Thursday, June 10, 2010

Yes, Virginia, Police Brutality Does Exist

When the possible police brutality case involving 15 year old Brandon Johnson first made the news, a lot of people, including a local blogger and radio host, was ready to pronounce Johnson guilty and exonerate the police officers. Comedian Chris Rock's bit on police brutality was posted and even praised as a model for young African-Americans to follow in their dealing with police. Apparently the fact that one piece of advice was to always ride with a white passenger wasn't enough to tip off these people that Rock's piece was a JOKE and not to be taken seriously.
On my blog, I warned that whites are too quick to always discard claims of police brutality. While African-Americans are too distrusting of police, whites have the opposite problem - they believe police officers are always in the right and are not open-minded to the possibility that officers do step over the line and are not always honest in how events are recounted in police reports.
Well, results of the police investigation of the Brandon Johnson matter are in. Chief of Police Paul Ciesielski and his boss Public Safety Director Frank Straub have recommended that Officer Jerry Piland be fired for continuing to hit Johnson after other officers had Johnson subdued. Other officers are recommended to receive reprimands.
While the focus of the discipline was on the officers' actions with Brandon Johnson, I do wonder about those who participated in the writing of a biased police report that effectively covered up Piland's excessive force and put the blame on Johnson. Officers should know that if they participate in covering up serious police misconduct they will also face discipline.


Had Enough Indy? said...

You make an excellent point about the accuracy of a police report be held to a high standard. Was any mention of that made in the full investigation report?

Paul K. Ogden said...

Not that I'm aware of. Unfortunately those reports are often works of fiction.

Ben said...


May I suggest that the next time you are in a bad accident or have someone invade your home, that you pick up the phone and call your local gangstra.

I might also suggest that you ride with an officer in Mars Hill on a July evening and see what the IMPD deals with everyday.

You sit in your air conditioned office and dont have to make life or death decisions in a split second.

I am sure that this young man is an angel,a chior boy and helps little old ladies across the street.

For someone who I consider to be of higher than average on the IQ side, you are clueless about life on the streets. These men and women put their lives on the line for us everyday.

Next time call 411 and not 911, see what happens. Maybe one of the Concerned clery will come and help pray with you to stop the violance.

We all know that it his is not about police being agressive, it;s about this little gangsta getting a big fat paycheck from the IMPD.

Indy Student said...

But Ben, guess what? Police brutality happened. An officer was fired for it, and I think one or two of the others are facing some type of discipline. This wouldn't have happened if they had used reasonable measures.

Remember, the police are not military. We have military to defend the citizenry and use force first. We pay police to have cool heads and use force only when needed, and lethal force as a last resort.

Paul K. Ogden said...


You'd have to be a fool to not know police officers have a tough job and are treated like crap by many people in the community. The problem is when people like you want to give police officers a pass no matter what they do. Here the Chief found an officer acted so inappropriately he should be fired, and you still want to give you a pass.

My niece got pulled over for being white driving in a black neighborhood. The IMPD officer took her out of the car and handcuffed while the officer searched the car looking for drugs. Not finding any he let her go. When my niece filed a complaint, the officer lied, saying my niece wasn't handcuffed. (Of course that doesn't explain the fact he had no reason for the stop in the first place.) I had seen the handcuff marks on my niece's wrists.

That kind of conduct by a police officer should not be tolerated. Yet there are people out there (I think you're one of them) who would condone this type of conduct. Police officers in particular should condemn this type of misconduct because it makes them all look bad.

As far as a "big pay day," those kind of cases are extremely rare and certainly not the norm. It's rare that allegations of police misconduct can be successfully manuevered through the courts, especially the feeral courts.

Flipper said...

What I would like to know is why Carl Brizzi dropped charges on these 2 thugs.
They both committed crimes and the law should be followed. Of course, Brizzi always makes his decisions on being politically correct. Not how the law is enforced.

Ben said...


The pilice chief had no choice. The black community and Paul would have been all over him. This litle gangsta will get a nice pay day out of it.

BTW, if you did your homework you would know that this is the same officer that was under fire when he save Jason Fishburns life. This officer was being shot at by another young black gangsta while he was helping his fellow police officer who had been shot in the head.

It does happen, but not in this case. This punk was spitting in the officers faces and eyes.But of course you would not know that. I assume that that also woudl be the police officers fault.

Were you aware that the gangstra had a weapon on him?

Were you aware that he has a record in Juvi?

Were you aware that there was a crowd of over 30 other gangstas yelling and taughting the police.

No your were not and neither was Paul. He is taking his information directly from the Star and his contacts at the concernd clergy.

This is nothing more than a way for a black gangsta to get some free money.

I am willing to bet just about anything that you will see his name on the blotter in the future. His brothers are on there please comment again on something that you know nothing about.

Noes police over activity exhist,,,yes

In this case, no

Im sure that the Rev Sharpton and Uncle Jessie will be here soon.When they are here will you please introduce them to Officer Fishburn who is alive today because of this officer. He is out of a job and this young piece of crap will be getting a check from the city. Guess who is paying for that....

Paul K. Ogden said...


Thanks for saying I'm so influential, but I'm pretty sure I have zero pull in this community. If I did I would have gotten more than 3 votes against that $1 million arts giveaway. But I digress.

Defenders of police misconduct have trouble focusing on relevant facts. The fact that a persoon has a record or might in the future, doesn't somehow change the rules regarding appropriate behavior by a police officer. If a person has been subdued, he's been subdued. The fact he has a record doesn't create some kind of blank check for a police officer to beat the crap out of a subdued person. The whole "Well he's got a criminal record" excuse just doesn't cut it...especially when the officer often in the heat of the action has no idea whether the person has a record.

Downtown Indy said...

Ben, the use of force HAS to be commensurate with its need.

Four officers can't subdue a teen, even a rather large one, without pummelling him in the face?

C'mon don't feed us the 'you don't know what it's like' excuses.

If that's the reason they beat this kid, then they all need a minimum of retraining and perhaps lengthy psychoanalysis to figure out why they transferred angst from the job to somebody who was being disrespectful.

Being a 'resister' does not give an unlimited license to shred someone's face.

Why no taser?

I respect the police when they do their job, tough as it is. And I don't have a clue what it's like being in their shoes day in and day out.

But when they cross the line and become violent and lawless themselves, that's not going to get a 'pass' from my court of public opinion.

IFDFIRE said...

Flipper U R about as Flipped out as the Mayor U helped get elected!

Indy Student said...

Ben, that sounds like quite a conspiracy web. You sound like the other side of the coin, the folks who think police cover up everything.

The police chief certainly did have a choice. He, as well as Public Safety Director, are appointed positions. there is no political harm in making a decision. The results of an internal investigation revealed this.

The IMPD investigation revealed this. The fact that you accuse the cops of lying when it's a decision you don't like makes you no better than the folks who believe the cops do no right.

Marycatherine Barton said...

I was very impressed with the manner in which our police chief handled the press conference announcing the decision to fire a police officer for assaulting the battered teenager. Thanks to Paul Ciesieiski for making Indianapolis proud.

Ben said...

Paul and Indy Student,

There is no doubt that there have been cover ups in many police actions. However, that is not the case in this situation.

Your hatred of the police is clouding your viewpoint.

As in any enterprise ther are good and bad apples, in this case there was no cover up. The new chief did not fire him because of what he did, he fired him because he is afraid of the Clergy and a law suit and Mayor Dum Dum told him to do it because he also is a coward and is afraid of the Rev Jackson marching down Meridian Street.Bad photo opp for the Mayor...get the picture

Paul, you know all to well that the Chief had nothing to do with this , it came from Joe Loftus.

Police need to be held to a higher standard. In this case they did the job that they are paid to do.Go stand in their shoes for a day and lets see how ou both feel about this.

Paul, by now you know who I am, so you know my relationship to this situation. Trust me when I say if there had been a coverup or any bad actions by the officer I would say so. The fact is that there was not. The young man kept spitting on the officers and bit one of them on the face and then told them that he was a hep B carrier.

What would you do Paul ?

Even when he was on the ground he threw off three officers, so dont give me the crap about four officers not being able to deal with the guy.
BTW, they did taze him,with hand tazers,, twice and he kept on spitting. His TOX came back dirty.

What would you do, Indystudent, let him beat the hell out of you..He was high on's a reality of life that you will learn. It's all about a big paycheck and publicity for the family and the Concernd Clergy.

As I said , if you hate the cops so much, call 411 next time. Then please post the results.

Neither one of you were there, you are taking the word of a man that was appointed by a man that you both think is an idiot.You can take it from there. The same man that borught you the incredable new saftey director.There ya go.If you know more than I do please post it, other wise call 411.

Indy Student said...

We weren't there...but were you?

Trust me, you don't have a shred of dignity right now because you're resorting to ad hominem attacks.

I don't hate any officers. The police filed their report, and took action. You're the one playing the cover-up conspiracy card involving people outside of the PD.

To me you're just another Blogger profile, just above an anonymous user. You're building this vast web of conspiracy without a shred of evidence.

I don't like a lot of what Ballard has done, but I don't blame him for everything that goes wrong in this city. You'll need some hefty evidence to prove your claim on that.

Cato said...

"On my blog, I warned that whites are too quick to always discard claims of police brutality. While African-Americans are too distrusting of police, whites have the opposite problem - they believe police officers are always in the right and are not open-minded to the possibility that officers do step over the line and are not always honest in how events are recounted in police reports."

No, no, no. It's unpleasant but true that Whites like police brutality and think that the citizenry "has it coming" when they do anything but prostrate themselves before cops. To the bitter, cop violence gives great vicarious belief in getting even against all those forces that the reactionaries despise.

They don't discard the brutality; they excuse it and justify it. They want a world in which cops beat up people.

Cato said...

Hey, Ben, that was a really stupid response. When I see idiotic comments like this, I trust cops even less.

Marycatherine Barton said...

Come to think of it, I do know some people similar to those Cato describes, as well as some like some Ben mentions.