Helena officers use unwarranted violence (again) and commit homicide

Published On August 26, 2011 | By Georgia Sand | Articles

In late June, I posted about a Helena Police Officer who shot Brian Temple in the chest for disrespecting authority and fleeing the police, even though he had committed no crime at that time. Helena, Montana is in the news again, after 41-year-old Roger Chandler was Tasered at least twice for being “unruly” and died as a result.

These two instances of police brutality have given the mainstream media the opportunity to concretely demonstrate their bias. Although I am frequently accused of bias, I am honest. I never claim to be presenting things in a manner that depicts both sides in a favorable light, nor do I claim to be neutral in my opinion.

In my post regarding the Brian Temple shooting, I interviewed the victim’s father, and read multiple news sources (i.e. government propaganda) for the very reason that I was certain there was more to the story than was reported by the news. With these stories, it’s never enough just to read the news because they tend to only quote police, prosecutors, other law enforcement personnel, and essentially act as the PR mouthpiece of the offending police department (and I am the one accused of “bias”).

In this latest Tasering execution, just as was the case with the shooting of Brian Temple, the news is quick to point out that Mr. Chandler had an “extensive criminal record.” Because, you know, that definitely means he deserved to be killed here. After all, police are totally supposed to serve the role of police, jury, judge and executioner. Haven’t you heard? Judge Dredd is no longer just a thing of fiction.

The officers involved allegedly received reports from neighbors that Chandler was screaming and had possibly kicked down a door. Later, officers purportedly learned Chandler may have pushed someone. The responding officers claimed they were concerned Chandler was harming himself, and Chandler suddenly was “acting uncontrollably” and “attempted to flee from law enforcement.”

“Officers felt he could harm himself or others because of his erratic behavior,” Sheriff Leo Dutton said. Dutton went on to say it was possible that Chandler had been using drugs (more here).

That someone should be painfully subjugated, tortured, and killed for his own safety and to prevent him from harming himself sounds absurd, but it is an excuse used over and over by police. For instance, an elderly cancer patient was Tasered for his own safety. A young child was Tasered for the purposes of effecting proper hygiene. In many states, it is illegal for innocent people to resist unlawful arrest because legal experts and  courts believe people should be arrested for their own protection (more here and here.) The entire War on Drugs rests on the premise that people should be beaten, jailed and/or killed in order to protect them from drug use. Time and time again, police claim that beating, torture and murder are committed in furtherance of the protection and safety of an individual.

This was not self-defense. This was not defense of another. The police killed Mr. Chandler. They killed him using a weapon that has killed people on numerous other occasions. Self-defense is generally defined as the use of reasonable or necessary force to defend oneself or another. Tasering or killing someone in response to screaming and (possibly) pushing is neither reasonable nor necessary.

In other words, if these killers were not police officers, they would be in jail and they would be charged with homicide. But because they are police officers and have the benefit of the injustice system and the propaganda machine news on their side, they have managed to portray this as some twisted act of heroism.

Finally, as was the case with Brian Temple, the true reason Chandler was violently attacked by police becomes apparent upon an honest examination of the situation. He was killed because he attempted to flee from law enforcement, and would not bow to authority. Police hate disobedience. They will secure humiliation and subjugation of a target at all costs – even death, because their end goal is obedience, not safety. If the end goal were safety, Chandler would be alive.

If this is too harsh of a conclusion, the other logical alternative is that Chandler was killed for using drugs, screaming and pushing someone and effectively, the penalty for being a petty miscreant in America is death. So there are the options – the cops are not in fact trained and employed to protect and serve, or America is a tyranny because it is legal for police to kill someone for screaming and using drugs with no recourse or penalty. Or both. Take your pick.

 

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About The Author

Georgia (George) Sand received her B.A. from UCLA and her J.D. from the University of San Diego School of Law. She enjoys beer, jogging, the beach and music in her spare time.
  • Ernesto

    Unfortunately, stories of this kind are not even surprising or outrageous anymore.

  • Anti “Badge Bully” Cops

    I have often said (since day one), that when someone dies via the use of a Taser, it was the Tasering that killed them and not the supposedly underlying excuses that the Cops use for their death.

    This can be easily proven by asking the following question? “If the subject had NOT been Tasered would they still have been (under normal circumstances), alive one minute.. ten.. sixty minutes later? What about the next day.. week.. month?”

    To my above point, I read about a older gentleman who was Tasered by a “Badge Bully” Cop.. and then subsequently died. Granted the victim had some heart problems, which the “Badge Bully” Cops used as the excuse for his death, but the electrical impulses from the Taser is what caused his heart to malfunction.

    If there had been NO Tasering then there would have been NO heart malfunction.. and thus NO death! I find it incredible that Cops now days seem to be very much “Badge Bullies”.. and instead of listening first, they immediately go to the Taser first and ask questions later.

    With attitudes and actions like the above I can see why it’s no wonder Cops are hated so much by the public!

    Anti “Badge Bully” Cops

  • Toby

    When I was a kid, about 25-30 years ago, there was a cop who harassed us 27/7. He even arrested a friend for riding his bike no-handed. And even though my friend was 19 at the time and lived on his own, the cop took him to his parent’s house.

    Even when the ass didn’t have anything to complain about he would tell us we were getting tickets. When we asked for what? he said he didn’t know, but he would think of something. One time he blocked my car with his, kicked everyone else out of the park and then gave me a ticket for being in the park after hours. Luckily, I had a friend who’s dad was a homicide investigator and he took care of the tickets for me.

    Ultimately this pig’s corrupt career came to a halt when he shot a shoplifter in the back while fleeing the store at which the pig worked undercover while off-duty, paralyzing him. The sad thing is the pig didn’t get into any trouble, he only had to take early retirement.

  • Al Hunt

    Here are my theories on cops. I throw these out for anyone’s consideration. If these theories contain defects of logic, I’d certainly be interested in listening to your argument.

    THEORY #1, The Reason Cops Murder
    Cops look for ways to escalate from non-violent situations to violent situations because of the adrenaline rush. A situation that is already violent is excuse enough for cops to murder, which is the ultimate adrenaline rush. Cops are adrenaline junkies. Escalation of violence is the status quo. It is the way police work is conducted. The bottom line, police go to work “looking for action”. When they don’t find action, they create action. The increased violence makes their work more interesting and, somehow, more satisfying.

    THEORY #2, The Reason There Are No Good Cops
    Retirement. Let’s say a cop makes $65K a year. A job paying $65K is not bad but not great. But a cop that puts in 20 years will get $60K per year for the rest of his life. That turns a mediocre paying job into a fantastic paying job. Any cop that doesn’t make it 20 years, misses out on that big carrot at the end. A cop that bucks the system i.e., a non-violence escalating good cop, will get run out way before he gets in 20 years.

    THEORY #3, The Reason Cops Are Never Prosecuted
    This is much less a theory than it is a documented fact. Cops are never prosecuted because of regulatory capture. Police investigators know the cops they are investigating. Prosecutors know the cops they might be called to prosecute. Furthermore, prosecutors cannot be expected to prosecute the same cops that they depend on to help prosecute criminals. It’s all a big dysfunctional cop family where bad behavior always gets a pass.

  • SFCRetired

    Personal opinion: Any cop who, for whatever reason, takes a human life or uses force on another should be subject to a thorough investigation by a completely independent citizen body. This body should be endowed with all the powers of a grand jury, but not subject to the local prosecutor’s office. No officer under charges should be placed on paid leave. While under charges, he/she should be delegated to strictly administrative duties. If found guilty, he/she should be subject to the maximum penalty allowed by law.

  • RichardD

    This article is a joke. You make many claims not supported by evidence and “forget” to include facts which do not fit your little fantasy. Mr. Chandler was on “bath salts”. His mother called the police. Though I see you imply the police made up “neighbors” making complaints. Funny, we have known all along that his mother dialed 911. I guess it is a little tough to convince people of your little fantasies when you tell the truth huh?

    It is a shame so many, such as the author of this “article”, would rather make crap up in their effort to attack police that they loose all credibility. Then, when a real abuse occurs, nobody is willing to listen. I guess your mommas never told you about “crying wolf”.

    If you have to make crap up to support your position on a subject…maybe you need a different position.