Gee, Officer Krupke


[courtesy of The Alan Blueford Center For Justice]

I’m just a plainspoken Colorado criminal defense lawyer, but the way I see it…

A colleague reminded me that today is the 19th National Day of Protest to Stop Police Brutality, Repression and the Criminalization of a Generation. They’re talking about my kids’ generation.

Every day since the first protest in 1996, all six thousand five hundred and seventy-five of them, should have been a day of protest against an entrenched brutality that deserves no place in a civilized nation.

My kids have seen police draw weapons on high school students suspected of having a drink at a party. My kids themselves have had weapons, including assault rifles, pointed at them by police. In my generation the toughest situation I faced with a police officer was when the guy was frisking me and I couldn’t stop jumping around I was so ticklish, and his rookie partner couldn’t stop laughing.

It’s been a long and ugly road to Ferguson.

Probably every criminal defense lawyer has had clients who were brutalized or humiliated by police, clients attacked in their own homes and then charged with assault on a police officer when they resisted the brutality.

Just a week ago, a federal jury awarded $4.6 million to the family of a street preacher who was killed in the booking room of the Denver jail in 2010. An old man, he was piled on by four deputies, handcuffed, choked out, tasered, and left for dead in a cell. I’m not saying they knew he was dead, I’m saying he was dead. The reason for the vigilante death penalty? He yanked his arm away when a fifth deputy had grabbed him unawares, from behind, the kind of thing anyone would do when grabbed from behind. They could have saved everybody the trouble and just shot him in the back.

None of the deputies was disciplined, not even docked in pay for the two minutes it took them to kill him. Par for the course for the Denver sheriff’s department, which had another three-point-something million dollar police brutality award against them this summer. Google “Denver police brutality,” and the Huffington Post, which covers news of national significance, ran twenty-six stories just from summer 2011 to summer 2013.

That’s a whole lot of beatin’ going on.

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