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CROOKED BLUE LINE: IS LAW ENFORCEMENT CULTURE TOXIC?

By Daniel J. Simms, Independent Journalist/Author/Host.


Has the veneer of unapproachable truthfulness and trustworthiness finally eroded, however small, from law enforcement? We can only hope. The modern phenomenon of putting law enforcement on a pedestal has wrought considerable damage on our republic. Communities, laws, and justice have paid the cost. Our American forefathers, signers of the Declaration of Independence and U.S. Constitution, would be repulsed by National politics today. Mainstream political parties have wooed and embraced law enforcement practices, culture, and policies. While U.S Courts have blindly followed law enforcement off the cliff into prejudicial and bigoted thinking of the American people. The Nation's founders were unapologetic skeptics of police and governmental powers. Their intense dedication to limiting law enforcement and governmental powers, when ratifying the U.S. Constitution and Amendments, are stalwart protectors of our rights today. However many of our constitutional rights they fought arduously for have been eroded. This is due to contemporary wrongful pro-law enforcement attitudes and sympathies. Countless bills, Federal and State, in the last fifty years have expanded police powers and mass incarceration. (see: "The New Civil Death: Rethinking Punishment in the Era of Mass Incarceration" by Gabriel J. Chin, 160 U. Pe. L. Rev. 1789, 1797 (2012)). While the court created doctrine of "qualified immunity" has effectively licensed abusive and even murderous police misbehaviors. (see: "Ryan Stokes Speaking Truth to Injustice" organization  www.RealeJusticeNetwork.org  www.OperationLiberation.org  www.MOJustice.org  National Lawyers Guild www.NLG.org) Unspoken corrupt practices such as "carceral deference," which is the judiciary's custom of deferring to law enforcement in virtually all rulings, has invaded the halls of justice. (see: "Carceral Deference: Courts and their Pro-Prison Propensities," 92 Fordham L. Rev. (Mar. 2023)).


Those with even a cursory understanding of the true toxic state of affairs within law enforcement know their culture is pervaded with corruption and violence. Every day new headlines shock Americans' consciousnesses. The depravity law enforcement degenerated to is unconscionable and dark. For example, Claudiu Murzea, 46, was awarded Cathedral City Officer of the Year in 2015. Yet while conducting a drug house raid he was tasked to watch the house's occupants. One of them had drugs on them but Murzea never turned them into evidence. (see: www.BeaconMediaNews.com). Instead he went behind the Cathedral City Police Department and overdosed on fentanyl. The disgraced law enforcement officer was first arrested for a prior drug case in November 2022, then for stealing the fentanyl and ingesting it, and ultimately for a domestic violence assault and harassment charge from a ex-girlfriend.


John Abel Baca, 47, was a twenty one year veteran of the Inglewood Police Department. On October 12, 2023 the U.S. Attorney's Office Central District of California issued a press release that Baca admitted to distributing cocaine. First he gave his cooperating confidential witness a small quantity. Then he sold a kilogram of cocaine for $22,000.00 to the same witness. Unfortunately for Baca the witness worked for the FBI. The witnessed alleged Baca offered to sell him an additional kilogram of cocaine, two kilograms of "white China" heroin, and unlimited supply of "black tar" heroin. Supposedly the vast load of drug were acquired in numerous traffic stops. Baca formally entered his guilty plea on October 17, 2023.


In September 2023 there was a shocking amount of commercial burglaries happening across three States. Thirty or more in total. Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island restaurants were targeted by a "serial burglar" breaking into cash registers and safes using lock-picking tools. Using cellphone tower data and surveillance images the burglar was identified. It was a law enforcement officer. Patrick Hemingway, 37, worked with the New Britain Police Department from 2009 until transferring to the Glastonbury Police Department in 2019. Currently the corrupt cop is being held on a one million dollar bond. WVIT reported he also ran his license plate seventy five times in COLLECT systems to ascertain whether he was being investigated. He was charged with computer crime 1° and making a false statement. (see: www.WVIT.com)


The toxic culture of wrongdoing is evident when you examine the widespread law enforcement fraud case in Florida. Ironically one of the most right wing pro-law enforcement States in the Union.  Seventeen Broward County Deputies were charged with defrauding the federal government out of almost a half million dollars. WFLA Tampa reported an investigation to uncover fraudulently filed Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans discovered the corrupt cops. "[T]he proceeds of the loans were not to be used to purchase consumer goods, automobiles, personal residences, clothes, jewelry, or for cosmetic surgery," asserted U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, Markenzy Lapointe as he announced the charges. All the law enforcement officers have been suspended. "[A]t the end of the day they will be gone," stated Broward County Sheriff Gregory Tony. PPP was intended to help struggling small businesses during the COVID-19  pandemic. Law enforcement officers draining nearly a half million dollars from our fellow American's small business community is telling.


On Tuesday, December 12, 2023, Brian Beals, 57, was finally released after sadly spending thirty five years behind bars for a murder he did not commit. Beals was convicted for killing six year old Demetrius Campbell. At the time Beals was a twenty two year old student at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale. Beals visited his family in Chicago during the Thanksgiving holiday. Witnesses stated they seen Beals being approached and then arguing with a known drug dealer. Beals contended he got in his car and attempted to drive away. Bullets started flying from their direction. Two victims were hit by the bullets, the little boy and his mother, Victoria Campbell. She testified that it was Beals that fired the shots. Beals always contended that was not true. Instead asserting that the drug dealer was shooting at him. Newly discovered imagery proving bullet holes in Beals car's backend finally corroborated Beals account. Many are outraged that such a miscarriage of justice was allowed to stand for thirty five years. Simple unbiased due diligence and good faith by law enforcement would of prevented this injustice from even occurring. One eye witness in the midst of such a traumatizing event as getting shot and her son's murder would normally be supported by independent evidence. Yet it was not. (see: www.AssociatedPress.com. By Sophia Tareen. December 13, 2023)


           Maleek Jones, 50, was finally vindicated and released on September 28, 2023. After thirty one years of wrongful imprisonment for the shooting murder of Eddie Harp in 1992. Jones, at the time 19 years old a black man, contended he was innocent and that the police framed him. Yet the assertions went unheeded. Nevertheless the truthfulness of his statements eventually came to light. Now Jones is free and with his family but the injustice done to him is incomprehensible. He will never be made whole. It is beyond time that the spirit of the law and justice finally be reintroduced into U.S. Courts. Operating under Carceral Deference, prejudice, and similar biases have foreclosed Americans from obtaining genuine fairness and equity in U.S. Courts for decades.


           Some people unfamiliar with the culture of corruption within law enforcement may be surprised to learn how deeply ingrained it is. The incredible extent it has invaded law enforcement is easily ascertain with a cursory look at case law. For instance, when Scott Ventura, a former police officer for the Town of Manchester, tried to report wrongdoing his superior was engaged in, he faced retaliation and harassment from his fellow police officers for breaching the blue line code of silence. See: Ventura v. Town of Manchester, 2008 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 66957.


When Eileen Barry, a Sergeant in the New York Police Department, attempted to expose police corruption within the unit she was newly appointed to supervise she was viciously retaliated against and harassed. First they stripped her of supervisory responsibilities, then transfered her to a lesser position, and then brought bogus disciplinary charges against her. Barry alleged "[t]he retaliation was a manifestation of the Department's unwritten but pervasive custom of punishing officers who speak out against police misconduct and encouraging, if not facilitating, silence amongst officers." The Court even admitted the investigatory actions of the Department "[i]s entirely in keeping with plaintiff's depiction of the 'blue wall of silence.' See: Barry v. New York Police Dep't, 2004 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 5951.


           The corruption extends to all levels of law enforcement. The crooked blue line code of silence is widespread in the Department of Corrections as well. Bruce Baron, a Corrections Officer, "[a]lleged that he was ostracized, taunted, harassed, and forced to quit because he broke a 'code of silence' when he reported a fellow officer's misconduct." These cases demonstrate the fact that law enforcement has become a "gang" itself. Ballentine's Law Dictionary defines a "gang" as a "[b]ody of persons organized and directed for criminal purposes." (See: Baron v. Suffolk County Sheriff's Dep't, 402 F.3d 225)


           No one disputes, including this author, that law enforcement does countless good for some in society. If my handicapped father, my mother, or my sister, was preyed upon or assaulted in some way I would be grateful if law enforcement rescued them from it. I am sure a majority of Americans feel likewise. What is in contention is whether they have strayed from their mission? Whether they have fell victim to the age old warning: "when you chase monsters for so long you have to be careful not to turn into a monster yourself." Is that what has occurred to law enforcement? Has the culture of us versus them clouded their perception of reality? Sure law enforcement officers will answer an emergency call to prevent a crime but will they blow the whistle when fellow officers are beating, choking, or murdering an unarmed American? The overwhelming evidence suggests they will not. That is why so many law enforcement officers get off on clear cases of brutality or downright murder. Their crooked blue code of silence prevents them from testifying to the truth against a fellow officer.


           It is ironic to note how badly law enforcement and their supporters vilify Americans that adhere to the custom of "stop snitching." Yet they themselves adhere to the same type of code of silence. When a criminal suspect's family member refuses to disclose, omits, or lies about information they know pertaining to a crime they are promptly charged and prosecuted without mercy. When a law enforcement does the same they are rewarded with promotions and acclaim. If that is not systemic criminal purposes I do not know what is.


          The fact is our government and law enforcement has positioned themselves above the people they were meant to serve. At one time they were public servants. Now they appear more as a military arrayed against the American people. The public would be better served by a community led social services approach to law enforcement.


In essence virtually all crime is behavioral health driven. Attacking it as a  mental health crisis rather than a criminal emergency could reap untold benefits to society. Imagine a Nation where law enforcement is: (1) compelled to deescalate violence  (2) to approach crime as a mental health matter  and (3) to receive trainings in the damage and harm systemic oppression and inequities has inflicted on marginalized communities. Imagine a U.S. Court system that is: (1) dedicated to the wellbeing of those that come before it  (2)that focuses on truth and justice completely free of prejudice or carceral deference  and (3) that is disinclined to enforce unfair laws to the detriment of the American people. Imagine a Country that cares for all the people, even the troubled ones by: (1) turning all prisons into treatment and career centers  (2) abolishing the Thirteenth Amendment which permitted prisoner slavery  (3) ending unethically long sentences  and (4) imposing the duty to save and help our people with genuine rehabilitation meant to successfully restore them and assure reentry.


These are realistic reforms that "we the people" could justifiably demand from the government. It is time the government returns to the proper state it was supposed to be from the start of the Union. To a government for the people. It has fallen far from that standard. What we know as U.S. Law Enforcement, U.S. Criminal Justice, and U.S. Corrections, Federal and State, is merely a failed experiment which we can, and should, disrupt and innovate to repair. Not many in good conscious can authentically say they are fair, equitable, and provide measurable benefits for society, public safety, and troubled Americans equally. If you asked those that are employed in these institutions to secretly and candidly disclose the true state of affairs in their professions they will all virtually agree reforms are needed.


          The needed reforms can not come soon enough for Brandon Crosby, 36, a prisoner that was murdered by senior guard supervisor, Captain Timothy McCorvey, of the Alabama Department of Corrections. The Equal Justice Initiative reported that Captain McCorvey fatally beat Crosby on January 21, 2023. Surveillance video captured Crosby being violently pulled from his cell by Captain McCorvey. It showed Crosby getting punched and put into handcuffs by Captain McCorvey. Ultimately Captain McCorvey lifted him off the ground and bashed his head on the ground. Killing him. Even though Crosby "[d]id not pose a threat to McCorvey and never engaged in active resistance." On April 4, 2023 DOC fired him. But Captain McCorvey's coworkers adhered to the blue line code of silence. Which enabled him to get reinstated with back pay on August 30, 2023 by the State Personnel Board. The State Prosecutor's Office also did not press charges. This travesty illustrates the grave danger the blue line and Carceral Deference has on the American people. Incidences such as Crosby's are the norm in prison. Prisoners already deal with prisoner on prisoner violence. Dealing with guard brutality or prison administrator corruption at the same time is debilitating. After almost twenty years of incarceration I have personally experienced all prison today has to offer. What I found is this is a cesspool of depravity, violence, and is no place to send a enemy of war. Let alone a fellow American. (See: www.EqualJusticeInstitute.org  www.PrisonLegalNews.com (December 2023 edition)).


Mainstream news outlets rarely share how incredibly toxic law enforcement culture has become. The blue line code of silence seemingly extended to mass media. This may be ending. Mainstream news outlets may finally feel compelled to highlight grotesque law enforcement abuses of power. Jim Mustain, with the Associated Press's Global Investigative Team, exposed without mincing words the corruption of the Louisiana's State Police Department. In his AP article, dated December 19, 2023, he detailed how black motorist, Ronald Greene, was murdered by Louisiana State Troopers, on May 10, 2019. Lieutenant John Clary, the ranking officer at the murder, had intentionally concealed the video footage. The damaging video showed Greene being fatally dragged by ankle shackles, being severely beaten, stunned, and then lethally smothered under the weight of two Troopers. The video showed Greene pleading for mercy saying, "I'm your brother! I'm scared!," as his body started twitching and stop moving forever. Five Troopers, including Lt. John Clary, were charged in connection with Greene's murder initially. Now only two stand charged. Lt. John Clary's case was dismissed, an extraordinary measure rarely granted to regular Americans, thereby exhibiting the Carceral Deference at work. Then adding insult to Greene's injurious death, Lt. Clary, was allowed to go back to active duty. Hiding the video of Lt. Clary's subordinates murdering Greene was a clear exposition of the blue line code of silence at work. Instead of holding his coworkers accountable for their felonious fatal misbehavior he sought to protect them. A widespread toxic cultural practice deeply ingrained in law enforcement across the country. Greene's mother, Mona Harden, articulated what we all inherently know, "[I]ts like he never took his uniform off! These guys have been protected from the beginning. They know the brass has their back." The blue line code of silence is working flawlessly. (See: http://www.AP.org/tips/)


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Supporters encouraged us to create custom branded designed collections of items to sell online. So we did it. Please find the online stores that carry the Defund DOC brand: Etsy.com, Tiktok.com, and of course on our website DefundDOC.net. We are actively seeking new ways to promote and bring attention to this mission. You were going to buy sweatshirts, tee-shirts, mugs, and other items, so why not get them from us? Every penny of profit goes towards furthering this overdue social justice mission. Remember becoming a supporter is merely an insurance policy. Statistically speaking you, or one of your descendants, will be ensnared in these corrupt and evil mass incarceration or mass supervision systems. Therefore you are contributing towards a future where prisoner slavery is a part of the ugly past. Where all prisons are turned into treatment and career centers. And meaningful sentencing reform occurs. Supporting ensures your name will be written in glory and history! Just like those that fought to end slavery.



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