Tag Archives: Police Misconduct

Milwaukee Mayor Calls Video of Police Tasing NBA Player “Disturbing”

Milwaukee police and city officials appear to be conducting public relations damage control as police prepare to release body cam video reportedly showing officers tasing NBA player Sterling Brown of the Milwaukee Bucks as he was being ticketed for parking illegally.

“It was a disturbing video when I saw it, and I know that the police chief feels the same way. And I don’t know exactly what actions his department is going to take, but it is disconcerting to see some of the actions in that video,” Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett told the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel on Tuesday.

“I have the same concerns I think that are being raised in the police department. I have the same concerns that I have heard the chief mention about the actions of some of the [officers] involved in that, and I’m gonna let the release of [the body cam video] speak for itself, but yes I definitely have concerns after watching that video,” Barrett added.

Mark Thomsen, Sterling Brown’s attorney, claims that police deployed a taser on the 22-year-old 6-foot-6 pro basketball player without justification. Brown plans to file a civil rights lawsuit in response to the incident.

[Related: Video: Houston Police Officer Shouts “Pretend Like We’re Going to Shoot You” In Traffic Stop]

The incident took place at around 2 a.m. on January 26, when police ticketed Brown for allegedly parking illegally across two handicapped parking spaces at a local Walgreens. Police on the scene described Brown as combative in an incident report and indicated that they had used an “electronic control device” on him. The officers arrested Brown on charges of resisting or obstructing an officer, but the charges were dropped after police officials viewed the body cam video of the incident.

An anonymous source who claims to have seen the video but was not authorized to comment on it reportedly described it in comments to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, saying, “This could be bad. The player doesn’t appear to be provocative at all.”

“There’s going to be a video that is going to come out soon, in the next couple of weeks, involving the department. I’m going to be honest with you. We’re going to need your support during the challenges,” Assistant Police Chief Michael Brunson Sr. said during a Sunday speech at a local church, referencing the Sterling Brown incident, according to Fox 6 Now.

The Milwaukee Police Department has launched an internal affairs investigation into the conduct of the officers and their supervisors. Officials have not yet indicated whether any of the officers or officials will be disciplined for their actions in the incident.

Thomsen says that the police body cam video is expected to be released on Wednesday.

Baltimore Officials: Taxpayers to Pay $6.4m Settlement to Family of Freddie Gray

Officials with the City of Baltimore say that they have negotiated a wrongful death settlement with the family of Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old African American man whose death last April in police custody set off riots across the city.

According to CBS DC, under the agreement, Baltimore taxpayers would pay $6.4 million to Gray’s family. However, the proposed settlement must still seek the approval of the city’s Board of Estimates, which is set to consider the arrangement on Wednesday at 9 a.m.

Six Baltimore police officers are currently facing criminal charges related to Gray’s death, which has been ruled a homicide caused by a high energy neck and spine injury resulting from officers’ failure to follow safety procedures during a rough van ride in which Gray’s hands and feet were bound and in which he was not wearing a safety belt. Truth in Media’s Rachel Blevins noted that “the medical examiner compared Gray’s injury to a person diving headfirst into shallow water.

All six officers have pleaded not guilty to the charges and face a hearing on Thursday at which a judge will choose a venue for the criminal proceedings.

[RELATED: Officer Who Pursued Freddie Gray Has History of Violence, Mental Health Issues]

The proposed settlement agreement going before the Board of Estimates should not be interpreted as a judgment on the guilt or innocence of the officers facing trial,” read a statement by Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake. “This settlement is being proposed solely because it is in the best interest of the city, and avoids costly and protracted litigation that would only make it more difficult for our city to heal and potentially cost taxpayers many millions more in damages.

The Wall Street Journal is reporting that the agreement calls for the $6.4 million settlement to be paid over two years, with $2.8 million set to be issued to Gray’s family in the first year and $3.6 million in the following year.

Baltimore Ex-Cop Tweets Claims of Eye-Witnessed Police Misconduct

On Wednesday, US Marine Corps veteran and former Baltimore police sergeant Michael A. Wood Jr. let loose on his Twitter account, detailing in a series of tweets examples of police corruption that he claims to have witnessed on the job during his 10-plus year career at the embattled Baltimore Police Department. Examples of some of the tweets can be seen below.











According to New York Daily News, a Baltimore Police Department spokesman said that police are investigating Michael A. Wood Jr.’s allegations and background and pointed out the fact that Wood stopped short of providing names and other details outlining which officers participated in the misconduct incidents that he claims to have witnessed.

Wood told New York Daily News, “I have no desire to verify the allegations. If anyone wants to look into them, fine. But I’m not looking for retribution. My purpose is to admit these things and help make policies and training materials to prevent them in the future.” Wood says he plans to continue tweeting around 10 examples of police misconduct per day for the time being and added that it would be difficult for him to provide specific names and dates for all of his allegations due to the fact that the incidents happened on a daily basis.

Wood’s tweets continued on Thursday, and he promised to deliver another round of tweets on Friday aimed at exposing corruption at the command and administrative levels of the Baltimore Police Department.




Wood explained, “It wasn’t until I got out of the police department and saw things from a different perspective and got educated that I realized the things that happened were so wrong.”

New York Daily News notes that former Baltimore police detective Joseph Crystal said, “Sgt Wood was probably one of the most intelligent guys I ever met in the department.” He continued, “I don’t know why he’s coming forward now, but I’m happy if it will bring him peace. I wish everyone spoke up when these things happened. If we speak up when we see abuse, we have a chance to fix it. But I understand why officers are reluctant.

Joseph Crystal, who trained under Wood in 2009, resigned from the Baltimore Police Department in August of 2014 in response to intimidation from co-workers which he reportedly received after he “testified against [fellow officers] Sgt. Marinos Gialamas and Officer Anthony Williams, who have since been convicted for their involvement in beating a drug suspect and covering up the incident,” according to Truth in Media‘s Annabelle Bamforth.

In April of this year, civil unrest engulfed Baltimore after tensions between police and residents hit a boiling point following the officer-involved death of Freddie Gray in police custody.

AUDIO: Recording of Officer After Walter Scott Shooting Doesn’t Sound Remorseful

Update April 13, 8:20 PM: The title of this article has been changed to more accurately reflect the content of the audio recording.

BenSwann.com previously reported on the controversial, caught-on-video shooting of Walter Scott by South Carolina Police Officer Michael Slager. The incident began when Officer Slager pulled over Walter Scott in North Charleston over a broken taillight on Scott’s vehicle. When Scott fled the scene on foot, fearing that he might end up in jail as he had fallen behind on child support payments, Slager unsuccessfully attempted to catch him and then opened fire on Scott from behind with 8 shots, killing him.

Though Officer Slager claimed that Scott had attempted to steal his stun gun during a struggle, causing him to feel threatened, bystander video appeared to contradict the claim that Scott was a threat, and Slager was charged with murder. Meanwhile, The Guardian recently released an audio clip, embedded below and taken from Officer Slager’s dashcam, in which he can be heard laughing about being fired up on adrenaline after killing Walter Scott during a debriefing with a senior officer.

The above-embedded audio begins with Officer Slager asking a senior officer what to expect after shooting Scott. The unidentified officer said, “We’ll get you up to headquarters… Probably once they get you there, we’ll take you home. Take your crap off, take your vest off, kind of relax for two or three. They’re going to want to interview you. Once they get here, it will be real quick. They’re gonna’ tell you you’re gonna’ be out for a couple of days and you’ll come back and they’ll interview you then. They’re not going to ask you any kind of questions right now. They’ll take your weapon, and we’ll go from there. That’s pretty much it… The last one we had, they waited a couple of days to interview officially, like, sit down and tell what happened.”

Then, the senior officer told Slager, “By the time you get home, it would probably be a good idea to kind of jot down your thoughts on what happened, you know, once the adrenaline quits pumping.”

Officer Slager then replied while laughing, “It’s pumping!”

The above-embedded clip came from a longer audio recording that also captured the moment when Officer Slager answered a phone call from his wife and gave his side of the story to her. Said Officer Slager on the call, “Hey. Hey, everything’s OK, OK?… He grabbed my taser, yeah. Yeah, he was running from me.”

Video of CA Cops Beating Suspected Horse Thief Called “Far Worse Than Rodney King”

On Thursday, a suspected horse thief, who had attempted to evade police on horseback in San Bernardino County, CA, was captured after he was thrown from the allegedly stolen horse on which he fled. However, as deputies moved in to make the arrest, they first deployed a Taser, and then, after the suspect appeared to surrender, continued beating him for nearly two more minutes, striking him with punches, kicks, knees, and batons. The incident was caught on video by NBC Los Angelesnews helicopter.

The suspect, 30-year-old Apple Valley man Francis Pusok, lay motionless for around 45 minutes after the assault as deputies stood by without attempting to provide medical attention. Officials with the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department said that Pusok has been hospitalized but is expected to survive. Three deputies suffered injuries during the pursuit, as two became dehydrated and another was kicked by the allegedly stolen horse.

After seeing the video, San Bernardino County Sheriff John McMahon launched an investigation into the deputies’ actions. Said Sheriff McMahon, “I can certainly understand the concerns in the community based on what they saw on the video… I’m disturbed by what I see in the video. But I don’t need to jump to conclusions at this point, until we do a complete and thorough investigation. If our deputy sheriffs did something wrong, they’ll be put off work and they’ll be dealt with appropriately, all in accordance with the law as well as our department policy.”

Deputies on the scene say that the Taser did not work and that a struggle ensued as a result, leading to an escalation of force. In the above video, the suspect appears to collapse helplessly after the Taser is deployed. Sheriff McMahon said, “I’m not sure if there was a struggle with the suspect… It appears there was in the early parts of the video. What happens afterwards, I’m not sure of, but we will investigate it thoroughly.”

Jim Terrell, Pusok’s attorney, told CBS Los Angeles that Pusok is considering filing a civil lawsuit. “What I saw on the television was thugs beating up my client. That’s what I saw… This is far worse than Rodney King,” said Terrell. He says the officers responsible should be fired and arrested. “I want to know what these cops past records are. Did they just start being thugs or have they been thugs for years?… These are bad cops whether it’s Ferguson, Missouri, or right here in Apple Valley. This stuff’s got to stop.”

NBC Los Angeles notes that the incident began with two deputies assaulting the suspect and ended with eleven officers swarming onto the scene. Pusok appeared to sustain at least 17 kicks, 4 baton strikes, and 37 punches.

“How can you be tased and still feel it’s necessary to beat him like that? I don’t understand,” said Jolene Bindner, the suspect’s girlfriend.

The pursuit began when San Bernardino County sheriff’s deputies attempted to serve a search warrant at a residence in Apple Valley as a part of an identity theft investigation. When they arrived, Pusok initially fled in a vehicle before abandoning it and allegedly stealing a horse in an effort to continue his evasion of authorities. Pusak’s prior convictions include attempted robbery, resisting arrest, disturbing the peace, animal cruelty, and driving on a sidewalk at an unsafe speed.

NYPD Strips Badge from Joint Terrorism Task Force Cop Who Bullied Uber Driver

BenSwann.com previously reported on a road rage incident last Monday involving a then-unidentified New York Police Department detective who snapped on an Uber driver who had motioned for the officer, who was attempting to park on the side of the road in an unmarked car without a blinker and appeared to be blocking traffic, to move aside. The officer reacted to the gesture by pulling over the Uber driver, who happens to be a recent immigrant to the US, and unleashing a profanity-filled, xenophobic tirade, which was caught on viral cellphone video by the driver’s passenger, Sanjey Seth. CBS New York notes that Seth, who was offended by the incident, released the video online and testified on Wednesday before NYPD’s Civilian Complaint Review Board, alleging that the officer violated NYPD’s courtesy and offensive language policies.

The New York Post identified the officer as Detective Patrick Cherry of the elite NYPD-FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force, which operates out of controversial fusion centers and is tasked with investigating potential terror threats in New York City. NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton responded swiftly to the controversy and announced at a Wednesday press conference that Cherry’s badge and gun had been stripped, that he had been placed on desk duty, and that he would be transferred out of his position with the department’s anti-terror division. Cherry, who currently faces 12 other similar verbal abuse related complaints, is under investigation by the Civilian Complaint Review Board and the Internal Affairs Bureau and, if found guilty, faces having misconduct charges listed on his permanent employment record.

NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton said at Wednesday’s press conference, “No good cop should watch that video without a wince, because all good cops know that officer just made their jobs a little bit harder… In that kind of encounter, anger like that is unacceptable. In any encounter, discourtesy and obscene language like that is unacceptable… That officer’s behavior reflected poorly on everyone who wears our uniform.” Commissioner Bratton also extended an apology to the passengers who experienced Cherry’s tirade.

CBS New York notes that Detectives’ Endowment Association President Michael Palladino defended Cherry’s actions, saying he was en route to visit a fellow Joint Terrorism Task Force detective in the hospital at the time of the incident and was under stress. “The past five days have been emotionally draining for the members of the JTTF (Joint Terrorism Task Force) dealing with their fellow detective’s health. Despite what some people think, cops have feelings, too,” said Palladino, whose labor union represents Cherry.

Commissioner Bratton said that the NYPD had been engaging in an ongoing retraining effort to bolster its image in the community and that Cherry’s actions violated new policies. Said Bratton, “We are engaging in a major effort to provide additional training to our personnel on tactics in interaction with the public… That officer’s behavior violated every one of the tenets we are attempting to teach at the police academy in that three-day course that we are currently engaged in.”

NYPD Cop Caught on Video Bullying Uber Driver in Swear-Laden Road Rage Incident

On Monday, Uber passenger Sanjay Seth posted a YouTube video, seen above, which appears to show a New York Police Department officer arbitrarily pulling over and berating an Uber driver, who happens to be a recent immigrant to the United States. The officer was reportedly angry at the Uber driver for a hand gesture he made in an effort to get the officer, who seemed to be needlessly blocking traffic while parking on the side of the road without using a blinker, to pull aside and let him pass.

New York Daily News notes that Seth wrote on Facebook, “Our Uber driver, Humayun, was abused by a police officer today in New York… The unending rage, door slamming, throwing items into the car, threatening arrest without cause was bad enough — but the officer’s remarks at the end really took it to another level.”

Near the end of the video, the officer can be heard saying, “I don’t know where you’re coming from, where you think you’re appropriate in doing that; that’s not the way it works. How long have you been in this country?” When Humayun indicated that he had been in the US for two years, the officer continued, “Two years? I got news for you, and use this lesson — remember that in the future. Don’t ever do that again. The only reason you’re not in handcuffs going to jail and getting summonses in the precinct is because I have things to do. That’s the only reason that’s not happening, because this is not important enough to me. You’re not important enough.”

The officer can be heard swearing at Humayun throughout the video, despite the fact that the Uber driver apologized repeatedly and said very little throughout the encounter. Though the officer did not identify himself, Sanjay Seth wrote down his license plate number and noted that the officer’s patrol route appeared to belong to NYPD’s 6th Precinct.

An official with the New York Police Department issued a statement on the incident to New York Daily News, which said, “We are aware of the incident and video and it is under review with the department’s Internal Affairs Bureau.”

Uber representative Matt Wing commented on the incident as well and said, “We are disheartened by the officer’s behavior, and we appreciate the NYPD investigating the incident.”

Woman Exonerated After Spending 22 Years on Death Row Based on Detective’s Lie

Arizona woman Debra Milke wept and celebrated with supporters on Monday as Judge Rosa Mroz dismissed the prosecution’s last appeal and dropped the charges that caused her to spend 22 years on death row, accused of playing a role in the brutal 1989 killing of her own son. Though her conviction had originally been overturned in 2013 after a judge determined that since-retired detective Armando Saldate, who claimed that Milke confessed to the crime, had a history of lying under oath and abusing citizens’ rights while interrogating them, Monday’s dismissal formally ended her ordeal. Judge Rosa Mroz ordered that Milke’s ankle-monitoring bracelet be removed, symbolically liberating her of the last vestiges of her unjust conviction.

According to The Associated Press by way of Rare, the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals wrote about Milke’s case in its 2013 decision and said, “No civilized system of justice should have to depend on such flimsy evidence.” At issue was the fact that her conviction was based entirely on Armando Saldate’s claim that Milke confessed, which she denied.

“She was innocent. It was all based upon a police officer that just totally lied… To see her free today and totally free and exonerated, it’s an unbelievable feeling — just unbelievable,” said Michael Kimerer, an attorney on Milke’s defense team, in the above-embedded video footage by KPHO-TV.

The prosecution initially accused Milke of an insidious plot in which she allegedly dressed up her own four-year-old son in his favorite clothes, told him that he was going to see Santa Claus, and sent him to the desert with two men to be executed. Those two men were convicted of her son’s murder but would not testify against Milke.

Armando Saldate refused to testify at her retrial, fearing that federal charges might be brought against him for misconduct.

Milke has filed suit for damages against various parties including Maricopa County and the City of Phoenix claiming that her civil rights were violated, that she was not given a fair trial, and that prosecutors maliciously ignored evidence that could have exonerated her.

Report: San Diego Police Department “Weaknesses” Led To Rampant Misconduct

San Diego, CA- According to a Police Executive Research Forum review released on Tuesday, the San Diego Police Department suffers from numerous “weaknesses” including lack of proper leadership, supervision and employee accountability which has contributed to several cases of misconduct that went undetected for years.

The review states:

On a broad level, PERF did not identify any particular policy failure or common underlying factor that tied the misconduct cases together. Rather, it was gaps in policies and practices, a lack of consistent supervision at many levels, and a failure to hold personnel accountable that allowed misconduct to occur and go undetected for some time. Perhaps the most important lesson learned from this assessment is that the failure of the department’s leaders to adequately address smaller problems led to much larger issues.

The report assessed 17 cases of misconduct committed by 13 officers, two sergeants, one detective and a civilian employee between 2009 and 2014. Misconduct included on-duty sexual assault; battery; “inappropriate, nonconsensual interactions” and stalking; attempted cover-ups; driving under the influence of alcohol; selling hydrocodone; shoplifting; and property damage.

Among the cases included in the review was the arrest of SDPD Officer Anthony Arevalos, who was sentenced to 8 years in prison in 2012 for eight felonies involving sexual battery and four misdemeanors. Christopher Hays, another officer who was sentenced to one year in prison after pleading guilty to felony false imprisonment and misdemeanor counts of assault and battery, was also mentioned in the report.

Bryce and Jennifer Charpentier, married SDPD officers, were charged with selling hydrocodone last summer. The couple later faced new charges of burglary and taking over a drug distribution operation. The two pleaded guilty to the charges and were sentenced to three years in jail.

The report provided 40 recommendations to improve policing. Those recommendations include strengthened background checks for prospective employees, improving the hiring process, increasing efforts made to investigating civilian complaints, and increasing supervision of employees. “The good news is that we are already making progress on many of the recommendations,” said San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer.

“None of this is a shock to me,” said SDPD Sergeant Jeff Jordon, vice president of the San Diego Police Officers Association. “Now the question is a lot of these recommendations are going to be very expensive.” The review mentioned that San Diego’s financial crisis leading to SDPD operating budget cuts contributed to an inability to properly monitor police behavior.

The full review is available to read here.

Tennessee Highway Patrol Under Fire After Troopers Expose Alleged DUI Quota System

A December 2014 email, uncovered by attorney Don Spurrell and exposed to the public by Johnson City Press, from Tennessee Highway Patrol Lt. Traci Barrett to her troopers, said, “If we have personnel that fall behind the district trooper average on DUI arrests, then I cannot allow us to remain on permanent shifts. As we all know, DUI arrests are extremely important, and no group of personnel should be expected to ’carry’ another group.” The email raised questions as to whether Tennessee Highway Patrol is using a proportional or percentage-based quota system to increase its Driving Under the Influence arrest statistics.

However, following these allegations, six current and former troopers with THP have come forward to Johnson City Press to blow the whistle on what they say is indeed a quota system. Though most of the whistleblowers have chosen to speak with reporter Becky Campbell under conditions of anonymity due to fears of retaliation by higher-ups at THP, retired ex-trooper Mike Holt said openly, “When I was working, if you didn’t have a certain number of DUI arrests, you were punished… I know what a DUI looks like. I was leading my troop with moving violations … it wasn’t enough. I worked straight evenings for four months because I didn’t have enough DUI arrests. I’m just not going to arrest somebody and take them to jail if they’re not drunk.” Holt also complained that THP administrators have been pushing for officers to seek revenue raising opportunities in cities rather than patrolling the state’s highways according to the THP’s traditional mandate.

“There is a quota. There sure is. They call it goals and they use percentages and not a set number [as that goal],” said an anonymous officer to Johnson City Press. That officer noted that, though he is under fire by THP for not arresting enough citizens for DUIs, his conviction rate is high. He claimed that officers who arrest fewer citizens have higher conviction rates, whereas officers who meet THP quotas have lower conviction rates, suggesting that some of the quota-motivated pickups constitute wrongful arrests. However, the claim about conviction rates could not be confirmed as the software system used by county clerk offices lacks a search function.

An anonymous trooper still employed at THP said, “When you arrest somebody for DUI, you’ve just cost them $10,000. I’m not arresting somebody and ruining them just for a number.”

THP Col. Tracy Trott denied the existence of a quota system in an interview with Johnson City Press and said, “We don’t have a quota on any type of arrests, DUI, speeding or otherwise.”



Disabled Veteran Cleared: Video Proves Cops, Prosecutors Faked Punitive Charges

Washington Parish, LA resident and disabled veteran Douglas Dendinger’s life was flipped upside-down around two years ago when he agreed to serve a court summons to former police officer Chad Cassard, who was accused of brutalizing Dendinger’s nephew. In exchange for $50, Dendinger agreed to deliver the paperwork to the ex-officer as he left a court hearing at the Washington Parish Courthouse. As Dendinger carried out the routine legal procedure, the reaction of a group of police officers and prosecutors standing by alarmed him. He told WWL-TV, “It was like sticking a stick in a bee’s nest… They started cursing me. They threw the summons at me. Right at my face, but it fell short. Vulgarities. I just didn’t know what to think. I was a little shocked.”

Afterward, Dendinger went straight home. Upon his arrival, the situation escalated. “Within about 20 minutes, there were these bright lights shining through my windows. It was like, ‘Oh my God.’ I mean I knew immediately, a police car… And that’s when the nightmare started… I was arrested.” Dendinger, who had a prior conviction, was charged with simple battery, intimidating a witness, and obstruction of justice, a concoction of charges so serious that he faced 80 years behind bars, a virtual life sentence.

Initially, Dendinger thought the charges had been some kind of mix up, as many police officers were there to witness the fact that he did not commit a crime. However, it eventually became clear that those on the scene had fabricated charges against him, accusing him of physically attacking the summons recipient. Two St. Tammany prosecutors, Leigh Anne Wall and Julie Knight, gave statements to police implicating Dendinger. Said Knight in a police report on the incident, “We could hear the slap as he hit Cassard’s chest with an envelope of papers… This was done in a manner to threaten and intimidate everyone involved.” Ex-officer Chad Cassard also said that Dendinger had slapped him in the chest, and Washington Parish court attorney Pamela Legendre likened the paperwork hand-off to a punch. Local Police Chief Joe Culpepper even said that he had witnessed the fabricated attack, though he later backtracked and said that he was not present.

Astonishingly, a routine attempt to serve court paperwork in public was being falsely portrayed as a violent crime by public officials in an attempt to punish Dendinger for serving the ex-cop with a lawsuit. Former St. Tammany District Attorney Walter Reed filed charges against Dendinger. Seven witnesses gave statements characterizing the paperwork hand-off as a violent attack. Philip Kaplan, Dendinger’s lawyer, said, “They had a plan. The plan was to really go after him and put him away. That’s scary.”

However, the conspiracy against Dendinger began to fall apart when his wife produced cell phone video of the hand-off, which Dendinger had her take in an effort to prove he had delivered the paperwork. Kaplan pushed for then-District Attorney Reed to recuse himself of the case, and it was transferred to the Louisiana Attorney General’s Office, where the charges were dropped after officials reviewed the cell phone video of the incident, seen in the above-embedded video by WWL-TV.

The disabled Dendinger spent over a year fighting the charges and incurred significant legal fees. He is suing Washington Parish Sheriff Randy “Country” Seal, former District Attorney Walter Reed, prosecutors Julie Knight and Leigh Anne Wall, and the police officers on the scene for perjury, abuse of due process, false arrest, false imprisonment, and fabricated evidence. Charges have yet to be filed against the public officials who fabricated charges against Dendinger. Falsifying a police report is a felony.

David Cressy, a former prosecutor, told WWL-TV, “He’d still be in a world of trouble if he didn’t have that film… It was him against all of them. They took advantage of that and said all sorts of fictitious things happened. And it didn’t happen. It would still be going like that had they not had the film.”

Sheriff Randy Seal issued a statement on the lawsuit, saying, “We are confident that all claims against all WPSO deputies will be rejected and dismissed by the court.”

UPDATE: SF Public Defender, Who Was Arrested While Protecting Client, Will Not Be Charged

BenSwann.com previously reported on the unusual case of San Francisco deputy public defender Jami Tillotson, who was arrested last month as she was leaving a courtroom at the Hall of Justice with a client who had been accused of shoplifting. The incident, which was caught on cell phone video that went viral worldwide, began when police, led by Sergeant Brian Stansbury, approached her and asked her to step aside so that officers could take photographs of her client and another nearby suspect. San Francisco police wanted to interview her client in connection with a separate crime, as the clothing he was wearing matched a description of those worn by a burglary suspect.

The police officers on the scene were operating under the legal interpretation that they were investigating a separate case than the one for which Tillotson was representing her client, meaning they felt that they had reasonable suspicion to pursue a line of “consensual questioning” and that the suspect had yet to formally obtain legal representation pursuant to that specific charge. However, Sergeant Brian Stansbury did not explain his line of thinking to Tillotson when he approached and asked her to let police photograph her client without her present. Consequently, Tillotson assumed that police intended to interrogate her client without counsel in violation of his rights, prompting her to refuse.

Sergeant Brian Stansbury then immediately escalated the situation and threatened to arrest her for resisting arrest, under the rationale that she was interfering with a police investigation. However, he did not clarify to her that he was investigating a separate case. Tillotson stood firm in her refusal, was arrested, and was handcuffed to a wall in a holding cell for an hour while her client was questioned and photographed without her present. A new video has emerged, seen in the above-embedded video player, which shows Tillotson being taken to her cell following her arrest.

Tillotson believes that her arrest was an attempt at intimidating her African-American client into waiving his rights to remain silent and legal representation. SFGate notes that Tillotson filed a complaint with the Office of Citizen Complaints which said, “As a result of my arrest, my client was left without the benefit of advice of counsel. The removal of counsel, and as such any protection against the actions of the officers, created an environment in which my client believed he did not have the right to object to the questioning.”

KQED News notes that San Francisco Police Chief Greg Suhr announced at a February 4 Police Commission meeting that Jami Tillotson would not be charged in connection with the incident. Said Chief Suhr, “I don’t disagree that [Stansbury] had reasonable suspicion, but that case … it has not been presented, and we will not be seeking a warrant on that matter. So there will not be criminal charges. It will be closed out as an investigative detention.”

San Francisco Public Defender Jeff Adachi was displeased with Chief Suhr’s response, particularly in how he maintained that Sergeant Stansbury had reasonable suspicion, and said, “I made it clear that what we wanted was an apology. Instead, there was a public statement saying that what they did was completely justified.”

“I do find it a little ironic that the protest was over taking a picture at the same time a video was taken and shown to millions of people,” said Chief Suhr, which raises questions as to how Tillotson’s presence would have constituted an act of interfering with the officers’ ability to take a photograph, as, according to Chief Suhr, bystanders were able to do so, even with her present.

Though the Police Commission will not rule on the incident until a thorough investigation has been conducted by the Office of Citizen Complaints, Commissioner Petra DeJesus seemed sympathetic to Tillotson’s plight at the February 4 meeting and said, “I mean we can’t go around arresting attorneys.” She indicated that she was interested in investigating the San Francisco Police Department’s policies on “confronting a suspect with his attorney.”

American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California legal director Alan Schlosser issued a letter to the San Francisco Police Commission asking for clarification as to whether the incident was in keeping with police policies, which said, “The spectacle of two African American young men being targeted by the police within a public space inside a courthouse without their lawyer present, and then having that lawyer handcuffed and carted away for trying to advise them, raises the specter that other young men of color are being similarly targeted for intrusive investigations and photographing in the community where attorneys are not on the scene.”

Police Commission Vice President L. Julius Turman said, “There is a policy. It’s called the 6th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, and we will take up in this process what violation, if any, occurred of that.”

Ultimately, San Francisco Police Chief Greg Suhr gave in to pressure from the Public Defender’s office and said, “I do apologize for any distress caused to Ms. Tillotson during her detention.” The San Francisco Police Commission is expected to make its policy decision on the incident following an investigation by the Office of Citizen Complaints.

Lawsuit: TSA Officer Punitively Fabricated Terror Charges Against Man Who Asked to File Complaint

Attorney Thomas Malone recently filed a lawsuit against the Philadelphia Police Department, the Transportation Security Administration, and the Department of Homeland Security on behalf of marathon-running Philadelphia architect Roger Vanderklok, who claims that TSA supervisor Charles Kieser falsified terror charges against him when Vanderklok asked to file a complaint after TSA agents took approximately 30 minutes of his time trying to determine whether his watch and prepackaged PowerBar protein bars were explosives. New York Daily News notes that, after Vanderklok asked for a form to file a complaint, he was thrown in a holding cell and subsequently arrested on charges of making terroristic threats and threatening the placement of a bomb. Municipal Judge Felice Stack, who was assigned to Vanderklok’s case, swiftly acquitted him of the charges. Now, Vanderklok is suing, claiming his civil liberties were infringed upon, and Philadelphia Daily News columnist Ronnie Polaneczky is calling for TSA supervisor Charles Kieser to be fired.

At around 8 AM on January 26, 2013, Roger Vanderklok passed through a TSA checkpoint at the Philadelphia International Airport while traveling to race in a half-marathon. His carry-on bag contained a watch with heart-monitoring capabilities, a standard tool used by fitness enthusiasts, and prepackaged protein bars. TSA officers at the checkpoint asked Vanderklok if his bag contained organic matter, and he said that it did not, as he did not realize that the TSA categorizes his processed protein bars as such. Consequently, the agents assumed that he was lying and spent the next half-hour analyzing his protein bars and heart-monitoring watch for explosives. After no explosives were found, Vanderklok asked Charles Kieser to provide him with a complaint form, as he felt TSA agents should have better informed him of their definition of organic matter. Instead, Kieser accused Vanderklok of threatening to blow up the airport and had him arrested by Philadelphia police.

Vanderklok missed his flight and remained in jail until around 4 AM the next day when his wife made arrangements to cover his $40,000 bail. “I was scared to death. I have never been arrested in my life, never had handcuffs put on. Throughout the night, I was in a dark place; no one knew where I was. I thought, ‘I could fall off the face of the earth right now, and no one would know it,'” said Vanderklok in comments to Philadelphia Daily News.

Kieser claimed in court that Vanderklok said, “Let me tell you something. I’ll bring a bomb through here any day I want.” The incident report by Philadelphia police says that Vanderklok said, “Anybody could bring a bomb in here and nobody would know.” Vanderklok maintains that he said neither, and surveillance footage of the incident seems to match his claims, as TSA agents never attempted to summon the FBI and continued calmly carrying out their duties as Vanderklok patiently waited for a complaint form.

Vanderklok’s attorney Thomas Malone told Philadelphia Daily News, “The police at the airport never even questioned Mr. Vanderklok. They just detained him. The detectives at the 18th [District] also never spoke with him. He was charged based on a single allegation by one TSA employee.”

Vanderklok and Malone are seeking unspecified damages in their suit against the TSA, the DHS, and the Philadelphia Police Department. Philadelphia Daily News columnist Ronnie Polaneczky wrote, “It’s unbelievable that [TSA supervisor Charles Kieser] still has his job,” noting allegations that “he swore under oath to things that were not true” in an effort to put an innocent man behind bars.

Former CHP Officer Pleads No Contest, Sentenced To Probation For Stealing Explicit Photos

Martinez, CA- Sean Harrington, a former California Highway Patrol officer who admitted to stealing and forwarding explicit photos of female DUI suspects to himself and his colleagues, pleaded no contest on Tuesday in Contra Costa County Superior Court to two felony charges of stealing and copying computer data.

Contra Costa Superior Court Judge Terri Mockler sentenced Harrington to a 6-month suspended prison sentence, three years of probation and ordered him to attend violence prevention classes. Harrington would have faced over three and a half years in jail if convicted of all counts in a trial. According to Harrington’s attorney, Michael Rains, the judge “wanted him to benefit from education that simply putting him in jail or making him wear an electronic bracelet never would have given him.”

Harrington was charged with stealing nude and semi-nude photos of women from their phones on two separate occasions. He resigned from the California Highway Patrol just before the charges were filed last October. One 23-year-old woman, who had been arrested on suspicion of DUI last August, discovered that several explicit photos she’d taken of herself had been forwarded from her phone sometime during booking to a number tracing back to Harrington.

Investigation into the allegations revealed that Harrington had also stolen and forwarded photos earlier in the month from a 19-year-old woman suspected of DUI while she was in the hospital receiving X-rays following a car accident.

“Taken from the phone of my 10-15x while she’s in X-rays. Enjoy buddy!!!” Harrington had sent in a text message, along with the 19-year-old’s photos, to fellow officers Robert Hazelwood and Dion Simmons.

Harrington admitted to investigators in a search warrant affidavit that stealing and forwarding photos from the phones of suspects was a “game” that he had been playing with other officers and that he had done the same thing to other female suspects “a half dozen times in the last several years.” He originally pleaded not guilty to the charges in November.

“You had a person who was in a position of public trust. We as the public gave him a certain amount of power,” Prosecutor Barry Grove said. “He violated that public trust, he abused his power, and now no longer forevermore is allowed to be a police officer. He will be a convicted felon for the rest of his life.”

Grove also said that Harrington, because of his position as an officer, was given a harsher punishment than a defendant not involved in law enforcement would have received.

Attorney Rick Madsen, who represents one of the victims in the case, said that his client is considering filing a lawsuit against Harrington and the CHP. “There’s no sentence that can ultimately undue(sic) the damage done to Jane Doe 1 and Jane Doe 2,” he said. “Both victims will live with the uncertainty of public disclosure and ridicule and embarrassment.”

“I realized the severity of the charges throughout this entire process and from the very beginning I accepted responsibility for my part and my actions,” Harrington said outside of the courthouse. “I fully cooperated with investigators and did everything asked of me to make things right. This has cost me my career in the CHP, a career that I loved and was good at, and a career that made my family and friends proud of me.”

“I apologize to my family, my wife, my friends. I apologize to officers everywhere, especially to the two women involved. I’m trying to put this behind me and move forward from this. I hope now everyone else can too,” Harrington said.

Harrington is due in court in March to show the judge that he attended violence prevention classes.

Slowdown Sanctions: NYPD Orders Cops to Meet Arrest, Summons Quotas Or Lose Vacation Time, Sick Leave

Following a tragic incident in which two New York Police Department officers, Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu, were brutally murdered, police across the city have been protesting by refusing to issue summonses and make arrests for low-level crimes that do not imminently threaten the public. However, the shift in focus from small-scale, discretionary infractions to hard crimes with victims has been praised by some in the media who believe that the police protest, called a slowdown, should be transformed into permanent policy. Rolling Stone writer Matt Taibbi penned, “This police protest, unwittingly, is leading to the exposure of the very policies that anger so many different constituencies about modern law-enforcement tactics,” noting the fact that NYPD’s “broken windows” style of policing, in which the enforcement of smaller, discretionary crimes in “hot spot” neighborhoods is given top priority, has been pinpointed by community activists as a source of tension between police and residents in targeted neighborhoods. According to NYPD police officers interviewed by The Daily Beast, many New York cops enjoy the slowdown and prefer focusing on what they call “good arrests” that protect the public, rather than discretionary offenses aimed at raising revenue for the city.

However, city officials and NYPD administrators are fighting back, fearing lost revenue, as, between December 29, 2014 and January 4, 2015, the number of summonses issued have dropped by 92% and arrest totals have plunged by 56%. According to the New York Post, NYPD police precincts are being ordered to submit activity sheets proving that officers are meeting arrest and summons quotas, with those who fail to meet numbers facing punishments. “Police officers around the city are now threatened with transfers, no vacation time and sick time unless they write summonses… This is the same practice that caused officers to be labeled racist and abusers of power,” said a police union rep, criticizing NYPD’s use of arrest and summons quotas.

A police officer interviewed by the New York Post said that cops at his precinct were dispatched to a driver checkpoint last Thursday and told that they would not be allowed to take a lunch break or return from the checkpoint until at least two summonses were issued. Said the officer, “And the majority of [new] summonses written aren’t protecting the public in any way… But now they’re realizing how much revenue the city is losing, and they’re enforcing their will upon us… To have all the manpower utilized for the sole purpose of writing summonses is a very dangerous way to utilize manpower. This is not what we’re out here for.” An announcement posted at the officer’s precinct indicated that, until officers catch up on revenue-generating activities, no additional vacation days would be approved and no sick days would be authorized without a doctor’s note.

NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton admitted at a press conference that, despite the drop in discretionary arrests and summonses, crime overall has been on the decline during the slowdown.

Off-Duty Boston Police Officer Allegedly Attacks Uber Driver Then Steals His Car

Officer Michael Doherty was placed on paid administrative leave after he was arrested on Sunday on charges of assault, battery, and using a motor vehicle without authority. According to DigBoston, the veteran cop, who has worked for the Boston Police Department for 16 years, ordered a ride home from the rideshare service Uber, then, upon arriving at what the officer believed was the wrong destination, attacked the driver, forcing him from the vehicle, and stole his car. Officer Doherty reportedly used racial slurs against both the Uber driver and a witness to the incident. The above-embedded video coverage by WCVB Channel 5 Boston notes that Doherty is set to be arraigned on Monday.

A Boston Police Department statement sourced by The Boston Globe indicates that an Uber driver called police at 2:45 AM on Sunday to report that he had been beaten by a passenger and that his car had been stolen. Allegedly, as the Uber driver pulled up to what he believed was the passenger’s final destination, the passenger became angry and claimed that the driver had taken him to the wrong location. The passenger, whom police later determined was Officer Doherty, told the driver, “What, you think I’m stupid, you [expletives deleted],” referring to him with a racial slur against Latinos. The off-duty Boston cop then began beating the Uber driver, causing him to flee his vehicle. The altercation escalated outside the car, as Doherty chased the victim and continued his assault.

The victim flagged down a nearby driver who stopped to help. Officer Doherty then reportedly jumped into the driver’s seat of the Uber driver’s car and fled the scene. The witness who stopped to help the victim then gave the victim a ride and followed Officer Doherty, who eventually exited the Uber driver’s vehicle and turned to confront his two pursuers. Noticing the witness, an African American, who had stopped to help his victim, Doherty reportedly said, “What do you want, you [expletives deleted],” referring to him with the n-word. Doherty then continued his attack on the Uber driver as the witness struggled to stop him. According to BostInno, Massachusetts Port Authority police officers arrived on the scene, and, upon seeing them, Officer Doherty stopped his attack and fled on foot.

Doherty was later picked up and arrested by Boston police. Uber issued a statement about the incident, which said, “Our thoughts are with our valued partner during his recovery… We stand ready to assist law enforcement with their investigation.” Uber says it has blocked Doherty from using its service in the future.

Mentally Disabled GA Man with Similar Name to Sex Offender Wrongfully Jailed for 525 Days

A case of mistaken identity led a Georgia man to be wrongfully arrested and jailed for 525 days where he suffered unrelenting abuse at the hands of inmates. According to WSB-TV 2, Randy Wiggins, who is mentally disabled, was arrested in June of 2012 when he could not produce identification during a police encounter at the group home at which he was staying. Officers confused him for Randy Williams, a convicted child molester wanted by authorities for his failure to sign up for the sex offender registry. Wiggins was arrested and taken to Fulton County Jail, where, despite his complaints that officers had mixed up his name, he remained for around a year and a half.

Wiggins’ attorney David Paul Scott told WSB-TV 2, “My guy didn’t have his driver’s license on him, so I guess out of convenience as much as anything, (police decided) we’ve got the right guy. It wasn’t the right guy, it was Randy Wiggins, not Randy Williams.”

For the next 525 days, Wiggins remained in Fulton County Jail with no recourse, suffering abuses at the hands of inmates who believed him to be guilty of Williams’ crimes against children. “If you want to be blunt about it, he was raped and he was beat,” said Wiggins’ brother-in-law Stephen Strong.

New York Daily News notes that investigators could have checked Wiggins’ fingerprints against those of Williams, which they had on file, but did not. Wiggins’ plight was discovered by healthcare workers at Georgia Regional Hospital after officials at Fulton County Jail had him admitted for a mental health evaluation.

Wiggins was released shortly after the mistake was identified at Georgia Regional Hospital. However, attorney David Paul Scott told New York Daily News that, in order to release Wiggins, authorities had to drop the existing charges against Randy Williams, meaning the convicted sex offender remains at large.

Fulton County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Tracy Flanagan told WSB-TV 2, “It’s unclear how the wrong person was arrested for the other Randy’s charges. This matter is under investigation, and there’s nothing more I can share due to the investigation and pending litigation.”

Wiggins’ family is suing Fulton County Jail and the Fulton County Sheriff’s Office in federal court, seeking compensation for the wrongful arrest and imprisonment. His brother Stephen Strong called for reform, saying, “I’m sure he is not the first, and we need to implement changes so that he will be the last.”

Riot Training Ends in Disaster: Cops Wreck 3 Cruisers, Deploy Tear Gas on Elementary School Students

On Friday morning, police in Columbus, OH set out to conduct a riot training exercise at now-abandoned Cooper Stadium. As a part of the exercise, new recruits were driving their vehicles in a convoy to the stadium when, according to The Columbus Dispatch, a sergeant wrecked his cruiser into the back of a cadet, causing a three-car pile up. “Sometimes in a convoy, there’s like an accordion effect,” Columbus Division of Police Deputy Chief Tim Becker said, explaining how the accident occurred. No serious injuries were reported in the wreck, though an officer was briefly hospitalized after complaining of back pain.

The accident caused the cadets to arrive late for the exercise at Cooper Stadium. Officers claim that smoke grenades were then used to test where the wind might carry tear gas that would be used during the training. Due to changes in wind conditions, the exercise was moved to a different part of the stadium than what was originally planned. Police say that the manufacturer of the tear gas canisters, Chemical Tactical Systems, indicated that the devices have an effective range of only 40 feet.

During the exercise, police fired 15 canisters of tear gas. The noxious fumes were then wind-swept to nearby Sullivant Elementary School, inflicting six students with irritation of the eyes and throat and sending a pregnant teacher who suffers from asthma to the hospital for observation. Police found out about the tear gas accident after school administrators called firefighters for help. Deputy Chief Tim Becker told The Columbus Dispatch, “The school is about 3,000 feet from where [the tear gas] was deployed.” Fourteen students were taken home from school by their parents, one of whom told NBC-4 Columbus that her children were crying when she arrived. No one was seriously hurt during the accidental gassing.

Deputy Chief Becker apologized for the incident, telling NBC-4 Columbus, “First of all we are sorry, this never should have happened… It is very strange for [the tear gas] to travel this far. We certainly would not conduct training if we thought it was going to have this type of impact.” He indicated that the Columbus Division of Police will be suspending future training exercises at Cooper Stadium pending an investigation into what went wrong during the deployment of the tear gas.

With regard to the crash on the way to the stadium, Columbus Division of Police spokesperson Sergeant Rich Weiner told The Columbus Dispatch that police are investigating who was at fault for the wreck and whether traffic citations or other disciplinary actions are warranted.

Good Samaritan Shot By Police After Calling 911 to Report Location of Shooting Suspect

On Halloween morning, 59-year-old Vancouver, WA resident John Kendall allegedly shot his neighbor Abigail Mounce with a rifle, striking her in the face. He then drove to a nearby wooded area, ditched his car, walked into the woods on foot, and took his own life. According to KGW-TV, Mounce is expected to survive her injuries, but doctors may not be able to save her right eye.

After the shooting was initially reported, police initiated a manhunt in an effort to apprehend Kendall. A concerned citizen, who asked to remain anonymous, stumbled across Kendall’s car and, hoping to assist police in the manhunt, called 911 to report the location of the vehicle. The Oregonian notes that the unidentified man decided to wait at the location for police to arrive.

SWAT officers honed in on Kendall’s cell phone signal and determined that he was in the area where the citizen reported seeing his car. Police then made their way to the location reported by the concerned citizen and, upon arrival, confused him for the suspect and opened fire on him with multiple rounds, hitting him in the leg. A representative from the Vancouver Police Department told KGW-TV, “Law enforcement personnel watched as the citizen (believed to be Kendall) exited his vehicle and circled behind his trunk. Fearing that he armed himself, law enforcement fired multiple shots at the individual in order to stop the perceived threat before the citizen could enter the woods.”

The unidentified 911 caller then jumped for cover behind a pile of gravel and shot back a single time, striking no one, before calling 911 again to try and clear up the confusion. Police realized that he was not the suspect, stopped firing, gave the man first aid, and took him to the hospital. He was released the following day. According to KOIN-TV 6, Vancouver police officials claim that the 911 caller bore a resemblance to suspect John Kendall.

Shortly after police mistakenly shot the man who called to assist them in their manhunt, officers found the suspect’s body, already deceased, in the nearby woods.

Vancouver Police Department spokeswoman Kim Kapp identified the officers involved in the shooting as Clark County Deputy Anthony Spainhower, Vancouver Police Officer Brian Frances, and Vancouver Police Corporal Chris LeBlanc. Though police investigators are not sure yet which officer fired the shot that hit the unidentified Good Samaritan, an eyewitness interviewed by The Oregonian described hearing four or five shots at the time of the incident.

The three officers involved in the shooting were placed on paid administrative leave pending the results of an internal investigation, which Vancouver police representative Kim Kapp said could be wrapped up by Thanksgiving.

On Duty Federal Cop Allegedly Pulled Gun on Uber Driver, Asked “Do You Want to Live or Die?”

Last week, KSL-TV reported on a horrifying incident in Salt Lake City during which an Uber driver named James Brothers was randomly held at gunpoint by an erratically-behaving passenger who asked him with slurred speech, “Do you want to live or die?” The incident took place late at night on October 19th.

“Well, I want to live, of course,” said Brothers. He told KSL-TV, “Thoughts are going through my head as to what I need to do, and I just thought, ‘I’m going to bail because I’m not going to sit around and wait for what’s going to happen.'” He grabbed his cell phone, ripped his keys from the ignition, and jumped out of his vehicle. The menacing passenger grabbed Brothers’ shirt as he fled, but the Uber driver slipped away and called 911.

The suspect, who had begun to ask Brothers about his family prior to pulling the gun on him, turned out to be 44-year-old Byron Keith McDonald of Texas. According to CBS KUTV-2, McDonald is a federal police officer with the Bureau of Indian Affairs, a sub-agency of the Department of the Interior charged with managing US land held in a trust for Native American tribes. At the time that he allegedly pulled his gun on Brothers, Lieutenant McDonald was traveling on official business for the BIA.

Brothers picked up McDonald and three others at a bar. McDonald, who appeared inebriated, got into an argument with the other three passengers, and, when Brothers dropped them off at a party, McDonald asked to be taken separately to a Hilton hotel. When they arrived at the Hilton, McDonald allegedly pulled his gun on Brothers.

On October 20, McDonald was arrested and charged with third-degree felony aggravated assault. According to Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill, surveillance video corroborates Brothers’ allegations. Gill told CBS KUTV-2, “We know that his superiors are aware of what’s going on… We don’t care whether you are a police officer, whether you are a rich person, poor person. It doesn’t matter what your status is. If you commit a crime and we have evidence to support that, we’re going to treat you like anybody else.” McDonald remained in jail for 5 days before posting bail.

Nedra Darling, a spokesperson for the Department of the Interior, issued the following statement about the incident, “Mr. McDonald was on official travel at the time of the incident… The incident is being investigated by our internal affairs division, which will make use of the investigation being conducted by the Salt Lake City Police Department.”

In comments to CBS KUTV-2, Brothers reacted to the fact that the person who pulled a gun on him turned out to be a federal law enforcement agent, “These are the individuals that [we] look up to for protection.” Though he was shaken up by the incident and no longer picks up passengers at night, Brothers continues to drive for the popular rideshare service Uber.