Cops are not pigs: a handy checklist!

Wednesday, August 24th, 2011

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Image: A smiling, curly-tailed, adorable pink cartoon pig looks up at a checklist that reads:

COPS ARE NOT PIGS

Pigs are our friends
Cops are not

Pigs mind their own business
Cops do not

Pigs have curly tails
Cops have guns

Pigs defecate freely
Cops are anal-retentive

Pigs grunt with joy
Cops grunt with aggression

Pigs are highly intelligent
Cops are mindless clones

HOW DARE YOU INSULT A PERFECTLY GOOD PIG!

By way of disclaimer, obviously I don’t think that all cops are mindless, cruel bullies, more interested in asserting (and abusing) their authority than protecting and serving the public. I’d certainly argue that the system – increasingly militarized in nature and always protective of its own – encourages such behavior; however, in spite of this trend, some cops are perfectly nice people, and remain so throughout their careers!

This graphic simply refers to that subset of cops worthy of insult (and more) – for example, cops who rape vulnerable women and shoot cowering dogs with impunity – with the gentle reminder that such insults must not further marginalize already oppressed groups: animals (pig, cow, rat, jackass, wildebeest, etc.), women (bitch, cunt, pussy, etc.), and people of color (a whole slew of words that I, as person of Italian and German descent, don’t feel comfortable typing here), to name but a few.

Words are powerful – so use them wisely!

(More below the fold…)

Book Review: Between the Fences: Before Guantanamo, there was the Port Isabel Service Processing Center, Tony Hefner (2010)

Wednesday, November 17th, 2010

An engaging, if frustrating, story of government corruption & abuse

three out of five stars

(Full disclosure: I received a free copy of this book for review through Library Thing’s Early Reviewer program.)

In BETWEEN THE FENCES, Tony Hefner tells a harrowing tale of corruption and human rights abuses, committed by both the United States government as well as contractors tasked with fulfilling governmental responsibilities (in this case, caring for detained, undocumented immigrants). Employed as a prison guard at the Port Isabel Service Processing Center – an immigrant detention center in the South Texas’s Rio Grande Valley – from 1983 to 1986 and again from 1988 to 1990, Hefner either witnessed personally or was privy to first-hand accounts of various crimes that took place at Port Isabel, including the sexual, physical and emotional abuse of detainees, both male and female (and sometimes, children); the sexual harassment, assault and rape of female guards; the physical and emotional abuse of male employees; drug trafficking; blackmail; nepotism and racism in hiring and firing decisions; and countless other illegal and immoral activities, including repeated cover-ups of these incidents, and the protection of those involved.

Hefner’s account of these human rights abuses is both engaging and enraging, but his constant digression into his own life history detracts from the story. For example, as a child Hefner himself endured physical and emotional abuse at the hands of his stepfather, who thought him worthless because of his Mexican parentage. Although I sympathize with his plight – no child should be bullied, hit, or made to feel worthless, and certainly not by adults – Hefner repeatedly points to this abuse as one reason (“excuse,” you might say) for his relative inaction on behalf of abused inmates. While Hefner’s power to intervene directly was no doubt limited, he also didn’t do much behind the scenes; for example, he might have clandestinely collected hard evidence in order to build a case against his superiors, and/or anonymously leaked this information to the media, thus remaining an inside whistleblower at Port Isabel – but he didn’t. While Hefner did record those abuses that took place out in the open (in a notebook, after the fact – not exactly irrefutable proof), he also didn’t go out of his way to uncover the hidden, more egregious cruelties that were kept from him and others. Too often, he seemed content to go about his own work, nose down, ears closed – see no evil, hear no evil.

Many guards and employees tolerated the abuse of both prisoners and, not uncommonly, their own persons because of financial hardship. In the 1980s, at least, Port Isabel was one of the largest employers in an economically strapped area. Far removed from the situation, it’s easy to sit in judgment of guards who refused to speak up in the interest of self-preservation. But this unfair at best; no one can really know how he or she would react in a similar situation without actually living it. Here, though, Hefner makes frustrating excuses as well; if he had simply chalked his lack of action up to poverty, I might be able to understand. But he claims to have stayed on at Port Isabel in order to keep his ministry, the Bearing Precious Seed Ranch, viable. In other words, he was content to proselytize to vulnerable children on the one hand, while utterly and spectacularly failing to live the actual tenets of his religious teachings on the other. “Do as I say, not as I do.” In the name of “caring for” some people’s children, he ignored the abuse of other people’s children (some of them, it’s worth noting, actual children – minor boys raped by fellow inmates while indifferent guards looked on, or underage girls forced to dance naked for the possibility of clemency).

The many, many pages Hefner devoted to writing his own autobiography would have been better spent, I think, placing the abuse at Port Isabel in context. According to the book’s promotional materials, 400,000 immigrants are detained by the U.S. government every year; these individuals are held in a number of jails across the country. How do the conditions at Port Isabel compare to those at other centers? What steps, if any, are the INS and the U.S. government taking to ensure that the individuals detained in these facilities – and the guards employed therein – are treated humanely and respectfully? How does the government justify its lack of action on the complaints lodged against Port Isabel officials? What steps do Hefner and his allies plan to take next? And how does our broken immigration policy, too often marred by racism, sexism and xenophobia, contribute to these horrific conditions?

(This review was originally published on Amazon and Library Thing, and is also available on Goodreads. Please click through and vote it helpful if you think it so!)

Kinship Circle: Act/ Cop Shoots Deaf, 19-Year-Old Family Cat

Sunday, October 25th, 2009

Astute readers may notice that I linked to this particular Kinship Circle alert several weeks ago as part of my weekly link roundup. Even so, since this shooting occurred in Raymore, Missouri – i.e., in my neck of the woods – I formatted and posted the alert in full on the KC Freecycle blog, and figured I may as well repost it here as well.

This is just one of several animal cruelty cases highlighted by Kinship Circle in the past month; see also:

10/20/09: Two Dogs Shot At Point Blank Range In New York

10/13/09: Get Serial Cat Killer Off New York Streets

If you choose to contact officials in any of these cases, feel free to append this animal abuse reference list to your correspondence.

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Kinship Circle – info [at] kinshipcircle.org
Date: Sat, Oct 10, 2009 at 4:36 PM
Subject: Act/ Cop Shoots Deaf, 19-Year-Old Family Cat

KINSHIP CIRCLE PRIMARY / PERMISSION TO CROSSPOST
10/10/09: Cop Shoots Deaf, 19-Year-Old Family Cat

Kinship Circle - 2009-10-10 - Cop Shoots Deaf, 19-Year-Old Family Cat

Tobey the cat who was shot and killed by Raymore, MO police. (source)

(More below the fold…)

Intersectionality ‘Round the Interwebs, No. 9: Rape is Torment (& also, The Death of Cake)

Tuesday, September 29th, 2009

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Robert Melia & Heather Lewis:
accused child (read: cow/calf and human/girl) rapists.

I, Bonobo: There’s plenty more where this came from

veganprimate points to the case of Robert Melia – a former police officer who, along with his girlfriend, was arrested for sexually assaulting three girls – as a demonstration of the link between the exploitation of women and that of nonhuman animals. Melia’s misogyny only came to light because Melia was under investigation for engaging in “oral sex” (read: rape) with calves. Though the animal cruelty charges were dismissed by a judge – according to whom, a grand jury had no way of knowing whether the animals were “tormented” by the assault – police found

videos on his computer of a girl being “subjected to sexual activity” in addition to taped encounters between Melia and the calves.

While I’m glad the assistant prosecutor seems to be taking animal abuse seriously, the cynic in me can’t help but think he’s simply latching onto this “lesser” offense for leverage. Either way, it’s doubtful that Melia and girlfriend Heather Lewis will serve much time, as rape is too often minimized and excused in our kyriarchal society.

On that note, methinks New Jersey Judge James J. Morley needs to be schooled on animal abuse, interpersonal violence and intersectionality.

Judge James J. Morley
Burlington County Cts. Facility
49 Rancocas Road
Mt. Holly, New Jersey 08060
609-518-2965
Fax: 609-518-2551

Be firm but polite!

Lisa @ Sociological Images: A Summary Visual Of Women’s Objectification

In a could-be-vegan spin on the ever-popular women-as-meat meme, I bring you: women-as-cake! Sure, there’s a dudely version of the photo too, but as Lisa points out, it’s sans copy – and probably wasn’t plastered on the magazine’s cover, as were the woman’s sliced and dismembered buttocks.

(More below the fold…)

Nope, no systemic patterns of violence there.

Tuesday, September 30th, 2008

Ahem.

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The Denver police union is selling T-shirts that poke fun at protesters at last month’s Democratic National Convention, but the main target isn’t laughing.

The back of the shirts reads, “We get up early to beat the crowds” and “2008 DNC,” and has a caricature of a police officer holding a baton.

The front has the number 68 with a slash through it, a reference to the Recreate 68 Coalition, which organized several demonstrations during the convention.

Recreate 68 organizer Glenn Spagnuolo called the shirt appalling and tasteless.

Spagnuolo released a written statement Thursday saying members of the police union “clearly have no respect for the rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution.”

Detective Nick Rogers, a member of the Police Protective Association board, said police often issue T-shirts to commemorate big events.

Like, ya know, beating on protesters and arresting journalists. Hardee-har-har.

Via thedenverchannel.com, by way of those dirty hippie communists at Democracy Now!

This is not my America.

Thursday, September 4th, 2008

Behind all the patriotic hyperbole that accompanies the conventions, and the thousands of journalists and media workers who arrive to cover the staged events, there are serious violations of the basic right of freedom of the press. Here on the streets of St. Paul, the press is free to report on the official proceedings of the RNC, but not to report on the police violence and mass arrests directed at those who have come to petition their government, to protest. [...]

Nicole was videotaping. Her tape of her own violent arrest is chilling. Police in riot gear charged her, yelling, “Get down on your face.” You hear her voice, clearly and repeatedly announcing “Press! Press! Where are we supposed to go?” She was trapped between parked cars. The camera drops to the pavement amidst Nicole’s screams of pain. Her face was smashed into the pavement, and she was bleeding from the nose, with the heavy officer with a boot or knee on her back. Another officer was pulling on her leg. Sharif was thrown up against the wall and kicked in the chest, and he was bleeding from his arm.

I was at the Xcel Center on the convention floor, interviewing delegates. I had just made it to the Minnesota delegation when I got a call on my cell phone with news that Sharif and Nicole were being bloody arrested, in every sense. Filmmaker Rick Rowley of Big Noise Films and I raced on foot to the scene. Out of breath, we arrived at the parking lot. I went up to the line of riot police and asked to speak to a commanding officer, saying that they had arrested accredited journalists.

Within seconds, they grabbed me, pulled me behind the police line and forcibly twisted my arms behind my back and handcuffed me, the rigid plastic cuffs digging into my wrists. I saw Sharif, his arm bloody, his credentials hanging from his neck. I repeated we were accredited journalists, whereupon a Secret Service agent came over and ripped my convention credential from my neck. I was taken to the St. Paul police garage where cages were set up for protesters. I was charged with obstruction of a peace officer. Nicole and Sharif were taken to jail, facing riot charges.

The attack on and arrest of me and the “Democracy Now!” producers was not an isolated event. A video group called I-Witness Video was raided two days earlier. Another video documentary group, the Glass Bead Collective, was detained, with its computers and video cameras confiscated. On Wednesday, I-Witness Video was again raided, forced out of its office location. When I asked St. Paul Police Chief John Harrington how reporters are to operate in this atmosphere, he suggested, “By embedding reporters in our mobile field force.”

On Monday night, hours after we were arrested, after much public outcry, Nicole, Sharif and I were released. That was our Labor Day. It’s all in a day’s work.

That’s an excerpt from Amy Goodman’s Why We Were Falsely Arrested. You can read the whole thing over at truthdig.

Here’s the video of her arrest:

(You can view more RNC videos here.)

Since there’s been precious little reporting of police brutality and repression in the msm, here are some resources y’all should check out:

Lindsay Beyerstein has a ton of photos – with firsthand accounts – up on her Flickr photostream, as well as on her blog Majikthise.

Lindsay, along with Jane Hamsher (who’s live blogging the RNC), is also talking about the raids and arrests on firedoglake.

Glenn Greenwald has been blogging the conventions, including police misconduct, over at Salon.

Over on Theuptake, you can view a live video stream from their reporters’ cameras at the RNC. (The Republican hack they’re interviewing at the moment is *this close* to making me vomit in my own mouth.)

Also check out Twin Cities Indymedia, indymedia.us and Green is the New Red for more.

And, of course, there’s also Democracy Now! and I-Witness Video.

Finally, pattrice jones offers a History of Activist Repression to give us all a little perspective.

Wake me up in 2012, mmmkay?

Monday, September 1st, 2008

Regarding the ongoing [as in, right. now.] police raids on activists protesting the RNC in Minnesota, Glenn Greenwald writes:

So here we have a massive assault led by Federal Government law enforcement agencies on left-wing dissidents and protesters who have committed no acts of violence or illegality whatsoever, preceded by months-long espionage efforts to track what they do. And as extraordinary as that conduct is, more extraordinary is the fact that they have received virtually no attention from the national media and little outcry from anyone. And it’s not difficult to see why. As the recent “overhaul” of the 30-year-old FISA law illustrated — preceded by the endless expansion of surveillance state powers, justified first by the War on Drugs and then the War on Terror — we’ve essentially decided that we want our Government to spy on us without limits. There is literally no police power that the state can exercise that will cause much protest from the political and media class and, therefore, from the citizenry.

Beyond that, there is a widespread sense that the targets of these raids deserve what they get, even if nothing they’ve done is remotely illegal. We love to proclaim how much we cherish our “freedoms” in the abstract, but we despise those who actually exercise them. The Constitution, right in the very First Amendment, protects free speech and free assembly precisely because those liberties are central to a healthy republic — but we’ve decided that anyone who would actually express truly dissident views or do anything other than sit meekly and quietly in their homes are dirty trouble-makers up to no good, and it’s therefore probably for the best if our Government keeps them in check, spies on them, even gets a little rough with them.

After all, if you don’t want the FBI spying on you, or the Police surrounding and then invading your home with rifles and seizing your computers, there’s a very simple solution: don’t protest the Government. Just sit quietly in your house and mind your own business. That way, the Government will have no reason to monitor what you say and feel the need to intimidate you by invading your home. Anyone who decides to protest — especially with something as unruly and disrespectful as an unauthorized street march — gets what they deserve.

Go check out the whole piece; it’s a must read, and well worth the forced advertising. And afterwards, since you’ve already suffered through the latest Toyota commercial, scroll through for Glenn’s most recent updates. It’s fucking mind-boggling, the crimes we allow our government to perpetrate against its citizens.

And if you think Obama will save you, think again. Remember, the man – giddy with the anticipation of unchecked presidential powers – voted in favor of FISA. On a more global level, the DNC also saw police repression and brutality against American citizens.

All of which is doubly infuriating after all the self-serving, racist/xenophobic hand-wringing over China’s civil liberties violations during the Olympics, as Glenn rightfully points out.

Business as usual (redux).

Wednesday, August 20th, 2008

I’ve been sitting on this story for a few weeks now, trying to find the words to convey how furious, how disillusioned, how heartsick, these seemingly never-ending cases of police brutality (against non-human animals, against activists, against women, against people of color, against gays and lesbians, against transgendered persons, against bicyclists, fer chrissakes!) make me, but to no avail.

There just aren’t enough words in the English language to explain how cruel and unnecessary are incidents such as these:

Mayor Cheye Calvo got home from work, saw a package addressed to his wife on the front porch and brought it inside, putting it on a table. Suddenly, police with guns drawn kicked in the door and stormed in, shooting to death the couple’s two dogs and seizing the unopened package.

In it were 32 pounds of marijuana. But the drugs evidently didn’t belong to the couple.

Police say the couple appeared to be innocent victims of a scheme by two men to smuggle millions of dollars worth of marijuana by having it delivered to about a half-dozen unsuspecting recipients. [...]

A furious Calvo said Thursday that he and his wife, Trinity Tomsic, are asking the U.S. Justice Department to investigate the July 29 raid.

“Trinity was an innocent victim and random victim,” Calvo said outside his two-story, red-brick house in this middle-class Washington suburb of about 3,000 people. “We were harmed by the very people who took an oath to protect us.”

Calvo insisted the couple’s two black Labradors were gentle creatures and said police apparently killed them “for sport,” gunning down one of them as it was running away.

“Our dogs were our children,” said the 37-year-old Calvo. “They were the reason we bought this house because it had a big yard for them to run in.”

The mayor, who was changing his clothes when police burst in, also complained that he was handcuffed in his boxer shorts for about two hours along with his mother-in-law, and said the officers didn’t believe him when he told them he was the mayor. No charges were brought against Calvo or his wife, who came home in the middle of the raid.

The Washington Post describes the dogs’ murder in greater detail:

“My government blew through my doors and killed my dogs,” Calvo said. “They thought we were drug dealers, and we were treated as such. I don’t think they really ever considered that we weren’t.”

Calvo described a chaotic scene, in which he — wearing only underwear and socks — and his mother-in-law were handcuffed and interrogated for hours. They were surrounded by the dogs’ carcasses and pools of the dogs’ blood, Calvo said. [...]

Moments later, just after he had undressed, Calvo said, he heard his mother-in-law scream that someone was coming toward the house. He looked out his bedroom window and saw officers in SWAT gear running across the lawn.

“I heard a loud crash and then ‘bang, bang, bang,’ ” he said, recalling the sounds of the police shooting the dogs. “I hit the floor.”

As the police came in, Calvo said, they shot his 7-year-old black Labrador retriever, Payton, near the front door and then his 4-year-old dog, Chase, also a black Lab, as the dog ran into a back room. Walking through his house yesterday, Calvo pointed out a bullet hole in the drywall where the younger dog had been shot.

“I understand they have a job to do, but it didn’t have to go like that,” Calvo said. He said the police could have knocked on his door and asked him about the package. [...]

Berwyn Heights Police Chief Patrick Murphy said county police and the Sheriff’s Office had not notified his department of the raid. He said town police could have conducted the search without a SWAT team.

“You can’t tell me the chief of police of a municipality wouldn’t have been able to knock on the door of the mayor of that municipality, gain his confidence and enter the residence,” Murphy said. “It would not have been a necessity to shoot and kill this man’s dogs.”

As was the case with dear Jax and Scarlet, one of the dogs was shot as he ran away from the police officers. No warnings or deterrents were employed before the officers murdered two dogs in cold blood. All this despite the premeditated nature of the raid; given that the target was a public official, officers should have known that dogs would be present in the residence beforehand, and planned accordingly.

And, while I don’t think that public officials should be treated better than us lowly citizens, the simple fact is that they usually are. Thus, if something like this can happen to the mofo mayor, imagine how the cops might treat your dogs, or mine (or you and I, for that matter).

Rest in peace, Payton and Chase. It’s times like these, I wish I believed in an afterlife, or karma, or somesuch form of divine retribution.

His wife spoke through tears as she described an encounter with a girl who used to see the couple walking their dogs.

“She gave me a big hug and she said, `If the police shot your dogs dead and did this to you, how can I trust them?’” Tomsic said.

Blub.

(More below the fold…)

Kinship Circle: ACT/ Mayor’s Dogs Gunned Down In Police Raid

Monday, August 11th, 2008

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Kinship Circle – kinshipcircle [at] accessus.net
Date: Fri, Aug 8, 2008 at 9:22 AM
Subject: ACT/ Mayor’s Dogs Gunned Down In Police Raid

KINSHIP CIRCLE PRIMARY – PERMISSION TO CROSS-POST AS WRITTEN

8/8/08: Mayor’s Dogs Gunned Down In Police Raid

FOR A FORMATTED VERSION OF THIS LETTER (WORD DOC): kinshipcircle [at] accessus.net
Easily modify letter. Copy/paste it into an email or print letter to fax or mail.

Kinship Circle - 2008-08-08 - Mayor's Dogs Gunned Down In Police Raid 01

LEFT: Berwyn Heights, Md., Mayor Cheye Calvo and wife Trinity Tomsic speak at a news conference 8/7/08. Calvo is asking for the U.S. Justice Dept. to investigate a county police raid on his home in which his dogs were killed. (Source.)

Kinship Circle - 2008-08-08 - Mayor's Dogs Gunned Down In Police Raid 02

RIGHT: The mayor’s two family dogs, Payton and Chase, seen in photo. (Source.)

(More below the fold…)

Kinship Circle: ACT/ K-9 Killers Go To Trial

Tuesday, May 13th, 2008

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Kinship Circle – kinshipcircle [at] accessus.net
Date: Mon, May 12, 2008 at 4:11 PM
Subject: ACT/ K-9 Killers Go To Trial

KINSHIP CIRCLE PRIMARY – PERMISSION TO CROSS-POST AS WRITTEN

5/12/08: K-9 Killers Go To Trial

EMAIL kinshipcircle [at] accessus.net FOR WORD DOC OF A FORMATTED LETTER.
Easily modify letter and copy/paste it into an email or print out to fax or mail.

TWO MIAMI-DADE POLICEMEN KILLED THEIR K-9 PARTNERS, IN SEPARATE CASES:

Rondale Brown, TRIAL DATE: May 19, 2008
Alan Cockfield, TRIAL DATE: July, 28, 2008

(More below the fold…)

Kinship Circle: Justice For Hannah

Sunday, April 27th, 2008

UPDATE, 4/28/08:

There’s now a petition going at The Petition Site: Abused GSD Being Denied Justice. Southern Cross German Shepherd Rescue is posting updates there, so go sign it and check back for more information.

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Kinship Circle – kinshipcircle [at] accessus.net
Date: Sun, Apr 27, 2008 at 9:29 PM
Subject: Justice For Hannah [KC MEMBER ALERT]

KINSHIP CIRCLE ANIMAL DISASTER AID NETWORK – PERMISSION TO CROSS-POST
The following information is brought to you courtesy of Kinship Circle.
Please DO NOT hit reply!

Respond directly to: nlgsdrescue [at] yahoo.com or carol [at] justfurkids.com

ALERT FROM KINSHIP CIRCLE MEMBER:
4/27/08: Demand Charges For Hannah’s Life Of Abuse

ALERT FROM / REPLY TO:
Becky Kaase, North Louisiana German Shepherd Rescue, Founder
nlgsdrescue [at] yahoo.com * http://nlgsdrescue.petfinder.com/
Humane Society of Louisiana, Lincoln Chapter President, http://humanela.org/

Carol Murphy, carol [at] justfurkids.com

BACKGROUND / EDITED FOR LENGTH:

FULL ACCOUNT: Abused Former K-9 Handler’s Dog Is Denied Justice

Kinship Circle - 2008-04-27 - Justice For Hannah 01

Hannah, a 4-year-old German Shepherd was formerly owned by a Tattnall County, GA, K-9 handler. From a very young age, Hannah was used as a breeding machine, confined until her muscles atrophied, starved and neglected. When deemed no longer useful, she was surrendered to an animal control facility in Reidsville, Georgia (about 75 miles southwest of Savannah, in Tattnall County) with orders to euthanize her.

At the time of her surrender, Hannah (known then as Haunna) was in horrific condition. She’d been starved and was severely emaciated at only 41 lbs. Her pads were so wounded that she walked on her haunches. Her fur was rubbed off in many places due to confinement. She was also pregnant and gave birth to three stillborn puppies while at the animal control facility.

On February 7, 2007, Southern Cross German Shepherd Rescue saved Hannah. On her way to a vet, she began to bleed — mostly from giving birth combined with her extremely poor physical condition. A statement from the vet:

Today, I examined Haunna (now Hannah), an approximately 4-year-old GSD. During the examination, it was noted Haunna is severely underweight. On a typical scoring scale, with 3/5 being a normal, healthy weight, Haunna is a low 1/5. This type of body condition is typically only noted in dogs suffering from long-term cancers or long term starvation. No signs of neoplasia (cancer) were noted in Haunna. Haunna had hair loss on her caudal thighs consistent with long term kenneling, skin disease, or both. If you have any questions, or other information I can provide, please don’t hesitate to call.

Sincerely, Will Baldwin, DVM, Cornelia Veterinay Hospital Cornelia, GA * 706 778-6605

Kinship Circle - 2008-04-27 - Justice For Hannah 02

(More below the fold…)

Business as usual.

Friday, April 18th, 2008

(Crossposted, without comentary, here.)

Sigh. Over the years, I’ve posted about countless injustices perpetrated against animals and the earth at easyVegan.info. So few of them make their way over here, because…well, because there are so. fucking. many. of them. Each case is as brutal as the next…routine abuses on factory farms, puppy mills, circuses, etc., etc. etc., all dismissed as “business as usual”; the abandonment of companion animals en masse in the wake of war, natural disasters and the mortgage crisis; seals clubbed to death for their fur, wolves shot from the air to “protect” cattle, “poultry” suffocated in the midst of bird flu scares. It’s fucking endless. Each issue is so fucking heartbreaking that, taken as a whole, a particular story has to be damn near crushing before I feel like posting on it over here, on my non-AR blog. Jax’s murder is such a story.

On April 14, New Orleans Police Officers were responding to a (false, it turns out) burglary alarm in the Lakeview neighborhood. While canvassing the area, they invaded the home of Jax and Scarlett, two Doberman Pinschers. They pumped eight bullets into 4-year-old Jax, with the justification that he lunged at them first. Problem is, Jax had recently undergone spinal surgery; his vet testified that it would have been impossible for Jax to “lunge” at anyone.

Neighbors called Jax’s guardian, Dr. Patrick Coleman, who rushed home to find Jax dying in his backyard. Rather than aid in CPR, the NOPD officers ordered Coleman to “restrain” Jax’s sister Scarlett – again, in their own fucking home. Scarlett was terrified, cowering in the corner of her home, watching her companion die. Jax bled to death while the officers allegedly laughed and snickered. And then, rather than call another set of officers to investigate the incident, the officers involved in the shooting collected all the evidence themselves. Coverup, anyone? (Not that a coverup is especially necessary; animal abuse is like rape in that the perpetrators are very rarely bought to justice. Animals and women, disposable objects in a disposable society. Men hate you and your dog.)

I very rarely get emotional while reading and posting about animal issues; I try to disassociate a bit, otherwise I think I might be crippled by the sorrow and helplessness. Not just in regards to animal issues, but especially in regards to animal issues – in the “Oppression Olympics”, non-human animals win, paws down. For all my silly beliefs about who should have which rights, I most often get mocked for my support of animal liberation causes. I mean, pffft. You think allegedly “liberal” men disdain feminists, GLBT allies, anti-racists, et. al.? Try being an animal advocate in liberal circles. Even members of the other marginalized groups don’t get – don’t want to see – how their own oppression is linked to that of animals.

But I started blubbering like a baby when I read this one. I have five dogs and a cat, all of whom are loved like children by their otherwise childfree parents. They’re my babies. I’d do anything to protect them, to keep them safe and happy. And so did Dr. Coleman, even installing an alarm system to look after his Jax and Scarlett when he couldn’t. And it was that alarm system that brought the officers who murdered (yes, murdered) Jax. It hurts my heart to think what that must feel like.

As I write this, the libertarian douchebag and I are hunting around for alarm systems right now for that very purpose. We live in a small town that hasn’t seen a murder in dog knows how long, and break-ins are rare. Yet I hate leaving the animals alone; what if there’s a fire? Who will rescue the dogs? Four-legged children aren’t exactly a top priority in an emergency situation. There are some heroic firefighters who might risk their own lives for those of Ralphie, Peedee, O-Ren, Kaylee, Jayne and Ozzy, but I wouldn’t bet their lives on it.

And yet Jax was shot, murdered in his own backyard. On his own property. In his home. I get the fear that so-called “dangerous” breeds engender in some people (“bigots” would be the proper term…if dogs were given human consideration, that is), but Jax was on his own fucking property. Certainly a dog should be safe in his own backyard?

By the by, this isn’t the first dog shooting scandal to hit New Orleans. In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, St. Bernard Parish Deputy Sheriff Mike Minton and Sergeant Clifford “Chip” Englande were videotaped shooting companion animals whose guardians had been forced – sometimes at gunpoint – to leave them behind. Charges against both have been dismissed. This is not be to confused with another case, in which companion animals left (supposedly in safety) in four schools elementary in St. Bernard Parish were gunned down, execution style. The case(s?) is still open.

If you’d like to learn more – and I hope you do – all of the relevant alerts are available on easyVegan.info. Search for “St. Bernard Parish“.

Please also email NOPD, Mayor Nagin, etc., and demand that Jax’s killers are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, and that measures are put in place to stop such an atrocity from happening again. Jax, Scarlett and their father deserve as much. This was a needless, senseless killing. A tragedy. And it could happen to any one of us, our animals, our children, our family.

And then put down that burger, because the cow you’re eating had a family, too.

————————-

Update, 4/18/08:

After doing some further research on the case – because, as I mentioned at Elaine’s place, I can’t stop blubbering about it – I want to correct two mistakes, one minor, one not so much.

The officers fired eight shots at Jax, but according to his vet, only four hit their mark. Minor quibble.

Now for the more significant correction. The shooting apparently started in Dr. Coleman’s fenced backyard, where the officers first found Jax and Scarlett. Once the officers started firing bullets at the dogs, they ran into the house through the dog door. The officers either followed the dogs inside, into their home, their refuge, and kept pumping bullets into poor Jax, or somehow fired into the house from outdoors, as shell casings and/or bullets were allegedly found inside the home as well as out.

When Dr. Coleman arrived on the scene, he found Jax crumpled in a corner of his home (the living room?; in any case, not the backyard as I previously stated), bleeding to death beside a terrified Scarlett. It’s unclear from the new reports whether the officers were inside the home when Dr. Coleman arrived, or if they followed him inside. In any case, it’s at this point that the officers prevented Dr. Coleman from performing CPR in order to “restrain” Scarlett.

Which begs several questions: if they were so freaking scared of Jax and/or Scarlett, why follow them inside, into their own home, into a confined space? Likewise, if Scarlett was acting in a threatening manner while Dr. Coleman was trying to save Jax, why not just leave the fucking house instead of pester the no doubt hysterical and otherwise occupied Dr. Coleman? I mean, even if Dr. Coleman’s efforts to save Jax were futile, couldn’t you at least let the poor man be with his beloved companion in his final moments?

Heartless fucking monsters. How I wish I knew their names, because they need to be slurred far and wide.

As far as I can tell, the incident is under investigation – but not the shooting, just the officers’ conduct (coverup) afterwards. Whether this was a “justified” shooting or a clear case of animal abuse is not even up for discussion. Which means we have to make it an issue.

(More below the fold…)

On a lighter note…

Friday, April 18th, 2008

lol ralphie - dis yerd b patrolled

Not that such a sign would have prevented NOPD from murdering Jax, but I do recommend that all animal guardians post something similar on their premises. The ASPCA offers free “in case of emergency, rescue my pet” stickers, and they’re readily available elsewhere for a small fee. (It’s probably a good idea to post one at every entrance to your home.) And if you leave your animals outdoors in a fenced area, a “beware of dog” or “do not open gate” sign is a good idea, too. We got ours from http://signswithanattitude.com, and have one posted on each set of gate doors.

Not that these babies will fuck anyone up…more likely they’ll make a mad dash for freedom and chase a bird right down the street. The hawks are circling for Rennie, methinks.

(Crossposted from.)

—————

Tagged:

Kinship Circle: ACT/ Cop Fires 8 Bullets Into Beloved Dog

Friday, April 18th, 2008

Crossposted, with commentary, here.

UPDATE, 5/11/08:

Excerpted from Kinship Circle: [GULF COAST] On The Streets, Since Katrina

RE: 4/17/08 – NEW ORLEANS COP FIRES 8 BULLETS INTO BELOVED DOG

http://www.kinshipcircle.org/letter_library/letter_new.asp?LetterID=1735

KINSHIP CIRCLE received the “thank you” below from Dr. Patrick Coleman, the Lakeview, New Orleans resident whose dog Jax was needlessly slaughtered by police in his fenced backyard.

From: Patrick Coleman, wpcoleman [at] gmail.com
Date: Sat, 3 May 2008 / Subject: Thank you Re: Jax

Thank you so much for the information posted regarding Jax, my 4 year old Doberman, who was shot and killed by a police officer responding to a false burglary alarm at my home on April 14, 2008. With so many people writing letters, blogging, posting… I only hope that his death brings about change as his life did for myself and everyone who met him.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart in memory of Jax, Patrick

W. Patrick Coleman IV, M.D. / 4425 Conlin Street; Metairie, LA 70006
Office: 504-455-3180; Fax: 504-885-2512

————————-

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Kinship Circle – kinshipcircle [at] accessus.net
Date: Fri, Apr 18, 2008 at 3:18 PM
Subject: CORRECTION/ Cop Fires 8 Bullets Into Beloved Dog

1. FAX NUMBERS from City Of New Orleans website for Superintendent Warren J. Riley and Orleans Parish District Attorney were incorrect. CORRECT FAX NUMBERS are inserted in original alert below (shown in RED). [Kelly's note: I have updated the original alert to include the correct fax numbers.]

2. To send Mayor Nagin comments:

– Go to main home page: http://www.cityofno.com/
– Click on: “Contact Us” at very bottom of page.
– On Contact Us page, scroll to “Select A Department” drop-down menu.
– Select “Mayor’s Office” and hit “Go.”
– Your browser page will refresh, showing a security code you need to submit comments.

3. Several people have asked, but Kinship Circle does NOT know (at this time) the private email address or other contact information for Dr. Patrick Coleman, whose Doberman Jax was slaughtered by an NOPD officer.

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Kinship Circle – kinshipcircle [at] accessus.net
Date: Thu, Apr 17, 2008 at 5:27 PM
Subject: ACT/ Cop Fires 8 Bullets Into Beloved Dog

KINSHIP CIRCLE PRIMARY – PERMISSION TO CROSS-POST AS WRITTEN

4/17/08: New Orleans Cop Fires 8 Bullets Into Beloved Dog

EMAIL kinshipcircle [at] accessus.net FOR WORD DOC OF A FORMATTED LETTER.
Easily modify letter and copy/paste it into an email or print out to fax or mail.

Kinship Circle - 2008-04-17 - New Orleans Cop Fires 8 Bullets Into Beloved Dog 02

Kinship Circle - 2008-04-17 - New Orleans Cop Fires 8 Bullets Into Beloved Dog 01

Jax, the black Doberman on the left, was shot and killed by police responding to a burglar alarm that proved to be a false alarm.

http://www.findinternettv.com/Video,item,302619517.aspx

(More below the fold…)

Wherein CNN equates sexual assault with lust.

Friday, February 8th, 2008

Dear CNN Misogynist Douchebags Clueless Fuckwits, including but not limited to Tony Harris -

I cannot say why you saw fit to change your description of a sexual assault, perpetrated by six douchebag cops on a seemingly drunk and vulnerable woman, from SLINKY BABE + 6 COPS = TROUBLE” to “BEHAVING BADLY: POLICE STATION’S LUSTFUL LOBBY”, however, I have no illusions that you did so because this uppity cunt “fired off” a complaint to you last night. I don’t get the impression that you much care what your female viewership thinks about your “reporting” and “journalism.” Cunty 4 Hills, am I right bitchez?

2008-02-08 - CNN LOLZ Sexual Assault - 0002

Either way, you are a bunch of clueless fuckwits, particularly if you think that this morning’s headline is any better than last night’s. They both make an LOL out of a sexual assault situation, and while “SLINKY BABE + 6 COPS = TROUBLE” clearly blames the victim for her assault, “BEHAVING BADLY: POLICE STATION’S LUSTFUL LOBBY” implies that the assault was a simple case of horndogs behaving badly, rather than abusing their power by violating someone whom they’re supposed to be protecting. Wrong, wrong, fuck you, wrong, and did I say fuck you?

And are we sure that Tony Harris isn’t a closet MRA? Here he is, laughing after the segment aired on the CNN “Newsroom” this morning.

2008-02-08 - CNN LOLZ Sexual Assault - 0004

I mean holy shit, he can Barely! Hold! It! In!

2008-02-08 - CNN LOLZ Sexual Assault - 0005

ROTFL!!!1!!111!!!

Normal people don’t usually see sexual assault and gross abuses of power as occasions for a good tee-hee!. At least Heidi Collins looked sufficiently pissed off. Next time call him on his misogyny, sister.

With even lower regards than last night,

- Some sour cunt

PS – Liberal media my ass. CNN = Faux News Lite.

Drunk Slut + 6 Coppers = Wacky Rape Hijinx! LOLXXX!

Thursday, February 7th, 2008

Dear CNN Misogynist Douchebags -

On today’s edition of CNN Headline News’ Prime News, anchor Richelle Carey reported on an incident in which an apparently inebriated woman was sexually assaulted by six police officers. From the report, I gather that the woman sought refuge in the police station while waiting for a ride in the wee hours of the morning. I guess she didn’t want to be manhandled by some creep on the street. (Ha! The joke is on her, am I right!?) The “headline” that graced the screen during the entire segment read “SLINKY BABE + 6 COPS = TROUBLE”.

No, really. See:

2008-02-07 - In Which CNN Victim Blames - 0006

Do I really need to explain to you how incredibly vile it is to refer to a sexual assault victim as a “SLINKY BABE”, not to mention, sexual assault itself as “TROUBLE”? RLY!?

As a police officer is yanking this whore who was clearly asking for it poor woman’s skirt “up to her waist” (in yer own words), you are literally screaming (LITERALLY! SCREAMING!) “SLINKY BABE + 6 COPS = TROUBLE” at the victim and the audience.

The headline may as well have read, “Drunk Slut + 6 Cops = Wacky Rape Hijinx! LOLZ!”

Anywho, after firing off a complaint letter to Prime News, I clicked through your site in search of further details on the story. Prior to this, I thought – hoped – that the insensitive, victim-blaming, assault-denying headline was the work of a lone closet MRA intern at CNN. However, when I located the story – appropriately filed in the “crime” section of CNN’s news stories – I was aghast at the story’s online headline:

cnn-primenews-2008-02-07

Cop shop hanky panky caught on camera.

Even the URL got in on the action: cnn.com/video/#/video/us/2008/02/07/sexy.pics.at.police.station.wndu

Nyuck, nyuck, nyuck. Those crazy coppers, fondling drunken hotties down at the station! What will they think of next? Forced tag team anal/oral/vaginal penetration? Maybe a six-spouted golden shower? Who knows! Sure to be plenty o’ LOLZ, though!

You. Make. Me. Sick.

Lowest regards.

- Women everywhere

Kinship Circle: NEVER FORGET: St. Bernard Killings Memorial, 1/30/08

Tuesday, January 29th, 2008

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Kinship Circle – kinshipcircle [at] accessus.net
Date: Jan 29, 2008 1:24 PM
Subject: NEVER FORGET: St. Bernard Killings Memorial, 1/30/08

KINSHIP CIRCLE ANIMAL DISASTER RELIEF – PERMISSION TO CROSS-POST

http://www.kinshipcircle.org/disasters/

1/29/08: Memorial For Dogs Lost To St. Bernard Parish Shootings
If You Can’t Attend, Donate Toward Flowers…

ALERT FROM / REPLY TO:

Charlotte Bass, table25 [at] bellsouth.net, 504-522-0222

http://www.animalrescueneworleans.org

CROSS POST TO EVERYONE WHO LOVES ANIMALS!
Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2008 * 2:00 pm
P.G.T. Beauregard Middle School
1201 Bayou Rd., St. Bernard, LA
Locally we know this as St. Bernard Hwy., the continuation of N. Rampart to St. Claude, and turns into St. Bernard Hwy. after Arabi.

Show support against the dismissal of charges of the two St. Bernard parish sheriffs who were involved in the murder of dozens of pets. If you cannot be there at that time, place flowers and notes anytime today or tonight or tomorrow morning… We need to send a message that blatant cruelty should be prosecuted. We need to give these murdered pets a voice since they are no longer here because of the heinous shootings that happened in St. Bernard Parish in the days after Katrina.

(More below the fold…)

Kinship Circle: ABC/ Comment On Dogs Killed, St. Bernard Parish

Thursday, January 24th, 2008

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Kinship Circle – kinshipcircle [at] accessus.net
Date: Jan 24, 2008 4:21 PM
Subject: ABC/ Comment On Dogs Killed, St. Bernard Parish

KINSHIP CIRCLE ANIMAL DISASTER RELIEF
PERMISSION TO CROSS-POST AS WRITTEN

GULF COAST
1/24/08: ABC Blog Wants Comments On Case Closure In SBP Dog Killings

http://www.KinshipCircle.org

FROM KINSHIP CIRCLE:

In the last several days, you should received urgent alerts related to the dismissal of the St. Bernard Parish street shooting case:
[history & facts] 1/20/08: Breaking News – Case Dismissed In SBP Street Shootings?
[letter-writing alert] 1/23/08: Demand Justice In Dog Killings, St. Bernard Parish

If you want either of these alerts resent to you, request them at: kinshipcircle [at] accessus.net

Another component to publicizing this miscarriage of justice is MEDIA. Today, ABC26 (local ABC affiliate in New Orleans) contacted Kinship Circle about an upcoming story. In the meantime, the ABC reporter asked that I direct people to a related blog question at the TV station’s website. He is looking for “good comments” to create buzz around the story.

Go the link below to leave comments. You may reference information from Kinship Circle’s sample letter (sent 1/23/08), but write in YOUR OWN WORDS.

And remember: There are two SEPARATE St. Bernard Parish animal shootings:

1. Sept. 2005: Street shootings videotaped by a Dallas photojournalist
2. Oct. 2005: Execution-style shooting of evacuees’ pets inside SBP schools

CASE THAT WAS RECENTLY DISMISSED: 1. Sept. 2005 street shootings
The SBP school shootings case is still open.

(More below the fold…)

Kinship Circle: ACT/ Justice For Dogs Killed, St. Bernard Parish

Thursday, January 24th, 2008

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Kinship Circle – kinshipcircle [at] accessus.net
Date: Jan 23, 2008 6:11 PM
Subject: ACT/ Justice For Dogs Killed, St. Bernard Parish

KINSHIP CIRCLE PRIMARY – PERMISSION TO CROSS-POST AS WRITTEN

1/23/08: Demand Justice In Dog Killings, St. Bernard Parish

http://www.KinshipCircle.org

Kinship Circle - 2008-01-20 - SBP Dogs Shot In The Streets 04

PHOTO: A reporter asks: “So how many dogs [have you shot]?”
“Enough,” former St. Bernard Parish deputy sheriff Mike Minton replies, as he looks away and laughs…
SEE VIDEO: http://www.dallasnews.com/s/dws/photography/2005/katrina_video/straydogs.html

EMAIL kinshipcircle [at] accessus.net FOR WORD DOC OF A FORMATTED LETTER.
Easily modify letter and copy/paste it into an email or print out to fax or mail.

(More below the fold…)

Kinship Circle: CASE CLOSED? SBP Dogs Shot In The Streets

Sunday, January 20th, 2008

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Kinship Circle – kinshipcircle [at] accessus.net
Date: Jan 20, 2008 8:59 PM
Subject: CASE CLOSED? SBP Dogs Shot In The Streets

KINSHIP CIRCLE ANIMAL DISASTER RELIEF – PERMISSION TO CROSS-POST

http://www.kinshipcircle.org/disasters/

GULF COAST
1/20/08: Breaking News – Case Dismissed In SBP Street Shootings?

IN THIS ALERT:

1. Clarification: Two Cases, One Sheriff’s Office
2. Dogs Gunned Down In The Streets: Case Dismissed?
3. Slaughter In The Streets, On Video
4. Slaughter In The Schools
5. A Miracle Named Mercedes

(More below the fold…)