard veered to the wrong side of the street and up on the sidewalk behind the teenager.
The officer revved the motor, his tires screeching, as he followed Victor into the side yard of an apartment building. With his flashers and PA system on, Ard yelled at Victor to "stop the bike."
It is unclear why Victor disobeyed the order to stop, but the teenager continued pedaling, trying to escape. Ard followed his every move, driving in and out of the wrong lane of traffic and up onto the sidewalk again. One minute and seven seconds into the chase Ard fired his Taser at Victor, who turned into a parking lot. About two seconds later, Victor fell to the ground and Ard ran over him.
And if that isn’t enough to make your blood boil, this certainly should:
A video, taken from the dashboard of another officer’s car, recorded what happened in the minutes before the discovery:
Three officers squatted next to Ard’s car, looking under it at Victor. Ard unlocked the passenger side of his car and got something out. The object is light-colored and floppy, but isn’t clearly visible. Ard, holding the object, crawled under the car next to Victor’s body and stayed there for 40 seconds. Two minutes later, paramedics found a 9mm silver and black semi-automatic in Victor’s pocket.
Lab tests showed the gun had been wiped clean. No fingerprints were on it — not Victor’s, not anyone’s. Victor’s family, as well as his pastors and friends, were aghast. Victor was scared of guns, they said. He would not have carried a gun around.
None of this is particularly unusual. The officers in the Atlanta PD drug squad who turned state’s evidence against their colleagues testified that virtually every officer in the department kept bags full of drugs in the trunks of their squad cars to plant on people.
And guess what? A judge decided that the officer had not done anything wrong by firing a taser at a kid on a bike on the false basis that he might have stolen something that had never been reported stolen.