Police Departments Trying To Kill And Beat People A Little Less, Maybe

Now that Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson hasapologized for being worthless (but not for actively making matters worse), what are other law enforcement agencies doing to get back in the public's good graces? Let's start with a story we already touched on in the morning links, the top-notch police work of South Carolina Highway Patrol officer Sean Groubert, who earlier this month shot a guy several times because the guy was reaching for his wallet while black. You may have seen the video, but just because it's complete madness, we feel compelled to embed it, because of its remarkably high WTF value:

The awful: Groubert stopped Levar Jones for a "seatbelt violation," although when we first see Jones on the video, he is already out of his vehicle. Groubert asks Jones for ID, Jones turns to get it, and Groubert immediately shoots him several times, screaming "get out of the car!" Incredibly, Jones stays conscious after falling to the ground, and Groubert's dash cam catches the surreal dialogue:

Jones: What did I do, sir?

Groubert: Are you hit?

Jones: I think so...I can't feel my legs. I don't know what happened. I just grabbed my license...

Groubert: (on radio, calling an ambulance)

Jones: Why did you... Why did you shoot me?

Groubert: Well, you dove headfirst back into your car, then you jumped back out, I'm telling you to get out of your car.

Those are the words of a man who obviously has a lot of experience filling out arrest reports with verbs which justify a shooting, no? Look at the video and see if you see any "diving" into the car -- yes, yes, cop apologists are already saying that obviously Jones moved exactly like someone grabbing a gun, which is a perfectly reasonable interpretation if you assume all black motorists are just waiting to shoot a cop. But he also moved exactly like someone hurrying to comply with a cop who's screaming at him to get his ID, but who hasn't fully realized he's dealing with a high-strung psychopath. Fortunately, Jones was not badly injured, and was treated and released from the hospital (obligatory DailyCaller style comment: so he was lying about being paralyzed!).

The good: Groubert was fired last Friday, and Wednesday was charged with "assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature," a felony for which he could face 20 years in prison.

And instead of surrounding Groubert with a Thick Silent Line, South Carolina Department of Public Safety Director Leroy Smith fired his ass, issuing a statement that said:

Mr. Groubert’s actions rose to such an extent that his employment with us must be terminated. The facts of this case are disturbing to me, but I believe this case was an isolated incident in which Mr. Groubert reacted to a perceived threat where there was none. [...]

Mr. Groubert had a clear and unobstructed view of Mr. Jones. While Mr. Groubert was within the law to stop Mr. Jones for a safety belt violation, the force administered in this case was unwarranted, inconsistent with how our troopers are trained, and clearly in violation of Department policies. These violations demonstrate behavior that deviates from SCDPS standards and cannot be tolerated.

So good on the South Carolina State Police for quickly dealing with a bad cop, and not trying to cover the awful mess up or make excuses.

And then there's the infamous case of the California Highway Patrol officer who was captured on video on July 1 as he beat the living daylights out of a mentally ill woman on the side of Interstate 10. The state of California has reached a settlement with the woman, Marlene Pinnock, and will be paying her $1.5 million in compensation. The officer, Daniel Andrew, has been on paid leave since he pulled Pinnock out of traffic and then beat her up -- or maybe he "kinetically pacified" her; we don't keep up with all the cop lingo -- and he has also "elected to resign" from CHP.

Ms. Pinnock's attorney, Caree harper, said she was pleased with the settlement, which will take the form of a "special needs trust" to provide for her care and living expenses; Ms. Pinnock suffers from bipolar disorder.

"One of the things we wanted to make sure of was that she was provided for in a manner that accommodated her unique situation in life," Harper said, "and that the officer was not going to be an officer anymore and we secured those things."

Officer Andrew has not been charged with anything yet in the beating, but he hasn't been cleared, either, so let's hope that California can manage a criminal prosecution of an out of control cop at least as well as South Carolina can. And let's hear it for dash cams and bystanders with camera phones -- who'd have anticipated that surveillance everywhere would be a way to fight police brutality? In America, you watch Big Brother. What a country!

[TPM / HuffPo / Yahoo News]

Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.


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