Dekalb County Has a Serious Cop Problem
Anyone who has dealt directly with Dekalb County cops, especially if they've been to Dekalb County jail for any amount of time (a strip-search-for-all Jim Crow throwback joint recently involved in prisoner abuse), already knows how these 'officers' 'conduct' themselves. Rude, antagonistic, abusive, and often downright violent, Dekalb County officers have earned a devilish reputation among those they have confronted. These brutish and sadistic cops have jurisdiction over an area containing roughly 700,000 people, which envelops places as diverse as Clarkston, where about 20% of the population lives below the poverty line, and North Decatur, home to Emory, one of the wealthiest university enterprises in the nation. Given recent developments, more and more Dekalb County inhabitants are wondering what to do about their cop problem.
Dating back to at least 2000, the perfidious acts of Dekalb County thugs have been extravagant in scope and lethal in consequence. In that year, acting Dekalb County Sheriff Sidney Dorsey (1996-2000) murdered the man elected to replace him as sheriff, Deriwn Brown. Dorsey confessed to the murder from jail in 2007.
A similar top-level turf war exploded years later. In 2003, Terrell Bolton was fired from his position as Dallas County's Chief of Police after myriad corruption scandals, from domestic violence to planting fake drugs on targeted immigrants, all the while crime rates escalated rapidly. Despite this (or because of this?), in 2006, Bolton was given the same #1 spot, Top Dog Police Chief, but this time in Dekalb County, Georgia. Not surprisingly, Bolton's time as leader of Dekalb cops ended in a dangerous, absurd, and costly fiasco. After being investigated for corruption, as active police chief, Bolton hid out in an unregistered RV at Stone Mountain for 9 months. After a desperate gestapo-like campaign for revenge, Bolton was fired for (more) corruption. His subsequent behavior left the Dekalb County CEO (a guilty party himself for hiring Bolton in the first place) feeling so threatened, that he ordered police to be on 24-hour patrol, publicly paid for, outside of his home. Somehow, things only got worse.
In 2009, Dekalb County Sheriff Deputy Derrick Yancey initiated an international manhunt after he killed his wife and another man. Again, the unthinkable happened – he escaped 'monitored' home detention, placing him among America's 10 Most Wanted. For Dekalb County, this kind of police behavior was so normalized that it played out like a bad made-for-TV drama.
Yet the thuggery of Dekalb County cops goes far beyond these fast and furious high-scale battles and murders. The use of police authority to kill and abuse has permeated all levels of Dekalb's force. Archiving Dekalb County police malignancy would be a project fit for a professional historian. Documenting just one month of Dekalb cops' depravity is a time expenditure in itself. But it's an important one.
What follows is a list of transgressions by Dekalb officers that hit the news solely in May 2012. It must be kept in mind that these accounts are given by the corporate media, and that most police (or as they politely call it, 'officer-involved') murder, rape, assault, theft, and other dangerous behavior never becomes public knowledge, and if it does, this usually happens after internal efforts to suppress information have failed. And so, the following account merely for the May 2012 publicly documented villainy of Dekalb County police:
May 4 – 13-year veteran, Sergeant Eric Adkison is placed on restrictive duty after information leaked that he “persuaded” a rape victim not to press charges. Adkison is also found to be running an illegal club that sells alcohol without a liquor license.
May 8 – Officer Jerad Wheeler, who had previously shot and killed a family's chained dog after arriving at the wrong address, kicks 8.5-month pregnant woman, Raven Dozier, in the stomach and chargers her for obstruction.
May 15 – A cop speeding in his car, which may have not had its lights or sirens on, runs over a pedestrian, killing him. Months later, there is still no explanation given to the victim's mother, and no official statement.
May 17 – A former officer pleads guilty to collaborating with drug dealers and selling them firearms.
May 22 – More information released on Dekalb Sergeant Anthony Robinson, fired for ordering subordinate cops to beat teens while handcuffed – and they did.
May 25 – Dekalb Sergeant Jerry Banks, a 14-year veteran, is arrested for obstruction in confrontation with another woman just days after “horrific beating” of his wife sends her to hospital. Banks had been arrested a year prior to his hiring as a police officer on allegations of simple and family battery.
In one month, we see several public instances of cop misconduct and terror. What dare we to make of these cases? Are these isolatedincidents of mere 'malfeasance', to be dealt with by the very criminal justice system that spawned them? Are police murders, sexual crimes, and beatings, simply 'the price we pay' for being 'protected'? No, and here's why.
In May 2012, the public learned not only that Dekalb County cops were documentedly vile and dangerous, but also, following Dekalb County tradition, their commanding officers were the most culpable of all. This month saw, in this one county, 3 sergeants publicly and directly implicated in massive thuggery. Where top commanders have spilled blood from their high positions, the organization itself is murderous. For what is an organization if not those that construct and command its orders? In other words, a force lead by chiefs that commit atrocities is nothing but an absolutely atrocious force. The story of lower-level officers following Sergeant Anthony Robinson's commands to beat helpless minors is the clearest proof of this full-scale treachery.
So what are Dekalb County inhabitants to do in the face of a police department that has had top-level commanders and their subordinates convicted of murder, theft, and general corruption for years and years? Unfortunately,'internet time' prevents us from even realizing what we're dealing with. So-calld internet time forms our awareness of news and current events. In a 24-hour period, we receive generally one set of information – some of it is mundane, some of it alarms us. We read, we click past, and we go on with our lives. The problem is, the following 24 hours we receive another, different set of information, and the previous set is pushed to the back of our minds, or simply forgotten about. This puts us in a perpetual state of 'starting afresh', giving tyrants and thugs weekly clean slates.
If we take the time to put together the information we receive, over time we can see patterns that help us perceive better the things happening around us. In the case of the Dekalb County Police Department, someone who has kept track of events since 2000 would note that the DCPD is a consistently murderous organization at its highest levels. Yet even though we should, we don't need to go back to 2000. All we need to do is go back over the past couple months to see that Dekalb cops who call the shots and execute the orders are some of the most cold and gruesome people allowed to function in our 'civilization' .
Quick thought experiment: Take another organization – say, a university. Let's say, to keep it in Dekalb County, we take Emory. Let's suppose that at Emory, in one month, several veteran administrators and professors were accused of things like pressuring a rape victim to shut up, beating defenseless minors, vehicular manslaughter, and the battery of a pregnant woman. The thought is so outlandish, it's almost unthinkable. We'd immediately say that Emory University is one cold-blooded, out-of-control organization that must at all costs be stopped. Or so we hope we hope that's what we'd say. We wouldn't spend time saying that these acts were committed by some of Emory's “bad apples”. With all that abuse in one month, we'd probably say that Emory should be shut down. Why do police, those paid by the public, given guns and the authority to lock people away, get such a freakin free pass??
It's past the time to start asking questions. Given their documented ruthlessness, we can no longer take Dekalb cops' stories at face value when they shoot and kill someone. We cannot trust them to use military' -style weapons 'justly' (whatever that means)? And they know we feel this way. The government and its police force know our skepticism, distrust, and outrage are growing every day. (Why are Dekalb County officers being trained in counterterrorism? Is it unreasonable to assume these officers with jurisdiction only over one metro-area Atlanta county are being trained to put down those who at home who would challenge their power? Think it through).
It's more than likely that police all over Atlanta, and the entire US for that matter, are just as dangerous as those in Dekalb County. Just last week a Clayton County cop shot a 13-year-old boy in the head. We all know that in California, New York, and Chicago, police kill again, and again, and again, and again. But we can only confront that which confronts us. And here in Atlanta, in Dekalb County specifically, we have a serious cop problem. Let's do something about it. Whether that be organizing our own communities for self-defense, or taking it to the street in other ways, the time to act is now. They're not protecting us, and they're certainly not defending us. So again, let's not just talk about it, let's be about it. Let's find each other and encourage each other to act boldly. Let's stay safe, but let's also put these cops in their place, wherever that is.