Five Birmingham police officers have been fired for a January 2008 beating of an already-unconscious suspect with fists, feet and a billy club, a battering caught on videotape until a police officer turned off the patrol car camera, city and police officials said today.
Authorities believe the video, taken after a high-speed chase by several area law enforcement agencies ended when the fleeing suspect's van flipped, has been seen by numerous Birmingham officers and up to a half dozen supervisors over the past year. But top city and police officials weren't made aware of the taped beating until they were contacted by the district attorney's office two months ago.
In fact, investigators say, the suspect, Anthony Warren, didn't even know he'd been beaten until the tape surfaced at his trial in March (2009). Warren was ejected from the vehicle and knocked unconscious, and thought all of his injuries were sustained in the wreck.
Go here and be sure to watch the video.
After you do, come back here and read my comments below.
The complete news story in the hard copy of the News on my desk says that ABI has been called in to determine IF these guys should be charged with criminal assault. Now, does anyone think that if one of us came across an UNCONSCIOUS man and began beating him, even if he had clipped us with a car, even if he had threatened us directly or indirectly, that more than five seconds would elapse between the time we were discovered and the time we would be thrown under the jail?
Was this guy a career criminal scumbag? Absolutely.
Did he deserve a beating while unconscious?
Note, too, that this has been played and replayed for over a year like some personal favorite episode of Cops, "Watcha gonna do when we come for you?"
And these are the guys that Helmke and Company want to give a monopoly of violence to.
After reading some of the comments after the linked video, the only thing I have to say to people that tried to justify the officers actions is:
If they are allowed to do it to that scumbag, they can do it to you, too.
The sad part is that the commenters for the most part are assuming that just because the cops were chasing him, he was deserving of being beaten or even shot.
I wonder what they'll say when they're being chased for thinking the wrong things. I hope they're already unconscious when they get beaten to a pulp.
"Was this guy a career criminal scumbag? Absolutely.
Did he deserve a beating while unconscious?..." YES.
BUT! The law doesn't give what is deserved it gives what is JUST. The Police aren't supposed to give criminals what they deserve, they are supposed to uphold the law. The police officers didn't uphold the law, and can't be trusted to do so. Their firing was absolutely justified.
We are a nation of Laws, not a nation of 'deserves.' Someone needs to educate Americans about this, starting with the man in the White House.
It's pretty disgusting to read the comments that appear there too. A bunch of support-the-police-no-matter-what types!
Wait til one of them or their family members has any sort of run in with the "justice" system. Maybe they'll feel different then.
The trend is alarming.
We see more and more violence from police, TSA, etc. with death by taser, gun, etc.
How about the woman killed in the airport after she was subdued and put into a holding cell in an airport. She apparently was in need of medical attention and asked that her doctor and or husband be called. They said she 'choked' herself to death after several large men tossed her to the ground with a knee to the back.
There was the shooting on New Years Eve by the Oakland BART cops of a subdued suspect.
Numerous tazerings for 'not obeying' the command of a cop instantly with no threat of violence toward said law enforcement officer.
Increasing militarization of all police units through SWAT teams, sniper teams, etc. (one reason ammo is tough to come by as LE needs ammo to stay current regarding training)
There are good cops out there to be sure but more and more I get the feeling they are just there for 'revenue enhancement' rather than law enforcement to keep us safe from the bad guys.
And remember when you only have seconds the police are minutes away.
It is worse - consider that now people ARE armed. There's at least the possibility that someone may (properly or not, legally or not) engage in actions to protect themselves or engage in a reprisal. Eliminate that possibility, and the abuses will be worse.
No offense to MOST police officers, btw - because most are pretty decent and honorable people. But when there IS abuse, it is horrible.
Well, the guy did nearly run down one of their own while he was avoiding the spike-strip, so I maybe can understand the rage. That does not excuse what they did. These cops looked like nothing if not a band of enraged chimps wailing away on this guy. I'm leery of any cop that looks in my direction anymore because of this kind of "athority rage". It's a wonder more cops aren't gunned down at traffic stops just because they're cops.
I can understand getting "caught up in the moment" and all that, but that's just not how the good guys are supposed to act.
Brave donut flingers beat unconscious man. Maybe they can get new jobs, jacking up fourth graders for their lunch money, or leaning on pre-schoolers who make too much noise on the playground.
Bill Mullins asked:
What is your point? Oathkeepers et al not withstanding a large (if not the largest) percentage of LEOs these days are utterly convinced that THEY are the law and we "civilians" better obey them or else. If you do not kow tow to them they will find something to cite you for even if they have to make something up.
Check out my post at Patriotic Resistance in the Town Hall Uncharacterized section titled "Question For Active Law Enforcement Officers (all levels)/Oathkeepers". I found it very enlightening all the things some people read into my simple scenario.
Whe we had our "Tea Party" here in San Antonio last month, some of the "Peace Officers" (that's what they are called in Texas)were stationed or on foot patrol patrol in twos - entirely consistent with security and protection.
I also noticed a couple of roving "packs" of 4-6 "peace Officers" roving here 'n there shadowing people, getting in people's faces and generally making the participants feel uncomfortable. That behavior is consistent only with a desire to harass and intimidate.
They didn't like it when I called them out. More than one threatened to run me in. I was told more than once to watch my language. To that I replied that since I had not used any racial slurs or obscene language without regard to who might be offended I had committed no offense under Texas Law. Then the bitch leading one of the packs threatened to arrest me for interfering with a peace officer in the performance of their duty. I immediately turned around and offered my wrists while replying that unless they had amended the Texas Penal Code interference required the offender to physically interpose himself between the officer and the object of their attention. I said I would go peacably but when I got out would be sure to offer the city a 10% reduction in the settlement for her badge. They left me alone after that.
Land o' the free an' home of the brave. yes, sir! says here right on the label.
It is a culture of violence, from what I can see. I have known many cops during my 45 years. From the HWY Patrol guys in my USAR unit in Nashville, AR who covered for Bill and Hilary (yes, they were BOTH unfaithful), to the local cops in Oak Grove outside of Ft. Campbell who smoked dope between rounds of 501 tournaments. They bragged to anyone who would listen about how they would "wolf", or "grill" a suspect in the back of the squad car by suddenly slamming on the brakes. No one had a doubt that you would get a "tuning up" if you angered the man with a badge and a gun.
I am not saying that ALL cops are bullies and thugs, but I AM saying that all cops know who the bullies and thugs are in their ranks, and do nothing because of the "blue wall of silence" culture.
Watching their body language, they stopped beating that guy because they realized he might be dead. How embarrassing it would have been to be caught on tape "teaching a lesson" to a corpse?
Very interesting, I had never heard of this.... wonder why?
BTW, it was a pleasure to meet you at the gun show this past Saturday.
Keep up the good work!
I dont think they get it.
The comments on that page are terrible, the worst of them being from a fellow who calls himself Libertarian4
Sad state of affairs, folks
The most repulsive thing I have learned from this was that Hillary had found someone / something to cheat with.
Pass the Pepto.
your long time admirer,
Sorry A Texan, but I must disagree. How many hundreds of officers and supervisors viewed this tape in the more than one year before the defense attorney discovered the tape had been altered? How many of them came forward and demanded that the "bad cops" be dealty with?
Answer to the second question. NONE. Therefore I must assume that the idea there are "good cops" is a myth. Except in very rare cases, and they must be in a very tiny minority. Obviously none of the "good cops" are in the BPD.
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