Tag Archives: POLICE

Family Sues After Police Fatally Taze 95-Year-Old Man


Family Sues After Police Fatally Taze 95-Year-Old Man


By NBCChicago.com

The family of a World War II veteran has filed a federal civil rights lawsuit after the 95-year-old man died following a confrontation with Park Forest police last summer.

Park Forest Police Officer Craig Taylor, 43, is charged with reckless conduct for striking John Wrana with five shotgun beanbag rounds as he and other officers tried taking him into custody on July 26, 2013.

Wrana was a patient at the Victory Center Nursing home when he refused to go to the hospital for a urinary Police Officer Craig Taylor, Police were called and eventually used a Taser and a beanbag shotgun to remove the belligerent man by force. He died the next day.

Sharon Mangerson says it’s still painful to talk about her stepfather and how he died.

“Why they chose to confront him in this way I have no idea. I can’t comprehend it. It has been a very painful process to relive this over and over again,” Mangerson said.

Wrana’s family filed a $5 million lawsuit against the Park Forest Police Department saying the department overreacted to the situation, and with his advanced age and failing health, he posed no real threat to the officers.

“Officer Taylor fired the five rounds from his shotgun from a distance of only 6 to 8 feet from where Mr. Wrana was standing,” the family’s attorney, Nicholas Grapsas said.

“Unfortunately what the Japanese military failed to do to Mr. Wrana during the war, the Park Forest Police Department succeeded in doing 70 years later in the twilight of was, until then, an extremely wonderful life.”

Park Forest officials say the do not comment on any pending or ongoing litigation.

Stay Calm: some tips for keeping safe in times of state repression



Stay Calm: some tips for keeping safe in times of state repression

by BayOfRage
Sunday Oct 21st, 2012 8:59 PM

The spectre of state repression has been growing over Bay Area radical milieus. Grand juries in the Pacific Northwest and in Santa Cruz, threats by police of using gang enhancements against activists, the recent string of mass arrests, the profusion of political divisions and threats, abundant conspiracy theories, surveillance of our social spaces, FOIA paperwork that references a confidential informer–The list goes on and on and on.

The spectre of state repression has been growing over Bay Area radical milieus. Grand juries in the Pacific Northwest and in Santa Cruz, threats by police of using gang enhancements against activists, the recent string of mass arrests, the profusion of political divisions and threats, abundant conspiracy theories, surveillance of our social spaces, FOIA paperwork that references a confidential informer–The list goes on and on and on.

Murmurs of imminent repression can be heard everywhere. Even though everything we hear cannot be entirely proven or disproven, recent events underscore the importance of preparing for a possible crackdown. The state seeks to isolate us with repression, as individuals and within our tendencies. Against that, we can prepare together, support each other and continue actively struggling against the oppression and misery of this world.

Repression always exists and now is the time to take security very seriously. Without knowing the exact form repression will take, there are some likely scenarios to prepare for, as well as some precautions that can be taken to reduce the ability of the feds and police agencies to monitor, divide and prosecute our networks.

Sound the Alarm if an Agent Knocks . . .

. . . or if an agent calls your parents, shows up at your place of employment or is waiting for you at a BART station. Don’t say anything to the cop, except that you will remain silent and that you are going to talk to a lawyer. Request the agent’s business card to give to your lawyer and share with comrades. They may threaten you, your friends, and your family or they may seem genuinely concerned for your safety: Whatever they say, their intention is to send you and your friends to prison. Don’t tell them anything.

Let your friends and comrades know that you were visited and what, if anything, the agent said to you. Spreading this information will help others prepare for the possibility of getting visits, frustrate the state’s ability to isolate people, and help you get the support you might need.

Preemptively, it could be useful to talk to your parents, employers, and housemates about the possibility of police or FBI visits. Tell them not to say anything at all; even the smallest slips of the tongue have totally fucked people over.

House Raids

As has happened recently in the Northwest, and in countless past investigations, houses of active activists and antagonists might be raided by local police or the feds. In the selection below, remember that “sensitive material” has, in the past, meant everything from black clothing to anarchist literature to shoes to a pack of tampons. Keeping in mind the events of the past year here, remove materials from your house that could be construed by the police as evidence.

Some advice on preparing for the possibility of house raids, from the Practical Security Handbook:

Keep all sensitive material in your house together so that if you have to remove it in a hurry, you are not wasting time searching for that elusive but damning piece of paper. Planning a process to deal with the risky information in your house will make this much easier; it helps prevent you losing material and gives you a greater degree of control over it. Remember, if you are being watched, any panicky action will be noted, thus bringing further attention yourself. This is one reason why police knock on activist doors – they may know you are not going to tell them anything, but if they can rattle your cage enough so that you slip up then they may be able to get something on you.

Sensitive material should be removed from your house on a regular basis in a calm manner – not furtively! This does not prevent you from practicing counter-surveillance techniques, but do so discretely. […] If you get wind that something has happened and you suspect you may get a visit as a result, stay calm and prioritize what you need to get out of your house. Get friends to call around and take stuff out for you, or ‘take back their possessions’.

Grand Juries

Right now, there are Grand Juries targeting radicals in the Northwest. Three people have been imprisoned indefinitely for refusing to testify against themselves and their comrades. Treat this situation as if it is actively threatening your city as well. Because it is. It has been confirmed that one Grand Jury was convened in March of 2012, and is not limited to (what was publicized as) investigation of the May 1st demonstrations in Seattle. It will continue through March of 2014. The comrades who have been subpoenaed are from all across the northwest and it is entirely possible that additional subpoenas will be delivered to others.

Comrades and radicals in the Bay Area should be prepared for the possibility of a grand jury here. In-depth information about Grand Juries can be found in the pamphlets If An Agent Knocks and Grand Jury Investigations. Both are full of valuable information about how grand juries work and how to resist them.

Some basic advice for dealing with Grand Jury Subpoenas, from If An Agent Knocks:
Grand jury subpoenas are served by law enforcement agents, usually police officers or federal marshals. A grand jury subpoena must be personally served on you, meaning, it must be handed to you. If you refuse to accept it, it must be placed near you.
A grand jury subpoena does not give an agent the right to search a home, office, car or anywhere else, nor does it require you to relinquish any documents or say anything at that time. A grand jury subpoena only requires you to do something on the future date stated on the subpoena.

If an agent shows up and tries to serve you with a subpoena, take it and do not do anything else. Do not answer any questions; do not consent to a search; and do not invite them into your home for any reason.

De-escalate Interpersonal Conflicts

Stop publicizing interpersonal conflicts and de-escalate the conflicts within your milieu. Rumors, personal drama and gossip have always been an exploitable tool of the state. Contradictions and tensions are obviously an important part of our shared political and social spaces but this is probably not the best time to pick fights and draw out divisions. Let’s find ways to continue to explore our political differences, acknowledging our common commitment to liberatory struggle against the state, capital, patriarchy and white supremacy.


It should be no surprise that phone calls and text messages shouldn’t reference illegal activities. Beyond surveillance of the content of messages, care should also be taken in the pattern of calling and text messaging. I.e. if a house raid were to happen, the investigators could look back at the patterns of calls from confiscated phones to map social networks. Having unmediated (real world) ways to find people and have conversations is very important in our hyper-mediated world.

If your phone has a screen lock, use it. If it has full or partial encryption, use it. Delete your text messages regularly. Be careful in both the content and pattern of your phone calls, especially during or after actions, raids, and the like. Apps like TextSecure (for SMS) and RedPhone (for VoIP) are useful end-to-end encryption tools for cellular communication. If you have an Android phone, turn USB debugging off.

While it is possible for cellular phones to be used as surveillance devices, don’t let the absence of phones lull you into a false feeling of security. It is much more common for houses or cars to be bugged then for phones to be used to monitor conversations. That is to say, it is meaningless to put away one’s phone and still have a conversation indoors.

Regardless of any encryption or anonymity, always assume that your phone’s security can and will be compromised at some point. Accordingly, keep important information elsewhere and have sensitive conversations in person.

Social Networking

Limit your internet/electronic social networking interaction. Facebook, websites, Twitter, blogs, emails, etc. are becoming a favored sources of evidence for the state when they seek to destroy our networks. See: the RNC 8, the Asheville 11, the Latin Kings, the SHAC 7.

Computer Encryption

We all use computers to communicate about our activities and this makes us vulnerable. Having a working understanding of computer security and encryption could save you and others a lot of grief down the road. That said, don’t assume the absolute safety of encryption. There shouldn’t be any directly incriminating information on your computer, encrypted or not.

If you chat online, use encrypted instant messaging. For Windows and Linux, use Pidgin with the OTR (Off The Record) plugin. For Mac, use Adium. Use encrypted email. Install Thunderbird and the Enigmail plugin. Or, set up PGP encryption, using GnuPGP for Mac OSX and GnuPG for Windows.

If you can full disk encrypt your computer, it will help reduce the amount of useful evidence it gives in the case of it being seized by the police. Know, however, that if your computer is on when seized, the encryption is compromised. For Windows, TrueCrypt provides an easy utility for full disk encryption. With Linux, LUKS is a built-in utility that encrypts the most sensitive information on your computer. Use Truecrypt to encrypt all or part of your hard drive (OSX or Windows) and overwrite the disk’s free space at regular intervals (CCleaner for Windows, Disk Utility for OSX).

Analysis & Practice
Let’s understand our current moment and why we are seeing the forms of repression that are currently unfolding. In most places, that mass movement of 2011 has now largely dissipated and the participants have gone home. In some places, such as the Bay Area and the Pacific Northwest, radicals and militants have continued publicly and socially organizing. It might be that the state has been waiting for this moment, when they perceive us to be fractured and isolated, to pursue legal action; our response must show the strength and vitality of our networks.
Dealing With Sketchy Behavior

Those who are driven to paranoia and desperation by the threat of repression can be as dangerous as those that make no preparations whatsoever. Encourage your friends, gently but firmly, to to go the extra mile to practice security culture. Encourage practicality. When someone seems overworried or paranoid, extend yourself to them for reassurance.

Bad security culture or naivete often lead to accusations of someone being an informant or undercover agent. Address the practices, not the accusations. If someone does not take the safety of themselves or others seriously, it might make sense to distance yourself from that person. Accusations of collaboration with the state, though, are to be taken very seriously and not thrown around lightly.

When it comes down to it, if someone is doing the work of the state then it doesn’t necessarily matter whether they are actual paid infiltrators. If they are spreading paranoia or being disruptive or putting comrades in unnecessary risk then the important thing is to deal with them on those grounds and not based on loose speculation as to their role in a government plot.

However, if there is strong evidence (usually court paperwork, public records requests, etc.) suggesting one’s cooperation with the state, still be careful about putting it on blast. Talk to people in private to vet the accusations beyond any shadow of a doubt. If there is great degree of certainty, spread the information far and wide. If there isn’t, deal with the situation privately. Either way, talk to a trusted lawyer.

Solidarity Against Isolation

Repression functions to isolate individuals. Our solidarity and support to those facing repression should affirm our shared lifes and projects. Our safety lies in one another: When people are arrested or subpoenaed, our support and solidarity is a reminder not to snitch or cooperate. On another level, our safety lies in the strength of our connection to the world around us: If our networks respond to repression by becoming insular, we lose social insulation, risk becoming irrelevant and make us more susceptible to demonization.

Stay Calm

The looming possibility of repression, sometimes more than repression itself, can often send people into a whirlwind of panic. This sort of stress can prevent people from taking the necessary steps to take care of themselves and their friends. Beyond whatever specific preparations for house raids, FBI visits, or providing arrestee support, it is important to encourage our friends to take care of themselves and remain levelheaded. In the Bay Area, people have varied levels of experience with government repression. Some people need to be encouraged to take the possibility seriously, others need to be discouraged from becoming paralyzed in their paranoia. This active support also needs to extend beyond our immediate circles; political divisions, while important sites of dialogue and constructive conflict, cannot become fault lines that tear apart our solidarity against state repression.



541 people killed in the US by tasers since 2001
News Alternative – 09-08-13

TOKYO – For far too long this shocking treatment of people has lain below the news radar. People are being treated like cattle and the mainstream media is keeping quiet about it. (Click here)






idiot man robs bank


angry-panda-gifMan admits robbing banks after applying for car loan, writing

note on paycheck

Jason Anderson

Record Staff Writer
October 23, 2013 12:00 AM

SACRAMENTO – A man who made it easy for law enforcement officials to identify him pleaded guilty to two counts of bank robbery Tuesday in a Sacramento courtroom, U.S. Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner said.

Troy Foster Mitchell, 47, of Modesto admitted to robbing two banks, one in Stockton and another in Modesto, authorities said. He is scheduled for sentencing Jan. 7 and faces a maximum of 20 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and three years of supervised release on each count.

According to court documents, on May 14, while on supervised release after serving a prison term for a previous conviction, Mitchell entered the Valley First Credit Union in Modesto and passed a note to a bank teller demanding $5,000 in cash. While the teller was complying with Mitchell’s demand, another teller who recognized Mitchell walked by and said, “Hi, Troy.” Mitchell acknowledged the second teller and left the bank with $5,000 in cash.

Authorities said Mitchell had filed an auto loan application with the bank on April 3. The application included a copy of his driver’s license. Immediately after the robbery, a bank employee retrieved the application and gave it to the Modesto Police Department, which matched surveillance photos of the robber to the picture on Mitchell’s driver’s license.

On May 31, Mitchell entered a Bank of the West branch in Stockton and passed a teller a note demanding $100 bills. The teller gave Mitchell more than $5,100 in cash. Mitchell then left the bank, leaving behind the note, which was written on the back of a voided paycheck made out to Troy F. Mitchell. The paycheck listed Mitchell’s home address.

“It seemed like he was not that concerned about getting caught,” said Lauren Horwood, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office. “It does make one wonder what was in his mind. Most people make more of an effort to hide, wear a mask or have a getaway vehicle, but he had nothing. It is very unusual.”

Mitchell was arrested following an investigation involving the FBI, the Stockton Police Department and the Modesto Police Department, Horwood said.

“It’s pretty obvious that this bank robber assisted our investigation by leaving his personal information on the back of the demand note that he gave to the teller,” said Officer Joe Silva, a spokesman for the Stockton Police Department. “This just indicates that some of these suspects are not very good, because they are usually desperate or have some type of an addiction. Most bank robbers like to spend their money quickly and have to resort to this type of crime again, which increases their odds of getting caught.”

Contact reporter Jason Anderson at (209) 546-8279 orjanderson@recordnet.com. Visit his blog atwww.recordnet.com/crimeblog.



Why I Love Shoplifting

 from big corporations

Nothing compares to the feeling of elation, of burdens being lifted and constraints escaped, that I feel when I walk out of a store with their products in my pockets. In a world where everything already belongs to someone else, where I am expected to sell away my life at work in order to get the money to pay for the minimum I need to survive, where I am surrounded by forces beyond my control or comprehension that obviously are not concerned about my needs or welfare, it is a way to carve out a little piece of the world for myself—to act back upon a world that acts so much upon me.

It is an entirely different sensation than the one I feel when I buy something. When I pay for something, I’m making a trade; I’m offering the money that I bought with my labor, my time, and my creativity for a product or service that the corporation wouldn’t share with me under any other circumstances. In a sense, we have a relationship based on violence: we negotiate an exchange not according to our respect or concern for each other, but according to the forces that we can bring to bear on each other. Supermarkets know they can charge me a dollar for bread because I will starve if I do not buy it from them; they know they can’t charge me four dollars, because I will go somewhere else. So our interaction revolves around unspoken threats, rather than love, and I am forced to give up something of my own to get anything from them.[1]

Everything changes when I shoplift. I’m no longer negotiating with faceless, inhuman entities that have no concern for my welfare; instead, I’m taking what I need without giving anything up. I no longer feel like I am being forced into an exchange, and I no longer feel as if I have no control over the way the world around me dictates my life. I no longer have to worry about whether the pleasure I receive from the book I purchased was equal to the two hours of labor it cost me to be able to afford it. In these and a thousand other ways, shoplifting makes me feel liberated and empowered. Let’s examine what shoplifting has to offer as an alternative way of life.

The shoplifter wins her prize by taking risks, not by exchanging a piece of her life for it. Life for her is not something that must be sold away for seven or eight dollars an hour in return for survival; it is something that is hers because she takes it for herself, because she lays claim to it. In stark contrast to the law-abiding consumer, the means by which she acquires goods is as exciting as the goods themselves; and this means is also, in many ways, more praiseworthy.

Shoplifting is a refusal of the exchange economy. It is a denial that people deserve to eat, live, and die based on how effectively they are able to exchange their labor and capital with others. It is a denial that a monetary value can be ascribed to everything, that having a piece of delicious chocolate in your mouth is worth exactly fifty cents or that an hour of one person’s life can really be worth ten dollars more than that of another person. It is a refusal to accept the capitalist system, in which workers have to buy back the products of their own labor at a profit to the owners of capital, who thus get them coming and going.

Shoplifting says NO to all the objectionable features that have come to characterize the modern corporation. It is an expression of discontent with the low wages and lack of benefits that so many exploiting corporations force their employees to suffer in the name of company profits. It is a refusal to pay for low quality products that have been designed to break or wear out soon in order to force consumers to buy more. It is a refusal to fund the environmental damage that so many corporations perpetrate heartlessly in the course of manufacturing their products and building new stores, a refusal to support the corporations that run private, local businesses into bankruptcy, a refusal to accept the murder of animals in the meat and dairy industries and the exploitation of migrant labor in the fruit and vegetable industries. Shoplifting makes a statement against the alienation of the modern consumer. “If we are not able to find or afford any products other than these, that were made a thousand miles from us and about which we can know nothing,” it asserts, “then we refuse to pay for these.”

The shoplifter attacks the cynical mind control tactics of modern advertising. Today’s commercials, billboards, even the floor—layouts and product displays in stores are designed by psychologists to manipulate potential consumers into purchasing products. Corporations carry out extensive advertising campaigns to insinuate their exhortations to consumption into every mind, and even work to make their products into status symbols that people from some walks of society eventually must own in order to be accorded respect. Faced with this kind of manipulation, the law-abiding consumer has two choices: either to come up with the money to purchase these products by selling his life away as a wage laborer, or to go without and possibly invite public ridicule as well as private frustration. The shoplifter creates a third choice of her own: she takes the products she has been conditioned to desire without paying for them, so the corporations themselves must pay for all of their propagandizing and mind control tactics.

Shoplifting is the most effective protest against all these objectionable attributes of modern corporations because it is not merely theoretical—it is practical, it involves action. Verbal protests can be raised to irresponsible business practices without ever having any solid effect, but shoplifting is intrinsically damaging these corporations at the same time as it (however covertly) demonstrates dissatisfaction. It is better than a boycott, because not only does it cost the corporation money rather than just denying it profit, it also means that the shoplifter is still able to obtain the products, which she may need to survive. And in these days when so many corporations are interconnected, and so many multinationals are involved in unacceptable activity, shoplifting is a generalized protest: it is a refusal to put any cash into the economy at all, so that the shoplifter can be sure that none of her cash will ever end up in the hands of the corporations she disapproves of. In addition to that, she will have to work less for them, as well!

But what about the people in the corporations? What about their welfare? First of all, corporations are distinct from traditional private businesses in that they exist as separate financial entities from their owners. So the shoplifter is stealing from a non-human entity, not directly from the pocket of a human being. Second, since so many workers are paid set wages (minimum wage, for example) that depend more on how little the corporation can get away with paying rather than on how much profit it is making, the shoplifter is not really hurting most of the workforce at any given company either. The stockholders, who are almost always far richer than your average thief, are the ones who stand to lose a little if the company suffers significant losses; but realistically, no campaign of shoplifting could be intense enough to force any of the wealthy individuals who actually profit from these companies into poverty. Besides, modern corporations have money set aside for shoplifting losses, because they anticipate them. That’s correct—these corporations are aware that there is enough dissatisfaction with them and their capitalist economy that people are going to steal from them remorselessly. In that sense, shoplifters are just playing their role in society, just like C.E.O.s. More significantly, these corporations are cynical enough to go about their business as usual, even though they know this leaves many of their customers (and employees!) ready to steal anything from them that they can. If they are willing to continue doing business in this way even when they are aware how many people it alienates, they should not be surprised that people continue stealing from them.

Shoplifting is more than a way to survive in the cutthroat competition of the “free market” and protest corporate injustices. It is also a different kind of orientation to the world and to life.

The shoplifter makes do with an environment that has been conquered by capitalism and industry, where there is no longer a natural world from which to gather resources and everything has become private property, without accepting it or the absurd way of life it entails. She takes her life into her own hands by applying an ancient method to the problem of modern survival: she lives by urban hunting and gathering. In this way she is able to live much as her distant ancestors did before the world was subjugated by technology, imperialism, and the irrational demands of the “free” market; and she can find the same challenges and rewards in her work, rewards that are lost to the rest of us today. For her, the world is as dangerous and as exciting as it was to prehistoric humanity: every day she is in new situations, confronting new risks, living by her wits in a constantly changing environment. For the law-abiding consumer, it is likely that every day at work is similar to the last one and danger is as sorely lacking in life as meaning and purpose are.

To shoplift is to affirm immediate, bodily desires (such as hunger) over abstract “ethics” and other such ethereal constructs, most of which are left over from a deceased Christianity anyway. Shoplifting divests commodities (and the marketplace in general) of the mythical power they seem to have to control the lives of consumers… when they are seized by force, they show themselves for what they are: merely resources that have been held by force by these corporations at the expense of everyone else. Shoplifting places us back in the physical world, where things are real, where things are nothing more than their physical characteristics (weight, taste, ease of acquisition) and are not invested with superstitious qualities such as “market value” and “profit margin.” It forces us to take risks and experience life firsthand again. Perhaps shoplifting alone will not be able to overthrow industrial society or the capitalist system… but in the meantime it is one of the best forms of protest and self-empowerment, and one of the most practical, too!

Shoplifters of the world, unite!