Cases add up of LAPD assaults on restrained suspects November 19, 2012Posted by rogerhollander in California, Los Angeles, Police.
Tags: LA Times, lapd, los angeles, natasha lennard, News, police, police brutality, roger hollander, Taser
add a comment
A cop Tasered a handcuffed women in fourth case in recent months of LAPD using force on detainees
The LA Times reported over the weekend that an LAPD officer was witnessed shocking a handcuffed woman with a Taser gun while “joking with other officers at the scene.” Just days after a federal jury ruled that Chicago police officers upheld an entrenched “code of silence” in covering up each others’ wrongdoing, reports have emerged to show that Los Angeles cops have lied for two years about the Tasering incident.
The LA Times reports:
Officer Jorge Santander… appeared to lie about the December 2010 incident repeatedly in written reports. The three other LAPD officers who witnessed Santander stun the woman all corroborated his version of events when first questioned and failed to tell supervisors that one officer had recorded a video of the encounter, the records show.
The video shows Santander firing the Taser without warning and later displaying a Superman logo he wore on his chest beneath his uniform, according to the records. Off camera, another officer is heard laughing and singing.
… This marks the fourth time in the last few months that cases have come to light in which LAPD officers are accused of using force on suspects who had been restrained.
… In August, a security surveillance camera captured an officer violently throwing a handcuffed woman to the ground with any apparent provocation. Days later, the Times reported on a July incident in which a video camera in a patrol car recorded a female officer stomping her heel onto the genitals of a woman who was being restrained by other officers. That woman died after being forced into the back of a patrol car, although there is no evidence that her death was caused by the officer’s kick. And this month The Times learned about a botched arrest in July, in which a handcuffed man was mistakenly shot by officers after he escaped custody.
Despite statistics suggesting that there are around 1,700 cases per year of inappropriate force with less than lethal weapons by the LAPD, “department officials rejected the idea that the cases add up to a larger behavioral pattern,” reported the LA Times. “Cmdr. Andrew Smith called them ‘isolated, unrelated cases in which officers got out of line’.” However, the police officers’ attempts to slide Santander’s Taser incident under the rug echo the police culture indicted last week by a federal court — whether LAPD officials admit to a pattern or not.
Los Angeles Accused of Criminalizing Homelessness July 15, 2009Posted by rogerhollander in California, Housing/Homelessness.
Tags: Antonio Villaraigosa, homeless advocates, homelessness, homelessness criminalized, la skid row, los angeles, los angeles homelessness, los angeles housing, panhandling, poverty, poverty criminalized, roger hollander, safer city, skid row, steve gorman
1 comment so far
LOS ANGELES – Two major advocacy groups for the homeless on Tuesday ranked Los Angeles as the “meanest” city in the United States, citing a Skid Row police crackdown they say has criminalized poverty and homelessness there.
L.A.’s so-called Safer City Initiative was singled out in the groups’ report as the most egregious example of policies and practices nationwide that essentially punish people for failing to have a roof over their heads.
Others include making it illegal to sleep, sit or store personal belongings on sidewalks and other public spaces; prohibitions against panhandling or begging; and selective enforcement of petty offenses like jaywalking and loitering.
Such measures are widespread in the face of a deep economic recession and foreclosure crisis that have increased homelessness over the past two years, according to the National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty and the National Coalition for the Homeless.
Their report examined laws and practices in 273 cities across the country, with Los Angeles topping the list of the 10 “meanest cities” for what the study called inhumane treatment of homeless. A previous report, issued in early 2006 before the crackdown began, ranked L.A. as the 18th meanest.
According to “Homes Not Handcuffs: The Criminalization of Homelessness in U.S. Cities,” the 10 Meanest Cities in 2009 are:
1. Los Angeles
2. St. Petersburg, FL
3. Orlando, FL
4. Atlanta, GA
5. Gainesville, FL
6. Kalamazoo, MI
7. San Francisco
8. Honolulu, HI
9. Bradenton, FL
Under the Safer City effort, thousands of L.A.’s most destitute residents have been targeted for harsh police enforcement, routinely receiving tickets for minor infractions such as the failure to obey crossing signals.
As a result, the study says, many are jailed and end up with a criminal record that makes it more difficult for them to find a job or gain access to housing.
A spokesman for Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa issued a statement dismissing the report as “short-sighted and misleading.”
Los Angeles officials have touted their Safer City effort for sharply curbing serious crime in Skid Row, a 50-block downtown area inhabited by the biggest concentration of homeless people in the country. “The city’s first priority is to protect our most vulnerable residents from violent crime,” the mayor’s statement said.
But homeless advocates say a promised strategy to ease homelessness there, including new housing and services to go with the Skid Row cleanup, have largely failed to materialize.
An estimated 40,000 people live on the streets, in abandoned buildings or in temporary shelters throughout Los Angeles, more than 5,000 of them in Skid Row. Another 8,000 make their home in that area’s short-term residential hotels, or flop houses as they were once called.
Becky Dennison, co-director of the Los Angeles Community Action Network, said the homeless population in Los Angeles has ballooned due to a lack of affordable housing, a high poverty rate and “long-standing lack of local resources.”
Tuesday’s report cited a 2007 University of California study that found L.A. was spending $6 million a year to pay for the 50 extra police officers who patrol Skid Row while budgeting just $5.7 million for homeless services.
By comparison, Dennison said, New York City has a “right to shelter” policy and invests about $200 million a year in housing and other services for the needy, resulting in a homeless population half that of Los Angeles.
© Thomson Reuters 2009