Police Misbehavior Is a Crucial Threat to Liberty

Whenever I write about police abuse and use-of-force issues, I often hear from the “back the badge” crowd to defend whatever it is the police officer did in a given situation. They’re not always wrong, of course, but one recurring theme always sticks in my craw, especially given that these writers typically describe themselves as “conservatives.”

Police defenders instinctively view most situations—and expect the rest of us to do so—from the perspective of the officer. “Well, sure that African American teen was holding a cellphone rather than a gun, but how was the officer to know before he shot him?” “Sure, the SWAT team broke down the door to the wrong apartment, but mistakes happen (note the passive voice).”

One of the stated principles of conservatism is fealty to the constitution, which protects the rights of individuals against the abuses of government. Police are the face of that government. They enforce the rules that lawmakers pass. Having the right to detain or even kill you, officers literally hold all of your “rights” within their grasp.

Therefore, I spend less time worrying about the genuinely difficult challenges of officers than about my fellow citizens’ right to life and liberty. As Charlton Heston says in a Touch of Evil, “Only in a police state is the job of a policeman easy.” Likewise, I worry less about the frustrations of IRS agents than I do about the rights of taxpayers. Tax collectors have a legitimate job, but a true freedom-lover is primarily concerned about protecting individuals from the state.

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Cops Investigated Themselves, Found They Did Nothing Wrong When Dragging Paraplegic Man From Car By His Hair

As TFTP reported in September, Clifford Owensby of Dayton, Ohio, learned the violent and oppressive lengths the American police state will go to enforce window tint extortion laws. Owensby, who had committed no crime, was targeted by police, assaulted, and then sent on his way because of the arbitrary darkness of his window tint. Days later, body camera footage was released released by police, showing just how brutal cops are willing to be over the darkness of a man’s windows — and skin too.

Owensby filed a complaint with the Professional Standards Bureau of the Dayton Police Department (DPD), who launched an investigation in October. Now, after “investigating” themselves for the last three months, police have come to the conclusion that officers did nothing wrong.

The report from the investigation determined Owensby’s allegations that officers threatened violence and mocked him were “unfounded” in spite of their violence captured on video.

The officer’s “pulling of Mr. Owensby’s hair may have been visually offensive to some people, but in reality the hair pulling was on the low end of the force spectrum and did not cause injury,” investigators found. “Mr. Owensby was removed to Grandview Medical Center where it was confirmed he was not injured during the incident.”

The officers faced no discipline in spite of turning off their body cameras and mocking Owensby which was recorded on a supervisor’s body camera. Investigators did, however, recommend more training as there is no policy in place that dealt with “how to best transport a disabled subject,” the review stated.

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Unarmed Woman Executed by Cop On Her Way to Work Over Alleged Speeding Ticket—Lawsuit

In June of 2020, family and friends of Hannah Fizer, 25, were shocked to learn that their beloved daughter and friend had been killed during a stop over an alleged speeding violation. Then, four months later, they learned there would be no justice and the officer who killed the unarmed woman as she sat in her vehicle — was back on the job.

Since then, Fizer’s father, John Fizer, filed a wrongful death lawsuit in Pettis County seeking damages against Pettis County Deputy Jordan Schutte. The lawsuit argues the shooting was an unjustified, an excessive use of force and that Schutte did not follow several standard law enforcement protocols during the stop. When watching the video, it is entirely clear.

This week, PBS aired a minidocumentary (which you can watch below) detailing Fizer’s tragic shooting and it backs up what TFTP has been reporting since her death. As the documentary shows, the department remains unapologetic about killing Fizer.

In October 2020, the Pettis County prosecutor claimed that the officer shooting an unarmed woman during a traffic stop — dumping five rounds into her as she sat in her car — did not violate any policies. The officer “feared for his life.”

“Schutte had the ability and responsibility to prevent the use of deadly force against Ms. Fizer but failed to do so,” the lawsuit reads. “His actions contributed to Ms. Fizer’s avoidable death.”

As the documentary points out, on that fateful night on June 13, 2020, Fizer was on her way to work when she was targeted for extortion by the deputy. Just six minutes after the stop began, Fizer would have five bullet holes in her, still sitting in her car.

After killing Fizer, the deputy would claim the woman — who never made a violent threat in her life — had a gun and threatened to kill him. However, investigators found no such gun and it appears the only thing she was holding was her cellphone after letting the officer know that she was filming the stop.

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Cop Fired for Savagely Beating Handcuffed Pregnant Woman on Video, Hired at New Dept.

Officer Elizabeth Montoya is the latest roaming bad cop to receive a spotlight for her gypsy cop status and every bit of this light it is well deserved. Montoya was fired from the San Antonio police department in 2019 after she savagely beat the hell out of a handcuffed pregnant woman.

The incident was captured on body camera footage and it showed Montoya punch the woman in the breasts before delivering a fury of punches to the handcuffed pregnant woman’s head and face.

That woman, Kimberly Esparza, was six months pregnant when Montoya beat the hell out of her, threw her to the ground on her stomach, dragged her down the pavement and left her sitting in the rain, battered and bruised.

To justify this gross use of force against the pregnant woman, Montoya would charge her with assault of a public servant, resisting arrest and possession of a controlled substance – penalty group III, typically used to charge someone who illegally possesses prescription drugs with common medical uses, according to KSAT.

When the evidence was presented, however, Esparza was innocent and all charges were dropped.

For savagely beating a woman who was simply accused of possessing a controlled substance, who was handcuffed and pregnant, Montoya was never charged with a crime. In fact, it would take the department a year to get her fired and that was for muting her body camera — not for brutally beating a pregnant woman in handcuffs.

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Cop Executes Elderly Man in a Wheelchair, Shooting Him 9 Times as He Rolled By

Richard Lee Richards, 61, was accused of stealing an item from Walmart this week and instead of due process and having his day in court, he was executed on the spot. An investigation is now underway after video was released showing an officer dump 9 rounds into the man as he scooted by them — in his wheelchair.

Officer Ryan Remington, the clearly trigger happy officer, decided to open fire on the disabled elderly man because he didn’t immediately stop when told to do so. Richards execution was captured on store surveillance footage and police body camera footage and it is disturbing to say the least.

According to police, Richards, who was a paraplegic, was accused of stealing a toolbox from Walmart. When officers confronted him in the parking lot, he refused to stop and continued on, attempting to enter a nearby Lowe’s Home Improvement store.

As Richards rolled his wheelchair through the entrance to Lowe’s, Remington bypassed his taser, baton, pepper spray, and all other less than lethal means, and immediately drew his firearm.

“Do not go into the store, sir,” Remington is heard saying on the body camera footage. But Richards did not listen, continuing to roll away from him in his wheelchair.

Though it is not visible in any of the videos, police claimed Richards was in possession of a knife which is why Remington resorted to deadly force. Instead of simply grabbing the wheelchair and tasering the man, the cowardly officer decided to execute Richards. The shooting was so egregious that even the Tucson Police Chief, Chris Magnus said he was “deeply disturbed and troubled” by it.

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2020 Police violence report

Mapping Police Violence collected data on over 1,100 killings by police in 2020. Compiling information from media reports, obituaries, public records, and databases like Fatal Encounters and the WashingtonPost, this report represents the most comprehensive accounting of deadly police violence in 2020. Our analysis suggests the majority of killings by police in 2020 could have been prevented and that specific policies and practices might prevent police killings in the future.

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