A great piece is up at the TC IMC by someone named Kirk James Murphy, MD (he says in the piece he’s a psychiatrist).  His point, I think, is well taken and worth the quick read.  Most of it is reprinted bellow, the entire thing is here.


“Jason was tased seven times on the street, while completely unresisting. We just heard from him-he’s still pulling copper out of his hip from the taser gun, has a long, deep laceration in his leg that is still untreated, was beaten up badly and has a black eye, a hurt mouth and many lacerations, but says he’s doing great. Elliot Hughes, a sweet, nineteen year old who came to our day camp, was badly beaten when the cops knocked him off his bicycle. They stepped on his chest, and he was coughing blood all night but received no medical treatment.The guards were calling him ‘Princess’ and making homophobic remarks. We heard from Jason that last night, Elliot was making noises to protest not receiving any food for more than twelve hours. Twelve officers entered his cell. Screams were heard for over five minutes. He was tasered three times, maced, and beaten, then removed and the men were told he was being taken to a restraint chair.” [Starhawk] 

To put it bluntly, uniformed “law” enforcement in St. Paul and Ramsey County:

  • torture with electroshock weapons (Tasers)
  • torture with chemical weapons
  • stomp on a young man’s chest
  • cruelly (perhaps fatally) deny medical care to a victim spitting up blood (the fancy medical name is hemoptysis) from thoracic trauma
  • respond to calls for food with torture by beating, Taser, and chemical weapons: the same chemical weapons known to cause respiratory arrest and death in victims with pulmonary disease. “Spitting up blood” is a symptom of pulmonary disease so severe as to require emergency medical evaluation.
  • then tie up the victim in “restraint chairs” known to exacerbate pre-existing breathing difficulties in some victims of thoracic trauma.

The Ramsey County Jail officials did this in plain earshot of other detainees: that’s a pretty strong sign they don’t see anything to hide. Which—when one’s been doing the same thing over and over for years—is a common assumption.

Does the torture inflicted on Elliot Hughes sound strange and alien to you? Not me. In the mid-90’s the Humboldt County Sheriffplanned and carried out torture of three groups of non-violent forest activists by painting their eyes with the chemical weapon known as “pepper spray”. The “law” enforcement officers who did this thought it was such a good idea they made training videos. Those training videos, when they hit national news, provoked immediate revulsion, and helped turn public opinion against the brutal “policing” then the norm in California’s “Deep North”. Ultimately, the forest protectors won their Federal civil suit against their torturers.

After I wrote articles about that use of chemical weapons for torture of restrained detainees (the forest defenders were locked to one another, to huge machines, or to one another around a large stump), I was deluged by requests from attorneys in the forested counties along the coast of northern California and central/southern Oregon. They all described clients who — while already restrained — were repeatedly sprayed with chemical weapons (“mace” or “pepper spray” or “tear gas”). Over and over, the attorneys reported the victims were tortured in this manner to punish speech: their clients had said something the “law” enforcement officers didn’t like.

Apparently a great many people who go to work in uniform with guns on their belts have such sensitive dispositions that when they hear speech they find disagreeable, they need to skip the charges, trial, jury, and judge: so they can torture the speaker with fists, electroshock weapons, and chemical weapons.

The first attorney to call me represented a client with permanent brain damage. He’d suffered lack of oxygen to the brain due to respiratory arrest. He suffered the respiratory arrest when the notoriously brutal Josephine County Sheriffs bravely strapped him into a “restraint” chair and repeatedly attacked him with chemical weapons.

Just as Ramsey County Jail “law” enforcement officials did to Elliot Hughes last night.

I couldn’t help the attorneys: they needed forensic pulmonologists and neurologists, not a psychiatrist.