Video Shows Owasso Police Officer Lt. Mike Denton’s Brutal And Violent Attack On Handcuffed Man – Douchebag Was Fired And Then Reinstated By Arbitrator

July 11, 2012

OWASSO, OKLAHOMA – KRMG News has obtained the lapel-camera video shot in June last year when Owasso Police Lieutenant Mike Denton gave 3 elbows to the face of a man being arrested for public intoxication.

The City of Owasso fired Lt. Denton in November 2011, citing ‘excessive force’ during the arrest of Bryan Scott Spradlin of Collinsville. Spradlin later pleaded guilty to the public intoxication charge.

KRMG News filed a Freedom of Information Act request for the video from the Owasso Police Department in November 2011. That video was finally released Monday.

In a grievance hearing in March, an arbitrator reduced Denton’s firing to a written reprimand and reinstated the officer to the Owasso Police Department.

On June 30, 2011, Bryan Spradlin was arrested at an apartment complex in Owasso for public intoxication.

Officers went to the apartment on a disturbance call.

The arrest was videotaped from a camera on the officer’s lapel.

The clip shows Spradlin refusing to stand up while in handcuffs.

Lt. Mike Denton then drags him into jail.

You can hear Lt. Denton say, “Are you ready to walk? Can you get up and walk? You want to act like a big boy?”

Next, you can see Lt. Denton throwing three elbows into the suspect’s face.

The officer was fired for using excessive force.

Chief Dan Yancey spoke to KRMG in November.

Yancey said he was concerned about excessive force after viewing the video.

He said, “There’s a definite line, drawn in the sand if you will, as to what officers have the right to do, and if you cross that line intentionally, I think there should be severe consequences.”

In March, an arbitrator rehired Lt. Denton and gave him a written warning.

KRMG News made a Freedom of Information request for the video.

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Marion County Indiana Deputy Sheriff David Carrico Arrested And Charged After Brutally Beating Handcuffed Man In Unprovoked Attack And False Reporting – Caught On Video – Problem Department Has Seen 6 Deputies Quit Or Fired In 3 Months

June 17, 2012

MARION COUNTY, INDIANA – The story seemed plausible enough. At first.

A man being processed before he was taken to jail threatened to start a riot. A Marion County sheriff’s deputy said he had no choice but to take the man down. While they grappled, the man bit him on the thumb. The deputy was forced to throw a punch.

But investigators say Deputy David Carrico’s story isn’t true.

And they say they have the video to prove it.

On Friday, Carrico, 28, was fired and charged with felony official misconduct and two misdemeanors — battery and false reporting — in what investigators say is an unprovoked attack on Harry Hooks Jr, a 42-year-old Indianapolis man.

Hooks had been arrested May 20 on suspicion of driving away from a car crash and was taken to the Arrestee Processing Center near the jail Downtown.

Marion County Sheriff’s Col. Eva Talley-Sanders said surveillance video taken that night at the processing center shows Hooks’ hands were cuffed behind his back when Carrico pushed him up against a wall. She said Carrico then slammed Hooks onto the concrete floor, climbed on top of him and punched him in the head.

“It’s just horrible,” she said. He was “essentially beating him up.”

Carrico’s case is the latest example of a troubling trend involving Indianapolis-area law enforcement accused of wrongdoing.

In the past three months, six deputies, including Carrico, have resigned or been fired while under investigation for criminal misconduct or other wrongdoing.

And that’s just the Sheriff’s Department. The Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department also has had its share of officer misconduct issues — including another that came to light Friday.

An IMPD officer, Thomas Bordenkecher, was charged Thursday with misdemeanor battery and intimidation for an off-duty altercation.

Meanwhile, sheriff’s investigators say it’s not entirely clear what triggered the incident at the processing center. They are not releasing a videotape of the incident, citing an ongoing investigation.

According to the affidavit, sheriff’s investigators say the video shows Hooks standing in the processing center along with five other arrestees when Carrico put him in a “hand hold” and took him to another area.

It was there, with the two alone, that investigators say the video shows Carrico grabbed Hooks by the neck and threw him on the concrete floor. With Hooks pinned to the floor, they say Carrico punched him in the head.

The affidavit says Hooks later was taken to the hospital where he had a “questionable nasal fracture,” cuts and a bruise on the right eye.

He later filed a complaint that led to the investigation.

The affidavit says the video shows that before Carrico pulled Hooks aside, “all the arrestees in the receiving room were compliant and no one appeared to be acting in a riotous manner.”

Though not mentioned in the affidavit, a press release issued earlier on Friday by the Sheriff’s Department said the video showed Hooks refusing to face in the right direction, and he can be heard calling deputies “racists” before Carrico took him to the other area.

Talley-Sanders said the Sheriff’s Department has asked federal authorities to determine whether Hooks’ civil rights were violated.

A woman who answered the door at Hooks’ address Friday afternoon declined to comment.

Police reports show that Carrico, who has been a deputy for seven years, has been involved in at least four other altercations with suspects in the past two years. In each case, according to the probable cause affidavits, Carrico claimed he was injured. And in each case, he claimed the inmate needed to be violently restrained.

Back in March, Carrico was involved in an incident with an inmate at the processing center who had already been charged with resisting law enforcement.

The arrestee swung his elbow at Carrico’s face, the police report alleges. As they grappled, Carrico hit his head on the wall or the metal door, making him dizzy. The suspect hit his head as well, the report states, as authorities were “placing him on the ground.”

In November 2010, Carrico got a “sore knee” while trying to handcuff a suspect who was picked up on an active warrant. The suspect kicked Carrico, the report states, and in the process the suspect “lost his balance” and “fell onto the parking lot.”

Sheriff’s officials said Friday they hadn’t gone back to look into the other incidents, but that Carrico may have acted appropriately.

“Most certainly, he could have been the victim,” Talley-Sanders said.

Carrico is the only recent sheriff’s deputy to face charges stemming from an on-duty incident. The rest happened off the clock.

Michael McKittrick, 29, was arrested May 26 after investigators say he fired a rifle in his apartment while drunk.

Douglas Tibbs, 33, resigned on May 22 — two days before he was charged with burglary and theft of prescription drugs.

Donald Prout, 32, resigned on March 28, about a week after being charged with theft and “ghost employment,” a charge stemming from allegations he worked for a private security firm while he was supposed to be serving warrants or attending training classes.

Ryan Radez, 29, was fired in February after being arrested and charged with public intoxication for an incident during pre-Super Bowl festivities.

Matthew Prestel, 27, was also fired in February after Child Protective Services removed his two young children from his home because of unsafe living conditions.

Natasha Fogleman, a 29-year-old civilian dispatcher, was fired in January after she was arrested and charged with trafficking with an inmate at the Wabash Valley Correctional Facility.

Sheriff’s investigators say that while troubling, the cases don’t point to a larger problem, either with training or screening for new hires.

They say some bad hires inevitably make it through when more than 1,000 employees, including 750 deputies, are on the payroll.

“I would put our screening and training up against any agency in the state,” said Maj. Scott Mellinger, the sheriff’s chief training officer and the former director of the Indiana Law Enforcement Academy. “Don’t get me wrong. I’m not minimizing the serious nature of the incidents. It not only makes us re-evaluate what we’re doing, it makes us angry and very, very disappointed.”

But at least one critic says the cases point to larger problems in recruiting qualified deputies.

Jim White, a 20-year state police veteran who now lectures at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, said the issue lies with how the deputies receive their law enforcement authority.

While deputies such as Carrico may be sworn law enforcement officers who can carry weapons, make arrests and conduct investigations, technically they aren’t “certified” to state standards like Indiana State Police or IMPD officers.

Instead, the “special deputies,” who primarily work in the jails and serve court papers, are deputized by the sheriff and trained at an in-house facility run by Mellinger.

White said many of the most ideal candidates trend toward police departments that train their officers to be certified.

The Sheriff’s Department, White said, is “not getting the candidates they used to get in the past.”

Sheriff’s training officers, however, insist that even though the deputies aren’t “certified,” that doesn’t mean training is insufficient.

Mellinger said deputies still are required to undergo 161/2 weeks of law enforcement training — the same amount cadets receive at his former academy. Plus, new deputies also receive a two-week course in jail procedures.

Besides, he points out, there also have been serious problems at IMPD, so it’s not like being “certified” guarantees appropriate conduct.

Earlier this month, IMPD settled for $1.5 million with the family of Eric Wells, who was killed in August 2010 when officer David Bisard drove — allegedly while drunk — into Wells’ motorcycle. In April, Police Chief Paul Ciesielski resigned after it was revealed officers mishandled a blood sample of Bisard’s for a second time.

And on Friday, a trial in which IMPD officer David Butler was accused of stealing money from Hispanic motorists ended in a hung jury.

Capt. Michael Hubbs, who oversees all criminal investigations for the sheriff, said given the problems other agencies have faced, it would be unfair to single out the sheriff’s office.

“These are deputy sheriffs,” Hubbs said. “They’re trusted just like any police officer.”

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Violence A Big Problem In Overcrowded And Underfunded Alabama Prison System – And Its Only Going To Get Worse

June 3, 2012

BIRMINGHAM, Alabama — Violence has become a growing concern in Alabama’s prisons, an analysis of incident data shows, and prison officials and other experts fear it could become an even bigger problem next year when the system’s overpopulated facilities will be operated on even less money.

Three inmates have been killed in Alabama prisons since this budget year began in October. In the four previous years, prisons had reported, at most, one homicide.

In the 2010-11 year, the Department of Corrections reported no homicides. But it counted 1,397 fights and nonsexual assaults, up from 1,000 the previous year. In addition to an almost 40 percent increase in inmate-on-inmate violence, assaults leading to serious injury doubled, rising from 47 to 95.

Prison officials say that’s a result of better record-keeping. But people who work closely with inmates say the threat is real, leading some prisoners to arm themselves in defense and others to clamor for safer cell space.

“It’s gotten much worse in the last two or three years,” said Bryan Stevenson, executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative, a nonprofit that represents prisoners. “I’ve been hearing from folks that it’s gotten impossible to get into honors dorms because everybody and his cousin is trying to get in.”

Challenge

Corrections Commissioner Kim Thomas said the department’s goal is to prevent as many assaults and fights as possible. But violence is an ongoing challenge, he acknowledges, and one that is made more difficult by having too many inmates and too few officers. That problem is likely to get worse in the coming year.

The Department of Corrections’ budget for next year already has been cut $16 million, and there is a potential for an additional $35 million cut, which would mean a “dynamically different prison system,” Thomas said.

“We may have to put it very, very close to a line I’m not comfortable with,” Thomas said.

Already, violence is commonplace in Alabama’s prisons, and not just in the facilities housing what are considered the most hardened criminals. In 2010 and 2011, the highest rates of inmate-on-inmate violence — and the highest rates of assaults causing serious injuries — were in medium-security prisons, according to a Birmingham News analysis of prison reports.

Stevenson and others representing prisoners believe the state’s official counts underestimate the dangers faced by inmates. It’s a suspicion that has been borne out in the past.

The Southern Center for Human Rights in Atlanta filed suit in 2009, claiming inmates at Donaldson Correctional Facility in west Jefferson County were at risk of harm because of crowding, short staffing and pervasive violence — contentions backed by correctional officers.

As a result of the suit, the Southern Center discovered the state’s public reports about inmate attacks routinely did not match the prison’s internal records.

Between April 2008 and April 2009, the Department of Corrections’ public reports listed only one assault with serious injury at Donaldson. Internal records showed at least 16 Donaldson inmates were taken to outside hospitals during that time for treatment of serious injuries. Among other things, assaults had left two of the inmates with collapsed lungs, another vomiting and urinating blood, and another blind in one eye, according to court documents.

In August 2010, Alabama prison officials installed a system that keeps better track of any assaults or fights that occur. “We do realize that we have to make sure that the figures we gather are validated and accurate,” Thomas said. “We want to make sure we accurately report those to the public.”

Melanie Velez, a lawyer for the Southern Center who was involved in the case, said she believes reporting is better and Donaldson is safer as a result of the lawsuit, which settled in 2011.

“There was nowhere to go but to improve the situation there,” she said.

But she doesn’t believe Alabama prisons have violence under control. “We receive hundreds of letters a month from people who are incarcerated there and their loved ones,” she said.

Rosemary Collins of Shelby County understands why. An advocate for criminal justice reforms as part of a group called Alabama CURE, she hears regularly from inmates who feel threatened by stabbings and other attacks they see around them. One of the inmates is Collins’ 50-year-old son, Victor Russo, who is serving a life-without-parole sentence at St. Clair Correctional Facility near Springville.

“It’s really scary,” she said.

In the past seven months, at least three inmates have died at the hands of other inmates, according to prison officials.

Jabari Leon Bascomb died of multiple stab wounds he received at St. Clair on Oct. 15, just three days after his 22nd birthday.

John Abraham Rutledge, 30, was found strangled to death in his cell at St. Clair on April 27.

Jeremy Jones, 33, died May 24 after being stabbed during a fight with another inmate at Bibb Correctional Facility in Brent.

For every inmate killed, many others were assaulted.

Comparing data

In the state’s 2011 budget year, the inmate-on-inmate assaults and fights reported by the prison system translated to an annual rate of a little more than 4 per 100 inmates. It’s hard to compare that rate with the department’s historical figures because of changes in the way statistics have been collected and reported over the years.

It’s also difficult to judge Alabama’s record against other states because of the different ways violent incidents can be categorized and tallied.

“I don’t know you can say there’s a benchmark because there are so many factors that can go into that,” said Morris Thigpen, a former Alabama prison commissioner who is now director of the National Institute of Corrections.

The U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics reported that the rate of inmate-on-inmate assaults was less than 3 per 100 inmates across all state and federal prisons in 1995 and again in 2000. The agency has since stopped reporting that information, a spokeswoman said.

As of 2011, Tennessee’s Department of Correction reported assaults at a rate of about 2.5 incidents per 100 inmates, while Georgia’s reported rate was 4.5 per 100 inmates and North Carolina’s rate approached 11 per 100 inmates.

At best, though, tracking violence behind bars is an imperfect science.

The Center for Behavioral Health Services and Criminal Justice Research at Rutgers University has found the numbers reported by prison systems are consistently lower than the numbers reported by inmates.

Jing Shi, a research analyst and statistician for the center, said about 20 percent of inmates reported in a 2005 survey that they’d been physically assaulted just in the preceding six months. A key was that researchers asked about specific behaviors, such as slapping and kicking, that inmates might not even think to report as an assault, she said.

Shi said research has linked the prevalence of violence to a range of things, including the way a prison is designed and the way it is run.

In Alabama, a key problem has been the intersection of get-tough criminal policies and anemic funding for prisons. As it stands, Alabama prisons house almost twice as many inmates as they were designed to hold, and they have an 11-to-1 ratio of inmates to correctional officers. In 2005, Alabama ratio’s was better, at 9-to-1, and it was still the worst of any state, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics.

“I think Alabama has been very fortunate, given how understaffed they have been through the years, to have been able to maintain as safe facilities as they have,” Thigpen said.

E.J. “Mac” McArthur, the chief of the Alabama State Employees Association, said to the extent peace has been maintained so far, it’s a credit to seasoned correctional officers. “Regrettably,” he said, “I think we’re living on borrowed time.”

In March, Kim Thomas took the unusual step of leading news reporters on a tour through St. Clair Correctional Facility to highlight the dangerous conditions resulting from overcapacity, understaffed prisons. Thomas pleaded not only for more money for prisons but also for sentencing reforms.

Over the past decade, drug courts and other initiatives have helped control the prison population by diverting thousands of convicts into community corrections programs. Even so, Thomas said, the prison population has continued to grow. Legislators, who have added to the problem by continually creating new crimes and increasing the penalties, passed a measure this year to try to slow the progression. But the measure, which will make it easier for nonviolent offenders to avoid incarceration, offers no short-term fix for prison crowding or the violence it fuels.

“You put enough water in a balloon, it’s going to bust sooner or later,” said Capt. Lloyd Wallace, who works at Limestone Correctional Facility and is president of the 500-member Alabama Correctional Organization.

Unlikely alliance

Wallace said inmates aren’t the only ones at risk. That’s why his group joined with inmates in the Donaldson case to try to address the safety issues. But what he considers the core problem, short staffing, is getting worse throughout the prison system, he said.

“Our staff is lower now than I’ve seen it in years,” Wallace said.

And in the short term, it is more likely to get worse than better. The Legislature cut the prison agency’s budget by a little more than 4 percent for the 2013 fiscal year, which begins in October. And even that amount depends on voters approving a transfer from the Alabama Trust Fund to the state’s General Fund next September.

As of February, the department had fewer than 2,300 correctional officers, less then 65 percent of the authorized number. Thomas said he worries the count will continue to slide. If the worst budget cuts come to pass, the system could be unable to operate safely and might be required to release large numbers of prisoners, he said.

Advocates for prisoners agree staffing and crowding are huge issues. But they say the prison system also has helped foster dangerous conditions by not attacking violence more aggressively, whether it comes at the hands of inmates or staff.

Just this past month, the U.S. Justice Department said it would look into reports that employees had been sexually abusing inmates at the Tutwiler women’s prison near Wetumpka. Stevenson’s Equal Justice Initiative requested the investigation, saying that at least two Tutwiler inmates had gotten pregnant by guards in recent years and many others had been raped or subjected to sexual advances.

While some offending employees were fired or dismissed, Stevenson told the Justice Department that Tutwiler also retaliated against women who lodged complaints about sexual assaults.

Velez said the issue is similar to physical violence in prisons.

“It’s definitely a combination of factors that include overcrowding and understaffing but also a real reluctance on the part of Alabama corrections officials to realize they have a problem,” she said. “In order for there to be a real systemic change to the culture of violence that permeates Alabama prisons, the Department of Corrections has to recognize that it has a real problem.”

Instead, she and other lawyers say the department fails to protect inmates from assaultive staff and fellow inmates. “They’re letting people fight,” said Stevenson. “They’re not responding in any meaningful way.”

Stevenson is reluctant to call for prosecution of inmates involved in prison clashes; many end up arming themselves and going on the offensive because they have been vulnerable, victimized and unprotected, he said. But, he said, “If you’re only going to do time in segregation for a violent assault, there are going to be more violent assaults.”

Thomas disputes the contention that the prison system doesn’t take the issue seriously.

“We don’t want violence in our facilities,” he said. “It puts our officers in danger, and we are responsible for protecting the inmates.”

Stevenson said society at large has a stake in ensuring that inmates are protected from violence in prison.

“Most people are going to be released,” he said. “Torturing, abusing and assaulting people over many years and then releasing them to the public is not a sensible public safety strategy.”

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Tallahassee Florida Police Officer Lyle Ottley Arrested, Suspended, And Charged With Aggravated Assault After Threatening Ex-Girlfriend’s Boyfriend With A Gun While In Uniform And Punching Holes In Wall And Door

May 26, 2012

TALLAHASSEE, FLORIDA - A Tallahassee Police officer has been charged with aggravated assault without the intent ti kill and burglary with assault.

Lyle Ottley, 33, has been placed on paid suspension from the Tallahassee Police Department.

According to the probable cause affidavit, Ottley allegedly entered Herman Samuel’s home and threatened him with a gun. The report states that around 2 a.m., Samuel was sleeping next to officer Ottley’s ex-girlfriend Erica Brooks in their home.

Ottley was in uniform at the time when he allegedly banged on the front door and asked for some of their son’s belongings. The officer then entered the home uninvited and went inside the master bedroom, questioning Samuel about why he was there.

Ms. Brooks reportedly ran to a neighboring house owned by another local police man. While Mr. Ottley remained in her home, Ottley allegedly pulled out his hand gun and also punched the wall and bedroom door several times.

Samuel reported that he felt threatened for his life. We spoke to neighbors and they all stated that they had no idea that this had gone on right next door to them.

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Baltimore Maryland Delegate Wants Governor To Send In State Police To Control “Roving Mobs Of Black Youths” And Declare Inner Harbor A “No-Travel Zone” Until Safety Can Be Guaranteed

May 17, 2012

BALTIMORE, MARYLAND – A Baltimore County delegate said Wednesday that the governor should send in the Maryland State Police to control “roving mobs of black youths” at Baltimore’s Inner Harbor, prompting a colleague to label the message “race-baiting.”

Del. Patrick L. McDonough, a Republican whose district includes part of Harford County, distributed a news release with the headline: “Black Youth Mobs Terrorize Baltimore on Holidays.” In it, McDonough said he had sent a letter to Gov. Martin O’Malley urging him to use the state police to help prevent attacks and to declare the Inner Harbor area a “no-travel zone” until safety can be guaranteed.

McDonough’s message, which came on the last day of a General Assembly special session, offended some colleagues who thought it gratuitously highlighted the issue of race.

“It’s a throwback to the ’50s and ’60s, and it’s obviously race-baiting,” said Del. Keiffer J. Mitchell Jr., a Baltimore Democrat who offered to take McDonough on a guided tour of the Inner Harbor on a weekend night.

McDonough, a radio talk-show host, is best known in the legislature for his relentless and sometimes confrontational efforts to crack down on illegal immigration in Maryland.

“I’m not surprised at this inappropriate behavior,” said Del. Ana Sol Gutierrez, a Montgomery County Democrat. She said that in her 10 years in the legislature, she hadn’t seen such a racially tinged statement released by a colleague.

McDonough refused to back down, saying he had heard from police that the crowds involved in several recent incidents were all black. Failing to mention the race of the participants, he said, would be “political correctness on steroids.”

McDonough said his statement was prompted by several recent problems, including a St. Patrick’s Day disturbance and a recent incident in which he and his wife witnessed a fight involving about 100 youths at Pratt and Calvert streets.

The lawmaker said that his statement has brought attention from out-of-town news media and that he planned to give national television interviews warning visitors against traveling to the Inner Harbor. “A no-travel zone is an action that needs to be taken to protect lives,” he said.

O’Malley, a former Baltimore mayor, dismissed McDonough’s suggestions, saying Baltimore had cut its crime rate more than any American city of comparable size.

“Delegate McDonough should come and visit some time,” the governor said. “He might enjoy it.”

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Video Catches Brutal Beating Of Subdued Man By Meriden Connecticut Police Officer Evan Cossette – Police Chief’s Sun – Faces At Least Two Other Brutality Complaints

April 25, 2012

MERIDIAN, CONNECTICUT – A Connecticut police officer has been captured on video throwing several punches at a subdued man on the floor and then proceeding to Taser him while another officer holds him.

The officer, Evan Cossette, who works in Meriden, is being sued by the man, Joey Bryans, after the 30-year old claimed that the video evidence showed police brutality.

The grainy and out of focus video-tape from the early morning of January 23 of this year shows Bryans leaving MidSate Medical Centre for a cigarette.

According to police reports, the hospital staff were worried Bryans might injure himself because he was drunk and contacted Cossette and another Meriden police officer, Mark Nowak

The pair were already at the hospital as part of an unrelated call.

Walking out into the hospital car-lot wearing only a white T-shirt, Bryans is seen to be followed by Cossette and Nowak.

Unfortunately, the camera goes out of focus and moves away from the scene for around 10-12 seconds.

When it returns, Cossette’s right arm can be viewed hitting Bryans at least five times while Nowak holds his legs.

The video then features Cosette reaching into his belt for a Taser and shocking Bryans twice, the first for nine seconds and the second time for four seconds according to police records.

However, the official report of the incident differs from the account seen on the video.
Watched by the hospital security guards the police officers continue to work to subdue Bryan allegedly using excessive force

Watched by the hospital security guards the police officers continue to work to subdue Bryan allegedly using excessive force

Cossette wrote that Bryans was running away from the hospital when he is clearly walking and says that both he and Nowak shouted several verbal commands to Bryans to stop running.

In addition, Cossette reported that Bryans ‘tensed his arms and body up, forming fists maintaining an aggressive fighting posture.’

He also claims that Bryans ‘spun around and engaged him in a physical altercation’ which meant that the pair were ‘forced to bring him to the ground’.

The gap in the grainy and inconclusive video between Nowak first grabbing Bryans to when Cossette is clearly punching him is 12 seconds.

Meaning that the ‘aggressive fighting posture’ by Bryans must have occurred during that time period.

Cossette wrote in his report that the punches had ‘little to no effect’, which forced him to use the Taser

Already under investigation by a federal grand jury, Officer Evan Cossette has had three police brutality complaints made against him in just over a year and received a written warning for one.

However, in this case the Internal Affairs investigator at Meriden police ruled that Cossette had not violated any police procedures.

Bryans’ attorney, Sally A. Roberts, declined to comment at length, saying only that the video ‘speaks for itself.’

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Utah Highway Patrol Officer Sgt. Andrew Davenport Fired After Brutally Beating 60 Year Old Female Motorist – Now An Ogden Police Officer, But Faces “Possible Decertification” By State

April 24, 2012

UTAH – A seasoned police officer has been terminated for repeatedly punching a woman in the head with a closed fist at a traffic stop.

Utah Highway Patrol Sergeant Andrew Davenport pulled over 60-year-old Darla Wright after a police chase through Ogden in August, 2010.

Davenport, 37, claimed he was using ‘distraction blows’ because the woman refused to get out of her vehicle, and had disputed allegations he used excessive force.

The Salt Lake Tribune reports Davenport was dismissed on January 19, 2011 after a five-month internal investigation. He appealed the decision to the board and was put on paid administrative leave.

A Utah Career Service Review Board report was released to the newspaper after a state open-records request.

According to the report, the board on October 26 upheld the firing of Davenport, who now works as an Ogden patrol officer.

The board found Davenport ‘violated numerous department polices regarding use of force, ethical conduct, use of mobile recording equipment and assault’, according to the Tribune.

The report said that Davenport failed basic skills on how and when to use force, and ‘could not be trusted to use it properly in the future.’

Officers claimed in an incident report that Wright was driving erratically and tried to avoid being pulled over.

During the chase, they finally managed to spin her vehicle to a halt by hitting the back of her car and sandwiched it between two police cars.

Dash camera footage shows Davenport running up to Wright’s vehicle, shouting, ‘Get out of the car!’ and asking her to roll down the window; but she refused to let go of the steering wheel.

‘The suspect was still trying to escape, she had the accelerator floored and engine revving in an attempt to push our vehicles out of the way,’ Davenport wrote in the incident report.

It was then that the video shows him smashing the driver’s side window and beginning to punch the woman, striking her repeatedly in the head and face.

Another officer is seen pointing a Taser at the startled woman from the back window.

The shocking images were captured by the camera on the police vehicle dashboard were released by the Utah Department of Public Safety in January, 2011.

‘She refused to comply with commands to give us her hands’, Sergeant Davenport wrote in his police report.

‘Due to my close proximity to the suspect and my experience with Taser failure at such close distances, I delivered three close hand strikes to her head in an attempt to gain compliance with our commands.

‘I did this to distract and stun her and to stop her from trying to drive off and strike our vehicles or possibly run us over. The strikes worked and we were able to grab her hands,’ he added.

According to the board report, Davenport shut off his microphone during the incident, and did not give directions to troopers about how to approach the vehicle.

One trooper is seen jumping over the hood of Wright’s car with a handgun, pointing it at her with Davenport in the line of fire.

Another trooper pointed a Taser in Wright’s direction through the back passenger side window.

The board said that closed-fist punches were not encouraged in the force, although strikes with a forearm or open hand are viewed as acceptable in force is needed to get someone out of a vehicle.

Wright was taken into custody on suspicion of DUI, reckless driving, eluding police, resisting arrest and assault on a police officer. She was taken to hospital and required stitches.

The charges against her were dismissed in January, 2011; she reached a reported $25,000 out-of-court settlement with the state.

Davenport was employed by the Utah Highway Patrol as a trooper for ‘several years’ and was promoted to sergeant in 2007, according to the Tribune.

A spokesman for the board said the Utah Peace Officer Standards and Training Council was looking into Davenport’s conduct for possible decertification; however, no criminal charges have been filed.

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Mount Sterling Ohio Police Chief Mike McCoy Suspended And Force Disbanded After Nutcase Officer Scott O’Neil Twice Used Taser Weapon On 9 Year Old Victim Who Wouldn’t Put On His Shoes

March 12, 2012

MOUNT STERLING, OHIO – Officials in the Madison County village of Mount Sterling expect a packed house tonight when the village council meets for the first time since suspending Police Chief Mike McCoy and essentially disbanding the police force on Friday.

Mayor Charlie Neff issued the suspensions after he was told that a village police officer had shocked a 9-year-old boy with a Taser earlier in the week during an arrest. Neff said McCoy should have immediately reported the incident to Neff and council members. He did not.

Officer Scott O’Neil, who used the Taser twice Tuesday morning on 9-year-old Jared Perry, did not respond to calls on Friday for comment. Village officials, however, released a copy of O’Neil’s report this morning.

The sheriff’s office had requested an officer check the boy’s S. Market Street address on because there was an outstanding unruly juvenile complaint filed against him because he was truant from school.

According to O’Neil’s written account: He arrived at the home just before 8:30 a.m. to take the boy into custody. Jared refused to cooperate and wouldn’t put on his shoes to go with the officer. He begged his mother, Michelle Perry, to let him go to school rather than with the officer, but Perry told her son it was too late.

O’Neil wrote that after repeated warnings, he pulled Jared from the couch but the boy “ dropped to the floor and became dead weight … flailing around.” The officer wrote that Jared — who is listed as between 5 foot 5 and 5 foot 8 inches tall and between 200 and 250 pounds — laid on his hands to prevent being handcuffed.

The report indicates that O’Neil warned that he would use the Taser, and demonstrated the electrical current into the air “as a show of force” to gain the boy’s cooperation. He wrote that Jared’s mother was telling her son to do as O’Neil said or else he would be shocked.

O’Neil wrote that after he shocked Jared the first time, he still refused to cooperate and so he was shocked a second time.

It took both O’Neil and the boy’s mother to get Jared to his feet, once handcuffed. He was breathing heavily but uninjured, and Perry signed a waiver of medical treatment. Jared was taken to the sheriff’s office and charged with delinquency counts of unruliness for his truancy and resisting arrest. O’Neil wrote that Jared’s mother thanked him for his help.

O’Neil said that he immediately notified Chief McCoy about what had happened. McCoy has not publicly commented since his suspension. Perry has not been able to be reached for comment.

The Madison County sheriff’s office is patrolling the village while it all is sorted out. Council President Lowell Anderson said council will have to decide tonight whether to permanently disband the force.

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Los Angeles County California Deputy Sheriff Brutally Beat Special Needs Woman On Bus – Threatened Soldier Who Caught It On Video

January 11, 2012

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – When Jermaine Green and his fiancee Violet Roberts got on a Metro bus in Bellflower Monday night, they took notice of another passenger.

“The lady got on the bus with a stroller full of pillows, she was very polite, said hello to everyone and sat down,” Green said.

At the next stop, two LA County sheriff’s deputies, one male and one female, boarded the bus and called the passenger by name.

“They said get off the bus. She then started cursing at (the female deputy). You could tell she had special needs. After that they grab her, she curses him out, calls him a big shot, next thing you know he gives her a big shot,” Green said.

“It was like they were tired of dealing with her so they didn’t try to talk to her or anything,” Roberts said.

“I couldn’t believe it. He seen me taping. He looked up at the camera a few times, and he still hit her like that, and I can’t believe he didn’t try to diffuse the situation at all,” Green said.

Green recently returned home from serving six years in the Army, including tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan.

“In the Army, they gave us extensive training for rules of engagement. There’s proper protocols and steps you take. This lady didn’t do anything, she wasn’t combative and he actually turned combative on her,” Green said.

Green claims the deputies then tried to intimidate him when he refused to hand over his cell phone.

“He comes to me and says you can be under arrest if you don’t give me that video,” Green said.

Green said the deputy then asked if he had any warrants.

“I said no, I’m a veteran, I just came back, I have six years, I have no record, and he said ‘We’ll see about that.'”

Why didn’t Green want to hand over this video to the deputies involved?

“I think they would try to cover it up. I think a lot of things get covered up and people need to come forward if they see something, report it because it can’t be fixed unless it’s brought to the public’s attention,” Green said.

A sheriff’s department spokesman told NBCLA over the phone the department would not comment on this case and would not look at the videotape, but the spokesman said the department does investigate all use of force claims.

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Investigation By Feds Finds That Beatings At The Hands Of Seattle Washington Police Officers Are Routine And Widespread

December 16, 2011

SEATTLE, WASHINGTON – A federal civil-rights investigation into the Seattle Police Department has found routine and widespread use of excessive force by officers, and city and police officials were told at a stormy Thursday night meeting that they must fix the problems or face a federal lawsuit, according to two sources.

The meeting, attended by Mayor Mike McGinn, Police Chief John Diaz, members of his command staff and others, ended in raised voices and bitter accusations by city and police officials, upset at the Justice Department’s findings, the sources said. One source said the language in the agency’s report, to be officially released Friday, is “astoundingly critical” of the department.

Assistant Attorney General Thomas Perez, who heads the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, flew to Seattle from Phoenix on Thursday and will address a 9:30 a.m. Friday news conference alongside U.S. Attorney Jenny Durkan.

The sources confirmed the city will get a chance to work with the Justice Department to address the issues, or it will face a federal lawsuit that could result in fines, penalties and even the appointment of an outside special master to oversee the Police Department.

McGinn, reached Thursday night, declined to discuss the report until its official release. He disputed that the meeting was contentious.

Thomas Bates, the executive assistant U.S. attorney in Durkan’s office, confirmed the meeting but declined to characterize it or discuss the contents of the report.

Friday’s announcement comes 11 months after the Justice Department launched a preliminary review of Seattle police at the request of Durkan and others. Evidence uncovered in that review led to a full-scale civil-rights investigation, announced March 31, to examine whether Seattle police engaged in “systemic violations of the Constitution or federal law.”

The investigation focused on the use of force and allegations of biased policing against minorities.

Three weeks ago, the Justice Department issued a sharply worded letter urging the Police Department to immediately address a policy that allows officers to invoke their protections against self-incrimination in even the most routine use-of-force issues. Justice officials said the policy made prosecutions of errant officers difficult and undermined public confidence.

Last week, in response to the letter, Diaz ordered sweeping changes in how the Police Department develops standards and expectations of officers, and created new panels to monitor and oversee the use of force by police.

Diaz has invited the Department of Justice to participate in a top-down rewrite of his department’s policies and procedures.

The Department of Justice investigation is civil, not criminal. Its goal is to bring the Police Department in compliance with the Constitution and federal law if police practices are determined to be in violation. That could be done through a variety of means, ranging from a negotiated consent decree to a lawsuit.

The downtown King County Jail underwent a similar investigation in 2007 and the Justice Department required it to make significant changes in its care and treatment of inmates, under threat of a federal lawsuit.

Such investigations often take years to complete. The jail investigation lasted nearly two years.

Justice’s most recently announced findings, released Thursday and detailing widespread racial profiling by the Maricopa County, Ariz., Sheriff’s Office, took more than three years.

Perez announced the findings of the Arizona investigation via a conference call with reporters. He will announce the Seattle findings in person.

The FBI and Department of Justice investigators interviewed police officers, their commanders and citizens. Assistant Chief Jim Pugel, who was a liaison between Seattle Police and Justice, said the department turned over tens of thousands of documents.

Records show the Department of Justice also obtained dash-cam videos in connection with a number of use-of-force complaints.

The federal agency initiated its review in the wake of several highly publicized confrontations between officers and minority citizens, including the fatal shooting of First Nations woodcarver John T. Williams in August 2010 by Officer Ian Birk. The shooting was found to be unjustified and Birk resigned.

The shooting prompted a letter calling for the investigation, authored by the American Civil Liberties Union of Washington and endorsed by 34 community groups.

The Department of Justice has opened a criminal investigation into the Williams shooting. No charges have been filed.

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Hero To Zero: Douche-Bag University Of California Davis Police Officer John Pike “Honored For Service” Prior To Brutal Pepper Spray Attack On Peaceful Protesters

November 22, 2011

DAVIS, CALIFORNIA – The police officer who pepper-sprayed a row of peaceful Occupy Wall Street protesters at a California university last week is a retired U.S. Marine sergeant who has been honored for his police work on campus, but he also figured in a discrimination lawsuit against the university.

Lt. John Pike has risen swiftly through the ranks of the University of California, Davis, police force over the last decade. Now, as one of four lieutenants, the 39-year-old supervises more than one-third of the sworn officers on the suburban campus near Sacramento, including the investigations unit.

Linda Katehi, University of California, Davis Chancellor, says she was horrified by video showing students pepper-sprayed by a campus police officers. She also refused calls to resign. (Nov. 21)

Linda Katehi, University of California, Davis Chancellor, says she was horrified by video showing students pepper-sprayed by a campus police officers. She also refused calls to resign. (Nov. 21)

Footage of Pike and another officer clad in riot gear casually spraying an orange cloud at protesters’ heads has sparked national outrage since it began circulating online Friday night. Students gathered on campus Tuesday for the second time in as many days to condemn the violence, and they urged university officials to require police to attend sensitivity trainings.

Pike has twice been honored by the university for exceptional police work, including a 2006 incident in which he tackled a scissor-wielding hospital patient who was threatening fellow officers. Afterward, he said he decided against using pepper spray because it might harm his colleagues or other hospital patients.

But an alleged anti-gay slur by Pike also figured in a racial and sexual discrimination lawsuit a former police officer filed against the department, which ended in a $240,000 settlement in 2008. Officer Calvin Chang’s 2003 discrimination complaint against the university’s police chief and the UC Board of Regents alleged he was systematically marginalized as the result of anti-gay and racist attitudes on the force, and he specifically claimed Pike described him using a profane anti-gay epithet.

UC Davis Chancellor Linda Katehi identified Pike as one of the officers involved in the pepper-spray incident in an interview with the campus television station Sunday, and university communications staff confirmed his role Tuesday morning.

As the controversy over the spraying incident has grown, images of the lieutenant have become the subject of a popular blog, which features his image superimposed on famous paintings and spraying famous figures, from Gandhi to John F. Kennedy. The handcraft site Etsy.com also is selling a T-shirt emblazoned with Pike’s image but showing flowers coming out of his spray can.

Over the weekend, the hacker group Anonymous, which is affiliated with the Occupy Wall Street movement, posted on its website Pike’s phone number and other personal details.

Pike did not immediately return a message left Tuesday at a home address listed in Roseville, a Sacramento suburb.

Records show Pike joined the Marines in November 1989, and by the time he left, he had been promoted to sergeant.

In 2003, two years after Pike joined the campus police force, he received his first meritorious service award for using his patrol car to bump a suspect’s vehicle onto a local highway ramp, stopping the man from driving the wrong way.

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University Of California Probing Brutal Davis Campus Police Pepper Spray Attack On Peaceful Seated Protesters

November 20, 2011

DAVIS, CALIFORNIA – Under pressure to resign, the chancellor of the University of California, Davis, established a task force Saturday to look into an incident where a police officer sprayed seated protesters with pepper spray at point blank range.

Linda Katehi told CNN’s Don Lemon that she considered the police action on Friday “unacceptable,” but stressed she has no plans to step down.

“We really want to look into this very carefully and take action … make sure that it will never happen again on our campus,” she said.

Katehi said the task force made of faculty, students and staff will review the events and provide a report within 90 days.

“This report will help inform our policies and processes within the university administration and the Police Department to help us avoid similar outcomes in the future,” she said.

The campus protests were affiliated with the Occupy Wall Street movement.

One of the protesters hit by the spray told CNN’s Lemon that she was still feeling some after-effects Saturday evening.

“I was shocked,” said Sophia Kamran. “When students are sitting on the ground and no way of moving to be violent, being totally peaceful, I don’t understand the use of pepper spray against them.”

A campus police officer, in a sweeping motion, sprayed protesters point blank on Friday before other officers moved in.

Eleven people were treated on site for effects of the yellow spray. Two of them were sent to the hospital, university officials said.

The incident set off a flood of comments on the school’s Facebook page, most of them critical of police and the administration.

In response, Katehi first released a statement, then held a news conference Saturday.

“Yesterday was not a day that would make anyone on our campus proud,” Katehi said in her statement.

At the news conference, she called the use of pepper spray “chilling.”

“The use of pepper spray as shown on the video is chilling to us all and raises many questions about how best to handle situations like this,” she said.

But Katehi refused calls from faculty members and others for her to step down, saying she did not violate campus policies.

The Davis Faculty Association, citing incidents at other campuses, demanded “that the chancellors of the University of California cease using police violence to repress nonviolent political protests.”

It called for greater attention to cuts in state funding to education and rising tuition. Its board demanded Katehi resign, saying she exhibited “gross failure of leadership.”

Saturday evening, as Katehi left campus, dozens of students sat cross-legged and with their arms linked in a silent protest.

A reporter asked Katehi, “Do you still feel threatened by the students?”

“No,” she replied. “No.”

Time: Watch video of police pepper-spraying and arresting students

UC Davis spokeswoman Claudia Morain told CNN that 25 tents were in place Friday afternoon — despite fliers explaining the campus prohibits overnight camping. It does so for security and health reasons, Katehi said.

After written and verbal warnings, officers reminded the protesters they would be subject to arrest if they did not move their tents from the quad, Morain said. Many protesters did decide to remove their tents and equipment, officials said.

A group of about a dozen protesters sat on a path with their arms interlocked as police moved in to remove additional tents. Most of the protesters had their heads down.

At one point, protesters encircled the officers and blocked them from leaving, Morain said.

Cut off from backup, the officers determined the situation was not safe and asked people several times to make room, Morain said. One officer used pepper spray when a couple of protesters and some of the 200 bystanders moved in, she added.

A use of force review will “determine whether we made all the right decisions and handled it the way we should have handled it,” Annette Spicuzza, chief of campus police, told reporters.

Critics took issue with the college’s account, saying the seated protesters did not pose a threat to the officers.

“Without any provocation whatsoever, other than the bodies of these students sitting where they were on the ground, with their arms linked, police pepper-sprayed students” wrote Nathan Brown, an assistant professor in the college’s English Department, in an open letter to the chancellor.

He said that police then used batons to separate the students, kneeled on their bodies and pushed their heads to the ground.

“When students covered their eyes with their clothing, police forced open their mouths and pepper-sprayed down their throats,” Brown wrote.

He called on Katehi to resign.

“I call for your resignation because you are unfit to do your job. You are unfit to ensure the safety of students at UC Davis. In fact: you are the primary threat to the safety of students at UC Davis.”

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Violence Against Police Officers Up In Past Year

October 24, 2011

WASHINGTON, DC – The number of law enforcement officers who were killed nationwide have jumped nearly 17 percent.

Newly released statistics from the FBI show that 56 officers were murdered in the line of duty last year. That a jump from 48 in the previous year.

15 of the officers who were killed had been ambushed. 14 officers died as they attempted to make arrests. One was killed while transporting a prisoner.

All but one of the officers was killed with a gun. The other was killed with the attacker using a vehicle as a weapon.

The South saw the greatest number of killed officers with 22 of the felonious deaths.

Accidental deaths were also much higher last year. The 72 officers who were killed in accidents is a 50 percent increase over the previous year. The majority of the deaths involved automobile accidents.

The report also says that more than 53,000 officers were assaulted in the line of duty last year. The report did not cite prior assault statistics.

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California Prison System Software Errors Released 450 Prisoners At A High Risk For Violence By Mistake

May 27, 2011

SACRAMENTO, CALIFORNIA – Computer errors prompted California prison officials to mistakenly release an estimated 450 inmates with “a high risk for violence” as unsupervised parolees in a program meant to ease overcrowding, according to the state’s inspector general.

More than 1,000 additional prisoners presenting a high risk of committing drug crimes, property crimes and other offenses were also let out, officials said.

No attempt was made to return any of the offenders to state lockups or place them on supervised parole, said inspector general spokeswoman Renee Hansen.

All of the prisoners were placed on “non-revocable parole,” whose participants are not required to report to parole officers and can be sent back to prison only if caught committing a crime. The program was started in January 2010 for inmates judged to be at very low risk of reoffending, leaving parole agents free to focus on supervising higher-risk parolees.

The revelations come two days after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that California’s prisons are dangerously overcrowded and upheld an earlier order that state officials find a way to reduce the 143,335-inmate population by roughly 33,000. The state has two years to comply.

State Sen. Ted Lieu (D-Torrance), a former prosecutor who requested an investigation of the unsupervised-parole program, said the inspector general’s report “confirms my worst fears” about it.

Investigators reviewed case files for 200 of the 10,134 former inmates who were on non-revocable parole in July of last year. They found that 31 were not eligible, and nine of those were determined likely to commit violent crimes. The inspector general and corrections officials refused to identify the inmates who were released erroneously. They also would not specify what their original offenses had been.

Using the 15% error rate they found in their sample, investigators estimated that more than 450 violent inmates had been released during the first seven months of the program, the time period they reviewed. Prison officials have disputed the findings, saying they had corrected some of the computer problems discovered by the inspector general. The error rate is now 8%, the inspector general report says.

Gov. Jerry Brown’s plan to address overcrowding would shift tens of thousands of low-level offenders from prison to county custody. Counties would also supervise most low-risk parolees, like those in the non-revocable program.

But if the state can’t properly identify which inmates qualify for an unsupervised parole program, Lieu said on Wednesday, “how can the public have confidence they can release 33,000 felons safely?”

Under the law that created non-revocable parole, inmates are excluded if they are gang members, have committed sex crimes or violent felonies or have been determined to pose a high risk to reoffend based on an assessment of their records behind bars.

That’s where the problems begin, according to the inspector general. The computer program prison officials used to make that assessment does not access an inmate’s disciplinary history.

The program also relies on a state Department of Justice system that records arrests but is missing conviction information for nearly half of the state’s 16.4 million arrest records, according to the inspector general report.

Lee Seale, a deputy chief of staff for the California prisons, acknowledged that the corrections department’s computer system can’t access an inmate’s disciplinary record. But that information is reviewed manually by a member of his staff before prisoners are released, said spokesman Luis Patino.

Seale agreed that the missing conviction information from the Department of Justice database is a problem. “That presents a serious issue for the entire criminal justice system, every judge, every probation officer, every cop on the street trying to decide whether to arrest someone,” Seale said.

In July, a parolee named Javier Joseph Rueda, who had been classified a low-level offender and placed in the non-revocable program, opened fire on two Los Angeles police officers, hitting one in the arm. The police returned fire, killing Rueda.

Prison spokesman Oscar Hidalgo said Rueda had been properly classified. At the time, Hidalgo pointed out that the attack could have taken place even if Rueda had been checking in periodically with a parole agent.

“Supervised parole is not incarceration,” Hidalgo said.

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Orlando Florida Police Break “Upset” 84 Year Old Man’s Neck

September 26, 2010

ORLANDO, FLORIDA - The violent takedown that broke an 84-year-old man’s neck has the Orlando Police Department investigating its own training. Police Chief Val Demings announced Thursday they would consider changing training policies to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

The victim, Daniel Daley, who is hospitalized, is well enough to start talking again. Daley’s attorney says he is heavily-medicated, but has started talking.

In the meantime, the police department is in the process of filling out a lengthy defensive tactics form and will decide if changes need to be made. The department is changing its tune about the officer’s use of force against the 84-year-old man who suffered a broken neck during the takedown last week.

“This is a technique that we have done for years. Something definitely went wrong in this case,” Demings said.

Demings said seven supervisors will take a look at what happened and determine what changes need to be made.

Daley left a College Park bar upset that his car had been towed. Eyewitnesses said Officer Travis Lamont then slammed the elderly man onto the pavement.

Initially, police defended its officer’s use of force. A spokesperson said Daley was drunk and threatened the officers.

“An 84-year-old can kill officers too, can cold cock an officer in the face,” Sgt. Barb Jones said.

Chief Demings said initial reports show the officer applied the technique properly, but a review will determine what actually happened.

Dr. Richard Weinblatt of Cop Doc says the Orlando Police Department needs to review what happened and the agency should use the incident as a learning experience.

“The problem is not actual technique. The problem may be when it is applied,” he said.

The officer involved is currently on regular duty.

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