Southern Fried Justice Becoming Epidemic

Eugene Siler

“You’re not fucking listening. You hear what I told you? I told you not to be talking. Didn’t I tell you not to be talking? That’s just the fucking beginning. This mother fucker right here, he loves seeing blood. He loves it. He loves seeing blood. You’re talking too much. Listen to what I’m telling you. He loves fucking seeing blood. He’ll beat your ass and lick it off of you.”

We just covered one story about justice served southern style. Radly Balko also brings to mind another case, this time in Tennessee. While the transcript of the Lester Eugene Siler torture tape has been available for some time, Balko’s link provided my first chance to hear the audio.

If you don’t recall the story, Siler was brutally tortured by Tennessee police officers during a drug raid. We would never have heard this story had Siler’s wife not secretly turned a tape recorder on. While five cops were convicted, they were given extremely lenient sentences — mostly for civil rights charges, as opposed to the life terms they all deserved. Contrast this with Cory Maye, who was given a death penalty for what seems to be a case of reasonable self-defense.

People say that Abu Ghraib was an isolated event. They say the Cory Maye case is an isolated event. They say the same of Abner Louima and many more cases. How many torture cases do we have to endure before we begin to realize they aren’t so isolated. There is an evil streak within some people. We are placing these people in positions where they can abuse their power. We need to change our policies and our political leadership.

EVERY AMERICAN SHOULD LISTEN TO THIS AUDIO and maybe we can begin to form the resolve to create effective political change.

Update by Nicholas Sarwark: The Knox News site has a page with links to various documents in the case and information about the sentences the officers received.

posted by Stephen Gordon
  • Nicholas Sarwark

    To their credit, the prosecutors argued against the perpetrator’s requests for leniency.

    As to why the charges brought were civil rights based, I think it’s a Federalism issue, i.e. the more basic crimes are all state crimes. I’m leery of entrusting state courts to prosecute state law enforcement officers.

    The audio is very, very disturbing. The sounds of Siler crying as the police beat him made me sick to my stomach.

  • johnny

    Abu Grahib torture … you have to be kidding me

  • http://rebootd.blogspot.com Puma

    Have you read any Joe Bageant? This essay comes to mind:

    Free People Do Bad Things

  • graham

    Just reading the 60 page PDF made me sick to my stomach. I had to hold off on the audio. I read about this at the Agitator yesterday. Thanks for adding the link to the documents and names and photos of the officers. I had not seen that and am glad they will serve time.

  • graham

    Interesting and not surprising… “(Samuel R. Franklin)His duties included being the department’s primary sex crimes investigator, and he was also the department’s D.A.R.E. officer.”

  • Stephen VanDyke

    They threatened to electrocute him, too! Hello Abu Ghraib!

    What in the hell is wrong with our system that these guys get a metaphorical slap on the wrist after literally slapping and beating him into compliance?

  • Rick Rajter

    Do people still believe the system can be fixed?

    This cancer has infiltrated all levels of our government…

  • Stephen VanDyke

    This is the sickest thing I have ever heard. I am in awe that this never made daily national news, yet we’re inundated with missing white girl in Aruba and bird flu scares.

    What in the fuck is wrong with this country?

  • http://360.yahoo.com/pong_god Robert Mayer

    I’m so sick of these sadistic bastards I could puke. And the next time I get a call from a telemarketer badgering me to donate money to one of these “law enforcement” agencies, maybe I should just play back that audio recording of the thugs in action.

  • kaptinemo

    If you want to get an idea of how (far too many!) members of the law enforcement community see their paymasters, you should read this: On Sheep, Wolves, and Sheepdogs

    A quote from it is in order: One Vietnam veteran, an old retired colonel, once said this to me: “Most of the people in our society are sheep. They are kind, gentle, productive creatures who can only hurt one another by accident.” This is true.”

    Notice the deprecating tone, as if the person speaking is something more than a human being as he describes his fellow humans as sheep. What kind of behavior towards those who are his paymasters do you think that kind of attitude would foster? Given that a sheep’s ultmate destiny is slaughter, the question becomes more than an intellectual exercise.

  • Michael Hampton

    What the fuck is wrong? I’ll tell you.

    It was on the wall of Fox Mulder’s office in The X-Files: the poster of a UFO with the caption, “I want to believe.”

    People want to believe that government is out there to protect them, and though that be false, any story which undermines the lie and reveals the truth gets buried.

  • ianbernard

    They probably took his drugs and sold them. Fucking cops.

  • ianbernard

    Anyone know how I can download that audio? The “mp3″ file is actually a text file pointing to some weird mp3-asx file.

  • Stephen Gordon

    Ian — I’ll try to convert it. My main sound equipment is out of the office right now, though. Let’s see what my laptop can do.

  • Stephen VanDyke

    Methinks Ian will be playing this on FTL tonight.

  • ianbernard

    I can convert audio fine, and I could always just dub it, but I’d rather be able to download it.. if you can figure out how, let me know.

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  • Michael Hampton

    Ian, it’s pretty clear from the transcript that the cops were after the drugs and money so they could personally profit from them.

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  • Rick Rajter

    …it’s pretty clear from the transcript that the cops were after the drugs and money so they could personally profit from them….

    and none dare call it a “conspiracy”

  • Timothy West

    Time for another video, with that as he soundtrack..

  • IFUCKINGHATECOPS

    FUCK THE FUCKING PIGS, ALL OF THEM. THIS IS ABSOLUTELY DISGUSTING. POWER HUNGRY CORRUPT BITCHES THAT DO NOTHING BUT FUCK WITH PEOPLE.

    HEY MSM, …WHY DON’T YOU REPORT ON THIS SHIT YOU FUCKING PARTISAN HACKS?!

  • Stephen Gordon

    Tim,

    Here is how I might do such a video.

    Enter with text stating that we are engaged in two very destructive and unneccessary wars. Provide some costs, incarceration and death rates for the war on drugs and the war in Iraq.

    Segue into the audio and provide basic facts about Abu Ghraib and the Siler case.

    Then use Abu Ghraib pictures (slide show with effects) during the audio of the Siler issue to show how similar and sickening both wars are.

  • Timothy West

    Yeh, that should do it – I had come up with 85% of your story board – I’ll start working on it day after tomorrow – all day will be spent at doctors tomorrow.

  • http://libertarianyouth.blogspot.com Nigel Watt

    I’ve thought of a PR opportunity relating to the war on drugs, prostitution, dildos, etc…Each week in front of the state capitol, have one of your candidates read a list of the people imprisoned/fined for victimless crimes that week. Video it and make commercials out of it, with the hope that eventually the MSM will be videoing it for you.

  • Michael H. Wilson

    Stephen see if you can get the okay to play it to the delegates at the Portland convention, or have someone else to do so if you are not going to make the convention.
    Hopefully the convention will get national television exposure and then the audio of this event wil get the same.
    M.H.W.

  • Michael H. Wilson

    I just sent it on to a friend who is with a Pacifica radio affiliated station here in the NW. Maybe he can get it some exposure.
    Unfortunately this has been happening for years and the LP should be making big noise about this perversion of the Justice system, but for some damn reason is reluctant to do so. Maybe it is just no balls.
    M.W.

  • GreginOz

    Fuckin’ hell. Who remembers the KGB? The SS? STASI? You ARE LIVING IN A POLICE STATE. Wake up and smell the shit that is being beat out of you! If this happened to me, I kid you not, I would fucking KILL those cunts, I would flense them alive and, slowly, eviscerate the cunts.
    “When Injustice becomes Law, Resistance becomes Duty”.
    When cops become that evil, it is your duty to respond with maximum force. Or, to paraphrase Ben Franklin, “When a citizen sacrifices freedom for security, he deserves neither”.

  • Stephen Gordon

    Greg,

    Especially because I lived in Europe then, I remember all too well.

  • ianbernard

    Here is a condensed 12 min version of the original 40 min audio:

    http://freetalklive.com/files/protectandserve.mp3

    When will we fight back?

  • Frank Silbermann

    In comment #10, Kaptinemo: “If you want to get an idea of how (far too many!) members of the law enforcement community see their paymasters, you should read this: On Sheep, Wolves, and Sheepdogs”

    I read that essay. I see nothing wrong with it.

    Kaptinemo: “Given that a sheep’s ultmate destiny is slaughter, the question becomes more than an intellectual exercise.” Yes, the sheep’s ultimate destiny is slaughter. Get rid of the sheepdogs, though, and their destiny is to be eaten by wolves. The only way out is for private citizens to stop being sheep, and learn to kill the wolves themselves so as not to have to rely on sheepdogs. The author says he’s glad that more people are doing this.

  • kaptinemo

    Mr. Silbermann, I was attempting to get the point across that the underlying attitude of many police is essentially scornful of those who pay their salaries. In 1983, at Ft. Meade, while undergoing a Reserve Army Chemical Corps training school, I was classmates with many Reservists from around the State of Maryland. One of which was an Ocean City policeman. He related a saying that I found is almost an article of faith amongst many policeman I’ve met in my travels around the country. It went:“There’s only two kinds of civilians: victims and assholes.” He then explained that to he and many of his cohort, to ‘allow’ yourself to become a victim meant you were an asshole. Fine attitude for one sucking off the public’s life’s-blood to take towards his paymasters, would you agree? It is exactly that kind of attitude that is behind the viciousness of the treatment that many like Mr. Siler and God alone knows how many others have received from our ‘public servants’.

  • kaptinemo

    In an aside, it is also the kind of attitude described above that is most often displayed by belligerents in civil wars towards those they perceive as the enemy. Since we have a DrugWar, and the primary target of that so-called ‘war’ happen to be our society’s minorities (if anyone doubts this, I suggest that you go here and here and read for yourself who the intended targets of the first DrugWarriors were to be, then consider the racial composition of our prisons today before you object) then the civil war analogy is more than appropriate. That Abu Ghraib’s staff were largely Reservists whose ‘day job’ were as turnkeys in US prisons should have provided a satori as to why it happened. And at the risk of seeming pedantic, I will repeat that what happened to Mr. Siler is just another example of this attitude at work.

  • Graham

    I am from Ocean City, sounds like an OC cop to me….

  • Rillion

    From Joshua Monday’s sentencing memorandum:

    “Mr. Monday was a law enforcement officer in a county besieged by the drug epidemic sweeping this nation, and his frustration overcame his better judgment.”

    So, the Drug War creates torturers. Thanks for recognizing that.

  • Timothy West

    I’m starting work on the video. I’ll release a quick and dirty version to get feedback and refine as needed.

  • http://www.wachadoo.com/forum/ Jim

    Link to audio seems to be down. Has anyone downloaded it? Please email or post to my forum. I am keeping an online repository of things like this that disapear from the Internet. http://www.wachadoo.com/forum/ Just post the mp3 to the forum.

    Thanks,
    Jim

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  • Stephen Gordon

    Jim,

    It is working (a bit slowly, though) right now.

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  • Conner

    Although this is a disgrace and terrible behavior. Don’t let these isolated incidents skew your perception on the men and women in Blue who serve your communities.

  • Dylboz

    My perceptions, based on experience, could only be skewed by a positive experience or two with ‘America’s finest.” Sad to say, they are the assholes, almost to a man (the only exception was himself disgusted with his fellow officers, and quit), every cop I’ve met, on or off duty has been a self important prick totally disrespectful of freethnking individuals who’d rather do without their “services” than worship the ground they walk on, or alternatively, dodge the truncheon or .40 S&W they wield “to protect and serve.” More like, “To intimidate and unnerve.” They are the jackbooted fist of oppresion, enforcing the imperial order at home. Cops are immoral because they have freely taken up arms against their fellow citizens to enforce laws contrary to the very Constitution they swore to uphold. Violent coercion personified. In a word, the STATE.

  • http://www.wachadoo.com Jim

    Well, I’ve got the PDF and an abbriged mp3 posted on my site. I wrote an in depth article on torture in america, and the remifications of Gitmo and the whistleblower persicutions. The story can be previewed at my sandbox http://wachadoo.suroot.com/cms/

    Thanks for the good info people. I hope this will never happen again, but as we know, it is probably happening as we speak.

    – Jim

  • Frank

    WHO YOU GONNA’ CALL WHEN THE CRACKHEADS KICK YOUR DOOR DOWN?
    IT WOULD BE GREAT IF ALL AMERICANS TOOK ADVANTAGE OF THEIR CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT TO BARE ARMS AND HAD THE SPINE TO DEFEND THEIR PROPERTY, THEIR OWN LIVES AND THE LIVES OF THEIR FAMILY, BUT DUE TO THE WUSSIFACATION OF AMERICANS AND THE ANTI-GUN LOBBY IT JUST ISN’T SO. THERE ARE A FEW OF US WHO ARE PREPARED BUT SADLY ONLY A FEW. EVERY BARREL HAS SOME BAD APPLES AND MANY GOOD ONES SO DON’T PAINT EVERY PUBLIC SERVENT WITH THE SAME BRUSH OF SHAME. ONE DAY YOU MAY JUST NEED ONE. re; ABU GRABBE, WE SHOULD FEEL AND BE FREE TO DEAL WITH THOSE WHO THREATEN AMERICA THE SAME WAY THEY WOULD AND DO DEAL WITH US. BY ANY MEANS NECESSARY. I AM NOT A POLICE OFFICER OR GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEE OF ANY KIND. I AM A VIET NAM COMBAT VETRAN WHO IS PREPARED TO DEFEND ME AND MINE AS WELL AS AMERICA AND IT’S CONSTITUTION FROM ANY THREAT BOTH FOREIGN AND DOMESTIC. GOD BLESS AMERICA AND THOSE WHO PROTECT HER BOTH AT HOME AND ABROAD.
    WHO YOU GONNA’ CALL?

  • Stephen VanDyke

    Holy fuck… someone tell me that last comment was meant to be satire.

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  • http://www.building-block.org Christopher Largen

    This site has an intersting take on the Lester Siler torture. Check it out…

    http://www.building-block.org

  • http://www.wachadoo.com Jedimaster

    Full report at http://www.wachadoo.com

    – Jedimaster

  • Citizen

    I don’t know about many of the people on this messageboard, but I grew up in a hometown that was small enough that I knew the people I went to school with that became local cops since graduation. From this I have formed a theory about the kind of person and motivation of the people that become cops. They are not the bullies, and are not the bullied, but the people who desperately wanted to be bullies. You probably have someone in mind that you grew up with even as you are reading this. The guy who lacked the psycological or physical strength who got it into his head at one point to start a fight no one in thier right mind would have and got thier ass handed to them. I have a nephew that wet the bed until he was past 12 and had what I would term at a ‘psychotic break’ at this age who has no bussiness being a cop.

  • http://www.wachadoo.com Jim

    I have the full text and an abridged version of the mp3 on my site. I couldn’t get the full mp3, but this is long enoughtto get the picture.

    http://www.wachadoo.com/content/view/1/29/

  • tobias

    you know i have the spine to defend my home i am an avid gun collector and i keep cameras running in my house if something like that happened to me i would make it my lifes goal to destroy everything those people hold dear- their families, finances, name, reputation, i would even take their dog.
    If someone kicks down my door they have some mossburg love waiting for them and i also made sure that my next of kin knows about my cameras and would be able to take appropriate measures should something like that happen. further more i am not suprised by this instance in the least and i have seen firsthand this type of situation several times- altho not to that severity- most times it is a 10 min beat down and a quick mace to the face

    anyone who does not think that this is a sign of the times is living a charmed life and i feel sorry for you when the floor drops out

  • ISAAC GALAVIZ

    well amagine he was in jail and i sure the guards did not treat him any better i been there it aint a good feeling especially when loved ones are around and all the money and time he spent just to let the truth out i wish i had the money and i glad he stood up but got to have money to fight the law and most of us dont that why we keep our moth shut

  • Mons

    Lester, you should have signed the form, idiot

  • observant

    Notice that those who blindly defend cops can barely put together a sentence, while those who criticize the cops are well-spoken and possess good grammar.

    Suburban and rural cops are 99% power-crazed pricks. City cops (I’m speaking of NYC cops in my experience) deserve our respect and support.

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  • http://www.waronjunk.com Christopher Largen

    Through the moralistic drug war, our government officials act like LATENT PEDOPHILES, treating citizens like children and then looking for any reason to put their hands all over them, even inside them (cavity search anyone?), to make sure they aren’t doing something harmful to ourselves.

    Is it any wonder that convicted child rapists are serving NO JAIL TIME for their crimes, being released right back into communities with children, to make room in jail for all those nonviolent drug “criminals”. That same clueless Nebraska judge who gave the child rapist no jail time because he was “too short”, handed out at least one 11-month prison sentence for possession of 3 GRAMS of marijuana. Drug war to “protect the children” indeed!

    These derelict officials need to be BOOTED OUT ON THEIR BUTTOCKS!