UIUC Cans PTI Director Tom Dempsey, Covers Up Its Own Mismanagement

The Chicago Tribune is reporting that the University of Illinois has received the resignation of Tom Dempsey, now ex-director of UIUC's Police Training Institute. Dempsey will apparently receive a golden parachute of $75,000 from the UI, plus $12,000 for health care insurance.

While Dempsey's departure seemed a foregone conclusion since it became obvious over the summer that he generated a massive personal conflict of interest by cutting a deal tying UIUC's PTI to the mercenary corporation, Blackwater USA, at the same time he was arranging his own employment by Blackwater as a mercenary in Afghanistan, his resignation leaves many questions unanswered.

In part, this is because Dempsey's resignation called for a blanket of silence to descend on the affair, with both Dempsey and the UI agreeing to not comment further on his exit. The public would be better served by the opening of an immediate investigation of the whole affair, rather than this cover-up. Considering what is already publicly known about this mess, very oddly the Tribune reported that "The separation agreement, however, states that Dempsey 'adhered by [university] policy regarding non-university employment and use of vacation time.'"

The original agreement linking the mercenaries to UIUC was apparently approved at the UI Board of Trustees level. However, there has been no elaboration on exactly how this agreement came about in secrecy without a thorough public vetting of such an obviously controversial and problematic pact. Thus, it appears that the UI has handled this affair in this manner as much to disguise its own internal incompetence as to rid itself of an unethical administrator.

The University has previously stated that Dempsey handled the agreement through one chain of command and had his paid-by-Blackwater "vacation" in Afghanistan approved by another chain of command at the University. None of this set off any alarm bells within the UI administration and the whole situation cries out for a complete public review of both PTI's procedures to enter agreements with non-academic organizations. The University apparently continues to be engaged in another such agreement with yet another mercenary corporation, Triple Canopy.

This boondoggle also raises serious questions about the justifications for pouring millions of dollars into the so-called "war on drugs," both domestically and internationally. In justifying his actions in the affair in a commentary published in the News-Gazette after news it broke, Dempsey claimed that whatever he'd done was justified by what he claimed to be the noble necessity to carry the fight in the "war on drugs" to Afghanistan. Opium growing in Afghanistan has ballooned in the wake of the US-sponsored attack on the nation in 2001. Dempsey left unmentioned that Blackwater USA profited from helping conduct this war in the first place and is now profiting from supposedly helping clean up the mess it made.

Problem -- Reaction -- Solution. Public opinion is being manipulated for profit and personal gain by highly-paid drug warriors to support consistently failed and increasingly militarized law enforcement "solutions" to social problems like drugs. The fact that the "drug war" has been turned into a profit center by organizations like Blackwater USA and police professional advocacy organizations is yet another indication that a new policy that relies on a harm-reduction approach would better serve the public than the vain glorious expansion of secret police forces, SWAT teams banging down doors, and arrest statistics whose results clearly show that police have tended to concentrate these questionable and ineffective tactics on locking up minority populations.

Until Iraq came along, the "war on drugs" was the biggest failed American war since Vietnam. It's time to quit pouring money down this "war on drugs" rathole and adopt a common sense approach to drugs that truly pose a danger to health, like meth and cocaine, and to legalize drugs like marijuana, which do not pose any significant risk to the public. Otherwise, it is clear that public funds are largely being wasted ineffectively and that the slush funds involved tend to corrupt the police and other public insititutions, just as alcohol prohibition did early in the 20th century.

For earlier reporting on this scandal, see:
PTI’s Tom Dempsey – Martyr? Or Just Another Unethical Cop?
University of Illinois PTI, Blackwater -- "Conflict of Commitment"?

Justice and Injustice

Let's see now. It looks like this mess includes fraud, wire fraud, misrepresentation of use of official leave, several violations of the state ethics law (didn't Dempsey take that test?), etc.

Wow, it's a good thing Dempsey didn't get caught holding a baggie of reefer. He could've gone to jail!

It Would be Interesting to Read All Those Emails...

U. of I. administrator out
Police institute director also worked for paramilitary outfit

By Jodi S. Cohen and E.A. Torriero

Tribune staff reporters

September 7, 2007

University of Illinois officials cut ties Thursday with Tom Dempsey, the beleaguered director of the school's police training institute who has been under scrutiny for his work with a controversial military contractor.

Dempsey's resignation comes after the Tribune first reported in July about possible conflicts of interest involving Dempsey and Blackwater USA, a security firm that provides private paramilitary forces for America's war on terror and has become a lightning rod for anti-war passions.

In July and August, Dempsey was in Afghanistan using his accrued paid-vacation time from U. of I. to work as an independent Blackwater consultant, training Afghan anti-narcotics police in investigative techniques.

Dempsey worked out his personal deal with Blackwater at the same time he signed a partnership agreement that linked U. of I. and Blackwater. Under that agreement, signed in May, Blackwater and the U. of I. training facility agreed to exchange staff and students, share facilities and collaborate on training.

U. of I. Chancellor Richard Herman last month ended the partnership. No money had been exchanged, although the company stood to gain prestige by partnering with the highly regarded institute in Urbana-Champaign. Dempsey has claimed that the institute, which trains state police troopers, would benefit from Blackwater's expertise in international law enforcement.

Dempsey, 58, returned from Afghanistan last month and agreed to resign "in light of the controversy surrounding his affiliation with Blackwater," U. of I. spokeswoman Robin Kaler said. While the resignation agreement was made final Thursday, Dempsey's resignation was effective Aug. 31.

Dempsey, who had been director of the institute since 2002, was paid $118,178 a year.

Under the agreement, U. of I. will pay Dempsey $75,000 in severance and $12,000 to cover health insurance costs for a year, according to a copy obtained under the Freedom of Information Act. He also will be paid for all accrued and unused vacation days.

Dempsey did not return a call from the Tribune on Thursday. The resignation agreement states that the university and Dempsey will not make any additional statements regarding the matter.

University officials said previously that Dempsey was not upfront about his personal consulting arrangement. The Blackwater partnership agreement was executed through one branch of the university system while Dempsey's vacation request and conflict-of-interest disclosure forms were put in through another.

"The facts are that you were negotiating both the [Blackwater partnership] and future employment with Blackwater at the same time and no one above you was informed of both of these relationships," Peg Rawles, an associate chancellor, said in an August e-mail to Dempsey, a printout of which was obtained by the Tribune. "The chronology raises more questions than answers."

The separation agreement, however, states that Dempsey "adhered by [university] policy regarding non-university employment and use of vacation time."

Kaler said Thursday that university officials are reviewing ways to tighten approval procedures to avoid possible conflicts of interest, and they are discussing whether the same university department that reviews partnership agreements should also review employee requests about non-university employment.

"That is the type of thing that certainly will be considered," Kaler said. "We are reviewing all existing [agreements], and we are reviewing our process for approving them."

Printouts of other e-mails obtained by the Tribune show that Dempsey asked institute employees not to talk about his work for Blackwater and to cover up for him in his absence.

In an e-mail sent to the Tribune last month, Dempsey said he went through proper channels to obtain permission for each venture and did not try to deceive anybody. He said he did not see a conflict between his work in Afghanistan and his role in executing the university partnership with Blackwater. He also said his work for Blackwater was for a greater good.

"This opportunity is a once-in-a-lifetime chance to play a small role in efforts to assist the Afghan police in addressing the opium problem that plagues their nation," he wrote. "I hope to return from Afghanistan soon to my position as director of one of the largest and finest police training facilities in the United States. A position I am honored to fill."




Copyright © 2007, Chicago Tribune

Mistake in the article

 U. of I. Chancellor Richard Herman last month ended the partnership. No money had been exchanged, although the company stood to gain prestige by partnering with the highly regarded institute in Urbana-Champaign. Dempsey has claimed that the institute, which trains state police troopers, would benefit from Blackwater's expertise in international law enforcement.

I know it's of little importance to the issue at hand, but PTI doesn't train state troopers.  Illinois State Police has it's own training facility.  PTI trains everyone else.  Must have slipped through the Trib's editing....

More Flaky Editing

Unless it was based on a direct quote, which is not indicated, this bit of writing should have also had some further editorial review:

"He [Dempsey] also said his work for Blackwater was for a greater good."

There is no way that a reporter should characterize working as a mercenary as being for "a greater good." Such work is about private profit, not the public welfare. Of course, Blackwater's leadership is closely associated with a certain evangelical fundamentalism and they might _claim_ that is the case. Surely, experienced journalists should express skepticism about such claims, instead of swallowing it hook, line, and sinker. The News-Gazette's uncritical publishing of Dempsey's mea culpa was bad enough. The Trib should have done better, but I'm not too surprised it was only a little better.

Drug War Excuse Does NOT Equal "Greater Good"

Dempsey's excuses reveal the hollow facade of the drug war and, more generally, the "law and order" nonsense that has ruled this nation since the time of Nixon. Careful observers will note that "law and order" came along right after African-Americans finally achieved full legal, if not social, equality. There is a connection, although conservatives will deny it. Why else have our prisons filled with black people, when surveys have shown time and time again that they use drugs less frequently than other Americans?

Those who speak out against the threat that the drug war poses to the civil liberties of all Americans have always been dismissed as letting these concerns cloud their vision of what conservatives feel is the "greater good" of suppressing drugs through legal means.

The right to avoid self-incrimination? No more, you must submit to drug testing, for the "greater good."

The right to be secure in one's home against unreasonable searches and seizures? No more, no-knock warrants and no warrants period must be impose on the populace, for the "greater good."

The right to choose the best medicine for your health needs? Heck no, you will submit to what the government imposes as the "correct" choices in drugs, even if marijuana is the best and least toxic treatment for your condition, for the "greater good."

The militarization of our schools and the teaching of children to snitch on their parents and friends, just like the East Germans demanded of their citizens, yes, it's not unAmerican, it's for the "greater good."

Defraud the government of Illinois by arranging a shady, back-room deal to trade favors for a paid vacation to Afghanistan, blame it on the demands of the drug war and grab your $75,000 golden parachute on the way out the door, for the "greater good."

Use the Constitution for toilet paper in the name of the drug war, well, you see, we have no choice because it's for the "greater good."

Thanks, Tom Dempsey, for showing us all what a profitable Trojan Horse the drug war has become, the all purpose excuse to abuse your power, position, and the University's prestige for the "greater good."

PTI and Blackwater

"Under that agreement, signed in May, Blackwater and the U. of I. training facility agreed to exchange staff and students, share facilities and collaborate on training."

I'm a little uncomfortable that our Urbana, Champaign, University and Sherriff's police departments were training with representatives of Blackwater and were involved in "exchanges". What exactly was Blackwater training our police departments to do?

Although this might have

Although this might have been stated, it never happened.

Without a Full and Complete Investigation

How do we know that Blackwater hasn't corrupted our local police? Given Balckwater is an organization addicted to secrecy -- we need only take Dempsey's word for that -- I see no reason to accept an off-the-cuff remark that citizens should feel safer, "now just move along."

I Can See It Coming


Next thing we'll see is Chief Finney of the Champaign Police logging on to preemptively tell us:

"I'm certain that if Blackwater did train CPD officers, it was fully within established procedures of the Champaign Police Department that I endorse. There is no need to investigate further by the city council or any other body pretending it is actually a civilian police review board."


We can all sleep more soundly knowing that CPD -- and PTI/Blackwater -- are protecting our civil liberties. And Finney's got a bridge over the Boneyard that he can make you a heck of a deal on!

I think the University owes all citizens of Illinois a full disclosure investigation. All we've got so far from Robin Kaler is nothing but CYA BS.

No Reason to Trust the Secret Police

Once you go down the road of using secret police and the associated tactics to oppress a population, there is no reason to trust anything associated with the government. It's all lies.

That's Democracy 101. Too bad Americans are just catching on to this sordid, corrupt blowback effect from the "drug war." Once a politician kisses the ass of the secret police by enabling them, instead of restricting them, you can kiss freedeom and liberty goodbye.

What exactly was Blackwater

What exactly was Blackwater training our police departments to do?

Blackwater trains a lot of SWAT teams on "safer" (for everyone involved) tactics.  The problem is that SWAT and the military don't mesh that well - SWAT tactics involve minimal casualties for everyone involved, even if that means risking the safety of a SWAT guy.  Military tactics are the exact opposite - do whatever it takes to make sure you survive.

They've also (if I remember correctly) started designing some of their own gear, so they probably train SWAT teams to use it so that their departments will buy it.

Let's Be More Skeptical About Such Claims

SWAT teams were originally adopted in order to put military tactics and weapons in the hands of the police. Claims that the goal of SWAT is to make things "safer" are specious public relations designed to overcome objections about the threat to civil liberties and public safety that such tactics have proven to pose.

Like the whole "law and order" mentality SWAT is part and parcel of, this style of policing came into being to suppress the "threat" posed by those who objected to the abuse and neglect of state power. The first SWAT teams were put into place by the Los Angeles PD, famous for using heavy-handed tactics against political dissenters right up to the present time.

California, which became the birthplace of modernized political repression under Ronald Reagan, also started the trend to suppress the rights granted in the Bill of Rights that many conservatives ironically hold dear, the Second Amendment. While many argue that part of state power is the state's right to have a monopoly on force, in the United States this issue has historically been far less clear. Due to the Second Amendment, Americans have always retained the right of access to at least a certain level of force through individual ownership of weapons. As long as this right was exercised almost exclusively by white males, including some who liked to wear white robes, it was never really questioned or restricted to the level it has been after African-Americans gained full legal equality -- and the same rights to bear arms.

In fact, it was due to the actions of black militants in exercising their rights to bear arms that saw the crackdown on the Second Amendment rights of all Americans. The Black Panthers marched into the California State Assembly when it was holding hearings on exactly this issue that made this point clear. In California at the time, it was legal to bear arms in public as long as they were openly displayed. The Panthers simply exercised the rights they held, just like any other citizens, but this was too much for some legislators and the police, who used this as an excuse to begin closing down the Second Amendment rights of all Americans.

You can say that SWAT is about exercising police power in a "safer" manner, but the fact is that SWAT was born in political repression and grew up fed on the pablum of the "drug war." Most such raids have questionable justification, with the possible exception of hostage situations. In most other nations, police simply wait a suspect out, which is the only really "safe" solution in most cases.

We need to ask ourselves as a nation if the escalation of the level of force that the state typically uses against its citizens embodied in the expansion of SWAT is most likely a large part of the reason why we have a more violent society overall, instead of a "safer" one. A free people will always resist oppression and that is the right of all Americans, not just those with white skin privilege. The fact that SWAT teams so rarely do use their weapons is as much an argument against the need for SWAT, as it is an argument that their use is "safer." In most cases when SWAT teams are called out, there is a serious question whether such call-outs are really necessary -- or are these over-reactions simply a way to justify the excessive investment in force that SWAT teams represent by giving the dominant media a photo op to justify growing SWAT budgets and use?

We also must ask, exactly how much of PTI's resources go into training SWAT teams? And how much would the involvement of Blackwater (having been given the bum's rush as a political embarrassment to the UI) have expanded that effort? And what is the continued involvement of Triple Canopy, another mercenary outfit, at PTI likely to contribute to SWAT's expansion? I don't feel "safer" because we have more secret police trained in essentially military tactics whose faces are hidden from the public. I feel more like I'm on the wrong side of the Berlin Wall.

Haven't I Heard That One Before?

SWAT teams are around because they are safer?

Isn't that what they said about tazers?

And that's even harder to believe about SWAT teams, for instance...

"Dog Day Afternoon"

Police Corruption

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Police Corruption

Similar to US alcohol prohibition of the 1920’s, current drug prohibition legislation breeds police corruption and abuse. A 1998 report by the General Accounting Office notes that on-duty police officers involved in drug-related corruption engage in serious criminal activities such as (1) conducting unconstitutional searches and seizures; (2) stealing money and/or drugs from drug dealers; (3) selling stolen drugs; (4) protecting drug operations; (5) providing false testimony; and (6) submitting false crime reports. Approximately half of all police officers convicted as a result of FBI-led corruption cases between 1993 and 1997 were convicted for drug-related offenses and nationwide over 100 cases of drug-related corruption are prosecuted each year. Every one of the federal law enforcement agencies with significant drug enforcement responsibilities has seen an agent implicated.

It isn't hard to explain the growth of corruption. Relative to other opportunities, legitimate or illegitimate, the financial temptations are enormous. Many police officers are demoralized by the scope of drug trafficking. No matter how diligent an officer may be eradication programs and millions of arrests have done little to stop drugs which are now cheaper, purer, and more available than ever. Given the dangers of their job, the indifference of many citizens and the frequent lack of appreciation are no doubt disheartening. Some police also recognize that their real function is not so much to protect victims from predators but to regulate an illicit market that can't be suppressed and that much of society prefers to keep underground.

One of America’s worst cases of drug-related police corruption occurred in California after an officer caught stealing eight pounds of cocaine from a police department's evidence locker turned on his fellow officers to get a reduced sentence. Known as the ‘Rampart’ Scandal, over a hundred convictions were overturned as police misconduct, ranging from the planting of evidence to “confessions” obtained through beatings was uncovered. Officers were indicted on corruption charges, including torture, murder, drug dealing, and framing innocent people. The unit's criminal behavior became known as the ‘Rampart Way,’ a term referring to a predominately poor, immigrant neighborhood in East Los Angeles patrolled - and during that time controlled -by the officers.
Indeed, the misfortune of corruption falls disproportionately on communities of color. In July of 1999 the small town of Tulia, Texas, saw 43 residents arrested in early-morning drug raids. Forty of those arrested were black - making up over ten percent of the town's African-American population. The few whites arrested were in relationships with blacks. The only evidence against them was the testimony of one white undercover officer, who worked alone, and had no audiotapes, video surveillance or eyewitnesses. Despite this, many of the accused ended up with harsh sentences ranging from 25 years to life. The officer’s credibility was brought into question when the employee of one defendant produced time cards revealing that the man was at work at the time of the alleged drug transaction. More recently, it was discovered that the undercover officer had quit his last law-enforcement job and fled town to avoid theft charges yet, only two of the convictions have been cleared.

Police Corruption in Kings County (Seattle), Washington state

A group of public defender organizations in Kings County (Seattle), Washington is pursuing an innovative litigation strategy with race and drug felony issues in the case Washington v. Varner. The offices are consolidating drug cases into a class action suit claiming that the Seattle Police Department employs racist practices in targeting certain communities for drug related offenses. Using statistical evidence compiled by graduate students at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, the attorneys argue that the Seattle Police Department's choices in where to enforce narcotics offenses are racist in intent and consequences. The overwhelming majority of those arrested and prosecuted are African-American and Latino, despite evidence that Caucasians use and sell drugs at equivalent rates. Counsel has filed a request for discovery to gain access to additional Police Department records to substantiate their claim. For further information on the case, contact: Kay C Lee Lisa Daugaard lisadaugaard@yahoo.com

Documents available in Washington v. Varner:
    Discovery Brief
    The Reply Brief
    Kennedy Report

Does Blackwater Training Explain Some Cases?

In spring of 2006 I believe, there was an incident on JoAnne Lane in Champaign, where a friendly school janitor from Franklin Middle School I'm guessing, was distraught over a relationship gone bad. He was barricaded in his car with a gun and was threatening suicide. The Champaign Police Department showed up, with the SWAT Armored Machine Gun Truck, and witnesses said they began "negotiations" with the upset man after sealing off the entire neighborhood with all the boy toys and cool squad cars. The front page News-Gazette photograph showed Deputy Chief Troy Daniels physically restraining a relative from speaking with his suicidal relative. The News-Gazette quoted the relative as shouting, "You're [the police] just going to shoot him anyway!" Neighborhood witnesses reported seeing the Armored Machine Gun Truck battering his car, in attempt to force the "suspect?" to make a decision. Sure enough, the man fled in his car, and we are told by police in the newspaper that the man drove down the street and took his life in his car with his gun. Problem is, ear witnesses reported hearing multiple shots being fired. Ultimately, no one really knows how the police were able to come in with a man threatening suicide, and through their professionally trained negotiators, end up having the man apparently blow his brains out all over his dashboard. Police refused to publish their police reports and refused to have an outside investigation.

Back in 1998-99 or so, a Champaign Police SWAT stormed a suspected drug house with a warrant, and found an 80-plus grandmother sitting in her living room. For officer safety reasons, police subdued the woman to the ground, using that one cool knee-to-the-back-of-the-neck move they do, causing the woman significant spinal damage to her neck. She complained to the News-Gazette who were a little shocked at the idea of a senior citizen getting thrown to the ground like that. Police recovered no drugs in the house, and did not find the suspect named in the warrant.

In the Fall of 1997, Champaign Police discover Greg Brown, an apparently overwieght, homeless black man behind a dumpster on Third Street in the wee hours of the early morning. The first officer on the scene calls for back-up. Ultimately, 15 Champaign Police officers are involved in a physical altercation with only one man. The man ends up dead from a heart attack or aphysixiation, can't recall what the press was allowed to print that year, but Greg Brown is dead in the alley because police say he resisted arrest so much, he caused his own death. Last year the News-Gazette quietly announced the City of Champaign reached an out-of-court settlement with the Greg Brown family to the tune of $100,000. Witnesses quoted in the Octopus in 1997 said they heard from their upstairs apartment, Greg Brown pleading for his life and seeing officers beating the man.

In 1999 in the early evening, Champaign police are called down to the new 4 million dollar bus terminal by MTD employees and talk with a loud man waiting for a bus on the platform. Police confront a longtime street person and homeless advocate, who claims to have an MTD transfer in hand and is indeed, waiting for a bus. Police arrest the man for disorderly conduct. While in the booking department of the new $11 million Satellite Jail, the homeless man is verbally confrontational with officers, protesting his arrest. While the man was still in handcuffs, a Champaign Police officer approached the man from behind with his billy club and expertly delivered a blow to the argumentative man's left knee. The man collapsed instantly to the ground. He was carried into a holding cell, and left to "shake it off". The man didn't shake it off. He laid on the cement ground until nearly 5 in the morning, defecating and urninating on himself in his clothes. Champaign County Sherriff deputies transported the man to the Carle Emergency room where doctors X-rayed the knee to see what was wrong. The X-rays showed man's entire knee cap had been shattered by blunt trauma force. When doctors came into inform the patient he would need immediate surgery they asked him, "Who hit you?" The man refused to reveal the identity of his attackers. $40,000 of surgery was performed. While in his hospital bed, he learned that the State's Attorney had quietly dismissed the disorderly conduct charges. He sought legal representation to sue the city, and filed a formal complaint with internal affairs of the Champaign Police Department. 4 law firms declined to represent the homeless man. A fifth law firm out of Chicago took on the case and represented the man during the police department's investigation into the allegations. After careful review of all the police reports, Police Chief Don Carter and City Manager Steve Carter determined that the man was being restrained by three officers at the county jail because the man was physically attacking the officers. During the scuffle, the three officers and the man fell to the ground. The weight of the officers and force of the fall must have accidently shattered the man's knee. Even so, the injury was incidental to officer's lawful justification to use the reasonable amount of force necessary to maintain officer safety. The law firm quietly withdrew from representing the homeless man.

Then there's all these jail suicides in 2004. On June 26, Joseph Beavers, a white 37 year-old, of Urbana hanged himself using a telephone cord at the booking area of the satellite jail in east Urbana. Somehow Beavers finds the time to be alone with the metal cord on the public phone, wrapping his head in the cord and by sitting down, hung himself instantly.
On July 11, Marcus Edwards, a black 18 year old, hanged himself with a bedsheet fashioned with a toothbrush and pencil and by leaning against the noose, cut off his airflow. Meanwhile, on November 6, 2004 Sgt. William Alan Myers takes the taser to Northern Illinois student Michael Rich, showing Rich how we do things down here. After documenting the beating and tasering with a doctor in Chicago, Rich files a complaint with internal affairs at the Sherriff's office on November 9, 2004. Then on December 4, 2004, another inmate is found dead in his cell. Terrell Layfield, a black 25 year-old, is the 3rd suicide of the year because tied a bed sheet to the ceiling and hung himself, right there in his cell in mid-air. No photos have ever been seen, no first responding officers' testimony has ever been published in all three suicides. Walsh conceded maybe his officers should have checked on Layfield's condition a little more frequently. Otherwise, the good 'ol Sherriff patiently explained to the County Board and the press, that it's the old "copy cat syndrome" we learn down at the 'ol PTI. As if the public is gullible enough to believe that Terrell Layfield knew of Marcus Edwards, and Edwards knew of Joe Beavers. Please Sherriff, watch better cop shows when shopping for ideas to tell the News-Gazette.

Meanwhile Julia Rietz has Susan McGrath call up Michael Rich in January of 2005 and offer Rich money to not sue the county because a Champaign County Deputy correctional officer (Myers) tried to shove a taser up Rich's rectum and beating him bloody. Rich refuses the money. Sgt. Myers went on to torture inmate Trina Fairly with his taser in September of 2005 and in November of 2005, Myers takes the taser to inmates Michael Alexander and Ray Hsieh in the same week. Julia Rietz quickly pays off Alexander and Hsieh to avoid the county government liability (Rietz legally represents the county government) and does her best to not prosecute Myers, without it looking she let an officer off in the press. Probation for Myers.

Then there's the beating and pepper spraying of a 17-year old by 4 Champaign police officers in Douglass Park this past March. Seems the boy wouldn't mind an officer when told to halt.

Then there's the bang-bang shoot-em-up at 4 Hedge Court this summer while police were chasing Torriano Johnson all around town. 2 children and a mother were inside the house as Champaign police officers blasted away from outside without having visual contact of the suspect. Chief Finney lies to the News-Gazette, deceitfully claiming Johnson had fired his gun at police as he fled into the house. Eye witnesses in the neighborhood claim Johnson never fired his gun after exiting his car.  

And if you videotape police doing their job, which is a much more accurate way to document police activity, as was the case in the summer of 2004, expect a Class 2 Felony of eavesdropping or a phony criminal case/frame job by the Urbana Police, as in the case of Martel Miller and Patrick Thompson.

And now we learn our police departments were seeking training from Blackwater and Triple Canopy. Any correlation here?




Before and After Blackwater -- Militarization of the Police

Interesting recap why many in our community feel the police are already far too quick to engage in the "kill 'em all, let god sort them out" approach to the use of violence in police work that is typified by the mercenary mindset of Blackwater.

This reminds us why the direct connection of Blackwater to police work would be and remains a bad idea. Illinois doesn't need its police trained by mercenaries at either PTI or "Blackwater North." However, just to be fair to the many police who genuinely take the "protect and serve" idea to heart, these incidents occurred prior to Dempsey's choice to further advance the militarization of Illinois police by engaging in his little arrangement to get Blackwater directly involved in training at PTI. We are fortunate that the relationship between Blackwater and PTI didn't get a chance to further aggravate the already troubled relationship between police and the public.

Our legal system is already far too tolerant of abusive police tactics and practices. The law itself is unready, unprepared, and unwilling to equally protect every member of the public against unnecessary police violence. This leaves aside the many injustices in the law itself that give some police the idea they have carte blanche to abuse minorities, the homeless, and those they suspect of using drugs.

What is clear is that giving police more access to brutality and violence is simply unacceptable and quite surely unneeded, whether you get a cozy relationship with mercenaries as part of the bargain or not. The back story to SWAT team history shows us that. I appreciate whoever took the time to remind us of where this mentality comes from. It surely is NOT the "protect and serve" approach to police work.

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