World in View: U.S. police blotter

May 7, 2015

From the May-June 2015 issue of News & Letters

Tulsa, Okla.—The dying man, Eric Harris, says he can’t breathe. The cop who’s grinding his knee into the back of Harris’ head says, “Fuck your breath!” Who could hate cops enough to make up a story like that? No need. It happened in Tulsa, April 2. Captured on film.

That isn’t all. The elderly white “deputy” who shot Harris, Robert Bates, 73, said he was trying to use his taser, instead. A “mistake.” He turns out to be a poorly trained but wealthy contributor of cash, cars and video tech to the Tulsa Sheriff’s Office, who in return is allowed to play cop for pay—one of many, according to the Sheriff’s Office.

Upon review by the Tulsa Police department, “deputy” Bates was declared to be the victim…of stress.


North Charleston, S.C.—Walter Scott was pulled over for driving while Black on April 4. Within minutes he was dead, shot eight times in the back by Officer Michael Slager.

Unluckily for Slager, he was captured on videotape cold-bloodedly executing Scott; attempting to plant evidence; along with other cops, denying any kind of first aid to his victim; and then laughing about it all. In this case, Slager has been charged with murder.


Chicago, Ill.—On April 16, Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced the City of Chicago was creating a $5.5 million fund to pay reparations to victims of torture by former police commander Jon Burge. Over $100 million has already been spent on legal costs related to Burge, who tortured hundreds of suspects from the 1970s-90s—many of whom ended up in prison for decades—and who sent 10 men to death row.

Burge spent less than four years in prison, convicted of perjury and now collects a pension of  $4,000 a month.

—Gerry Emmett

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