Federal Civil Lawsuit Filed After Man With 4th Amendment Written On Chest Was Arrested On Bogus Charges By Richmond Virginia TSA Agents

March 17, 2011

RICHMOND, VIRGINIA – A 21-year-old Virginia man who wrote an abbreviated version of the Fourth Amendment on his body and stripped to his shorts at an airport security screening area is demanding $250,000 in damages for being detained on a disorderly conduct charge.

Aaron Tobey claims in a civil rights lawsuit (.pdf) that in December he was handcuffed and held for about 90 minutes by the Transportation Security Administration at the Richmond International Airport after he began removing his clothing to display on his chest a magic-marker protest of airport security measures.

“Amendment 4: The right of the people to be secure against unreasonable searches and seizures shall not be violated,” his chest and gut read.

The University of Cincinnati student didn’t want to go through the advanced imaging technology X-ray machines that are cropping up at airports nationwide. Instead, when it was his turn to be screened, he was going to opt for an intrusive pat-down — and remove most of his clothing in the process.

“He went there knowing he would not do the advanced imaging and do the pat-down instead,” his attorney, James Knicely, said in a telephone interview. “He was making it easy for them and in the process he wanted to communicate his objection for doing so.”

Among other things, the federal lawsuit claims wrongful detention and a breach of the First Amendment and Fourth Amendment. “He was held there for 90 minutes, and handcuffed behind his back,” Knicely said.

Tobey was on his way to Wisconsin for his grandmother’s funeral. Despite his detainment, he made his flight.

According to the suit, while under interrogation on December 30, the authorities wanted to know “about his affiliation with, or knowledge of, any terrorist organizations, if he had been asked to do what he did by any third party, and what his intentions and goals were.”

Two weeks later, Henrico County prosecutors dropped the misdemeanor charge.

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Audio File Surfaces Of Man Being Beaten By Westland Michigan Police Officers Michael Little And Kyle Dawley – Faced Bogus Charges And Was Convicted Of One

January 31, 2011

WESTLAND, MICHIGAN – An attorney plans to use an inadvertent 21-minute recording from an officer’s lapel microphone as grounds to overturn a misdemeanor conviction against a husband who allegedly was beaten by officers trying to mediate a dispute between the man and his wife.

The husband, Jeffrey Kodlowski, suspected his wife of cheating and initiated the March 18, 2009, incident when he took her cell phone in an attempt to prove her infidelity. Marlyn Kodlowski then began a series of phone calls to police that led to the arrival of officers Michael Little and Kyle Dawley to the Kodlowski residence on South Hanlon Street.

Jeffrey Kodlowski’s attorney, Joseph Corriveau, says the recording, captured by Little’s lapel microphone, shows the police overreached their authority and allegedly attacked his client, who was charged with assaulting the officers; he was acquitted of the assault charge and found guilty of resisting arrest.

Although assaulting a police officer is a felony in Michigan, Westland officials did not submit the case to the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office for review; instead, Kodlowski was charged in 29th District Court under city code violations of assault and resisting arrest.

“The audio shows these officers clearly stepped over the line,” said Corriveau, who filed a motion with the Michigan Court of Appeals in December, after Wayne Circuit Judge Craig Strong refused to hear the case on appeal.

“If the microphone hadn’t been on, this would’ve been just a ‘he said, she said’ situation. But the audio tells the story,” the attorney said.

Corriveau said he also plans to file a civil lawsuit against the police seeking damages for the beating, but is waiting to see how the appeal plays out first.

“(District Judge Mark McConnell) didn’t allow photos of my client’s injuries, or any mention of the beating these officers gave him,” Corriveau said. “The judge also wouldn’t let the jury see a transcript of the audio.”

Westland Deputy Chief Daniel Karrick said he couldn’t comment on the case because it was still being adjudicated, although he said there’s nothing unusual about trying assault cases against officers in district court.

“Most of those cases are charged as misdemeanors,” Karrick said. “I’d say 99 percent of our cases are charged that way.”
“Try to make me leave.”

The incident began at 4:01 a.m., when Marlyn Kodlowski called the Westland Police Department claiming her husband had taken her cell phone and car keys and wouldn’t allow her to leave the house. The desk officer asked to talk to her husband; Jeffrey Kodlowski told the officer, “There’s no fight, like hitting or nothing.”

“Let me ask you this — how come you won’t let her have the keys to leave?” the officer asked. Jeffrey Kodlowski agreed to give his wife the car keys, and the officer hung up.

Marlyn Kodlowski again called police at 4:12 a.m.

Little and Dawley arrived at 4:17 a.m. to find the woman sitting in her van outside the home. She told the officers her husband had handed over her keys and purse, but would not give up the cell phone. “He thinks I’m cheating on him,” she said.

She told the officers she planned to go to her sister’s house.

Corriveau said “it was obvious Mrs. Kodlowski was free to leave” when the police arrived. “At that point, they should have just left,” Corriveau said.

The officers instead entered the house and are heard ordering Jeffrey Kodlowski to give the cell phone to his wife. He refused.

“You don’t believe me or nothing I say; what because I’m the dude here?” he asked.

“You’re a loudmouth; you’re acting like a jerk,” Dawley said.

“Loudmouth? You’re in my house; no one’s yelling at you,” Jeffrey Kodlowski replied. “You come off with this pumping the chest and throwing your authority at me for nothing, dude. You have no right to sit here over a phone.”

“Because you’re acting like a jerk,” Dawley said.

“OK, well, I will act like a jerk and be quiet,” the husband said. “You have no right to sit here over a phone.”

Dawley cut him off: “Try to make me leave your house. Go for it.”

Jeffrey Kodlowski twice informed the officers that he’d had an operation for a brain aneurysm.
“Let’s take him.”

At one point, Marlyn Kodlowski and the officers tried to use her husband’s wallet as a bargaining chip to get Jeffrey Kodlowski to give up the phone.

Again he refused, saying he wanted to learn the code so he could see who his wife had been calling.

Jeffrey Kodlowski is later heard saying, “I’m the victim. I asked you guys to please leave; she’s got the keys to the car, she wants to leave. I talked to an officer on the phone; he said ‘Just give her the keys and go.'”

A few minutes later, Marlyn Kodlowski says she wants to leave. Her husband is heard saying, “I’m curious . . . this is my wallet there?”

“Don’t touch me,” Little said.

The officers later would say Jeffrey Kodlowski had spun Little around when he touched him, but no struggle is heard on the audio. Instead, Kodlowski apologizes twice.

Dawley then says to his partner, “You know what? Let’s take him. (Expletive) him.”

The sounds of a struggle are heard. “Nobody is touching him . . . I was pointing,” Jeffrey Kodlowski says.

“Don’t resist,” Dawley says.

The husband screams, “Man, dude. Ow, ow!”

“Stop resisting,” Dawley says.

“I ain’t doing nothing,” Kodlowski says. “He punched me in the face.”

Marlyn Kodlowski then begs the officers, “Stop, stop. My son is outside.”

“Go outside with your son,” Little says.

“Don’t touch him,” Marlyn Kodlowski says. “You guys, stop. Oh please, you guys.”

When the struggle was over, Jeffrey Kodlowski was bleeding profusely from a huge gash in his head, and is allegedly rushed to Annapolis Hospital.

Curt Benson, a professor at Cooley School of Law, said police officers are required to leave a private residence once they determine no crime has been committed, even if they were invited inside.

“If they believe someone has committed a crime, they can make an arrest,” he said. “But in a case like this, if they weren’t sure who owned the phone, as long as there was no evidence of a crime, they should have told them to talk to a lawyer. They’re required to leave if they’re asked to leave and there’s no crime.

“The problem is, some people use the police as arbitrators in family squabbles,” Benson said. “The police know that, and their job is to de-escalate the situation. It doesn’t sound like that’s what happened here.”

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Lawsuit Charges New York City Police Officers With Arresting Man For Stealing His Own Car

January 25, 2011

BRONX, NEW YORK – A Bronx man arrested in front of his kids for “stealing” his own car is suing the NYPD for $1 million.

Jamieson Prince, 43, says cops swarmed his 2007 GMC Yukon and cuffed him as he prepared to drive his daughters to school on Nov. 11 – even though he had papers proving ownership.

“I told them it was a mixup and proved to them I owned the car, but they wouldn’t listen,” Prince, a Norwood resident, told the Daily News.

“My little girls saw me arrested over nothing. It was so painful and humiliating.”

Prince explained to the officers that his 23-year-old son had borrowed the SUV in July and fled from a crash in Harlem – leading to the son’s arrest.

Cops say he hit a pedestrian and they seized the Yukon as part of that investigation.

When the elder Prince went to the 28th Precinct stationhouse to retrieve his SUV, police couldn’t find it, according to court papers.

“They had absolutely no idea what happened to it,” said Prince, an MTA track worker. “It had disappeared.”

An NYPD spokesman confirmed Monday that the Yukon was stolen around 2 a.m. on July 7.

Four months later, Prince says, he found the Yukon, parked three blocks from the stationhouse.

He drove off, thinking everything was okay, but cops rolled up to his home and arrested him a week later – accusing him of removing police property without permission.

“How can the NYPD just confiscate property, lose it, then arrest you for possessing it?” said Prince. “It’s totally wrong. I want an apology.”

Prince’s lawyer Neil Wollerstein said a rogue police employee may have improperly used the SUV, leading to its disappearance.

“You can’t lose a 5-ton truck,” said Wollerstein. “Either they’re completely incompetent or someone was up to no good.”

The charges against Prince were dropped Jan. 12.

“I just want my daughters to know their father didn’t break the law,” he said.

“This turned my world upside down.”

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A-Hole Maryland Natural Resources Police Officer Issues Bogus Tickets To Good Samaritans Who Rescued Deer From Icy Water

December 17, 2010

BALTIMORE COUNTY, MARYLAND – They fought to save a life, and now they say they’ll fight the fine.

It all revolves around the rescue of a deer trapped in icy water Thursday night.

Alex DeMetrick reports that good deed was rewarded with tickets.

Strangers banded together to pull a deer out of the freezing water of the Patapsco River on Thursday night.

“We seen the deer going under,” said Khalil Abusakran. “It couldn’t maintain. It was starting to freeze, and it was really getting bad.”

Abusakran brought a raft, and Jim Hart joined him.

“We had oars and shovels to break the ice, for the deer to get out,” Abusakran said.

But in the excited aftermath of the rescue, a natural resources police officer on the scene wrote both men a ticket.

“And he didn’t say anything,” Jim Hart said. “We went in and out of the water numerous times. He didn’t stop us at all.”

They say they were ticketed for not wearing life vests, although both are over the age for mandatory use of flotation devices.

“No, we didn’t have vests on, but we’re not 16 years old,” Abusakran said. “There were personal floating devices on the boat.”

The ticket itself doesn’t check off any specific violation, just a $90 fine.

They’ll fight it in court, as they fought for the deer.

The two men ticketed say they will fight the citations at the court hearing in Annapolis set for Feb. 18.

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Crazed NY Sanitation Agent Charged Elderly Woman With Throwing A Newspaper In A Trash Can

December 8, 2010

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – What a bunch of garbage!

An elderly Manhattan woman living on Social Security was slapped with a $100 ticket — just for throwing away a newspaper in a city trash can.

Delia Gluckin, 80, tossed the paper in a bin right outside her Inwood apartment building Sunday morning, only to be ambushed by an overzealous Department of Sanitation agent wielding a citation book.

“I was walking to take the subway downtown and dropped it in a trash can, and this lady in a blue uniform ran up to me,” Gluckin told The Post.

“I thought she was going to ask for directions. She said, ‘You just dropped garbage in there,’ ” according to Gluckin.
LITTER OF THE LAW: Delia Gluckin, 80, got a $100 trash ticket when she threw a newspaper away.
Matthew McDermott
LITTER OF THE LAW: Delia Gluckin, 80, got a $100 trash ticket when she threw a newspaper away.

“I said, ‘I didn’t, it was just a newspaper,’ and I offered to take it out,” said Gluckin, who had tossed her Sunday Post out.

Sanit cop Kathy Castro wrote Gluckin the summons for putting “improper refuse” in a city litter basket.

“She acted as if I had a committed a crime,” said the outraged octogenarian.

“I said, ‘Look, lady, I’m a senior citizen . . . I’ll just take it back.’ I even said to her, ‘Am I your first customer of the day? I really felt intimidated . . . I have a feeling she just wanted to make her quota.”

The green mesh can, at the corner of Beak Street and Seaman Avenue, is marked with signs that read “litter only” and “no household trash.”

In a statement, Sanitation admitted, “Being fined for tossing a newspaper into a basket is odd.

“Too many apartment dwellers use the corner litter basket as their personal household dumping site.”

Gluckin said she’ll fight the fine.

“I was never in trouble with anybody,” she said. “I’m on a fixed income; I would have to sacrifice to pay the fine. And if I don’t pay in 10 days, they up it to $300.”

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Bogus Murder Charge Dropped After Farmington Hills Michigan Prosecutors Read Autopsy Report

September 30, 2010

FARMINGTON HILLS, MICHIGAN – Prosecutors who received an unexpected autopsy result dropped a murder charge Wednesday against a woman who had been accused of killing her ailing husband as a result of a botched at-home medical procedure.

Authorities cautioned, however, that Laura Johnson isn’t in the clear. They plan to take hospital records and autopsy results to experts for another opinion on the strange death of lawyer Lloyd Johnson.

Nonetheless, the dismissal of charges was a victory for Laura Johnson, a week after her 47-year-old husband died at a suburban Detroit hospital.

“We’re relieved it’s over,” defense attorney John Williams said as he accompanied Johnson on a courthouse elevator.

Johnson, 46, declined to comment as she dabbed her eyes and walked with a cane.

Police found a large pool of blood in Lloyd Johnson’s bed, as well as surgical gear and jars of suspected human tissue in the couple’s home. The Oakland County prosecutor last week filed charges of second-degree murder, manslaughter and unlawful practice of medicine against his widow.

But on Tuesday medical examiner L.J. Dragovic said Johnson’s death was not a homicide. He said it was an accident due to an open wound on his lower back from an old boating injury that hadn’t healed. Dragovic noted other factors: Johnson weighed 413 pounds and had diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cirrhosis and other ailments.

In asking a judge to dismiss the charges, assistant prosecutor Paul Walton explained why they were filed. He said Lloyd Johnson, although unable to speak, nodded affirmatively when asked at Botsford Hospital if his wife had performed surgery on him.

“The patient’s father, mother as well as son believe that the wife is trying to intentionally harm the patient by … giving him extra medication as well as performing unnecessary procedures,” Walton said, quoting a medical report.

Laura Johnson told one of Lloyd Johnson’s children that she thought she had killed him, Walton said.

Outside court, the prosecutor said he doesn’t believe Laura Johnson intended to kill her husband but the second-degree murder charge is appropriate when authorities find a “disregard for human life.”

Walton said it’s sometimes filed, for example, in cases of death caused by a drunken driver.

“You have a victim that has compromised health,” Walton said of Lloyd Johnson. “You have an individual who has committed some type of act that furthers the deterioration of health. … There was a tremendous amount of loss of blood.”

Johnson’s lawyer has said she had provided wound care for two years and was “vindicated” by the medical examiner’s findings.

Walton addressed criticism that the prosecutor’s office was too quick to charge Laura Johnson before the autopsy results were in. He said police had much evidence and authorities also were concerned about her fleeing with her two young sons. She was arrested at a school last week.

“That starts the clock ticking for us,” Walton said.

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Charlotte County Florida Issued Warrant For Innocent Woman Who Was Arrested And Jailed For Nothing

September 7, 2010

Kimberly Shields, a 23-year-old manicurist from Winter Park, was in tears. She was locked up in the Seminole County Jail, strip searched, deloused, and she had no business being there.

A small-time thief with a cocaine addiction had stolen her identity, stolen a car, then confused authorities in Charlotte County, who issued an arrest warrant that landed Shields in jail in Sanford in 2002.

She kept telling jailers they had the wrong person. They checked, found a photo of the real thief, acknowledged that she was the wrong person but still held her for several more hours.

How much longer is in dispute. It was at least an additional 24 hours, if you believe Shields, Seminole Sheriff’s Office fax records and phone records from Charlotte County.

It was four to seven hours, if you believe the Sheriff’s Office employee who discovered the error.

Shields is suing the Seminole Sheriff’s Office, alleging false imprisonment and negligence. There’s a pretrial conference today. The case is tentatively set for trial Sept. 27.

“I was held there when they knew it was not me, then I was strip searched and treated like one of the inmates,” said Shields.

How was the Sheriff’s Office negligent?

It failed to follow its own policies, according her attorneys, Crystal Eiffert and Melissa Mak. When employee Kelley Brunelle discovered the jail had the wrong person, it should have called the Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office to find out whether Charlotte still wanted her extradited.

Defense attorney Tom Poulton said Shields is due no money. The Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office is to blame, he said.

Instead of suing Seminole, Shields should thank its employees for “doing a great job,” discovering the error and turning their findings over to a judge, who ordered her release April 25, 2002, the day after her arrest, Poulton said.

The woman Charlotte County really wanted was Shannon McGuire. She and Shields had similar features. Shields was 5-feet-6 and weighed 120 pounds. McGuire was 5-feet-4 and 135 pounds. Both women have hazel eyes.

But the day Shields was jailed, McGuire was in a state prison near Ocala, serving an eight-year sentence for a string of crimes in Pinellas County.

Charlotte County issued its warrant because McGuire, while living near Port Charlotte and using Shields’ identity, stole a 1987 Plymouth. She was arrested by Charlotte County deputies later that day and gave Shields’ name.

She was charged with auto theft, pleaded no contest and was placed on three years’ probation, all while pretending to be Shields. Her probation officer knew her as Kimberly Shields.

McGuire is now 38, and has been in and out of Florida prisons four times, according to records at the Florida Department of Corrections.

Shields, now 32, has since married — her last name is now Hesketh — and she has two young children. She has never met McGuire, she said. She doesn’t know how McGuire got her name.

Identity theft can do a great deal more damage than wreck your credit, she said.

“Jail is not fun. I’d hate for anyone to have to go there, especially if you know you’re innocent,” Shields said.

Whether Shields was knowingly held overnight is irrelevant, Poulton argued. Only a judge can release someone named in a warrant, he said, and the Sheriff’s Office put the facts in front of a judge quickly enough, just before 1:30 p.m. the next day.

But in July, in an unrelated case, when it wanted an inmate freed, its lawyer moved swiftly, put paperwork in front of a judge that same day, and the teenager was released. At midmorning, a judge had sentenced a 16-year-old boy to adult jail — something that’s illegal. When the Sheriff’s Office general counsel found out, she quickly drafted a two-page motion, pointing out the error, got a judge to sign an order, and the boy was set free.

Shields also contends that she should have been set free as soon as Seminole County Judge Carmine Bravo ordered her release around 2 p.m. She wasn’t. She was handcuffed, led from the courtroom and held for another three to 3 1/2 hours.

Poulton said it takes several hours for jail employees to run through all their checks and process out an inmate. Shields, he said, was treated no differently than anyone else.

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Video Catches Tory New York Police Beating Student – Police Charge Man Who Recorded Incident For Drinking And Failing To “Disperse” From His Own Property

August 31, 2010

TROY, NEW YORK – A disturbance on 15th Street early Sunday ended with what eyewitnesses called the beating of a Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute student by police — an incident now making the rounds on the video website YouTube.

The fuzzy video purports to depict an altercation between Troy police officers and Luis M. Lluberes, 21, who was subsequently arrested for disorderly conduct, harassment and resisting arrest. Police reports indicate Lluberes was among a group of men in a fight that police were attempting to break up around midnight when Lluberes allegedly pushed Officer Brandon Cipperly with two hands, triggering an altercation with police that ended with his arrest.

The incident was witnessed by members of an RPI fraternity who claim they saw an officer strike Lluberes in the head repeatedly with a baton.

Police Chief John Tedesco said accusations of brutality are baseless and noted the poor quality of the video, which he said he reviewed along with all related police reports.

“I can’t make out anything in the video. I can’t even tell that they’re Troy police officers,” he said. “At this point, we are standing behind the actions of the officers.”

No complaint has been filed with the department, and while Tedesco said he is personally looking into the incident, no official investigation is under way.

Lluberes, a native of Guilford, Conn., who resides at 22 Detroit Ave., declined to discuss the specifics of what happened on the night on question.

“At this time I feel I can’t make comments regarding what happened Saturday night. I am very upset about the whole ordeal and hope that what happened that night does not get skewed as more people start hearing the story,” he wrote in response to an inquiry made through the social networking site Facebook.

He said he would be seeking legal advice and is embarrassed about the whole ordeal.

“I am trying my hardest to keep this event low-key so that the outcome is a fair and just one,” Lluberes wrote.

The video was filmed by Nicholas Nigro, an RPI student and a member of Sigma Phi Epsilon. At the conclusion of the 94-second video, a police officer approaches the camera and appears to close a door on Nigro, who protests and says he is standing inside his own house.

“Get in your house. Goodbye,” the officer can be heard saying.

Nigro, 25, was subsequently arrested and charged with disorderly conduct and possessing an open container, which are both violations that resulted in a ticket being issued. Tedesco said the disorderly conduct count was for “failure to disperse” as ordered by an officer.

Dillon Mysliwiec, a member of Nigro’s fraternity, said the officers were beating Lluberes with their batons — including several strikes to the back of the head — and left a trail of blood on the sidewalk they later washed up.

Lluberes, however, declined medical treatment once taken to the Troy police station, according to reports filed by the officers on the scene.

Sgt. Terry Buchanan, the police department’s spokes-man, said procedure calls for using a baton to achieve “the minimum force necessary to affect an arrest” or to protect the safety of officers or bystanders.

Officers are required to file separate reports when force is used, Tedesco said, and upon review of those reports he concluded that the officers acted appropriately in dealing with a person he said was intoxicated and violent.

“The officer appropriately defended himself,” Tedesco said.

He said it took at least three officers to subdue Lluberes, who he said “put up quite a fight” and attempted to take a baton from an officer. He would not name the officers involved, but the arrest report for Lluberes indicates the arrest was made by officers Cipperly, Charles Castle, William Fitch and Justin Ashe.

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Swedish Government, Police, And Others Target Wikileaks Website Founder With Bogus Allegations And Criminal Charges

August 28, 2010

SWEDEN – WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been interrogated by police in Sweden, where he is facing molestation allegations, his lawyer said Tuesday, adding he expected the charges to be dropped.

Leif Silbersky, one of Sweden’s top defence attorneys, said police had questioned his client in his presence for about an hour Monday evening and that the interrogation went “very well.”

“I expect the prosecutor will drop the whole thing,” he told AFP.

A Swedish duty prosecutor issued an arrest warrant for Assange on the evening of Friday, August 20 over an allegation of rape but chief prosecutor Eva Finne abruptly withdrew it the next day, saying new information had come to light.

Then last week, Finne said there was no reason to believe a crime had been committed in that case, but said she had enough evidence to continue probing a molestation allegation from another woman against the 39-year-old Australian.

“The whole story is very bizarre,” Silbersky lamented Tuesday, pointing out that his client had faced “different prosecutors and different charges that have now basically boiled down to nothing.”

The lawyer of the two women who have made the accusations against Assange meanwhile said last Friday he had appealed the prosecutor’s decision not to open a rape probe.

Assange himself has said the allegations against him are part of a “smear campaign” aimed at discrediting his whistleblowing website, which is locked in a row with the Pentagon over the release of secret US documents about the war in Afghanistan.

WikiLeaks published nearly 77,000 classified US military documents on the war in Afghanistan on July 23 and has said it will publish another 15,000 within the next week or so.

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Portsmouth New Hampshire Judge Stops Criminal Trial And Blasts City Prosecutor For Defective Complaint Again Man

August 24, 2010

PORTSMOUTH, NEW HAMPSHIRE – An hour-long trial when Justin Hunt, 24, was accused of stealing a $10.99 bottle of vodka ended Tuesday with Judge Sawako Gardner scolding the city’s police prosecutor for filing “defective” legal complaints with the court.

Hunt, of Portsmouth, was on trial for a charge alleging he went into the state liquor store on Islington Street, slipped a bottle of vodka into his sleeve and walked past the cash registers before being stopped by employees. Store manager Robert Coleman testified that Hunt stole the liquor on May 19, “ran off and we grabbed him.”

“He never left the store?” Hunt’s attorney Joe Malfitani asked.

“No, we wouldn’t let him,” said Coleman.

A second liquor store employee, Daniel Wiseman, said Hunt pushed him and was restrained after he pulled the vodka bottle from his sleeve “right in front of me.”

After the witnesses testified, Malfitani told the court the charge alleging Hunt committed the crime of wilful concealment should be dismissed because police filed the complaint with language alleging he committed a theft. Prosecutor Karl Durand told the court that the complaint had been filed properly, while the judge disagreed.

“Why doesn’t the state look at the complaints before you go to trial,” she said. “It’s so simple. The complaint is obviously defective, witnesses took time out of their day to be here and this is not the first time a complaint has been defective.”

The judge said Hunt’s charge was “so defective” she believed she would have to dismiss it in spite of evidence that Hunt was guilty of a crime. Instead, the judge gave both sides 10 days to file further motions.

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Crazed Indianapolis Indiana Police Harass And Arrest Man On Private Property For Having Sagging Pants

August 18, 2010

INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA – An Indiana man was arrested last night after cops spotted him with his pants “pulled down to his knees” and his boxer shorts exposed.

Demetrius Russ, 21, was sitting on top of an electrical box talking on his phone when approached by cop Daniel Green. According to an Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department report, after Russ ignored Green’s repeated requests to provide ID, he announced, “You can’t ask me for shit.” Green reported telling Russ that he was “sitting on private property with his pants pulled down on top of an electrical box.”

Russ’s perch can be seen in this Google Street View photo.

When Green asked why his pants were so droopy, Russ noted that he “was just swagging.” The officer replied that, “swagging did not involve exposing your genitals through your boxers because your pants were pulled down all the way.” The term “swagging” generally refers to getting your drink on.

During his interaction with Green, a “belligerent” Russ allegedly cursed frequently and called the cop “nigga and muthafucker on several occasions.” While police contended that Russ appeared drunk, he claimed to have only consumed “one 40 ounce.”

Russ, pictured in the above mug shot, was charged with public intoxication and disorderly conduct, since Indiana’s criminal codes apparently have yet to codify the offense of having one’s pants on the ground. (2 pages)

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Dumbass Buffalo New York Police Admit Man They Arrested For Restaurant Murders Is Innocent – Police Are Finally Looking For Witnesses

August 16, 2010

BUFFALO, N.Y. – Charges were dropped in Buffalo City Court Sunday morning against a Buffalo man who was charged with murder following the shooting outside a downtown Buffalo restaurant early Saturday morning that killed four people and injured four others.

Buffalo Police admitted on Sunday the man they arrested, Keith Johnson, 25, was not the man who shot the victims. Buffalo Police Commissioner Daniel Derenda said he “apologized” for the mistake but added Johnson was “less than truthful” when interviewed by police on Saturday.

Erie County District Attorney Frank Sedita said photographic evidence collected by Buffalo Police late Saturday night has led them to believe the wrong person may be in custody.

Sedita said new information came to light following Saturday’s press conferences and requests that witnesses come forward.

In court Sunday morning, which was closed to cameras, Erie County District Attorney Frank Sedita said “the suspect’s information was developed matching this individual [Johnson]. Police put information in the computer which generated a photo which a witness identified as the defendant [Johnson].”

Sedita also said, “within hours of yesterday’s press conference, calls came into the Buffalo Police Department indicating Johnson was not the shooter.”

The District Attorney concluded by saying, “I’m not going to prosecute someone unless I’m absolutely sure he did it and I’m not sure he did it.”

Johnson, who sat in court this morning wearing an orange jumpsuit, is still in police custody on a parole violation. Because Johnson was recently released from prison less than two weeks ago, he was not allowed to be in a bar, which police say he was on Saturday.

Buffalo Police Commissioner Daniel Derenda say they have had witnesses come forward and are pursing leads to find the shooter.

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New York City Police Officer Daniel Chu Caught Making Emergency Run To Get Coffee At Dunkin Donuts, Writes Bogus Tickets For City Councilman Who Caught Him – Cop Has History Of Being A Nutcase

June 20, 2010

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – NYC Councilman Daniel Halloran says NYPD Traffic Officer Daniel Chu used his red light and swerved through a Queens neighborhood at high speeds – all in a rush to get a coffee at Dunkin Donuts!
A traffic officer is under investigation, accused of acting above the law.

It all began when a city councilman allegedly caught the agent doing something extremely illegal: using his flashing red lights, and speeding, to buy coffee!

It wasn’t a red light camera, but a red-haired councilman who caught traffic agent Daniel Chu red-handed, waltzing out of a Dunkin Donuts the other day with a cup of coffee.

“He is livid,” City Councilman Daniel Halloran said.

Chu apparently didn’t like being caught on candid camera, so he whipped out his ticket book and handed the councilman a $165 ticket for what Halloran says are trumped-up charges.

“He says, ‘you’re going to take pictures of me? Well, I’m going to write you a summons,'” Halloran said.

But that’s only part of the story. A few minutes earlier, Councilman Halloran decided to follow Chu through the quiet streets of his Whitestone, Queens neighborhood after Chu put on his flashing red lights, as if to rush to an emergency.

“He was on a cell phone, talking while this was going on,” Halloran said.

The “emergency” soon became apparent.

“He was in a rush to get a coffee coolata at Dunkin Donuts, and felt he could blow stop signs, speed, swerve in traffic,” Halloran said.

Halloran says he couldn’t believe a traffic agent would break so many laws.

“This guy is running around in a police department vehicle at high rates of speed, careening through a neighborhood, to get to Dunkin Donuts,” Halloran said. “I think there’s a real problem with that.”

It turns out that Officer Chu has something of a history in the neighborhood. Former NYPD cop Tim Dillon told CBS 2 he was a pallbearer at Gleason’s Funeral Home when Chu showed up.

“The family was getting ready to transfer the body from the funeral home to the church,” Dillon said. “The traffic agent felt that they were all double-parked. There was a confrontation – he started yelling and screaming at the family members.

“Traffic Agent Chu had a cigarette in his mouth, screaming at everybody. He took his cigarette and flicked it toward the area of the family and indiscriminately just started scanning the cars up and down, cursing at them, yelling at them,” Dillon said.

There’s another thing to consider: if a police officer had seen the traffic agent talking on his cell phone, speeding, and blowing through stop signs, it could have netted him 18 points on his license – and after 11 points, your license gets revoked.

Councilman Halloran is demanding a review of every ticket written by Officer Chu. Police Commissioner Ray Kelly says the case is under investigation.

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Dumbass Chattanooga Tennessee Police Officer Delays Woman At Door Of Emergency Room As She Suffered Stroke Conditions, Has Her Husband Arrested For Rushing Her To Hospital

June 20, 2010

CHATTANOOGA, TENNESSEE – A patient, believed to be having a stroke, says an officer with the Chattanooga Police Department blocked her husband from taking her to the emergency room at Erlanger Wednesday night.

Aline Wright is a cancer survivor, amputee and a newlywed. Wednesday night she began to show signs she was having a stroke.

“I started feeling some left arm numbness and a facial droop,” said Aline.

“It appeared to me that I was probably having a stroke.”

That’s when her husband of four days, Jesse Wright, put her in the car and rushed her to the Erlanger Medical Center. Wright knows an emergency. He is a nurse technician at Erlanger.

On the way to the hospital, Aline says Jesse treated two red lights like stop signs. He would stop and then proceed if no traffic was coming. After Jesse ran the second stop light one block from Erlanger, the officer turned on the cruiser’s blue lights and followed the couple into the emergency room parking lot.

“At that point we figured because we were so close to Erlanger emergency department that the police would be aware that’s where we were going,” said Aline.

According to Aline, the officer caught up with the couple as they were attempting to enter the emergency room at Erlanger Medical Center. Aline says her husband was carrying her in his arms because she could not walk. According to Aline, the officer blocked the entrance and demanded answers for running the red lights.

“He picks me up in his arms and the officer continues to block the way into the emergency room,” said Aline.

“He’s standing between Jesse and I, and the emergency room doors.”

Aline says eventually the officer allowed them to enter the hospital, but says he didn’t stop there.

Aline tells Channel 3 Eyewitness News that once the couple was placed in a hospital room, the officer attempted to enter their room to arrest Jesse for evading the police.

Erlanger medical personnel then turned the officer away, informing him that since Aline could not speak Jesse was needed to answer questions for the doctors.

Thursday morning Erlanger security informed the couple that a warrant for Jesse’s arrest had been issued, and suggested he turn himself in. Aline says Jesse went to the Hamilton County Jail to turn himself in that evening. According to Aline, jail employees told Jesse that they had no record of a warrant for him and told him he was free to go.

Jesse returned to his ailing wife’s bedside at Erlanger Medical Center.

“I thought it was over,” said Aline.

“But apparently it wasn’t. I was awakened abruptly by people coming in the room.”

On Friday morning the police were back at the hospital. This time Jesse surrendered to Erlanger Security who arrested him on behalf of the Chattanooga Police Department.

Channel 3 had the only crew there as Jesse was released on $7,500 bond, about eight hours after being arrested. He is facing seven charges related to Wednesday night’s events, including felony evading arrest. He’s due in court on July 9th.

Eyewitness News contacted Chattanooga Police today for their side of the story.

Lt. Kim Noorbergen says the officer was just “doing his job”.

The department will not comment further until a formal complaint is filed with the Internal Affairs Department.

Aline Wright says she plans to file a complaint. The couple has already hired an attorney for a possible lawsuit.

An Erlanger spokesperson tells us by law their security guards are obligated to carry out any arrest warrant related to felony charges. The Erlanger spokesperson says once they learned the warrant for Wright’s arrest was issued, and they learned he was in the building, they had to arrest him.

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City To Pay Up After Crazed And Trouble-Prone Atlanta Georgia Police Officer Brandy Dolson Jailed Woman Who Dared To Ask Why She Couldn’t Use Sidewalk

June 19, 2010

ATLANTA, GEORGIA – The Atlanta City Council is expected to agree pay $20,000 to settle a lawsuit a by a 62-year-old woman who was jailed for asking a police officer “why” she and friends had to move from a sidewalk where they were talking about an upcoming funeral.

A council committee has already accepted the city attorney’s recommendation to settle the case, but the settlement must be approved by the entire city council. Minnie Carey spent almost 10 hours in jail on a charge of disorderly conduct brought by an officer who already had a troubled history with the Atlanta Police Department.

“It’s resolved,” said Carey’s attorney, Robert Ortman.

APD was named in the suit, and a spokesman for the department said Friday that an internal investigation found officer Brandy Dolson “acted within the parameters of department policies and procedures,” which complied with national standards. “Those [national] guidelines are based on a set of proven standards that take into account the difficult situations police officers face every day, and the split-second decisions they must make to protect citizens and reduce their own personal risk,” APD public affairs director Carlos Campos said in an e-mail.

This is one of two settlements the council is expected to address on Monday that involve incidents with Atlanta police officers.

If the other proposed settlement is approved, taxpayers will give 22 cab drivers $425,000 to settle a federal lawsuit. The suit says officers confiscated permits and insurance stickers and then immediately cited or arrested the drivers for not having those stickers on their cars. The drivers were targeted because their checks to APD’s Division of Taxicabs and Vehicles for Hire were returned; some of those checks were written as long as two years before they were deposited.

Carey’s suit was filed Feb. 17, claiming Dolson violated her civil rights and falsely imprisoned her. The suit also said the city had not given Dolson training that might have led him to respond differently in his encounter with Carey and her friends on a sidewalk outside a convenience store.

“People don’t usually complain unless there’s something really wrong,” Carey said. “If you have people complaining about the same person, it’s time the city take a look into their background.”

Dolson has been suspended without pay for most of this year, but not for the Carey case. APD said it was other, unrelated infractions that led to the disciplinary action.

Dolson could not be reached for comment Friday but he has previously declined to talk about the matter.

The suit said APD had received more than 10 complaints against Dolson but had “failed to adequately investigate the claims and deter him from further misconduct.”

But in the proposed settlement, the city and APD do not admit any wrongdoing.

Before bring the suit, Carey had filed a complaint with the Citizen Review Board, a panel charged with investigating reports of police misconduct. The board found in favor of Carey last February but interim police Chief George Turner rejected that decision.

Around 4 p.m. on March 26, 2009, Carey and her friends were on the sidewalk in front of the Boulevard Lotto convenience store, just a few blocks from downtown Atlanta. They had been talking a few minutes about funeral plans for a woman they all knew when Dolson and his partner pulled up. Dolson told the women to “move it.”

Three women started walking away but Carey didn’t, asking “why” instead.

Dolson’s answer to Carey was “because I said so,” according to records.

“I’m a citizen and I’m a taxpayer and I have a right to be here. I’m merely trying to find out about a sister’s funeral,” Carey responded.

That’s when Carey was handcuffed, put in the back of the patrol car and eventually taken to jail on a city ordinance violation charge.

She was released on her own recognizance around 12:30 a.m. the next day, and the disorderly conduct charge was dismissed several weeks later, at the third court hearing, because Dolson failed to appear.

“This arrest was in violation of her rights under … the U.S. Constitution,” the suit said.

The suit also said Carey was subjected to unjustified and excessive force and that she and her friends were targeted because of their race; the police officers also are black.

“He was a lousy police officer. What else can I say?” Carey said in an interview with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

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New Mexico State Supreme Court Overturns Bogus Albuquerque Police Drunk Driving Charge And Conviction – Police Finally Must Now Prove An Individuals “Intent To Drive While Intoxicated”

June 9, 2010

SANTA FE, NEW MEXICO – The state Supreme Court has overturned the drunken driving conviction of a motorist found passed out in his vehicle with the keys on the passenger seat.

The court on Tuesday said prosecutors had failed to prove that Mark Sims was in “actual physical control” of the vehicle when he was arrested by Albuquerque police in 2004. His vehicle was in a commercial parking lot.

The court used the case to outline a new standard of evidence that police and prosecutors need to show that a motorist intended to drive while intoxicated and posed a danger to themselves or the public.

The justices said courts can’t speculate that a passed out motorist might awake and then drive.

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Hero Father Striped, Tied Up, And Used Stun Gun On Pervert Who Sent His Child An Explicit Cell Phone Picture

June 6, 2010

FRENCH VALLEY, CALIFORNIA – A French Valley father suspected of tying up and using a stun gun on a 23-year-old man who sent his 17-year-old daughter an explicit cell phone picture was charged this week with multiple felonies.

Authorities say William Atwood Sr., 45, lured Justin Moore to his home, ordered him to strip down to his boxer shorts and assaulted him before turning him over to a sheriff’s deputy.

Moore, who lives in Temecula and knows Atwood’s daughter and son, later told sheriff’s investigators that he had sent the photo of his genitals to several friends as a joke.

But Atwood failed to see the humor when his daughter told him about the picture in January.

An angry Atwood reported to the Sheriff’s Department that Moore had sent pornography to a child, court records show. Before sheriff’s officials had a chance to investigate, they received a call from Atwood the evening of Jan. 10. He said Moore came to his Avenida Armada home uninvited.

Out of concern for his family’s safety, Atwood told sheriff’s officials, he fired a shotgun into the air. Atwood said he told Moore to take off his clothing and bound his wrists and ankles with zip ties.

When a deputy arrived, he found Moore behaving as if he were extremely frightened. Not only did he refuse to speak, but Moore also did not open his eyes for several minutes after the deputy arrived.

Later, at the station, Moore told a rather different story.

He said Atwood had called and asked him to come over to his house to discuss the photo. When Moore arrived, he said, the electric gate opened to reveal the 6-foot-2, 350-pound Atwood waiting for him in the driveway. Atwood was a few feet away when he fired the gun, Moore told authorities.

Atwood ordered Moore out of his car and, as he was walking, fired another shot. After he was tied up, Moore said, Atwood pulled him off the ground by his feet, injuring his shoulder.

Atwood told Moore he had connections with the Pechanga tribe and was going to have him buried on the reservation, court records say.

Moore said he believed that Atwood was going to kill him.

At some point, Atwood retrieved a handgun and a stun gun. He shocked Moore on the shoulder for about 20 seconds and asked him how he liked it, court records say.

Atwood told Moore that he shocked his dogs daily and they took it better than him, court records say.

Moore said he was detained for about an hour before Atwood called the Sheriff’s Department.

When sheriff’s investigators looked into Moore’s account of events, they discovered that he had indeed received a call from Atwood about an hour before Atwood called authorities. They also found a text message Moore had sent to a friend on his way to Atwood’s house, saying he was going to discuss the pictures.

“If I don’t get back, let everyone know,” he joked.

Investigators searched Atwood’s home, seizing zip ties, at least two stun guns and more than a dozen firearms.

The district attorney’s office on Wednesday charged Atwood with making criminal threats, false imprisonment, assault with a stun gun, assault with a deadly weapon and other gun charges. As of Thursday, he had not been arrested.

Moore declined to comment Thursday, saying he hadn’t heard about the charges. Efforts to reach Atwood were unsuccessful.

Prosecutors declined to charge Moore in connection with the photo for lack of evidence, said district attorney’s spokesman John Hall.

Veronica Rico, the sheriff’s investigator who handled the case, said that while Atwood’s displeasure over the photo was understandable, he took it much too far.

“It just kind of got out of hand,” Rico said.

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Innocent Man Freed After Bogus Houston Texas Rape Conviction And 23 Years In Prison Still Not “Innocent” After Being Cleared By DNA Tests And Release From Prison

May 25, 2010

HOUSTON, TEXAS – A Houston man freed last year after spending 23 years in prison for a rape he did not commit cleared another hurdle Tuesday in his quest to be declared “actually innocent.”

DNA test results released in court Tuesday show that Ernest Sonnier, 47, was not involved in a second rape, which ended in a murder for which he was a suspect in 1985, said Alba Morales, the Innocence Project staff attorney handling the case. She said the test excluded Sonnier from being involved.

In the rape for which he was convicted, DNA testing over the past two years implicated two convicted felons as the perpetrators of the 1985 crime, Morales said.

Sonnier was released last Aug. 6 on a personal recognizance bond that included travel restrictions, including wearing an ankle monitor. State District Judge Michael McSpadden ruled Tuesday that Sonnier can travel freely and no longer must wear the monitor.

He continues to wait for a final ruling on his innocence, as prosecutors continue to investigate the case. He is scheduled to return to court for a hearing in September.

The rape for which he was convicted occurred Christmas Eve 1985, when two men approached a woman at an Alief gas station, forced her into her car by threatening to kill her and drove toward San Antonio. During a seven-hour drive, the men took turns raping the woman. The victim escaped the next morning after the men stopped the car.

Although two men committed the crime, Sonnier was the only person charged. He was convicted a year later and sentenced to life in prison and a $10,000 fine.

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New York City Port Authority Police Officer Assaults and Arrests Innocent Train Passenger

May 19, 2010

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – You can’t take an open bottle of booze on a subway or train but what if it is sealed? An NYU student says he was cuffed over a sealed bottle of wine.

Pavan Trivedi says he was slammed down to the ground by a Port Authority cop and held in a room against his will.
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He says it was all over two bottles of sealed wine he tried to take home on the PATH train.

Trivedi says, “I keep asking them ‘what did I do wrong?’ He keeps saying ‘shut up’.”

It happened early New Year’s Day. Pavan was trying to get back to New Jersey after a night out with his friends.

He went into the PATH station in Greenly Square. But he says as soon as he went through the turnstile a Port Authority officer came out of nowhere and demanded to know what was in his see-through bag.

Trivedi says, it only got worse when another cop got involved.

That’s when he walked up to the street and called 9-1-1 from his phone. He says the operator told him to go and get the officers’ information.

He says the one officer was at the top of the stairs and he handed over his phone so the cop could talk to 9-1-1, but she refused.

He says the officer said he was being aggressive when he tried to take his phone back and ended up being slammed to the ground. He ended up in cuffs.

He claims that he was taken into a room in the station and berated for at least an hour.

A spokesperson for the Port Authority claims that a few days prior to New Years Eve station announcements warned riders that sealed bottles of alcohol were forbidden on the holiday but the same spokesperson admits he could not show Fox 5 any law or rule to support it.

The ticket was issued not because he had bottles because they didnt charge him with that…it was issued because he got them angry and they felt like they could do it and they did.

Trivedi says, “This kind of situation can’t transpire again ….. Not just for me but for other innocent citizens who are just attempting to go home.”

He is scheduled to meet with a judge Wednesday to fight his ticket. He’s also filing a lawsuit against the city and the Port Authority.

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Innocent Man Released After Bogus Conviction – 35 Years In Florida Prisons

December 17, 2009

BARTOW, FLORIDA – James Bain used a cell phone for the first time Thursday, calling his elderly mother to tell her he had been freed after 35 years behind bars for a crime he did not commit.

Mobile devices didn’t exist in 1974, the year he was sentenced to life in prison for kidnapping a 9-year-old boy and raping him in a nearby field.

Neither did the sophisticated DNA testing that officials more recently used to determine he could not have been the rapist.

“Nothing can replace the years Jamie has lost,” said Seth Miller, a lawyer for the Florida Innocence Project, which helped Bain win freedom. “Today is a day of renewal.”

Bain spent more time in prison than any of the 246 inmates previously exonerated by DNA evidence nationwide, according to the project. The longest-serving before him was James Lee Woodard of Dallas, who was released last year after spending more than 27 years in prison for a murder he did not commit.

As Bain walked out of the Polk County courthouse Thursday, wearing a black T-shirt that said “not guilty,” he spoke of his deep faith and said he does not harbor any anger.

‘I’m not angry’
“No, I’m not angry,” he said. “Because I’ve got God.”

The 54-year-old said he looks forward to eating fried turkey and drinking Dr Pepper. He said he also hopes to go back to school.

Friends and family surrounded him as he left the courthouse after Judge James Yancey ordered him freed. His 77-year-old mother, who is in poor health, preferred to wait for him at home. With a broad smile, he said he looks forward to spending time with her and the rest of his family.

“That’s the most important thing in my life right now, besides God,” he said.

Earlier, the courtroom erupted in applause after Yancey ruled.

“Mr. Bain, I’m now signing the order,” Yancey said. “You’re a free man. Congratulations.”

Thursday’s hearing was delayed 40 minutes because prosecutors were on the phone with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. DNA tests were expedited at the department’s lab and ultimately proved Bain innocent. Prosecutors filed a motion to vacate the conviction and the sentence.

“He’s just not connected to this particular incident,” State Attorney Jerry Hill told the judge.

Innocence Project’s cause
Attorneys from the Innocence Project of Florida got involved in Bain’s case earlier this year after he had filed several previous petitions asking for DNA testing, all of which were thrown out.

A judge finally ordered the tests and the results from a respected private lab in Cincinnati came in last week, setting the wheels in motion for Thursday’s hearing. The Innocence Project had called for Bain’s release by Christmas.

He was convicted largely on the strength of the victim’s eyewitness identification, though testing available at the time did not definitively link him to the crime. The boy said his attacker had bushy sideburns and a mustache. The boy’s uncle, a former assistant principal at a high school, said it sounded like Bain, a former student.

The boy picked Bain out of a photo lineup, although there are lingering questions about whether detectives steered him.

The jury rejected Bain’s story that he was home watching TV with his twin sister when the crime was committed, an alibi she repeated at a news conference last week. He was 19 when he was sentenced.

Florida last year passed a law that automatically grants former inmates found innocent $50,000 for each year they spent in prison. No legislative approval is needed. That means Bain is entitled to $1.75 million.

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Many Criminal Cases Under Review After Dash Camera Catches Four Hollywood Florida Police Officers Staging Crime Scene After Officer Rear-Ended Woman’s Car

July 31, 2009

HOLLYWOOD, FLORIDA – Broward public defenders have begun reviewing some pending and past cases in the wake of a police video that shows four Hollywood police officers possibly conspiring to falsify an official report after a crash.

Three categories of cases are being reviewed by the public defenders.

For those closed within the last 30 days, and in which the officers testified, there’s still time for a defendant to withdraw a plea, officials said.

The office plans to then review cases going back further, starting with two years, to see whether any convictions could be thrown out or other motions filed in light of the officers’ diminished credibility, said Mindy Solomon, chief assistant public defender.

The public defender’s office also has at least 27 pending cases in which the officers are due to testify.

“We’ve also filed public records requests for the internal affairs files on these cops, in preparation for what we believe will be many battles,” Broward Chief Public Defender Howard Finkelstein said. “I don’t know if these officers will ever be able to remove that cloud over their heads.”

A dashboard camera installed in a Hollywood patrol car recorded the officers at the crash scene discussing ways to write their report to blame the other driver involved, though it appeared the officer may have been at fault.

Broward prosecutors on Wednesday dropped the case against Alexandra Torrensvilas, 23, a Hollywood resident who was arrested on drunken driving charges after crash about midnight Feb. 17 in the 2800 block of Sheridan Street.

Finkelstein has called on the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the FBI to investigate, sending them a copy of a letter he sent to Hollywood Police Chief Chad Wagner demanding answers.

Wagner could not be reached to comment Thursday despite attempts by phone, nor could an official with the department’s police union.

Echoing Finkelstein’s concern, the Florida Civil Rights Association, based in Orlando, on Thursday called on the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate.

Federal and state officials said it’s too soon to know whether they would get involved. Typically, they wait for a police department to complete an internal review, they said.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement, at times, steps in if an agency requests it. Hollywood police officials have not made such a request, said FDLE spokeswoman Heather Smith.

Hollywood police officials this week – after the video became public – began an internal investigation and placed Officers Joel Francisco and Dewey Pressley, Sgt. Andrew Diaz and community service Officer Karim Thomas on administrative duty.

Police officials said Thursday that they were still in the process of fulfilling several public records requests, including one from the Sun Sentinel, for copies of the officers’ personnel and disciplinary records with the department.

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Charges Dropped Against Woman Framed By Four Hollywood Florida Police After Officer Rear-Ended Her Car And Lied

July 30, 2009

HOLLYWOOD, FLORIDA – Public humiliation for Hollywood police continued Wednesday as state prosecutors dropped criminal charges against a driver some officers tried to blame for a rear-end crash that may have been an officer’s fault.

As the four officers talked about what to do late one night last February, a video recorder in one of their cruisers captured their words.

After reviewing the video, Broward prosecutors opted Wednesday not to charge the female motorist because the recording had thrown the police version of events into question, said State Attorney’s Office spokesman Ron Ishoy.

The 23-year-old Hollywood woman, who had been accused of drunken driving, could have gone to prison for close to three years had she been convicted as charged.

The video, seen by tens of thousands of South Floridians on the Sun Sentinel website and on news broadcasts, was the latest black eye for Hollywood police.

The episode also had justice officials and defense attorneys raising questions about the Hollywood officers’ credibility in other cases, and demanding answers from the top brass.

“If these officers were willing to lie and manipulate their story when nothing was at stake, what would they have been willing to do when there was something at stake?” said Broward Public Defender Howard Finkelstein.

If the officer who rear-ended a woman’s car on Sheridan Street had been found legally responsible, he likely would have faced only a ticket, Finkelstein said.

The public defender’s office is involved in at least 27 other criminal prosecutions in which the four officers are supposed to be material witnesses, Finkelstein said. Those cases could be affected if doubts about the officers’ credibility remain.

Finkelstein said he sent a letter demanding an explanation to Hollywood Police Chief Chad Wagner, who could not be reached to comment Wednesday.

The allegations against the officers stem from a videotaped exchange among them after Officer Joel Francisco, 36, rear-ended a car late Feb. 17.

A dashboard camera in one of the patrol cars at the scene recorded what the officers said, including this remark: “We’ll do a little Walt Disney to protect the cop because it wouldn’t have mattered because she is drunk anyway.”

Officer Dewey Pressley, 42, wrote the report detailing the midnight crash in the 2800 block of Sheridan Street. Pressley wrote “a large gray stray cat” that had been sitting on Alexandra Gabriela Torrensvilas’ lap jumped out of her car window. That caused her to veer into Francisco’s lane, where she abruptly braked, and Francisco’s car hit hers, the officer wrote in his report.

Torrensvilas subsequently was charged with four counts of drunken driving and given a citation alleging she made an improper lane change.

The case against her evaporated after the video recording and a transcript of the officers’ remarks surfaced Tuesday.

The same day, the Hollywood Police Department began an internal investigation and put Francisco, Pressley and the others involved at the Sheridan Street crash scene – Sgt. Andrew Diaz, 39, and civilian community service officer Karim Thomas – on administrative duty.

Publicity about Torrensvila’s case prompted another woman to come forward Wednesday and accuse Hollywood police of misrepresenting the facts of her case. She had been charged with leaving the scene of an accident. Pressley wrote the arrest report.

Jacelyn Glinton, through her lawyer, said she did not flee the accident scene in May.

“My client’s version of what happened is very different than what’s in the report,” said defense attorney David Williams. “The case filing attorney who investigated this matter seems to be in agreement with my client’s view, as he has chosen not to file some of the charges that were presented.”

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Dashboard Camera Catches Hollywood Florida Police Officers Lies – Woman Framed After Officer Rear-Ended Her Car

July 29, 2009

HOLLYWOOD, FLORIDA – After a Hollywood police officer rear-ended a car in February and then arrested the driver on drunken driving charges, he and other officers talked about doctoring the report — it said a jumpy cat created a distraction — to cover up the crash.

The exchange was recorded by a dashboard camera in one of the patrol cars. The officers apparently didn’t realize it was on.

“I don’t want to make things up ever, because it’s wrong, but if I need to bend it a little bit to protect a cop, I’m gonna,” one of the officers can be heard saying. “We’ll do a little Walt Disney to protect the cop because it wouldn’t have mattered because she is drunk anyway.”

Alexandra Gabriela Torrensvilas, 23, of Hollywood, ended up charged with four counts of drunken driving and cited for improper lane change.

On Tuesday, Hollywood police officials placed Officer Dewey Pressley, 42, Officer Joel Francisco, 36, Sgt. Andrew Diaz, 39; and civilian Community Service Officer Karim Thomas, age unavailable; on administrative duty pending an internal affairs investigation and a review by the Broward State Attorney’s Office, said spokesman Lt. Scott Pardon.

Francisco was driving the car in the crash; Pressley wrote the report and made the arrest.

Pressley’s report detailing the Feb. 17 midnight crash in the 2800 block of Sheridan Street said “a large gray stray cat” that had been sitting on Torrensvila’s lap jumped out of her car window and distracted her, causing her to veer into Francisco’s lane, where she abruptly braked, and he hit her.

“I will do the narrative for you,” one of the officers says on the tape. “I know how I am going to word this, the cat gets him off the hook.”

Torrensvilas’ attorney, Larry Meltzer, said this is a disturbing “abuse of power.”

“Actually seeing it transpire on video in front of you, it really kind of sickens you,” he said. “It’s really nauseating to sit there and watch your client’s rights go out the window.”

Torrensvilas’ four DUI charges carry a maximum penalty of nearly three years in jail, Meltzer said. He declined to say what will become of her case: “In my opinion, as of this time, it’s being handled appropriately.”

A spokesman for the Broward State Attorney’s Office declined to comment .

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Two Fired Veteran Hollywood Florida Police Officers Finally Charged And Arrested After Faking Crime Scene Following Accident In Which Officer Rear-Ended Woman’s Car

June 2, 2009

HOLLYWOOD, FLORIDA – Two longtime Hollywood police officers fired earlier this year after allegations they falsified records in a police-involved crash were arrested Wednesday on criminal charges in that case.

Joel Francisco, 37, and Dewey Pressley, 43, turned themselves in at the Broward County Main Jail in downtown Fort Lauderdale, according to the Broward State Attorney’s Office.

Both men were charged with four counts of official misconduct, four counts of falsifying records, one count of conspiracy to commit official misconduct and one count of conspiracy to falsify records.

Francisco and Pressley were in jail Wednesday night, with bail set at $100,000.

The charges stem from a February 2009 crash in which Francisco, while on duty and driving a patrol vehicle, rear-ended a Hollywood woman’s car. Francisco’s personnel file listed eight other crashes in his 12 years with the Hollywood Police Department.

Other officers, a crime scene technician and a community service aide were at the crash scene. Some of them were recorded by a police car dashboard camera discussing how they would doctor the crash report to absolve Francisco in the collision, authorities said.

Alexandra Torrens-Vilas, whose car Francisco rear-ended, was arrested on DUI charges in the Feb. 16, 2009, crash.

Five months later, the dashboard video became public, and Hollywood police officials began an internal investigation into what happened at the crash scene.

Prosecutors later dropped the DUI charges against Torrens-Vilas, saying the video from the dashboard camera cast doubt on what police officers initially said happened.

Pressley had written in a police report that a gray cat jumped from Torrens-Vilas’ lap out of her car window and distracted her, causing her to veer into Francisco’s lane. There, she abruptly hit the brakes and Francisco struck her car, the report stated.

A camera on Pressley’s patrol car recorded one of the investigators saying: “We’ll do a little Walt Disney to protect the cop because it wouldn’t have mattered because she [Torrens-Vilas] is drunk anyway.”

Prosecutors said they were still working Wednesday with Hollywood police in investigating the matter.

Pressley, a Hollywood police officer for 22 years, and Francisco were fired in January. So were three other Police Department employees who were at the crash scene: Sgt. Andrew Diaz, Community Service Officer Karim Thomas and crime scene technician Andrea Tomassi, none of whom have been charged in the case.

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Man Threatened By Loomis & Fargo Rent-A-Cops, Arrested By Seattle Washington Police On Bogus Charges After Taking Photograph

May 12, 2009

SEATTLE, WASHINGTON – Despite the fact that this photo was snapped in broad daylight in a busy Seattle REI store, Shane Becker was threatened by fake cops and arrested by real ones.

One of the Loomis & Fargo guards servicing the public ATM threatened to tackle Becker if he tried to leave the store—apparently snapping a photo of the inside of one of these machines constitutes a security threat (although detailed images and data can be found easily online). In fact, one of the arresting officers even pulled the 9/11 card:

Officer Debra Pelich (#5976)
Remember 9/11? I saw pictures of those buildings. One time when I was in Florida I was wandering around taking pictures. A security team came up and told me it was a high security restricted area. I wasn’t supposed to be taking pictures there. I explained that I didn’t know that, was a police officer, showed them my ID and complied with them. We cleared it up and I left.

Me (totally baffled)

Since you managed to pull the 9/11 card somehow, does that mean that everyone that took a picture of those buildings-

After spending around 30 minutes handcuffed in a cell and being unsuccessfully grilled about why he snapped the photo, Becker signed a REI trespassing form that instructed him not to come back to the store for a year. In the end, the authorities never asked to see the photo, much less for Becker to delete it from his iPhone. Naturally, this raises questions about the real motivation behind the incident. Was it just a power trip? Either way, with camera phones being so common these days, incidents of harassment like this one are bound to escalate.

Appeared Here


Abortion Doctor Targeted By Kansas Authorities With Bogus Charges Found Not Guilty

March 28, 2009

WICHITA, KANSAS – One of the nation’s few late-term abortion providers was acquitted Friday of misdemeanor charges stemming from procedures he performed, but moments after the verdict was announced the state’s medical board announced it was investigating similar allegations against him.

Prosecutors had alleged that Dr. George Tiller had in 2003 gotten second opinions from a doctor who was essentially an employee of his, not independent as state law requires, but a jury took only about an hour to find him not guilty of all 19 counts.

Tiller, who could have faced a year in jail for even one conviction, stared straight ahead as the verdicts were read, with one of his attorneys patting his shoulder after the decision on the final count was declared. His wife, seated across the courtroom, fought back tears and nodded. The couple declined to speak to reporters afterward.

Tiller, 67, has claimed that the prosecution was politically motivated. An attorney general who opposed abortion rights began the investigation into Tiller’s clinic more than four years ago, but both his successor, who filed the criminal charges, and the current attorney general support abortion rights.

Soon after the verdict was announced, the state’s Board of Healing Arts made public a complaint against Tiller on allegations similar to those at issue in the criminal case. The complaint was filed in December but not released until Friday.

The board, which regulates doctors, could revoke, suspend or limit Tiller’s medical license, or fine him.

Tiller has been a favored target of anti-abortion protesters, and he testified that he and his family have suffered years of harassment and threats. His clinic was the site of the 1991 “Summer of Mercy” protests marked by mass demonstrations and arrests. His clinic was bombed in 1985, and an abortion opponent shot him in both arms in 1993.

Kansas law allows abortions after a fetus can survive outside the womb only if two independent doctors agree that it is necessary to save a women’s life or prevent “substantial and irreversible” harm to “a major bodily function,” a phrase that has been interpreted to include mental health.

Dr. Ann Kristin Neuhaus provided second opinions on late-term abortions before Tiller performed them.

According to trial testimony, Tiller’s patients paid Neuhaus $250 to $300 in cash for providing the consultation and the only way patients could see her was to make an appointment with Tiller’s office.

Tiller testified that he used Neuhaus based on advice from his lawyers and from Larry Buening, who was then executive director of the Board of Healing Arts.

Prosecutors tried to show that Tiller ultimately relied on his lawyers’ advice – an important distinction because the judge told attorneys before their opening statements that relying on the advice of an attorney cannot be used as a legal defense to criminal charges. They also questioned Tiller about the conversation with Buening, noting that Tiller had testified that Buening said he couldn’t quote him.

Tiller also testified that in about five cases each year, Neuhaus would disagree with him about the necessity of a late-term abortion. When she declined to concur, the abortion was not done, he said.

Tiller estimated that he performed 250 to 300 late-term abortions in 2003, each costing an average of $6,000.

Tiller said he is one of three doctors in the U.S. who currently perform late-term abortions. The others are in Boulder, Colo., and Los Angeles, he said.

Appeared Here


Abortion Doctor Targeted By Kansas Authorities With Bogus Charges Found Not Guilty

March 27, 2009

WICHITA, KANSAS – One of the nation’s few late-term abortion providers was acquitted Friday of misdemeanor charges stemming from procedures he performed, but moments after the verdict was announced the state’s medical board announced it was investigating similar allegations against him.

Prosecutors had alleged that Dr. George Tiller had in 2003 gotten second opinions from a doctor who was essentially an employee of his, not independent as state law requires, but a jury took only about an hour to find him not guilty of all 19 counts.

Tiller, who could have faced a year in jail for even one conviction, stared straight ahead as the verdicts were read, with one of his attorneys patting his shoulder after the decision on the final count was declared. His wife, seated across the courtroom, fought back tears and nodded. The couple declined to speak to reporters afterward.

Tiller, 67, has claimed that the prosecution was politically motivated. An attorney general who opposed abortion rights began the investigation into Tiller’s clinic more than four years ago, but both his successor, who filed the criminal charges, and the current attorney general support abortion rights.

Soon after the verdict was announced, the state’s Board of Healing Arts made public a complaint against Tiller on allegations similar to those at issue in the criminal case. The complaint was filed in December but not released until Friday.

The board, which regulates doctors, could revoke, suspend or limit Tiller’s medical license, or fine him.

Tiller has been a favored target of anti-abortion protesters, and he testified that he and his family have suffered years of harassment and threats. His clinic was the site of the 1991 “Summer of Mercy” protests marked by mass demonstrations and arrests. His clinic was bombed in 1985, and an abortion opponent shot him in both arms in 1993.

Kansas law allows abortions after a fetus can survive outside the womb only if two independent doctors agree that it is necessary to save a women’s life or prevent “substantial and irreversible” harm to “a major bodily function,” a phrase that has been interpreted to include mental health.

Dr. Ann Kristin Neuhaus provided second opinions on late-term abortions before Tiller performed them.

According to trial testimony, Tiller’s patients paid Neuhaus $250 to $300 in cash for providing the consultation and the only way patients could see her was to make an appointment with Tiller’s office.

Tiller testified that he used Neuhaus based on advice from his lawyers and from Larry Buening, who was then executive director of the Board of Healing Arts.

Prosecutors tried to show that Tiller ultimately relied on his lawyers’ advice – an important distinction because the judge told attorneys before their opening statements that relying on the advice of an attorney cannot be used as a legal defense to criminal charges. They also questioned Tiller about the conversation with Buening, noting that Tiller had testified that Buening said he couldn’t quote him.

Tiller also testified that in about five cases each year, Neuhaus would disagree with him about the necessity of a late-term abortion. When she declined to concur, the abortion was not done, he said.

Tiller estimated that he performed 250 to 300 late-term abortions in 2003, each costing an average of $6,000.

Tiller said he is one of three doctors in the U.S. who currently perform late-term abortions. The others are in Boulder, Colo., and Los Angeles, he said.

Appeared Here


Dumbass Dallas Texas Police Officer Robert Powell Delays Family Rushing To See Dying Mother, Writes Bogus Ticket In Hospital Parking Lot That Was Latter Dropped

March 26, 2009

DALLAS, TEXAS – Rushing to see his dying mother-in-law at a Plano hospital, a NFL player found himself delayed by a Dallas officer after he was stopped in the hospital’s ER parking lot.

With his wife and another woman in the car, Ryan Moats – a running back for the Houston Texans – sped his car towards the hospital on March 17. However, when he made it to the ER parking lot, they were stopped by Officer Robert Powell.

Dashcam video from the Dallas officer’s patrol car captured the incident.

“Get in there,” Officer Powell yelled out to Tamishia Moats, Ryan’s wife, as she exited the car. “Let me see your hands. Get in there. Put your hands on the car.”

“Excuse me, my mom is dying,” Moats said.

Moats and the other woman ignored Officer Powell’s commands and rushed inside the hospital to see her mother.

“I’ve got seconds before she’s gone, man,” Moats said to the officer.

Motes couldn’t find his insurance paperwork and was desperate to leave.

“Listen, if I can’t verify you have insurance…,” Officer Powell said.

“My mother-in-law is dying,” Moats interrupted.

“Listen to me,” Officer Powell said.

“Right now,” Moats said. “You’re wasting my time.”

“If you can’t verify you have insurance, I’m going to tow your car,” the officer said. “So, you either find it or I am going to tow the car.”

As they argued, the officer got irritated.

“Shut your mouth,” the officer said. “Shut your mouth. You can either settle down and cooperate or I can just take you to jail for running a red light.”

The clash shocked Moats.

“For him to not even be sympathetic at all, and basically we’re dogs or something and we don’t matter, it basically shocked me,” Moats said.

“I can screw you over,” Officer Powell said. “I would rather not do that. You obviously will dictate everything that happens; and right now, your attitude sucks.”

Twice, the hospital sent nurses to try and get the officer to let Moats go.

“We’re blue coding her for the third time,” the nurse said.

Even a Plano police officer stopped to make a plea for the officer to let Moats go.

“Hey, that’s the nurse,” the Plano officer said. “She says the mom is dying right now and she wants to know if I can get him up there.”

After 20 minutes, the officer ticketed Moats for running a red light.

However, by the time Moats made it up to the ER, she had already passed.

“I went up after she passed and held her hand, but she was already gone,” Moats said.

Dallas police have apologized, dropped the ticket and launched an investigation.

“When it came to our attention, we immediately called for an internal investigation to be done,” said Lt. Andy Havey, Dallas Police Department.

Appeared Here


Dumbass Dallas Texas Police Officer Robert Powell Delays Family Rushing To See Dying Mother, Writes Bogus Ticket In Hospital Parking Lot That Was Latter Dropped

March 26, 2009

DALLAS, TEXAS – Rushing to see his dying mother-in-law at a Plano hospital, a NFL player found himself delayed by a Dallas officer after he was stopped in the hospital’s ER parking lot.

With his wife and another woman in the car, Ryan Moats – a running back for the Houston Texans – sped his car towards the hospital on March 17. However, when he made it to the ER parking lot, they were stopped by Officer Robert Powell.

Dashcam video from the Dallas officer’s patrol car captured the incident.

“Get in there,” Officer Powell yelled out to Tamishia Moats, Ryan’s wife, as she exited the car. “Let me see your hands. Get in there. Put your hands on the car.”

“Excuse me, my mom is dying,” Moats said.

Moats and the other woman ignored Officer Powell’s commands and rushed inside the hospital to see her mother.

“I’ve got seconds before she’s gone, man,” Moats said to the officer.

Motes couldn’t find his insurance paperwork and was desperate to leave.

“Listen, if I can’t verify you have insurance…,” Officer Powell said.

“My mother-in-law is dying,” Moats interrupted.

“Listen to me,” Officer Powell said.

“Right now,” Moats said. “You’re wasting my time.”

“If you can’t verify you have insurance, I’m going to tow your car,” the officer said. “So, you either find it or I am going to tow the car.”

As they argued, the officer got irritated.

“Shut your mouth,” the officer said. “Shut your mouth. You can either settle down and cooperate or I can just take you to jail for running a red light.”

The clash shocked Moats.

“For him to not even be sympathetic at all, and basically we’re dogs or something and we don’t matter, it basically shocked me,” Moats said.

“I can screw you over,” Officer Powell said. “I would rather not do that. You obviously will dictate everything that happens; and right now, your attitude sucks.”

Twice, the hospital sent nurses to try and get the officer to let Moats go.

“We’re blue coding her for the third time,” the nurse said.

Even a Plano police officer stopped to make a plea for the officer to let Moats go.

“Hey, that’s the nurse,” the Plano officer said. “She says the mom is dying right now and she wants to know if I can get him up there.”

After 20 minutes, the officer ticketed Moats for running a red light.

However, by the time Moats made it up to the ER, she had already passed.

“I went up after she passed and held her hand, but she was already gone,” Moats said.

Dallas police have apologized, dropped the ticket and launched an investigation.

“When it came to our attention, we immediately called for an internal investigation to be done,” said Lt. Andy Havey, Dallas Police Department.

Appeared Here


New Carrollton Maryland Red-Light Cameras Accuse Innocent Motorists Of Traffic Violations – Dumbass Motorists Pay Bogus Tickets

March 13, 2009

NEW CARROLLTON,, MARYLAND – The town of New Carrollton’s new mobile red light cameras are snapping up pictures like the paparazzi and motorists are calling the cameras out.

Danielle King got two tickets and says she’s been wrongly accused. “I got caught by one up there,” says King referring to the cameras along route 450.

E-mail us if you have been caught by a red light camera: webmaster@wttg.com

Motorists complain they are being wrongly accused. King says,” I think they need to go away. I just think they are unfair. They need to go away.”

Fox 5 photographers stood at one intersection near 85th Avenue and caught the camera popping off like popcorn. Each ticket is a 75 dollar citation. One motorist shared his ticket.
He got cited in his white van, but a closer look at the ticket shows the vehicle is at a complete stop. Complaints are pouring in.

AAA Mid-Atlantic’s John Townsend says it appears drivers are getting ticketed; not for running the red light, but for stopping over the white line.

Townsend blasted the camera saying, “This is the most egregious one we’ve seen. It is so beyond the pale. It not only violated the spirit of the law it violates the letter of the law. It may be illegal in the state of Maryland. “

During a short period, the cameras flashed continually and went off when cars were at a complete stop. We asked one motorist, “Did you go past the red light?” The unidentified driver said, “No, I didn’t. I’m still stopped here at the red light. If I went through then you wouldn’t be talking to me now. The camera went off. So am I going to get a ticket? Oh no. “

Townsend said, “These people legally stopped for a red light, but they ventured into this box and they consider that technically to be red light running and it’s not. It smacks of I got you; a game just for money.”

As the camera snapped another picture, we asked another motorist, “Do you realize you just got a red light ticket?” The unidentified woman said, “You’ve got to be kidding. You are kidding. Did you pass the red light? No!”

Some say it’s not just a camera, but a cash cow–snapping up photos of unsuspecting motorists.
Townsend said many motorists don’t even contest the tickets, in fact one woman confirmed that saying; “if I got it I wouldn’t fight it no. If the camera is set to do it that way I just have to pay the ticket.

Townsend admits he’s one of those recently ticketed, but he fought it.

Fox 5 made an effort to talk with the New Carrollton Police Department and the city about the issue.
The chief said he’ll answer questions during office hours.

Triple A says they’ve received numerous complaints from several cities using the mobile red light cameras along the Route 450 corridor; including Bladensburg and Riverdale.

Appeared Here


Crazed Off Duty Galveston Texas Police Officer Charges Man With Using The "F" Word During Conversation With A Woman

March 13, 2009

GALVESTON, TEXAS — Diners at a seawall eatery were treated to a short salvo of vulgar language when a Jamaica, N.Y., man allegedly berated his female companion with a pair of F-bombs uttered within earshot of a police officer and restaurant manager, authorities said Tuesday.

A Galveston officer was enjoying an early dinner at 4:15 p.m. Monday at Salsa’s Mexican and Seafood Restaurant, 4604 Seawall Blvd., when he overheard a conversation between a man and a woman, said Lt. D.J. Alvarez, a Galveston Police Department spokesman.

“The man said to the female, ‘I can’t believe you’re so f—— stupid,’” Alvarez said, who was reading from a police report of the incident made public Tuesday. “‘What the f— were you thinking?’”

“The manager was offended by the curse words,” Alvarez said. “And the man was arrested when the manager came forward to complain about the breach of peace.”

The man was charged with a misdemeanor count of disorderly conduct, Alvarez said. It is unclear whether the man was a tourist or a contractor working in Galveston.

Charles W. “Rocky” Rhodes, a professor of law at South Texas College of Law, when contacted about a previous F-bomb arrest in a La Marque Wal-Mart last year, said that in Cohen v. California, the U.S. Supreme Court held that a man protesting the Vietnam War could not be arrested for wearing a jacket in a courthouse that bore the phrase “F— the Draft.”

The reasoning was that offended people could turn away, Rhodes said.

There have been other cases that have set precedent that isolated or fleeting use of public profanity can’t be criminalized without violating the First Amendment, Rhodes said.

The state, however, isn’t prevented from criminalizing a public verbal assault of repeated, loud profanities that disrupt the rights of others, Rhodes said.

Appeared Here


New Carrollton Maryland Red-Light Cameras Accuse Innocent Motorists Of Traffic Violations – Dumbass Motorists Pay Bogus Tickets

March 12, 2009

NEW CARROLLTON,, MARYLAND – The town of New Carrollton’s new mobile red light cameras are snapping up pictures like the paparazzi and motorists are calling the cameras out.

Danielle King got two tickets and says she’s been wrongly accused. “I got caught by one up there,” says King referring to the cameras along route 450.

E-mail us if you have been caught by a red light camera: webmaster@wttg.com

Motorists complain they are being wrongly accused. King says,” I think they need to go away. I just think they are unfair. They need to go away.”

Fox 5 photographers stood at one intersection near 85th Avenue and caught the camera popping off like popcorn. Each ticket is a 75 dollar citation. One motorist shared his ticket.
He got cited in his white van, but a closer look at the ticket shows the vehicle is at a complete stop. Complaints are pouring in.

AAA Mid-Atlantic’s John Townsend says it appears drivers are getting ticketed; not for running the red light, but for stopping over the white line.

Townsend blasted the camera saying, “This is the most egregious one we’ve seen. It is so beyond the pale. It not only violated the spirit of the law it violates the letter of the law. It may be illegal in the state of Maryland. “

During a short period, the cameras flashed continually and went off when cars were at a complete stop. We asked one motorist, “Did you go past the red light?” The unidentified driver said, “No, I didn’t. I’m still stopped here at the red light. If I went through then you wouldn’t be talking to me now. The camera went off. So am I going to get a ticket? Oh no. “

Townsend said, “These people legally stopped for a red light, but they ventured into this box and they consider that technically to be red light running and it’s not. It smacks of I got you; a game just for money.”

As the camera snapped another picture, we asked another motorist, “Do you realize you just got a red light ticket?” The unidentified woman said, “You’ve got to be kidding. You are kidding. Did you pass the red light? No!”

Some say it’s not just a camera, but a cash cow–snapping up photos of unsuspecting motorists.
Townsend said many motorists don’t even contest the tickets, in fact one woman confirmed that saying; “if I got it I wouldn’t fight it no. If the camera is set to do it that way I just have to pay the ticket.

Townsend admits he’s one of those recently ticketed, but he fought it.

Fox 5 made an effort to talk with the New Carrollton Police Department and the city about the issue.
The chief said he’ll answer questions during office hours.

Triple A says they’ve received numerous complaints from several cities using the mobile red light cameras along the Route 450 corridor; including Bladensburg and Riverdale.

Appeared Here


Crazed Off Duty Galveston Texas Police Officer Charges Man With Using The "F" Word During Conversation With A Woman

March 12, 2009

GALVESTON, TEXAS — Diners at a seawall eatery were treated to a short salvo of vulgar language when a Jamaica, N.Y., man allegedly berated his female companion with a pair of F-bombs uttered within earshot of a police officer and restaurant manager, authorities said Tuesday.

A Galveston officer was enjoying an early dinner at 4:15 p.m. Monday at Salsa’s Mexican and Seafood Restaurant, 4604 Seawall Blvd., when he overheard a conversation between a man and a woman, said Lt. D.J. Alvarez, a Galveston Police Department spokesman.

“The man said to the female, ‘I can’t believe you’re so f—— stupid,’” Alvarez said, who was reading from a police report of the incident made public Tuesday. “‘What the f— were you thinking?’”

“The manager was offended by the curse words,” Alvarez said. “And the man was arrested when the manager came forward to complain about the breach of peace.”

The man was charged with a misdemeanor count of disorderly conduct, Alvarez said. It is unclear whether the man was a tourist or a contractor working in Galveston.

Charles W. “Rocky” Rhodes, a professor of law at South Texas College of Law, when contacted about a previous F-bomb arrest in a La Marque Wal-Mart last year, said that in Cohen v. California, the U.S. Supreme Court held that a man protesting the Vietnam War could not be arrested for wearing a jacket in a courthouse that bore the phrase “F— the Draft.”

The reasoning was that offended people could turn away, Rhodes said.

There have been other cases that have set precedent that isolated or fleeting use of public profanity can’t be criminalized without violating the First Amendment, Rhodes said.

The state, however, isn’t prevented from criminalizing a public verbal assault of repeated, loud profanities that disrupt the rights of others, Rhodes said.

Appeared Here


Anne Arundel County Maryland Police Beat And Arrest Deaf Man Who Tried To Report Burglary Of His Home

March 10, 2009

ANNE ARUNDEL, MARYLAND – The day started badly enough for Stephen Pyles when he discovered that the home he shares with his elderly mother had been burglarized. But it only got worse when Pyles attempted to explain to police what had happened — and wound up taken from his home in handcuffs.

The 55-year-old Anne Arundel County man was accused of punching a police officer in the chest. But a paramedic who was there wrote in a report that Pyles, who is deaf and cannot speak clearly, simply pressed a note to the officer’s chest and was then “violently wrestled to the ground” by the officer.

Prosecutors recently dropped charges against Pyles, citing a lack of evidence. And Anne Arundel County police say they are reviewing the incident and their policies.

“When the officer was pushing me, I couldn’t breathe. I kept trying to mouth the word ‘air, air, air’ over and over again,” Pyles, who says he had neck surgery six days before his arrest, said through a sign-language interpreter. “Every time I see the police, I get chills. If something happens to my mom, who do I call? I can’t call the cops.”

While it remains unclear exactly what happened at the Pasadena home that morning, the versions told by Pyles and the paramedic illustrate the difficulties that can arise in encounters between police and the hard of hearing.

“When police see someone who is blind, they know he cannot see. When they see someone in a wheelchair, they know he cannot walk. But when they see someone who is deaf or hard of hearing, the assumption is that he is not trying hard enough to hear or that he’s unintelligent,” says Shannon Smith Peinaldo, a New Mexico-based advocate for the deaf. “American Sign Language is a very visual language, and when you don’t know it … what is an expression of emotion can be viewed as aggression.”

Some law enforcement agencies are taking steps to make officers more sensitive to the needs of the hearing impaired. The Maryland Sheriff’s Association created visor cards to alert officers at a traffic stop that a driver is deaf. And the Frederick police recently learned basic sign language and took part in role play situations with students of the Maryland School for the Deaf.

“We found through this training that the police now have an understanding of deaf culture,” said Frederick police spokesman Lt. Clark Pennington. “That’s a big part of empathy.”

The Anne Arundel County police dispatchers are equipped with TTY phones to communicate with the deaf, police spokesman Sgt. John Gilmer said. New police officers take part in a workshop on disabilities, he said. But a manual for officers, provided by the department, does not specifically address how police should handle calls involving deaf people.

Pyles says he is traumatized by his interactions with police. He lives with his mother in the same two-story home near Fort Smallwood Park where he grew up. Everyone in the immediate family was born deaf.

The house smells like wood smoke, and the walls are decorated with hand-painted bird feeders, family photos and cards that say “I love Grandma.” A television with closed captioning runs in the living room, words scrolling above the heads of faces on screen.

But the tranquillity of the home is deceptive, Pyles said through an interpreter. The house has been burglarized at least six times in the past decade, he said, and he believes thieves target him and his mother because they are deaf.

When mother and son awoke April 16 to find a window smashed and 79-year-old Evelyn Pyles’ purse missing, they called 911 on their TTY phone and hung up. As paramedics watched, Stephen Pyles showed police the shattered window and wrote a note expressing his frustration at feeling that his home was unsafe. At this point, the accounts of what occurred diverge.

According to court documents signed by Officer L.A. Facciponti, Pyles pointed his finger in the officer’s face, pounded a table and slammed down a pen that ricocheted and nearly struck the officer. Then “he suddenly and without warning used … his fist to punch me in the chest,” the officer wrote. Facciponti, who joined the department in June 2007, tried to arrest Pyles, but the man resisted and the officer used “hand techniques to take him to the ground,” according to the documents.

But Ashley Eckhardt, a paramedic with the county Fire Department, wrote a different account. Pyles apparently “frustrated from not being able to communicate with the officers, attempted to get an officer’s attention by grabbing the officer’s arm and placing a piece of paper with a note for the officer on the officer’s chest,” she wrote. “It was at this time that the officer began wrestling the patient to the ground.” Pyles was “guarding himself from the officer,” “pointing to his neck” and “motioning for officer to stop,” she wrote.

Pyles said he was terrified and suffering intense pain as he lay on the floor with his hands bound behind his back. “I really thought my throat was going to close up,” he said. “I couldn’t breathe. I thought I was going to die.”

According to the paramedic’s report, Evelyn Pyles wrote a note explaining that her son was recovering from neck surgery and was in pain. A hearing brother-in-law, who had arrived to interpret, asked police to cuff Stephen Pyles’ hands in front of him to alleviate the neck pain and to allow him to sign, but the officers refused several times. They also declined Pyles’ request to be examined by paramedics before leaving the home, according to the report.

In the officer’s account, the first mention of Pyles’ medical condition occurs when he is at the police station. Paramedics examined him then and took him to the hospital for treatment.

It was at this time that the officers were “able to ascertain” that a purse had been stolen from Pyles’ home. Pyles wrote up a list of things that had been taken. He was charged with second-degree assault and resisting arrest and was released.

Pyles said that he still suffers neck and back pain. And he says there still has not been an arrest in the burglary that started the chain of events.

His emphatic signing might have been interpreted by the officer as aggression, said Leo Yates Jr., the pastor of Magothy United Methodist Church of the Deaf, where Pyles is a member. As people grow more emotional, they sign with larger and more dramatic gestures, he said.

“When you’re trying to express yourself, you’re going to need to flap your arms and use parts of your body to express yourself,” he said.

When the case came to Anne Arundel Circuit Court Feb. 25 assistant state’s attorney Karen Anderson-Scott asked that charges be dropped due to lack of evidence.

Heather Tierney, Pyles’ attorney from the public defender’s office, said after the hearing that the police need more training in dealing with the deaf.

“The public and the police need to be made aware that this can’t happen again,” she said.

Appeared Here


Anne Arundel County Maryland Police Beat And Arrest Deaf Man Who Tried To Report Burglary Of His Home

March 10, 2009

ANNE ARUNDEL, MARYLAND – The day started badly enough for Stephen Pyles when he discovered that the home he shares with his elderly mother had been burglarized. But it only got worse when Pyles attempted to explain to police what had happened — and wound up taken from his home in handcuffs.

The 55-year-old Anne Arundel County man was accused of punching a police officer in the chest. But a paramedic who was there wrote in a report that Pyles, who is deaf and cannot speak clearly, simply pressed a note to the officer’s chest and was then “violently wrestled to the ground” by the officer.

Prosecutors recently dropped charges against Pyles, citing a lack of evidence. And Anne Arundel County police say they are reviewing the incident and their policies.

“When the officer was pushing me, I couldn’t breathe. I kept trying to mouth the word ‘air, air, air’ over and over again,” Pyles, who says he had neck surgery six days before his arrest, said through a sign-language interpreter. “Every time I see the police, I get chills. If something happens to my mom, who do I call? I can’t call the cops.”

While it remains unclear exactly what happened at the Pasadena home that morning, the versions told by Pyles and the paramedic illustrate the difficulties that can arise in encounters between police and the hard of hearing.

“When police see someone who is blind, they know he cannot see. When they see someone in a wheelchair, they know he cannot walk. But when they see someone who is deaf or hard of hearing, the assumption is that he is not trying hard enough to hear or that he’s unintelligent,” says Shannon Smith Peinaldo, a New Mexico-based advocate for the deaf. “American Sign Language is a very visual language, and when you don’t know it … what is an expression of emotion can be viewed as aggression.”

Some law enforcement agencies are taking steps to make officers more sensitive to the needs of the hearing impaired. The Maryland Sheriff’s Association created visor cards to alert officers at a traffic stop that a driver is deaf. And the Frederick police recently learned basic sign language and took part in role play situations with students of the Maryland School for the Deaf.

“We found through this training that the police now have an understanding of deaf culture,” said Frederick police spokesman Lt. Clark Pennington. “That’s a big part of empathy.”

The Anne Arundel County police dispatchers are equipped with TTY phones to communicate with the deaf, police spokesman Sgt. John Gilmer said. New police officers take part in a workshop on disabilities, he said. But a manual for officers, provided by the department, does not specifically address how police should handle calls involving deaf people.

Pyles says he is traumatized by his interactions with police. He lives with his mother in the same two-story home near Fort Smallwood Park where he grew up. Everyone in the immediate family was born deaf.

The house smells like wood smoke, and the walls are decorated with hand-painted bird feeders, family photos and cards that say “I love Grandma.” A television with closed captioning runs in the living room, words scrolling above the heads of faces on screen.

But the tranquillity of the home is deceptive, Pyles said through an interpreter. The house has been burglarized at least six times in the past decade, he said, and he believes thieves target him and his mother because they are deaf.

When mother and son awoke April 16 to find a window smashed and 79-year-old Evelyn Pyles’ purse missing, they called 911 on their TTY phone and hung up. As paramedics watched, Stephen Pyles showed police the shattered window and wrote a note expressing his frustration at feeling that his home was unsafe. At this point, the accounts of what occurred diverge.

According to court documents signed by Officer L.A. Facciponti, Pyles pointed his finger in the officer’s face, pounded a table and slammed down a pen that ricocheted and nearly struck the officer. Then “he suddenly and without warning used … his fist to punch me in the chest,” the officer wrote. Facciponti, who joined the department in June 2007, tried to arrest Pyles, but the man resisted and the officer used “hand techniques to take him to the ground,” according to the documents.

But Ashley Eckhardt, a paramedic with the county Fire Department, wrote a different account. Pyles apparently “frustrated from not being able to communicate with the officers, attempted to get an officer’s attention by grabbing the officer’s arm and placing a piece of paper with a note for the officer on the officer’s chest,” she wrote. “It was at this time that the officer began wrestling the patient to the ground.” Pyles was “guarding himself from the officer,” “pointing to his neck” and “motioning for officer to stop,” she wrote.

Pyles said he was terrified and suffering intense pain as he lay on the floor with his hands bound behind his back. “I really thought my throat was going to close up,” he said. “I couldn’t breathe. I thought I was going to die.”

According to the paramedic’s report, Evelyn Pyles wrote a note explaining that her son was recovering from neck surgery and was in pain. A hearing brother-in-law, who had arrived to interpret, asked police to cuff Stephen Pyles’ hands in front of him to alleviate the neck pain and to allow him to sign, but the officers refused several times. They also declined Pyles’ request to be examined by paramedics before leaving the home, according to the report.

In the officer’s account, the first mention of Pyles’ medical condition occurs when he is at the police station. Paramedics examined him then and took him to the hospital for treatment.

It was at this time that the officers were “able to ascertain” that a purse had been stolen from Pyles’ home. Pyles wrote up a list of things that had been taken. He was charged with second-degree assault and resisting arrest and was released.

Pyles said that he still suffers neck and back pain. And he says there still has not been an arrest in the burglary that started the chain of events.

His emphatic signing might have been interpreted by the officer as aggression, said Leo Yates Jr., the pastor of Magothy United Methodist Church of the Deaf, where Pyles is a member. As people grow more emotional, they sign with larger and more dramatic gestures, he said.

“When you’re trying to express yourself, you’re going to need to flap your arms and use parts of your body to express yourself,” he said.

When the case came to Anne Arundel Circuit Court Feb. 25 assistant state’s attorney Karen Anderson-Scott asked that charges be dropped due to lack of evidence.

Heather Tierney, Pyles’ attorney from the public defender’s office, said after the hearing that the police need more training in dealing with the deaf.

“The public and the police need to be made aware that this can’t happen again,” she said.

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Bogus Murder Charges Dropped After Man Spent 30+ Years In Prison After Wrongful Conviction In Brevard County Florida

December 12, 2008

VIERA, FLORIDA — Charges have been dropped against a man who spent nearly three decades behind bars before DNA evidence cast doubt on his murder conviction, prosecutors in Florida said Wednesday.

William Dillon, 49, has been free on bond since last month, after a judge ordered a new trial because of testing that showed his DNA wasn’t on key evidence from his 1981 conviction.

Prosecutors subsequently concluded that a jury wouldn’t find Dillon guilty “beyond and to the exclusion of every reasonable doubt,” Brevard County State Attorney Norman Wolfinger said Wednesday.

Aside from the DNA test results, nine witnesses from Dillon’s trial have died, and another cannot testify because of medical problems.

Mike Pirolo, Dillon’s public defender, described Wednesday’s development as bittersweet.

“Sweet that justice was done and he’s a free man,” he said. “Bitter that 27 years of his life was taken away that he’ll never get back.”

Two other inmates also spent 27 years behind bars before being exonerated by DNA evidence, the longest such terms, said the Innocence Project, a legal center specializing in wrongful conviction cases.

Testing for DNA evidence wasn’t available when Dillon was originally tried in the bludgeoning death of James Dvorak.

New analysis paid for by the Innocence Project Florida showed Dillon’s DNA was not found on a bloodstained yellow T-shirt presented during his trial. The victim’s blood was on the shirt, along with the DNA of two other people.

Dillon didn’t immediately return a message left Wednesday with defense attorneys.

He had expressed relief when he was released last month.

“When I first went behind the bars, I couldn’t believe that it happened,” Dillon said at the time. “And then I never thought it was gonna be corrected.”

Appeared Here


Bogus Murder Charges Dropped After Man Spent 30+ Years In Prison After Wrongful Conviction In Brevard County Florida

December 11, 2008

VIERA, FLORIDA — Charges have been dropped against a man who spent nearly three decades behind bars before DNA evidence cast doubt on his murder conviction, prosecutors in Florida said Wednesday.

William Dillon, 49, has been free on bond since last month, after a judge ordered a new trial because of testing that showed his DNA wasn’t on key evidence from his 1981 conviction.

Prosecutors subsequently concluded that a jury wouldn’t find Dillon guilty “beyond and to the exclusion of every reasonable doubt,” Brevard County State Attorney Norman Wolfinger said Wednesday.

Aside from the DNA test results, nine witnesses from Dillon’s trial have died, and another cannot testify because of medical problems.

Mike Pirolo, Dillon’s public defender, described Wednesday’s development as bittersweet.

“Sweet that justice was done and he’s a free man,” he said. “Bitter that 27 years of his life was taken away that he’ll never get back.”

Two other inmates also spent 27 years behind bars before being exonerated by DNA evidence, the longest such terms, said the Innocence Project, a legal center specializing in wrongful conviction cases.

Testing for DNA evidence wasn’t available when Dillon was originally tried in the bludgeoning death of James Dvorak.

New analysis paid for by the Innocence Project Florida showed Dillon’s DNA was not found on a bloodstained yellow T-shirt presented during his trial. The victim’s blood was on the shirt, along with the DNA of two other people.

Dillon didn’t immediately return a message left Wednesday with defense attorneys.

He had expressed relief when he was released last month.

“When I first went behind the bars, I couldn’t believe that it happened,” Dillon said at the time. “And then I never thought it was gonna be corrected.”

Appeared Here