Year of the Cop Sex Predator and Other Reflections on 2016

Cop Sex Predators Hit the Mainstream

A September 2015 investigation by the Associated Press had previously discovered that nearly 1,000 cops in 41 states had been decertified as law enforcement officers due to sexual misconduct between 2009 and 2014:

“Some 550 officers were decertified for sexual assault, including rape and sodomy, sexual shakedowns in which citizens were extorted into performing favors to avoid arrest, or gratuitous pat-downs. Some 440 officers lost their badges for other sex offenses, such as possessing child pornography, or for sexual misconduct that included being a peeping Tom, sexting juveniles or having on-duty intercourse.”

However things kicked off with a bang in 2016, when former Oklahoma City police officer Daniel Hotlzclaw was sentenced to 263 years in prison on January 21 for 18 counts of rape, forcible oral sodomy, burglary and other charges. He was convicted of committing sexual assaults on 13 African American women that he had encountered while on-duty. He used his authority to force them into sexual acts, “threatening to arrest them on outstanding warrants or for possessing drug paraphernalia.”

The usual steady stream of cops arrested for statutory rape, child molestation, and possessing child pornography was supplanted with cases such as the following:

The investigator waited in a sheriff’s department van near a Montvale convenience store for his date: a grand jury witness whom he had invited for a drink.

The woman knew Cook from two earlier meetings about the case. She had testified five weeks earlier before a grand jury investigating unlawful distribution of prescription narcotics in Bedford County. According to a statement he later gave his superiors, Cook didn’t think she had added much to the case, code-named Operation Pain Train. He said he knew it was wrong as a married man to pursue her, but didn’t think it conflicted with his law enforcement duties.He had drunk six beers by the time she pulled her vehicle near his van, the report said.

The woman, identified in court papers only by her initials, found Cook in jeans and a sweatshirt saying he had just finished work. He had six more beers with him. She told him she didn’t plan to drink. He climbed into her car. She drove a short distance, then pulled off the road. They talked about the case; Cook assured her she was not at risk of being charged. She asked if he was married, and he said he wasn’t, she later told federal authorities.

When he leaned over to kiss her, she initially declined but then relented. Later, Cook “tried to pull” the woman to his lap, at which point her knee hit the center console, causing a bruise. An FBI investigator who took down her story wrote that “Cook asked if she could ‘feel that,’ referring to his erect penis. [She] told him that she could, pushed herself back in the driver’s seat and told him again that she does not get intimate with someone she hardly knows.”

Cook fondled himself and asked if she was going to leave him “hanging,” the FBI report said….A few days later, at Cook’s invitation, he met her again at the same spot. This time, Cook warned that drug investigators considered her “involved” as a potential target and, if she needed to be arrested, he would go to her house and give her a “thorough” strip search, she told authorities.

Cook was suspended without pay for two days a month over the course of five months, and was ultimately granted a request to work as a resource officer at Staunton River High School where he was later recognized as the “Virginia school resource officer of the year.”  This is despite the claim from Dana Schrad, head of the Virginia Association of Chiefs of Police, that “Our profession is pretty severe on those who tarnish the badge. In Virginia in particular, there’s no tolerance for that.”

  • In May, we learned of the everlasting gobstopper of a scandal where at least 28 officers in five different California Bay Area law enforcement agencies were involved in sex trafficking entanglements with Celeste Guap (legal name Jasmine Abuslin), including incidents where she was under the age of consent. The lid was blown off the story when one of the involved officers committed suicide, and has resulted in four police chiefs resigning, multiple officers being suspended and terminated, Guap getting shuffled off to Florida by the Richmond Police Department amid accusations of witness tampering, and as of September, the Alameda County District Attorney’s office announcing “it will file criminal charges against seven officers. The charges vary for each officer but include engaging in prostitution, felony oral copulation with a minor and obstruction of justice.”
  • Milwaukee Police Officer Dominique Heaggan-Brown celebrated his paid vacation for killing Syville Smith, and the resulting riots, by drugging and raping a male acquaintance. Heaggan-Brown was charged with two felony counts of second-degree sexual assault, two misdemeanor prostitution counts and one felony count of capturing an intimate representation of a person without consent, after the victim filed a report and “investigators determined that Heaggan-Brown offered two other people money for sex several times — in December 2015 and in July and August of this year — and that he sexually assaulted another unconscious person in July, and photographed that victim naked without that person’s consent.”

It shouldn’t really surprise anyone that a profession that trains its officers to commit sexual assault as an expected part of the job would attract people who enjoy committing sexual assaults. It’s also worth noting that:

  1. The legion of sheep mindlessly bleating that citizens should follow all of a police officer’s commands are telling citizens that they should just submit to rape and then “take it up with the courts later.”
  2. I have not seen a single case where a victim refused or physically resisted a sexual assault by an officer. It’s likely that those who did are dead or incarcerated for “assaulting an officer” or some other manufactured “contempt of cop” charge after having no one believe their account of what happened.

Peak Awareness for Police Brutality

“We face, therefore, a moral crisis as a country and a people. It cannot be met by repressive police action. It cannot be left to increased demonstrations in the streets. It cannot be quieted by token moves or talk. It is a time to act in the Congress, in your State and local legislative body and, above all, in all of our daily lives. It is not enough to pin the blame on others, to say this a problem of one section of the country or another, or deplore the facts that we face. A great change is at hand, and our task, our obligation, is to make that revolution, that change, peaceful and constructive for all. Those who do nothing are inviting shame, as well as violence. Those who act boldly are recognizing right, as well as reality.”
— John F. Kennedy, Address to the Nation, June 1963

2016 was also the year that we reached peak awareness for police brutality, however awareness translates into concrete action for very few, and fails to change the opinions of cop apologist authority junkies who don’t actually care about right or wrong. At this point, the only people who pretend that police brutality and misconduct are not a huge problem are those who directly benefit from police protectionism (law enforcement, politicians and other government officials, prosecutors, judges, and the prison industry) and those who overtly approve of the wanton unaccountable violence they see visited on those they deem deserving of unconstitutional abuse and summary execution.

In those rare instances where police departments actually find fault with an officer’s actions, the prosecutor seeks an indictment and doesn’t intentionally throw the trial, and guilt or innocence is determined by a jury instead of sympathetic judge, these cop cheerleaders always seem to find their way into the jury pool, and deliver a final block to prevent criminal cop thugs from being brought to justice. Witness the outcome in the trial of Michael Slager, who shot unarmed Walter Scott in the back and then lied about what happened in his official report, before it was discovered that a bystander had captured the whole thing on video. There was also a mistrial in the case of Garland police officer Patrick Tuter, who reloaded three times to shot at an unarmed man 41 times. Two of the other officers on the scene even testified against him, saying that his actions were reckless, and that “the only time he felt in fear for his life was when Officer Tuter was shooting more than 41 rounds into the truck.”

Perhaps change will come once we achieve Peak Police Brutality, that stage where a large enough segment of citizens experiences the terror of equal police violence under the law. With law enforcement unloosed and unleashed by a federal government that is no longer even going to pretend to be concerned about police misconduct, we may get there yet.

2016 also saw the curious emergence of supposed police accountability advocates who cheered and clapped their hands at videos of protesters getting run down for standing in the street, but cried and wrung their hands at videos of cops getting gunned down for killing innocent people in the street.

Let me make this more plain for the deliberately dull amongst us:

If your support for nonviolent anti-police-brutality activism evaporates as soon as it poses any inconvenience for you, you never had any real commitment to the cause at all. If you disapprove of one of these, but not the other, stop pretending that you are opposed to extrajudicial retaliatory violence.  You have more in common with our oppressors in blue than you realize or admit; Embrace your inner thug in 2017.

Citizens Place More Faith and Value in the Justice System than the Cops Who Work Within it

Dallas, Baton Rouge, and the shrieking hysterics of police unions and politicians across the United States aside, the War on Cops still isn’t a thing.  From How The Perceived ‘War On Cops’ Plays Into Politics And Policing (emphasis mine):

“Seth Stoughton, a former officer who is now an assistant professor of law at the University of South Carolina has been tracking premeditated murders of law enforcement officers — what he calls police assassinations — and he says the number of police killed like this jumped from five or six last year, to somewhere in the neighborhood of eight to 12 this year

…”’It looks like a huge increase — and it is a huge increase, but it’s a huge percentage increase involving very small numbers,’ he says.”

Keep that in mind when the cop apologist corps throw around numbers about how many cops total died on the job this year (including from car accidents caused by their own negligence, heart attacks from too much Chik Fil-A and/or ‘roids, and the string of K9s left to die in hot cars by their handlers) or specifically how many were shot and killed (sometimes accidentally by other cops). These are attempts to make it seem like a criminal who kills a cop while attempting to evade arrest is the same as one who devises and acts on a deliberate, premeditated plan to hunt down and murder cops specifically because they are cops.

The larger story here is that hundreds of millions of people continued to remain peaceful in the face of rampant police violence and abuse and police departments, politicians, prosecutors, judges, and juries who show they are steadfastly uninterested in adequately investigating, punishing, or preventing police criminality.

Countless individuals have either experienced police brutality firsthand or watched helplessly as their loved ones were brutalized in front of them or in a videos they saw after the fact, videos that were probably maddeningly inescapable in the news and on social media.  Every real and imagined infraction committed by victims of police violence is publicized while any past history of abuses by the involved officers remains “a personnel matter that cannot be disclosed.” Still… not a single family member of these victims has attempted vigilante justice after being denied a legal remedy for the offenses committed by law enforcement officers.

Contrast this with the immediate calls for vengeance whenever a suspect injures or kills a police officer and the outspoken approval given for cops beating the suspect once he is in custody or executing him on sight. There is no discussion about not “rushing to judgment“ or “waiting for the outcome of the investigation” and certainly there is no public exhumation of the deceased cop’s personnel records to determine if he previously engaged in behavior that may have contributed to his own death.

Let’s just pretend that whole Joe Gliniewicz thing didn’t happen. We should also forget about Travis County Sheriff’s Office deputy Sgt. Craig Hutchinson who staged his suicide like a murder in July and had six innocent people sitting in jail as suspects for a crime that no one had committed.

Police Photos of Overdose Victims Became the New Selfie

What would you do if you happened upon opioid-overdosed adults passed out in a car with a young child? Check for a pulse and administer Narcan? Remove the vulnerable child from the vehicle to comfort them and make sure he or she was okay? If you are a conscientious and sensitive police officer, you would first be sure to take photographs of the scene so that you could share THE IMPACT OF THE OPIOID EPIDEMIC IN AMERICA™ on social media and to news stations, probably without bothering to obscure the identity of the juvenile in the photograph before posting it all over the internet.

The opioid epidemic affects law enforcement officers as well, however, there doesn’t seem to be any accompanying rush to document cop overdoses with photographs. There are no photos available of FBI agent Matthew Lowery, discovered incoherent in his car surrounded by open bags of heroin he had taken from the evidence room under false pretenses and also “a shotgun and a derringer pistol seized during a drug raid but never logged into evidence,” a discovery which resulted in cases being dismissed against 28 defendants.

There are also no photographs documenting how Johnstown PA police officer William Slisz was found passed out from a drug overdose in the department’s break room and had to be revived with Narcan.  He was found with a hammer lying next to him. According to the Cambria County District Attorney, “It appeared as he was trying to hammer himself into the secure evidence room within the police department.”

Oddly, opioid-addicted cops never seem willing to turn themselves in for arrest, even as they tell themselves, “You’re doing them a favor,” when they arrest others who suffer from similar addictions.

A Victory in the War on Drugs

Kratom, an herb related to the coffee plant, has been a literal lifesaver for thousands of people struggling with heroin and prescription painkiller addiction, allowing them to get off those substances and treat chronic pain without the risk of overdose or negatively impacting their ability to function normally.

Kratom users were alarmed and shocked when the DEA announced in August that it intended to place the herb under an emergency ban as a Schedule I substance effective September 30th. The DEA claimed that kratom was such an imminent hazard to public safety that they didn’t need to bother with legal requirements such as a public comment period before proceeding with the ban.

From the Huffington Post:

Walter C. Prozialeck, a professor of pharmacology at Midwestern University who wrote a comprehensive literature review on kratom for the Journal of the American Osteopathic Association, said he disagrees with the DEA’s characterization.

“Even though the ‘mytragines’ may have some affinity for opioid receptors, their actions are quite different from those of classic opioids, like morphine, hydrocodone, oxycodone, heroin, etc.,” Prozialeck wrote in an email to HuffPost. “After looking at the literature, I would certainly not classify them as classic ‘opioids.’”

Prozialeck described kratom as largely benign in an earlier interview with HuffPost, and said it doesn’t produce much in the way of psychoactive high in low to moderate doses. He called for additional research and cautioned against mixing the drug with other substances ― a concern the DEA notice also raised. But he said kratom doesn’t have a particularly high potential for recreational abuse and agreed with advocates who say the positive effects appear to outweigh the negatives.

Kratom users and advocacy organizations such as the American Kratom Association mobilized quickly, setting up a White House petition that gathered nearly 146,000 signatures, organizing call floods to the DEA, holding a rally in DC, and convincing more than 100 members of Congress to sign onto Dear Colleague letters pressuring the DEA to reconsider the emergency scheduling. Additionally, prestigious publications such as Scientific American pointed out that adding kratom to Schedule I would “cripple promising painkiller research.”

Here’s a video of a man handing out cups of kratom, a substance the DEA intended to make a Schedule I drug. Notice how no one is acting high. This act turns a key moment from the manufactured War on Drugs on its head: In 1989 the DEA set up an undercover crack cocaine buy in this same area specifically so that President George H. Bush could hold up a bag of crack on TV and proclaim that the drug epidemic was so bad that dealers were selling it right in front of the White House. In reality, the teenage dealer set up by the DEA had to be given directions to the location, asking “Where the {expletive} is the White House?”

On September 30th, the DEA announced that it was withdrawing the emergency scheduling notice, and would have a public comment period before making a final decision. More than 23,000 comments were submitted, the vast majority of which were testimonials from kratom users describing how the herb had restored them to normal life and given them the ability to productive members of society again.

So far, no final decision has been announced, and kratom remains legal for the time being. Kratom users have succeeded in at least temporarily clawing back the fate that medical marijuana users have suffered with for decades. Thousands of people who rely on the herb await the incoming administration and to learn whether the DEA plans to doom them to prescription painkiller addiction, infirmity, and even death.