I wonder if this town hall meeting that Garr Nielsen, Chief of Eureka P.D., isn't being a bit of an overreaction? Well, not so much an overreaction, but a bit defensive. I wasn't too concerned about the death of that Cotton fellow. Sounds like he might just have over- exerted himself while picking a fight with anyone he could find.Then again, maybe it's not an overreaction. We've seen on the Humboldt blogs how quickly some are to point the finger at the local police agencies and maybe Garr decided to act first. Either that, or after seeing this notice sent out over the Redwood Peace and Justice Center Announcements e-mail list. About the only thing missing in this announcement is defining Cotton as just a child:
NO MORE DEATH BY POLICE!!!!
Sun August 12 2007
On the afternoon of Thursday August 9th, Martin Cotton II was beaten
severely by the Eureka Police Department [EPD], a sack was thrown over his
head, and he was taken to jail. According to the Sheriff’s Dept, he died
two hours later.
Local papers have given only one side of the account, spinning the story
to support a police department whose image is already marred by several
murders in the last two years. People’s reports to Redwood Curtain
CopWatch share many common threads; facts that stand out starkly against
the media's uncritical parroting of the Sheriffs’ Department press
Martin was involved in a confrontation at the Eureka Rescue Mission.
Rescue Mission staff called the police, who arrived after Martin, unarmed,
had already been ejected from the Mission. The EPD pepper sprayed Martin,
kicked him, beat him with night sticks, and punched him with fists. EPD
pummeled Martin all over his body, including heavily attacking his kidney
area while he was on the ground. There were 6-10 EPD officers present
and involved in the beating.
EPD officers intimidated people attempting to photograph the public incident.
Contrary to the Humboldt County Sheriff's press release, it is clear that
excessive (deadly) force was used.
Martin’s brutal beating was cruel and undeserved; absolutely unwarranted
under any circumstances. EPD took Martin to jail to die, rather than
immediately bringing him to the hospital. This is unacceptable and only
adds to the outrage that we feel.
Redwood Curtain CopWatch believes that as a community we can work towards
creating real justice that heals and transforms rather than destroys and
erases. Police violence does not make us safe. The police, as a
structural component of our society, have not outgrown their long legacy
of protecting the rich ‘from the poor’; and have accelerated their
practice of further marginalizing the people most trampled by our
Martin was houseless... And he is someone's son, grandson-- and a brother
and friend to others. We are tired of community members dying at the
hands of police.
Please help us imagine alternatives to the violence of police. Let's work
towards justice that is nourished by knowing our neighbors, taking care of
each other, and relating to each other as dignified human beings.
Please contact Redwood Curtain CopWatch: copwatchRWC@riseup.net
I'm surprised I didn't see that announcement on Eric or Herald's blog first.