Pearl Pearson is a 64 year-old diabetic deaf driver who resides in the Oklahoma City area. On the evening of January 3rd, Pearl crossed paths with the wrong cops.
What’s the story?At this time, only limited details can be provided since this case is under investigation.
1. The Oklahoma Highway Patrol pulled Pearl over late in the evening on January 3, 2014. Pearl pulled over as he should.
2. Pearl’s driver’s license indicates he is Deaf. He also has a placard in his driver’s door that says, “Driver is deaf”.
3. Pearl pulled over and rolled down his window, expecting an officer to ask for this identification. An officer struck him in the face before Pearl had the chance to do anything. As you can see, he was struck multiple times.
4. An interpreter was never provided while Pearl was under the care of law enforcement. Not during the booking, hospital, or time at the jail was an interpreter provided, even through Pearl requested one.
5. Pearl was left wondering “why” the the entire time. He has no clue why he was beat. Pearl and his family are still not sure, but are ready for some answers.
6. Pearl’s own son is a police officer, as was his son-in-law, who is now a deputy sheriff. He respects law enforcement and knows how to respond when pulled over. There is no reason for someone like Pearl to be hurt like this by those who are meant to protect and serve.
[LAL Note: "respect[ing] law enforcement" is not a prerequisite for proper treatment by law enforcement.]
Yelling at a deaf man to put up his hands will not do much, except aggravate an already aggressive police officer. This is a tragic scenario of ignorance and needless escalation of violence.
Eric Foster and Kelton Hayes were the two OHP officers that were involved in what an affidavit claims was a 7 minutes altercation.
Where is the dash cam footage from the units of Eric Foster and Kelton Hayes? Wouldn’t this clear up any inconsistencies in this story?
Naturally, it’s paid vacation time:
The two officers have been suspended with pay while the investigation into this incident continues.
This is hardly the first time a bully in blue has attacked a deaf man for not listening. One other notable example: in 2010, a Seattle cop shot and killed an older, partially deaf man for holding a folded pocket knife he used for whittling when the man couldn’t hear (probably unlawful) orders to drop it. He wasn’t harassing anyone, he was just walking (see video here, as man harmlessly crosses a crosswalk minding his own business, the cop jumps out of his car and starts yelling “hey” and “put the knife down” and literally 8 seconds after the cop first called out three shots are heard). The city of Seattle paid the man’s family $1.5 million. Which means, yet again, taxpayers were on the hook for the wrongdoing of state agents.
It is quite clear that the deaf man brutally and repeatedly assaulted the fists of those officers with his face, and such resistance to arrest - nevermind any probable cause - should not be tolerated. If deaf people cannot respond to the barked ordered of cops, then clearly they don’t deserve to keep their faces bruise-free. This is America, dammit. Learn to hear English.
An interesting lawsuit went to non-jury trial in a Los Angeles court room yesterday; nine public school students, with the support of an educational non-profit called “Students Matter,” are suing the state of California over teacher tenure laws and other protections, which they argue prevent school administrators from removing dysfunctional teachers from the system. To skeptics of the eternally optimistic apologists of the government school system, the argument seems pretty open and shut. Tenure and the other public employee protections (which public unions call “due process” as if their jobs were rights and not privileges) make it difficult to remove teachers even in some of the most egregious cases. In 2012, LA Weekly reported the city’s school district had 300 teachers in the “rubber rooms,” where teachers go after they’ve been removed from the classroom but before they’ve had their “due process.” According to LA Weekly, the average teacher spends 127 days hanging out in the rubber room, collecting full salary and benefits while “allegations” against them are investigated. It’s a system that’s pretty recognizably rigged in favor of the teacher and not the student, whose education can be severely handicapped by just one lousy teacher in one school year.The California Teachers Association and the California Federation of Teachers intervened and asked the court to throw out the lawsuit filed against the state, including the Department of Education, Gov. Jerry Brown and Superintendent of Public Education Tom Torlakson.
"It is deceptive and dishonest to pretend that teacher due process rights are unfair to students," said California Federation of Teachers President Josh Pechthalt, the parent of a ninth-grade student in the Los Angeles Unified School District. "Students need a stable, experienced teaching workforce. They won’t have one if this lawsuit succeeds in gutting basic teacher rights."
So, teachers have more job security even though when they fail to do their jobs they risk the life-long income earning potentials of their students because that job security creates a stable workforce for them. It’s a bizarre assertion that a labor organization meant to protect the financial interests of teachers as employees could somehow also protect the educational interests of students. Talk about deceptive. The judge rejected the union’s motion to dismiss the case.
Over the weekend, the California Department of Education released a statement insisting there was “nothing in the law” that prevents districts “from removing teachers from the classroom when necessary.” The students who have brought the matter to court, and their parents, disagree. That those who profit off the educational bureaucracy don’t is no surprise.
Most overrepresented in US prisons are people of color: African Americans and Latinos constitute 30 percent of the US population, yet they comprise 60 percent of its prisoners. That said, not only are African Americans and Latinos more likely to be arrested and jailed, but a new study by University of California-Berkeley researcher Christopher Petrella disclosed that people of color are likely than whites to serve time in private prisons — which has higher levels of recidivism and violence. These institutions also provide inadequate educational programming and healthcare when compared to public facilities.
The research involved compared the percentage of Latinos and Blacks in private and public prisons in nine states. Each state, at different percentages, had higher rates of people of color residing in private facilities than public facilities.
Inmates released from private prisons experienced recidivism — the tendency to relapse into criminal behavior, at an average rate three percent higher than public prisons. Many factors contribute to this, including the fact that younger inmates in private prisons are sought after for reason of exploitation and low maintenance costs, and not rehabilitation.
The higher rate of recidivism ranged from an excess of three percent in Arizona and Georgia to 13 percent in Oklahoma and California. The researcher indicated that the disparity casts doubt on claims of cost-efficiency made by the private prison industry, also it demonstrates how “ostensibly ‘colorblind’ policies can have a very real effect on people of color.”
The study showed links between inmate’s age and race; private prisons contract a higher rate of inmates of color, and a majority of inmates are under the age of 50. Older inmates tend to be medically expensive, and exemption from housing individuals of a certain age means that costs are kept low and profits are kept high. The war on drugs draws a great deal of young people of color toward private prisons; while older whites, who are more like to arrested, are placed in public prisons . By denying older inmates, private prisons are also denying white inmates because are only 33.2 percent of white prisoners under the age of 50, a vast majority is 50+.
High-level quotas must be maintained even as crime rates drop, and the growth of the prison industry’s prioritization of profit over rehabilitation are dynamics that show that there criminal-like activity conducted by those behind the locks and the key holders. Non-white communities have been disproportionally affected for the last 40 years, and now they are cherry-picked and delivered to inferior private prisons.
Being younger, having superior health and being brown seems to be quintessential traits when selecting inmates for private prisons. These facilities, after all, aim to scout inmates with “a prisoner profile that is far younger and far ‘darker’ … than in select counterpart public facilities.”
"Given the data, it’s difficult for private prisons to make the claim that they can incarcerate individuals more efficiently than their public counterparts," Petrella tells Mother Jones. "We need to be comparing apples to apples. If we’re looking at different prisoner profiles, there is no basis to make the claim that private prisons are more efficient than publics."
ACLU National Prison Project’s David Shapiro agreed with Petrella’s findings, stating, “The study is an example of the many ways in which for-profit prisons create an illusion of fiscal responsibility even though the actual evidence of cost savings, when apples are compared to apples, is doubtful at best. Privatization gimmicks are a distraction from the serious business of addressing our addiction to mass incarceration.”
However, the addiction is not only mass incarceration, but the incarceration and longterm containment of a particular demographic. Blacks and Latinos are snared by private prisons. They are exploited, and they are “leased” to private companies. The private prison industry reaps massive rewards from the government and from private prison executives who feign superiority over the public sector. But, both “deprive individuals of freedom, wrests loved ones from their families, and drains the resources of governments, communities, and taxpayers, the private prison industry reaps lucrative rewards.” Private prisons also normalizes segregation and relapse.
Demanding a high enrollment in academic, vocational and substance abuse programming, and recruiting in an equal amount of white inmates would create a balance in private prisons.
The arrest of an Austin jogger on jaywalking charges earlier this week — dragged screaming to a police car after apparently failing to present ID properly— has become the stuff of viral video after a University of Texas at Austin student captured the incident.
Now, Austin’s chief of police has weighed in, telling the public they should be glad his officers aren’t treating people even worse.
“This person absolutely took something that was as simple as ‘Austin Police – Stop!’ and decided to do everything you see on that video,” Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo said at a press conference Friday, according to Austin NPR station 90.5 KUT. “And quite frankly she wasn’t charged with resisting. She’s lucky I wasn’t the arresting officer, because I wouldn’t have been as generous. … In other cities there’s cops who are actually committing sexual assaults on duty, so I thank God that this is what passes for a controversy in Austin, Texas,” Acevedo said.
I’m still blown away by the fact that failing to identify yourself is a crime in Austin. Now we have a statement coming from the Austin Police Chief which basically boils down to “Thank God my officers didn’t molest you. We wouldn’t want that to happen now would we?”
The Los Angeles Times reports that the West is running out of water. Articles about water shortages are a perennial feature of local newspaper coverage in the American West, but the Los Angeles Times is right. The West really doesn’t have enough water to maintain the status quo.
It’s not global warming or suburban sprawl that is the primary source of the problem. Indeed, the West is no more dry now than it has been at various times through the centuries for which we have a little knowledge about the climatic conditions here. And suburban and urban residents use only a fraction of the water consumed in the West.
To find a clue about the real source of the problem, we need only look to the Times article itself:
Thanks to reservoirs large and small, scores of dams including colossi like Hoover and Glen Canyon, more than 1,000 miles of aqueducts and countless pumps, siphons, tunnels and diversions, the West had been thoroughly re-rivered and re-engineered.
Rain doesn’t fall much in the West, so to get water, the people need to go to the water in the rivers, or the water in the rivers needs to be shipped to the people. That’s where all those aqueducts and tunnels and diversions come in.
In an America without the massive coercive power of the federal government, the population centers in the West would generally be near the water sources where irrigation and drinking water would be cheaper and easier to use. When powerful interest groups own land far away from water sources, on the other hand, there is no “solution” so impractical that billions of taxpayer dollarscan’t make it happen. The politicians will simply see to it that the water is moved where the lobbyists tell them it should have been in the first place. The result is that farmers will grow water-thirsty crops in central Arizona and central California where water must be transported over mountains and across hundreds of miles of arid landscape.
Water shortages occur in the West not because too many people are flushing their toilets too often, but because agriculture, heavily subsidized through cheap water made possible by the federal government, continues to grow crops in places that would never support agriculture on a similar scale in a free market. Indeed, agriculture uses well over 80 percent of all the water used in Western states, and most of that water is stored, pumped, and diverted using dams, pumps, and aqueducts paid for by the U.S. taxpayer.
As a result, growers don’t have to face the real-life costs of transporting water to their farms. They only need consider the subsidized price, which is far below what it would be in a private market. Consequently, water usage for growers across the West is much greater than what it would be were there a functioning market for water in the region.
While there are some historical cases of locally-funded major water projects, such as the original Los Angeles Aqueduct, the management of water resources in the West has been dominated by the federal government’s Bureau of Reclamation. Although created in 1902, the Bureau exploded in size and importance during the Great Depression as a part of the New Deal. From Hoover Dam to countless smaller dams and diversion projects, the Bureau became an influential bureaucracy with immense power in the West.
Naturally, the fact that taxpayers pay for all this does not mean that the taxpayers control the water. The most important resource in the West is in fact mostly controlled by Congress and the Bureau of Reclamation, and indirectly by growers and other special interests. Water is distributed in the West not by markets and market prices, but by the political process.
In an arid place like the West, the political control of water translates to the political control of entire sectors of the economy. Writing in 2004, economist William Anderson noted:
No private firm would distribute a precious commodity like water in a desert in the way that the Bureau of Reclamation has done it. While the subsidized farms in the West are private, the federal government owns the main input that is needed for their crops: water. Thus, the term “private enterprise” here is meaningless, since the farms are wards of the state.
The fact that many farms are “wards of the state” as Anderson calls them, does not trouble the more influential growers much, as agricultural interests remain extremely influential in Western states, and they indirectly control most of the water.
What is the justification for such a situation? The virtues of subsidized water are sung using the usual arguments for corporatism and crony capitalism. We’re told that what’s good for the Western farmer is good for America. It’s a matter of national security. Local economies will collapse without agriculture. Subsidized water “creates jobs.” It’s a way of life that must be preserved. And so on.
The political support behind the growers’ continued use of the vast majority of the water resources to grow cotton and pecans in a brutally-hot parched desert is a classic case of politicians supporting what is seen over what cannot be seen.
We can look out over the vast fields of crops in central California and Arizona, where few crops could grow before the federal government taxed families and workers to make it possible, and claim that the alternative is unthinkable. The alternative, of course, is unknown and unseen.
The hundreds of billions of dollars spent over the years to get water to growers and other politically well-connected interests could have been spent on other things. What other things? We’ll never know now, but the Central Arizona Project, which pumps water up 3,000 vertical feet and moves it across 160 miles of desert from the Colorado River to central Arizona at a cost of at least $4.7 billion, would probably not be one of them. Most of that is paid for by people who will never live in Arizona.
Although the special interest groups don’t see it this way, the fact remains that the development of the West, dictated by water, has been dominated by the federal government and its friends for at least 75 years. It props up industries unsuited to the realities of the Western deserts, while populations rely more and more on a diminishing resource controlled by an aging infrastructure of taxpayer-funded boondoggles. Is it any surprise that the West now faces some serious water problems? In spite of this, there is one thing we can know for sure: we’ll be told that the federal government is our best hope for solving the problem.
It’s why those fabled “good cops” are so hard to find:
In October 2011, Florida Highway Patrol Trooper Donna Jane Watts pulled over a fellow law enforcement officer who was zipping along a highway at over 120 mph. Miami Police Department officer Fausto Lopez led Watts for seven minutes before finally stopping. He told Watts he was on his way to an off-duty job.
Often in such cases, the officer in charge will extend what police culture has dubbed “professional courtesy” to the offending officer. That is, they’ll let him go. To her credit, Watts didn’t do that. She arrested Lopez, who had a history of speeding and dangerous driving. Lopez was later fired.
But that isn’t the end of the story. The Florida Highway Patrol then investigated Watts for her handling of the incident. The agency cleared her of any wrongdoing, but it took two months. It’s hard to believe a cop who arrested a regular citizen for driving 120 mph, and who then initially refused to pull over, would be subjected to a similar investigation.
But then the real retaliation began. On police Internet discussion boards, Miami police officers posted open threats against Watts. One Miami cop apparently tried to pull over an Florida Highway Patrol officer in retaliation, until that particular move backfired. Another FHP officer found his car smeared in human feces.
For Watts, the harassment has been quite a bit worse. She has received hundreds of calls to her private phone, some pranks, some threatening. She has had pizzas randomly delivered to her home. Strange cars began parking outside her home. And her career as a police officer may well be over. The Miami New Times reported in 2012 that her “superiors don’t think she’ll ever be able to return to duty on the road, and if she ever got into a situation where she needed backup she does not think she would receive it.”
Watts has now filed a lawsuit. As part of that suit she filed an open records request with the state’s Department of Motor Vehicles. As the Associated Press reports, that request found that “over a three-month period, at least 88 law enforcement officers from 25 different agencies accessed Watts’ driver’s license information more than 200 times.”
Under the 1994 Driver Privacy Protection Act, government officials who improperly access DMV databases are subject to a $2,500 fine for each offense. Police organizations are now rallying to weigh in on Watts suit … in favor of the officers who were harassing her. For example, Bill Johnson, executive director of the National Association of Police Agencies, told the AP, “I think it would be unfair and outside the scope of the legislation to think individuals would get whacked like that.”
Tellingly, Johnson’s organization is asking Congress to amend the Driver Privacy Protection Act so that fines attach only when driver databases are accessed with a ”specific intent to secure an economic benefit.” That would presumably exclude cops who access databases to harass cops who don’t extend courtesies, to harass cops who report or arrest other cops or to look up the personal information of attractive women. (Keep this in mind when your state legislators want to establish more databases to track, for example, what prescription drugs you’re taking.)
The retaliation against Watts is a problem that extends well outside of Miami. Police officers who fail to extend professional courtesy to fellow officers can face ridicule, shaming and other retaliation. It’s an extension of the “Blue Code of Silence,” the informal admonition that cops refrain from implicating other cops. …
In 2011, 16 NYPD officers — all of them current or former officials in the city’s police union — were indicted for fixing more than 1,600 tickets for fellow officers and their families. At their arraignment, hundreds of fellow officers showed up to support them. According to reports, the protesting officers also blocked reporters from accessing the courtroom and shouted insults at people waiting in welfare lines.
It may seem like a little thing, letting another cop off on a speeding charge. But it can reinforce the notion in some officers that they’re above the law. A 2012 Sun-Sentinel examination of three months worth of toll records found 800 instances in which cops in southern Florida were caught driving between 90 and 130 mph. Many weren’t on duty, but coming or going to their jobs. A broader 13-month investigation found 5,100 “high-speed” incidents, 96 percent of which were cops driving in excess of 90 mph. About half were cops outside their jurisdictions, meaning it’s unlikely they were responding to an emergency call. The investigation found 21 incidents in which citizens were left dead or severely disabled after being struck by speeding cops, sometimes driving 120 mph or more. The most severe punishment from any of those cases was 60 days in jail. The Sun-Sentinel also found that in 88 percent of cases in which a police officer’s speeding caused an accident, the officer wasn’t even issued a citation. Among regular citizens, 55 percent are issued citations. …
A 2012 investigation by TV station KHOU found 155 accidents between 2008 and 2012 in which a Houston police officer was at fault. None of those accident resulted in a citation for the officer involved.
The 2007 Post-Intelligencer investigation also showed that professional courtesy in Seattle extended even to drunk driving offenses. That too isn’t limited to Seattle. Just last month a cop in Tennessee was given a DWI pass by his fellow officers. Indianapolis is still dealing with the fallout from a 2010 incident in which IPD Officer David Bisard struck two motorcycles, killing one person. His fellow officers waited more than two hours to test his blood-alcohol content, which even then registered .19. In 2006, Bernardino County, Calif., Dep. Kenneth Holtz faced harassment from colleagues after arresting a fellow deputy on a DWI charge. Holtz was eventually fired for violating policies regarding “respect among members” and “conduct reflecting adversely on the department or employee.” The deputy he arrested was promoted.
In 2009, a Chicago an off-duty detective with a history of causing accidents smashed into a parked car, killing two people. He was drunk. Despite the fact that two of his prior accidents also involved slamming into other cars, causing injury, he was never given sobriety tests, and he was never even ticketed. …
Other stories and investigations of cops granting DWI courtesies to other cops have come from Westchester County, N.Y.; Tuckahoe, N.Y.; Dorchester County, S.C.; theMassachusetts State Police; San Jose, Calif.; Buffalo, N.Y.; San Diego, Calif.;Milwaukee, Wis.; Denver, Colo. Many of these investigations involved fatalities.
A 2000 study from the National Institute of Justice confirms that this is an institutional problem, not a series of isolated cases. The researches surveyed over 3,000 police officers at agencies of all sizes all around the country. One question asked how likely respondents would be to report a fellow cop who had caused a traffic accident while intoxicated. On a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 being “definitely no” and 5 being “definitely yes,” the average score was 2.38.
"Professional courtesy" among cops is just euphemism for corruption.