Morgan County Alabama Corrections Officer Joshua Coppinger Arrested And Charged With Sex With An Inmate

June 30, 2011

DECATUR, Alabama — A Morgan County corrections officer has been arrested after authorities believe he engaged in sexual conduct with an inmate, police said.

Joshua Coppinger, 32, was arrested on charges of sexual conduct with a person in custody and booked into the Morgan County Jail, said Sheriff Ana Franklin in a statement Thursday.

Coppinger was fired and arrested after an internal investigation, Franklin said. He has since been released on a $2,500 bond. No additional details about allegations were released.

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Massachusetts Jury Commissioner Decides That Dead Man Doesn’t Have To Serve Jury Duty

June 27, 2011

GEORGETOWN, MASSACHUSETTS – A Massachusetts man facing a criminal complaint for failing to appear for jury duty apparently had a good excuse.

He’s been dead for five years.

State Deputy Jury Commissioner John Cavanaugh said last week that the state will not proceed with serving a criminal complaint against Michael Wylie.

The late Georgetown resident was issued a notice to serve on jury duty five years ago but at the time he was in hospice care and had terminal cancer. He died a few months later but the commission continued to send letters about his failure to report.

Wylie’s family says they tried to tell authorities that he had died but officials say the family never sent a death certificate.

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Bogus Charges Dropped Against Woman Who Dared To Videotape Rochester New York Police From Her Front Yard

June 27, 2011

ROCHESTER, NEW YORK – The case against a Rochester woman arrested while videotaping police has been dismissed.

Early Monday afternoon, demonstrators rallied outside the Hall of Justice in support of Emily Good, the city woman who was arrested while videotaping police officers during a traffic stop on May 12 in front of her 19th Ward home.

Good kept recording police officers while standing in her front yard even though an officer ordered her several times go inside. She was charged with obstructing of governmental administration. Since then, the video from that night has made it onto news shows across the country.

Good’s attorney, Stephanie Stare, had asked for the charges to be dismissed. In court today, the District Attorney’s office says based on a review of the evidence, there was no legal basis to go forward. The charge was withdrawn and the judge dismissed the case.

Several of Good’s supporters who filled the small courtroom quietly cheered as the case was dismissed. They hugged her outside the courtroom and Good said “I think there are weaknesses in the brotherhood of the police, and they are not above the law.”

Good was asked if she would do it over again. “Yes, I would do it again. And I would encourage other people to do the same thing. Carry a camera. Stand your ground. Go to the seen of flashing lights and observe what’s going on. Keep a safe distance.”

News 10 NBC’s Ray Levato asked “Do you think there is racial profiling going on?” Good answered, “Everyday. Everyday. Absolutely.”

KaeLyn Rich, a spokeswoman for the Rochester office of the New York Civil Liberties Union afterwards called city police actions “a disgusting disregard for an individual’s First Amendment rights to videotape in public spaces. I hope we can repair the relationship between the community and the police by holding police accountable, and making sure police officers are getting the training they need to respect people’s constitutional rights.”

Supporter Rev. Willie Harvey of the Peace baptist Church said “the police did the wrong thing.”

City activist Howard Eagle, a spokesman for a Rochester anti-racism movement said “This case really is about racial profiling. That’s the reason why Emily Good grabbed her camera in the first place and began to record the activity of the police. She suspected that a young black man was being racially profiled.”

A joint statement issued by Mayor Tom Richards, City Council President Lovely Warren and Rochester Police Chief James Sheppard says they support the decision of the District Attorney’s Office to dismiss the charges against Good.

The statement says whatever the specific circumstances that led to Good’s arrest, they see no purpose in pursuing the criminal charges.

The statement continues, “We believe that the incident that led to Ms. Good’s arrest and the subsequent ticketing for parking violations of vehicles belonging to members of an organization associated with Ms. Good raise issues with respect to the conduct of Rochester Police Officers that require an internal review. A review into both matters has been initiated.”

“Police officers must be able to cope with a high degree of stress while performing oftentimes dangerous duties, relying on their training and experience to guide their behavior. As routine as a traffic stop may appear, it has proven over time to be a potentially dangerous activity for police. Nonetheless, police must conduct themselves with appropriate respect for the rights of those involved or who are observing their actions.”

“There is a mandated legal process that governs our internal response when police officer behavior is called into question. We must respect this process and that may be frustrating to those who may have already made up their mind about the outcome. We have confidence that the review will be fair and impartial and invite Ms. Good and anyone else with firsthand information to participate. We will withhold our judgment until the review is completed.”

“Whatever the outcome of the internal review, we want to make clear that it is not the policy or practice of the Rochester Police Department to prevent citizens from observing its activities – including photographing or videotaping – as long as it does not interfere with the safe conduct of those activities. It is also not the policy or practice of the Department to selectively enforce laws in response to the activities of a group or individual. This has always been the case and it is being reinforced within the Department, so that it will be abundantly clear to everyone.”

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Nutcase TSA Agents Harass Dying 95 Year Old Woman In Wheelchair For 45 Minutes At Florida Airport – Tell Her To Remove Adult Diaper For Search

June 26, 2011

FLORIDA – A woman has filed a complaint with federal authorities over how her elderly mother was treated at Northwest Florida Regional Airport last weekend.

Jean Weber of Destin filed a complaint with the Department of Homeland Security after her 95-year-old mother was detained and extensively searched last Saturday while trying to board a plane to fly to Michigan to be with family members during the final stages of her battle with leukemia.

Her mother, who was in a wheelchair, was asked to remove an adult diaper in order to complete a pat-down search.

“It’s something I couldn’t imagine happening on American soil,” Weber said Friday. “Here is my mother, 95 years old, 105 pounds, barely able to stand, and then this.”

Sari Koshetz, a spokeswoman for the Transportation Security Administration in Miami, said she could not comment on specific cases to protect the privacy of those involved.

“The TSA works with passengers to resolve any security alarms in a respectful and sensitive manner,” she said.

Weber’s mother entered the airport’s security checkpoint in a wheelchair because she was not stable enough to walk through, Weber said.

Wheelchairs trigger certain protocols, including pat-downs and possible swabbing for explosives, Koshetz said.

“During any part of the process, if there is an alarm, then we have to resolve that alarm,” she said.

Weber said she did not know whether her mother had triggered an alarm during the 45 minutes they were detained.

She said her mother was first pulled aside into a glass-partitioned area and patted down. Then she was taken to another room to protect her privacy during a more extensive search, Weber said.

Weber said she sat outside the room during the search.

She said security personnel then came out and told her they would need for her mother to remove her Depends diaper because it was soiled and was impeding their search.

Weber wheeled her mother into a bathroom, removed her diaper and returned. Her mother did not have another clean diaper with her, Weber said.

Weber said she wished there were less invasive search methods for an elderly person who is unable to walk through security gates.

“I don’t understand why they have to put them through that kind of procedure,” she said.

Koshetz said the procedures are the same for everyone to ensure national security.

“TSA cannot exempt any group from screening because we know from intelligence that there are terrorists out there that would then exploit that vulnerability,” she said.

Weber filed a complaint through Northwest Florida Regional’s website. She said she received a response from a Homeland Security representative at the airport on Tuesday and spoke to that person on the phone Wednesday.

The representative told her that personnel had followed procedures during the search, Weber said.

“Then I thought, if you’re just following rules and regulations, then the rules and regulations need to be changed,” she said.

Weber said she plans to file additional complaints next week.

“I’m not one to make waves, but dadgummit, this is wrong. People need to know. Next time it could be you.”

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Dumbass Texas Constables Raid Innocent Man’s Home, Let K-9 Chew On His Arm

June 19, 2011

Brandwynne “Brandie” Prespentt finished work at 3 p.m. June 10 and ran some errands. On the other side of town, a dog assigned to a Precinct 4 constable’s deputy was attacking her husband, Travis.

The incident, which led to an arm injury requiring 22 stitches, was the climax of a bizarre sequence of events that began when the couple’s neighbor, Tamara Denise White­side, phoned in a false report accusing Travis Prespentt of pistol-whipping and strangling his wife and dumping her in the back of his car.

Now Whiteside is in jail, Brandie Prespentt is alive and well, and the Prespentts are threatening to sue the constable’s office for what they call an unprovoked attack.

“If my children hadn’t been with my mother-in-law, what would have happened?” Brandie Prespentt asked. “And they never even apologized.”
Panic and confusion

While Travis Prespentt was cleaning his porch he noticed patrol cars downstairs, but he didn’t think they had anything to do with him.

When he went in for a beer, police had knocked down his door and ordered him to put his hands up. Prespentt said he did as they said, but deputies still sicced a dog on him.

As the dog chewed on Prespentt’s arm, he said, the officers demanded to know where “the female” was.

Prespentt, assuming they meant his dog, first tried to tell them that she was in a cage on the porch. Then he realized they were looking for his wife, and shouted that she was at the grocery store.

At one point his sister phoned the apartment. When officers answered, Prespentt’s sister immediately called his wife and told her to call her husband. Again, police answered the phone.
‘I was just freaking out’

After Brandie Prespentt explained who she was, an officer told her about the call they had gotten from her neighbor.

When she asked to talk to her husband, she said he was crying and screaming, “This dog chewed my arm off!”

“The dog threw me on the ground, and I just laid there watching the dog chew my arm,” Travis said. “I was just freaking out.”

Assistant Chief Deputy Mark Herman said deputies had to go to the apartment because of the serious nature of the neighbor’s call.

When the deputies arrived, they identified themselves and warned that they had a dog, Herman said.

“If we hadn’t gone, it would have been negligent,” he said. “These things happen.”

By the time Brandie Prespentt made it home, she said, her husband was covered in blood. He was taken to a hospital, where he received stitches on his arm and treatment for minor scratches.

Travis Prespentt said one of the deputy constables continuously accused him of punching the dog while he was being attacked. He has denied striking the dog, protesting that he is an animal lover.

Whiteside was charged with giving a false report and failure to show identification.

Travis Prespentt has not been able to go to work for the past week, which has hampered his ability to provide for his family and pay their hospital bills, he said.

“They just went on a rumor, and I think that’s uncalled-for,” he said. “I’ve never experienced anything like this in my life.”

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3 Baxter Springs Missouri Firefighters Fired For Looting Businesses Night Of May 22nd Joplin Tornado. Fire Chief Suspended Amid Investigation

June 18, 2011

JOPLIN, MISSOURI – Three firefighters are fired and the Baxter Springs fire chief is placed on administrative leave while an investigation is underway into the looting of Joplin businesses on the night of the May 22nd tornado.

In a statement from Baxter Springs Mayor Jennifer Bingham, she says the city of Baxter Springs upholds a zero-tolerance policy and as a city we will stand united against any such behavior.

It is unclear yet whether three unnamed firefighters were on duty at the time of the looting.

Last Saturday, Fire Chief Les Page was asked to take an administrative leave of absence.

Mayor Bingham says Page was not involved in the wrongdoings of the three firefighters. He has been with the department for nearly 40 years. In his absence Art Mallory has been named acting fire chief.

At this point Joplin authorities have not yet filed charges against the three firefighters.

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TSA Pressed By Lawmakers To Explain Racial Profiling At Newark Airport

June 18, 2011

WASHINGTON, DC — The Republican chairman and ranking Democrat on the House Homeland Security Committee said they want the head of the Transportation Security Administration to explain how racial profiling became a common practice among TSA screeners at Newark Liberty International Airport.

Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) and Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss) are both seeking answers from TSA Administrator John Pistole, after a federal report found several behavior detection officers, or BDOs, had singled out Mexican and Dominican passengers for special scrutiny, bag searches, questioning and document reviews in 2008 and 2009.

“We have been in contact with TSA. We are looking forward to hearing Administrator Pistole’s analysis,” King, who is from Long Island, said in a statement “After that, we will determine our course of action.”

Thompson said the report confirmed his fears the TSA’s Screening of Passengers by Observation Techniques, or SPOT program, was vulnerable to manipulation or abuse.

“TSA should halt the SPOT program immediately until safeguards are put into place to address racial and ethnic profiling concerns,” Thompson said in a statement. “I will write TSA and request to see this internal report.”

The Star-Ledger obtained a copy of the January 2010 report and broke the news of its findings on Sunday.

The report, which was ordered by Newark’s former TSA director in the wake of complaints from BDOs, said passengers found to have lapsed visas or expired passports would be referred for additional screening or turned over to immigration officials. It was an easy way, the report said, for the behavior detection unit to boost its referrals and appear productive.

The group of managers and BDOs who engaged in racial profiling were dubbed “the Great Mexican Hunters” by other TSA employees at the airport.

Racial profiling violates official TSA policy and courts have found it unconstitutional in other contexts, including traffic stops on the New Jersey Turnpike, a situation that led to federal monitoring of the State Police until last February.

The TSA acknowledged the report’s findings, but insisted Newark’s BDOs have been retrained and steps taken to prevent the practice from resurfacing.

A behavior detection manager demoted as a result of the report’s findings denied that racial profiling went on at the airport. He said managers cited in the report were the victims of false allegations by disgruntled subordinates, and that he was singled out as a scapegoat.

Rep. Rush Holt (D-12th Dist.), a frequent critic of the TSA’s use of full-body scanners, said he had cautioned Pistole to guard against racial profiling in the past.

“No one should have to fear unlawful detention or inspection based solely on the color of their skin,” Holt said in a statement.

Ed Borocas, legal director of the ACLU of New Jersey, called the revelations in the report “deeply troubling.” William Buckman, a lawyer who helped to overturn scores of drug convictions obtained through racial profiling on the turnpike, said he was not surprised by the report’s findings.

“I’ve heard many anecdotal complaints about that,” Buckman said. Whether used by troopers or airport screeners, Buckman said, “Racial profiling seems to be a fallback position to produce statistics.”

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