A wheelchair-bound, legless man in Merced, California, says police officers tasered him twice, pushed him out of his wheelchair and left him handcuffed in broad daylight naked from the waist down before arresting him on charges that would never be pressed.
According to the Merced Sun-Star, the Merced Police Department is now investigating two officers who responded to a domestic disturbance call that resulted in 40-year-old Gregory Williams spending six days in jail without charges.
Several witnesses back up Williams’ claims, the newspaper reports. The paper obtained a short, grainy video that appears to show Williams, naked from the waist down, sitting handcuffed outside his apartment complex.
The Sun-Star writes:
[A]lthough the two lead arresting officers are white, and Williams is black, it remains unknown whether race was a factor in the incident. Those two officers remain on duty.
Williams said the officers never used any racial epithets toward him. Although he does believe race and class played a role in his arrest, he also feels the police just wanted to be “downright nasty” to him. “They did what they did because they can get away with it,” he said. “They’ve been doing it so long, it doesn’t matter who they do it to. They just think they can get away with it.”
The incident began when police responded to a call claiming an argument had broken out at Williams’ home. One of the officers involved, John Pinnegar, claims Williams’ wife said Williams had hit her, a charge Williams denies. Police say when they tried to take his two-year-old daughter from his lap to hand her over to Child Protective Services, Williams resisted. That’s when the violence allegedly began.
In an emotional video interview, Williams said: “I’m not a violent person, I do not have a criminal background.”
Added Williams: “How much resisting am I going to do with no legs, no feet? How much resisting am I going to do?”
“Williams said Pinnegar unholstered his Taser, jammed it into his rib cage and shocked him twice. Williams said he fell from his chair onto his stomach on the ground outside his doorway,” the Sun-Star reports.
Williams also says an officer put his knee on Williams’ neck after he was already on the ground, even though “I can’t get up now — I don’t have any feet to get up with,” Williams said.
He added: “And they tell me that I’m doing stupid stuff in front of my kids? These are cops and they come in my house — what if they had accidentally tased my kid because of their [stupidity]?”
The Sun-Star reports that a “hostile” crowd gathered around the apartment building during the incident. The “apartment complex came to a roar because they were tasing a guy in a wheelchair and it was for no reason,” said one witness interviewed on video.
Williams was arrested on suspicion of domestic violence and resisting arrest. He spent six days in lock-up before he was released, and the county prosecutor has laid no charges.
Williams has been a double amputee since 2004, when he was diagnosed with deep-vein thrombosis that led to gangrene in his legs.
— David Edwards and Daniel Tencer
This video is from Merced Sun-Star, broadcast Sept. 20, 2009.
Televised impeachment hearings mattered during Watergate — but they may not today: John Dean associate
I started a continuing legal education program with John Dean in 2011. We have done over one-hundred-and-fifty programs across the nation since then.
Our first program was about obstruction of justice and how Dean, as Nixon’s White House Counsel, navigated the stormy waters when he turned on the president and became history’s most important whistleblower. Unlike the current whistleblower, Dean had been involved in the cover-up, but ultimately decided he had to end the criminal activity in the White House, with no assurance of anonymity and with the almost certain expectation that he was blowing himself up in the process.
If you’ve given your DNA to a DNA database, the police may now have access to it
In the past week, news has spread of a Florida judge’s decision to grant a warrant allowing police to search one of the world’s largest online DNA databases, for leads in a criminal case.
The warrant reportedly approved the search of open source genealogy database GEDMatch. An estimated 1.3 million users have uploaded their DNA data onto it, without knowing it would be accessible by law enforcement.
Here’s why politicians who BS are more dangerous than those who lie
Bullshit seems to be the new currency in politics. Around the world, a new breed of politicians is flourishing, for whom lying and bullshitting is part of their everyday routine. This is earning them both popular appeal and widespread revulsion. But what is bullshit and why is it so effective in our time?
Bullshitting is different from lying. The American philosopher Harry Frankfurt, who attempted to build a theory of bullshit, explains this clearly. He argues that whereas the liar cares about the truth – their aim is to prevent others from learning it – the bullshitter does not care about the difference between the truth and falsity of their assertions. They just pick ideas out, or make them up, to suit their purpose.