A man who says he lost an eye last summer while peacefully protesting has filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana against the police officer who allegedly left him partially blind. The officer accused of firing the tear gas round into Balin Brake’s face is requesting qualified immunity, the legal doctrine that often protects state actors from being held accountable in civil court.
Brake, 22, says that on May 30, 2020, he arrived at the Allen County Courthouse in Fort Wayne, Indiana, for a nonviolent demonstration following the death of George Floyd. While standing with his hands up, he claims, a group of officers with the Fort Wayne Police Department (FWPD) fired tear gas into the crowd, prompting them to retreat. One tear gas canister hit his right shoe, causing it to burn; he then looked back, at which point Officer Justin Holmes allegedly fired a canister that hit Brake in the face.
Body camera video released this week shows the extent in which police will go to justify their existence in the war on drugs — up to and including desecrating the the remains of a little girl.
In 2019, Dartavius Barnes, the father of Ta’Naja Barnes, experienced every parent’s worst nightmare when he found his daughter unresponsive in her home. She would later be pronounced dead in a Decatur hospital and an autopsy would reveal she was murdered.
Ta’Naja’s mother and her mother’s boyfriend would later be arrested on murder charges over her death.
Ta’Naja was later cremated and Barnes remembered his daughter by carrying around her ashes with him in a micro urn. Because the state is a soulless machine which knows no limit to destruction and terror when carrying out the arbitrary war on drugs, Barnes’ daughter’s remains would be desecrated by police.
According to a recent lawsuit filed by Barnes against the City of Springfield, he was unlawfully detained on April 6, 2020 and during this unlawful detainment, he was searched.
According to the lawsuit, officers placed him in handcuffs while they searched his vehicle without consent, valid warrant, or probable cause. During this search without consent, police removed the sealed micro-urn from Barnes’ vehicle that contained the ashes of his murdered daughter, unsealed it, opened it, and spilled his daughter out on the ground.
In the newly released body camera footage, we see that Barnes was pulled over for allegedly speeding when he was handcuffed and his vehicle searched.
“You got anything in your car?” an officer asks.
Barnes responded “Not really,” before telling the officer he had marijuana. In the state of Illinois, it is not illegal to have marijuana on your person as they voted to legalize it recreationally in 2019.
Nevertheless, the officer used this as a reason to search.
When officers discovered the urn, they began running field drug test kits on it.
“I checked for cocaine, but it looks like it’s probably molly,” the officer said.
“X pills,” the other added.
At this time, Barnes didn’t know what was happening but he would soon find out that police had dumped his daughter’s ashes out looking for non-existent drugs.
As TFTP previously reported, currently, the nation is gripped with a historical unemployment problem, the feds are waging a new cold war with Russia, the country is on the brink of civil war, hundreds of thousands of people are still locked up for victimless crimes, the dollar is on the verge of collapse, we are nearly 30 trillion dollars in debt, and the Biden administration has set its crosshairs on outlawing menthol cigarettes.
The asinine decision to ban yet another product couldn’t have come at a more inopportune time given the current state of policing in the land of the free. This will only lead to more suffering, more senseless police interactions, and more persecution of black people. There are undoubtedly swarms of cops right now chomping at the bit to enforce a ban on menthol and flavored cigarettes — ready to “crack some skulls.”
The move is so poorly thought out that even the left-leaning American Civil Liberties Union warns that it could have grave consequences, especially for people of color.
If you don’t think the state will kidnap, cage, or even kill people over cigarette laws, you likely haven’t read many articles on the Free Thought Project.
On July 17, 2014, Eric Garner, father of six, had just broken up a fight outside of his shop when he was targeted by NYPD cops for harassment and extortion for selling loose cigarettes. Because the state will go to grave and violent lengths to enforce even the most arbitrary of laws, Garner was subsequently assaulted and killed by “compression of neck, chest and positioning during restraint by police” — over cigarettes.
Eric Garner sold “loosie” cigarettes. The state didn’t get their cut. So they killed him.
No one has been held responsible for Garner’s death as the state seemingly considers the violation of cigarette laws, an offense punishable by death.
Filming the police is entirely legal, in every state. However, all too often, we will see police officers overstep their authority and arrest, attack, and assault innocent people for the constitutionally protected act of documenting their behavior in public. As the following case out of Trenton, New Jersey illustrates, police officers will go to extreme and often violent lengths to make sure they are not being filmed, up to and including beating and falsely arresting an innocent mother.
In a recently filed lawsuit, Gloria Noemi Ramirez Caal details the night of her abuse by Trenton’s finest. Caal has the video to back up her claims, as well as the horrific injuries.
According to the lawsuit, Caal was filming her son’s arrest at their home in January 2020 when police attacked her for filming. The innocent mother was holding a 3-year-old when police attacked her for filming, leaving her with injuries to her head, neck, back, right leg and knocking out multiple teeth.
Caal weighs only 100 pounds and is just 4′ 11″ tall yet she was treated like a violent felon for practicing her first amendment right to film.
It’s not hard to imagine the predictable reaction to this video from those who reflexively defend police abuse. She “should have complied,” they’ll say. Some might insist that if she had her arm broken and her tiny body thrown to the ground, she was “asking for it” because, well, she may have tried to steal the equivalent of thirteen dollars.
Indeed, defenders of police abuse and incompetence often attempt to console themselves with the idea that they would always comply with police orders, and therefore would never have to worry about being shot dead, beaten down, or otherwise abused by police.
This might seem plausible for someone who has no family members with severe autism, mental illness, dementia, hearing impairment, lack of fluency in English, or any other condition that might be inconvenient to police officers.
But for many people, the reality of “compliance” isn’t nearly as neat, clean, and black and white as defenders of police want to believe.
Moreover, many innocent and unarmed victims of police shootings aren’t even given a chance to “comply.” They’re just shot dead without warning.
Admittedly, these facts will do little to persuade the “Back the Blue” crowd from changing their slavish devotion to the well-paid, nearly impossible-to-fire, legally immune, and unionized government employees in police departments.
But let’s review some of the evidence anyway.