Imperial hubris takes its toll: US Navy finds most new officers struggle with handling ship collisions

USS Fitzgerald US Navy collision


Nearly 85 percent of junior officers in the United States Navy present “some concern” or “significant concern” with regard to their ability to handle a crisis involving a collision with another ship, according to a recent internal assessment that reviewed 164 officers.

Following the lethal collisions in 2017 between commercial ships and US naval vessels the USS Fitzgerald and USS John S McCain, the Navy conducted a three-month review to determine how prepared sailors were for the immediate risk of colliding with another ship, Defense News reported Tuesday.

The two tragedies together claimed 17 lives from the ranks of US Navy personnel.

The review tracked 164 surface warfare officers, according to a copy of the Navy review obtained by the outlet. Just 27 officers showed “no concern” in the eyes of the Navy’s Surface Warfare Officer School, which conducted the assessment. The other 83.5 percent of officers had some type of performance shortfall in dealing with simulated collisions.

“Officers had a firm grasp of the international rules of the road for navigating ships at sea, but struggled to apply them practically during watch standing,” the Navy said in its list of shortfalls driving performance problems.

The study examined a randomly selected group of first-tour officers of the deck (OOD), Defense News noted. “While the OOD competency checks were a snapshot in time, we must be realistic in confronting the systemic shortfalls that they revealed in core proficiencies across the junior qualified members of the force,” US Navy Vice Admiral Richard Brown said in the memo obtained by Defense News. The article does not indicate how recently the memo was sent to Navy staff.

“We as a community can and must tackle our deficiencies and ensure there is meaningful experience behind our qualification letters,” said Brown, the US Navy’s top surface warfare officer, who noted that the results of the study were “sobering.”

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EXCLUSIVE: Whistleblower Exposes Officers Laughing as Inmates Eat Feces, are Beaten and Killed


The former inmate and whistleblower who has openly shared his account of his horrific experiences during the time he served in Florida’s Charlotte County Jail, has made a mini-documentary in an attempt to further expose patterns of rampant corruption within the jail, and the dangers it poses for inmates.

Rob Tigro and Rodney McGee initially spoke out in an exclusive interview with The Free Thought Project in June 2017 after they began documenting the ongoing misconduct in the jail’s medical wing.

McGee said he witnessed the death of inmate Thomas Andreason, a panhandler, who had been complaining of chest pains. McGee said Andreason was Tased, pepper-sprayed, and placed into a restraint chair until he died. Even though he was in the medical wing, he received no medical treatment, but worse still, McGee claimed that the very officers who were supposed to help the inmate actually killed him.

Tigro said he was forced to clean up the bloody aftermath after he watched officers torture an inmate to death in August 2015. Gregg Ireland, 47, was arrested for driving while intoxicated with a blood alcohol content that was nearly three times the legal limit. He was booked in Charlotte County Jail’s medical wing, where the staff failed to give him the potassium supplement he was prescribed, or any detox medications to help him with alcohol withdrawals.

Instead, Tigro claimed that officers Tased, beat, and pepper-sprayed Ireland to death. According to a report from WINK News, over the course of an hour, “Ireland was Tased a total of nine times and restrained by several deputies. When they realized he was not responding or breathing, they started CPR and eventually transported him to the hospital.”

Tigro said he was forced to clean up the bloody scene from Ireland’s encounter with officers. Now he has made a mini-documentary to bring attention to the way Sheriff William Prummell handles criminal complaints of his deputies and corrections officers.

The beginning of the video shows Prummell giving a press conference at CCSO headquarters. The sheriff was attempting to explain how one of his officers forced an inmate to eat feces and was subsequently fired.

The inmate, 57-year-old Mark Kapuscinski was serving time for drug charges and has a history of mental illness.

“You can clearly see there was fecal matter on his hand. He presented it to the person standing at the window and that he put it on his face,” Sheriff Prummell said at the time.

The sheriff said the officer Michael Burnette also failed to report the strange incident.Video would later surface showing Burnette laughing as the man ingests his own bodily waste.

The overarching controversy detailed in the video below involves that case as well as deaths in the medical wing of the jail, the cover-up, and rampant corruption throughout the department.

To date, no officer has been arrested or charged with any crime associated with the deaths of Andreason and Ireland, despite a consensus by inmates housed in the medical wing who collectively believe the two men were murdered.

Tigro told The Free Thought Project that he believes the crimes and the illegal activities the Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office are engaged in, are being covered up by a law enforcement agency which, predictably, investigates itself and finds no wrongdoing.

Following TFTP’s publication of the two former inmates going public with alleged abuses and murders, the story made mainstream media headlines in Charlotte County. Tigro was later interviewed by Lauren Sweeney with WINK News who further investigated the deaths of inmates while in custody.

For her story, first reported on TFTP, Sweeney was awarded “First Place” by Florida’s Associated Press. Tigro’s purpose for coming forward was not so that a journalist could be awarded for her story but, rather, to raise awareness about the practice of abusing and killing inmates in the medical wing of the jail. Already, too many inmates have died at the hands of sociopath corrections officers, who not only allegedly killed inmates but were allowed to keep their jobs thereafter.

Tigro’s video details the climate where officers appear more as terrorists—dressed all in black with their faces covered—resembling Mexican Mafia members than officers of the peace.

Every state in the union should follow the law as implemented in the State of Wisconsin. There, thanks to the vigilant actions of Michael Bell, state law now mandates that any time there is an officer-involved incident that leads to the death of someone in custody, an outside agency must take the lead in the investigation.

The days where a law enforcement agency can investigate itself and find no wrongdoing need to come to an end. There is simply no justice when police can exonerate themselves.

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Former prosecutor: ‘Gutless’ not to charge officers in shooting

The two officers who shot and killed Alton Sterling in Louisiana will not face criminal charges. And, the Sacramento community continues to protest the death of Stephon Clark after an independent autopsy found officers shot Clark eight times.

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WATCH: Cop Smashes Handcuffed, Hooded Man’s Face In As Fellow Officers Watch


San Joaguin, CA — Surveillance footage has been released that shows a correctional officer at the San Joaquin County Jail striking the head of a handcuffed man who posed no threat, while multiple officers witnessed the assault.

The arrested man was sitting on the floor with his hands secured behind his back and a spit hood covering his head. Not only was it impossible for him to have posed a serious threat to the officers, but he appeared to be sitting calmly and was not struggling to free himself from the restraints.

The man was arrested for “intoxication,” and while it is unclear how long he had been detained, there are two Manteca Police officers standing nearby, watching him when the video began. Correctional Officer Matthew Mettler entered the room, walked over to the man who could not see him coming and hit the side of his head so hard that the man lost his balance and fell to the side.

A fourth officer entered the room and Mettler quickly pulled the man’s body back into a sitting position and then left the room. The two Manteca Police officers who watched the scene unfold appear to do nothing to stop or to criticize Mettler’s actions at the time. However, they proceeded to report the incident, and Mettler was suspended as a result.

In a statement, the San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Office responded to the video of the incident, which occurred on Aug. 24, 2017. It revealed that the man, who was significantly intoxicated, was wearing a spit hood to cover his head because the officers claimed that he tried to spit on them.

The statement acknowledged that the arrested man was “apparently posing no threat” when Officer Mettler walked up to him and struck him in the head. It also noted that the two Manteca Police officers who witnessed that assault “immediately reported the matter up the chain of command,” and action was taken accordingly.

After the incident was reported, Mettler was placed on administrative leave. The San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Office launched internal affairs and criminal investigations, and the statement noted that the evidence gathered from the surveillance footage was crucial in its determination that Mettler’s actions qualified as assault.

After the Sheriff’s Office turned the evidence from its investigation over to the District Attorney’s office for prosecution, Mettler was charged with a misdemeanor count of “Assault by a Public Officer.”

In response to the incident, Sheriff Steve Moore condemned Mettler’s actions and insisted that his conduct does not reflect on the expectations for his fellow officers.

“As Sheriff, I don’t condone the actions as portrayed on this video by our jail staff,” Moore said. “It is inconsistent with the professionalism of San Joaquin County Correctional Officers, and of this department. The action taken by the DA’s office is appropriate and we support their position.”

This incident is notable because it shows a rare example of a police department openly condemning the wrongful actions of one of its officers after he is caught on camera abusing his power. In contrast, when two police officers in Coeymans, New York, were caught racing each other to see who could run over a scared raccoon in an open parking lot, their department took a different approach.

The Coeymans Police Department refused to admit that their officers had done anything wrong, and instead said that they handled the situation “as quickly and humanely as possible,” even when cell phone camera footage proved otherwise.

Watch the surveillance footage of the assault at the San Joaquin County Jail:

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Police Release Body Cam, Showing Officers Brutally Assault 84yo Grandmother


Mesa, AZ — An Arizona family has learned the hard way what calling the police to help a relative can often look like as their grandmother was hospitalized after a welfare check. Showing their incompetence, the welfare check was for another family member but the police assaulted the innocent grandmother anyway.

The Free Thought Project reported on the incident when it happened last week and this week, body camera footage was released.

Although they released the video, the Mesa police department deliberately blurred the entire clip. However, even low resolution can’t hide the sadistic act of abusing an innocent grandmother.

As we previously reported, Ashlee Hahn detailed the assault in a dramatic Facebook post which showed the extent of her grandmother’s injuries. Hahn’s grandmother was hurt so bad during the check that she had to be hospitalized.

According to Hahn, her grandmother “is recovering from her fourth stroke and is confused, cognitively impaired & barely physically able to stand on her own because of uncontrollable shaking.”

Hahn’s mother had called in a welfare check for her son who lives on his grandmother’s property. She told police her son was suicidal. Police were even given specific instructions not to disturb the 84-year-old because she is easily confused and fragile.

“The police were called to her residence for a wellness check for a close family member who lives on her property,” explained Hahn. “They were specifically asked not to bother or question my grandmother because of her present and very fragile state.”

In spite of telling them to steer clear, however, police did the exact opposite.

“They forced her out of her home into the street, holding her arms tight enough to leave bruises and bleeding,” wrote Hahn. “Her inability to hold still (because of her previous strokes, as seen in uploaded videos) inclined them to slam her down, head first on the asphalt. They handcuffed her after she woke from her unconscious state.”

Indeed, the video shows this exact scenario. Officers forced the woman from her home by repeatedly telling her to come toward them. When she gets by them, she was clearly confused and had no idea what was going on.

Illustrating just how out of it she was, she starts referencing officers being behind the cars like a movie. As she turned around, the officers grabbed her and then surrounded her.

“You are not following my directions,” says a cop to the severely frail innocent elderly woman. Moments later, the innocent grandmother is slammed to the ground as cops jump on top of her and put her in handcuffs.

When Hahn’s grandmother woke up, she was in the hospital, bloodied and bruised. Police then immediately began conducting damage control.

“After seeing the damage they had done & sending my Grandmother off in an ambulance, they called my Mother (who made the original wellness check call) and told her that my Grandmother “slipped,” Hahn explained.

To try and alleviate their liability, an officer was sent, not to check on an elderly grandmother who’d just been the subject of a savage attack, but, instead, to defend their fellow cop and his choice to inflict harm on an innocent old lady.

“The officer who came down to the hospital only seemed to care about deflecting & defending the officers involved. No accountability. No apologies,” Hahn wrote.

What’s more, to try to legitimize the attack on an innocent grandmother, police then charged her with obstruction.

Hahn filmed part of the interaction with the officer in the hospital as he defended his fellow cop’s decision to needlessly confront her (against the family’s wishes) and then violently throw her to the ground.

“Why did he put me down on the asphalt?” asked the innocent elderly woman.

“It is my understanding when I spoke to the officer, that you pulled away from him a little bit and he took action like that, okay?” the officer callously explains of how his fellow officer could somehow rationalize assaulting an innocent grandmother.

Pulling away from an officer “a little bit” in the land of the free will now apparently result in innocent elderly women being thrown to the ground.

“I said don’t treat me like this. I don’t want to have a stroke,” the innocent grandmother says as she shakes in her hospital bed. “I don’t want to have a heart attack. Don’t treat me this way.”

According to Hahn, her grandmother is “traumatized & feels untrusting of the people who she thought would protect her.”

Hahn has a message for the Mesa Police Department as well.

“If this was your grandmother, what would you do? Mesa police department needs to be held accountable.”

Indeed, they do.

In response to the incident, to Mesa Police chief released a statement reading in part:

This incident was captured by an officer’s Axon body camera and I have subsequently directed an internal investigation. Please know that I understand why this situation was alarming. It’s critically important that our department symbolizes trust and faith, and that our residents know officers will do our very best, no matter the circumstances. We all have a mother and a grandmother who we love very much; their safety and well-being are always a priority.

We have been in contact with the grandmother and her family. In addition, I will personally meet with professionals in our community who specialize in senior care to better understand their unique needs and how we can enhance our training protocols. We are a continually learning organization and this will give us an opportunity to reassess our practices and make any changes necessary to improve the quality of service.


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Major armed police operation in Brussels as officers ‘block gunmen in building’ (WATCH LIVE)

The incident is taking place near a primary school attended by approximately 350 pupils. The children have been taken inside the building as a safety precaution.

A security perimeter has been established, with a witness telling RTL Info that police have ordered residents of the neighborhood to stay inside their homes.

Witnesses told RTBF that armed police and snipers are at the scene. Police helicopters are also flying above the area.


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Police on ‘poo watch’ over drug suspect’s 22-day toilet strike, officers tweet updates

The 24-year-old man was arrested by officers from Essex Police’s Operation Raptor West, the gangs and street crime unit, in Harlow, Essex on January 17. He is charged with two counts of possessing Class A drugs with intent to supply and is allegedly part of a London gang.

He is believed to have inserted a batch of drugs into his body.

Officers tweeting updates said on Wednesday: “Day 21/3 weeks for our man on #poowatch still no movements/items to report. He will remain with us until Friday when we are back at court where we will be requesting a further 8 days should he not produce anything before that hearing.”

They wrote earlier: “We still have no movement, male doesn’t seem to understand that eventually he will need/have to go.”

Officers said the man was being seen daily by doctors and constantly watched, adding: “This is his own choice and so far his health is fine.” 

The police said it had publicized the case on social media in order to challenge the idea that gang membership or dealing drugs was in some way “glamorous.”

Essex Police has made a number of journeys to magistrates’ courts to seek extensions to the man’s detention. Police say they will continue to apply for custody extensions until the man goes for a poo.

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WADA officers disrupt Russian women’s ice hockey training session in PyeongChang

The team is competing at the Games under the name ‘Olympic Athletes from Russia’ following the ban imposed on the country by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) amid the ongoing doping scandal.

“The team had an exhausting journey [to South Korea], our luggage was delayed, and we were late for an evening training session,” Aleksey Chistyakov, the head coach of the women’s hockey team, told Match TV on Monday.

READ MORE: Top sports court overturns IOC’s ban on 28 Russian athletes in groundbreaking ruling

“We were forced to conduct a short-handed practice, as more than half of the team was taken by the doping officers, and the girls were late for training. The players are motivated [to achieve good results]. We have spent the last two seasons preparing for the Olympics. Facing such a political situation [amid the doping scandal] we want to prove to everyone that we are a competitive and battle-ready squad,” he added.

The Olympic female ice hockey tournament begins on February 10, the day after the Opening ceremony in PyeongChang. The Russian squad will face off against Canada in their opening game on February 11.

In December, the IOC imposed harsh sanctions on Russia for alleged doping violations, prohibiting more than 50 athletes from participating in the 2018 Winter Games in South Korea. The Russian female ice hockey squad was reduced as a result of the sanctions, as six players who competed at the 2014 Sochi Games were slapped with life bans for any future Olympics.

Inna Dyubanok, Ekaterina Lebedeva, Ekaterina Pashkevich, Anna Shibanova, Ekaterina Smolentseva and Galina Skiba were penalized by the Olympic governing body, which also ruled to annul their sixth place finish at the home Games in Sochi.

Last week, the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) overturned the lifetime bans of 28 Russian team members, declaring that the evidence presented by the IOC was “insufficient” to establish that “an anti-doping rule violation (ADRV) was committed by the athletes.”

Four national ice hockey players – Ekaterina Lebedeva, Ekaterina Pashkevich, Anna Shibanova and Ekaterina Smolentseva – were among those cleared by CAS. However, the court ruling didn’t allow all the athletes to enter the upcoming Games, as the IOC has refused to invite 13 CAS-approved athletes and two coaches to PyeongChang, after observing “additional elements and/or evidence, which could not be considered by the IOC Oswald Commission because it was not available to it” just days after the CAS decision.

It is expected that WADA’s attention in PyeongChang will be mainly focused on the Russian athletes who were allowed to compete at the Winter Games under the name ‘Olympic Athletes from Russia.’

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CBS Police Drama Portrays Courage and Compassion of Officers in Midst of ‘Anti-Cop Sentiment’

CBS’s cop drama Blue Bloods once again did a masterful job of defending the honor and sacrifice of hardworking police officers while addressing the controversial topic of race relations and the hostile, thankless environment today’s officers must work in.

Blue Bloods revolves around the Reagans, a multi-generational family of police officers headed by New York Police Commissioner Frank Reagan (Tom Selleck). In Friday’s episode, “The Brave,” Frank’s son Jamie Reagan (Will Estes) and his partner Eddie Janko (Vanessa Ray) respond to a call regarding “an unauthorized male, white, operating an NYPD RMP.” When they arrive on the scene, they realize it’s Billy, a developmentally disabled man they know in the neighborhood, who has stolen the cop car. Billy is extremely confused and upset as a swarm of officers have him surrounded with guns drawn.

Jamie tries to explain to the officer in charge about Billy’s condition and that he wouldn’t hurt anybody, but the officer continues to follow protocol and orders Jamie back to his car. Jamie continues to beg the officers to lower their weapons and allow him to speak to Billy, but the captain refuses, leading Jamie to make a split decision to put his life on the line and break protocol to help Billy by approaching the car.

Jamie: Okay, can I come talk to you, Billy?

Billy: Having understood them, do you still wish to speak to me?

Jamie: I do wish to speak to you, Billy. I do. Because we got a situation here.

Billy: We got a situation here.

Jamie: Yeah, you see these other officers? They’re a little scared, all right? So, I need you to help me show them that everything is okay. Can you do that?

Billy: I heard a 1085. Okay. “Officer needs assistance.” I wanted to help! 1085!

Jamie: Okay, Billy, but right now, I’m the officer that needs assistance, okay? So, can you help me out?

Billy: Help Jamie.

Jamie: Can you do that?

Billy: Mm-hmm. Hmm.

Jamie: Okay. All right, I’m gonna open the door, and we’re gonna walk back to my car. Hands behind your head, all right? Okay?

Billy: Okay.

Jamie: Hands on your head.

Billy: Hands on my head.

Jamie: Okay? Right? Okay, Billy. Okay, I’m gonna… You know what? Can we show these guys? How we cuff people, Billy?

Billy: Okay, Jamie.

Jamie: All right, let’s do it. Okay, hands behind your back. This is how we do it. Right?

Billy: Okay. You’re a good cop.

Jamie: You, too, Bill.

At a time when the only scenes on the news we see of officers are negative ones, it put a tear in my eye to see the risks that these heroes take to serve and protect us portrayed in such a beautiful, compassionate manner. The type of scenes that unfortunately rarely make the ten o’clock news, but ones that do indeed happen every day. Jamie and Eddie end up being temporarily suspended and facing charges for insubordination, but both are happy with the decision they made to step in and help Billy.

Of course, no episode of Blue Bloods would be complete without the Reagan’s weekly family dinner, and the topic of conversation this time is about Frank’s granddaughter Nicky wanting to be an officer as well as what the family loves about police work. Among the family’s answers: “rescuing a kid from danger,” “getting a rapist off the streets,” “saving people’s lives,” and “slapping the cuffs on a murderer.”

Nicky says that she likes the idea of helping people, which leads her mom, Erin (Bridget Moynahan), to speak up about the riskier aspects of the job. She is the state’s Assistant District Attorney and has strong misgivings about Nicky becoming an officer. She believes the family is “sugarcoating” the job to Nicky and it becomes obvious that the loss of her brother Joe in the line of duty weighs heavily on her.

Erin: Okay, so you guys want to stop sugarcoating it now?

Frank: Nobody’s sugarcoating it.

Erin: Really?

Frank: Yeah.

Erin: ‘Cause I don’t hear anyone talking about the stinkers and the jumpers, the crack addicts and the child abusers. Not to mention, the anti-cop sentiment that is your thank-you these days.

Danny: So, you take the bad with the good.

Erin: You’re really gonna sit there and pretend that the job doesn’t take a toll?

Danny: I didn’t say the job doesn’t take a toll.

Nicky: Your job takes a toll, Mom.

Sean: So, what’s wrong with being a cop?

Erin: I never said there was anything wrong with being a cop.

Jack: You just don’t want Nicky to be a cop.

Erin: No. I just want Nicky to look at all her options and not go blindly joining the family business.

Nicky: I am, and this is one of the options.

Erin: And I’m just saying there are plenty of ways to help people that don’t put you in harm’s way.

Henry: She has a point. It’s different now. It’s a different culture than when we all got started. Back then, it was considered an honor.

Erin: And it still is.

Nicky: But?

Erin: It’s not a but.

Nicky: No, please.

Erin: All of these… Gangsters and rapists and murderers that you all get a charge out of taking down, I prosecute them. I put them away. And there’s not one that I wouldn’t gladly see walk if it meant that… …If it meant that one of you would still be sitting at this table and not lying somewhere in a morgue.

Meanwhile, Frank meets with a group of young Explorers. He asks the students how many of them want to be police officers. No one responds until one girl, Sophia, finally raises her hand and announces, “I want to be the first black, female police commissioner. But not ‘cause I like cops or anything like that. ‘Cause I want to change the system. I want to change everything about it.

Frank decides it’s time to ramp up the Explorer curriculum. This time he brings in Jamie and Eddie to share their stories with the students about what it’s like to be a police officer. They bring up their experience with Billy and their words have a profound effect on the group, including Sophia:

Jamie: We’re just a couple of regular POs here to talk to you today. And we know you’ve met a lot of bosses in suits and brass in uniforms and a lot of bars and stripes. Well, that’s not us.

Janko: Yeah, we’re just cops.

Jamie: And the odds are, if you’re lucky enough to join this department, you’ll be one of us.

Janko: And that story we told you about Billy, cops do that. Regular cops.

Jamie: And sometimes, cops have to make a judgment call that gets them jammed up with the brass and the bosses.

Janko: Like us. Reason we’re here, we pulled a suspension for insubordination.

Jamie: Which happened while we were trying to help out Billy.

Janko: Which was the right thing to do.

Jamie: And the risky thing, as it turns out. We made a judgment call.

Janko: We’d do it again.

Jamie: Risk isn’t always about facing down a gun, sometimes it’s about helping someone in trouble so they don’t end up in more trouble.

Janko: That’s a risk worth taking.

Sophia: Because you saved Billy’s life.

Janko: Maybe. We’ll never know for sure.

Jamie: But maybe. And at the end of the day, that’s as good a reason as any for becoming a cop. Yeah.

Gormley: Okay, kids, it’s time to move on. But no worries, I’m gonna schedule Officer Reagan and Janko to come back and talk to you again. But now that you heard the real deal from our uniformed officers, how many of you are thinking about becoming cops? [Several raise hand, including Sophia.] Wow. That’s fantastic.

At a time when anti-police hostility is at an all-time high, and officers are being targeted and killed because of it, messages like this are so very important. Maybe it will lead the next generation to consider becoming police officers, but at the very least, I hope it will help to change the current hostile climate into one of gratitude for all that officers do to serve and protect us.

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