Monday, April 15, 2013

Blue Code of Silence

Blue Code of Silence

The examples and perspective in this article deal primarily with the United States and do not represent a worldwide view of the subject.

The Blue Code of Silence (also known as the Blue Shield, Blue Wall, Curtain, Veil, or Cocoon) is an unwritten rule among police officers in the United States not to report on another colleague's errors, misconducts, or crimes. If questioned about an incident of misconduct involving another officer (e.g. during the course of an official inquiry), while following the code, the officer being questioned would claim ignorance of another officer's wrongdoing.
The code is considered to be police corruption and misconduct.
Any officers who engaged in discriminatory arrests, physical or verbal harassment, and selective enforcement of the law are considered to be corrupt. Many officers who follow the code may participate in some of these acts during their career for personal matters or in order to protect or support fellow officers. Some officers may accept bribes, get involved with extortion, steal goods or sell drugs.[1] All of these are considered illegal offenses and are grounds for suspension or immediate dismissal. Officers who follow the code are unable to report fellow officers who participate in corruption due to the unwritten laws of their "police family."
"Testilying" - a portmanteau of "testify" and "lying" - is a United States police slang term used when an officer gives a false testimony in court in favor of their fellow police officers. If an officer chooses not to lie in court they may be threatened and ostracized by fellow police officers. In 1994, the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Police Corruption (also known as the Mollen Commission) undertook a two-year investigation on testilying in law enforcement. They discovered that some officers falsified documents such as arrest reports, warrants and evidence for an illegal arrest or search. Some police officers also fabricated stories to a jury. The Commission found that the officers were not testilying for greed but because they believed that they were imprisoning people that deserved it. Also many prosecutors allowed testilying to occur. People involved in testilying believed that it was not corruption but yet another way to "get the job done."

Many police departments have their own "code of conduct" though rarely enforced. The department trains new recruits and investigates police officers if they have a complaint from a civilian. There are also some state laws put in place to help protect civilians from corrupted officers. If the officer is found guilty, officers can be sued by the victim for damage caused by excessive force ("police brutality"), false arrest and imprisonment, Malicious Prosecution, and Wrongful Death.[1]
Federal laws strongly prohibit officer misconduct, including officers who follow the code by "testilying" or neglecting to report any officer who is participating in corruption. If an officer is in violation of any of the officer misconduct federal laws, only the federal government can issue a suit. The police department is only responsible for preventing corruption among officers. If an officer is convicted, they may be forced to pay high fines or be imprisoned. To be convicted, the plaintiffs must prove that the officer was following the code or participating in negligence and unlawful conduct. It is often hard to convict an officer of following the code or other forms of corruption because officers are protected by defense of immunity, which is an exemption from penalties and burdens that the law generally places on other citizens.[1]
"U.S. Supreme Court decisions have continually asserted the general rule that officers must be given the benefit of the doubt that they acted lawfully in carrying out their day-to-day duties, a position reasserted in Saucier v. Katz, 533 U.S. 194, 121 S. Ct. 2151, 150 L. Ed. 2d 272 (2001)."

In 1970, New York organized the Knapp Commission to hold hearings on the extent of corruption in the city's police department. Police officer Frank Serpico's startling testimony against fellow officers not only revealed systemic corruption but highlighted a longstanding obstacle to investigating these abuses: the fraternal understanding among police officers known variously as "the Code of Silence" and "the Blue Curtain" under which officers regard testimony against a fellow officer as betrayal.[1]
After that the International Association of Chiefs of Police made a code of police conduct publication and rigorously trained police officers. In 1991 Rodney King was brutally beaten by multiple police officers ofLos Angeles Police Department. The officers involved were expected to have been following the "blue code". They claimed that the beating was lawful, but it was not until a videotape of the incident was released when it was confirmed that the officers had collectively fabricated their stories.
In the Cleveland case alone, the FBI arrested 42 officers from five law enforcement agencies in 1998 on charges of conspiracy to distribute cocaine. In a 1998 report to U.S. Congressman Charles B. Rangel, the federal General Accounting Office (GAO) found evidence of growing police involvement in drug sales, theft of drugs and money from drug dealers, and perjured testimony about illegal searches.[1]
In 1992, the Mollen Commission, commissioned to investigate reports of police corruption in New York, noted that "The pervasiveness of the code of silence is itself alarming."[4] One police officer from New York City said, "If a cop decided to tell on me, his career's ruined....He's going to be labeled as a rat."[4]The following year saw the founding of the Civilian Complaint Review Board, an all-civilian board tasked with investigating civil complaints about alleged misconduct on the part of the New York Police Department.

The code and police corruption stems from the mid-to-late nineteenth century. The Pinkerton National Detective Agency were known for using police officers to violently end strikes. Many members of the Ku Klux Klan were police officers that protected each other when conducting racist acts. This later gave rise to the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which gave new protections to citizens who had long suffered discriminatory policing.[1]
"Additionally, a string of landmark Supreme Court decisions during the era gave new force both to individual privacy rights as well as to curbs upon Police Power: highly influential cases resulted in the strengthening of Fourth Amendment rights against unreasonable Search and Seizure, evidentiary rules forbidding the use at trial of evidence tainted by unconstitutional police actions, and the establishment of the so-called Miranda Warning requiring officers to advise detained suspects of their constitutional rights."[1]
This criminalized officers who did not have the necessary paperwork to conduct a search or who were involved in falsifying documents or committing perjury.

Police culture or “cop culture," as it is sometimes called by police officers, has resulted in a barrier against stopping corrupt officers. Police culture involves a set of values and rules that have evolved through the experiences of officers and which are affected by the environment in which they work. From the beginning of their career at their academies, police are brought into this “cop culture."
While learning jobs and duties, recruits will also learn the values needed to make it to a high rank in their organization. Some words used to describe these values are as follows: a sense of mission, action,cynicism, pessimism, machismo, suspicion, conservatism, isolation and solidarity. The unique demands that are placed on police officers, such as the threat of danger, as well as scrutiny by the public, generate a tightly woven environment conducive to the development of feelings of loyalty.[5]
These values are claimed to lead to the code; isolation and solidarity leading to police officers sticking to their own kind, producing an us-against-them mentality. The us-against-them mentality that can result leads to officers backing each other up and staying loyal to one another; in some situations it leads to not “ratting” on fellow officers.[6]
Whistleblowing (police officers reporting other officers' misconduct) is not common. The low number of officers coming forward may have to do with the understanding that things happen in the heat of the moment that some officers would rather keep personal. Another reason officers may hesitate to go against the blue code may be that challenging the blue code would mean challenging long-standing traditions and feelings of brotherhood within the institution. The fear of consequences may play a large role as well. These consequences can include being shunned, losing friends, and losing back-up, as well as receiving physical threats or having one's own misconduct exposed.
There are also forces that work against the code and promote whistleblowing. Many police officers do join the police force because they want to uphold the law; the blue code goes against this ideal. Some officers snitch for less noble motives, such as to retaliate for mistreatment by fellow officers, to seek administrative recognition, or to prove loyalty to the department. Additionally, some officers are recruited by their administration to snitch. If it is in an officer's job description to find misconduct by other officers, he or she is more likely to go against the blue code. Officers who go against the blue code may have a deal to avoid being fired or to receive immunity from prosecution. Some officers have also been known to break the code to sell a story to the media.[7]

Police officers are more likely to cover up certain kinds of errors by colleagues. One study showed that excessive use of force was the crime most commonly shielded by the code.[8] Two studies suggest that some police feel that the code is applicable in cases of “illegal brutality or bending of the rules in order to protect colleagues from criminal proceedings," but not those of illegal actions with an “acquisitive motive."[9]
Cases such as the Rampart scandal and many other police corruption cases demonstrate that blue code culture can extend to cover-ups of other levels of crime, acquisitive or not. The code has been called "America's Most Successful Stop Snitchin' Campaign," referring to cases where police covered up the misdeeds of fellow officers and where whistleblowers were harassed, professionally sanctioned, or forced into retirement.[10]

Know Your Federal Rights RE: Law Enforcement Abuses

Title 42, U.S.C., Section 14141 makes it unlawful for state or local law enforcement agencies to allow officers to engage in a pattern or practice of conduct that deprives persons of rights protected by the Constitution or U.S. laws. This law, commonly referred to as the Police Misconduct Statute, gives the Department of Justice authority to seek civil remedies in cases where law enforcement agencies have policies or practices that foster a pattern of misconduct by employees. This action is directed against an agency, not against individual officers. The types of issues which may initiate a pattern and practice investigation include:

-Lack of supervision/monitoring of officers’ actions;
-Lack of justification or reporting by officers on incidents involving the use of force;
-Lack of, or improper training of, officers; and
-Citizen complaint processes that treat complainants as adversaries.

Under Title 42, U.S.C., Section 1997, the Department of Justice has the ability to initiate civil actions against mental hospitals, retardation facilities, jails, prisons, nursing homes, and juvenile detention facilities when there are allegations of systemic derivations of the constitutional rights of institutionalized persons.

Title 18, U.S.C., Section 241
Conspiracy Against Rights
This statute makes it unlawful for two or more persons to conspire to injure, oppress, threaten, or intimidate any person of any state, territory or district in the free exercise or enjoyment of any right or privilege secured to him/her by the Constitution or the laws of the United States, (or because of his/her having exercised the same).
It further makes it unlawful for two or more persons to go in disguise on the highway or on the premises of another with the intent to prevent or hinder his/her free exercise or enjoyment of any rights so secured.
Punishment varies from a fine or imprisonment of up to ten years, or both; and if death results, or if such acts include kidnapping or an attempt to kidnap, aggravated sexual abuse or an attempt to commit aggravated sexual abuse, or an attempt to kill, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned for any term of years, or for life, or may be sentenced to death.
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Title 18, U.S.C., Section 242
Deprivation of Rights Under Color of Law

This statute makes it a crime for any person acting under color of law, statute, ordinance, regulation, or custom to willfully deprive or cause to be deprived from any person those rights, privileges, or immunities secured or protected by the Constitution and laws of the U.S.
This law further prohibits a person acting under color of law, statute, ordinance, regulation or custom to willfully subject or cause to be subjected any person to different punishments, pains, or penalties, than those prescribed for punishment of citizens on account of such person being an alien or by reason of his/her color or race.
Acts under "color of any law" include acts not only done by federal, state, or local officials within the bounds or limits of their lawful authority, but also acts done without and beyond the bounds of their lawful authority; provided that, in order for unlawful acts of any official to be done under "color of any law," the unlawful acts must be done while such official is purporting or pretending to act in the performance of his/her official duties. This definition includes, in addition to law enforcement officials, individuals such as Mayors, Council persons, Judges, Nursing Home Proprietors, Security Guards, etc., persons who are bound by laws, statutes ordinances, or customs.
Punishment varies from a fine or imprisonment of up to one year, or both, and if bodily injury results or if such acts include the use, attempted use, or threatened use of a dangerous weapon, explosives, or fire shall be fined or imprisoned up to ten years or both, and if death results, or if such acts include kidnapping or an attempt to kidnap, aggravated sexual abuse or an attempt to commit aggravated sexual abuse, or an attempt to kill, shall be fined under this title, or imprisoned for any term of years or for life, or both, or may be sentenced to death.
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Title 18, U.S.C., Section 245
Federally Protected Activities

1) This statute prohibits willful injury, intimidation, or interference, or attempt to do so, by force or threat of force of any person or class of persons because of their activity as:

a) A voter, or person qualifying to vote...;
b) a participant in any benefit, service, privilege, program, facility, or activity provided or administered by the United States;
c) an applicant for federal employment or an employee by the federal government;
d) a juror or prospective juror in federal court; and
e) a participant in any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.
2) Prohibits willful injury, intimidation, or interference or attempt to do so, by force or threat of force of any person because of race, color, religion, or national origin and because of his/her activity as:
a) A student or applicant for admission to any public school or public college;
b) a participant in any benefit, service, privilege, program, facility, or activity provided or administered by a state or local government;
c) an applicant for private or state employment, private or state employee; a member or applicant for membership in any labor organization or hiring hall; or an applicant for employment through any employment agency, labor organization or hiring hall;
d) a juror or prospective juror in state court;
e) a traveler or user of any facility of interstate commerce or common carrier; or
f) a patron of any public accommodation, including hotels, motels, restaurants, lunchrooms, bars, gas stations, theaters...or any other establishment which serves the public and which is principally engaged in selling food or beverages for consumption on the premises.
3) Prohibits interference by force or threat of force against any person because he/she is or has been, or in order to intimidate such person or any other person or class of persons from participating or affording others the opportunity or protection to so participate, or lawfully aiding or encouraging other persons to participate in any of the benefits or activities listed in items (1) and (2), above without discrimination as to race, color, religion, or national origin.
Punishment varies from a fine or imprisonment of up to one year, or both, and if bodily injury results or if such acts include the use, attempted use, or threatened use of a dangerous weapon, explosives, or fire shall be fined or imprisoned up to ten years or both, and if death results or if such acts include kidnapping or an attempt to kidnap, aggravated sexual abuse or an attempt to commit aggravated sexual abuse, or an attempt to kill, shall be subject to imprisonment for any term of years or for life or may be sentenced to death.

Monday, April 8, 2013


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DOCUMENTED CRIMINAL FOIA VIOLATION: Files were illegally withheld by Little Rock Police Internal Affairs for months, in an effort to thwart publication on Corruption Sucks Blog. They illegally claimed that there were NO files on him. Officer Greg C. Key profusely bragged to his co-workers about trapping feral animals and released them in Chapel Ridge neighborhood, a "black" neighborhood. Though this disgusting act is well known by the city, they have refused to investigate the allegations. He continues to harass minorities in the River Market without consequence. We have sought the assistance of the Justice Department to investigate claims of hate crimes and Color of law Abuse as well as a lack of supervision on the part of those in charge of these rogue officers.
Selective enforcement is the ability that executors of the law (such as police officers or administrative agencies, in some cases) have to arbitrarily select choice individuals as being outside of the law. The use of enforcement discretion in an arbitrary way is referred to as selective enforcement or selective prosecution.
Historically, selective enforcement is recognized as a sign of tyranny, and an abuse of power, because it violates rule of law, allowing men to apply justice only when they choose. Aside from this being inherently unjust, it almost inevitably must lead to favoritism and extortion, with those empowered to choose being able to help their friends, take bribes, and threaten those from whom they desire favors.
However, the converse can also be true. Police officer discretion is sometimes warranted for minor offenses, for instance where a warning to a teenager could be quite effective without putting the teen through a legal process and also reduces costs of governmental legal resources. Another example is patrol officers parked on the side of a highway for speed enforcement. It may be impractical and cost prohibitive to ticket everyone who is going any amount over the speed limit, so the officer should watch for the more egregious cases and those drivers who are showing signs of driving recklessly.
Yick Wo v. Hopkins118 U.S. 356 (1886), was the first case where the United States Supreme Court ruled that a law that is race-neutral on its face, but is administered in a prejudicial manner, is an infringement of the Equal Protection Clause in the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

▀█▀ █▀ █_█ ▀█▀ █▬█ BeKnown

You can share your police videos to #IYSSFS on Twitter and help stop police corruption.

This video was created as an example of the importance of filming the police. Video provides transparency, accountability, and an accurate account of incidents that occur. It is no secret that the United States has a serious problem with police abuse, brutality, and corruption. It is essential for civilians to document their encounters with police officers to ensure transparency, accountability, and safety to all of those involved.

Police departments have, for too long, tried to bully, intimidate, threaten, arrest, or otherwise harass law abiding citizens from recording the activities of law enforcement in public. Enough is enough! It is time for all of us to take a stand and expose police brutality when we witness it. Even if the officers behavior is correct, and justifiable, we still encourage the recording of the police activities for the transparency and accountability that is desperately needed in many departments.

If you see something, film something, the freedom of press begins with you!

If You See Something, Film Something (P1: You Have The Right To Film The Police)

If You See Something, Film Something (P2: Recording Police is a Dangerous but Necessary Thing to Do)

If You See Something, Film Something (P3: Where is the Outrage and the Accountability?)

More information about the clips in order of appearance:
ORIGINAL FOOTAGE Suspect with Crowbar Shot Outside Carls Jr Monterey Park

New Footage of Oscar Grant Shooting (with sound)

Cops on Camera (multiple segments)

Citizen attacks Baltimore Police -- caught on tape

Houston Police BEATING Teen Suspect Chad Holley

Police Brutality: NYPD Beat Man's Legs w/ Baton For Not Getting Up!


MSNBC on NYPD Police Brutality during Occupy Wall Street Lawrence O'Donnell with "The Last Word"

Raw Video: Police Beating Caught on Tape

Paris Texas Police Officer Throws Teen on Car

Raw Video: Deputy Shown Kicking Teen Girl

#OWSwest #J20 #SFPD Attacks Innocent Protesters; Officer M. Ali #619 Breaks My Cam

Raw Video: Ala. Officers Fired After Beating Man

Cop Punching Handcuffed Man Video Now Has Sound

Surveillance video: Iraq War veteran beaten

Sante Fe cop caught beating handcuffed teen; fired, rehired!

officer beating 66-year-old man suffering from dementia

Female Cop Tirelessly Beats Man with her Baton

Police Brutality: Dog Walker w/ Camera Beaten By Cops!

ABC Reporter Arrested in Denver Taking Pictures of Senators

If You would like to upload this video to your Youtubes, we only ask that you copy and paste the entire description, logo, links, all that you see here. Thanks everyone!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

From MoveOn.org RE: Senator Mark Pryor on equality

One minute to tell Sen. Pryor to support equality?

Dear Arkansas MoveOn member,
The Supreme Court is getting ready to vote on the fate of two monumental marriage equality laws—California's discriminatory Proposition 8 and the Defense of Marriage Act—and possibly rule on same-sex marriage across the country.  

As the Justices look around the country to get a sense of whether the country is ready to embrace marriage equality, right now they'd see seven Senate Democrats, including your senator, Mark Pryor, who have yet to come out in support of marriage equality.  
Seriously. He is one of only seven.
Every Senator who publicly supports equality makes it easier for the Supreme Court to do the same—so MoveOn members and our allies have been doing everything we can to pressure Senator Pryor and the rest of the holdouts to support equal rights.
And it's working. Last week, the number of Senate Democratic holdouts was nine—and just in the past 48 hours, thanks to pressure from thousands of MoveOn members and our allies, Pennsylvania Senator Robert Casey and Delaware Senator Tom Carper switched their positions and came out in support of marriage equality.1
We've got momentum on our side. 2 down, 7 to go—let's make Senator Pryor the next one to get on board and join the 50 senators who already publicly support marriage equality.  
With all the news recently about support for same-sex marriage increasing, many voters may not know that Senator Pryor still hasn't stood up for marriage equality. We need to make sure that SenatorPryor hears from more of his constituents that they're counting on him not to be the last voice for equal rights.

Can you call Senator Pryor? Tell him: "Don't be the last one tosupport equal rights. Can you do the right thing and publicly stand up for marriage equality?"  

Here's where to call: 
Then, please report your call by clicking here:
Let's be clear—marriage equality laws are NOT inevitable—but they are possible if we all work for it. We got to this moment through decades of hard work and courageous action by so many people—and we finally have a chance to make equality a reality.
Thanks for all you do.
–Susannah, Angie, Ilya, Mark and the rest of the team 
P.S. The more Senator Pryor sees that his constituents want him to support marriage equality, the more likely he is to come out and support it—Click here to share a graphic on your Facebook page that urges your friends and family in Arkansas to make the call too!
1. "Democrats Yet To Endorse Gay Marriage Now Targeted By MoveOn.org Petition," Huffington Post, April 2, 2013
Want to support our work? MoveOn Civic Action is entirely funded by our 7 million members—no corporate contributions, no big checks from CEOs. And our tiny staff ensures that small contributions go a long way. Chip in here.

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