It’s time for accountability.
Milwaukee, Wisconsin (TFC)— With so little transparency inherent in police surveillance programs, some were excited to hear of Seaglass. The new technology–developed by University of Washington researchers–aimed to empower citizens to detect cell tower simulators. These shadowy devices, sometimes called…
Miami-Dade, Florida (TFC)— Reports are indicating Miami-Dade police are scrapping plans to launch an aerial surveillance program. The news comes after a flurry of concerns that the program would violate the privacy of residents in the area. According to Miami…
Wauwatosa, Wisconsin (TFC)— Transparent policing means numerous things, all revolving around informing the public. Citizens are concerned what crimes may be occurring around them.Theoretically, police departments remedy this by producing public reports detailing their actions. Wauwatosa PD, however, may not…
As eighteen-year-old Paul O’Neal lay facedown with a pool of blood collecting at the back of his t-shirt, police officers gathered around. None of the officers attempted to administer first aid. None attempted to call for medical assistance. None evidenced even the smallest degree of concern for the young man dying at their feet.
Instead, they restrained him in handcuffs. But not before one spat at him: “Bitch-ass mother f***er.”
So much for “protect and serve.”
Paul O’Neal isn’t the only black American who has been denied the dignity of medical attention. This trend follows in many of the recently exposed cases of police brutality.
Vachel Howard was arrested for driving under the influence. Hours later, he was dead. Here‘s what happened inside an LAPD jail.
Early on the afternoon of June 4, 2012, Vachel Howard was handcuffed to a bench inside the Los Angeles Police Department’s 77th Street Station Jail. He was 56 years old, and had been taken into custody for driving while intoxicated. The grandfather of seven had been strip-searched, and his shirt still hung open. Howard told the officers present that he suffered from schizophrenia. Police suspected he was high on cocaine.
Calm seems to follow each day break here in Milwaukee, the night’s chaos passing with it. That calm is deceptive, insidiously distracting from the night’s atmosphere. A mass catharsis grips the Northside nightly, and has wrought an ominous government presence. It is that presence which is perhaps most unnerving.
Funny how it sometimes takes military units being deployed for people to pay attention to a certain place. As a lifelong Milwaukee resident, I must confess a kind of angst having the entire world’s attention on us. Milwaukee has been rated one of the most segregated American cities, the fourth poorest and yet, only now the world is watching. As if the blaze’s violent brilliance were a beacon, drawing in all manner of onlookers.
Most are aware of the catalyst– that being yet another police shooting. That phrase is beginning to carry it’s own kind of morbid weight it seems,”yet another”. After Milwaukee officers pulled over a car, the occupants ran and police pursued. The runner, 23 year old Sylville K. Smith, allegedly carried a gun as he ran from officers who eventually fired. Police released few initial details, but did offer information on the shooting officer.
Isn’t it wonderful when police knock on your door asking what your activism plans for the Republican National Convention are? That’s exactly what’s happening in Cleveland, where officers are going door-to-door probing activists and organizers. Such revelations beg questions on the use of police for surveillance of legal political activities especially in 2016’s election.
With Cleveland Ohio expecting an estimated 50,000 visitors for the Republican National Convention (RNC), preparations surely are needed. Many community organizers, however, shuttered after sleeping bags and soapboxes were banned at 2016’s RNC. Interestingly, Intercept reports, officials didn’t ban firearms, despite a recent attempt on Donald Trump’s life. Trump rallies, in particular, are known for their volatile nature, and acts of exclusion and violence are regular. RNC’s bans don’t account for these elements of the convention’s population.
From 2004-2011, the Wauwatosa Police Department released yearly annual reports on its activities. The protocol wasn’t unusual, police normally provide some form of publicly available documentation. Of course, they don’t outline everything there is to know about a department, they’re simply transparent overviews.
In 2012, unlike other departments, Wauwatosa’s data never arrived to the city’s page. Around that time, the department cited challenges associated with a new report redaction policy it was forced to adopt. The policy, referenced in several Wauwatosa Now pieces, was enacted after a supreme court ruling on privacy rights.
A year later, Wauwatosa PD Captain Tim Sharpee said WPD was unable to do the redactions electronically. “So a clerk has to print out that report (and) redact all that information”, he said, alluding to the department’s lack of resources. In 2013, 10-13% of a department sworn for 94 officers left within a four month period. For a time, WPD claimed it lacked the manpower to process reports with the tedious methods available to them. It was assumed, but not entirely verified, that the annual’s were discontinued due to the same phenomenon that affected more regular reports.