Man Awarded 22 Million After Being Held 2 Years In Solitary Confinement Without Seeing A Judge Or Doctor By Dona Ana County New Mexico Authorities – For DWI…

January 26, 2012

DONA ANA COUNTY, NEW MEXICO – A man who spent two years in solitary confinement after getting arrested for DWI was awarded $22 million for suffering inhumane treatment in New Mexico’s Dona Ana County Jail.

Stephen Slevin was arrested in August of 2005 for driving while intoxicated, according to NBC station KOB.com. He said he never got a trial and spent the entire time languishing in solitary, even pulling his own tooth when he was denied dental care.

“‘[Prison officials were] walking by me every day, watching me deteriorate,” he said. “Day after day after day, they did nothing, nothing at all, to get me any help.”

Slevin said he made countless requests to see a doctor to get medication for his depression, but wasn’t allowed to see one until only a few weeks before his release. He also never got to see a judge.

The $22 million settlement, awarded by a federal jury on Tuesday, is one of the largest prisoner civil rights settlements in U.S. history, according to KOB.com.

“I wanted people to know that there are people at The Dona Ana County Jail that are doing things like this to people and getting away with it,” Slevin, who now suffers from PTSD and believes he will have to take medication for life as a result, said. “Why they did what they did, I have no idea.”

Neither the county nor Slevin’s attorney returned phone calls from msnbc.com, but Slevin’s attorney, Matt Coyte, told KOB.com, “I have never been with or seen a braver man who stood up to these guys for what they did to him … [This case] It affects everybody and it’s not good for this country. It’s not good for Mr. Slevin for sure and it’s not good for this country. It has to stop.”

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

December 16, 2011

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Toronto Canada Police Raid Wrong Home, With Warrant They Couldn’t Produce, And Terrorize Innocent Family

June 27, 2010

TORONTO, CANADA – A Toronto veterinarian says police conducting a raid on anti-G20 protesters stormed into his home early Saturday, confronted him at gunpoint and handcuffed him — only to release him when they realized he had not been involved in any protest activity.

Dr. John Booth said the raid occurred at around 4 a.m. Saturday at his family’s apartment in a three-storey house at 143 Westminster Ave. near Roncesvalles Avenue.

Booth, 30, lives with his wife, Dr. Hannah Booth, 31, and his six-month-old son in the top two floors of the house.

“I thought it was a bad dream. Basically I woke up, and there were four police officers in my room,” Booth told CBC News.

“It was one of the very few nights I forgot to lock the front door and, lo and behold, they gained access and did not ring the doorbell, did not knock.

“One of them has his gun drawn and [it] is pointed at me, which is obviously an extremely unsettling way to wake up.”

Booth said police questioned him and he gave them his identification. They said they had warrants to search his home and arrest him.

Booth also said the officers informed him he was going to be charged with conspiracy to commit mischief and then handcuffed him.

Police never produced the warrants they spoke of, Booth said. They also spoke to Hannah Booth and woke up the couple’s baby in the nursery, he added.

Booth declined to give the name of his son, saying he didn’t want to get him involved.
Raid on downstairs apartment

Police had apprehended a number of anti-G20 protesters who were staying in another apartment on the ground floor of the house. Booth said he was taken to the lawn outside the home and made to wait there with several other handcuffed males.

While the officers waited for a police vehicle to take some of those on the lawn to a police station, Booth pleaded his case with the officers.

He said both he and his wife, who is also a veterinarian, were professionals who had no involvement with any criminal activity and that officers had no right to arrest him.

“That seemed to hit home. They conferred with their superior and then they took me back and said, ‘We apologize,'” Booth said.

Booth said he believed police were looking for someone named Peter.

The G20 Integrated Security Unit confirmed later it had conducted legal raids on two homes in Toronto and had arrested four people, one of whom was a 24-year-old named Peter Hopperton.

It could not confirm the addresses of the accused, nor the time of the raids.

Jillian Van Acker of the ISU, which includes members of the RCMP, Toronto police, Peel Regional Police and the Canadian Forces, said she had no information about the incident involving Booth.

“They shouldn’t have ever been in my house if they’d done their due diligence to actually figure out who was on site,” Booth said.

Booth said in email after the interview that the officers he dealt with were Toronto police, “as far as I could tell.”
‘Abuse of power’

Booth said he’s concerned about what he says was an overreach of police power in the lead-up to the G20 summit.

“I was listening to CBC Radio yesterday and they’re talking about …all the money going towards security [for the G20 summit] and the ultimate irony is that this is taxpayer dollars going to ‘keep us safe,’ and me the innocent bystander gets caught up in the middle of his over-policing and [this] abuse of power that occurred as a result.”

The Booths have filed a complaint with the Office of the Independent Police Review Director, a provincial police watchdog.

When asked if he and his wife will file a lawsuit, Booth said they aren’t interested in compensation.

“We would pursue that if it seems as though that’s the best means for accountability. Because that’s what we’re really after here — we just want them to ‘fess up’ and say, ‘Look, we screwed up royally and we’re sorry.'”

Booth works as a veterinarian at the Richview Animal Hospital in western Toronto. His wife, Hannah, is on maternity leave and recently took a position on the board of directors at the Toronto Humane Society.

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$10 Million Federal Civil Rights Lawsuit Charges Yellowstone County Montana With Interfering With Man’s Religion, Denying Him Medical Care, Etc.

February 21, 2009

YELLOWSTONE COUNTY, MONTANA – A Billings man in prison for drug possession has filed a $10 million federal lawsuit against Yellowstone County for alleged civil-rights violations, including interference with his satanic religious practices.

Jason Paul Indreland claims in the U.S. District Court lawsuit that county jail staff took from him a religious medallion, denied him access to religious material and ridiculed and punished him for his religious beliefs.

The lawsuit also alleges that Indreland was denied medical care for his drug addiction, that he was placed in situations where violence was expected and that he suffered harassment and retaliation while incarcerated.

Indreland said he has been a practicing Satanist for the past decade and the confiscated medallion was a “protective symbol” in his religion. The lawsuit claims jail staff refused to return the medallion or allow Indreland access to a “Satanic Bible or Book of Satanic Rituals.”
Indreland, 35, is incarcerated at Montana State Prison for a term of five years, with two years suspended, for felony drug possession. Indreland was convicted of the crime after Billings police found him with 15 grams of methamphetamine in March 2007.

Indreland has previous felony convictions in Yellowstone and Stillwater counties for bad checks and theft.

Indreland is not represented by an attorney in his suit. An attorney for the county, Kevin Gillen, said the county has not been served with the claim and could not comment.

Indreland initially filed the handwritten federal lawsuit last March while he was still held at the county jail. The lawsuit names as defendants the Yellowstone County Board of Commissioners, Sheriff Chuck Maxwell, Undersheriff Jay Bell and Sheriff’s Capt. Dennis McCave, who oversees county jail operations.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Carolyn Ostby reviewed the complaint and in October issued an order permitting Indreland to file an amended complaint. Ostby said in the order that there were several legal flaws in the original claim and it would be dismissed if not amended to comply with her order.

Indreland filed the amended complaint Nov. 12. In that document, Indreland named numerous members of the jail staff he alleges participated in violating his civil rights. Among the claims, Indreland alleges jail staff placed “Christian natured greeting cards under (his) cell door describing how he was going to undertake a huge change in his life and how Jesus was ready to save and accept him.”

The lawsuit seeks $3 million for alleged civil-rights violations, $2 million for “the deprivation of his rights and injuries both mental and physical,” and $5 million in punitive damages.

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$10 Million Federal Civil Rights Lawsuit Charges Yellowstone County Montana With Interfering With Man’s Religion, Denying Him Medical Care, Etc.

February 21, 2009

YELLOWSTONE COUNTY, MONTANA – A Billings man in prison for drug possession has filed a $10 million federal lawsuit against Yellowstone County for alleged civil-rights violations, including interference with his satanic religious practices.

Jason Paul Indreland claims in the U.S. District Court lawsuit that county jail staff took from him a religious medallion, denied him access to religious material and ridiculed and punished him for his religious beliefs.

The lawsuit also alleges that Indreland was denied medical care for his drug addiction, that he was placed in situations where violence was expected and that he suffered harassment and retaliation while incarcerated.

Indreland said he has been a practicing Satanist for the past decade and the confiscated medallion was a “protective symbol” in his religion. The lawsuit claims jail staff refused to return the medallion or allow Indreland access to a “Satanic Bible or Book of Satanic Rituals.”
Indreland, 35, is incarcerated at Montana State Prison for a term of five years, with two years suspended, for felony drug possession. Indreland was convicted of the crime after Billings police found him with 15 grams of methamphetamine in March 2007.

Indreland has previous felony convictions in Yellowstone and Stillwater counties for bad checks and theft.

Indreland is not represented by an attorney in his suit. An attorney for the county, Kevin Gillen, said the county has not been served with the claim and could not comment.

Indreland initially filed the handwritten federal lawsuit last March while he was still held at the county jail. The lawsuit names as defendants the Yellowstone County Board of Commissioners, Sheriff Chuck Maxwell, Undersheriff Jay Bell and Sheriff’s Capt. Dennis McCave, who oversees county jail operations.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Carolyn Ostby reviewed the complaint and in October issued an order permitting Indreland to file an amended complaint. Ostby said in the order that there were several legal flaws in the original claim and it would be dismissed if not amended to comply with her order.

Indreland filed the amended complaint Nov. 12. In that document, Indreland named numerous members of the jail staff he alleges participated in violating his civil rights. Among the claims, Indreland alleges jail staff placed “Christian natured greeting cards under (his) cell door describing how he was going to undertake a huge change in his life and how Jesus was ready to save and accept him.”

The lawsuit seeks $3 million for alleged civil-rights violations, $2 million for “the deprivation of his rights and injuries both mental and physical,” and $5 million in punitive damages.

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