New York police kill Eric Garner, then sabotage crime-fighting


This video from the USA says about itself:

“I Can’t Breathe” – Eric Garner Dies After NYPD Chokehold (Full Video Compilation)

3 December 2014

This compilation contains the most uncut videos available for this incident.

On July 17, 2014, at 202 Bay Street in Tompkinsville, Staten Island, New York, United States, Eric Garner died of a heart-attack after being placed in a choke-hold by an officer (a tactic banned by the Police Department). On this day, he was initially approached by police officer Justin Damico. A fellow officer, Daniel Pantaleo, put Garner on the ground by the use of force, including a headlock or chokehold shown in a widely viewed video recording of the event. Garner died some minutes later. …

On August 1, 2014, medical examiners concluded that police conduct in combination with Garner’s heart problems, obesity and asthma was the primary cause of death. As a result of Garner’s death, four EMTs and paramedics who responded to Garner’s death were suspended without pay on July 21, 2014, and officers Justin Damico and Daniel Pantaleo were placed on desk duty, the latter stripped of his service gun and badge.

The event stirred public protests and rallies with charges of police brutality and was broadcast nationally over various media networks.

On December 3, 2014, a grand jury decided not to indict Daniel Pantaleo, the officer who was involved in Garner’s death.

From the Huffington Post in the USA:

HuffPost Must Reads: What De Blasio and the NYPD Don’t Want You To Know

Last summer, we were brainstorming story ideas, as editors often do. The one-year anniversary of Eric Garner’s death had just passed, and Nick wondered aloud, “Remember that police slowdown last winter? Wasn’t that after the Eric Garner trial, when the police weren’t indicted for his death? What exactly happened then?” We researched the coverage. No one had written about the slowdown in depth. So we decided to file Freedom Of Information Law (FOIL) requests with the mayor’s office and the NYPD. They stalled … and stalled … and stalled. Today, nearly a year later, we haven’t received a single relevant document. But before we tell you exactly how the mayor’s office and the NYPD are refusing to cooperate, let’s revisit December 2014 with HuffPost’s social justice reporter Christopher Mathias, who is working on the story.

Must Reads: Let’s start from the beginning. What happened again?

Mathias: In early December 2014, a Staten Island grand jury declined to indict the NYPD officers involved in the chokehold death of a black 43-year-old father named Eric Garner. This set off massive protests in New York and across the country. The night of the decision, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio told reporters that he understood the frustration over Garner’s death. He said he once told his black son to be careful around police. This comment — and the idea that police can be of danger to young black men — angered New York’s police unions.

Two weeks later, after daily Black Lives Matter protests in the city that saw thousands of protesters shutting down bridges, tunnels and major avenues, a man named Ibrahim Brinsley posted a photo of a gun to Instagram. … A short time later, Brinsley walked up to a police cruiser in Brooklyn. He shot and killed two police officers — Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos.

Pat Lynch, president of the city’s largest police union, said de Blasio had “blood on [his] hands,” arguing that the mayor had implicitly invited violence against police officers by not condemning Black Lives Matter protesters, and by acknowledging that he’d talked to his son about being careful around cops. At the televised funerals for Liu and Ramos, many police officers turned their backs on the mayor as he spoke.

Then officers across the city staged a dramatic work slowdown. During the week ending Jan. 4, for example, officers issued 92 percent fewer criminal summonses — handed out for minor offenses like drinking in public — than during the same period the previous year. Overall, arrests dropped 56 percent, and the number of traffic tickets, a major source of revenue for the city, plunged.

Must Reads: How did the NYPD coordinate such a massive slow down on such a large scale?

Mathias: It’s not entirely clear, but the most likely theory is that unions had encouraged officers to engage in a slowdown as a means of putting pressure on de Blasio. But NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton insisted the slowdown was due in part to his officers’ exhaustion from policing nightly Black Lives Matter protests. Another theory was that officers were genuinely afraid that they could become the next Wenjian Liu or Rafael Ramos.

Must Reads: Walk us through what you requested from the mayor’s office and the NYPD.

Mathias: Last August, I filed FOIL requests to the NYPD asking for all emails among senior officers containing keywords like “slowdown” or “summons,” among several others. I sent the same request to the mayor’s office. The emails I requested under FOIL, I hoped, could shed light on how exactly the slowdown was coordinated, and by whom. The emails might also highlight how the mayor and the police commissioner handled one of the worst city government crises in recent memory.

Must Reads: How did the NYPD and the mayor’s office respond?

Mathias: It’s been nine months and nary an email have I received from my FOIL requests. The mayor’s office keeps pushing back, stating I’d receive a response in November, then January, then April, and now sometime in May. The NYPD flat-out denied my FOIL request, saying that the information I requested, if disclosed, “would reveal non-routine techniques and practices,” and would “interfere with law enforcement investigations or judicial proceedings.” We appealed their decision, and last week heard that our appeal was denied. We’re now considering next steps.

Must Reads: We understand the NYPD is within their rights to deny such requests, but you reached out to the New York State Committee on Open Government for comment about the mayor’s office egregious use of extensions. What did they say?

Mathias: “We don’t believe that the law permits repeated extensions,” said Kristin O’Neill, assistant director of the NYSCOG.

Waiting nine months for a request to be either granted or denied, she added, is unusual.

Want to know more? We do, too. We’ll keep you posted.

JUSTICE DEPARTMENT REPLACES NEW YORK TEAM OF LAWYERS AND AGENTS IN ERIC GARNER CASE In hopes to jump-start the case and bring charges. [NYT]

New York racist´s knife attack on Muslim woman


This video from the USA says about itself:

DN! New York Taxi Driver Stabbed in Anti-Muslim Attack

26 August 2010

New York Taxi Driver Stabbed in Anti-Muslim Attack

The ongoing hysteria over a proposed Islamic cultural center near Ground Zero appears to be fueling anti-Muslim attacks both here in New York and nationwide. A New York City taxi driver was stabbed multiple times Tuesday after a drunken passenger determined he is a Muslim. The victim, Ahmed Sharif, was slashed across his face, neck and hands.

Sharif says the suspect, Michael Enright, had asked him several questions about his religion, including whether he’s a Muslim and observing Ramadan. Enright recently returned from Afghanistan, where he was filming US troops for a documentary. As he attacked Sharif, Enright is said to have yelled, “Consider this a checkpoint.”

Enright was arraigned Wednesday on multiple charges including felony attempted murder as a hate crime. Bhairavi Desai of the New York Taxi Workers Alliance told Democracy Now! that from his hospital bed, Sharif had asked her to warn other Muslim drivers to be fearful in the current political climate.

Bhairavi Desai: “The first thing he said to me was we have to get the message out, because we can’t let this escalate, drivers need to protect themselves. He said the environment right now is very serious. There is no doubt in our minds that the fear mongering and the ignorance and the hatred that has been spewing around this Islamic cultural center—which has erroneously been called the ‘Ground Zero mosque’—we have no doubt that it’s that hatred that’s risen to the surface and that’s led to this violence. And all of these has-been politicians, you know, who around the country who have been making a bigger issue out of this, that man’s blood is on their hands.”

By Peter Andrew Hart in the USA:

Muslim Woman’s Face Slashed By Man Who Called Her ‘Terrorist’

The attack in Manhattan comes amid a spike in New York City slashings and stabbings.

03/31/2016 10:50 pm ET

A Muslim woman walking down a Manhattan street during Thursday’s rush hour was slashed in the face by a man who called her a “terrorist,” police said.

The 20-year-old woman, a student at the private postsecondary school Make-up Designory, was taken to Bellevue Hospital with non-life threatening injuries, police said. The attack left a two-inch laceration on the left side of her face, police told CBS New York.

The woman was walking near 65 Broadway, in Manhattan’s Financial District, just before 5 p.m., when a man grabbed her arm, slashed her across her cheek and ran away, police said. The woman, who was wearing a headscarf, told investigators the man called her a terrorist, according to police.

The victim said she didn’t recognize the attacker, who got away. Police were investigating the attack, but not as a hate crime.

United States FBI, police spying on phones


This video from the USA says about itself:

Tim Cook | EXCLUSIVE Interview on Apple’s Privacy Decision

24 February 2016

Apple CEO Tim Cook explained to ABC News anchor David Muir why he refused to create software that would help the FBI break into an iPhone used by one of the San Bernardino, California, shooters. “I think safety of the public is incredibly important — safety of our kids, safety of our family is very important,” Cook said. “The protection of people’s data is incredibly important, and so the trade-off here is we know that doing this could expose people to incredible vulnerabilities.”

SeaWorld is certainly not the only organisation spying in the USA.

US government case against Apple would create broad precedent to override phone encryption: here.

The assault on encryption and the drive to expand police state spying: here.

By Isaac Finn in the USA:

New York police used military-grade cellphone surveillance equipment over 1,000 times

25 February 2016

The New York Police Department (NYPD) has used a military grade cellphone surveillance device—known as a “StingRay”—over 1,000 times since 2008, according to documents obtained by the New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU) last November.

StingRays are briefcase-size machines that mimic cellphone towers and trick nearby cellphones into establishing a connection with it. The device can then be used to monitor communications from the phone and track the user’s whereabouts. Even when targeting a specific cellphone, a StingRay will gather information on other phones in the area.

Public discussion of the use of StingRays by local police departments has been limited due to a non-disclosure agreement between the FBI and the Harris Corporations, which manufactures the device. Under this agreement police departments—including the NYPD—are barred from referencing the use of StingRays, even when information gathered by the device is central to a prosecutor’s argument in a criminal case.

The NYCLU obtained documents last November about the NYPD’s use of StingRays as part of a Freedom of Information lawsuit, and received further information last week after appealing its initial lawsuit. This included a disclosure from the NYPD that it has used StringRays roughly 1,016 times between 2008 and May 2015.

Donna Lieberman, Executive Director of the NYCLU, stated, “If carrying a cell phone means being exposed to military grade surveillance equipment, then the privacy of nearly all New Yorkers is at risk.”

The NYPD has become infamous for its extensive surveillance system, which has included spying on Muslim communities, its policy of stop-and-frisk that has allowed the department to establish electronic and analog databases of millions of predominantly minority working class youth, and most recently its Community Policing program based on cultivating a network of informants in working class neighborhoods.

New York police also have admitted to using ZBV vans equipped with x-ray technology, allowing officers to see through clothing and other light barriers without the individual being aware he or she is being scanned.

NYPD Commissioner William Bratton … stated last year that he would not talk about ZBVs, because, “It falls into the range of security and counterterrorism activity that we engage in.”

The NYPD also disclosed in the lawsuit that they had no written policy on using StingRays, but usually obtained a “pen register order” before using the device. The requirements for obtaining a pen register order are less demanding than the probable cause required for obtaining a warrant.

Mariko Hirose, the NYCLU lawyer that received the documents from the NYPD, explained to the New York Times, “The text of New York’s pen register law does not apply to StingRays, and for good reason. That law was intended only to authorize the use of the primitive devices of the past that capture outgoing and incoming phone numbers on a landline. We’re now living in a different technological reality.”

Last year, the Department of Justice shifted policies demanding that all use of StingRays, except in emergency circumstances, be required to obtain warrants. The FBI also is required to obtain warrants for the use of StingRays, though with an extremely broad definition of exceptions.

Both Federal and NYPD officials have made fraudulent claims that StingRays do not pickup bystander information, and are primarily used to track terrorists and violent criminals. Despite this, there have been multiple recorded cases of the NYPD using StingRays to track non-violent criminals, and at least one instance of the technology being used to locate a witness.

FBI Director James Comey admitted in testimony to the House Judiciary Committee last October that StingRays were placed in planes and used to monitor mass protests against police brutality in both Ferguson, Missouri and Baltimore, Maryland.

The US Marshalls revealed in response to a Freedom of Information Request filed by USA Today that it has deployed the technology to track 5,975 individuals over an unspecified period of time. According to USA Today a Baltimore Police detective testified last year that the police force had deployed its StingRay 4,300 times since 2007.

Based on a report by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), at least 60 law enforcement agencies in 23 states own StingRays. Many others may not be disclosing purchases of the device.

The New York State Police alone have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on StingRays and related equipment. In a separate Freedom of Information lawsuit last year, the NYCLU also uncovered that the Erie County Sheriffs office, in New York State, has used StingRays 47 times over the past four years, and only obtained a pen register order from a court once.

Ultimately, the wide-scale use of military grade surveillance equipment is part of police-state measures put in place to defend the wealthy elite from the working population. The ruling elite’s fear is particularly palpable in New York City, which is plagued by massive inequality and record-breaking homelessness.

Akai Gurley killed, New York policeman convicted


This video from the USA is called Video Shows Akai Gurley‘s Bloody Clothes in the Dim Hallway He Was Shot In.

From the Huffington Post in the USA:

NYC Cop Convicted Of Manslaughter In Death Of Akai Gurley

Officer Peter Liang fired in a dark housing complex stairwell.

02/11/2016 07:35 pm ET | Updated 14 minutes ago

Matt Ferner, National Reporter, The Huffington Post

New York City police Officer Peter Liang was convicted of manslaughter Thursday in the 2014 shooting death of an unarmed black man in a darkened Brooklyn public housing project stairwell.

Liang’s single gunshot killed Akai Gurley, 28, who was walking down the stairs on Nov. 20, 2014.

NYPD said after the jury’s verdict that Liang had been fired from the department. He faces up to 15 years in prison when he is sentenced on April 14.

Liang said he drew his pistol as he and his partner patrolled the darkened 8th floor stairwell of the Louis H. Pink Houses in Brooklyn. He said he flinched when he was startled by a noise, which he said caused the gun to fire.

The bullet ricocheted off of the stairwell wall and struck Gurley, who was on the seventh floor. Gurley, who was unarmed, died from a wound in his chest.

Liang tearfully recounted the shooting in court, claiming his finger was never on the trigger.

“I was panicking. I was in shock, in disbelief that someone was actually hit,” he told jurors.

Prosecution evidence contradicted the claim and showed pressure had to have been applied to the trigger in order for the weapon to fire. To test this notion, the judge allowed each of the 12 jurors to take turns pulling the trigger of Liang’s handgun. 

Liang and his partner testified they didn’t realize anyone had been shot for several minutes and said they didn’t try to perform CPR on Gurley because they felt untrained.

Gurley’s family was unmoved by the rookie’s tears.

“Peter Liang, my son was no accident,” Sylvia Palmer, the victim’s mother, said Monday. “You murdered my son. I need justice for my son. I need a conviction of Peter Liang.”

Convictions of police officers involved in shootings are exceedingly rare. The last time an NYPD officer was convicted in a shooting death of a civilian was 2005, when Bryan Conroy was convicted of criminally negligent homicide in the killing of Ousman Zongo, an unarmed African immigrant. 

Sanctions for the use of lethal force are also rare. A 2014 New York Daily News investigation found that out of the 179 people killed by on-duty police officers during 15 years, just three of those deaths resulted in indictments.

See also here.

Brooklyn district attorney Ken Thompson has decided to seek no prison time for the police officer convicted of killing 28-year-old Akai Gurley in the stairwell of his Brooklyn housing development in November, 2014: here.