May 27, 2011 | 2 Comments
Writing in the Huffington Post, Radley Balko has a typically excellent report on typically abhorrent police abuse. Jose Guerena was an Iraq war veteran who died while protecting his family from armed intruders one night. Unfortunately for him, those intruders were drug cops executing a no knock raid on Mr. Guerena’s house looking for drugs (Mr. Guerena had none, and there is no evidence that there was a reason to believe he did). The drug warriors – fighting on the side of the angels, no doubt – shot him 60 times and left him to bleed to death. They wouldn’t even allow the paramedics in to try to save his life.
At The Volunteer, Terrence Watson notes that this is just another example of the violence that is at the very heart of the state:
According to Max Weber’s well-known definition, the state is the entity which claims a legitimate monopoly on the use of violence.
Or, as I would phrase it, the state is that entity which can kill you in your own home — and probably get away with it. It can kill you over marijuana. Even if you don’t possess any, which Guerena did not.
That the state only works by creating victims.
And that its elections, legislation, artifacts and various tribal totems do not sanctify its killing.
There is a tacit threat of violence in just about every directive given by the state. Though we may all agree to be ruled by a democratic government, the government still requires coercion to try to make everyone abide by every rule. Any time any government agent has the authority to force you to do something, and the authority to cause you to be detained if you do no behave, there is a threat of violence. Don’t believe me? Next time you get stopped at a RIDE program, refuse the breathalyzer and try to drive away. See how far you get.
The city of Ottawa is no stranger to the violence of the state (as regular readers probably remember). Sometimes, when a light is shone on state violence, the state will offer up a (mild) mea culpa. Other times, they’ll release their clenched fist just long enough to give us all the finger.
Like when they beat the hell out of a boy.Gary Dimmock from The Ottawa Citizen has the story:
An Ottawa police officer who hit a 15-year-old boy in the head several times during an arrest in a darkened Rockcliffe Park Public School yard has been cleared of misconduct after a review concluded the constable used “accepted” standards for use of force.
The Office of the Independent Police Review Director, a provincial agency composed entirely of civilians, launched its investigation after the boy’s mother complained her son had allegedly been beaten by Const. Thomas McFadden around 10: 30 p.m. on May 28, 2010, a Friday night.
While the probe couldn’t figure out how many times McFadden hit the boy, it is known that the officer broke his left hand -the hand he used to strike the boy in the head.
They shouted that they were Ottawa police, but the 15-year-old boy, who had no criminal record, didn’t believe they were police officers, so he ran away.
That’s when McFadden, a tactical officer in the ByWard Market, decided to chase the boy, and managed to tackle him.
It’s not certain, according to the report, whether the boy first fell and tried to get up again while being grounded, but McFadden ended up on the boy’s back.
The boy landed face-down with his arms pinned beneath him.
The boy and witnesses say he wasn’t resisting.
The police officer, however, said otherwise, and told investigators that he kept hitting the boy as a “distraction” -meaning that if he hit the boy in the head it would distract the boy enough to get his hands out so he could be cuffed, arrested for loitering and assaulting an officer.
One civilian witness interviewed by the independent review board said he also was not able to identify the men as police officers.
Read the whole thing.
Witnesses said that they didn’t hear any of the covert officers identify themselves. The cop broke his hand “distracting” the boy (as he had him pinned to the ground). The boy was severely bruised and beaten after the attack. Hell, he had teeth impressions in his shoulder.
The boy was charged with assaulting a police officer, but only after the abuse complaint was lodged.
The boy will be going to court to defend himself. The abusive cop, Thomas McFadden still patrols… err stalks… our streets.