A Piedmont, Oklahoma, police officer gave Ashley Warden a $2,500 ticket for public urination after he spotted her 3-year-old son start to urinate in the family’s front yard. Police Chief Alex Oblein says the officer should have handled the incident differently, but he adds he’ll wait for prosecutors to decide whether to drop the charge.
The most telling part of my trial yesterday, besides the continuous lies under oath by Miami-Dade Police Major Nancy Perez, was when a frattish looking prosecutor fresh out of law school named Ari Pregen tried to explain to jurors how a “real journalist”was supposed to act.
A real journalist, he explained, was supposed to follow police orders without a second thought. A real journalist would never back talk to police. A real journalist would never question a direct police order as to why he was not allowed to stand on a public sidewalk.
Source: Photography Is Not a Crime. Read full article. (link)
A Fayette County man is alleging he was brutalized by police following a traffic stop in Roane County late last year.
The West Virginia State Police and the Roane County Commission are named as co-defendants in lawsuit filed by Edward A. Fields in Kanawha Circuit Court. In his complaint filed Oct. 29, Fields, 32, of Smithers, alleges at least one trooper and two deputy sheriffs without provocation twice beat him into unconsciousness in December after stopping him,\ and a friend while traveling to Jackson County.
Source: West Virginia Record. Read full article. (link)
Four police officers and a police dispatcher were arrested by Texas Rangers and state troopers Tuesday evening when they raided the Socorro Police Department’s substation, officials said Wednesday.
They were identified as Lt. Jose Alvarez, Sgt. Refugio Orta, dispatcher Raul Huerta, Detective Javier Varela and officer Israel Delgado.
Alvarez, Orta, Varela and Delgado are accused of official oppression, but no further details were released. In addition, Varela and Delgado face charges of aggravated perjury and tampering with governmental records.
Source: El Paso Times. Read full article. (link)
Authorities say they’ve arrested the owner of the home where a 35-year-old Lakewood police officer was mistakenly shot by a fellow officer.
The homeowner, Joe Anthony Ruiz, is accused of firing gun shots that led to Friday’s deadly police response.
Source: 850KOA. Read full article. (link)
A Platte City, Neb., woman said police inappropriately aimed a surveillance camera at her back yard and bedroom window.
Stephanie Santos, who lives in an apartment with her two children, said her father, who lives in an adjacent apartment, noticed the camera Friday, camouflaged in a nearby tree. A policewoman acknowledged the camera was installed by police to monitor activity in nearby woods and was mounted on city property, but Santos said the land is privately owned.
Source: UPI. Read full article. (link)
One morning last year in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, Dilnoza awoke to find her brand-new Toyota Corolla missing. She knew immediately whom to call, and it wasn’t her local police precinct.
Dilnoza sought the help of a private security agency. And after six days of searching, the firm’s operatives finally tracked down and recovered Dilnoza’s car, which was found in a village outside the Kyrgyz capital, Bishkek. Asked why she didn’t go to the police, she provided a practical answer.
“I paid the company, so they had an incentive to find it. The police did not,” Dilnoza, 33, explained.
Over the past eight years, Kyrgyzstan has seen two presidents chased from office amid violent street protests and widespread looting. As a result, and thanks to widespread corruption, public trust in the police has plummeted. It’s not surprising, then, that a rising number of individuals and businesses are placing their faith in private security agencies to protect property and investigate crimes.
According to figures confirmed by an Interior Ministry official, there are now over 400 private agencies licensed to carry weapons and provide security services in Kyrgyzstan; roughly 30 are operational year-round. Many, including the firm hired by Dilnoza, who describes herself as “economically comfortable,” refuse to discuss their activities. At the agency’s insistence Dilnoza declined to give her surname.
Of the active Bishkek-based companies, 13 are members of the Union of Security Agencies, a forum that meets regularly with police officials to discuss security-related issues. But while officers from the Interior Ministry attend meetings, says Vladimir Bessarabov, the CEO of Barracuda, a private security and detective agency, cooperation among private and public security structures is rare. “Police see us as their competition,” Bessarabov says.
This is logical, adds Bessarabov, whose firm has grown from 30 employees when it was founded in 2004 to one with 200 staff today, catering both to private individuals and corporate concerns, including the local Coca-Cola bottler. The police also provide guard-for-hire services in exchange for cash, he says. But the private forces are better-paid and more professional.
Union of Security Agencies members send employees to a course — run by Dordoi Securities, one of the largest private firms with about 800 employees — where employees undergo psychological testing and training in first aid and weapons handling. Kyrgyzstan’s police academy, on the other hand, has a reputation for being a den of graft. A reported brawl at the academy’s graduation party last summer also dented its reputation for professionalism.
“We try not to hire from the ranks of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, because police here are full of bad habits,” Bessarabov continued. “The force is corrupt, and their definition of service doesn’t correspond to the level of work I demand from my guys.”
Many Bishkek residents simply feel that police officers are more interested in using their positions for their personal benefit, rather than promoting public safety.
A New Mexico policeman Tasered a 10-year-old child on a playground because the boy refused to clean his patrol car, the boy claims in court.
Guardian ad litem Rachel Higgins sued the New Mexico Department of Public Safety and Motor Transportation Police Officer Chris Webb on behalf of the child, in Santa Fe County Court.
Higgins claims Webb used his Taser on the boy, R.D., during a May 4 “career day” visit to Tularosa New Mexico Intermediate School.
“Defendant Webb asked the boy, R.D., in a group of boys, who would like to clean his patrol unit,” the complaint states. “A number of boys said that they would. R.D., joking, said that he did not want to clean the patrol unit.
“Defendant Webb responded by pointing his Taser at R.D. and saying, ‘Let me show you what happens to people who do not listen to the police.’”
Webb then shot “two barbs into R.D.’s chest,” the complaint states.
“Both barbs penetrated the boy’s shirt, causing the device to deliver 50,000 volts into the boy’s body.
“Defendant Webb pulled the barbs out [of] the boy’s chest, causing scarring where the barbs had entered the boy’s skin that look like cigarette burns on the boy’s chest.
“The boy, who weighed less than 100 lbs., blacked out.
“Instead of calling emergency medical personnel, Officer Webb pulled out the barbs and took the boy to the school principal’s office,” the complaint states.
Higgins says the Tasing gave the boy post-traumatic stress syndrome, and that “The boy, R.D., has woken up in the middle of the night holding his chest, afraid he is never going to wake up again.”
She adds: “No reasonable officer confronting a situation where the need for force is at its lowest, on a playground with elementary age children, would have deployed the Taser in so reckless a manner as to cause physical and psychological injury.”
She seeks punitive damages for the boy for battery, failure to render emergency medical care, excessive force, unreasonable seizure, and negligent hiring, training, supervision and retention.
Higgins and R.D. are represented by the Kennedy Law Firm, of Albuquerque.
What is going on when a dog alerts and no drugs are found? Police and prosecutors want us to believe these are not really false alerts at all: Either the drugs were so cleverly hidden that the cops could not find them, or the dog detected otherwise imperceptible traces left by drugs that were recently in the vehicle or by contact with drug users’ hands (which is what the prosecution claimed in Harris). But these explanations are completely unfalsifiable and amount to nothing but self-serving speculation. Furthermore, the “residual odor” excuse weakens rather than strengthens the case for probable cause, since the traces could have been left by someone other than the driver: a passenger, a previous owner, even (as the defendant’s lawyers inHarris suggest) a cash-strapped addict who tried to open the vehicle’s door while looking for stuff to steal. In addition to residual odors, dogs can be confused by the smells of food, other dogs, and legal chemicals they have been trained to associate with drugs. But perhaps the biggest source of error is the cues that dogs pick up from their handlers, whose expectations can influence the animals’ behavior.
A 2011 study led by University of California at Davis neurologist Lisa Lit shows how powerful this effect can be. Lit and her colleagues had 18 handlers walk their police dogs through four rooms where they were told drug or explosive scents might be hidden but where in fact there were no target substances to be found. Each team went through each room twice, for a total of 144 sweeps, and generated 225 false alerts. The alerts were especially likely near markers that the handlers were told indicated the presence of scents—even more likely than at unmarked locations where the researchers had hidden Slim Jims and new tennis balls. “Human more than dog influences affected alert locations,” Lit et al. concluded. “This confirms that handler beliefs affect outcomes of scent detection dog deployments.”
In a new Huffington Post column, Radley Balko describes a couple of incidents that further illustrate this point:
A couple months ago, a U.S. Customs dog trained in drug detection somehow managed to find a package containing counterfeit passports. While dogs can be trained to detect drugs or explosives, they can’t tell a fake passport from the real thing—no dog is that good. Rather, what likely happened is that her handler noticed something suspicious about the package. The dog picked up on her handler’s body language, then alerted to please her handler.
Earlier this year, a HuffPost review of a police dog team with the Illinois state police found an instance in which the dog alerted to a trunk full of illegal (untaxed) cigarettes. Even the smartest of police dogs can’t determine with a sniff whether a trunk-load of Marlboros was purchased in or out of state. (Not to mention that the dog wasn’t trained to detect tobacco.) The dog likely was merely reflecting whatever suspicions its handler had about the driver.
Reason rightly concludes:
A dog’s sensitivity to its handler’s cues (whether conscious or subconscious) means that a suspicious cop who wants to search a vehicle (as in Harris) or a home (as in Florida v. Jardines, the other canine case the Supreme Courtheard on Wednesday) can essentially get permission from a dog, regardless of what it actually smells. As Balko observes, “drug dogs have become little more than a way of converting…hunches into probable cause.” In the case of a home search, the cop will have to take the additional step of obtaining a warrant, but if courts are to treat an alert by a supposedly well-trained dog as the equivalent of probable cause, that is a mere formality. The upshot is that a police officer armed with an obedient dog can search wherever he wants.
So dogs have become a tool in police tyranny.
A pastor in Texas is awaiting his day in court following his arrest this month while preaching at a homosexual pride event.
Pastor Joey Faust says that he and other members of his church, Kingdom Baptist Church in Venus, Texas, were physically blocked by police while attempting to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with attendees of the Fort Worth “Ride the Rainbow” pride parade.
In 2011, Mayor Betsy Price served as co-grand marshal in the parade. Following complaints from homosexuals about the preaching and witnessing of Christians adjacent to a picnic that was a part of the festivities, according to reports, the Fort Worth Police Department resolved to step up its presence at the event.
This year, a homosexual female sergeant from the Fort Worth Police Department served as one of the marshals. It is believed that the sergeant was responsible for coordinating police efforts at the parade.
Faust states that as he and others from his church were preaching and distributing tracts to those in the parade, suddenly, the police formed a human blockade across the public walkway.
“The police lined up [across the street] and said, ‘You can go no further,” he told Christian News Network. “We were forbidden to cross the street and they wouldn’t tell us if we were being detained.”
Faust said that as he stood for some time watching others being allowed to pass by the human blockade, except for anyone that was present to witness to attendees, it became obvious that the police had an agenda.
“Christians who were in support of homosexuals were allowed to cross the street,” he stated. “A Christian walked by me right in front of the officers, and said, ‘I’m here with my family and some of them are homosexuals.’”
Faust then asked police why they were specifically restricting those that oppose homosexuality.
“I asked, ‘Why are they allowed to pass?’” he said. “They were just quiet.”
“At that point, I took a step and attempted to cross,” Faust outlined. “Once I stepped into the street, [the officer] put my hands behind my back.”
Faust and a second church member were then charged with “interfering with public duties,” a class B misdemeanor. He was jailed for 20 hours and held on $1,500 bail. Faust said that the conditions while incarcerated were deplorable.
“They did everything they could to make it as miserable and as difficult as possible,” he remarked. “Everyone was getting [released] far earlier than we were.”
Faust is now required to report to a bail bondsman each week up until his trial, for which he does not yet have a date. He explained that in Fort Worth, the process generally takes 7 to 9 months, and that being held by a bondsman includes abiding by specific terms.
“I can’t leave town,” Faust outlined. “I have to report every Wednesday with a phone call and let them know that I’m here and I didn’t run away.”
If convicted, Faust faces up to 6 months in prison and a $2,000 fine.
May God lay His curse upon the police who take sides and enforce anti-Christian laws and/or interpret laws in anti-Christian manners.
A San Diego police sergeant is being investigated following a violent confrontation with a woman whose house was on fire.
The incident was caught on camera. The distraught woman, Torazzi Hayslett, was reluctantly being pulled away from the fire by her husband.
The video shot Friday by the editor of the Imperial Beach Patch appeared to show Hayslett, a second grade teacher, swinging her open hand at Sgt. Daniel McLaughlin after he grabbed her arm. The sergeant is then seen trying to drag her to the ground by her hair.
Source: KABC. Read full article. (link)
Where do they get these people? Oh, that’s right; police colleges…
An evangelist from Oregon is scheduled to plead not guilty today in a case involving his arrest last month for asserting his right to preach on the public sidewalk to attendees of a rural harvest festival.
He stated that Officer Aaron Gilbert of the Myrtle Point Police Department, and minutes later, a sergeant in plain clothes, approached him and claimed that the city-wide event was a private festival and that he could not engage in evangelistic activity. Schmelzer had been standing on a public street corner in an area that had been blocked off to vehicular traffic.
“They said that there were people that were upset with the message, and that I could have possibly started fights,” he explained.
The promoter of the harvest festival also began to talk to Schmelzer and likewise stated that he had to leave.
“He said that he had leased the area and had a permit, so he could state what can and can’t go on,” Schmelzer said.
“You can’t tell me what I can’t talk about,” he recalled replying.
Schmelzer said that he was advised that the matter would be resolved “as long as you put this stuff away and stop.”
He then began to explain his constitutional rights to the police as laid out by the 9th Circuit, which included the right to engage in free speech on public property that has been reserved for an event under a permit.
“I wasn’t going to argue with the guy, but I was like, ‘Hey, this is what the laws on the books state,” Schmelzer said. “That’s when the officer told me to shut up about that, and that he wasn’t going to talk about it anymore.”
Minutes later, when he continued to engage in private discussion with the promoter about his rights under the law, he was placed under arrest.
“That’s when the police said, ‘That’s it. You’ve been warned,’” Schmelzer outlined. “Just because they heard me talking about it.”
He states that he was then transported to the local police station, where officers took his mugshot and fingerprints, and advised that they “did not want to see him again” that weekend. Schmelzer was charged with disorderly conduct, but his citation did not list a specific reason for the charge.
“They just knew that they wanted to appease their buddies and their groups,” he said. “I obviously struck a nerve [by explaining my rights].”
The inspiration for this legislation and its similarly named cousins across the country is the Police Officers’ Bill of Rights, introduced in 1971 by New York Rep. Mario Biaggi (D), at the behest of the Police Benevolent Association. Having once been the most decorated police officer in the country, Biaggi didn’t need much convincing to put forward the union-friendly bill.
Biaggi pushed for the POBOR until March 1987, when he received two indictments back-to-back. The first was for accepting a paid vacation from Brooklyn Democratic Leader Meade H. Esposito in exchange for using federal funds to bail out a company in Esposito’s neighborhood. A second indictment handed down three months later charged Biaggi with extorting $3.6 million in cash and stock options from a small Bronx machine shop called Wedtech. Both charges resulted in convictions and Biaggi’s resignation from Congress.
While Biaggi’s bill never made it through Congress, police unions didn’t wait for city managers or police department higher-ups to write their own. Benevolent associations in Maryland successfully pushed for the passage of a police bill of rights in 1972; Florida, Rhode Island, Virginia, New Mexico, and California followed suit before the 70s were over. The 1980s, 90s, and 2000s saw still more states adopt police bill of rights at the behest of police unions.
The rights created by these bills differ from state to state, but here’s how a typical police misconduct investigation works in states that have a law enforcement bill of rights in place:
A complaint is filed against an officer by a member of the public or a fellow officer. Police department leadership reviews the complaint and decides whether to investigate. If the department decides to pursue the complaint, it must inform the officer and his union. That’s where the special treatment begins, but it doesn’t end there.
Unlike a member of the public, the officer gets a “cooling off” period before he has to respond to any questions. Unlike a member of the public, the officer under investigation is privy to the names of his complainants and their testimony against him before he is ever interrogated. Unlike a member of the public, the officer under investigation is to be interrogated “at a reasonable hour,” with a union member present. Unlike a member of the public, the officer can only be questioned by one person during his interrogation. Unlike a member of the public, the officer can be interrogated only “for reasonable periods,” which “shall be timed to allow for such personal necessities and rest periods as are reasonably necessary.” Unlike a member of the public, the officer under investigation cannot be “threatened with disciplinary action” at any point during his interrogation. If he is threatened with punishment, whatever he says following the threat cannot be used against him.
What happens after the interrogation again varies from state to state. But under nearly every law enforcement bill of rights, the following additional privileges are granted to officers: Their departments cannot publicly acknowledge that the officer is under investigation; if the officer is cleared of wrongdoing or the charges are dropped, the department may not publicly acknowledge that the investigation ever took place, or reveal the nature of the complaint. The officer cannot be questioned or investigated by “non-government agents,” which means no civilian review boards. If the officer is suspended as a result of the investigation, he must continue to receive full pay and benefits until his case is resolved. In most states, the charging department must subsidize the accused officer’s legal defense.
A violation of any of the above rights can result in dismissal—not of the officer, but of the charges against him.
Because of these special due process privileges, there’s little incentive for police departments to discipline officers. In most cases, it’s more financially prudent to let a District Attorney or outside law enforcement agency do the heavy lifting, and then fire the officer if he’s convicted. This is the only “easy” way, under police bills of rights, for departments to get rid of bad cops–which essentially means the only way to get rid of bad cops is if some other law enforcement agency can make a felony charge stick. This is the biggest problem with law enforcement bills of rights–they encourage police departments to let external forces determine what behavior is unacceptable.
Last week, responding to an anonymous tip about a homeless man sleeping at a Jewish learning center in Brooklyn, police beat Ehud Halevy because he refused to leave, saying he had permission to be there. That turned out to be true. In any case, it is clear from the security camera footage, which was posted byCrown Heights Info on Sunday, that the police were the aggressors. The Raw Story‘s Stephen Webster describesthe one-sided fight this way:
When the officers attempted to force his exit from the building, ignoring his claims that he was allowed to be there, Halevy resisted. That’s when one of the officers flew into a rage, putting his fists up like a boxer and launching a flurry of punches.
As the video rolled, Halevy sustained repeated blows from the male officer while a female officer stood by hitting him with a club, then pepper-spraying him. Finally, an upwards of 10 officers ran into the building to ensure the man could not resist any further, and he was taken away.
At a press conference on Monday, Rabbi Moshe Feigli, director of the Alternative Learning Institute for Young Adults (ALIYA), where Halevy had been sleeping on a couch for a month, said:
This person had permission to be there. Regardless, the behavior of the police department—of two individuals —is beyond comprehension. A very sad moment for me personally. I’m a great supporter of the New York City Police Department, and I continue to be a great supporter, but this behavior is unconscionable, and if not for the video camera to record what happened, we might actually believe that Ehud attacked the police officers, and he never did. He’s charged with felonies, he’s charged with all kinds of crimes, and now I wonder how many other times New Yorkers are charged with serious crimes and there’s no video camera to tell the story.
Crown Heights Info reports that Halevy was charged with assaulting a police officer, a felony that carries a penalty of up to five years in prison, plus trespassing, resisting arrest, and harassment. Watch the video and judge for yourself who is harassing and assaulting whom. Feigli, Webster reports, “demanded that the New York Police Department identify the offending officers and fire them immediately.”
Former Lakewood, Washington, police officer Skeeter Manos has been sentenced to 33 months in prison for stealing money donated to the families of colleagues who were killed in the line of duty. Manos was found guilty of stealing $112,000 in donations. He also confessed to embezzling $47,000 from a police union.
How do they find such prize officers? I guess through police colleges…