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Ferguson Police Department’s Code of Conduct & Multiple Ways It Was Ignored

In Archive, Ferguson, Police State, USA on October 2, 2014 at 8:08 PM

10/01/2014

via Jason Leopold/Alice Speri/VICE

In response to an open records request, VICE News has obtained the Ferguson Police Department’s Code of Conduct. The 776 pages of “General Orders” signed by Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson lays out department procedures and instructs officers how to perform their jobs, including: the training of new officers, the “rights of victims and witnesses,” discipline, racial bias, the use of force, the type of weapons issued to all officers — even name tags. It would appear that Ferguson police do not always follow those procedures and instructions.

 

***

While accounts of the encounter between Brown and Wilson differ, the autopsy revealed that Brown was struck by at least six bullets, including two that hit him in the head.

The department’s policy dictates that lethal force may be used only if the officer believes that his life or the lives of others are in danger, and only if attempts at capture have been exhausted.

“A police officer must weigh the necessity of apprehension against the apparent threat to the safety of all involved, and exhaust every alternative means of apprehension known to be available at the time before resorting to the use of lethal force,” says the July 6, 2010 general order.

The directive also states that “if feasible,” the officer shall issue a “verbal warning” before using lethal force. Additionally, the use of lethal force is permitted against a fleeing suspect only if there is a “substantial risk” that the person will cause “death or serious physical injury if apprehension is delayed.”

 

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After an officer fires a weapon causing injury or death, the Bureau of Investigations is supposed to be notified, and an internal investigation is then supposed to be launched. The guidelines also say:

The Communications Dispatcher shall be notified immediately either by the officer involved in the incident or the first police officer on the scene.

Hacktivist group Anonymous leaked audio from St. Louis Dispatch at the time of the shooting. The incident is reported as a “crowd control problem” at 12:05pm. No shooting is mentioned until it is called in to dispatch by a witness referencing a news report. When contacted by St. Louis Dispatch to confirm, Ferguson police denied any knowledge of an officer-involved shooting. No EMS was called to the scene.



The watch commander will complete the Use of Force Report F-080 and forward it through the chain of command to the Chief.

But city officials responding to media requests for the “use of force” report filed after Brown’s death said that such a report did not exist — a clear violation of the department’s own guidelines as well as of established standards for police departments nationwide.

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“Biased based profiling is unethical and illegal, and serves to foster distrust of law enforcement by the community we serve,” states the department’s policy guidance, which notes that such behavior is not “condoned” and “will not be tolerated” by the department.

Police officers “will not use their position of authority to abuse any citizen,” and officers will treat people with whom they interact “equally and in a courteous manner.”


On September 4, the DOJ announced the launch of a civil rights investigation of the Ferguson police department. DOJ officials said that the probe will examine patterns of stops and arrests, the use of force, police training, and the treatment of prisoners held in Ferguson’s jail to determine whether discrimination regularly played a role.

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“The name tag will be worn on both the uniform shirt and jacket,” states the department’s uniform and equipment policy. “The name tag shall consist of the officer’s first initial and his last name.”

The guidelines also state that police officers must provide their names, rank, and other identifying information to anyone who asks for it. But officers from the Ferguson Police Department — and other police departments — repeatedly failed to display identification or provide identifying information during the protests. The lack of transparency even prompted the Department of Justice to reprimand Ferguson police in a letter addressed to Chief Thomas Jackson.

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More than once, VICE News witnessed police officers drawing their guns on peaceful people, including journalists. Ferguson police officers who brandish their weapons in this manner would be in violation of the department’s code of conduct.

ferguson-cops-point-guns-peaceful-protester


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During the protests, police officers detained several reporters. Officers refused to disclose their own names when asked, nor did they disclose the reasons they’d detained the journalists, who were sometimes held for hours.

According to the department’s own guidelines, the media is entitled to receive details about the identity of the arresting and investigating officers as long as it doesn’t comprise undercover probes, and “the facts of the arrest and circumstances immediately surrounding it, including time and location; resistance, if any; pursuit; and the use or possession of weapons.”

Additionally, police officers are advised to provide the media with information surrounding “the facts of the arrest and circumstances immediately surrounding it, including time and location; resistance, if any; pursuit; and the use or possession of weapons.”

“Media personnel will not be barred from filming or photographing a scene as long as this activity is outside the secure zone and they do not interfere with the conduct of the investigation, or other police operations,” the policy states.


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According to the regulations, Ferguson police officers are required to wear “body-worn camera recorders… to record contacts with the general public.” But the department declined to turn over to VICE News copies of its recordings from the protests in response to open records request.

***

Ferguson police officers were accused of indiscriminately using tear gas and wooden pellets to subdue protesters. The use of force policy does say that “less lethal” forms of force, such as pepper spray and “chemical agents,” can be used “at the discretion of a supervisory officer when warranted in matters of crowd control” — but “only after all other reasonable efforts to control the situation have failed.”

On at least one occasion, police responding to protesters ordered people to disperse more than two hours before a curfew imposed by officials during the state of emergency. Those who were outside their homes — including, reportedly, children — found themselves caught in the middle of the confrontations.



“Whenever chemical agents are used, the supervisory officer who authorized usage will send a Use of Force form to the Chief of Police listing the details of the incident and justification for use of the chemical agent,” the policy guidance says.

However, it’s unclear if incident reports exist. Police officials would not respond to VICE News’ requests for comment.

Senate Hearing on Militarization of US Police – Homeland Security & Gov’t Affairs Cmte

In Archive, Police State, Politics, USA on September 10, 2014 at 2:10 PM

09/09/2014

Senate hearing led by U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill examining the militarization of state and local police departments, following the fatal shooting of teenager Michael Brown by a Ferguson, Mo. police officer, and subsequent clashes between local police and protesters.

Among the hearing’s findings:

  • Police forces that use military equipment earmarked for counter-terrorism to handle public order disturbances instead could be forced to repay millions of dollars in grants
  • There have been more than 450 guns lost by state and local police departments that were sent as part of the DOD programs (See: How Did America’s Police Departments Lose Loads of Military-Issued Weapons?Are Police Profiting from ‘Missing’ Military Equipment?)
  • More than one-third of “excess” military equipment supplied to local police departments through federal programs was either never used by the U.S. military or in new condition
  • Local police departments in 49 of 50 states have more Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles (MRAPs) than their state’s National Guard units

Member Statements

Chairman Thomas R. Carper D (DE)
Download Statement (56.1 KB)

Senator Tom Coburn R (OK)
Download Statement (12 KB)

WitnessesPanel IThe Honorable  Alan F. Estevez
Principal Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics
U.S. Department of Defense
Download Testimony (48.2 KB)Brian E. Kamoie
Assistant Administrator for Grant Programs
Federal Emergency Management Agency, U.S. Department of Homeland Security
Download Testimony (150.5 KB)

Karol Mason
Assistant Attorney, Office of Justice Programs
U.S. Department of Justice
Download Testimony (170.5 KB)

Panel II

Chief  Jim Bueermann
President
Police Foundation
Download Testimony (291.3 KB)

Dr.   Peter B. Kraska
Professor, School of Justice Studies
University of Eastern Kentucky
Download Testimony (132.5 KB)

Mark Lomax
Executive Director
National Tactical Officers Association
Mr. Lomax will be accompanied by Major Ed Allen, Seminole County Sheriff’s Office
Download Testimony (147.3 KB)

Wiley Price
Photojournalist
The St. Louis American Newspaper
Download Testimony (68.8 KB)

Hilary O. Shelton
Washington Bureau Director and Senior Vice President for Advocacy
National Association for the Advancement of Colored People
Download Testimony (911.3 KB)

Related Links:

War Comes Home: The Excessive Militarization of American Policing – ACLU Report

Law Enforcement Agencies Enrolled in Pentagon’s 1033 Program/Military Equipment Supplied Between Sept. 2011-2013

Obama Orders Review of Military Equipment Supplied to Police

Stop Militarizing Law Enforcement Act

U.S. Army Techniques Publication 3-39.33: Civil Disturbances (April 2014)

In Archive, Army, Police State, USA on August 20, 2014 at 11:00 PM

(Source/PublicIntelligence)

Document released by the U.S. Army details preparations for “full scale riots” within the United States during which troops may be forced to engage in a “lethal response” to deal with unruly crowds of demonstrators.

us-army-lethal-responseus-army-trauma

More via Paul Joseph Watson: DOCUMENT: Army Preparing to Use Lethal Force Against “Unarmed Civilians” During “Full Scale Riots” in U.S.

#OfficerGoFuckYourself: Threatens to Kill Ferguson Livestreamers, Dox’d by Internet, Suspended Indefinitely

In ACLU, Archive, Ferguson, Hacking, Police State, USA on August 20, 2014 at 8:35 PM

officergofuckyourself

08/20/2014

In video footage captured Tuesday night at the protests in Ferguson, citizen journalist Rebelutionary Z using livestreaming website Ustream to document the protests in real-time walks with a crowd of protesters and other media when a police officer approaches with his gun raised.

“My hands are up bro, my hands are up,” Rebelutionary Z says.

“I will fucking kill you,” the officer replies. “Get back! Get back!”

Someone in the group asks, “You’re going to kill him? What’s your name, sir?” The officer replies: “Go fuck yourself.”

A second police officer then approaches him and pushes his gun away from the crowd while escorting him away.


In a second video recorded during the first incident, journalist Caleb-Michael Files tells the officer to “put the fucking gun down.” He refuses.


Wednesday afternoon the Internet went to work investigating who #OfficerGoFuckYourself is, and was able to identify him as Ray Albers:

Hacker UGNazi dox’d him, complete with his name, age, date of birth, addresses, phone numbers, social security number, and even credit report:

https://twitter.com/YourUGNaziNews/status/502163793678729217

Someone even launched a satirical, critical Twitter account at @OfcGoFuckUrself.

ACLU sent a request to Missouri State Highway Patrol Wednesday afternoon requesting they identify and remove the officer:

Within a few hours St. Louis County Police spokesman Brian Schellman in a statement to Mashable’s Brian Ries confirmed that the officer had been relieved of duty suspended indefinitely:

Internet 1 – Police State 0

UPDATE 08/29/2014 via St. Louis Post-Dispatch:

A St. Ann police lieutenant resigned Thursday after he pointed an assault rifle at protesters and cursed at them, officials said.  Lt. Ray Albers had worked for the department for 20 years.

Albers resigned after the city’s board of police commissioners met and recommended to the board of aldermen that he be fired or resign.

“I’m not condoning his behavior whatsoever,” Chief Aaron Jiminez said Thursday. “It’s very hard because he is a good friend, he was a good boss. There’s going to be those who didn’t like him who are high-fiving now. Altogether it’s going to be a black eye on the city of St. Ann because he represented our department.”

Jiminez said that Albers raising his weapon was “totally justifiable.” Prior to the camera turning on, Albers had had water and urine thrown at him, Jiminez said. He then saw three men with bandanas in the crowd, and one of them had a gun. He then heard gunshots, but not from that gun. So Albers raised his gun. The three men started running, and then a crowd of people with cameras raised saw him with the raised gun and came toward him. They were “a whole bunch of what you’d call citizen journalists, who were sitting with cameras recording, waiting for something stupid to happen, which they got. They won on this one.”

Jiminez explained that Albers got scared when the crowd got close to him. “That’s why he used those words,” he said. That still doesn’t make the choice of words excusable, said Jiminez.

Albers had three past disciplinary incidents, Jimenez said, one in 1995, one in 1996 and another last year, when he “used a wrong choice of words with a resident, didn’t let the conversation go when he should have.” In the other incidents, a man came into a jail cell with jewelry on and Albers hadn’t properly checked him, and once Albers accidentally released somebody who had a misdemeanor traffic warrant in another jurisdiction, Jiminez said.

Jiminez said that if the Ferguson incident had happened at any other time, he and the board believed Albers would have been suspended without pay. “He solved burglaries, homicides, stealings, you name it, the guy did it,” Jiminez said. “He chose to work 14-hour days.

“Bottom line is, I have a job to do. As the chief of police, I have to do what’s best for the citizens. And the police commissioners saw that and the board did, too.”

Law Enforcement Agencies Enrolled in Pentagon’s 1033 Program/Military Equipment Supplied Between Sept. 2011-2013

In Archive, FOIA, Pentagon, Police State, USA on August 17, 2014 at 7:44 PM

adama-police-state-quote

08/15/2014

Shawn Musgrave/MuckRock:

Much of the military equipment we’ve seen over the past few days in coverage of the Ferguson, Missouri riots was provided to law enforcement by the 1033 program, a Defense Department initiative that transfers excess equipment to state and local law enforcement.

MuckRock FOIA’d the Defense Logistics Agency’s Law Enforcement Support Office, which oversees the 1033 program, for a list of all participating agencies as well for its database of all dispensed equipment.

After some negotiation with DLA, in December we obtained the full roster of participating law enforcement agencies, as well as a spreadsheet with two years of equipment transfers down to the state level.

As of December, there were 7,032 state and local law enforcement agencies enrolled in the 1033 program:

 

Between September 2011 and September 2013, the DLA recorded 105,879 equipment transfers to the above agencies:

 

MuckRock is continuing to press the Defense Department to release 1033 equipment transfer data down to the agency level. In light of the events in Ferguson, we’ve submitted an expedited FOIA request for 1033 program data back to 2000 that includes the agency that received each equipment transfer.

Related Link: Stop Militarizing Law Enforcement Act

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