Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Tony Brandenburg: Cosplaying as a Capital Crime: Darrien Hunt, Executed in Utah for Being a Samurai

Stop Killing Our Kids
There have been some pretty angry people in Ferguson, Missouri making a lot of noise. And for good reason. If you actually believe what the mainstream media and the Ferguson Police Department say, you probably should just move on to another blog. There is nothing here to persuade you, and I am not going to convince you otherwise.

However, if you, like many Americans, are willing to accept two premises, then the dialogue to follow will offer you something to consider, and something to pursue.

Premise #1- Americans with color are routinely treated as second class citizens in this country, and:

Premise #2- People in power don’t always tell the truth.

Under the current system, we allow law enforcement, educators, and most other civil service providers to determine the system by which they will be evaluated. This is generally done under the guidance and supervision of their unions. In theory, this practice seems solid: after all, self-improvement and growth is best supported by those people who are the center of the profession.

However, if allowed to be the final determination is made up of an internal board - and by that I mean representatives from the field itself - without any citizens oversight groups intervention - then not only is growth stifled, so are reprimands and dismissals. It is my belief that this officer - and I don’t believe he deserves such a title of trust - should be reprimanded, fired, and prosecuted for murder.

What I have observed in the time that has passed since the murder of Kelly Thomas by Fullerton police - and the subsequent character assassination that took place, and which turned loose not only the killers, but also allowed them a loophole in which to sue for their jobs - is that law enforcement, even when the evidence appears to run contrary to everything they are intended to do (protect and serve) can pretty much do as they please without reproach and without the condemnation of the larger society.

We live in a scary country folks. If you speak in favor of the constitution, and speak out against anything that runs contrary to the authority our government has given itself and its “protectors”- then you are labeled an antagonist, a traitor, a terrorist, a threat, or an agent provocateur.

Recently a decision was released in the matter of Darrien Hunt, a 22 year old man shot to death by law enforcement in Utah. And as I expected, what was determined in the matter was  to be the same tired condemnation of our citizenry, and another notch on the belt of an increasingly hostile group of rogue cops whose behavior will become the norm if it is left unchecked. And there is every indication from this cop’s behavior that he is not- and should not- be seen as a representative of the field.

The Strange & Constantly Changing Story of Darrien Hunt
When the news of Darrien Hunt was first brought to my attention I didn’t think much about it. It seemed like a pretty simple event and the reports were relatively brief. A black man with a samurai sword lunged at Utah police and was killed. My initial reaction, based on my limited information, was that in all likelihood this was yet another case of the police reacting to what I erroneously believed to be a mentally ill individual.

But the problem I have found with this case, like the cases of what I consider misconduct by law enforcement in a number of cases - Kelly Thomas, Michael Nida, Kendrec McDade, John Crawford and Michael Brown - is the barrage of misinformation, contradiction, and outright lies that surface as the investigations proceed.

Just as distressing is the outright inconsistency and the excuses that have come forth in order to validate these executions.

The Skinny
The basics are this: On September 10, 2014, Darrien Hunt, dressed in a samurai outfit, was shot multiple times by the Saratoga Springs Police. The population of Saratoga Springs is 22,749 (click here) of which .5% African American. That is about 114 people.

Darien’s mother has accused the police of targeting her son because he was black. Police have asserted that they fired at Darrien because he lunged at them.

The County Attorney’s office said there is “no indication that race played any role in the confrontation” (click here). How tragically predictable that response was. And it was to be echoed again and again.

By the white people conducting the investigation.

Owen Jackson, a spokesman for Saratoga Springs ... said the Saratoga Springs 34-member Police Department was formed in 2007, and that there has never been a police involved shooting death in that time. Jackson said that he is unaware of any previous claims of racial profiling against the department. (click here)

To dispute or confirm either of these statements would be as simple as comparing the number of officer involved shootings to ethnicity and determining whether or not the statement is supported. In other words, for every 1 black person shot by Saratoga Springs Police, the number of white people shot would be around 199 for it to be statistically sound.

Any number less than that would support the statement made by  family of the young man.

Since the Saratoga Springs Police Department have never had an incident of an officer involved shooting that resulted in a death, one has to wonder how on earth the first one was a black man- a relative anomaly in the city- with a toy sword, shot in the back multiple times.

It’s insane. You will never convince me that this was not a racially motivated shooting. Not only do I believe it’s racially motivated, I believe that the police were well aware of who Darrien Hunt was before this incident occurred, and that they had already determined - in their “school-to-prison pipeline, all kids of color are junkies and criminals” - feeble little shoot-first-ask-questions-later minds.

Something is wrong here. Terribly wrong. And why is it that most of the major media outlets have totally disregarded this.

Where is the outrage?
Where are the protests?
Why isn’t this receiving the coverage that Ferguson is?

So. Let’s take a look at Darrien Hunt, and as we examine the situation, use your suspect device to determine if the excuses being used by the people defending law enforcement even make sense. I am going to begin with a few statements and I will expand upon them later.

First, Darrien Hunt was Cosplaying. Second, Utah has an “Open Carry Law.” Third, it is unlikely that Darrien Hunt lunged at the police. Fourth, it is unlikely that Darrien Hunt was on drugs. Finally, in order to cause distractions, criminalizing Darrien and the Hunt family has become the justification used by law enforcement advocates.

Darrien Hunt Was Cosplaying
Within two days of this story breaking it became painfully clear to my family that Darrien Hunt was cosplaying. It was obvious to anyone with even a rudimentary understanding of teenagers.

According to Wikipedia, cosplay, short for costume play, is a form of performance art (click here) in which participants dress as a favorite anime, cartoon, or sci-fi character, and play out a role. Entire subcultures revolve around such inspired geekdom.

Clearly the kid was nerding out. Samurai Champloo has come up as the obvious inspiration for his chosen play (click here). If you are so motivated, you can buy your own costume if you choose (click here) but I would advise against it. Unless you like being shot at.

And don’t throw any hogwash at me about him being over 18, and thus he was a man. In the eyes of the law and the army, yes, but the reality is that most 22 year olds are still kids. Big, goofy kids trapped in adult bodies. And none of them deserve to be shot to death because of it. Especially when they are wearing costumes and pretending to be cartoon characters.

Are you hearing me? He was a big goofy kid, and he was playing!  He even drew pictures of the character he was cosplaying (click here). Holy Mother of God. He was a goofy kid playing superhero.

And the police shot him in the back for it. Then they blamed it on him.

So ... cosplaying while black is a capital offense ...? (click here). Yes, sir. I’m afraid it is.

In fact, there was a Comicon in Salt Lake City one week prior to this incident (click here). Comicon is a convention of comic book enthusiasts and fans.That means that there were literally hundreds of goofy kids dressed up as their favorite characters. Luckily they stayed the hell away from Panda Express and Cypress Credit Union. And apparently the big city cops in Salt Lake City have seen enough of the world to know not only what black people look like, but also what a black person in a costume looks like.

You will never convince me that the Saratoga Springs police were innocently unaware of this.  Kids dressed up in costumes are simply not that unusual.

Even in Utah
I was thinking about a night a while back when my band was on tour. One night outside of Austin in 2007 or so, we were driving along a rather rural road on our way to a hotel. It was around midnight. We saw a young man riding a bicycle wearing a superman costume. We laughed and cheered him on. And why not? The world needs more super-heroes.

It had never crossed our minds to shoot him in the back six times.

Utah has an “Open Carry Law”
I don’t want to get into a discussion about the rights and wrongs of “open carry,” nor do I wish to debate the merits and pitfalls of the Second Amendment.

Personally, in recent months I have had the rudimentary belief that the only people who shouldn’t have guns are the police.

Oh, but that is a crazy idea, right?

Of course it is. but I think it clearly typifies the frustration that millions of law abiding Americans have about guns. Especially when those guns are turned on citizens.

The U.S. Constitution clearly spells out that American citizens have the "right to keep and bear arms" and that those rights "shall not be infringed." The Utah Constitution further defines the right to bear arms as a means for "security and defense of self, family, others, property, or the state, as well as for other lawful purposes," and that those rights "shall not be infringed." (click here)

Utah is a state that has open carry. That means that a person can carry a gun as long as it is clearly visible. A resident of Utah, to my knowledge, can do so without a permit.  A toy gun, sword, or anything else would be legally carried if it was visible. from every account, it was clearly visible. Again, since no one else has been killed carrying a toy weapon in Saratoga Springs, it is highly suspect that the first person killed just so happened to be a black male. Regardless of what the white investigators state.

Openly carrying a real sword is legal under Utah’s liberal weapons laws, Evan Kirby, a spokesman for the Utah Department for Public Safety, said on Friday. “You can carry anything,” he said. (click here)

It is Unlikely that Darrien Hunt Lunged at the police.
Police have asserted that they fired at Darrien because he lunged at them. That is the word they used. Lunged. The word itself has a negative connotation. It is evoked to put into your mind an attack.To get a rise in you. To frighten you.

Apparently it has worked. However, no accounts I have read have given me the impression that Darrien Hunt lunged at anyone. In fact, witnesses and people who saw Darrien that day painted a different picture altogether.

“It’s very disturbing that the young man lost his life,” said Leonard "John" Zogg, one of those witnesses. But he told 2News the search warrant released by the county attorney’s office "didn't reflect some of the information that I shared with the police." In the affidavit, Zogg is described as saying Hunt pulled out his sword and “swung it” at one of the officers. But Zogg says that's not true. (click here)

A 911 call to dispatcher gives the same impression. This doesn’t sound like a threatening guy.

A man who said he was on his way to work told a Utah Valley 911 dispatcher that he had seen “a guy walking towards kind of the Walmart area wearing a red shirt, but he was carrying a samurai sword”. He later added that Hunt was “just, like I say, walking.” (click here)

The lawyers for the family produced photos that contradicts the language used by the responding officers as well.

At the news conference, Sykes showed a picture taken by a witness before the shooting in which the sword is strapped to Hunt‘s back. "No indication he’s a threat," Sykes said.The lawyer also pointed to a police report that says Hunt was "wielding" the sword. "That’s not true," he said. Another photo shows Hunt — looking calm, a slight smile on his face — standing next to a Saratoga Springs police car, the sword still sheathed. Hunt’s relatives have said the sword, which they call a "katana," was a toy. It was metal, but had a rounded blade that would not cut, they said. (click here)

It is Unlikely that Darrien Hunt was on Drugs
Although the autopsy has shown that Darrien Hunt was not intoxicated, nor on drugs, the court of popular belief has suggested he was. Let me point out that being intoxicated or stoned is not a capital offense. In the case of Darrien Hunt, it is totally moot. A point eloquently made by a mother who must have been crumbling when she made it.

"What really upset me — people are trying to justify killing my son," the woman said between sobs. "[Saying] he had to have been drunk or he had to have been on drugs, so that means a cop can kill him. But he wasn’t! He didn’t do anything wrong." (click here)

The problem here, in my opinion, is that there is an ambitious crusader cop that thinks every kid who isn’t high on God must be high on drugs. I have seen the toxicology report. Nothing. They tested this man for drugs I haven’t even heard of. I had to look them up. That is how determined this department is to paint a picture of this kid as a drug user.

They have gone as far as to suggest Darrien was on drugs weeks before the incident. How do they know this? Were they following him? Waiting for him to jaywalk? If that was indeed the case, what was their beef with him? Who is providing them with this information?

Now, let me share something with the world. Sometimes young people use marijuana. Darrien Hunt may have at some point in time.  He lived in Utah, for crying out loud.

 But at the time of this incident he had not used any drugs. That is documented by the autopsy. No drugs. None. Zip. Zilch. Zero.

And, in case anyone has forgotten, I will address the diversion, anyway.

Except for back-ass backward places such as Indonesia, drug use isn’t a capital crime. Maybe we should add Saratoga Springs to that list. You can be executed there if the cops even suspect it.

The Criminalization of a Murdered Man and his Family
In order to cause distractions, criminalizing Darrien and the Hunt family has become the justification used by law enforcement advocates. The drug diversion is just one of the criminalization methods being used to smear the man and his family. they will also continue to harass the family, and to smear them as much as possible. This will be done directly in the form of confrontation and harassment. It will also be done indirectly and anonymously by trolls, law enforcement aggrolites, and sympathizers on line.

I found this on Facebook. It is attributed to Natalie Maywood (click here). It  is so chillingly typical in our present climate that it makes me cringe at what the future may hold for the human race. It is one of those unsettling reminders that victims are punished for being victims, and their families are punished, too. I have seen this happen again, and again. I watched this happen to Ron Thomas, and I have seen it happen to people many times since.

The latest smear tactics from Saratoga Springs? “Look over there! Just don’t look here, so you will see what we are doing!” Yes, it’s an attempt to smear Susan Hunt, Darrien’s grieving mother. Of course, it has nothing to do with the case, or the two officers who shot and killed Darrien Hunt.

“During the period of intense grief, people often think they are going crazy. Some people hear voices or see visions; others find themselves attached to odd objects.” (Psychology Today, 2014).

On October 19, 2014, half-crazed with grief, a “normal” emotion for a woman whose son was shot and killed by two officers of the Saratoga Springs Police Department not even two months before that date, Susan Hunt saw an officer pull over a man near the area where Darrien Hunt died on September 10, 2014. She was driving past the scene of his death, as she often did, looking for… something. A sign he was still there? Something of him was left? Peace? There was nothing. But the police lights alarmed her, and then she saw another police officer pull up behind him. That alarm spread, and she decided she was going to watch closely. She pulled in behind the officers and parked. The second officer saw her, and came back to her car. He came to her passenger side window, and she rolled it down. He leaned in and told her to move along. She asked him why, saying she didn’t have a sword.

He said something like, “Oh, you’re one of those, huh?”She said something like, “I'm just here to make sure you don't shoot somebody else.”He laughed at her. Maybe not a belly laugh. A smirk. Amusement. Taunting.

The situation escalated from there. She began to scream and cry. Her son is dead. A man in a police uniform found her situation amusing. The fact two of his fellow officers on the small force shot and killed her son AMUSED him. The fact she was tormented by this gave him pleasure. She threatened to record him with her phone. He laughed more. She couldn't find her phone. The officer leaned in through the passenger side window and shined his flashlight into her face. In order to do this, you can imagine how much of his body would have had to be inside the car. At no point did he ask her to please step out of the car. The only time he behaved like a real police officer was when he told her to move along. As soon as he realized who she was, the situation devolved into harassment.

The harassment of a woman whose child was murdered not far from the spot where they were, just a little more than a month before.

Susan couldn't find her phone, and finally realized she needed to leave, but the officer was almost in her car, shining the flashlight in her face, and taunting her, so she grabbed her purse, instead of touching him, and pushed him out of her car, and moved the car about five feet away.When she could see he was not in danger of being hurt, she left the scene, shaken and scared, and determined not to let herself be provoked again.

She realized the other officer had not been involved at all. He had continued doing his job, his head down, almost as though he was embarrassed by his fellow officer’s actions.

Several days later she received a call from a nice officer who identified himself and said he would be investigating the incident. He was from a different agency. He apologized for the actions of another officer, as she explained what happened. She also apologized for her actions, as she explained how distraught she was over the loss of her son. He told her he didn’t think there would be charges, but he would be in touch.

Losing a child is its own kind of hell. The loss of a child to homicide adds to it an intensity and shock that creates a black, seething rage, particularly when the killers are the very people you taught your child to trust. Darrien walked up to those officers with a smile on his face. They were the police. He had no idea they had already appointed themselves as his executioners.Is it any wonder his mother was driving by the spot of his murder, looking for something? Looking for justice, maybe? Looking for him? Looking to make sure nobody else’s child met the same fate? Once again, we will never know, because again it will be her word against the word of an officer who was most likely wearing a body camera, with videotape we will never see. It didn’t have to be that way, but because it was an officer behaving badly, that is how it will be. They don’t want you to see it, because then they can’t spin it. If you did see it, it would show the truth.

Isn’t it interesting how they have the technology, and yet they never ever use it?And what about all that footage they talked about from the beginning?
Bank videos, video from Panda Express, video from the Top Stop. All useless? How odd. How very, very odd. Body camera videos? Not there?

Again, how odd. Since we know they have body cameras.

And like this officer was most likely wearing a body camera, and so the entire event was most likely recorded, so was the video of Darrien’s death, on two different cameras. And those videos are most likely sitting in the police station, since my sources say both officers were told to have their body cameras on and operational just two days before his death. Another source said his workers were told by Panda Express workers that police came in to look at the videotape they had, and when they left it had been erased.

Second hand information, but still, very odd.

All information about video that is missing that the investigators have claimed was useless.Susan Hunt is a grieving mother. She is not a criminal and she was not there the day Darrien Hunt was shot. It doesn’t matter what she did on October 19, 2014. Because Darrien Hunt was shot and killed on September 10, 2014. This is a “look over there,” tactic. Don’t be fooled. The real criminals are right in front of you.

The first time I read this piece I choked back my tears and anger and frustration. It breaks my heart.  It also makes me afraid for this family. For their mental health. For their spiritual health. For their safety. The place they call home is dangerous.

The Utah Attorney General says, “Blah, Blah, Blah”
Utah County Attorney Tim Taylor says the Utah Medical Examiner’s autopsy report released Tuesday shed some light on the events that happened on the day of the shooting, but that their investigation had already uncovered many other details. A search warrant the courts unsealed on Wednesday revealed some of those, including a narrative of the incident.

The report says Corporal Matt Schauerhamer and Officer Nicholas Judson of the Saratoga Springs police department stopped Hunt and asked him to place his sword on the hood of their car. Hunt refused. Eventually, he unsheathed the sword and began swinging it at Schauerhamer, who drew his gun and fired.

The report then describes how Hunt ran away around a nearby Panda Express. It also says Schauerhamer chased Hunt because he thought he needed to stop him before he was able to hurt or kill someone. As Hunt continued to run away towards the nearby Wal-Mart parking lot, Schauerhamer fired three more shots that hit Hunt in the back and caused him to collapse. (click here)

OK. So there were surveillance cameras, assumedly, capturing images at local businesses Cypress Credit Union, Panda Express, and Wal*Mart that could certainly shed light on this situation. Panda Express and Walmart have an obligation to make these documents available to the public. If they feel they have the right to film us, the public, then we have a right to view the information. For whatever reason, Wal*Mart has been left out of this conversation.

It may be apples and oranges, but it was in an Ohio Walmart where John Crawford III, an African American male, was shot to death by Beavercreek Police in August, 2014 (click here). The issue became controversial due to - what else? The fact that the toy gun used by Crawford was being sold at Wal*Mart and was obtained by Crawford shortly before the incident took place (click here). My point here being Wal*Mart has surveillance cameras actively recording the goings on at their properties.

It came as no surprise when the report came in from Utah County Attorney Jeff Buhman that the cold-blooded killing of Darrien Hunt was a reasonable and necessary show of force.

Buhman announced his findings after a nearly 2-month long investigation into the Sept. 10 death of Darrien Hunt. “I find that Saratoga Springs Cpl. Matthew Schauerhamer and Officer Nicholas Judson were justified in their use of deadly force against Mr. Hunt,” said Buhman. “Their belief that deadly force was necessary to prevent death or serious bodily injury was reasonable.” (click here)

Aunt Mia B. Love’s Cabin
Mia Love was the former mayor of Saratoga Springs. She is part of that .5% I discussed earlier. She is a cosplayer too, but her ninja skills are so stealth that this empress with no clothes on has convinced herself and her Republican constituents that she is white.

White, white, white. In nearly every room Love enters as she stumps her way across Utah’s 4th District on a quest to become the first black female Republican in Congress, she is not just the only black person there. She’s the only person of any color, unless you count farmer tans. This 39-year-old, Brooklyn-born daughter of Haitian immigrants and former mayor of Saratoga Springs, Utah, seems completely at home in a crowd of mostly old white dudes. What’s more, she gets a warmer reception here than when she made a speech at the University of Chicago Law School in 2013. Her advisers had urged her to stay way the hell away from the Windy City. “That’s Obamatown,” they told her. “Those people will eat you alive.” (click here).

Following the advice of her advisors, Aunt Mia kept her trap shut about Darrien Hunt. After all, to show empathy or concern to the family of a murdered black man might ruffle some white feathers. She was stifled on Twitter, and her only quote on the matter was pretty blunt.

"I don’t want to be mentioned in anything," said Love. "I think it should just go through the process it is supposed to go through." Love may not have known Hunt personally, but she was the Mayor of Saratoga Springs until as recently as January. It would seem like normal protocol to at least make a statement offering condolences, even if she were attempting to avoid the issue of race. One could guess, from her statement, that protecting her good image during her campaign appears more important to Love than the feelings of the Hunt family. (click here)

Welcome to the privileged class, Mia B. Love. You should fit in quite well.

A Cop with a Bad Attitude?
One of the killers with a badge, Corporal Matt Schauerhamer, has a very interesting web presence.

Not only does he come across like a megalomaniac, he inadvertently comes across like a bully and a cowboy redneck (click here). This is not the kind of guy I would want to see patrolling my city, nor going into schools to teach drug and alcohol prevention programs. That’s for damn sure.

Matt Schauerhamer: Miracle muscle build?
The italicized quotes are from the Saratoga Springs Police Blotter which was run on an online blog called The Crossroads Journal, and are attributed to Matt Schauerhamer.

If I told you I owned Wrangler jeans, cowboy boots, spurs and a cowboy hat, you would probably assume I was a cowboy. It would stand to reason that I probably own horses and cows. It would stand to reason that I probably spend time listening to country music, riding trails, throwing hay, and driving T-posts into the ground. While anyone is capable of going to the nearest Cal Ranch and purchasing Western attire, the most common owner of Western apparel is a cowboy. Every culture has specific styles, trends and unique trademarks that are generally associated with it – and that includes the drug culture. If parents are able to familiarize themselves with the specific trends of drug culture, they will be more likely to recognize if their child is descending into the culture and subcultures that drug users associate with. It will be easier for parents to distinguish whether their child is using or associating with people who use drugs.

This guy seems to have a huge bug up his backside regarding Bob Marley.

Anyone with even the most rudimentary knowledge of Marley knows that many of us from the punk rock subculture thought Kaya - a record that killer cop Schauerhamer particularly critiques - is about as mellow and relaxed and as positive as any Marley album comes. In fact, it is so compliant that it is the one record I don’t own.

Bob Marley and his music are sublime to some people. Just because you have an entire archive on your iPod that is specifically dedicated to Bob Marley, doesn’t necessarily mean you’re a drug user. Having George Strait’s Greatest Hits on your iPod doesn’t mean you’re a cowboy. However, if your child is listening to Bob Marley’s “Kaya,” is wearing a Bob Marley shirt with Bob Marley on it smoking a joint, has a Bob Marley poster in his room, and is wearing a Rasta hat (red, yellow and green), it is highly likely your child is highly high. If they have Rasta colored anything, it is a good bet your child uses or hangs out with drug users. Oh, and by the way – if your child hangs out with drug users, your child’s probability of being a drug user goes up exponentially.

I think what struck me as most concerning regarding this bit is the uncanny resemblance I see between Bob Marley circa Kaya, and the photographs I have seen of Darrien Hunt.

Schauerhamer’s lawyer said the article should be read in the context of his training as a “drug recognition expect”, and should be viewed as a “simplified public information piece” and not as a "scholarly analysis of race” (click here)

No worries there. The guy isn’t a scholar. But I do believe he hates Rasta culture, and I do believe he killed a man for no discernible reason.

Even better than a generalizing, prejudiced, and biased police officer, is a generalizing, prejudiced, biased and trigger happy police officer. And Schauerhamer, who described himself as “a very polarizing person,” advocated arming school teachers after the Sandy Hook massacre:“Though it may sound cliché, the only thing that can stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun…. In a time when many are calling for disarmament, now may be time to call to arms.” (click here)

Useless bit of trivia: Schauerhamer roughly translates to “cloud hammer.”

There are two full pages of his musings on the Crossroads Journal Website (click here and here.) Who knows. You may even find a couple of fluff pieces in there for Mia Love if you dig a little bit. How convenient.

Schauerhamer personal war on drugs is a battle so inane and misguided that it has left a cosplaying Ninja dead. His behavior has opened their department up for an onslaught of civil lawsuits, and made their entire community look like a bunch of stupid, ignorant, bullies and bigots.

One thing that comes across, to me, anyway, is how much Schaerhamer comes across like a bully cowboy. The department is being sued for a late night raid that he orchestrated, and which resulted in a group of kids being rousted from their sleep, and stripped of their rights (click here).

… members of six Saratoga Springs families are accusing Schauerhamer of using excessive force when he and other officers kicked a door down and arrested seven teens while raiding a house party with high school students back in February. The chief of the department, however, insists his officers followed proper protocols. In all, seven teenagers were arrested for investigation of possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia. Six were also arrested for investigation of obstruction of justice for allegedly fleeing or hiding and not responding to officers as they searched the residence. One teen was also arrested for unlawful consumption of alcohol by a minor. Saratoga Springs Police Chief Andrew Burton said officers were following proper procedure.“That level of response was completely appropriate given the circumstances,” he said.

Of course the chief said that. So damn predictable. There is a chief of police in Saratoga Springs who should be fired. I hope that these young people and their friends, and their families take advantage of the City Council meetings and speak at every one of them, demanding he be dismissed for incompetence.And similarly they should be thanking him for not shooting all of these kids in the backs for fleeing.

If these slumbering suspected stoners had been black, the outcome may have been significantly worse than bruised bodies and egos.


  1. These shootings by police. There seem to be so many of them lately. Is this something that has developed recently, or are we hearing about it now only because it has become a topic of news coverage?

    1. all I know is don't sleep in your car in SM

      Officer Dead Eye Amos will shoot you in the back

    2. Thank God they didn't let him have the big boy gun.

  2. I'm Darrien's mom's cousin. Just wanted to clarify a couple of things. 1. Darrien wasn't big. He was average height and slight in build. Secondly, the official autopsy report showed a clean toxicology report. He was not on drugs. Finally, I've posted this on FB, and twitter. Thank you. Sometimes we feel like we're all alone in this, but we're not. People like you who elegantly show appropriate outrage buoy us up and keep us going. We are not done fighting this. Darrien was a meek, thoughtful, gentle, intellectually curious, and kind person who was just getting started in life. The world needs more Darriens. Thank you, thank you, and thank you.

    1. Tony has second article up on his site that you should see as well. Here is the link:
      I will be reposting that one here as well in a few days. Thank you for writing in. If there is anything you would like to see here please send it my way and I will be glad to post it.

  3. @654. There has been an increase according to data. i believe it is due to the increased militarization of police departments. let's use a (poor) analogy. if you get a car that will go 150 miles an hour- are you tempted to try it out?

    1. Another indication of how the balance of power in America now favors government over people. When police can randomly shoot people for no reason, and suffer no consequences, it is a grotesque and frightening form of entitlement. Give a guy a $200,000K pension, legal immunity and military grade weaponry and all hell could break out. And has.

  4. @7:07 your family is not alone, though i know sometimes it may feel like it. you have support and love from around the world. i know it's hard, but look past the trolls and haters your family is and will encounter, and know that people like us outnumber them by a thousand to one. i am so sorry for your beautiful family and your loss. but i am also determined to share what happened to Darrien and see that those men are held accountable by publicly shaming them, regardless of the corrupt system that turns a blind eye to their crime. be strong, and stand proud. we care.

  5. It's a dirty job but someone's gotta do it
    We care a lot about the army navy air force and marines
    We care a lot about the SF, NY and LAPD
    We care a lot about you people, about your guns
    about the wars you're fighting gee that looks like fun
    And it's a dirty job but someone's gotta do it

    1. There are right and wrong ways of doing a job. Even dirty ones. What you do does not excuse the killing of innocent people. No matter where that may be.

  6. Replies
    1. :( Didn't mean it that way. Sorry. It is satire..........
      I do care alot....

    2. :) sorry do. I need a chill pill.

  7. Not what I expected on the Tattler today. I'll be thinking all day. We are sheltered too much of this here in Sierra Madre,possibly we need to go down the hill more often and face the reality from where we come
    I have become comfortably numb,please help me?
    Great article. Thanks

  8. When less than 1% of the people have 99% of the wealth it's not fun for the folks that aren't obscenely rich. The Popo are the defenders of the rich to keep the status quo. Our children are of no importance or consequence to society as long as we are controlled. Screamin for change!!!

    1. There are two political parties in this country. Extremely conservative and conservative. They both work for the same guys.

  9. I looked up Darrien Hunt on the internet and lookdc at the side bar links to other such senseless tragedies. Another one, among too many, that made me cringe: a young man was killed when the car he was riding in with three other 20 somethings drove up to the wrong address to pick up a friend to so skating. He was Hispanic. Homeowner fined $500 and put on probabtion. Forget which state. It dosen't matter. We are nuts in the country when it comes to gun ownership and standing our ground. Why are we so afraid?

  10. Absolutely. We should be afraid of the National rifle association that makes it okay and even desirable for people to own guns and have no safeguards. They wield far too much power and have too much influence in Congress