A police sergeant in Joliet, Illinois, has been stripped of his badge and placed on administrative leave after he whistleblew the cover-up of the murder of a man who was tortured to death by his colleagues.
Sgt. Javier “Butch” Esqueda, was emotional when revealing the horrific death of Eric Lurry, a Black man from Joliet, who was choked to death in the back of a squad car in shocking footage captured on video.
“Seeing that video was so disturbing, I cried,” Sgt. Esqueda said. “Every day, having to live with that was a hard thing.”
On Tuesday, protesters marched around the Joliet Police Department shouting for justice for Lurry while praising Sgt. Esqueda, a 27-year police veteran who was fired for breaking the code of silence within law enforcement, reports CBS2 Chicago.
Cop who blew whistle on death of #EricLurry is stripped of his badge. “That’s what you get,” says one source for going against the “blue wall of silence” Lurry had nose pinched shut for 98 seconds in cuffs. Police Sgt Javier Esqueda, a 27 year vet fighting for job. @cbschicago pic.twitter.com/E61I1pGqcQ
— Dave Savini CBS (@davesavinicbs2) July 7, 2020
Following the outrage, Joliet City Manager Steve Jones resigned after a City Council meeting where the brutal details surrounding Lurry’s death were discussed. During the meeting, Joliet Mayor Bob O’Dekirk commented that he had “grave concerns” over the dashboard video filmed inside the police cruiser and subsequent cover-up by Joliet PD that ensued after Lurry’s death.
Eric Lurry Jr., a 37-year-old man was arrested in an undercover sting operation after he was allegedly found to be hiding drugs in his mouth. Police claimed that he had experienced a medical emergency while he was in custody which lead to his death at Joseph’s Hospital. However, the facts that emerged following his death from video recorded inside a police cruiser show a much different horrifying story.
In the video, Joliet Police Sgt. Doug May and another officer can be seen violently shaking Lurry while the man is in handcuffs then beating him while holding his nose shut in an attempt to force the drugs out of his mouth. Lurry was motionless as the officers held him down. Beyond that what happens next is bone-chilling an officer at some point in the video places his baton in Lurry’s mouth before officers shined a flashlight in his mouth and Lurry just slumps over motionless.
Esqueda believes that Lurry suffocated to death in this situation and that anyone in the same position would have faced a similar fate.
“He was suffocating,” Esqueda said. “In my opinion, anybody would suffocate in that situation.”
For five months, the video was hidden while the officers who killed Lurry were cleared of any wrongdoing getting away with murder backed by the police Dept according to Esqueda. That was until the hero cop acted gaining unauthorized access to the video from the Will-Grundy Major Crimes Task Force releasing it to CBS2.
However, Esqueada noticed something odd with the tape it was edited and the sound was missing.
“It was almost like the supervisor looks off and says something to somebody, and then you hear the sound cut out,” Esqueda added. “That’s what alerted me that possibly, they were trying to get rid of evidence.”
“There had to be” a deliberate attempt to remove the audio, he added. “There’s no way that can happen.”
Esqueda knew that he faced retaliation from his superiors but he did it because he knew that the family would never get justice if he didn’t, adding that he didn’t want to be apart of the problem. Esqueda also spoke about the George Floyd police murder stating he was appalled by it and cried.
“There’s some fear [of retaliation],” Esqueda said. “[But] when you see stuff like this, you have to come forward. You can’t sit there and be quiet, because then, we’re just part of the problem.”
“In light of everything that’s’ been happening – you know George Floyd really had a lot of us police officers [upset],” Esqueda said. “When we saw that video, a lot of us cried. People don’t believe that.”
“But the thing is, there are a lot of good officers out of 750,000,” he added. “Not everybody is a bad cop. Most cops that I know were upset by George Floyd.”
On Monday, Esqueda was placed on administrative duty in the Joliet PD records section as the department launched a criminal probe and internal investigation into his actions.
“The video that was accessed was shared outside the police department, violating chain of custody and potentially evidence in the criminal matter,” JPD Chief Al Roechner told the Joliet Herald-News. “When this was found out on June 18 of 2020, I immediately opened a criminal investigation.”
Despite being placed on administrative leave, the local community and even the Black Police Officers Association is backing Esqueda.
“He’s a member, and we’re going to back him,” Dave Jackson, president of the Joliet BPOA chapter, told Joliet Patch.
“If someone’s doing the right thing, we’re going to stand right there with them,” he added. “Sergeant Esqueda has been held as a well-respected supervisor and United States Marine and has served his country and his community proudly.”
“Without Sgt. Esqueda drawing attention to this death to city officials, this in-custody death may still be pending,” Jackson said.
Community members are now petitioning for Esqueda to be reinstated on Change.org titled “Immediate and Full Reinstatement of Police Sergeant Javier Esqueda.”
Nancy Pelosi Reelected As House Speaker In Narrow Vote
Nancy Pelosi won another term as Speaker of the House of Representatives on Sunday, after a narrow vote.
80-year-old Pelosi will hold the position for a second consecutive two-year term and fourth overall, having previously been elected in 2007, 2009 and 2019.
Pelosi has served as a US representative from California since 1987. A member of the Democratic Party, she is the only woman in U.S. history to serve as Speaker and, until the inauguration of Kamala Harris as Vice President, is the highest-ranking female elected official in United States history.
— Kaivan Shroff (@KaivanShroff) January 3, 2021
As House speaker, Pelosi is second in the presidential line of succession, after the vice president.
During her first speakership, she was instrumental in the passage of many of the Obama administration’s landmark bills, including the Affordable Care Act, the Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Repeal Act, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, and the 2010 Tax Relief Act.
BREAKING: The floor of the House of Representatives erupts in applause as Rep. Nancy Pelosi is reelected as speaker of the House for the 117th congress, with 216 votes. https://t.co/z1mlyK1BJN pic.twitter.com/6Wdt3N9ulD
— World News Tonight (@ABCWorldNews) January 3, 2021
Pelosi lost the speakership in 2011 after the Republican Party won a majority in the House of Representatives in the 2010 elections.
She retained her role as leader of the House Democratic Caucus and returned to the role of House minority leader. In the 2018 midterm elections, the Democrats regained control of the House.
When the 116th Congress convened on January 3, 2019, Pelosi was again elected speaker, becoming the first former speaker to return to the post since Sam Rayburn in 1955.
Under Pelosi’s leadership, the House of Representatives impeached President Donald Trump on December 18, 2019.
Despite supporting the $2000 checks for struggling Americans, Pelosi, along with everyone in congress have provoked anger from citizens who see them as being out of touch with the average people.
The nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics (CRP) estimated in 2009 that Pelosi’s average net worth was $58 million which ranks her 13th among 25 wealthiest members of Congress.
Roll Call said Pelosi’s earnings are connected to her husband’s heavy investments in stocks that include Apple, Disney, Comcast, and Facebook. Roll Call reported that the Pelosis have $13.46 million in liabilities including mortgages on seven properties.
According to Roll Call, Pelosi and her husband hold properties “worth at least $14.65 million, including a St. Helena vineyard in Napa Valley worth at least $5 million, and commercial real estate in San Francisco”.
FAA Responds To Numerous Reports Of A UFO Over Hawaii
The FAA was notified after multiple people reported seeing an Unidentified Flying Object (UFO) in the sky over Leeward Oahu on Tuesday evening. Witnesses all over the region called into 911 at around 8:30 p.m.
Officials with the Federal Aviation Administration said that there were no aircraft incidents or accidents in this area at the time of the reports, but multiple witnesses reported seeing a large blue object fall out of the sky and into the ocean.
Some of the witnesses managed to get video or photos of the incident.
Witness Misitina Sape told Hawaii News Now she captured a photo of the object at 8:26 p.m. near Haleakala Avenue in Nanakuli.
Another witness named Moriah said she had never been a believer in UFOs until she saw the object fall from the sky.
“I started calling my husband and them because they were all in the garage. I was like hey. Come look up there. See if you see what I see. They all said yea!” Moriah said.
They jumped in the car to follow the object and see what it was.
“I don’t know what it was,” she said. “This one was going so fast.”
About three miles down the road, they saw the object fall into the water.
She said that it was larger than a telephone pole but didn’t make any sound when it hit the ground.
“We called 911,” Moriah said, “For have like one cop or somebody for come out and come check em out.”
She also says that they saw another light in the sky after the blue object fell into the water. She says that police saw the second light as well.
“My husband went look up and he seen the white one coming,” she said. “The white one was smaller. Was coming in the same direction as the blue one.”
FAA spokesperson Ian Gregor said the agency received a report from police Tuesday night about a possible plane down in the area “but had no aircraft disappear off radars. And no reports of overdue or missing aircraft.”
Earlier this year, the Pentagon announced the formation of a new task force that will be studying UFOs or “Unidentified Flying Objects.”
The formation of this new task force was revealed last year when the Pentagon acknowledged that military pilots were encountering aircraft that might not have been made by humans.
The new task force was officially revealed to the public after the Pentagon released declassified videos that appeared to show government aircraft interacting with UFOs in the sky.
One of the videos, taken from US Navy aircraft, seems to show the pilots chasing a UFO off the east coast of the United States.
Navy pilots reported spotting the objects flying around 30,000 feet in the air at hypersonic speeds and showing no visible engines or exhaust plumes typical of any known aircraft currently on Earth.
The new agency has been called, The Unidentified Aerial Phenomena Task Force (UAPTF).
Mitch McConnell’s House Vandalized Over $2,000 Checks
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell had his home vandalized this week, after blocking the vote to increase stimulus payments to $2,000.
Messages like ‘WERES MY MONEY’ and ‘MITCH K1LLS THE POOR.’ were spray-painted on the building.
Police said that they don’t have any suspects.
On Saturday, McConnell released a statement to the Louisville Courier Journal which read: “Vandalism and the politics of fear have no place in our society. My wife and I have never been intimidated by this toxic playbook. We just hope our neighbors in Louisville aren’t too inconvenienced by this radical tantrum.”
In 2015, Time listed McConnell as one of the 100 most influential people in the world. McConnell is the longest-serving U.S. senator for Kentucky in history, and the longest-serving leader of U.S. Senate Republicans in history.
During the Trump administration, Senate Republicans, under McConnell’s leadership, broke records on the number of judicial nominees confirmed. Among those nominees were Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh who were recently confirmed to the Supreme Court.
McConnell’s critics have called him by a variety of different nicknames, including “Moscow Mitch”, “Cocaine Mitch”, the “Grim Reaper”, “Darth Vader”, “Rich Mitch”, “Nuclear Mitch”, and “Midnight Mitch.” On some occasions, he has even embraced these nicknames, although he was apparently unhappy with the more recent “Moscow Mitch.”
McConnell has a net worth of $35 million dollars, and many Americans feel that he is out of touch. He isn’t the only US politician that was a target for vandalism this week.
According to a report from TMZ this week, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi had her house vandalized with a pig’s head and fake blood.
Spray painted in black on the white garage door were the messages “$2K,” an apparent reference to the $2,000 COVID stimulus checks that have been held up in the U.S. Senate, as well as “CANCEL RENT!” and “WE WANT EVERYTHING!”
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