More on Unarmed Man Shot by LAPD….Family of Compton Man Beaten by LASD Protests….Study: Effects of Cops With Personal Cameras…..Smart Trauma-Informed Re-entry Program for WomenAugust 14th, 2014 by Celeste Fremon
TWO DISTURBING FATAL SHOOTINGS
It has been a bad week for the shooting of unarmed young black men.
First there is the case of Michael Brown in Missouri.
While eyewitnesses are notoriously unreliable, the friend of 18-year-old Brown’s, who was with him this past Saturday when he was fatally shot, has told MSNBC a disturbing account of what he observed prior to the seeing the Ferguson, MO, police officer fire first one, then another, then multiple shots into his unarmed fleeing friend.
Now there is the shooting by an LAPD officer of unarmed Ezell Ford on Monday in South Los Angeles. Ford, a reportedly mentally challenged 26-year-old tackled an officer and grabbed for his gun, after being stopped for an “investigative stop” according to the LAPD. That may very well be the way it happened. But, as with the Brown case, eyewitnesses have started to challenge the police account.
In the case of Ford, an eyewitness told Huffington Post staff reporter, Matt Ferner,
Here’s a clip:
An eyewitness to the killing of Ezell Ford told The Huffington Post on Wednesday that he heard an officer with the Los Angeles Police Department shout “shoot him” before three bullets were unloaded into the unarmed, 25-year-old black man, who was on the ground.
“It is unknown if the suspect has any gang affiliations,” the LAPD said in a statement after the killing.
But people in Ford’s neighborhood said the young man was not remotely involved in gang activity. Leroy Hill said he was an eyewitness to the shooting Monday night, and confirmed that he heard three shots.
“He wasn’t a gang banger at all,” Hill said. “I was sitting across the street when it happened. So as he was walking down the street, the police approached him, whatever was said I couldn’t hear it, but the cops jumped out of the car and rushed him over here into this corner. They had him in the corner and were beating him, busted him up, for what reason I don’t know he didn’t do nothing. The next thing I know I hear a ‘pow!’ while he’s on the ground. They got the knee on him. And then I hear another ‘pow!’ No hesitation. And then I hear another ‘pow!’ Three times.”
At one point while the police had Ford on the ground, but before the shooting took place, Hill said, he heard an officer yell, “Shoot him.
The LA Times reports that another witness also has offered an account of Ford’s shooting that differs from that of the LAPD.
According to Mother Jones Magazine, Ford’s death brings the total of unarmed black men who died at the hands of police under disputed circumstances in the last month to four.
AND ON WEDNESDAY A PRESS CONFERENCE REGARDING ANOTHER CONTROVERSIAL CONFRONTATION BETWEEN THE POLICE AND A YOUNG BLACK MAN, THIS ONE NON-FATAL
On Wednesday, the family members and attorneys for a skinny 29-year-old schizophrenic man, Barry Montgomery, along with representatives from the Compton NAACP held a press conference in front of the Compton Police Station, to protest the non-fatal beating of Montgomery by sheriff’s deputies last month on July 14, resulting in multiple broken bones and possible permanent injuries.
KPCC’s Rina Palta has that story. Here’s a clip:
Barry Montgomery is a skinny, “docile,” 29-year-old man who’s been diagnosed with schizophrenia, according to his attorneys. He was shooting baskets at Enterprise Park on the evening of July 14–something he does every evening.
Sheriff’s deputies approached Montgomery, according to the sheriff’s department’s account, because they smelled marijuana. According to the official report, Montgomery “became verbally confrontational and subsequently attempted to punch one of the deputies. The deputies then struggled with the suspect and took him into custody.”
He was taken to a hospital after for unspecified injuries.
The family’s attorney, Martin Kaufman said at least 20 deputies were involved.
The sheriff’s department said three deputies were involved–and all have been reassigned to office/administrative duties while an internal affairs investigation examines the incident. Max Huntsman, the newly appointed Inspector General is aware of the allegations and could potentially review the investigation, when his authority takes effect next month.
Montgomery’s family members and attorneys said he came out of the incident with cracked ribs, fractures in his eye sockets, and rips in the skin of his back–allegedly from Tasers
NEW REPORT SAYS THAT, YES, POLICE OFFICERS WEARING PERSONAL CAMERAS DOES HELP BOTH THE PUBLIC AND THE OFFICERS WHO WEAR THE CAMERAS BUT THAT MORE RESEARCH IS NEEDED TO ISOLATE EXACTLY WHY THEY HELP.
A new report by Michael D. White, PhD for the Office of Justice Programs of the U.S Department of Justice shows that, while there’s not nearly enough research on the effects of body worn cameras on law enforcement officers, the results that we have from five studies (conducted in Rialto CA, Phoenix, AZ, Mesa, AZ, and two sites in Britain) show that the advent of body cameras produced fewer reports of use of force, fewer citizen complaints, and fewer attacks by citizens on officers. That’s the very good news.
The bad news, if you can call it that, is the fact that it’s not clear what’s causing those lowered numbers. In other words, we’re not sure why the officers and citizens seem to behave better in the presence of cameras. (Well, duh! Perhaps people are more afraid of being caught if they behave badly or report falsely!)
In any case, while we wait for more sophisticated sudies with further controls, if the stats show that that results are better, that’s an excellent step forward and we’re cheered.
By the way, the studies also show that officers have less paperwork to complete when they wear cameras, also a good thing.
You’ll find more details here with the study itself.
NOTE: The LAPD tested body cams earlier this year and they are reportedly still under discussion.
SOLANO WOMEN GRADUATE FROM PRISON INTO A NEW LIFE WITH THE AID OF “TRAUMA INFORMED” RE-ENTRY PROGRAM
Solano County just graduated a group of women from its Women’s Reentry Achievement Program-–or WRAP
The program came about in 2010 as a result of the grant from the DOJ through the Second Chance Act, which was signed into law in 2008 in response to the need to reduce recidivism and promote safe and healthy families and communities.
In Solano, WRAP was done as a smart partnership between county agencies, state agencies and advocates, which included Solano County Health & Social Services, the County Sheriff’s Office, Probation, plus other partners like the state’s Adult Parole Operations.
Melissa Murphy writing for the Vacaville Reporter has more on the program and its most recent group of graduates.
Here’s a clip:
“I am accepting the new me.”
“The new me is not scared or afraid of taking on new challenges,” said Ashland Timberlake, 25, after graduating form Solano County’s Women’s Re-entry Achievement Program.
It was an emotional day for Timberlake as she accepted her certificate and wish from case managers Pat Nicodemus and Patty Ayala. While she has accomplished a lot, she was also reminded that her mother, who passed away, was not there to see her accomplishment.
“I thank God and I appreciate the program that helped me change my life,” she said while she accepted her certificate.
Still, she’s moving forward and changing her life and stopping the cycle she’s been on since she was 18 years old going in and out of jail.
“It’s been about finding yourself, bettering yourself and healing,” she said and added that the next goal is to get her high school diploma.
WRAP is designed to help women while they are in jail and after they are released to deal with the trauma in their lives, avoid the obstacles that can lead to re-offending and help them make a successful transition back into society.
WRAP is a unique model that uses gender-based risk assessments and trauma-informed case management. It works as a partnership between Health and Social Services, the Sheriff’s Office, Probation Department, District Attorney’s Office of Family Violence Prevention, Public Defender, the Re-entry Council and community partners, including Mission Solano, to assist the women who have a moderate to high risk of returning to the system. The county received a grant to fund the program through 2015.
Shonna Tibbetts, 29, was on the verge of losing her daughter after being involved in an armed robbery. After surviving domestic violence, Tibbetts explained that her life spun out of control.
“I couldn’t handle it,” she said. “I started to use (drugs) and with that lifestyle comes other things.”
She said Nicodemus and Ayala advocated for her to be a part of WRAP, which changed her life. Thursday she was proud to be wearing a pink shirt and jeans instead of a jail jumpsuit with stripes.
Read the rest about the model program here.
Amy Maginnis-Honey also has a good story on the WRAP graduation for the Daily Republic.