Monday, April 24, 2006

Police torture captured on tape; 5 deputies go to prison

On July 8, 2004, five police officers -- sheriff's deputies, auxiliary police, local police -- went to the home of Eugene Siler, in Campbell County, northwest of Knoxville, Tennessee, ostensibly to arrest him for a probation violation.

Siler's wife and son were in the home, and were allowed to leave. Before Mrs. Siler left, she surreptitiously turned on a tape recorder.

The recording, which you can hear from a link from the Knoxville News Sentinel, or the excellent, 60-page transcript which law enforcement made of the recording, reveal police officers systematically torturing Siler. On almost every page of the transcript is an indication of Siler being beaten. They threaten to break his finges. The officers get a car battery charger and hook it up to his testicles and his nose. They threaten to shoot him.

After Siler complained, the officers lied about the beating -- until word of the tape recording came out.

All of the officers have been sentenced to multi-year terms in federal prison.

The News Sentinel website also has copies of various documents in the case, such a sentencing memos.

Joshua Monday, the officer who seemed to inflict most of the beating, defended himself at sentencing,

Mr. Monday was a law enforcement officer in a county besieged by the drug epidemic sweeping this nation, and his frustration overcame his better judgment on July 8, 2004.
Monday received a sentence of 72 months. Is there a drug epidemic in the county? It arrests more people for drug offenses than for any other crime -- even drunkenness and DUI.

This case is an aberration, of course, but since such recordings are rare it is hard to assess how common aberration this behavior is. But a reading of Drug War Chronicle's Corrupt Cop of the Week column demonstrates that this behavior occurs nationwide. Of course, DRCNet's Drug War Chronicle had the story in early 2005.

Thanks to Chris Largen of Prescription Pot for the tip.

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