Police investigator fired for not covering up killings in Chicago, USA


Lorenzo Davis, a former Supervising Investigator who was fired from his position at the Independent Police Review Authority poses for a portrait at his home in Chicago, Illinois July 21, 2015. Davis was terminated from his job after his employer said he refused to change his findings in Chicago police officers involved in cases on excessive force and officer involved shootings. (Photo: Joshua Lott for The Daily Beast)

By George Gallanis in the USA:

Chicago police investigator fired for not covering up police killings

3 August 2015

On July 19, Lorenzo Davis, a former supervisor for Chicago’s Independent Police Review Authority (IPRA), was fired for failing to falsely exonerate three officers who had killed innocent civilians.

Davis, a former Chicago police officer for 23 years and retired in 2004, was hired to work at IPRA in 2008. Two years later, he was promoted to supervising investigator and led a team of five. According to its web site, Davis served on a review board that “is directly responsible for conducting investigations into allegations of the use of excessive force, police shootings where an officer discharges his/her weapon and strikes someone, deaths in custody, domestic violence, verbal abuse including bias and coercion. IPRA also investigates allegations of off-duty misconduct relating to excessive force and weapon discharge incidents.”

The Chicago Reader reported that during his seven years at IPRA, Davis and his team found six shootings to be unjustified out of a total of 13 investigations. In three of those cases, Davis’ supervisor and IPRA’s chief administrator, Scott V. Ando, ordered Davis to exonerate the officers, despite Davis’ findings. When he refused to falsify the outcome of his investigation, Davis was sacked.

The firing reveals the true character of police investigations that follow killings by officers. Far from offering an independent investigation, the standard operating procedure for these police inquiries is to cover up for police murder.

Davis’s firing came just two weeks after he received a performance review in which he was accused of having a “clear bias against the police” and for being “the only supervisor at IPRA who resists making requested changes as directed by management in order to reflect the correct finding with respect to OIS,” or officer-involved shootings.

In other words, Davis was the only employee who refused to go along with the police department’s efforts to whitewash repeated police killings and protect the perpetrators.

Davis has since openly criticized the CPD and IPRA, stating, “I did not like the direction the police department had taken.”

He continued: “It appeared that officers were doing whatever they wanted to do. The discipline was no longer there.” Moreover, he said, “to me they have a hidden agenda, one that I don’t know about, to decide that virtually all police shootings are justified. That logically cannot be.”

Since the creation of IPRA in 2007, Chicago police have shot nearly 400 civilians. However, only one of these killings has been deemed “unjustified” enough to call for the firing of a police officer by IPRA.

The sole “unjustified” shooting, which took place in 2011, was by an off-duty officer who fired 16 rounds into a car after a drive-by shooting. The driver of the car was an innocent bystander and not involved with the drive-by shooting. IPRA found the off-duty officer guilty of lying to investigators after claiming he fired at the driver of the car responsible for the shooting. Video evidence showed this to be false, and so the review board was forced to act.

IPRA’s investigative results are filled with accounts of officers using violence in one way or another against civilians, yet officers are rarely punished.

In fact, IPRA’s record shows that police terrorize the population with virtual impunity. In its most recent quarterly report, IPRA concluded that only 37 out of 385 investigations required some sort of disciplinary action.

One complaint from 2011 that was recently reviewed includes the following description:

“In an incident involving four on duty CPD [Chicago Police Department] officers (A, B, C, and D), an unknown on-duty CPD officer (E) and five Complainants (1,2,3,4 and 5), Officers A and D were alleged to have directed profanities at the Complainants, knocked Complainant 1’s head on a table, pushed Complainant 1 against a fence several times, punched Complainant 1 several times about the face and body, banged Complainant 1’s head several times against the back window of a police vehicle, entered Complainant 1’s residence without justification, handcuffed Complainant 1 too tightly, punched Complainant 1 in the face and groin several times, and failed to complete a Tactical Response Report.” The report goes to state that the officers allegedly continued punching, kicking and even using objects against the Complainants, all the while using racial slurs.

In spite of this overwhelming evidence, the only allegations which IPRA claims were “supported by sufficient evidence to justify disciplinary action” were the allegations that the officers used profanities against the complainants and that they failed to file a Tactical Response Report. All of the other allegations were either considered unfounded, or were deemed “not supported by sufficient evidence which could be used to prove or disprove the allegation.”

Police review boards across the country—including the IPRA—were created for the purpose of fostering the illusion that the police are in some way held accountable for repeated acts of brutality.

But the situation in Chicago is emblematic of the extent to which the police brutalize the population with near complete impunity.

As the World Socialist Web Site reported in May, the Chicago Police operate a torture chamber at the Homan Square “black site,” where “Chicagoans were held for hours and sometimes days in fetid conditions, denied access to lawyers, and physically abused or threatened until they agreed to police demands. In some instances, individuals were forced to participate in petty drug stings or supply the police with off-the-books firearms.”

This revelation came in the wake of the creation of a $5.5 million reparation fund set in place for victims of police carried out over the course of 20 years by former police commander Jon Burge. One of Burge’s victims had a shotgun placed into his mouth, with police pretending to load it and pull the trigger. Police also used a cattle prod to shock one victim’s genitals.

Davis’s firing is a further indication that the American ruling class will tolerate no criticism of its increasingly violent and depraved tactics of repression. More and more, the police treatment of the population domestically mirrors the brutal treatment of the populations of countries like Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libya. Indeed, 15 years after the start of the “war on terror,” no aspect of social, political, or cultural life in the United States is immune from the domestic repercussions of the permanent state of war abroad.

See also here. And here.

Twitter Demands To Know What Happened To Sandra Bland. A black woman died in police custody just days before the anniversary of Eric Garner‘s death: here.

Stop lion killing, USA, European Union


This video is called African Lions: National Geographic Documentary.

From Wildlife Extra:

Call to US and EU governments to ban trophy hunting following the death of two Zimbabwean lions

Following the tragic and reportedly illegal killing of two lions in Zimbabwe, the Born Free Foundation and Born Free USA have called on the US Government and the European Union to take urgent steps to end the import of lion trophies and for an international moratorium on lion hunting.

There has been a global outcry following the killing of the first lion, nicknamed Cecil, by American dentist Walter Palmer, which has further fuelled the political and public debate on trophy hunting and the plight of wild lions in Africa.

President Obama and Prime Minister Cameron have both made very public declarations on the need to stop the illegal wildlife trade, but there are concerns that these intentions may not be implemented fast enough.

Current estimates suggest there are barely more than 30,000 lions remaining across Africa and localised or regionalised extinctions are a real possibility in the next 10 years.

Across Africa, lion populations have reduced by more than 50 per cent since 1980. They have disappeared altogether from at least 12 African countries, and possibly as many as 16, and only inhabit a fragmented 8 per cent of their historic range.

President of the Born Free Foundation, Will Travers OBE, says: “Cecil’s story has sickened and saddened us all.

“We can no longer accept that hunting magnificent wild animals for ‘sport’ can be deemed acceptable.

Trophy hunting is no sport; it is merely a disguise for killing to massage an ego.”

Born Free is calling on the United States Fish and Wildlife Service to release its Final Rule on the petition to list the lion as ‘endangered’ under the United States Endangered Species Act (ESA), first submitted in March 2011.

Listing under the ESA would prohibit wounding, harming, harassing, killing, or trading in lions, except under certain very limited conditions, and would add significant protection for lions across their range.

Further, Born Free is calling on US Government prosecutors to explore whether legal action against Walter Palmer is warranted under the Lacey Act, which prohibits transport of wildlife specimens if they were taken illegally in their place of origin.

According to Adam M Roberts, CEO of Born Free Foundation and Born Free USA, “The US Government has a responsibility to take decisive action to prevent another incident such as this from ever happening again.

“For four years we have waited for a final decision on our petition to list the lion – there is no more time to wait.”

Roberts addressed the issue of trophy hunting specifically, saying, “The figures don’t stack up. The value to Africa’s economy from wildlife tourism vastly outpaces any sum accrued from hunting.

“Trophy hunting is an elitist activity practiced by very wealthy people, with the income benefiting a small number of stakeholders. The future is in conserving Africa’s wildlife, not destroying it.”

There is very little evidence that the proceeds of trophy hunting benefits conservation or local communities in the hunting areas, with as little as 3 per cent or less of the revenue generated trickling down.

Lions and other charismatic wildlife are worth far more alive than dead to Zimbabwe’s tourism industry. In Zimbabwe it is estimated that trophy hunting generates only 3.2 per cent of total tourism revenue.

Virginia McKenna OBE, a name synonymous with lions and star of the wildlife classic Born Free summed up the feelings of millions around the world: “This whole story is like some terrible nightmare.

“The power of money, the ego of man, the lack of compassion for and real understanding of wild creatures, the concept of hunting as a “sport”.

“I thought we tried to instil kindness and respect in our children. Perhaps Mr. Palmer thinks differently.

“But if what I heard today is true – that after killing Cecil he asked if they could find him an elephant – the future he faces is bleak indeed.”

Israeli government abuses racist violence for attacking civil liberties


This video from Israel says about itself:

We are the majority – marching the streets

28 June 2012

Israeli social protest is taking a more assertive approach as a response to the latest homophobic remarks of MK Anastassia Michaeli, the refusal of the Tel-Aviv city hall to allow the re-opening of tents on Rothschild Boulevard, and the aggressive arrests of protesters that have become common lately.

Translated from NOS TV in the Netherlands:

Israelis will also be jailed without trial

Today, 10:36

The Israeli inner cabinet has made it possible for Israelis suspected of violence against Palestinians to be jailed without trial. The measure was announced following the arson last week in two houses of Palestinians in the West Bank, where a Palestinian child was killed.

Suspects can be held for months under the measure. This so-called ‘administrative detention’ was so far only for Palestinians. The measure has been criticized internationally because the suspects have no rights in those circumstances.

So, now ‘legal equality’ for Israeli citizens and Palestinians by, after first undermining civil liberties for one group, undermining them for another group as well. While there is a clear danger that this policy will not just be applied against ‘Israelis suspected of violence against Palestinians’, the only category of Israelis which the NOS report mentions. Might it not also be applied against ‘Israelis suspected of OPPOSITION TO violence against Palestinians‘? Against Israeli opponents of homophobia, including homophobia in Israeli political parties in the coalition government; against people like the recently murdered girl Shira Banki? Against some of the many Israeli opponents of the Netanyahu government’s ‘austerity’ economic policies? Etc.

Wouldn’t it be better to have ‘legal equality’ for Israeli citizens and Palestinians by not having arbitrary jailing for anyone? And by thorough investigation, which there has not been so far, of the violent extreme right in Israel, their anti-Palestinian crimes, their bigotry against African refugees, their homophobia, etc.? Including their relationships to some politicians in Israeli coalition government political parties?

Giant stick insects and Victoria amazonica flower


Victoria amazonica bud, 1 August 2015

On 1 August 2015, after the earlier flowers and bees of the botanical garden then, to the Victoria amazonica hothouse. This giant water lily species did not have a flower yet, but it did have a bud, as this photo shows.

Giant prickly stick insect, adult, 1 August 2015

Then, the next hothouse. On a smallish Eucalyptus tree in a pot in there, an adult giant prickly stick insect from Australia.

Giant prickly stick insect, juvenile, 1 August 2015

But there were not only adults. This species reproduces here, so there were young ones on that tree as well, like this one.

Giant prickly stick insect, small juvenile, 1 August 2015

This photo shows the smallest one of the new generation of giant prickly stick insects, while feeding.

British neo-nazis attack pro-refugee demonstrators


This video is called Neo-Nazi group Britain First ‘invade’ East London Mosque.

By Joana Ramiro in Britain:

EDL blamed for Folkestone protest attack

Monday 3rd August 2015

Rally called for end to migrant deaths on line

A PEACEFUL migrant solidarity protest at the Eurotunnel terminal in Folkestone on Saturday was attacked by members of Britain First and the English Defence League.

A vigil organised by the Folkestone United group to mark the deaths of 11 desperate refugees trying to enter Britain was marred by the violent mob.

Speaking to the Star, Thanet People’s Assembly organiser Bridget Chapman said “scuffles” followed an attack by the racist groups, despite heavy policing.

Ms Chapman, who organised the protest, explained that she had to act after “some friends and I were very moved by the death of the Sudanese boy on one of the Channel tunnel trains.

“We wanted to send a clear message to the migrants that we support them.”

She added they also aimed to “tell the media that we will no longer tolerate irresponsible reporting of this crisis and that the focus needs to be firmly on the plight of the migrants and not on the inconvenience to holiday makers.

“We wanted to ask Eurotunnel how a boy could up up dead on the freight deck of one of their trains.”

Last week’s news that a 30-year-old Sudanese man died trying to cross the Channel brought the number of migrant casualties on the tunnel line to nine just over a month.

Coverage of the ongoing refugee crisis taking place on both sides of the English Channel has been heavily criticised by migrant groups and charities who have described it as “inflammatory” and skewed.

A Church of England bishop has also come out against the Prime Minister’s approach to the tragedy after David Cameron described those seeking refuge in Britain as a “swarm.

Bishop of Dover Trevor Willmott said: “We’ve become ana increasingly harsh world, and when we become harsh with each other and forget our humanity then we end up in these stand-off positions.

“We need to rediscover what it is to be a human, and that every human being matters.”

16-year-old Israeli girl murdered by ultra-religious homophobe


Shira Banki, 16-year-old Israeli girl before she was murdered by an ultra-religious homophobe

From daily Haaretz in Israel:

16 Year Old Stabbed in Jerusalem Pride Parade Succumbs to Wounds

Shira Banki was critically wounded in an attack by an ultra-Orthodox man on Thursday; Netanyahu: She died for bravely supporting everyone’s right to live in dignity.

Also from Haaretz: Why the Israeli government’s condemnation of Jerusalem Gay Pride attack is hollow

See also here.

Yaniv Kubovich Aug 02, 2015 6:16 PM

Three days after being critically wounded by an ultra-Orthodox man that went on a stabbing rampage at Jerusalem’s Gay Pride Parade, Shira Banki, a 16-year-old Israeli teen succumbed to her wounds Sunday afternoon. Five other people were wounded in the attack.

Police confirmed that the suspected stabber is Yishai Schlissel, a Haredi man from Modiin Ilit who stabbed three participants in the 2005 Gay Pride march. He was recently released from prison after serving a 10-year sentence.

Banki was a high-school student from Jerusalem, studying at the Hebrew University High School. She took part in Thursday’s parade to show solidarity with her LGBT friends. She is survived by her parents and three siblings; her family decided to donate her organs.

In a statement issued Sunday, her family said: “Our magical Shira was murdered because she was a happy 16-year-old – full of life and love – who came to express her support for her friends’ rights to live as they choose. For no good reason and because of evil, stupidity and negligence, the life of our beautiful flower was cut short. Bad things happen to good people, and a very bad thing happened to our amazing girl. The family expresses hope for a less hatred and more tolerance.” The family requests the public respect their privacy as they grieve.

As of Sunday afternoon two of those wounded in the attack alongside Banki were still in serious condition and remained hospitalized, though medical officials said their condition was improving. Three of the other people wounded in the attack were released home after suffering lighter injuries.

Opposition Chairman Isaac Herzog (Zionist Union) also issued a statement, saying Banki was a victim of “Jewish terror”. “I cry for Shira… she is the age of my children. We will not tolerate violence, racism or LGBT-phobia of any kind,” he said, reiterating his demand that the prime minister outlaw extreme right-wing groups which he said “incite hatred” in Israel.

Education Minister Naftali Bennett (Habayit Hayehudi) said in a statement: “It’s a dark day for Israel… in which a high school girl is murdered for her opinions and positions.” “There is no principle in the world worth the life of a young girl,” said Bennett, who was supposed to address an LGBT rally Saturday evening, but canceled after refusing to sign a commitment to act on behalf of the gay community. This is “a day in which we became darkness unto the nations instead of a being light unto the nations,” he added.

On Saturday, thousands of Israelis took to the streets to protest the stabbing as well as a deadly arson attack in the West Bank that saw a Palestinian infant killed.  “Flames have engulfed our country,” President Reuven Rivlin said at the rally in Jerusalem’s Zion Square. “Flames of violence, flames of hatred, flames of false, distorted and twisted beliefs.”

An estimated 10,000 people turned up for a rally in Tel Aviv’s Gan Meir, which was already planned to mark six years since two people were killed in a shooting at Barnoar, a Tel Aviv gay youth center. …

The attacker, Schlissel, was sentenced for 12 years in prison for the 2005 attack after his conviction on charges of attempted murder and aggravated assault. However, in 2007, following an appeal, the Supreme Court mitigated his sentence to 10 years. He was deemed sane and fit to face trial on Friday.

After his release, Schlissel returned to his hometown, where residents said that he distributed hand-written pamphlets in which he called on “all Jews faithful to God” to risk “beatings and imprisonment” for the sake of preventing the parade.

Right-wing MK: Jerusalem pride parade is an ‘abomination’. Habayit Hayehudi lawmaker Betzalel Smotrich calls anti-violence protest held in wake of stabbing a ‘witch hunt’ against those opposing LGBT rights: here.

Israel Police to probe failure to monitor Jerusalem gay pride parade assailant. Yishai Schlissel, who served 10 years for 2005 parade stabbing attack, urged self-sacrifice against ‘abomination parade’ following his recent release: here.