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Torture on Tennessee Soil
April 25, 2006 11:05 PM   Subscribe

Let me tell you what we're gonna do. We're gonna put them handcuffs in front of ya. Cut you a little slack. But if you don't start operating, we're gonna put the mother fuckers behind your back, and I'm gonna take this slapjack and I'm gonna start working that head over, you understand? ...you sign this son of a bitch, or I'm gonna hit you again. Audio. .pdf transcript. Full Story.
posted by Kwantsar (60 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

 
I hope there's a nice cold jail cell for these motherfuckers with all the people they've framed lined up to return the favors that they've so richly endowed on their community.
posted by lalochezia at 11:13 PM on April 25, 2006


here's to the war on drugs!

go drugs!
posted by wakko at 11:14 PM on April 25, 2006


Maybe this works? Hope me.
posted by Kwantsar at 11:16 PM on April 25, 2006


that one works good
posted by wakko at 11:18 PM on April 25, 2006


What happened to these officers? I take it given the transcript that they were tried.

I cannot envision a justice system that sanctions revenge, but cases like this make me long for something more akin to an eye for an eye. Not that I or the state should be handing out that kind of punishment, but it might go a way toward Siler's healing if he did.

Ah, thanks for the update, Kwantsar. Protective custody, no doubt. Too good for them. I wonder what sort of parole conditions dirty cops (as I consider them) would receive. Anyone know?
posted by dreamsign at 11:18 PM on April 25, 2006


that .pdf is horrifying enough.
_______________________________________

...slapping, hitting sounds...

Eugene: (moans)
_______________________________________

fuck these people. scumbags.
posted by exlotuseater at 11:24 PM on April 25, 2006


I'm absolutely sure this is an extremely isolated incident. In no way does this go on every single day in every last city in this fine country. Yep, just five bad apples here. Nothing to see at all. We got them, and now you're all safe. No more gistapo tactics anymore, anywhere.

Sleep tight.
posted by quite unimportant at 11:28 PM on April 25, 2006


Gestapo. Sorry.
posted by quite unimportant at 11:28 PM on April 25, 2006


dreamsign they're all going to jail for 3-5 years. it's in the last link kwantsar posted.
posted by wakko at 11:32 PM on April 25, 2006


Wow, how did I never hear about this one? Another update: The Silers were arrested last October (a year after the torture) for allegedly dealing oxycodone.
posted by mediareport at 11:36 PM on April 25, 2006


selling marijuana: 30yrs
savagely beating someone: 3-5yrs
posted by brundlefly at 11:38 PM on April 25, 2006


brundlefly - 30 years for sale of marijuana? Really? in what specific case? Or did you just make that up to simultaneously make & undermine your own point?
posted by jonson at 11:41 PM on April 25, 2006


Yeah, 3-5 years? I guess I could understand that for a normal case of assault. For assault in an official capacity like that, the penalty should be a lot stiffer, stiff enough that even the most corrupt bastard in the system is watching what he does because he knows me might never see daylight again.
posted by namespan at 11:42 PM on April 25, 2006


I totally agree, namespan.
posted by jonson at 11:45 PM on April 25, 2006


I'd like to be against capital punishment but when public servants so grossly and maliciously abuse their power they really should be hung. These men are markedly worse than the people they're supposedly protecting us from.
posted by mullingitover at 11:45 PM on April 25, 2006


jonson: Got it from the NORML page on Louisiana (so YMMV). You can get 5-30 years for selling 60lbs or less. So, no, I didn't make it up. I just picked the harshest sentence for effect.

Still, that minimum is the same as the maximum sentence for these guys.
posted by brundlefly at 11:50 PM on April 25, 2006


Well, I'd suggest the death penalty. But then, I couldn't get past page 20 of the pdf myself... I just assumed it got worse from there, and didn't want to read it.
posted by hincandenza at 11:52 PM on April 25, 2006


Although in retrospect I should have looked up Tennessee... I just picked LA because I'm from there. Not nearly as harsh, in Tennessee.
posted by brundlefly at 11:54 PM on April 25, 2006


If this were Fark, the obvious tag should be employed.
posted by loquacious at 11:56 PM on April 25, 2006


Unchecked power is the ultimate drug.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 12:09 AM on April 26, 2006


Aw, hincandenza, you missed the best part! Here, let me show you:

Officer Franklin: Then shut the fuck up then. This written permission is being given to me knowingly and voluntarily to the aforementioned officer of my own free will without any threats, coercion, or any...
Muffled sound.
Officer Green: Let's give him a haircut.
Muffled sound.
Eugene: (crying and moaning)
Officer Franklin: Now.
Eugene: (unintelligible)
Slapping, striking, or hitting sounds.
Eugene: (moaning)
Officer Franklin: That's good.

posted by quite unimportant at 12:24 AM on April 26, 2006


they're all going to jail for 3-5 years. it's in the last link kwantsar posted.

Yep, I amended my post when I saw Kwantsar's link on preview. That's why I wanted to know about the probability of parole in the U.S. for this type of crime and this kind of offender -- particulary whether lenience would be offered because prison time might be considered "hard" on former cops.

... and then I wonder if they'll find work as cops elsewhere when they get out. And then I think yes, they probably will.
posted by dreamsign at 12:37 AM on April 26, 2006


Jesus. That was horrific. Is it naive of me to feel so shocked? So sickened by this?
posted by bunglin jones at 1:05 AM on April 26, 2006


This story is terrible and unfunny but I can't help but think of that one scene in Brazil...
posted by revfitz at 1:06 AM on April 26, 2006


Don't Godwinize this thread....don't Godwinize this thread...don't...oh fuck it.

Goddamn Nazis.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 1:14 AM on April 26, 2006


Sweet land of liberty (offer void where prohibited or taxed, terms and condtions may apply, check store for details)
posted by Goofyy at 1:22 AM on April 26, 2006


He'd have to be put into maximum security, otherwise he'd end up dead for sure.
posted by delmoi at 1:32 AM on April 26, 2006


friend of mine knew this eccentric 60 year old lady who was still gettin all kinds of ass and had loads of stories. Said about 10 years ago, back when she was still in to crack she was at this friend's house up all night smokin when the friend's husband excused himself so he could get ready for work. The old lady nearly SHIT when he came down the stairs in full state patrol get-up, mirrored shades and all.

Ive dealt with more than a few cops who were slappin the white bitch, or REALLY over doing coffee. Wouldn't surprise me if these fuckers were too... oh but heaven forbit some imbred yokel try to sling a little herb.
posted by Tryptophan-5ht at 2:01 AM on April 26, 2006


Some additional details on the punishment for the officers.

So, three years for torture, but up to thirty for selling dope? That's justice for ya...

(Would it be wrong to hope that they all get sent to a "pound me in the ass" prison?)
posted by insomnia_lj at 3:00 AM on April 26, 2006


For assault in an official capacity like that, the penalty should be a lot stiffer...

Yes. And maybe it will be, informally, if other prisoners figure out who they are.

I wonder what would happen if torturers Gerald David Webber, Samuel R. Franklin, Joshua Monday, Shayne Green, and William Carroll (I want to make sure the names and deeds are properly linked everywhere) were locked up with a lot of drug dealers who knew this story.

But I suppose prisons take good care of police officers.
posted by pracowity at 3:05 AM on April 26, 2006


What I find amusing is the childlike belief that these thugs will actually serve the time they were sentenced to. If they aren't out of prison within a few months of going in I'll be amazed. There are all sorts of ways the criminal justice system can close ranks and protect its own, and they will all be employed on behalf of the thugs. They'll get a nice cushy ride in prison, and I'm sure the prison guards will make it well known that if any prisoner harms them they will suffer.

They'll be out in less than a year, no worse for wear, and probably get their cop jobs back.

Either that or they'll join the army and work at Bush's new Abu Gharib style prisons....
posted by sotonohito at 4:13 AM on April 26, 2006


Jesus. That was horrific. Is it naive of me to feel so shocked?

Yes. This is what happens when humans are given complete authority over other humans.
posted by Jairus at 4:36 AM on April 26, 2006


Wait, is this an episode of "The Shield"!?!
posted by punkrockrat at 4:43 AM on April 26, 2006


(Would it be wrong to hope that they all get sent to a "pound me in the ass" prison?)

Yes.


They'll be out in less than a year, no worse for wear, and probably get their cop jobs back.

Yes. *Sigh*
posted by voltairemodern at 6:49 AM on April 26, 2006


I used to ask my high school kids what they thought the possible lawful penalty would be for a senior (18 yrs) selling a junior (17yrs) one joint while standing in the parking lot across the street from school. (Missouri)

The answer is 22 years to life.

Sale-5 g or less-7 years
Sale to a minor-5 to 15 years
Within 2000' of school-10 yrs to life

Meanwhile, these "drug enforcement" scumbuckets get 3-5... assuming they survive in the same hellhole where they sent so many others using these tactics.

Superman was always jumping out of windows amid much whooshing with the announcer intoning something about a Strange Visitor from another planet who fought for Truth, Justice, and the American Way, then thought to be coextensive.-Fred Reed
posted by Enron Hubbard at 7:02 AM on April 26, 2006


Is this anything new? Being your average middle-class British snob, I can only assume that this kind of thing happens all the time.
posted by malusmoriendumest at 7:16 AM on April 26, 2006


What really shocks me is how much more petty they seem each time they say, "Sign it." They sound worse and worse, and I you would think it would level off at some point, but their childish mewling just gets worse and worse. It's just pathetic that "no one knows they're there" and "they'll kill this guy" or "hook his balls up to a car battery" or whatever these little shits were saying, and at the same time they need his signature on a piece of paper to protect themselves.

No punishment is harsh enough.
posted by jon_kill at 7:17 AM on April 26, 2006


If you like this, slide on up to Cocke County, where half the sherriff's office is under indictment
posted by Pressed Rat at 7:38 AM on April 26, 2006


They sounded just like the schoolyard bullies they were 30 years previously.
posted by haikuku at 7:39 AM on April 26, 2006


And people call me crazy for carrying around a small digital voice recorder with me almost everywhere I go. Audio evidence is a beautiful thing.

I fully expect these sorts of controversies to increase the longer the Patriot Act is on the books. Drugs = terrorists don't ya know!
posted by i_am_a_Jedi at 7:46 AM on April 26, 2006


They'll be out in less than a year, no worse for wear, and probably get their cop jobs back.

Is it even legal for a convicted felon to be allowed to hold a job in any civil service position, let alone the police?
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 7:53 AM on April 26, 2006


This incident sends a resounding message to crooked cops everywhere:
check for audio recorders before you beat a man senseless!
posted by hellbient at 8:21 AM on April 26, 2006


I volunteered for ACLU in TN during the mid 90's. We got calls about law enforcement abusing their power all the time. The problem that is unless there is blockbuster evidence... like the tape in this case, then these incidents are nearly impossible to prosecute. Most people who make the complaints don't want to actually come forward as plaintiffs, and in most cases you have to pursue the official internal affairs channels before taking further action. This is further complicated by the fact that in small towns, it's not uncommon for the sheriff, mayor, and DA to all be related.

All that said, I am thrilled to see that this case had such a satisfactory resolution. Hopefully, this will be a warning to other rogue cops.
posted by kimdog at 8:22 AM on April 26, 2006


They'll be out in less than a year, no worse for wear, and probably get their cop jobs back.

Um, no and no. I'm still interested in anyone's knowledge of what parole conditions these men might be eligible for, but less than a year, I doubt it. And the same jobs? No. Let's not get hysterical. The force can't afford that level of public scandal. Finding employment elsewhere as cops, however, has to do with how careful other departments are when hiring, and also what sorts of behaviour might cause them to look the other way.

So parole, probably, though to what end term I don't know. Different cop jobs, very possibly. All it takes is a town with a shortage of law enforcement and either sloppiness or a willingness to put up with "overzealous" officers. And hey, maybe make use of their skills.
posted by dreamsign at 8:35 AM on April 26, 2006


Yea, but where's his dope at?
posted by CynicalKnight at 9:10 AM on April 26, 2006


I understand that cops like this are rare. But they're not that rare. In 1985, as a reporter for The Sun News in New Bern, N.C., I stood and watched the Craven County sheriff slap a handcuffed prisoner -- knowing I was there. (And, yes, I wrote about it. And, no, nothing happened to him.)

What should happen in a case like this one? I suppose reasonable people can disagree, but this is the kind of thing about which I am extraordinarily reluctant to be reasonable. I want the public response to be totally unreasonable, to create a meaningful disincentive for cops who might be thinking about pulling this kind of stunt in the future, so I say bring back public hangings for this crime. Betrayal of the public trust is a serious problem at every level of government all over the country, and betrayal of public trust coupled with torture just for the sadistic, dick-stiffening hell of it takes the booby prize.

So, yeah, public hanging. But I'd settle for life without parole in a maximum-security prison … where all the other inmates know you were a cop.
posted by lexalexander at 9:40 AM on April 26, 2006


But I'd settle for life without parole in a maximum-security prison … where all the other inmates know you were a cop.

Being in a medium security prison where the other inmates know you're a cop would probably lower your chances of survival considerably.
posted by Jairus at 10:24 AM on April 26, 2006


I have a friend who got busted for having a joint on him in Knoxville a while back. He posted bail and had to give up his job even before his court date, because the cops would fucking WAIT outside his house every morning and pull him over for no reason on the way to work, and keep him there as long as they could.

I've also heard stories of people signing things covered partially by other sheets of paper that the cops say are, y'know, just confirmation that you were stopped and cooperated or whatever, and what they're signing is actually a "Yes, it's okay to search my car" document. Tennessee is notorious for corrupt "law enforcement" officers.
posted by WidgetAlley at 10:44 AM on April 26, 2006


Is it even legal for a convicted felon to be allowed to hold a job in any civil service position, let alone the police?

It’s pretty tough to get a job with a record. But once you’re on the team it’s pretty easy to keep a job if you acquire a record.

But these guys would probably have a tough time finding work as mall security guards after this.
posted by paxton at 11:16 AM on April 26, 2006


Bad laws make bad people. When Joe and Jane Moral Christian Voter vote for another "tough on drugs" politician, well, someone has to do the beatings and framings to fulfill the promise to arrest more drug using scumbags. This isn't an isolated corruption issue, this is exactly what the war on drugs does just about everywhere. Usually to a lesser extent, but it creates criminals and forces law enforcement to grab as many of them as possible for largely political reasons.

You should be yelling at people with DARE stickers on their cars first and foremost if you want to change anything.
posted by skallas at 1:56 PM on April 26, 2006


I understand that cops like this are rare. But they're not that rare.

I would say that at least half of the police officers in this country are corrupt or abuse their power. That's what we get for giving the job to some of the dumbest motherfuckers on the planet.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 1:58 PM on April 26, 2006


That's what we get for giving the job to some of the dumbest motherfuckers on the planet.

That is not fair. All sorts of people bend the law when they anticipate the risk or punishment to be low. Cops are subject to the same temptations and economic pressures as the rest of us. Their occupation puts them in a position where the risk-to-reward ratio is much smaller than the average population.

Unless there is a legal system wherein the enforcers are subject to greater punishments proportionate to their power (not likely), this seems unavoidable.

Our moral expectation is that cops should always obey the law. Our economic expectation is that they will more frequently break the law unless there are sufficient incentives, legal and cultural, to prevent it.
posted by sonofsamiam at 2:05 PM on April 26, 2006


That is not fair.

It is in Maricopa County, AZ. No good cop wants to work for Joe Arpaio.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 2:24 PM on April 26, 2006


Yep, penalties should be triple for crimes committed in an official capacity. Not only do they damage the victim, but they damage the reputation, hence authority, of (good?) cops everywhere -- if I can't trust a cop to behave properly, I might feel justified injuring or killing him in my own (perhaps legitimate!) self-defense.

Would the wife (or concerned neighbor) be justified in shooting these crooked cops to protect the victim? I think so. They're not acting like cops; they're acting like criminal thugs.

Shit like this, as well as my own past run-ins with belligerent cops, makes me wish I had my own personal video surveillance 24/7.
posted by LordSludge at 5:09 PM on April 26, 2006


Neat clips from the officers' statements:

"We used the proper amount of force to effect the arrest and made no threats of any kind to Eugene or his family."
- Webber


"If Eugene Siler or Jenny Siler say we mistreated them they are liars."
- Green


And, ya know, if it weren't for the audio evidence, they'd still be at it.
posted by LordSludge at 5:22 PM on April 26, 2006


Hrm. Maybe these morons should think twice about their drugs, eh?

The Silers were tossed jail a year after this incident for selling drugs from their trailer home. Which is right across the street from an elementary school.

Should they have had the crap beaten out of them? No. And the assailants went to prison for that. But clearly they didn't learn to quit being drug dealing idiots.

I have no sympathy for crank heads.
posted by drstein at 7:11 PM on April 26, 2006


This is the same Campbell County Tennessee where a young student recently shot and killed an assistant principal or two at school.

Seems like a pretty raw, uncivilized, and desperate place. Bet there are W stickers on bumpers everywhere.
posted by nofundy at 8:04 AM on April 27, 2006


"I have no sympathy for crank heads."

I have no sympathy for somebody who thinks it's a good idea to lock up drug dealers. I have no sympathy for someone who thinks the drug war is doing anybody any good whatsoever. I have no sympathy for somebody who thinks they have the right to tell me what I can or cannot ingest in the privacy of my own home.
posted by rougy at 10:40 AM on April 27, 2006


“But clearly they didn't learn to quit being drug dealing idiots.”

As opposed to the cops in question who spit on their badges, betraying their citizens and abusing the de facto authority vested in them by the people who will learn to stop doing that from this little wrist slap they’re getting, right?

A couple drug dealers, me, you, joe six pack, society can handle. Worse comes to worst and I put a bullet in some low level asshead drug dealer and the problem goes away.

What can I do against a bad police officer? What can I do against the abuses maintained by the system I am forced to support with my own tax money?

Just say ‘no’?
posted by Smedleyman at 11:03 AM on April 27, 2006


I have no sympathy for crank heads.
posted by drstein at 7:11 PM PST on April 26


I hope the police attempt to serve a warrant for a drug bust and wind up in your home instead, where they shoot your dog, point a gun in your wife's face, and mock you because you defecated in your pants. And while you smell the stink of your fear and your shame, tears streaming down your face, I want you to remember this conversation.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 10:42 AM on April 28, 2006


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