New York TImes 2013/05/15: Fatal Encounter With Police Is Caught on Video, but Kept From the Public

Discussion in 'Media Coverage & Other Related Materials' started by M, May 15, 2013.

  1. M

    M Muckraker Staff Member

    New York Times (5/15/2013): Fatal Encounter With Police Is Caught on Video, but Kept From the Public

    When Maria Melendez emerged from Kern Medical Center in Bakersfield, Calif., just before midnight last Tuesday, she said, she heard screams that have kept her awake at night for an entire week.

    A half-dozen Kern County sheriff’s deputies were across the street beating a man with clubs and kicking him, she said. So she whipped out her mobile phone and began to video the episode, announcing to the officers what she was doing.

    For about eight minutes, Ms. Melendez said, the man screamed and cried for help. Then he went silent, she said, making only choking sounds.

    Finally, having hogtied him, a number of witnesses said, two officers picked up the man and dropped him, twice. One deputy nudged the man with his foot. When he did not respond, they began CPR.

    “He was like a piece of meat,” said Ms. Melendez, 53, who was visiting her son at the hospital after he was injured in a car accident. “We were telling them: ‘He’s dead. You guys already killed him.’ ”

    ...

    Ms. Melendez said she recorded the entire episode on her phone, as did her daughter’s boyfriend. But before they could send the videos to news media outlets, detectives from the Kern County Sheriff’s Office took their phones before a warrant for them had even arrived, Ms. Meledez and her family said.

    Ray Pruitt, a sheriff’s spokesman, said the two phones were confiscated in accordance with search warrants and had been handed over to the Bakersfield Police Department as part of the investigation.

    [This last line is a lie -- one of the phones was confiscated by intimidation apparently hours before the had the warrant.]

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