Are We All Defined By Our Lunatic Fringe?

1. Speaking of the recent assassination of two New York City cops in Brooklyn, craven opportunist Rudy Giuliani claims that such a thing never would have happened if he was mayor.

Under Giuliani’s mayoralty, 27 members of the NYPD were killed, not counting 9/11. Giuliani claims that protesters are to blame, and current Mayor DeBlasio gave them “too much power”.

Blaming the Brooklyn assassination on people protesting excessive police force is a common theme. 

2. Jim Kelly’s nephew Chad is a football star who has evidently done wonders for the Mississippi Community College pigskin circuit.

Kelly, 20, of Niagara Falls, refused to leave Encore at 492 Pearl St. about 3:15 a.m. and punched a bouncer in the face, Buffalo police said. Kelly’s companion, Brandon Hickey, 21, of Clarence, had been thrown out of the bar earlier and tried to re-enter, police said.

Kelly continued to fight with two bouncers and stated “I’m going to go to my car and get my AK-47 and spray this place,” according to a report.

Buffalo police officers responding to that alleged threat stopped a 2005 Ford F-150 pickup truck in which Kelly was a passenger at 458 Pearl.

Kelly was forcibly removed from the vehicle, officers said. Police said Kelly kicked and tried to swing at officers as they removed him from the vehicle. They said he resisted getting into a patrol vehicle and struggled with staff at central booking.

The bar’s security staff, Scott May and Clay Hubert, suffered minor injuries in the melee, including pain and swelling, according to the report.

What is a 20 year-old doing at a nightclub at 3:15 am? But more importantly, Kelly was belligerent, violent, threatening, and resisting arrest. I’ve heard a lot of people arguing recently that this sort of behavior justifies an arresting officer choking the suspect to death. However, this kid for some reason was released on his own recognizance unscathed.

3. This is going to be a little tough to articulate because it involves nuance and thought – things that don’t fit on a bumper sticker.

People protesting the police are, for the most part, opposing excessive police force; police brutality. A Google search reveals far too many instances of homicide by cop of unarmed Black suspects. One mentally ill suspect in Wisconsin got a hold of a cop’s nightstick during a struggle and was shot 14 times. His original crime? Sleeping in the park. Eric Garner was selling loosies. Mike Brown was jaywalking and was accused of ripping off a convenience store.

These crimes are petty, not capital. The black community in particular has a right to understand why it is that these young men end up dead, but Chad Kelly can hit and kick cops, and threaten to spray bullets into a nightclub with the “AK-47” in his truck, and sleep in his own bed that same night.

People want better policing and the black community in particular would appreciate it if police would maybe stop treating their young men like animals. It’s notable that the assassination of the officers in Brooklyn by a deranged recidivist psychopath (who also shot and wounded his girlfriend earlier that day) has been universally and unconditionally condemned.  Eric Garner’s daughter came to show support for the fallen officers, attending their memorial service.

The point isn’t a war on cops; the point is to stop unnecessary violence and killings.

Oh, but what about the lunatic fringe that is genuinely anti-cop? What about the self-declared leftist revolutionaries who support assassinating cops?

Well, yes. There are lunatic assholes in America. Some of them are leftist “revolutionaries”. Some of them are right-wing “sovereigns”. Luckily, America and her people have a knack for rejecting extremism such as this.

Last week someone clued me in to a relatively new anti-cop activist group in Buffalo that has posted some videos to YouTube and been involved in recent protests in town. A minimal amount of digging revealed that our revolutionary vanguard is led by a privileged 30-year old woman who still lives with mommy in a tony colonial in Snyder, and attended a private local Catholic college. She has bounced around different activist groups and causes in the short time she’s been out of school, and she seems to be a supreme poseur of the highest order. Her services were bought by political opportunists on at least two occasions, unsuccessfully. She is as ineffective and profane as she is fake. I have toyed with the idea of writing extensively about her, but then I see that her group’s YouTube account has fewer than 10 subscribers, very few views, and that she’s basically just a nobody accomplishing nothing more but looking like a clown, there’s no point. Let her flail in the ether, on the fringe.

Our society depends on and relies upon police protection, and that’s why we give cops special privileges that you and I don’t share. With those expanded privileges come heightened responsibility and accountability. It is incumbent on people to keep that privilege in check when the authorities won’t do it themselves, and protests are part of that. Every protest movement or event is going to have somebody in it that takes things too far or is inflammatory and not worthy of support. That’s how it goes. But condemning all protests and demonstrators for the misdeeds of the lunatic fringe is unfair and misdirection.

Police officers aren’t under siege from hostile elected officials. At no point, for example, has de Blasio attacked the New York City Police Department. Instead, he’s called for improved policing, including better community relations and new training for “de-escalation” techniques. “Fundamental questions are being asked, and rightfully so,” he said at the beginning of the month, after the grand jury decision in the death of Eric Garner. “The way we go about policing has to change.”

Likewise, neither President Obama nor Attorney General Eric Holder has substantively criticized police. After a Ferguson, Missouri, grand jury declined to indict Officer Darren Wilson in the killing of Michael Brown, Obama appealed for calm and praised law enforcement for doing a “tough job.” “Understand,” he said, “our police officers put their lives on the line for us every single day. They’ve got a tough job to do to maintain public safety and hold accountable those who break the law.”

When directly asked if “African-American and Latino young people should fear the police,” Holder said no. “I don’t think that they should fear the police,” he said in an interview for New York magazine with MSNBC’s Joy-Ann Reid. “But I certainly think that we have to build up a better relationship between young people, people of color, and people in law enforcement.”

Even Al Sharpton supports cops. “We are not anti-police,” he said after the Wilson grand jury concluded. “If our children are wrong, arrest them. Don’t empty your gun and act like you had no other way.” And on this Sunday morning, Sharpton held an event where he and the Garner family condemned the cop killings in Brooklyn. “I’m standing here in sorrow over losing those two police officers,” said Garner’s mother. “Two police officers lost their lives senselessly.” The family of Michael Brown has condemned the shootings—“[We reject] any kind of violence directed toward members of law enforcement”—and in a statement, the chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus, Ohio Rep. Marcia Fudge, said, “This is not about race or affiliation, and it isn’t about black versus blue. All lives matter.”

Query why we have to have so basic a discussion as to the relative value of lives. Query further why it is that an insane man was able to obtain a gun – legally or otherwise.

People are angry about Eric Garner’s death. In the Michael Brown case we learn that one key witness who corroborated Darren Wilson’s story is a white supremacist who clearly lied about witnessing the altercation between Brown and Wilson, yet prosecutors knowingly brought her unvetted testimony before the grand jury with no cross-examination, and helped bolster the narrative that Michael Brown charged the cop and deserved to die. This is, as I argued weeks ago, why Wilson should have been indicted and subjected to the rigors of a trial – so that all stories could be presented to a jury under oath, and that these stories could be vetted through cross-examination.

Shit is all fucked up and shit, but no responsible person is anti-cop or thinks that shooting cops is a great idea. This idiot who did this in Brooklyn was a recidivist violent criminal and representative of the miniscule number of psychopaths who unfortunately infiltrate any political movement. That’s it.

Blaming the assassination on “protesters” and “demonstrations” is a sly way to outlaw speech. The right, who oppose the very notion of “hate speech” when used against them, have suddenly found an affinity for it, because it suits their aims. They lump the peaceful protesters in with those few on the fringes who spew hatred and commit violence. They point to the hate speech in an effort to ban and blame all speech.

(By the way – union boss Pat Lynch, shown above, has managed to do the unthinkable. He has made it safe for America’s right wing to lurve a public sector union boss.)

But these same people on the right wing have argued for years that hate speech on the public airwaves, day after day, can never be blamed for bad deeds. If it’s true that an endless barrage of hate-speech can lead to violence, when does the right begin monitoring what their favorite radio commentators say?

And whom do we blame for anti-government murderer Eric Frein? For “Liberty and Truth” murders Jerad and Amanda Miller?

The Las Vegas attack came just two days after a member of the “sovereign citizen” anti-government movement waged a brief war outside a courthouse near Atlanta. Dennis Marx came supplied with an assault weapon, “homemade and commercial explosive devices,” as well as “a gas mask; two handguns; zip ties and two bulletproof vests,” according to the Associated Press. He opened fire, shooting one deputy in the leg. Sovereign citizens are militia-like radicals who don’t believe the federal government has the power and legitimacy to enforce the law. The FBI has called the movement “a growing domestic terror threat to law enforcement.”

Fox News barely covered the Marx attack on law enforcement. Nor did Fox assign collective blame.

On May 20, 2010, two West Memphis, Ark., police officers were shot and killed by a father-son team during a routine traffic stop. The shooters were AK-47-wielding sovereign citizens with ties to white supremacy groups and who had posted anti-government rants on YouTube.

And in April, 2009, 22-year-old Richard Poplawski grabbed his guns, including an AK-47 rifle, and waited for the police to respond to the domestic disturbance call his mother had placed after she had fought with her son. When two officers arrived and knocked on the the front door, Poplawski ambushed them, shooting them both in the head. Then he killed another officer who tried to rescue his colleagues. Poplawski was convinced Obama was going to take away Americans’ guns, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported.

If we’re going to blame anti-brutality demonstrators for the Brooklyn shootings, oughtn’t we blame whomever inspired the shooters above? The American right’s hands aren’t clean on this.

I think that the blame for these horrific crimes lies squarely on the ignorant psychopaths who committed them, regardless of what sort of hate speech – whether from poseur “activists” or right-wing hate radio – inspired them. After all, millions of people listen to stuff like Rush Limbaugh and Tom Bauerle and don’t decide that, e.g., the Obama administration is worse than Al Qaeda, and then decide that they should start assassinating.

The rank assholes blaming politicians and lumping peaceful demonstrators in with the looters and shooters are wrong and misguided.

The tree of liberty doesn’t need any blood today, thanks.

NYAG Wants to Prosecute Police Violence Cases

@schneidermanNY
Courtesy of my friends at the new and improved Albany Project comes news that Attorney General Eric Schneiderman formally asked Governor Cuomo to transfer the investigation and prosecution of excessive police violence cases over to the AG’s office.

The problem stems from the fact that local DAs and police work hand-in-hand as colleagues, and there are questions as to whether these cases are taken seriously and prosecuted as vigorously as non-police violence cases.

DAs are already opposed to the idea.

In the wake of the gobsmackingly unreasonable and astonishing refusal by a Staten Island grand jury to indict the officers who killed Eric Garner, Governor Cuomo demanded a “soup to nuts” review of the justice system, but for some reason lawmakers who think themselves “law and order” types are resisting any such query.

 

Not just that, but in the minds of some of these mostly Republican “law and order” people, that term doesn’t apply to cop conduct. Even body cameras, additional training – not to mention the use of special prosecutors for police brutality cases – appear to be non-starters in New York State.

Now, it’s up to Governor Cuomo to decide whether to let Schneiderman’s office take excessive force cases. Albany Project isn’t hopeful,

No way he hands Schneiderman a victory, even if it means denying meaningful justice for victims of police violence.

Scenes from America

In Ferguson, Missouri, a police officer shot and killed an unarmed Black teenager. The shots were not at close range, indicating no immediate struggle, and there were at least six shots fired. Setting aside the subsequent character assassination of the victim, the police response to popular outrage and demonstrations has been militaristic in nature, and overflowing with issues of race and class in contemporary America. 

No one condones looting or violence, but the ridiculously overwrought police response has quashed the people’s right to demonstrate. 

Hysterical right wing commentators have overwhelmingly sided with the police officer who shot Michael Brown, labeling the dead kid a “thug” who clearly deserved to die. Of course, we still don’t have a copy of the police report surrounding the shooting incident. The people in Ferguson are outraged by the latest homicide of an unarmed Black teenager under questionable circumstances, and their demonstrations have been met with this: 

Some months back, there was a standoff in Nevada over Cliven Bundy and his cows. Back in 1993, Bundy didn’t like a change in policy at the Bureau of Land Management, so he refused to renew his license to permit his cattle to graze on public land. In 1998, a federal court barred Bundy from letting his cattle graze on the “Bunkerville Allotment”. In July 2013, a federal judge further ordered Bundy off of additional lands

It should be noted that, in both court cases, Bundy had an opportunity to be heard, and exercised it.

In 2014, the Bureau of Land Management undertook action to forcibly remove Bundy’s cattle from federal lands pursuant to the court orders. Hundreds of armed, right-wing, so-called “militia” came to Bundy’s aid in the Nevada brush, and the rancher became a right-wing, anti-Obama cause celebre. 

American fascists justify the homicide of Michael Brown, whom they dismiss as nothing more than a thug who got what was coming to him. They deride the outpouring of grief and anger in Ferguson as being nothing more than a subhuman gallery of violent looters. They have nothing whatsoever to say about a military show of force against lawful protests in Ferguson, and ignore the obvious provocation of police snipers and tanks aiming at civilians in middle America. 

But when Cliven Bundy disregarded a lawful order of the court, and declared some sort of idiotic war against a federal government he claims has no legitimacy, hundreds of American fascists came to his aid. The bloodlust against federal agents was shocking, and we had images that contrast with those out of Ferguson in one very salient way: 

In Ferguson, protesters are mostly African-American, and the government’s guns are pointed at them. 

In Nevada, protesters were mostly white, and they pointed their guns at government agents. 

It’s like the anti-Burning Man

 

Cliven Bundy had people aiming guns at federal agents, but we’re supposed to get all upset because some angry demonstrators in Ferguson broke a McDonald’s store windows or stole some TVs? 

The people who support Cliven Bundy’s defiance of legitimate government authority think that the demonstrators in Ferguson have no business protesting questionable government actions. 

Go home, America. You’re drunk. 

Transforming Americans into Enemy Combatants

Stealing a pack of cigars and shoving a clerk justifies being shot 6 times to death

If the rioting in Ferguson, MO is to stop, the police should be as forthcoming with the incident report of Brown’s homicide as they were with the surveillance tape of him apparently ripping off cigars from a store. If cops could justifiably kill every kid who shoplifted or shoved someone, we’d probably be almost all out of kids

What I’m waiting for is all the big swinging 2nd Amendment / open carry dicks to defend Ferguson residents against tyrannical government behavior. The people who live in that community have a right to protest, and, as one Facebook friend writes, “the police are supposed to be peace keepers. Not funeral planners in fucking camouflage and armored tanks.”

Many have already convicted Michael Brown of Black thugdom in the 1st degree, and are using an irrelevant incident to justify his killing. In the meantime, we don’t have a copy of the police incident report regarding the shooting (those who support the shooting don’t wonder why, or give a damn because it might interfere with their conviction of Michael Brown), and the police officer has, as far as anyone knows, not once been required to give a statement to anyone in any forum, much less under oath. 

No one is justifying looting or violence in connection with these protests, and not all of the demonstrations have been thus. Consider whether a police response that looks more like Iraq than Missouri is a ham-handed provocation that serves mostly to treat local residents as enemy combatants. 

Scary big Black kid may have resisted arrest or talked back to a cop, so don’t tase or pepper spray him. Just shoot him 6 times.

Cop Block WNY’s Debut

A police officer is empowered to use reasonable force to overcome resistance and effect a lawful arrest. Once a person is subdued and in custody, however, smacking, hitting, or kicking the suspect is straight up brutality. If you hit a handcuffed suspect who’s lying on the ground, you’re basically torturing him.

But why? They don’t appear to be asking him any questions. They’re not trying to get information – there’s no evidence he’s giving that the courts can suppress.  They appear merely to be battering him for the sake of it.

That is to say, there’s a fine line between using force lawfully to subdue a suspect who is resisting arrest, and sadism. So, I’d love to know what precipitated this.

I’d also like to take this opportunity to remind people that your smartphone’s shape is like a widescreen TV, but only when you hold it horizontally. If you take video in the vertical aspect, that video is going to suck.

 

Niagara Falls Error Suspects

Friday in Niagara Falls, this happened


Two Guys from Massachusetts Drive to Niagara Falls

Niagara Falls! Slowly I turned…

Storified by Alan Bedenko· Fri, Apr 19 2013 11:28:01

Falls and the State Police have shut down Elmwood and 19th in the city while the State Police’s "robot" checks out a suspicious car.Niagara Gazette
BREAKING NEWS – 2 RUSSIAN NATIONALS PULLED OVER IN NIAGARA FALLS, 4 SUSPICIOUS BACKPACKS IN THE TRUNK. BOMB SQUAD AND FBI HEADING IN! WGRZ.911 Operator
Latest WTF RT @WGRZ: Police: 2 Russian nationals pulled over in Niagara Falls; 4 suspicious backpacks in car, robot & bomb techs on scene.jimgeraghty
FBI joint terrorism task force working with NYSP in the Falls @WGRZ go to WGRZ.com for latestHeather Ly
Suspicious car with Mass. plates being investigated fb.me/23nxWmG6NNiagara Gazette
RT @WGRZ: Police source: 2 Russian nationals pulled over in Niagara Falls; 4 suspicious backpacks in the car, robot & bomb techs on scene.jmartpolitico
What’s the difference between a backpack and a suspicious backpack? @WGRZ @NiagaraGazetteAlan Bedenko
UPDATE: Large police presence around vehicle on Elmwood & 19th in #NiagaraFalls. Car has Mass. plates. Unsure if connected to #Boston.WGRZ
Police are interviewing two Turkish brothers who drove into Niagara Falls this morning in a vehicle with Massachusetts plates.The Buffalo News
Caution tan people with Mass plates: lay low today.Alan Bedenko
So, Niagara Falls car with "2 Russian nationals" "suspicious backpacks" & Mass plates is really 2 Turkish guys. @WGRZ @NiagaraGazetteAlan Bedenko
Source says activity in #NiagaraFalls is routine traffic stop. vehicle has Mass. plates. Extensive search out of caution. Nothing found yetWGRZ
Russian, Turkish. Same difference. @WGRZAlan Bedenko
Residents near Elmwood & 19th Ave. in #NiagaraFalls asked to stay inside as police search vehicle with Mass. plates.WGRZ
State Police has bomb detection unit at 19th & Elmwood in #NiagaraFalls. Nothing found yet. Scene remains calm.WGRZ
BEING SWARTHY, HAVING MASS PLATES TO GO SEE NIAGARA FALLS IS NOW PROBABLE CAUSE.Alan Bedenko
Scene from 19th and Elmwood in the falls @WGRZ pic.twitter.com/J2aCAt1l1DHeather Ly
Niagara Falls Police Superintendent Bryan DalPorto said two men are being detained as Falls and State Police… fb.me/wvePZfGYNiagara Gazette
UPDATE: 2 men in custody as investigation into Mass. car continues in Falls fb.me/2DH3ygEJeNiagara Gazette
Troopers say two people in vehicle were NOT armed, are cooperating, pulled over by NFPD acting on tip from resident @WGRZHeather Ly
Turkish-American sightseeing brothers from Massachusetts arrested in Niagara Falls, police suspect they did not "click it".Alan Bedenko
Police in #NiagaraFalls telling residents to move 100 feet back from vehicle with Mass. plates. Scene remains calmWGRZ
Look! @WGRZ has found two more "suspicious" Russians! Here is a photo: img.ly/ueho @ChrisSmithAV @BuffaloPunditJosh Potter
BREAKING: Possible photo of Turkish man pulled over in Niagara Falls. api.monosnap.com/image/download…Alan Bedenko
This just in, @WGRZ has photos of Niagara Falls suspects. moviesmedia.ign.com/movies/image/a… @J_Potter @buffalopundit @trendingbuffaloChristopher Smith
Mayor Paul Dyster on the car investigation: "There are many rumors circulating, none of which are based on fact…. fb.me/2mmxFCPSmNiagara Gazette
Updated story from Niagara Falls, where two brothers of Turkish ancestry were stopped this morning: bit.ly/11qTsrOThe Buffalo News
tow truck pulled up to car in Niagara falls, command unit now blocking view. ATF NYSP NFPD all here. Public moved back a block .@wgrzDave McKinley
Robot now being used to approach suspicious car w/ Mass plates in #NiagaraFalls..@wgrzDave McKinley
State police "robot" is still investigating car from Massachusetts. Press and bystanders have now been moved down… fb.me/2Dzj22FCONiagara Gazette
UPDATE from #NiagaraFalls: Robot removed backpack, pillow & clear plastic bag of objects from suspicious car. Now opening passenger doorWGRZ
UPDATE: Bomb squad continues to investigate Massachusetts car as crowd is pushed back fb.me/2TQnEiPAGNiagara Gazette
#NiagaraFalls update: Robot removed 2nd backpack from vehicle w/Mass plates. Also took out a pillow & plastic bag of objects.WGRZ
.@wgrz robot drops 2nd backpack removed from car w/Mass plates in NF. Papers blowing all over. Earlier, robot ran over 1st backpack. WhoopsDave McKinley
Niagara Falls bomb robot cannot handle Kafka-esque municipal ennui, detonates itself, video at 11.Christopher Smith
Bomb Robot elected Mayor of Niagara Falls, promptly indicted. #niagarafallsbombrobotAlan Bedenko
Police say suspicious packages have been removed from the Massachusetts car on Elmwood. "I have seen at least 3 or… fb.me/zOETdAhRNiagara Gazette
Police add that the two men being detained are cooperating with authorities.Niagara Gazette
.@wgrz removed from stopped carw/Mass plates in #NiagaraFalls by police robot so far: 2 backpacks, 2 sleeping bags, 1 satchel, 1 plastic bagDave McKinley
Suspicious packages removed from Massachusetts car; detained men cooperating with authorities fb.me/yIFncGe5Niagara Gazette
#NiagaraFalls police say they have NOT found anything suspicious in the packages removed from car with Mass. plates. Still searching trunk.WGRZ
"So far, everything is going good," police at scene say of packages removed from Massachusetts car. Investigators… fb.me/2aP2nx2qsNiagara Gazette
.@wgrz fully donned bomb squad member now inspecting items removed from vehicle w/Mass plates in #NiagaraFalls. Put a device over one itemDave McKinley
A member of the State Police bomb squad is now investigating the Massachusetts car. He’s opened the driver’s-side… fb.me/AQqSznyaNiagara Gazette
PIC from #NiagaraFalls: Several items removed from car are on sidewalk pic.twitter.com/kqZcNNUe7SWGRZ
LIVE: News conference in #NiagaraFalls on car with Mass. plates stopped at 19th & Elmwood on.wgrz.com/17LAsuqWGRZ
Police officials say nothing found in Mass. Car in Niagara Falls but paper and clothingWGRZ
#NiagaraFallsRobot is now new spokeman for @WGRZ’s annual 2PackABackPack campaignChristopher Smith
Police only saying two men are in 20s, traveling to visit WNY, cited with failure to stop at stop sign, use turn signal @WGRZHeather Ly

Valenti's: The North Tonawanda FOIL

When Terry Valenti called in to the Shredd & Ragan show some weeks ago, he downplayed the police involvement at his now-defunct restaurant as being no big deal. Here are the police reports on Valenti’s dating back to October last year. Is this any way to run a business or conduct oneself?  

On 11/1/11, Valenti threw Brocuglio and Janiszewski off the property, and purported to fire them.

On 11/18/11, Brocuglio claimed that she was being harassed by an ex-employee, and applied for a restraining order.

On 11/26/11, Brocuglio argued with fired employee William Ripley over a “company car”. Brocuglio accused Ripley’s girlfriend of striking her.

On 12/31/11 at 11pm, a black Ford F-250 backed into the east door of the restaurant. Valenti claims he didn’t know whose truck it was, and that he didn’t get the plate number. It was, of course, the truck driven by Lori Brocuglio, but he did not admit this to the police until the following day.  Brocuglio told a police officer that she rammed the truck into the restaurant because, “we were fighting and he went to hit me so I tried backing away but I put it in gear moving forward and hitting the window”. 

On 1/1/12, Valenti and Brocuglio were in an altercation, and Brocuglio’s son was present for it.

On 1/10/12, Budwey made his complaint to the police about the bad $3,000 rent check. 

On 1/11/12, Budwey blocked the doors and told patrons to leave. A Valenti’s employee, Debbie Reining claimed Budwey pushed her out of the store, and pled out a harassment complaint against him. 

On 1/27/12, Budwey returned to the restaurant to curse Brocuglio out using some colorful language. 

Valenti’s: The North Tonawanda FOIL