Tag Archives: arrest

Worcester cop slapped with civil rights lawsuit

BOSTON — A civil rights lawsuit has been filed by a Chicago resident against Worcester Police Officer Jeremy Smith, alleging the use of excessive force during a routine motor vehicle stop.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts has announced that Wakeelah Cocroft, of Chicago, Illinois, has filed the case in the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts.

The complaint alleges that Ms. Cocroft was a passenger in a vehicle being driven by her sister, Clytheia Mwangi, of Worcester, on December 29, 2007. The two women were pulled over at a gas station on Park Avenue at 7am by Officer Smith. According to Ms. Cocroft, the officer aggressively approached the vehicle they were in and began screaming at Ms. Mwangi for speeding.

While the officer wrote the ticket, Ms. Cocroft, who was a passenger in the car, went into the station to purchase gas and then returned to use the pump. The police officer began yelling at her and ordered her to return to the car. As she went to the car, she told the officer that he had no right to speak to her in that manner and that she knew her rights.

Officer Smith grabbed her from behind, and threw her on the ground, slamming her face against the concrete, according to the complaint.

She alleges that he then kneeled on her back until a second officer arrived in response to a 911 call by Ms. Mwangi.

The complaint alleges that the use of force caused bodily injury to Ms. Cocroft’s face and shoulder.

The civil rights claim alleges that the use of force was excessive and unnecessary and that there was no probable cause to arrest Ms. Cocroft for charges of Disturbing the Peace and Resisting Arrest. In addition, the complaint alleges that Officer Smith arrested Ms. Cocroft in retaliation for speaking up about his conduct.

Obama was right! The Cambridge cops DID act “stupidly”

By Rosalie Tirella

The “Skip” Gates debacle was just that – a debacle. And President Barack Obama was correct in labeling the Cambridge cops’ behavior as stupid. And when Governor Deval Patrick weighed in with an equally accurate description, decrying the way this country treats Black Americans, he was right, too.

Both guys – African Americans first, elected leaders second – were on target. America DOES relegate blacks to second-class status even though the laws have changed and the “no colored” signs have been ripped off every diner door in the South. Both know that many black guys fear for their lives if stopped by cops, if acting too “uppity” (which Professor, in Officer Crowley’s eyes, did). Heaven forbid you should be black and proud and know the score – just the way First Lady Michelle Obama was when she said, after the presidential nomination of her husband: for the first time in my adult life, I am proud of my country. She knows first hand, based on living in the South Side of Chicago, being the daughter of a public works guy and stay at home mom, that life is dangerous in America if you are black and you step over the line, say too much.

It is, in many ways, the same things for women.  As the owner/editor/publisher of InCity Times, we’ve got lots of supporters – but some detractors, too. Most of these folks are male politiicians (white), male biz owners (white) who have always enjoyed unquestioned power in this town. But because I dare to “run with the big dogs” they try to thwart me at every turn. Which only strengthens my resolve tenfold. I will speak out.

And so should Professor Gates. C’mon, a frail old guy who walks with a cane telling three big burly cops – in their prime – ‘yo mama” – in his OWN home – does not need to be handcuffed, booked and have “mug shots” taken of him. How degrading. Which is exactly what that asshole Crowley and the Cambridge Police Department were going for. “Know your place feisty old black man,” they seemed to be saying to Professor Gates.

Well, his place is WAY ABOVE these blue collar pin-heads. He has written books, edited books; he has been interviewed hundreds of times on news shows, he teaches at Harvard. He knows the President of the United States.

He is a brilliant man.

Crowley was/is your basic dope.

If the colors had been switched, the apologies and back pedalling and beer summit would never have happened.