Tag Archives: police

The Results of an Unjust Justice System

On Saturday, September 16th, there was a peaceful protest over a judge’s acquittal of white police officer Jason Stockley, who was charged with the first-degree murder of Anthony Lamar Smith, a young black man. In 2001, on December 20th, Officer Stockley shot Smith five times and killed him, claiming that Smith was chasing him. His partner attempted to arrest him for a drug deal and Stockley said he feared for his life because Smith had a silver revolver on him. However, the prosecutor believed the gun to be planted since it had Stockley’s DNA on it but no trace of Smith’s DNA. Officer Stockley was also recorded via body cam saying that he was going to kill Smith.

After the peaceful protest had officially ended, saying they would reconvene on Sunday, several protestors stayed behind and continued to protest. Police officers arrived and told the remaining protesters to go home, saying that their protest was unlawful. Things quickly turned violent and several windows of surrounding businesses were smashed and several arrests were made.

This is yet another result of the justice system failing and people are, quite clearly, sick of it. There was strong evidence that Officer Stockley was guilty but he got away with murder. So we have people protesting in the street, decrying this injustice, and even people who believe simple protests are not enough and feel the need to resort to violence. And if protests and words will not work, and more African Americans continued to get killed while their murderers go free, who can blame them for escalation? If the people we put our faith in to uphold the law and treat everyone equally fail to do so, then the people will inevitably and eventually take matters into their own hands. This is not to say people will start mobs and attack whoever they believe is guilty, but that the public can and will find a way to make sure people pay attention to injustice and do something about it. An entire group of people cannot be discriminated against and killed without that same group fighting back.

 

Featured Photo from Yahoo! News

Another Abuse of Power by the Police

Salt Lake City in Utah is one of the newest homes to an abuse of power by the police. Alex Wubbels is a nurse at the University of Utah hospital who had a frightening and shocking experience with Salt Lake City police detective, Jeff Payne. After a head-on collision on a Utah highway, William Gray was rushed to the hospital’s burn unit. The police came to collect a blood sample from him, which is standard procedure. Nurse Wubbels informed Detective Payne that he would need a warrant for the blood sample, but he still insisted, despite being told by his colleagues and superior that they could get the blood sample another way. When Wubbels held her ground, Payne decided to arrest her and drag her screaming to his police car. The police detective was clearly agitated and took out his frustrations on the nurse.

Alex Wubbels, the nurse arrested in the Salt Lake City hospital, shares the story of her arrest.
Photo and featured photo from nbcnews.com

Once again, a police officer has taken advantage of their power and breached the civil rights of another person. This nurse was assaulted and wrongly arrested for simply following the law and doing her job. A person’s blood is legally considered their property and it cannot just be taken without consent or a warrant. The police officer had no right to touch her or arrest her and he knew that; she was later released and was not charged with anything.

This is just another example of the deteriorating standards that police are held to and it shows that something needs to be done. Fortunately, this incident did not devolve into something much worse and end up with someone being injured or killed, as has happened before, usually with African Americans. For now, the officer is on paid leave and the situation is being investigated, but this officer should be reprimanded and punished for this abuse of power. Far too often police officers are allowed to get away with gross abuses of power and that needs to stop. A message needs to be sent that says the police force is not above the law and that they will be held accountable for their actions and misdeeds.

Sources

  1. https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/officer-arrested-utah-nurse-after-he-was-told-let-her-n800021
  2. http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/officer-arrested-utah-nurse-after-he-was-told-not-to/ar-AArynJM?li=AA4ZnC&ocid=ientp

A Need for More Emergency Phones

If you have ever been on Radford University’s campus for any lengthy amount of time then you have probably seen the emergency telephones with the blue lights scattered around campus. These phones are there for any student to use if they are in need of police assistance or if they feel unsafe walking around campus. These phones are there to help people whenever they need it. However, there are relatively few around campus and given that the size of Radford’s campus is not insignificant, we could use more of them.

emergency phone
“Adding more of the emergency phones could help make people feel safer and even work as a deterrent for anyone planning to assault someone.” Photo from: http://www.luc.edu/media/lucedu/campussafety/images/bluelighttall-420×420.JPG

While Radford University’s campus is on the smaller size for a college campus, it can still take a fair bit of time to traverse and there are many places around campus where emergency phones are not nearby/easily accessible. Adding more of the emergency phones could help make people feel safer and even work as a deterrent for anyone planning to assault someone. The phones provide a large enough light source so it is easier to see (and therefore makes it harder to sneak up on someone). Also, if a phone is nearby then a potential victim has a better chance of contacting the police and getting help. The more difficult it is for a potential perpetrator to attack someone, the less likely they are to attempt it.

One of Radford University’s top priorities should be the safety of their students and the university should always be trying to find better ways to improve that safety. While an increase in emergency phones might not completely stop all assaults from happening, it could certainly result in a lower risk of assault or sexual assault. Students are given a lot of freedom while they are away at college. Part of that freedom is being able to go wherever they want whenever they want, and that comes with a lot of inherent risk, especially for people who are out alone.

Dearest Mom

Selina knows her tragic flaw. Aristotle’s the Poetics forces her to introspect. If characters in delicate and complex novels have a tragic flaw, what separates her from the likes of Hamlet with his ambition or Oedipus with his pride? Her flaw was never one of evil or ill-intent. Selina is kind to all who cross her. That’s it.

Meeting her coworkers after work is always the highlight of her long, dragging days. A diverse bunch, always down for a shot of Tequila. Selina takes her kindness to damaging heights, making her naïve. She is well-versed in the world; having a mother like Georgianna, you had to be.

Her coworkers fail to show after work at the usual bar, but she needs a drink. Sitting at the bar with a half empty glass filled with an amber poison, Selina isn’t thinking clearly. After calling an Uber, Selina dreads going to her empty, bohemian flat. The elevator ride is the worst part, second is the way her key decides when it will work. She fumbles with her key in her drunken stupor to unlock her door.

“Success!” she screams, slurring the ingenuous word.

Pouring herself into her 500-square foot apartment, she throws herself onto her silk sheets. Savannah, Georgia has treated her well, with its hometown vibes.

“Drunk, again? Guess the fucking apple doesn’t fall far from the tree,” a woman says from across the room, raspy and hoarse.

Darkness conceals the voice, but Selina isn’t dumb. “You can’t smoke in here, I’m sorry,” Selina says with an indifferent sigh, eyes locked on her low-hanging ceiling.

“You’re not my mom,” the silhouette shrieks.

“Obviously. Why are you here? It’s been a while, no calls, texts, not even a letter. How have you been?”

“Tired, always,” the shape says. It steps forward, revealing a middle-aged woman, smoking a Marlboro Red special blend.

“Mom, I love you, but I’m wasted. Can we do this tomorrow? If you need a place to stay, please stay here. I can take the couch,” Selina tells Georgianna.

“Fine, we can talk about this tomorrow. Thanks for the place, babe.”

The two switch places and Selina is relieved she splurged for the more expensive couch. She has been taking care of Georgianna since she bought her flat. Serves her right, staying so close to the drug-riddled lady.

Morning rapes their eyes, jarring Selina awake. She is not shocked to see her mother on the bed, spread eagle, naked. She fixes breakfast for two and gently wakes her mother, thanking God it isn’t a weekday.

After eating their breakfast together quietly, Georgianna breaks the silence. “I need your help, baby girl.”

“With?” Selina replies, head lowered with half-moon eyes.

“I’m in trouble, bad. I need your help. I know I fucked up, but I need your help.”

“Mom, whatever you need, just tell me.”

“I need to get away from here.”

Selina knows what her mother means, a repeated trip across town, more vacation days wasted, just to escape whoever is looking for her. “Okay, where do you need to go?”

“This isn’t like last time. I fucked up bad,” Georgianna has an unfamiliar shame twinkling in her dilated pupils.

“How bad, Mom.”

Georgia
“Savannah, Georgia has treated her well, with its hometown vibes.” Photo from: http://www.sta-design.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/04-Blog-Savannah-Image-05.jpg

“I need to be far away, for a long time.”

“I can get you as far away as Pittsburg,” Selina compromises. “I can’t take off more than a week.”

“Done. Thanks, babe. When can we leave?”

“In a few hours. It’s not that far of a drive.”

They get in the car, Georgianna carrying all she has in one hand. After driving 5 hours, Selina sees flashing blue lights in her rearview. Her dark complexion forces goosebumps to rise to the surface. She pulls over to the caution strip, calming herself with each bump. The car eases to a halt, and her mom dives out of the car.

The police officer drags Selina out of the car, slamming her to the ground.

The large, burly man with shiny shoes screams at dispatch, almost incoherently into his radio, “Backup requested, suspect in custody and one running. Location: Blacksburg, corner of 460 and Orchard Street. Fleeing suspect is wanted for suspected felony: murder and attempted murder.”

Selina feels her heart drop, examining her mistakes.

Campus Safety Walk Sheds Light on Radford’s Darkest Places

On Wednesday, October 26th, the members of the Radford community, including the Student Government Association, Radford City and University police departments, university administrators, along with other students came together for the university’s bi-annual Campus Safety Walk. This event, taking place once each semester for the past four years, allows for these groups to meet together and identify safety concerns on campus and in the surrounding communities. Through their collaboration, this group identifies areas with improper lighting, emergency phones, and sidewalks that need updating in order to ensure that students are comfortable walking after sundown.

While it seems like a small effort, the impact of this event can be seen throughout the community. Over the last four years,

SONY DSC
“Through their collaboration, this group identifies areas with improper lighting, emergency phones, and sidewalks that need updating.”

Radford has seen an increase in the amount of safety measures taken, such as brighter, more numerous street lamps and the installation of new emergency phones on campus. Many of these improvements can be attributed to the Walk, which allows for direct communication between students and administrators and helps them find the greatest areas for concern.

This year, the team was able to identify several areas that needed to be addressed, however, the total number of unsafe areas has decreased because of the year-to-year improvements that are being made.

All in all, these walks are a great time for people to come together for the greater good of our community; the more frequent interactions students and leaders can have with one another, the safer Radford University and our city will be.

Making a Murderer

Making a Murderer is a documentary series about a man named Steven Avery who lives in Wisconsin. He grew up with is last name being an insult, his whole family being named the “troublemakers” of his county. He has been tormented his entire life by the Manitowoc police, who framed him for crimes he has never committed.

He was an easy target, simply because of his family’s reputation. His cousin, who hated Avery, was married to a sheriff on the police force who framed Avery for a rape he didn’t commit. After 18 years of being in prison, he was found innocent for the rape, DNA evidence was “found” that proved Avery didn’t commit the crime. The police had this DNA evidence in file but refused to bring the evidence forward because they wanted to keep Avery in prison. The torture doesn’t end there. Two years after Avery is found innocent and is out of prison, he is framed for murder.

Steven Avery, the first time he was arrested for a crime he didn't commit. Photo from gazettereview
Steven Avery, the first time he was arrested for a crime he didn’t commit. Photo from gazettereview

Steven Avery was framed for the murder of a woman named Teresa Walbach, who was a photojournalist who came to Avery’s Auto shop, run by him and his family, to take pictures of the vehicles that they were selling.

After Walbach came to the Avery plot, she was reported missing and was later found in the back of Avery’s land, buried haphazardly. Later on, evidence was found all over his property, but only after the Manitowoc police hadn’t found anything. There are too many suspicious activities that occurred to state them all, but it’s obvious to anyone watching that the police set up Avery to take the fall for the murder.

The police had a motive to frame Avery. Avery was suing the police department for the time he lost while in prison for the rape he didn’t commit. Three weeks before Avery was suppose to receive the money, this woman went missing and, unfortunately, was murdered and placed on Avery’s property. It was astonishing to see all of the illegal events that the police did and how those weren’t taken into account when proving Avery’s innocence. Avery is still in prison and is going to serve a life sentence for another crime he didn’t commit.

I strongly recommend going to Netflix and watching the ten episode series titled “Making a Murderer.” It’s eye opening and amazing what can happen to an innocent man through the corrupt justice system and authority given to the wrong people.

From Our Perspective: YikYak Attack

Welcome to our first podcast of the semester! We hope you enjoy listening, and leave a comment for us. Stay tuned for our opinions on the YikYak shooting rumors and even a few life tips about dealing with assault on campus.

 

“Always bring a pair of flip flops with you– you can even pad your bra with flip flops.”

A Yik Yak post scares students on campus. Graphic from PC World
A Yik Yak post scares students on campus. Graphic from PC World

Stranded in ice

You’re stranded upon a highway, becoming more nervous with each new layer of snow that covers the pavement.

Ahead, police officers are flagging drivers to move forward carefully around two cars in a ditch. Suddenly, as you move into another lane at a higher speed, your car slides and rams into another car. Late for class and with substantial damage to your car, you question whether  it was the right decision to commute to school.

This is one situation of many that cause concern for students, faculty, university employees and family members as a decision to brave the weather is made. However, given the variety of circumstances in which Radford University’s associates and the city find themselves, this can prove difficult.

DSCF0566
“‘The safety of Radford students, instructors, and university employees is paramount,” said Carpenter.” Photo By: Caroline Leggett

 

Joe Carpenter, vice president for University Relations and chief communications officer at RU places prevention as the number one concern during hazardous seasons. “The safety of Radford students, instructors, and university employees is paramount,” said Carpenter.

There are no certainties with weather, however, certain precautions are placed to predict cause and effect. According to Carpenter, three main groups at Radford collect data and make decisions.

The first organization is the Office of Emergency Preparedness, which has subscriptions to weather services. According to Carpenter, when further information is needed, the OEP contacts regional and state planning offices for guidance.

Because police officers are often required to be on scene before and during dangerous situations, the university also reaches out to the  university and local police departments if necessary.

For a direct link to the state of campus, Facilities Management also gathers data involved with the current and potential weather. “They are responsible for keeping sideways and roadways clear,” said Carpenter. In addition, this department looks at commuters, faculty and employees at RU to ensure they’re able to travel as safely as possible.

Nearby colleges such as Virginia Tech are also contacted in order to further prepare Radford University. Since this university is particularly close, officials at RU are aware of the connections of its personnel with Virginia Tech. “We may have folks at Radford who have spouses or friends who work there,” said Carpenter.

Once RU feels confident with their decision, it’s relayed through the appropriate channels. The information is immediately forwarded to all personnel . “University Relations sends email to faculty, employees, social media and local media,” said Carpenter.

With the prediction of at least eight inches of snow for the Radford region, Carpenter stated yesterday was a good example of how the University dissects and reacts to information. “We were given 24 hours in advance, so we monitored what could happen and predict what might arrive,” said Carpenter. Radford subsequently decided to delay opening until 11 a.m.

According to Carpenter, the decision was made that morning and then dispensed afterwards. “We knew there wasn’t going to be additional snow, so Radford then estimated how long it would take to clear everything,” said Carpenter. For the sheer amount of students who commute from distant locations, commuter safety was a major factor in the decision.

Once this information is made available to as many as possible, the university then figures out how to recover. Clearing roadways and sidewalks is essential during this process.

Especially during the latter part of each semesterwhen preparation for final exams occursthe need to attend class might cause students to risk their well-being.

Radford University is all too aware of this possibility, and has forces in place to ensure safety is upheld.

Good Cop vs. Bad Cop

We’ve all been driving and had to take a double look at a car to make sure it’s not a cop car. When I see a sketchy-looking black Dodge Charger parked somewhere, I often tap my breaks and scan the car for signs that it may be a police car. Although these under-cover police cars are a useful tool to catch speeders and stalk dangerous criminals, they can cause confusion to the public.

Do unmarked police cars help or hinder the public? Graphic from Complex
Do unmarked police cars help or hinder the public? Graphic from Complex

In my perfect world, I would like to see police cars be marked very clearly. Although this may partly be because I would love to see a police car in case I’m feeling the need for speed, the primary reason is I believe that police are supposed to be protectors. Brightly colored police vehicles would make it much easier for civilians to locate police officers if they’re in need. Under-cover cop cars are sending the wrong message to the public and may be part of why police officers have gotten such a bad reputation.

Recently, there has been little trust put into police officers. With the situation in Ferguson, many are arguing that this country has become a police state. I’ve seen police officers behaving inappropriately myself, but it’s not uncommon to hear about an officer of the law abusing his or her power. Many argue that police should go back to the “serve and protect” days of the past.

It may be easy to point fingers at an officer who abuses their power, but we must look at the bigger picture. Police are required to give out a certain number of tickets and are rewarded for the more perpetrators they ticket or catch. In order to climb the ladder, many police may abuse their power and give unnecessary tickets, obviously causing a lot of distress to the person on the receiving end.

Back in the day if someone was drunk stumbling home, they’d typically be able to get a ride with an officer. I realize that cops aren’t supposed to be babysitters for the publicly drunk, but if they’re just drunk and not causing any harm to anyone, there’s no reason they should be punished. I believe the shame of waking up in the drunk tank would be punishment enough.

Overall I think cops have been steadily getting a worse reputation. Many police officers sincerely enjoy their job and helping others, but for some it’s just a source of income and they only do what’s required of them. I’ve witnessed many police officers doing good, but I’ve also heard some horror stories of officers abusing their power just to meet their quota. We should be able to trust police and not be terrified of them. Their job is to serve and protect the public, not give them a police record for minor infractions.

Quadfest: Nothing but trouble

I will be plain: I don’t like Quadfest. People come from all over Virginia to party in our little college town for a weekend and then leave. In their wake, they leave behind broken windows, damaged property, burned dumpsters and a soiled reputation. Those who are willing (or gullible) enough to open their houses to social activities find their homes quickly flooded by people they don’t know and soon after they are answering a knock on the door from the cops.

I’m not against partying and having a good time, but what irks me about Quadfest is that the point isn’t inter-collegiate interaction or camaraderie, but a school versus school drinking match. Inevitably this leads to masses of out-of-town kids wandering our streets drunk out of their minds. The police write hundreds of tickets, a lot of people spend the night in the drunk tank and the pictures of the aftermath make Radford University look horrible. Continue reading Quadfest: Nothing but trouble

If you don’t like the waiter, talk to the manager

Getting pulled over isn’t fun by any stretch of the imagination. No one enjoys getting a ticket, and no one wants to deal with the excruciating process of going to court. While I agree, being an experienced speeder and ticket-receiver, that getting pulled over and receiving a ticket can put quite the damper on a day, the mindset that most people have today about the police is immature at best. Continue reading If you don’t like the waiter, talk to the manager

Paramilitary police: An abuse of power?

Paramilitary is defined by the Collins dictionary as “denoting or relating to a force with military structure conducting armed operations.” In my opinion, this word is synonymous with the definition of today’s law enforcement.

The police and SWAT can abuse their powers, and many times these enforcers operate outside of the law. Often those sworn to protect us and our freedoms will make mistakes or conduct themselves in less than ethical ways, which can cost human lives. They lack accountability for their wrongs, often receiving no penalty for misdeeds that would send an average citizen to jail. Continue reading Paramilitary police: An abuse of power?

Radford police looking for an ‘armed and dangerous’ man

Radford police are pursuing a college-age white male after he reportedly entered Gilbert Real Estate on the 600 block of Calhoun Street at 11:25 a.m. with a black handgun. The man took keys to an employee’s car and drove off in a 2011 white Mercedes SUV with license plate number KLF-6778.

Police believe the man is armed and dangerous. He was wearing dark clothes and a dark baseball cap.

How to handle the police if you’re drunk

Well, seeing as your a student at Radford, you probably agree. Maybe you don’t, not everyone does, but a lot of Radford students do. A lot of partying does go on at Radford, sometimes during the week, but mainly of course, on weekends. Radford’s police force patrols the streets of lightside constantly, keeping a watch for students who have had just a little too much to drink. The police believe it or not, don’t actually want to arrest you, but when the have to they will. Here are some helpful tips to help you reduce your chances of being arrested if you’re ever stopped by the cops when your drunk.

Tip#1:

This is something that doesn’t need to be explained in a whole lot of detail. Don’t be behind the wheel of a vehicle. If a cop stops you for that, and finds out that you’re drunk, you will be arrested no matter what the circumstances are. That’s pretty much common sense to students though.

Tip#2:

Don’t try to deny that you’re drunk if a cop asks you. Last year, a Radford student was carrying beer with him during Quadfest when a cop pulled him aside and asked him what was in his hand. He didn’t try to come up with an excuse, and he merely said, “It’s a bear and I’m not 21.” The cop took the beer, but let the freshman go because he was honest. If you’re honest and cooperative with the police if they stop you on the side of the road or bust a party you’re at, it’ll greatly reduce your chances of getting in any trouble at all. It may not get you off the hook every time, but it will make you alot less likely to be arrested.

Tip#3:

This one will hopefully keep a police officer from noticing you in the first place. If your drunk, try not to act like, it. Don’t urinate somewhere where you shouldn’t. If a cop sees you, it’s a guarentee that you’ll get arrested. Don’t run around screaming how drunk you are. The police are trained to when they’re intoxicated, so if you don’t give them a reason to arrest you when you’re drunk. If you’re at a party and you don’t think you can make it back without doing something stupid, then stay until you sober up a little bit.

Tip# 4:

If the police knock on your door and you’re throwing a party, answer the door. Last year, a party on Darkside got busted because the police knocked on the door and nobody answered. If somebody had answered the door, then the police probably would have just given them a warning. When nobody did however, the police called for backup and they surrounded the house. Over 20 students got strikes that night. If a police officer knocks on your door, it might just be for a warning due to a noise violation or something minor, so just answer the door and do whatever they tell you to do.

However, despite all these tips, the best way not to get arrested here in Radford is just to avoid the police. Don’t go to a wild party if there are police cars driving all over Lightside, because they do some nights, and other nights, not so much. The police are here to protect us, they don’t want to ruin our lives here at Radford, but some people give them no choice.

Pictures From:

http://www.nottinghamshire.police.uk/uploads/images/local/lacs/photos/radford_road_police_station.jpg
http://www.usacops.com/va/p24142/pic1-2.jpg
http://freethoughts.org/archives/police.jpg

Video from billabuzz on Youtube