Hostile Arrest of Black Teen in Stockton
The Stockton Police Department's history of mistreating Blacks highlighted with arrest of teen jaywalking.
By Sheryl Estrada
Teen Emilio Mayfield being held on the ground by Stockton police officers. Photo from Facebook video.
Cellphone video has again exposed aggressive policing toward Black males. This time the incident occurred in Stockton, Calif., when a total of nine police officers manhandled and arrested a Black teen as a result of walking in a bus lane.
On the morning of Sept. 15, unarmed 16-year-old Emilio Mayfield was on his way to school. A police officer told Mayfield to stop walking in a bus-only lane outside of the San Joaquin Regional Transit District station.
"For safety reasons, the officer went over to tell the kid to get out of the bus lane, and the kid started using profane language, telling the officer he didn't have to listen to him," said Officer Joe Silva, a spokesman for the Stockton Police Department. "The kid continued to walk in the lane, so the officer went over there to legally detain him, and at that time there was a scuffle."
Mayfield's grandfather Reginald Duncan said his grandson told him a different version of events.
"My grandson told me that he was walking when he felt a tug, but the person who tugged him didn't identify himself, and so Emilio kept on going," Duncan told ABC News. "The area where this happened is a pretty bad area of Stockton, and he's always been taught to keep it moving there. [Emilio] was then pulled back in a rough manner, and he realized that it was a police officer that tugged him. He said the cop looked very agitated and then threw him against a planter, took out his baton and started trying to move his baton in such a way that it was pushing him down and choking him."
The cellphone video taken by bystander Edgar Avendaño and posted on Facebook does not capture the initial confrontation but begins with the officer using his baton to hold down Mayfield's legs.
Take a look at the video:
At one point during the struggle, the teen places his hands on an officer's baton and said, "Get the [expletive] off me." The officer continues holding the baton against Mayfield and saying "Stop resisting."
A woman screamed: "It's a f——g kid."
"Get off of him," she said. "He is a kid."
The officer hit the teen with the baton at least once. He radioed for backup; eight officers responded to the scene. Four are seen wrestling Mayfield to the ground by his wrists, while others attempted to barricade the scene off from a crowd that gathered at the bus station. He was handcuffed and arrested and led to the back of a police vehicle while sobbing.
Stockton Police said the teen was not arrested for jaywalking, but he was detained and cited for walking in the designated bus lane.
"I feel traumatized. I was beaten and slammed on the floor," Mayfield later said.
His family has filed a complaint with the Police Department against the officers involved in the incident. Mayfield has been charged with resisting arrest and trespassing. He has to appear before a juvenile court to respond to the two citations.
On Thursday, demonstrators stood outside of the police station with signs in support of Mayfield. Following the police brutality toward Eric Garner and Freddie Gray, which were also caught on cellphone video by bystanders, protests ensued as well.
Stockton Police Department and Racial Profiling
The truth is it's not uncommon for Black males to be treated unfairly in Stockton by police officers.
In November, USA TODAY published an analysis of FBI arrest records, which highlights racial disparity in arrest rates. In Stockton, from 2011 to 2012, 140 Black people were arrested for every 1,000 residents, a rate three-and-a-half times that of the non-Black population, 39.6.
These statics are jarring considering Blacks comprise only 12 percent of the city's estimated population of 302,389. Forty percent of residents are Latino, 37 percent white and 21 percent Asian.
On Sept. 9, the California Senate approved The Racial and Identity Profiling Act of 2015, which will require the collection of basic information on police stops, including the race and ethnicity of the person, in order to combat racial profiling. The bill has gone back to the Assembly, where it originated, for final approval.
There was a rally in support of the bill on Sept. 8 in front of state Sen. Cathleen Galgiani's office in downtown Stockton.
"The Police Department is making some efforts and has made some improvements," Bobby Bivens of the Stockton branch of the NAACP said. "But we still have people being disrespected when they are being stopped or addressed by some officers."
Silva said the department has been collecting use-of-force data for less than a year and traffic stop data for five years. The data is currently under review, which is "part of a U.S. Department of Justice initiative aimed at building trust in law enforcement."
Zahiem Salahuddin was arrested and faced simple assault, reckless endangerment and possession of an "instrument of crime" charges just for using a toy.
Zahiem Salahuddin, a 13-year-old 8th grade student, was playing with his friends on the basketball court in Grays Ferry, Pa., this past summer. Salahuddin had a plastic toy gun that shot an orange plastic ball. A white boy was hit with the plastic ball. It was unclear which child shot the ball that hit the other child.
Salahuddin rode his bike home later, but was stopped by men in a black pickup truck who told him he shot at a Philadelphia police officer's son. Police in marked cars then arrived and Salahuddin was arrested, charged, and spent three days in jail.
For an orange plastic ball from a $3.50 toy, he faced simple assault, reckless endangerment and possession of an "instrument of crime."
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"I truly wanted to make a difference and never intended to put anyone in danger," Albury said.
Former FBI Agent, Terry James Albury, 39, pleaded guilty in April to one count each of unauthorized disclosure of national defense information and unauthorized retention of national defense information.
Robin Anderson, arrested before an Applebee's interview, filed a lawsuit against two Glendale, Wisc., police officers.
Imagine you're sitting in your car, prepping for an early morning job interview, only to have your car window smashed in by a police officer and a gun pointed in your face.
That's exactly what happened to Robin Anderson, 20, of Glendale, Wisc., in the early morning hours of Dec. 20, 2017.
Anderson filed a lawsuit in federal court this week in which she accused the City of Glendale, police officer William Schieffer, and Detective Adam Wall of racial profiling in a case of mistaken identity gone violently wrong.
During the time of the incident there was an uptick in cell phone robberies in the greater Milwaukee area. The description of the perpetrators was four Black men driving a Black Hyundai Elantra.
Anderson was parallel-parked in front of a cell phone store near Applebee's restaurant where she was waiting to go on a job interview. Even though the authorities had the license plate number which did not match her vehicle it had a Black person inside.
According to Anderson's lawyer "They pull to the car, hit her door, got out, jumped around, smashed the window on the other side, pointed their guns and had her get out of the car crawling over glass. She was scared to death."
The terror and hopelessness that Anderson felt at that time is still affecting her to this day. "The only thought that was going through my mind the entire time, was if you move, at all, they will have a reason to shoot you," Anderson said.
She is reminded of the incident every time she sees a police officer or squad car spurring on a panic attack. She knows she is not the only one who is a victim of police profiling and subsequent unjust behavior.
"This is something that I see all the time, everywhere, that African-Americans are being stopped for no reason and police officers aren't being held accountable for the situations when they are wrong," Anderson said. "I just want it to stop. I just want them to know this is not OK."
He was only telling his son to respect the referee's call.
In the latest installment of unnecessary 911 calls, a white woman in her role as field marshal was riding past a teen soccer game on a golf cart in Ponte Vedro, Fla., and she decided to call the authorities on a Black man who was shouting out to his son regarding a referee's call.
Brennan Walker testified: "I turned back and I saw him aiming at me ... I was trying to run away faster and I heard a gunshot."
The jury at Oakland County Circuit Court in Michigan found Jeffrey Craig Ziegler, age 53, guilty of assault with intent to do great bodily harm and possession of a firearm in the commission of a felony.
They deliberated less than three hours on Friday after closing arguments, where the prosecutor, Kelly Collins, argued that Ziegler "was the danger," not the teen. Brennan Walker narrowly escaped fatal injury because Ziegler forgot to turn off the safety on his 12-gauge Mossberg shotgun. The video showed he was unable to immediately fire at first, and police confirmed the safety was initially on.
Ziegler's attorney, Robert Morad, argued his client was firing a warning shot in the air one time and never chased after Walker.
The original charge was assault with intent to murder, punishable by up to life in prison, but Ziegler was convicted on the lesser charge and faces up to 10 years in prison.
He showed no emotion as the verdict was read.
Lisa Wright, Walker's mother, cried as the verdict was read. She had accused Ziegler of taking actions that were racially motivated. Her friend Carin Poole said justice was served "in some way."
Poole also said the hope was for a more serious charge.
According to a study done by the Equal Justice Initiative:
White defendants were 25 percent more likely than black defendants to have their most serious initial charge dropped or reduced to a less severe charge; approximately 15 percent more likely than similar black defendants to be convicted of a misdemeanor instead. White defendants with no prior convictions were over 25 percent more likely than black defendants with no prior convictions to receive a charge reduction.
Ziegler testified that he thought Walker was an adult, at 6-feet, 2-inches tall, and that "instinct" made him grab his gun to protect his wife.
Walker testified: "I turned back and I saw him aiming at me... I was trying to run away faster and I heard a gunshot."
Morad said outside of court that the home security video could appear to show Ziegler was firing in Walker's direction, but said the shot goes away from where the teen was running.
Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard said, "That's just completely unacceptable on every level. I don't know how you would justify it, but it certainly doesn't pass the muster," said Bouchard.
Judge Wendy Potts revoked Ziegler's bond and ordered him to jail pending sentencing Nov. 13.
Reader Question: When sentencing happens in a month, how much time in do you think Ziegler will be sentenced to?
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Shooter on trial might face life in prison, if convicted.
Jeffrey Zeigler, who is on trial for shooting at a lost Black teen in Rochester Hills, Mich., watched as his wife, Dana, broke down in tears in Oakland County Circuit Court on Tuesday, while testifying about the April 12 shooting, and watching a video of the incident.
Dana said she was frightened when she saw Brennan Walker, a 14-year-old Black teen, on her porch.
"What are you doing on my porch?" she recalled. "I saw a Black person standing at my door and I screamed at him, and I asked him what he was doing there."
Her report to police: "A Black male was trying to break into her house and her husband chased after him into the yard."
The video shows Zeigler aiming at the teen, despite the claims that he tripped and his gun fired.
Rochester Hills Michigan 6 months ago.
The surveillance footage was just released.
14 y/o Black Teen misses the bus to school & figures he knew the route well enough to walk the 4-mile route. He gets lost, stops to ask for directions, & nearly loses his life.
WHY WE KNEEL! pic.twitter.com/k3cnL3kO6u
— StanceGrounded (@_SJPeace_) October 11, 2018
Prosecutor Kelly Collins said that "being a bad shot does not negate one's intentions."
Walker, then age 14, had missed his bus to school that morning and came to the Zeigler's door for help. After his wife screamed, Zeigler fired a shotgun at the teen, but missed him.
Zeigler had referred to Walker, in an interview with a sheriff's deputy, as "that colored kid" at his front door. The defense initially claimed it was the interviewing officer who said "colored."
Zeigler also said he was "tired of being a victim."
His attorney, Rob Morad, has said that "race was not a factor in the shooting, but rather actions from passion instead of judgment," Morad told jurors. He said the couple had five previous break-ins and were on "high alert."
Walker's mother, Lisa Wright, who was also in tears in the courtroom watching the video of her son flee for his life, said that she believed the shooting was a hate crime and that she wanted to see the prosecution push this to the fullest extent.
In April, she said that she believed this was racially motivated. After watching a video near the time of the incident, she said: "You can hear the wife say, 'Why did these people choose my house?' Who are 'these people?' "
Walker testified that after he knocked on the front door, which is behind a screen door, Zeigler's wife accused him of trying to break in.
"I was scared," he testified. "I was trying to tell them that I was trying to get to high school, but they weren't listening."
Zeigler was arrested and released on $50,000 bond and ordered to wear a tracking device. He was charged with assault with intent to murder, which could lead to life in prison, Oakland County District Attorney Jessica R. Cooper said, along with use of a firearm in a felony.
Zeigler also has a conviction for firing a handgun at another motorist during a dispute in 2004.
Reader Question: Watching the video, would you say Zeigler is innocent or guilty of intent to murder?
A young girl had to tell the officer during questioning, "He's an after-school teacher and he's babysitting us."
A white woman in Georgia called the police on a Black man, Corey Lewis, as he babysat a 10-year-old white girl, and 6-year-old white boy. Their parents, who live in East Cobb, arranged for Lewis to babysit the kids weeks ago.
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"Do not assume you are properly registered to vote," warns activist Shaun King.
"Do not assume you are properly registered to vote," warned Shaun King repeatedly. His wife went to vote with her registration card in her hand, and they said she couldn't vote. King said some of the reasons that people are being turned away are nefarious.
Fifteen states close registration today, including Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, New Mexico, Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and Texas. States that do not have online registration: Arkansas, Michigan, Mississippi, and Texas.
A list of every state's deadline and links to each state's voting requirements was published by the New York Times.