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Friday, December 19, 2008

Police Misconduct NewsWatch for 12-19-08

Stills from a video taken in December 2007 of a Knoxville Jail guard beating a mentally ill jail detainee while he was restrained in a device nicknamed "The Devil's Chair".

Reuters Reports Replicated Milgram Experiment Shows Most Would Torture Others If Ordered To
First performed in the 1960's the Milgram Experiment showed that most people would willingly torture others if told to. Experimenters used actors who pretended to cry out in pain when subjects believed they were administering electric shocks to the actors. While Milgram let subjects go to 450 volts, the reproduction of the experiment preformed this year stopped them at 150 but showed that 70% of subjects would have went beyond 150 volts if they were allowed to.

Critics of Milgram's experiment often claimed that people in the 1960's were more prone to be obedient than they are today... Apparently that's just not the case. The same could also be said of the Stanford Prison Experiment that was done in 1971 which showed how regular people would become abusive when given the kind of power a guard has over prisoners. The people chosen as guards in that study became so abusive the experiment had to be stopped after only 6 days instead of the planned 14 day duration.

My point in posting this on a site like this should be clear, but in case it isn't let me explain. Whenever you hear a story about police abusing someone or a story about corrections officers abusing detainees... remember that a full 70% of the population would willingly torture another human being with no compunction in regards to what they knew about that person or why they were told to torture that person. To think that police officers or corrections officers are not also capable of this is being dishonest with oneself at one's own peril.

Because it can happen to anyone, even the innocent.

Sharma Settlement Prompts Vancouver To Seek Independent Review Of Police Department
We covered the Navin Sharma case and the related developing Chris Kershaw case where officers have been fired from Vancouver's police department, not for misconduct, but because they didn't adhere to the blue code of silence.

There have been repeated calls for a DOJ investigation of Vancouver's police department after these cases came to light and the city, in response, is trying to come up with a plan to investigate itself instead... The problem, aside from questions over whether the city investigating itself would be unbiased, is that there appear to be few volunteers willing to risk the city's infamous wrath by doing so.

ABC NEWS 20/20: Bloomington Illinois Police Search For Serial Rapist, Only To Find It's One Of Their Own
A disturbing account that starts with testimony from victims of a serial rapist who would go so far as to make them bathe themselves and take their bedsheets after attacking them in their homes to the police department that tried to catch the rapist... only to discover that the serial rapist was a member of the Bloomington Police Department himself.

Washington DC Cop Pleads Guilty To Aggravated Assault Charges

From the DOJ press release:
The incident took place on Jan. 20, 2005, in the Adams Morgan neighborhood of Washington, D.C., during an unauthorized march related to the 2005 Presidential Inauguration. Huxoll was on duty and responded to the Adams Morgan area when some of the marchers began engaging in incidents of vandalism.

In his plea hearing, Huxoll acknowledged that he threw the victim to the ground because he believed, erroneously, that the victim had thrown bottles at him and other officers. Huxoll also admitted that, although the victim did not resist and was not aggressive, he grabbed the back of the victim's head while he was still on the ground, lifted it up and struck the victim across the face with his riot baton. The victim suffered a broken nose, lacerations and abrasions as a result of this assault.

Photos Taken By Police Officers Of Women In The Nude Costs City $150,000
In Statin Island NY, two women won a settlement from the city in a case where detectives had taken photos of them in the nude while one was in the hospital being examined in a rape case and another while at the station for a traffic violation that was later dropped.

The women, one of whom is the daughter of David Bowie's ex-wife, settled for a combined $150,000. The officers involved were acquitted during a criminal trial sparked by the cases because the state failed to prove that the officers took the photos for their own sexual gratification.

One of the cops involved is now suing the department for wrongful termination after he was fired earlier this year.

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