Cops Beat Black Man With Handcuffs Like ‘Brass Knuckles’ and Pulled Down His Pants

SCREENSHOT OF BODY CAMERA FOOTAGE SHOWING FORMER HOUSTON POLICE DEPARTMENT OFFICER LUCAS VIEIRA CHASING AND APPREHENDING AUNDRE HOWARD. (VIDEO COURTESY OF KALLINEN LAW) 

One officer has been fired and is facing 99 years in prison.

When Aundre Howard, a Black man, fled from Houston police during a traffic stop in 2019, one of the officers was caught on body camera footage telling his partner to “shoot his ass” as they pursued. When that officer finally caught up to Howard, he used a pair of handcuffs wrapped around his left hand like a pair of brass knuckles to repeatedly punch the fleeing man in the back of the head.

Now, the former police officer is facing prison time.

Lucas Vieira, 31, a four-year-veteran with the Houston Police Department, was indicted by a Harris County District Court grand jury on July 9. Two days later, the Houston Police Department announced that it had fired Vieira months ago, in April. If convicted, he faces up to 99 years in prison as well as a $10,000 fine.

The indictment also comes just over three months after Howard, 34, filed a federal civil rights lawsuit accusing Vieira of unjustly striking him and of violating his right to unjust search and due process.

“Mr. Howard suffered great pain, contusions, humiliation, anxiety, fear, loss of sleep, headaches, and other mental anguish as a result of the defendant’s actions,” according to the lawsuit, which was provided to VICE News by Howard’s attorney, Randall Kallinen. 

“My client is very pleased that the officer was indicted because it validates what he’s been concerned about for a while,” Kallinen told VICE News. “He does feel better that when officers injure people like himself, they do have to face justice just like anybody else would.”

The encounter with police occurred July 7, 2019, when Vieira initiated a stop on Howard’s vehicle for a traffic violation. According to Vieira’s attorney James Siscoe, police noticed marijuana on Howard’s center console when they first approached the car during the traffic stop, prompting a search. Police placed Howard in handcuffs, but they found nothing. As Officer Serrano began to put on rubber gloves for a cavity search, Howard began to run from police toward a nearby freeway, according to the lawsuit.

As he pursued, Vieira screamed out “just fucking shoot his ass, shoot his ass,” and belts out gun shots noises, according to police body camera footage.

The chase only lasted one city block before Vieria caught up with Howard, who’d pooped his pants he was so afraid, according to the lawsuit. The officer then allegedly used his handcuffs as “brass knuckles” and bashed Howard in the back of the head at least three times. Howard, who says he fled in fear of his life, can be heard telling officers “alright, you got it!” as Vieira throws the punches, according to body camera footage. 

Siscoe says his client only hit Howard in the shoulder and that only one of the hits managed to strike the man in the head. He also says that Serrano found 18 grams of cocaine immediately next to where officers caught up with Howard.

When Howard was brought back to the vehicle, the officers on the scene—Vieira’s partner Thomas Serrano and officer Nadeem Aslam, who are also named in the lawsuit— pulled down his pants, exposing his buttocks and genitalia to passersby and made fun of him as he lay there covered in feces.

The lawsuit also alleges that the officers pushed his arms over his head from behind as a pain technique as he lay there handcuffed and defenseless.

“Despite knowing about Vieira’s and other HPD officer’s policy violations, no officer reported any other officer nor was an [Internal Affairs Division] complaint filed by any officer,” the lawsuit alleges.

Howard was initially charged with felony evading arrest and possession of cocaine, but those charges were dropped, according to Houston Public Media.

Vieira’s attorney, James Siscoe, says that his client was unjustly indicted. Not only was he not allowed to present evidence to the grand jury, Vieira’s superiors reviewed the available bodycam footage at the time and concluded that his actions were justified.

“By taking immediate and decisive action in response to Howard’s reckless and dangerous actions, Lucas and his partner probably saved both Howard’s life and possibly that of other motorists on the freeway,” Siscoe said.

Howard’s lawsuit also lists Sgt. Earl Attebury, who arrived after Howard was back in police custody and didn’t reprimand Vieira after he allegedly admitted to using force, as well as former chief of police Art Acevedo, and the city of Houston. 

Howard is seeking damages for the pain, suffering and mental anguish he experienced as a result of this encounter, according to the lawsuit. He also says that the defendants are liable for punitive damages as well as his attorney fees relating to the case.

Police pepper spray 9-year-old girl in Rochester, N.Y.

“This is not something that any of us should want to justify,” said Mayor Lovely Warren, who ordered an investigation.

Authorities in Rochester, New York, are investigating a confrontation captured on video that shows police pepper spraying a 9-year-old girl while responding to a report of “family trouble,” officials said Sunday.

Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren said she directed Police Chief Cynthia Herriott-Sullivan to investigate last Friday’s incident, and the city’s police accountability board also will review what happened.

“This is not something that any of us should want to justify,” Warren said, adding that she saw “her baby’s face” when she looked at the 9-year-old girl.

Police were called after a report that the girl was threatening to harm herself and her mother, Deputy Chief Andre Anderson told reporters.

When officers tried to move the girl into a police car to take her to a hospital, she resisted, kicking one of the officers, Anderson said.

Body camera video released by the police department Sunday shows authorities handcuffing the girl while she repeatedly screams for her father and refuses to get in the vehicle.

“You’re acting like a child,” one of the officers says at one point.

“I am a child,” she can be heard responding.

In the video, officers can be heard saying that they would pepper spray her if she continued to resist. When an officer did, Anderson said, the “effects of that didn’t work.”

It isn’t clear what happened before or after the video, which was edited by police, though Anderson said the girl was eventually taken to Rochester General Hospital and released.

The officers in the video have not been identified and additional details about the incident weren’t immediately available. A message left with the Rochester Police Department requesting an incident report wasn’t returned Sunday night.

The city’s police union also did not immediately respond to a request for comment, but in comments cited by the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle, union president Mike Mazzeo said the officer made a decision to subdue the girl and acted in a way that didn’t injure her.

“I’m not saying there are not better ways to do things,” Mazzeo told the newspaper. “But let’s be realistic about what we’re facing. … It’s not TV, it’s not Hollywood. We don’t have a simple (situation), where we can put out our hands and have somebody be instantly handcuffed and comply.”

The confrontation comes less than a year after Daniel Prude, 41, died while being restrained by Rochester police with a “spit hood” over his head.

The police department’s chief and entire command staff resigned after Prude’s death, and the city enacted law enforcement reforms, including moving crisis intervention from the purview of police.

The city launched a “person in crisis” response team earlier this month, but it didn’t respond to Friday’s confrontation because the initial 911 call didn’t warrant it, Warren said.

“There were a number of events happening at once at this location, all of which required a police response,” she said.

She added that the city aims to provide a joint response between police and the crisis team to “improve how we protect our community.”

Police Choke Out Man For Selling Water Without A License

police-choke

Las Vegas police arrested a man for selling bottled water without a license as witnesses recorded.

A man selling cold bottled water to thirsty tourists on a triple-digit summer day in Las Vegas was placed in a chokehold by Las Vegas police who apparently were cracking down on unlicensed street vendors.

“I can’t breathe” the man wheezes as one cop tightens the chokehold around his neck. But the cop only tells him to “quit resisting.”

“Saying he is resisting won’t make him be resisting,” says a witness as the cops continues repeating the mindless phrase.

“We’re watching you.”

The man does not resist throughout the video but the cops continue to tell him not to resist.

“You’re the only one that committed a crime,” another witness tells the cops.

The video was posted to Facebook Friday with the following description:

This video is someone I know. Jimmy Williams was exercising his right to support himself and/or his family. He was selling water in Las Vegas on a hot day. Do you still think you are free? Do you still think Police are your friends? This is what promoters, water sellers, smut peddlers etc go through everyday on the Las Vegas Strip trying to make a living and trying to put smiles on peoples faces. You have the right to pursue happiness. Whatever that is do it as long as ye harm no one. The police are nothing but a domestic terrorist organization. More people need to wake up. Its not easy. Waking up is hard to do especially when you have been indoctrinated. Rebirth is relearning what you have been taught. Life is not butterflies and crayons. Its not going to be pretty. Its going to a long lonely road but I for one would rather die standing up than to comply. Tis better to burn out than it is to fade cause rust never sleeps.

“They need to train these guys,” one woman exclaims but the video shows they are doing exactly as they are trained. From the chokehold to the knee on the back, they are only trained in how to control people whether they need to be controlled or not.

The video ends with the handcuffed man laying face down in a puddle of water from his own cooler yelling out his phone number to notify his friends or family that he has been arrested.

 

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Man makes police brutality claims; 2 officers get fired!

In this May 18, 2018 photograph taken from news video, James Barnett of Laurel, Miss., shows the injuries he allegedly sustained after two Laurel police officers pursued and arrested him after he turned around from a police checkpoint May 16. Barnett said the officers repeatedly kicked him in the face when they arrested him. Laurel police Capt. Tommy Cox says it became apparent to supervisors on duty that there was a problem with the way the arrest occurred, and the officers were fired. WDAM-TV, via AP Shakari Briggs.

LAUREL, MISS.

Two Mississippi police officers have been fired after a man said they repeatedly kicked him in the face when they arrested him.

WDAM-TV reported Monday that Laurel police Capt. Tommy Cox says it became apparent to supervisors on duty that there was a problem with the way the arrest occurred, and the officers were fired. Police say the department has been in contact with the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation to look into the possibility of criminal charges against the officers.

Thirty-six-year-old James Barnett tells WDAM-TV the officers pursued and arrested him after he turned around from a police checkpoint May 16. Barnett says he exited the vehicle, lay down on the ground and was continuously kicked. He was charged with resisting arrest. It’s unclear if he has a lawyer.

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