I began this blog in May 2009 following the death of Marcia Powell at Perryville State Prison in Goodyear, Arizona. It is not intended to prescribe the path that leads to freedom from the prison industrial complex.

Rather, these are just my observations in arguably the most racist, fascist, militaristic state in the nation at a critical time in history for a number of intersecting liberation movements. From Indigenous resistance to genocidal practices, to the fight over laws like SB1070 and the ban on Ethnic Studies, Arizona is at the center of many battles for human rights, and thus the struggle for prison abolition as well - for none are free until all are. I retired the blog in APRIL 2013.

Visit me now at Arizona Prison Watch or Survivors of Prison Violence-AZ

Friday, February 24, 2012

Prosecuting Innocence: The Scottsdale Police shooting of David Hulstedt

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Another victim of Scottsdale police violence has come to my attention this weekend, thanks to one of the local activists hot on the Scottsdale Police Department's tail, who posted the link to this guy's family's website to Facebook.

David has a psychiatric disability, according to court records, and was having a crisis at the time this all happened - they'll try to make that work against him, so don't let that keep you from supporting him. In fact, it makes it all the more imperative that the community embrace him and his family right now to assure that he's not further brutalized by the criminal justice system - at least, not without a world of witnesses. 

Let the following be a lesson to all who own a video camera - keep it out and use it whenever you see the police stop someone. You never know whose life you may save. If we're truly dedicated to fighting police brutality, the place to start would be to see him through the effort to criminally prosecute him after he filed suit against the bastards. 
If David or his family are out there and want some support from other folks who are fighting police and prison violence, let me know. My name is Peggy, my number is 480-580-6807

------this occurred in 2008. David's prosecution is on-going------ 

This is the story of David Hulstedt, the young man shot in the back as he walked away from officers Scottsdale, Arizona police officers on November 7, 2008. David, who was unarmed, and carrying his toddler, is now paralyzed. David's little daughter suffered a fractured skull when she fell to the ground. As widely reported in the media, Mr. Hulstedt was undergoing treatment for a mental health condition when he called 911 asking for help from the Arizona Governor. Instead of responding with calm and caring, a Scottsdale police dispatcher broadcast that there was a "crisis" at the residence, and that a little girl was crying in the background, and that his parents were trying to get the little girl away from David who was refusing to give back the baby.

That little girl was just David's daughter who was crying because she needed a new diaper.

The Inappropriate Police Response.

Within minutes, Scottsdale officers ordered David's parents out of the home. David repeatedly called his father, pleading for him to return to the house. His father asked to go back to the house but police would not let him. David also repeatedly called his brother, Eric. In the video to right, Eric explains that he asked police to let him go to his brother. Police refused. David’s father called his lawyer who tried to speak with David, until Police intervened and ordered him to stop.

As you'll hear and see through the video clips to the right, David's family urged the police to let them help David, but police refused. David said he would give his daughter to his brother. Time after time, the family made progress. But the police did everything the could to stop that progress, and even confiscated the cell phones being used by the family.  Police intentionally isolated David from the very support group that he needed. David was never armed. David never threatened police. David never threatened his family. Minutes after police took away David’s lifeline to his family, lawyer and minister, David in desperation allegedly told police: “If you don’t let my brother come inside, I’ll pile drive my daughter into the ground.” But David would not and did not do that. Over the next 20 minutes police negotiators told David that they were there to help him. They were not going to hurt him. They proclaimed themselves “professionals.” They guaranteed David that they would not hurt him. All he had to do was come out with his daughter.

He did.

The Shooting.

David walked outside the house and asked officers to back up. He wanted to go to his Dad. He wanted to go to the street to see his family, not knowing the family had been held in seclusion by Scottsdale Police. Four officers, staged immediately outside the front door, took a couple of steps back to give David some space.

Arizona police officers are trained to safely resolve problems with people in mental crisis by assigning one person to  calmly speak with the patient. Instead of following training, police yelled at David. He was given opposing commands to put up his hands, put down the baby. He was not told he was under arrest. Confused by the contradictory orders, David raised his daughter up over his head and began to walk to the street. He wanted to be with his family. David and the police negotiators wanted a peaceful resolution. As he walked to the street an officer armed with a military assault rifle yelled at him. From across the street another officer armed with an assault rifle joined in the chorus of shouts. David turned to go back to the safety of the home.

The two officers fired their military assault rifles striking David down after he took 3 to 4 steps back towards the home. He was immediately paralyzed and fell forward. David lost his grip on his daughter and she flew down hitting her head on the concrete front walkway. Police, unbelievably, then DRAGGED David's paralyzed body hundreds of yards over rocks and gravel, ripping through his skin, exposing bone.
Police Claims.

Police  claimed that the baby was bleeding from her ear when David first walked out of the house. Police claimed they saw blood on the front of David’s shirt. Police claimed that the left side of David’s daughter’s face was deformed and there was blood mixed with mucous coming from her nose. Police claimed that the little girl slid down the front of David and fell from his knee. She fell, police claimed, on the gravel of the front yard. Police told the news media that blood was found inside of the house. Police told medical staff attending to both David and his daughter that David held the girl upside down and threatened to pile drive her into the ground causing police to shoot him. Police dragged David, paralyzed, more than 100 yards over rocks and rough terrain, ripping through his skin and exposing his kneecaps.

Police said David would be arrested when he recovered.  They asked the county prosecutor to charge David with kidnapping and child abuse.

Caught On Tape.

Police were unaware for almost two hours after the shooting that the family’s neighbor had videotaped the entire event, including David's attempt at surrender, and the shooting. There was no blood inside the house. There was no blood on the front of David’s shirt. His daughter was not bleeding from either of her ears. But because police told the hospital and Child Protective Services that the little girl was bleeding before David was shot, the little girl was subjected to full body scanning. That proved police fabricated their story. There was no evidence of abuse. 
David is a Victim.

Police have asked that David be criminally charged with aggravated assault, kidnapping and child abuse.  Scottsdale police department's claim that David injured his daughter inside the home was without a basis.  The former Maricopa County Medical Examiner commented that the daughter’s injury was consistent with being caused by falling to the concrete walkway.  The truth that she fell after her father was shot made its way into medical records, despite the false statements made by police officers.  And, the photographic evidence proves how she was injured.

David himself asked  the prosecutor’s office to tell a grand jury the facts, and asked that the two officers who shot him be charged.  Officers who were sworn to protect him, but instead fabricated a crisis situation, then shot him in the back multiple times, ripped skin from his knees -- clear to his bone --  left him paralyzed for life, then created a fictional account for the media about what happened.


  1. Are police trained in dealing with a mental patient when a baby is involved and they are unsure if her safety is at risk? I think that is a very good question to ask yourself before posting something like this.

  2. The fact is that the Scottsdale police, recently as evidenced by the murder of an unarmed man holding his grandchild inside his own house, have extreme latitude in using deadly force. This latitude can theoretically allow a police officer like James Peters to kill anyone, ANYONE, he perceives as a threat in his own mind, whether realistic, rational or not, with the knowledge that consequences are nonexistent. The Fraternal Order of Police, the Police Union, and the Scottsdale Police Department protect themselves and their own to the extent of deceit, lying, and coverup as evidenced in this case by the words and actions of Officer Mark Clark, the SPD PR officer, the officer commanding the scene, et al.

    Police Procedures need to be comprehensively overhauled in favor of the citizenry. Police are sworn to protect every citizen, and that includes those mentally ill, those forced to irrational acts by entrapping them into a fight or flight situation, and those who find themselves in an escalating situation because of aggressive and ham-handed police action.

    A responsible and concerned citizenry vigilant of justice would call for the disgraceful dismissal of Chief Alan Rodbell, Public Information Officer Mark Clark, Officers Deven Fellows and Marcos Garcia et al; fortunately for them, and sadly for us, they have nothing to fear.