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News :: Human Rights
Two Florida cops off the job for KKK connections
14 Jul 2014
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A Central Florida town is reacting to the news that two police officers are no longer on the job because a confidential FBI report said they are members of a local Ku Klux Klan chapter. One officer was the deputy police chief of Fruitland Park.

The FBI report was provided to Police Chief Terry Isaacs by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE). It said that Deputy Chief David Borst and Officer George Hunnewell were members of a “subversive organization,” Isaacs said, adding that he could not be more exact because he was not authorized to release that information, according to the Orlando Sentinel.

Isaacs was preparing an internal investigation into the two officers on Friday, based on the report, which cited only confidential FBI informants. He told WFTV that there was no documentation or proof that the men were involved outside of the sources. Based on that information, the police chief placed both men on administrative leave.

Borst, a 20-year veteran of law enforcement, resigned when Isaacs confronted him, though he denied any involvement in the group. An FBI informant said the deputy chief was involved with the Klan from 2005 to 2009, according to Click Orlando. Borst also resigned from his post as the Fruitland Park fire chief.

"It's a tough situation. He was my assistant," Isaacs told the Sentinel, adding he had not witnessed behavior by Borst that would substantiate the charge. "I'm not saying I believe him. I'm not saying I don't believe him. But I've read the report, and it's convincing."

Isaacs asked the Fruitland Park city manager for approval to fire Hunnewell based on a review of his record with the department. The officer had previously been demoted from corporal in 2013 and received five “letters of counseling” in the past year for conduct, attitude and performance. Three informants linked Hunnewell to the KKK from 2005 to 2009.

"I just had no faith in him," Isaacs said to the Sentinel, referring to Hunnewell. The police chief told the Daily Commercial that the former corporal was a marginal employee.

Isaacs sought counsel from Chief Deputy State Attorney Ric Ridgway before beginning the investigation into the two policemen.

While it is not illegal to be a member of the KKK, it is against department policy to belong to an anti-government organization, the Daily Commercial reported. Ridgway told the Sentinel that such membership can cause problems for state prosecutors in a case based on evidence provided by a KKK member or supporter.

"It's not a crime to be a member of the KKK, even if you are the deputy chief. It's not a crime to be stupid," Ridgway said. "It's not a crime to hate people. It may be despicable, it may be immoral, but it's not a crime."

This is not the first time that Fruitland Park police officers have been tied to the Klan. In 2009, pictures surfaced of Officer James Elkins wearing his police uniform, with a Ku Klux Klan robe and pointy hood over top, one hand resting casually on his gun and the other gripping his belt, the Sentinel reported. Elkins resigned when asked about the photographs and KKK documents promoting him to "District Kleagle." That information had been anonymously mailed to the Lake County Sheriff’s Office.

At the beginning of this year, Orlando’s ABC affiliate WFTV reported on the activities of the KKK’s Florida chapter, after “its members' activities have started heating up in central Florida.”

The station interviewed the grand dragon and a new member at the end of January about recruitment fliers and other actions by the group.

"What you've seen is just the tip of the iceberg right now," said the grand dragon who oversees the Florida chapter. "We have police officers, paramedics, judges. They're everywhere."

Isaacs expressed shock at the information unearthed in the FBI report. "The last thing I was expecting to hear in the year 2014 was for a professional law-enforcement officer to be a member of a subversive organization," he told the Sentinel.

Others in Florida expressed dismay as well.

“Yes, this is 2014, but even now Florida is near the top when it comes to being home to hate groups. Despite all our progress, we still have work to do,” Tampa Bay Times columnist Ernest Hooper wrote.

The FBI assured Isaacs that no other officers have been linked to the KKK, WFTV reported.

"We are here, we are in place, and I want the public to know this type of conduct will not even be remotely tolerated," Isaacs said to My News 13.


http://rt.com/usa/172736-fruitland-park-police-kkk/

FRUITLAND PARK --

Two officers with the Fruitland Park Police Department are off the job after an investigation linked them to the Ku Klux Klan.

An investigation by the FBI named Deputy Chief David Borst and Cpl. George Hunnewell as members of the Klan.

Borst resigned, and Hunnewell was terminated Friday following a brief internal investigation, Fruitland Park Police Chief Terry Isaacs said.

Hunnewell had been demoted from corporal in 2013 for five write-ups for conduct, attitude, performance and timeless, Isaacs said.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement presented an investigative summary from an FBI source to Isaacs on Wednesday, stating the officers were associated with a "subversive organization."

The investigation found no criminal wrongdoings.

"We are here, we are in place, and I want the public to know this type of conduct will not even be remotely tolerated," Isaacs said.

Isaacs said he plans to interview every police officer within the department and ask them about potential ties to subversive groups, which are against department policy.

Every case that Borst and Hunnewell worked will now be turned over for review by the State Attorney's Office, Isaacs said.

http://mynews13.com/content/news/cfnews13/news/article.html/content/news

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"Rape and Torture" Cop Fired - Gets "Work Release" for Systematic Rapes
14 Jul 2014
LOVELAND, Colo. — Jeremy Yachik, the fired Berthoud police officer who pleaded guilty to one count of child abuse for abusing a 15-year-old girl, was sentenced Monday to 30 days in a jail work-release program and three years of probation. Yachik also will perform 80 hours of community service and undergo a domestic violence evaluation.

Yachik was fired after he allegedly admitted to abusing a 15-year-old girl, and the case led to the resignation of the police chief. According to an arrest affidavit, Yachik abused the victim almost daily for years, including tying her up with handcuffs or plastic zip ties and slamming her head into a wall. The victim also told police Yachik beat her with ropes, restricted her food and locked her in a dark room for hours.

FOX31 Denver talked to the victim several months ago and was given a video tape of Yachik sexually abusing her.


http://kwgn.com/2014/07/14/fired-berthoud-cop-sentenced-to-probation-wor/
Candy from strangers: KKK recruiting with sweets and white power
15 Jul 2014
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The Ku Klux Klan is recruiting in South Carolina, leaving bags of candy and anti-immigration literature in people’s driveways during the group’s ‘national night ride’, its triannual membership drive.

Residents in a Seneca subdivision, a town of just over 8,000 in the northwest corner of the state, woke up Sunday morning to find bags of candy labelled, “Save our land, join the Klan.” The flier also included the number of the “Klan Hotline,” WHNS reported.

The voicemail at the number listed with the candy says, "Be a man join the Klan! Illegal immigration is destroying America," discusses immigration concerns and ends with, "always remember if it ain't white, it ain't right. White power."

One woman and her family found the candy when they ran it over on their way to church. She said it shocked her and made her angry.

"[I] talked to several neighbors. They were very angry, very upset, very ashamed at the same time - that this exists," the woman, who did not wish to be identified, said to WHNS. "Ashamed to face our neighbors that do not have the same color skin that we do."

Robert Jones, the Imperial Klaliff (equivalent of vice president) of the the Loyal White Knights chapter of the KKK, said the literature drop was part of the national night ride, an overnight recruitment event that happens three times a year. He said the group does not target particular houses during the campaign.

"I mean, we can't tell who lives in a house, whether they're black, white, Mexican, gay, we can't tell that," Jones said. "And if you were to look at somebody's house like that, that means you'd be pretty much a racist."

The Seneca woman noted the bags were on every driveway, including those belonging to families of mixed-race marriages and minorities. She said she and her neighbors feel like they are being watched now.

According to Jones, the Loyal White Knights are receiving 20,000 phone calls a day to its hotline. The group has about 8,000 members, which is the typical size for a chapter. They are also recruiting in Harnett County, North Carolina, WTVD reported.

"It's ridiculous that this is still going on... how somebody or a group of somebodies could have that much hate in their heart to recruit individuals," Lila, a Harnett County resident who did not want her last name revealed, told the ABC affiliate. "That trash isn't welcome here."

The Imperial Klaliff disputed the KKK’s hate group label, saying it is a civil organization following the Bible. The group is currently protesting illegal immigration.

“We’re wanting to see equal rights for whites. We’re getting out into the streets and protesting because we’re feeling our country’s being took away from us,” Jones said.

The chapter’s Imperial Wizard (or president) Chris Barker agreed. "If they (blacks) would actually listen to what we're talking about, it ain't about them anymore with the Klan. It's usually about the immigrants who are flooding (the United States),” he told WTVD.

Mark Potok, senior fellow with the Southern Poverty Law Center, told The Tennessean that similar activities have occurred throughout the country of late, with candy distribution in Florida. Alabama, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Virginia have also seen recruitment drives in recent months.

"It's always concerning to hear about these activities, but this does not signal a resurgence in the Klan," Potok said

Recipients of the candy-and-literature drop should not be fearful of the Klan unless they are doing something morally wrong, Jones said.

The Seneca woman didn’t find comfort in his remarks. "You shouldn't have to wake up and fear that somebody might burn a cross in your yard or throw something like this out in your driveway with nothing but hurt in their intention," she said.

The group is planning a public protest in August in North Carolina that will include a cross-burning, WHNS reported. And Jones promises more recruitment with candy.

http://rt.com/usa/173032-kkk-sc-candy-recruitment/
Re: Two Florida cops off the job for KKK connections
15 Jul 2014
FRUITLAND PARK, Fla. (AP) — The ex-wife of a police officer who left the department after a report tied him to the Ku Klux Klan told investigators that the couple joined the group as part of an undercover operation, according to a report released Tuesday by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. Ann Hunnewell said she and her ex-husband, George Hunnewell, joined the KKK in 2008 at the request of then-Police Chief Mark Isom. She said they were trying to find out if another officer was a KKK member.

The officer Hunnewell said she and her ex-husband were investigating later resigned. Ann Hunnewell was a secretary for the police department before leaving in 2010. Her statements were contained in a Florida Department of Law Enforcement report tying officer Hunnewell and Deputy Chief David Borst to the KKK. Borst resigned and Hunnewell was fired last week.

The information about the former officers was given to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement by the FBI. Parts of the Florida report were redacted and it's not clear what the FBI was investigating when it discovered the officers link to the KKK. An FBI spokesman in Jacksonville hasn't responded to a voicemail.

Ann Hunnewell told investigators that she and her former husband never paid dues, attended meetings or witnessed any criminal activity. She also said there was no documentation of their undercover operation. Fruitland Park Police Chief Terry Isaacs wasn't in his office Tuesday and City Manager Gary La Venia wouldn't comment. La Venia said the police chief would issue a statement on Wednesday.

The police department has 13 officers for the city has about 5,000 residents. It is located about 40 miles northwest of Orlando. Fruitland Park was once known for its citrus groves and is in Lake County, where KKK violence in the 1940s and 1950s was rampant.

The State Attorney's Office told city officials that pending cases from the officers will be reviewed, although Borst's job was primarily administrative and didn't involve much patrolling, La Venia said.

http://news.yahoo.com/ex-wife-police-officer-joined-kkk-undercover-20572
Connecticut trooper admits to stealing cash, gold crucifix from dying motorcyclist
17 Jul 2014
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A veteran Connecticut state trooper faces a year and a half in prison after he pleaded guilty on Wednesday to stealing a dying motorcyclist’s cash and gold crucifix at the scene of a 2012 crash.

Aaron “AJ” Huntsman, 45, was caught by his own dashboard camera stealing the items belonging to John Scalesse, who was killed on Sept. 22, 2012 after his motorcycle crashed into a construction company truck in Fairfield, Connecticut.

Huntsman, a 19-year veteran of the state police force, pleaded guilty to two felonies: third-degree larceny and tampering with evidence. Superior Court Judge Robert Devlin imposed a term in prison of 16 months and then five years of probation, opposed to the possible 10 years Huntsman could have received.

The former trooper’s plea was made under the Alford Doctrine, meaning Huntsman did not admit guilt but is conceding that there is high probability he would be found guilty if the case went to trial. After the plea, the judge then found Huntsman guilty. It is not known how many times the trooper robbed motorists before. Upon sentencing on October 3, Huntsman has the right to argue for a lesser term.

Huntsman left the courtroom on Wednesday “with a big smile on his face following the hearing,” the Connecticut Post reported. Huntsman declined to offer comment at the time.

Huntsman was the first trooper on the scene after Scalesse, a former executive of the JAS Masonry, crashed on the Merritt Parkway in 2012. According to the arrest warrant affidavit, Huntsman approached Scalesse as he lay dying and picked up Scalesse’s gold chain from a pool of blood. The trooper then took a roll of bills totaling $3,700 from Scalesse’s pocket. Huntsman later told Scalesee’s father that he did not find any money on the victim, according to the affidavit.

The money was later found under the front seat of Huntsman’s cruiser. Connecticut state police said the trooper maintained his innocence even after he was shown the video, from his own dashboard camera, of him taking the money.

“John didn’t deserve his memory to be tarnished like this and we are finally glad it’s almost over,” said Scalesse’s mother, Marguerite Scalesse, the Post reported. “After all we have gone through we are glad that he (Huntsman) at least didn’t make us go through a trial.”

http://rt.com/usa/173668-connecticut-trooper-crucifix-stolen/
Three killed in Stockton, California after police open fire on vehicle
18 Jul 2014
Three killed in Stockton, California after police open fire on vehicle

Three people were killed Wednesday after dozens of police gave chase to bank robbery suspects on the highways north of Stockton, California. The suspects’ vehicle was found riddled with bullets after enduring a constant barrage from police for over one hour. Included amongst those killed by police are two of the three suspects and a hostage, Misty Holt-Singh. Two additional female hostages were shot during the course of the chase and are expected to live.

The incident began around two p.m. when three men entered a Bank of the West branch on Thornton Road and allegedly attempted to rob the bank. The men took two employees and a customer hostage and escaped in one of the hostage’s vehicles. Over a dozen police cars gave chase as the car traveled through Stockton, Lodi and Acampo before returning to the streets of residential Stockton. An unconscious 19-year-old suspect was found at the scene and transported to San Joaquin County Jail.

A spokesman for the Stockton Police Department told the press that “multiple shots” were fired from the escaping vehicle. “In my 18 years here I’ve never seen this level of violence,” said Officer Joe Silva, adding that “there was just a complete disregard for human life.”

Though Officer Silva’s remarks were aimed at the fleeing suspects, they aptly describe the actions of the Stockton police, whose disregard for human life found expression at each stage in the chase.

Police initiated a high-speed chase of a vehicle that they knew contained just as many hostages as suspects. The fact that innocent hostages would almost definitely be hurt or killed in a shootout did not deter the police from effectively laying siege to the vehicle.

Police chased the suspects through three cities, firing on the vehicle with assault rifles and handguns even as the vehicle drove through Stockton’s residential neighborhoods in broad daylight during the summer months, when many of the city’s children are at home.

Furthermore, police did not hold fire as the suspects finally exited the vehicle with a hostage in tow. The hostage, Holt-Singh, was killed in a rain of police bullets despite the fact that she had nothing to do with the alleged robbery; she had left her young son in the car when she went into the bank to make a transaction earlier that afternoon.

The Stockton Police Department claims that the officers’ assault was justified by the “multiple shots” fired by the escaping suspects. Even if police were being fired on by the suspects, however, the alleged “threat to officer safety” was caused by the officers’ decision to engage the vehicle in hot pursuit. No injuries would have occurred had police tracked the suspects at a distance or contacted the suspects for hostage negotiations.

Moreover, the extent to which the over fourteen carloads of police in bulletproof vehicles and Teflon vests were truly in danger is not clear, especially considering the fact that police from different jurisdictions were closing in on the getaway vehicle from multiple directions. Photographs taken at the conclusion of the chase also show that the Stockton Police Department used a tank-like armored vehicle as part of their assault on the fleeing vehicle. No officer was hurt during the chase.

The fatal conclusion to the chase is the product of the ongoing militarization of local police forces in the United States. Throughout the country, the deadly equipment and forceful tactics used by police against the population bear increasingly close resemblance to those used by Blackwater mercenaries in Fallujah.

The connection between the United States’ brutal wars abroad and the repression of the population domestically is not purely theoretical—local police are increasingly making use of the “leftover” military equipment from the imperialist wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

A New York Times report published in June detailed the Obama administration’s transfer of heavy weaponry from the military to local police. According to the report, this transfer includes 93,763 machine guns, 180,718 magazine cartridges, grenade launchers, silencers, 533 airplanes and helicopters, 432 armored “Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected” (MRAP) vehicles, and over 44,900 pieces of night vision equipment.

The physical militarization of police equipment and methods are taking place alongside and in direct connection to the attack on the democratic rights of the population. Police increasingly make use of “no-knock” warrants that allow them to make armed, unannounced raids into the homes of suspects, despite the Fourth Amendment’s proscription of “unreasonable searches and seizures,” and almost nine in ten police departments now operate a “police paramilitary unit” to oversee military-type police operations.

The militarization of local police forces in the United States is inseparably bound up with the increase in social inequality and the ruling class’s preparations for the outbreak of opposition to its policies of social counterrevolution. Those killed Wednesday by the Stockton police are the latest names to be added to the growing list of casualties of police violence in the United States.


http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2014/07/18/poli-j18.html
Staten Island man dies after NYPD cop puts him in chokehold
18 Jul 2014
Modified: 02:25:58 PM
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VIDEO Link: A 400-pound asthmatic Staten Island dad died Thursday after a cop put him in a chokehold and other officers appeared to slam his head against the sidewalk, video of the incident shows.

NEW YORK DAILY NEWS / July 17, 2014, July 18, 2014,

A Staten Island dad died Thursday after a cop put him in a chokehold and other officers appeared to slam his head against the sidewalk, video of the incident shows. “I can’t breathe! I can’t breathe!” Eric Garner, 43, repeatedly screamed after at least five NYPD officers took him down in front of a Tompkinsville beauty supply store when he balked at being handcuffed.

Within moments Garner, a married father of six children with two grandchildren, stopped struggling and appeared to be unconscious as police called paramedics to the scene. An angry crowd gathered, some recording with smartphones.

“When I kissed my husband this morning, I never thought it would be for the last time,” Garner’s wife, Esaw, told the Daily News. She got no details from police until after she had gone to the hospital to identify his body, she said.

“I saw him with his eyes wide open and I said, ‘Babe, don’t leave me, I need you.’ But he was already gone,” she said. A family friend searching for her in the hospital ran into detectives from the NYPD’s Internal Affairs Division. The friend put them on the phone with her, the grieving widow said. She spoke with a Detective Howard, who told her, “I’m sorry for your loss,” she said. He said his office was involved “because there is wrongdoing,” she said.

Police officials said Garner had a history of arrests for selling untaxed cigarettes. Cops said they observed him selling his wares Thursday on Bay St. and moved in for an arrest.

An NYPD spokesman would only say the man “was being placed in custody, went into cardiac arrest and died” at Richmond University Medical Center.

Within moments Garner, a married father of six children with two grandchildren, ceased struggling and appeared to become unconscious as police called paramedics to the scene.


An NYPD spokesman would only say the man “was being placed in custody, went into cardiac arrest and died” at Richmond University Medical Center.

But Esaw Garner and other family members said it was a trumped up claim. “They’re covering their asses, he was breaking up a fight. They harassed and harassed my husband until they killed him,” she said. Garner’s family said he didn’t have any cigarettes on him or in his car at the time of his death.

She said she pleaded with police at the hospital to tell her what happened, but they brushed her off.

“They wouldn’t tell me anything,” she said.
An angry crowd gathered, some recording with smartphones. Officials confirmed that NYPD Internal Affairs officers launched an investigation Thursday night.

Records show Garner was due in court in October on three Staten Island cases, including charges of pot possession and possession or selling untaxed cigarettes.

Esaw Garner said her husband was unable to work because he suffered from a host of ailments, including chronic asthma, diabetes and sleep apnea. Garner’s mother, Gwen Carr, 65, added, “I want justice.”


Police said Garner was not armed. The Staten Island resident was sitting in front of Bay Beauty on Bay St. and Victory Blvd. just before 5 p.m. when two plainclothes cops began questioning him about selling untaxed cigarettes, a video obtained by the Daily News shows. Ramsey Orta, 22, shot the footage.

“I didn’t do shit!” the 6-foot-4 Garner, wearing a sweaty T-shirt and khaki shorts, told the officers from the 120th Precinct when they approached him. “I was just minding my own business. Every time you see me you want to mess with me. I’m tired of it. It stops today!” he yelled. The police then killed him.

'He’s the nicest guy. I can’t believe what I saw. That’s no way to do an arrest,' said Douglas, 50, about Garner. Douglas would only give his first name.

Ramsey Orta, 22, who shot the video, tried to intervene, telling the cops his friend had just broken up a fight between three men and had not been selling cigarettes. But when backup uniformed officers arrived, the cops moved in to cuff Garner, the video shows.

“Don’t touch me, please,” he said. When Garner refused orders to put his hands behind his back, one of the plainclothes cops, wearing a green T-shirt with a yellow No. 99 on the back, got behind him and put him in a chokehold, the footage shows. A struggle ensued as three uniformed officers joined in on the arrest, knocking the man to the ground. He screamed, “I can’t breathe!” six times before he went silent and paramedics were called.

“They jumped him and they were choking him. He was foaming at the mouth,” Orta told The News. “And that’s it, he was done. The cops were saying, ‘No, he’s OK, he’s OK.” He wasn’t OK.”

“They were choking him. He kept saying, ‘I can’t breathe, I can’t breathe! Get off of me, get off of me!’ and I didn’t hear any more talking after that,” said witness Valencia Griffin, 50, of Staten Island. “He died right there.”

Another witness, who would only give his first name, Douglas, said he’d known Garner for four years.

“He’s a very big man, very intimidating, but he’s just a big teddy bear,” said Douglas, 50. “He’s the nicest guy. I can’t believe what I saw. That’s no way to do an arrest.”

She spoke with a Detective Howard, who told her, “I’m sorry for your loss,” she said. He said his office was involved “because there is wrongdoing,” she said.

An NYPD spokesman would only say the man “was being placed in custody, went into cardiac arrest and died” at Richmond University Medical Center.

But Esaw Garner and other family members said it was a trumped up claim.

“They’re covering their asses, he was breaking up a fight. They harassed and harassed my husband until they killed him,” she said. Garner’s family said he didn’t have any cigarettes on him or in his car at the time of his death. Garner’s mother, Gwen Carr, 65, added, “I want justice.”

When Garner refused orders to put his hands behind his back, one of the plainclothes cops, wearing a green T-shirt with a yellow No. 99 on the back, got behind him and put him in a chokehold, the footage shows.

A struggle ensued as three uniformed officers joined in on the arrest, knocking the man to the ground.

He screamed, “I can’t breathe!” six times before he went silent and paramedics were called.

“They jumped him and they were choking him. He was foaming at the mouth,” Orta told The News. “And that’s it, he was done. The cops were saying, ‘No, he’s OK, he’s OK.” He wasn’t OK.”

“They were choking him. He kept saying, ‘I can’t breathe, I can’t breathe! Get off of me, get off of me!’ and I didn’t hear any more talking after that,” said witness Valencia Griffin, 50, of Staten Island. “He died right there.”

At the video’s end, the cop who had choke-held Garner can be seen staring at the camera that was videotaping him. “This had nothing to do with the fight, this had something to do with something else,” the cop said, and walked away. A law enforcement source said the incident was troubling.

“A guy is dead in our custody. That is always a potential problem,” the source said.

UPDATE: The Staten Island district attorney is investigating the shocking death of a 400-pound asthmatic dad after a city cop placed him in a chokehold. Eric Garner, 43, died Thursday after a sidewalk takedown by five NYPD officers making an arrest outside a Tompkinsville beauty parlor.

“My office is working along with the NYPD to do a complete and thorough investigation into the circumstances surrounding Mr. Garner's death,” said District Attorney Daniel M. Donovan Jr. in a Friday statement.


http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/staten-island-man-dies-puts-choke-ho