“You Killed My Best Friend”: Austin Cop Thomas Griffin Shoots Michael Paxton’s Beloved Dog Cisco Responding to 911 Call at Wrong Address
An Texas man is grieving the loss of his beloved dog after the animal was shot dead by a police officer responding to a 911 call at the wrong address.
The New York Daily News and ABC News report that 40-year-old Michael Paxton was confronted by Austin Police officer Thomas Griffin in front of his house last Saturday.
“I don’t understand why, in broad daylight, he pulled a gun on me,” Paxton told ABC News. “I wasn’t running. I wasn’t hiding. I was just saying, ‘I live here.’ I was panicking. I was afraid for my life.”
That’s when Cisco, Paxton’s 50-pound (22.7 kg) 7-year-old Blue Heeler, came running from the backyard where they’d just been playing Frisbee moments earlier.
“I said, ‘Don’t shoot him. Don’t shoot my dog. He won’t bite you,'” Paxton told ABC News. On a dashcam video from Griffin’s cruiser (shown just below), the officer is heard shouting “Get your dog!” But barely a second later, Cisco was shot dead.
“What are you doing? What did you shoot my dog for,” Paxton is heard yelling. “I live here!”
“Oh my God, I can’t believe you just killed my dog… My best friend. You killed my fucking best friend,” he fumes.
Austin Police Cpl. Anthony Hipolito told ABC News that Griffin was responding to a 911 call about a domestic disturbance at Paxton’s neighbor’s home. He also said the dashcam video shows Cisco attacking the officer, an assertion that Paxton denies.
“Officers have to do everything they can to protect themselves, up to and including the use of deadly force,” Hipolito said. “It’s something that we don’t ever want to do. To shoot and kill an animal is very unfortunate and tragic. The officer is distraught and did not want to do it, but at the same time, he had to protect himself.”
Paxton claims Griffin did not apologize to him and that a sergeant arriving on the scene was unsympathetic.
Yesterday, Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo called into a local radio show while Paxton was doing an interview and apologized.
“I know the pain’s real. We all love our pets,” Acevedo said on KLBJ’s “Dudley and Bob Morning Show.”
“My heart goes out to him. I think if you ask everybody in the department, believe it or not, we’re animal lovers, just like everybody else,” he said.
Paxton appreciated the gesture.
“To hear that from you, it does mean a lot to me,” he said.
Austin police, who say officers can respond with deadly force against an animal if it “appears to pose an imminent threat” to the officer’s safety, say they will conduct an investigation.
Meanwhile, a Facebook page titled “Justice For Cisco” has received about 77,000 likes as of Wednesday afternoon.
“The only thing that has brought me comfort is the response and outpouring of emotion for him,” Paxton told ABC News. “I’m sure he heard the yelling. He’s a dog. This is his territory. He’s going to be territorial to some extent. To me, it’s pretty typical dog behavior. He’s not a vicious dog. He was a good boy. He was a real good boy.”
Michigan Farmer Dave Tuxbury Forced to Kill Pigs to Avoid Felony Arrest under Controversial Invasive Species Order
A Michigan farmer was forced to shoot all of his pigs in order to avoid a felony arrest for violations of the state’s highly controversial Invasive Species Order.
Natural News reports that Dave Tuxbury shot each and every one of his pigs, including about 20 baby piglets, in anticipation of a raid on his farm by Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) agents enforcing an Invasive Species Order (ISO) banning feral pigs or pigs cross-bred with their feral cousins.
Tuxbury’s livelihood has been ruined by the state of Michigan. And even after the farmer informed DNR that he’d killed all his pigs, the agency still obtained a search warrant and conducted an armed raid on his ranch to verify that the animals had indeed been killed.
“After eight guys, three four-wheelers, and four hours, DNR decided I was correct. I have killed all my hogs. They gave me papers that say I do not have any hogs on my property. All they saw were dead hogs laying around from my mass slaughtering. It took 12 guys four times in there to kill all of them, sows with young, pregnant sows, dozens of piglets, and old mature boars. It has been a sad few weeks.”
He continued: “Does anyone know what it feels like to open fire on 20 baby piglets in one group which weigh between five pounds and 15 pounds? They are so adorable and cute.”
“It was very traumatic for him. These guys are farmers, and I know how much he cared for the animals there, and the DNR treats these like they’re some kind of a plant that needs to be exterminated rather than animals that people care about,” Joseph O’Leary, Tuxbury’s attorney, told Natural News.
“I think this is an unconstitutional order, these actions of the DNR are way out of bounds,” O’Leary added. “To take what was six months ago an entirely legal activity, and suddenly people are felons over it. They’re not growing drugs, running guns or killing anybody, they’re raising animals pursuant to USDA regulations and state of Michigan regulations. They haven’t done anything wrong here, and the DNR is treating them like they are hardened criminals.”
Tuxbury is far from alone. DNR agents have been conducting armed raids on pig farmers in numerous Michigan counties as they enforce the ISO, enacted last October in an attempt to curb the state’s feral swine problem. According to Pork magazine, individuals running hunting preserves introduced feral swine (Sus scrofa) to Michigan in the 1980s. Some animals escaped, and today feral swine have been spotted in 72 of Michigan’s 83 counties, with an estimated total of between 2,000 and 7,000 of the animals inhabiting the state.
Feral swine pose a significant risk to Michigan’s wildlife, ecosystems and agricultural resources, and they are a serious disease threat to humans, wildlife and domesticated pigs. Once populations are established, feral swine are an unsolvable problem, but Michigan has a good chance of eradicating these pigs if we act now.
But many are opposed to the ISO, including conservative 70s rocker Ted Nugent, whose son operates a hunting preserve. Nugent and others claim that the ISO is the result of collaboration between big government and “Big Ag” to crush small farmers.
Libertarian talk radio host Alex Jones has called the ISO an act of “animal genocide.”
It’s not just racial minorities who stand to be deprived of their voting rights because of voter ID laws. According to a new study from the Williams Institute, more than 25,000 transgender voters could also be disenfranchised in the upcoming November elections as a result of such laws.
Currently, nine states– Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Mississippi, South Carolina, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas and Wisconsin– have passed such laws which require voters to show government-issued identification before casting ballots.
But many transgender citizens do not have IDs that list their correct gender.
“Transgender people who have transitioned face unique hurdles when acquiring or updating identification that would fulfill voter ID requirements because they must comply with the requirements for updating the name and gender on their state-issued or federally-issued IDs and records,” Dr. Jody L. Herman, author of the study, wrote. “Requirements for updating state-issued IDs vary widely by state and can be difficult and costly. Federal requirements also vary by agency.”
The Raw Story reports that the National Transgender Discrimination Survey (NTDS) found that 40% of transgender citizens who have undergone sexual reassignment surgery have reported that they do not have an updated drivers license reflecting their correct gender. Fully 74% did not have updated passports.
Additionally, 40% of transgender Americans reported being harassed after showing IDs with did not properly depict their gender.
“As election officials in these states begin planning for their fall elections, this research highlights the importance of educating poll workers in order to ensure that transgender voters in their states have fair access to the ballot,” Dr. Herman wrote.
Voter ID laws potentially disenfranchise racial minorities, the elderly, the poor, students and Americans with disabilities. Such laws are nearly always supported by Republicans, who deny that they disenfranchise anyone, and target those who tend to vote for Democrats or progressive candidates.
Many conservatives claim that voter ID laws are needed to prevent voter fraud. But there is scant evidence of such fraud; out of 300 million votes cast in the period 2002-2007, only 86 people were convicted by federal prosecutors of fraud. A 2007 Wisconsin study found that only 0.0007% of local voters committed fraud.
The true intentions of many Republicans can be discerned from the musings of conservative commentators like columnist Matthew Vadum, who wrote that registering the poor to vote is “un-American” and “like handing out burglary tools to criminals.” Paul Weyrich, co-founder of the influential Heritage Foundation, declared: “I don’t want everybody to vote.”
Even some Republican politicians openly admit why they don’t want certain groups of Americans voting. William O’Brien, Speaker of the New Hampshire House of Representatives, said this about students: “Election Day registration leads to the kids coming out of the schools and basically doing what I did when I was a kid, which is voting as a liberal. That’s what kids do — they don’t have life experience, and they just vote their feelings.”
Troops from the renowned US Army 82nd Airborne Division posed for photos with the mangled remains of Afghan resistance fighters, the latest in a string of recent American war crimes in what is an increasingly protracted and unpopular conflict.
The Los Angeles Times obtained the gruesome photos from a member of the 82nd Airborne Divisions’ 1st Battalion, 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment, a unit hard-hit by casualties caused by improvised explosive devices and suicide attacks.
The photos, taken in Qalat in 2010, show 82nd Airborne troops posing for photos with the severed legs of one fighters, which are being held up by a smiling American. Other images show Americans smiling as they pose next to the remains of would-be suicide bombers who accidentally blew themselves up. Two soldiers are seen holding a dead man’s hand with the middle finger extended; someone placed a patch reading “Zombie Hunter” near the remains.
The Army has launched a criminal investigation of the apparent war crimes.
“It is a violation of Army standards to pose with corpses for photographs outside of officially sanctioned purposes,” Army spokesman George Wright is quoted in the Times. “Such actions fall short of what we expect of our uniformed service members in deployed areas.”
Wright said that the Army would “take appropriate action” against anyone found guilty of wrongdoing. But if history is any guide, punishments will be light, if anyone is punished at all. For example, none of the Marines involved in the cold-blooded slaughter of 24 innocent Iraqi civilians at Haditha in 2005 served any prison time for their role in the massacre.
The revelation of the Qalat photos is the latest in a string of US war crimes in Afghanistan, a war that has been dragging on for more than a decade and which the majority of Americans of all political stripes oppose. In January, a video was leaked which showed US Marines urinating on the bodies of dead Afghan resistance fighters. The following month, US troops mistakenly burned Qurans, leading to violence which killed 30 people, including six Americans. Last month, US Army Staff Sgt. Robert Bales massacred 16 innocent Afghan civilians, including nine women and three children, in Kandahar province.
US Army Capt. John Kirby, a Pentagon spokesman, told the Times— which was asked not to publish any of the photos– that the actions of the soldiers in the photos “most certainly does not represent the character and the professionalism of the great majority of our troops in Afghanistan.”
Nevertheless,” he continued, “this imagery — more than two years old — now has the potential to indict them all in the minds of local Afghans, inciting violence and perhaps causing needless casualties.”
Kirby said that “the necessary precautions” have been taken to protect US troops in the event of any backlash caused by the photos’ release.
Porn, Room Service and Japanese Meditation: Unrepentant Mass-Murderer Anders Behring Breivik’s Prison Conditions Highlight Progressive Norwegian Outlook on Incarceration
He readily admits to planning and executing the deadly terror attacks that killed 77 Norwegians, many of them teenagers, in Oslo and Utoya last July. He claims the bombing and shooting spree was “self-defense” and that he would do it all again if he had the chance. According to his twisted worldview, by slaughtering scores of innocent people, he was actually saving Europe from a Marxist-Islamic takeover.
In much of the United States, Norwegian mass-murderer Anders Behring Breivik would be on a one-way collision course with a certain death sentence. But as his trial begins in Norway, the unrepentant killer has been enjoying eight months of prison conditions that would appall most US observers.
Breivik is incarcerated in Ila Prison, a former Nazi concentration camp. But don’t let the facility’s sinister past fool you. Although kept in solitary confinement for his own safety, Breivik passes the time in a ‘suite’ of three adjoining 86-square-foot (8-square-meter) cells. One is a bedroom, another is a gym equipped with a treadmill and the third has a computer, although Breivik is denied internet access.
He can, however, watch pornography. Breivik’s cell TV has 15 family channels and a DVD player, and he can play non-violent video games. He also enjoys Japanese meditation and has cigarettes delivered to his cell whenever he rings a “room service” bell.
Breivik enjoys three meals a day. For breakfast, he gets porridge or home-made brown bread with cheese or ham and a jug of black coffee. For dinner, traditional Norwegian fare like meatballs with gravy and potatoes or cod is on the menu.
Despite his pleasant prison environment, Breivik receives no visitors. He is allowed to, but both of his parents have turned their backs on him.
Breivik’s prison living conditions are all but unimaginable in the United States, where the prevailing societal mentality is one of punishment, not rehabilitation for violent criminals. But Europeans– and especially Scandinavians– tend to be more progressive. While some Norwegians are certainly outraged by Breivik’s prison life, most wouldn’t have it any other way.
Even more incredible (to Americans, anyway) is the fact that if convicted, Breivik could end up in Halden Prison, Norway’s second-largest. Reckoned by some to be the world’s most luxurious prison, Halden has no bars on its windows. It’s amenities include a rock-climbing wall, a recording studio for the musically-inclined, private bathrooms, designer furniture, kitchens equipped with refrigerators, flat screen TVs in cells and personal trainers. Prisoners are given questionnaires asking them how their incarceration experiences can be improved.
“In the Norwegian prison system, there’s a focus on human rights and respect,” Halden Prison Governor Are Hoidal said. “We don’t see any of this as unusual.”
Swedish Culture Minister Lena Adelsohn Liljeroth Embroiled in Racist ‘Female Genital Mutilation Cake’ Outrage
Sweden’s culture minister has caused widespread outrage by participating in a “racist spectacle” involving a ‘female genital mutilation cake’ art exhibit.
According to The Local, Lena Adelsohn Liljeroth, culture minister since 2006, participated in an event marking World Art Day at Stockholm’s Moderna Museet on Sunday. One exhibit by artist Makode Aj Linde featured a cake shaped like a large black woman, in which the artist’s real head– painted in a blackface caricature of an African woman (even though Linde is a man)– screamed in agony as Liljeroth sunk a knife between the “woman’s” legs.
“Before cutting me up she whispered, ‘Your life will be better after this’ in my ear,” Linde claims the minister told him.
In addition to the issues of race and female circumcision, there is also an obvious element of cannibalism inherent in the installation.
The ‘female genital mutilation cake’ was meant to draw attention to a problem which affects more than 140 million women and girls in 28 African nations. But many Swedes of African origin and descent are outraged by what they are calling a “racist spectacle.”
“In our view, this simply adds to the mockery of racism in Sweden,” Kitimbwa Sabuni, spokesperson for the National Afro-Swedish Association (Afrosvenskarnas riksförbund) told The Local.
“According to the Moderna Museet, the ‘cake party’ was meant to problematize female circumcision but how that is accomplished through a cake representing a racist caricature of a black woman complete with ‘black face’ is unclear,” Sabuni said in a statement.
Sabuni accused Liljeroth of “incompetence and lack of judgment.”
“Her participation, as she laughs, drinks, and eats cake, merely adds to the insult against people who suffer from racist taunts and against women affected by circumcision,” he told The Local.
“We have no confidence in her any longer.”
Liljeroth said she understood the anger she caused.
“I understand quite well that this is provocative and that it was a rather bizarre situation,” she told the TT news agency. “I was invited to speak at World Art Day about art’s freedom and the right to provoke. And then they wanted me to cut the cake.”
“Art needs to be provocative,” she added.
“Sweden thinks of itself as a place where racism is not a problem. That just provides cover for not discussing the issue which leads to incidents like this.”
According to Fria Tider, Liljeroth’s actions at the art event “stand in stark contrast” to her official hard-line position against racism. She has fought against public funding for racist newspapers, but Sunday’s event was also taxpayer-funded.
Angola 3 ‘Political Prisoners’ Herman Wallace & Albert Woodfox Mark 40 Years of Solitary Confinement in Louisiana’s Notorious Angola Prison
For the better part of the last 40 years, Herman Wallace and Albert Woodfox have been locked away in soul-crushing, mind-destroying solitary confinement, mostly in the notorious Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola. By the time they were locked away in 9ft-by-6ft (2.7m-by-1.8m) cells, the pair, along with Robert King, were already doing time at Angola, a former slave plantation then known as America’s toughest prison. Wallace was in for bank robbery; Woodfox for armed robbery. They found themselves incarcerated in a racially-segregated hellscape of hopelessness where conditions were so bad that 31 inmates had once slashed their own Achilles tendons in an act of desperate protest.
In 1971, Wallace, Woodfox and King– today known as the Angola 3— formed a chapter of the Black Panthers in Angola in an attempt to combat the rampant rape, sexual slavery, violence and horrific living conditions endemic in the prison. They organized numerous strikes and sit-downs, and while their valiant efforts brought purpose and hope to many of Angola’s black inmates, they stoked the ire of racist prison officials keen to keep nigger convicts in their place.
Then, on April 17, 1972, a prison guard named Brent Miller was stabbed to death at Angola. The Angola 3 were immediately charged with the killing and locked up in solitary confinement that very same day. Despite a lack of physical evidence linking them to Miller’s murder, and despite the fact that the main eyewitness against the trio was bribed by prison officials, Wallace and Woodfox have remained locked away in maddening solitary confinement ever since.
King was released in 2001 after 29 years in solitary after his conviction was overturned. Woodfox has had two appeal hearings, one in 2008 and another in 2010, which resulted in his conviction being overturned and the full granting of habeas corpus. Judge James Brady of the Federal District Court, Middle District of Louisiana ruled that Woodfox had not received due process at the 1998 replacement for his deeply flawed 1973 trial. Judge Brady cited ineffective assistance of counsel, questionable evidence and irregular practices in overturning Woodfox’s conviction; Woodfox had successfully argued that he could have shown that his conviction was literally bought by the state, whose case was based on the “witness” testimony of jailhouse snitches who were compensated for their cooperation.
Brady ordered Woodfox’s conviction and life sentence to be “reversed and vacated,” but Louisiana Attorney General James “Buddy” Caldwell appealed the ruling to the US Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. That court is known as one of the nation’s most conservative; US Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor even went so far as to reprimand it for “paying lip service to principles” of appellate law due to its staunch upholding of death sentences. The Fifth Circuit Court ruled 2-1 that Judge Brady had erroneously overturned Woodfox’s conviction and he remained locked up in solitary.
Many people don’t realize that solitary confinement is one of the worst types of torture imaginable. In times of war, such imprisonment is banned under the Geneva Conventions. Contact with other people is a basic human need. Without it the mind literally breaks down. A 1992 study of 57 Yugoslav prisoners of war found that the most severe brain abnormalities occurred in the men who had experienced physical trauma, like severe blows to the head, or in those who had been subjected to solitary confinement.
“It’s an awful thing, solitary,” said Sen.John McCain (R-AZ), who spent two of his five years as a prisoner of war in North Vietnam in isolation, “it crushes your spirit and weakens your resistance more effectively than any other form of mistreatment.” And John McCain was no stranger to “other forms of mistreatment,” having been horrifically abused by his captors.The US military studied scores of former POWs from the Vietnam War and concluded that solitary confinement was as excruciating as any physical torture the men had endured. Among detainees at the US concentration camp at Guantánamo Bay, extended periods of isolation sometimes led to serious mental illness, even insanity.
Herman Wallace of the Angola 3 says his memory is deteriorating. Now 70, some of that could be due to age. But much of it certainly has to do with the conditions of his confinement.
“A lot of times I lose it,” he told filmmaker Angad Bhalla, who is directing a documentary called “Herman’s House” about his thoughts and experiences over 40 years in a 9’x6′ box. “I have trouble coming up with the simplest of things, the A,B,C…”
“I have to spend a lot of time reading and writing,” he added. “It helps me to maintain what little sanity I have left, to maintain humanity and dignity to fight back to what people are trying to do to Albert and I from a mental perspective.”
“This is a case of innocence an the abuse of human rights,” Robert King is quoted in The Raw Story. Since being freed more than a decade ago, King travels the world raising awareness of the plight of his comrades. He has addressed the parliaments of France, the Netherlands, Portugal, Indonesia, Brazil and Britain and has been received as a guest of the African National Congress in South Africa.
But still, 14,610 days after that hapless guard’s murder, Wallace and Woodfox remain caged in brutally inhumane solitary confinement, with no end in sight. The pair have been brought before more than 150 prison boards, where officials review their status and send them straight back to solitary.
Anyone who says there are no political prisoners in the United States would do well to study up on the case of the Angola 3 and make up their own mind. The following film, The Angola 3: Black Panthers and the Last Slave Plantation by Jimmy O’Halligan, is a good start.
Video: IDF Officer Shalom Eisner Strikes Danish Peace Activist Andreas Ias in Face with Rifle During Protest in Occupied West Bank
An Israeli officer struck a Danish peace activist in the face with his rifle during a protest against the illegal Israeli occupation of the West Bank on Saturday.
According to Haaretz, IDF Lt. Col. Shalom Eisner smashed his rifle into the face of International Solidarity Movement (ISM) activist Andreas Ias during a bicycle rally near Jericho, in the occupied West Bank. Shocking video of the incident shows Ias being assaulted and then carried away by fellow activists.
Eisner was supposed to wait until border police reinforcements, who are better trained to deal with civilian protests, arrived on the scene. His brigade of reserve forces had little experience in crowd control and dispersal.
Danish ambassador to Israel Liselotte Plesner met with Israeli officials on Monday and demanded clarification of the incident.
According to the BBC, Lt. Col. Eisner has been suspended pending the outcome of an investigation.
Ias was treated at a nearby hospital for light injuries sustained in the attack.
He was lucky. Other international activists have suffered mightily for demonstrating against the illegal occupation of Palestinian lands by Israeli forces. Members of the non-violent ISM have been particularly hard-hit. ISM activist Rachel Corrie, a 23-year-old American, was crushed to death by an American-made IDF Caterpillar D9 armored bulldozer she thought was about to demolish a Palestinian home in the Gaza Strip in March, 2003.
A month later, 21-year-old British student and ISM volunteer Tom Hurndall, wearing a bright orange jacket to identify himself as an unarmed peace activist, was shot in the head by an IDF sniper as he tried to rescue Palestinian children from an Israeli tank that was firing in their direction. The shooting left Hurndall in a coma; he died nine months later in a London hospital.
And in 2010, nine peace activists, including Turkish-American teenager Furkan Dogan, were shot dead by Israeli commandos during an illegal raid on a flotilla of ships traveling in international waters on their way to deliver humanitarian aid to the besieged people of Gaza.
San Franciscans are known throughout the nation as some of the most tolerant folks on the face of the earth. But an innovative advertising stunt to promote a local strip club has got residents of one city neighborhood up in arms.
CBS Sacramento reports that porn tycoon and free speech activist Larry Flynt is using a customized truck replete with a glass compartment in which erotic dancers gyrate seductively around a stripper pole to promote his Hustler Club, located in the North Beach neighborhood. The ‘Hustler Club Truck’ makes its way around touristy areas of the city, titillating men from near and far into visiting Flynt’s club.
But the truck has caused outrage in the outlying Richmond District neighborhood, where it has been parked overnight while not working the streets of the city’s more touristy neighborhoods on Friday and Saturday nights. While North Beach may have a red light district aura about it, The Richmond is a decidedly more suburban quarter inhabited by (relatively) more conservative residents and even though the salacious strippermobile is stripper-free when parked, some locals want it gone.
“I don’t like it here. I don’t like it in this neighborhood,” one female Richmond District resident told CBS Sacramento.
“For little kids, I don’t think it’s appropriate,” another woman told the station.
San Francisco Supervisor Eric Mar, who represents The Richmond in City Hall, had the truck towed away, citing expired tags as the reason. But before long, it was back, parked at Geary Blvd. and 42nd Ave. In response, Supervisor Mar announced his intention of introducing legislation that will permanently ban the truck from city streets.
“We don’t want this truck in our neighborhood,” he told CBS Sacramento.
But Mar is likely to face a tough fight from Flynt, who has weathered numerous legal challenges to his adult entertainment empire, which includes the magazine Hustler as well as an adult film studio, retail stores and strip clubs.
Flynt was shot by a would-be assassin in Georgia in 1978, an attack which left him partially paralyzed and confined to a wheelchair.
Considered a champion of free speech by many Americans across the political spectrum but especially on the left, Flynt was immortalized in the 1996 Milos Forman film “The People vs. Larry Flynt,” in which Woody Harrelson played the lead.
Flynt must surely be left scratching his head over why he’s being targeted in what is supposed to be the most tolerant city in America.