Justice Scalia’s Police Professionalism

The latest in police professionalism comes to us once again, via Radley Balko.

williams.jpg

Here are some highlights from this incident,

  • On February 4, 2006 Jessie Lee Williams, Jr. was arrested by the Gulfport Police Department and charged with misdemeanors. He was speaking loudly and protesting his innocence. Prior to his arrival at the Harrison County Adult Detention Facility, the Gulfport officer called in and informed the booking officers that we have a “live one” coming in. Ryan Teel stated, “it’s about time we got some action around here,” and he and Regina Rhodes put on their black leather gloves.
  • Teel did finish his paperwork, and then he called Jessie to the counter. Teel took off the cuffs and told him to put his hands on the counter. He did. Teel then asked, “so what is this about you wanting some one on one?” Jessie said something which the witnesses couldn’t understand, but it appeared that he was backing down to Teel. Teel then said, put you shoes on the counter. Jessie bent down to get his shoe and Teel kicked him in the chest. Jessie went back some, but never raised up. Teel again ordered, “put your shoe on the counter.” Jessie reached for his shoe when Teel slapped him very hard in the head. Jessie charged Teel and took Teel down to the ground.
  • Numerous booking officers grabbed Jessie and pulled him off of Teel. Jessie was standing up right when Teel took out his taser and shot Jessie in the back. Jessie went to the ground. Teel put the taser numerous times to Jessie’s back and backside, burning holes in his flesh. Numerous guards started kicking and hitting Jessie. Jessie was screaming, “alright, I give.” Teel dropped on Jessies’s neck and head with his knees, raised up, and then dropped on his head again — repeatedly. Regina Rhodes got on his legs and continued to punch and beat Jessie. Teel started to punch and hammer, and slammed Jessie in the head repeatedly with his fists. They hog-tied Jessie, hands to feet. Blood was pouring from Jessie’s mouth and Regina Rhodes stated, “that is crack-head spit” — so Teel put a sack on Jessie’s head. Regina Rhodes handed Teel a can of pepper spray. Teel sprayed the entire can into the sack. Jessie began thrashing and screaming that he gave up. Rhodes and Teel kicked Jessie more saying, “quit resisting.”
  • Then, with one hand, Teel picked Jessie up, carried him like a suitcase, and dropped him to the floor, face first. He then picked him up again, and dropped him face first to the concrete floor again. The booking guards then rolled Jessie up into an elastic fabric (something like a straight jacket) and put him into the restraining chair. While in the chair, Teel choked and beat Jessie over a period of time. Eventually, when Jessie was unable to raise his head, he poured water on his face and said, “oops, don’t drown.”
  • On the evening of February 4, 2006, there were several other unknown persons present in the booking room. Among them were parol officers assigned to the Harrison County Sheriff Department, one Long Beach Police Department Officer and a Pass Christian Police Officer. Medical personnel assigned to the Harrison County Sheriff Department was also present. Reports say that there were two nurses employed by Health Assurance LLP, a private company that contracts with Harrison County to provide medical services to persons detained at the Harrison County Adult Detention Center. Neither the unknown police officers nor the nurses present sufficiently intervened and stopped the abuse nor did any one provide Jessie with medical assistance when the same was immediately necessary.

Read the whole thing. Oh, and don’t get arrested in Gulfport/Harrison County Mississippi as the police seem to have a tendency to beat the people they arrest.

FILED UNDER: Law and the Courts, US Politics,
Steve Verdon
About Steve Verdon
Steve has a B.A. in Economics from the University of California, Los Angeles and attended graduate school at The George Washington University, leaving school shortly before staring work on his dissertation when his first child was born. He works in the energy industry and prior to that worked at the Bureau of Labor Statistics in the Division of Price Index and Number Research. He joined the staff at OTB in November 2004.

Comments

  1. slickdpdx says:

    I don’t think the attitude that police aren’t generally professional or routinely beat people or are baaaddd men is helpful to recruiting and retaining the type of men and women who you’d want as police officers. I also don’t understand what this has to do with Justice Scalia. Throw out and prosecute the bad guys, don’t tar the rest with the same brush.

  2. Steve Verdon says:

    slickpdx,

    Justice Scalia used the argument that cops are more professional these days, hence there is no problem with no-knock raids…which have been known to lead to the deaths of innocent civilians. Seriously, go read Radley Balko’s site about no-knock raids, paramilitary police tactics and the such.

  3. Herb says:

    I think we would like to know the source for this event and the degree of reliability of that source.

  4. Anderson says:

    Oh, and don’t get arrested in Gulfport/Harrison County Mississippi as the police seem to have a tendency to beat the people they arrest.

    Well, don’t get arrested if you’re not white, anyway.

    Look for one or more officers charged to plead “Katrina syndrome.”

  5. Anderson says:

    I think we would like to know the source for this event and the degree of reliability of that source.

    Do we want to know badly enough that we click the link that Steve provided?

  6. Steve Verdon says:

    Anderson,

    Sorry, it appears the Gulfport/Harrison Country Sheriff’s department are equal opportunity thugs. Check out Balko’s list of other known beatings. My guess, the tip of the iceberg.

  7. Steve Verdon says:

    I think we would like to know the source for this event and the degree of reliability of that source.

    Exactly! The poor guy might simply be faking it in that picture…or as DCLoser has suggested, it could be a photoshop job. Please Herb, the guy is dead and he was beaten while in police custody.

  8. Fersboo says:

    Enough bitching already! What do you and Radley suggest? No cops? No guns? No Tasers? WTF!?!?

    What percentage of Law Enforcement engage in this kind of activity? 100%?

  9. Steve Verdon says:

    Enough bitching already! What do you and Radley suggest? No cops? No guns? No Tasers? WTF!?!?

    Fersboo that is just moronic. Please, tell me you want me to delete that comment so you wont continue to be embarassed by the sheer inanity of it.

    Of course, not. Where the heck have I or Radley Balko made even the slightest indication that is what we want? Please. Post a link or at least have the balls to admit you are full of Bravo Sierra.

    As for myself, I’d like laws to be applied to cops as equally as to non-cops. If you read Balko’s site the only thing that has happened so far is one cop, who has been implicated in several severe beatins, has been fired. Prosecuting these cops and throwing them in jail would be a good start. Implementing severe penalties such as summary dismisal and loss of all pension/benefits for any cop found to be covering for a dirty cop. These would be a couple of good starting points.

    What percentage of Law Enforcement engage in this kind of activity? 100%?

    God, this is just a stupid thing to write.

  10. This is sick and those involved need to be severly punished. Policeman and sick people such as those who simply watched are in the minority, for which we should all be greatful.

  11. Anderson says:

    The sad thing is that so many cops take so little pride in their badge that they protect their scumbag colleagues, rather than being the first to see them run off the force & incarcerated.

  12. spacemonkey says:

    I live near there. That is sick.

  13. kcarmichael says:

    Justice Scalia’s Police Profesionalism…

    nice…..

  14. DC Loser says:

    Steve – please do not give the impression I suggested this pic was a Photoshop job. That was another entirely different thread. You have no disagreement from me about police thuggery.

  15. DC Loser says:

    The police have are a law unto themselves. They operate under the Code of Silence, much like the Mafia’s “Umerta.” They believe their own BS that they are the thin blue line standing between civilization and anarchy. We deserve much better from our civil servants. I don’t have complaints about 99% of the police out there. The ones I’ve run across have all been professional, but that doesn’t excuse the 1% that cross the line and the protection of these thugs.

  16. randall says:

    I asked a close friend who is a cop why good cops never turn in bad cops, he told me that when your life is in danger and you call for backup it might be a “bad cop” that saves your life. He said he doesn’t like it but that’s the way the system is. Just like in highway work zone, when a cop breaks the law the fines should triple.

  17. Steven Plunk says:

    These monsters exist because we let them. It takes people like Balko and Verdon exposing them for us to see what has been created.

    Bad cops are tolerated by police chiefs, city councils and ultimately we citizens. Until we work the system over from the top down we will continue to see this sort of tragedy.

    Attitudes must change and I would suggest following Balko’s advice and lobby against paramilitary mindsets at the local level. It leads to no where good.

    The light of day must be cast upon incidents such as this and hopefully the disinfectant properties of that sunlight will clean things up.

  18. Fersboo says:

    Steve

    Feel free to delete any comment you would like, however, you continue to complain ad nauseum. If the facts above are accruate, why then has the incident not been investigated? Surely State or Federal agencies have jurisdiction if the local police chief refuses to investigate. Wasn’t Jessie’s federal civil rights violated?

    All of my comments with regards to this issue, IIRC, dwell on the hyperbole that you and Radley use. If you wish to see bad cops prosecuted, by all means advocate for that.

    BTW, I was serious, what percentage of cops are bad? 1%? 5%? 10%?

  19. ehampto2 says:

    Justice Scalia’s Police Professionalism…

    nice…..

  20. legion says:

    BTW, I was serious, what percentage of cops are bad? 1%? 5%? 10%?

    OK Fersboo – I’ll bite.

    The problem is that as long as good cops protect bad cops, it’s impossible to know. Every time one of these incidents that Steve and Radly rant about happens, it drags down the public’s trust in & respect for police in general.

    Cops have to be held to a higher standard, but as long as good cops are unwilling or unable to hold themselves to that standard, these things will continue to happen. Under these circumstances, reform can never come from within – it will have to be imposed by a higher civil authority.

  21. Steve Verdon says:

    All of my comments with regards to this issue, IIRC, dwell on the hyperbole that you and Radley use.

    What hyperbole? Where have I said there should be no police, no guns or lots of guns, or that criminals should be allowed to run rampant or any of the idiotic hyperbole you imply I support? The answer is there is no hyperbole. Yes I was sarcastic about the beatings down there in Harrison county, but guess what…there are surprisingly quite a few beatings that go on down there.

    If you wish to see bad cops prosecuted, by all means advocate for that.

    And what? Stop showing people what bad cops do?

  22. slickdpdx says:

    Steve: I applaud continuing honest efforts to root out bad cops and to police the police. However – you and Radley give more than a whiff of anti-cop that most people get over after college. All that’s missing is a reference to “the pigs”. These individual cops might be thugs, but “cops” are not. As for Scalia, you cannot seriously argue that general police standards today are not more professional than they were in the past. (double negative!) You and Radley each begin with a cheap shot that has little to do with this particular instance of apparent brutality.

  23. Steve Verdon says:

    Steve: I applaud continuing honest efforts to root out bad cops and to police the police. However – you and Radley give more than a whiff of anti-cop that most people get over after college. All that’s missing is a reference to “the pigs”.

    That is bullshit and you know it. And cut it out with that bullshit applause.

    These individual cops might be thugs, but “cops” are not.

    And where have I made such blanket statements.

    As for Scalia, you cannot seriously argue that general police standards today are not more professional than they were in the past. (double negative!) You and Radley each begin with a cheap shot that has little to do with this particular instance of apparent brutality.

    Admit it you haven’t gone and read anything at Balko’s site. You have decided that this is a statistical anomaly so therefore ignore it. That is just despicable. That is what all the other cops, nurses, and people that were witnesses to the beating did. They ignore the bad cops beating a man to death right in front of them.

    The problem is that we have some thug cops. These cops give the honest ones a bad rap. Then the good cops make it even worse by covering for the bad ones.

    And by speaking out about this, I think all cops are pigs? Your dishonesty is quite apparent slickpdx.

  24. slickdpdx says:

    Steve: My applause isn’t bullshit. Your calling bullshit is founded on nothing but anger and its a bit of an oversensitive reaction.

    I did read Radley Balko’s post and even read links there.

    I didn’t say that “by speaking out about police brutality you are saying all cops are pigs.” However, I do read your lead-in that way:

    The latest in police professionalism comes to us once again.

    Maybe I’m wrong. I don’t think so.

    Your hysterical finding that my comment is like witnessing the beating myself and doing nothing about it? That’s bullshit.

  25. slickdpdx says:

    I did read Balko’s article. Your lead

    “The latest in police professionalism comes to us once again.”

    supports my statement, but I could be wrong. Your comparison of my comment on your post to the people who observed the beating is a little bit hysterical. You call “bullshit” and “dishonest” more than a little loosely. Take a chill pill. Not everyone agrees with you. Oh well.

  26. slickdpdx says:

    Steve your lead: The latest in police professionalism comes to us once again implies more than you are now willing to allow. Your calling “bullshit” and “dishonest” is as hysterical as your comparison of my comments to the people who were complicit in the brutality. You are dead wrong about whether I read Balko’s site.

  27. slickdpdx says:

    Steve your lead: ”The latest in police professionalism comes to us once again” implied more than you are now willing to allow. Your calling ”bullshit” and ”dishonest” is as hysterical as your comparison of my comments to the people who were complicit in the brutality. You are dead wrong about whether I read Balko’s site. But cursing me and calling me dishonest, and then turning off comments (or just my ability to comment or reply) is really low. I disagreed with you. Take a chill pill and get off your high horse.