Protesters Storm Anaheim California Police Headquarters After Officers Shot And Killed Unarmed Man

July 23, 2012

ANAHEIM, CALIFORNIA — Demonstrators stormed a police department in Orange County, Calif., on Sunday to protest an officer-involved shooting that left an unarmed man dead and led to a violent clash between witnesses and police.

A crowd swarmed the Anaheim Police headquarters’ lobby Sunday as Chief John Welter held a news conference to discuss what happened the night before. The protesters chanted “no justice, no peace” and “cops, pigs, murderers” as officers stood by and watched.

Welter said two officers were placed on paid leave after one of them fatally shot 24-year-old Manuel Diaz.

He said the officers approached three men in an alleyway when they ran away. One of the officers chased Diaz to the front of an apartment complex where the shooting occurred.

Welter would not say what led the officer to shoot Diaz, citing an independent investigation by the county’s district attorney office. Police said Diaz was a known gang member.

Mayor Tom Tait said he will ask the state attorney general to assist in the probe.

“Transparency is essential. Whatever the truth is, we will own it,” Tait said.

The shooting sparked a melee in the neighborhood as some threw rocks and bottles at officers who were securing the scene for investigators to collect evidence. Sgt. Bob Dunn, the department’s spokesman, said that as officers detained an instigator, the crowd advanced on officers so they fired bean bags and pepper balls at them.

Video captured by a KCAL-TV crew showed a chaotic scene as some people ducked to the ground and others scattered screaming. A man is seen yelling at an officer even as a weapon is pointed at him; two adults huddled to shield a boy and girl. Meanwhile, a police dog charged at several people sitting on the grass, including a woman and a child in a stroller, before biting a man in the arm.

Dunn said the dog accidentally got out of a patrol car. He said he didn’t know whether police warned the crowd to disperse before firing the rubber bullets and pepper balls.

Throughout the night, police in multiple marked and unmarked squad cars attempted to control an unruly crowd gathered near the shooting scene, the Orange County Register reported.

Some in the crowd moved a Dumpster into an intersection and set its trash on fire on at least three separate occasions, while officers kept responding to move it out of the way of traffic.

Dunn said five people, two of them juveniles, were arrested during the unrest. He said gang detectives are involved in the investigation.

Crystal Ventura, a 17-year-old who witnessed the shooting, told the Register that the man had his back to the officer. Ventura said the man was shot in the buttocks area. The man then went down on his knees, she said, adding that he was struck by another bullet in the head. Ventura said another officer handcuffed the man, who by then was on the ground and not moving.

“They searched his pockets, and there was a hole in his head, and I saw blood on his face,” Ventura told the newspaper.

Dunn said he could not comment on these allegations because the shooting is under investigation.

The other two men who ran away have not been captured, but police impounded their vehicle which was abandoned at the scene, Dunn said.

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

July 11, 2012

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

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

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

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

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

Officers went to the apartment on a disturbance call.

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

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

Lt. Mike Denton then drags him into jail.

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

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

The officer was fired for using excessive force.

Chief Dan Yancey spoke to KRMG in November.

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

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

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

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

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Savage Black Beasts Ordered Pizza And Killed White Domino’s Delivery Woman – Stabbed 50 Times On Doorstep

June 10, 2012

CEDARTOWN, GEORGIA – Update:The two suspects in the homicide of a pizza delivery person are in the Polk County Jail on murder charges while investigators continue to look for a motive, according to officials.

Cadedra Cook, 18, of 229 Thompson St., Cedartown, and a 15-year-old male juvenile were apprehended around noon on a field on the property of the Old Hale Manufacturing Building on Lafayette Street, according to officials.

“We had been one step behind them most of the night,” Cedartown Police Department Assistant Police Chief Jamie Newsome said. “We were finally able to catch up to them.”

The two are charged in the brutal stabbing and bludgeoning death of Elizabeth Hutcheson, 27, of Cedartown, while she was making a delivery for Domino’s Pizza to the home.

Newsome said he is pleased the two suspects were caught within a day after the homicide. He credits good teamwork with all law enforcement agencies for quickly finding them.

“It was just cooperative police work,” he said. “Without the help of the GBI and the U.S. Marshall’s to a small department like ours, it would have been hard on us,” he said.

The CPD also had assistance from the Polk County Police Department and the Polk County Sheriff’s Office

Polk County Sheriff Kelly McLendon said 12 of his people were involved in the search and at least seven from the U.S. Marshall’s Service were on the scene also.

“We were asked to assist. We came. We helped out,” McLendon said.

Newsome said the investigation into the slaying is still open.

Police confirmed a telephone pizza order was placed at Domino’s shortly before 9 p.m. Thursday. Hutcheson was the delivery person sent.

Newsome said the suspects fled on foot.

Police officers found Hutcheson around 9:15 p.m. bleeding in the doorframe of Cook’s residence while on a routine traffic stop. She had been stabbed multiple times and was pronounced dead at Polk Medical Center, according to officials.

Newsome said each suspect is currently charged with one murder charge. However, he said that could change as the investigation is completed.

“There will probably be more charges,” Newsome said.

The motive is still a mystery.

Newsome said money was taken from Hutcheson in the incident, but the amount was so little that he couldn’t see that as being the sole motive.

“When I saw everything, it didn’t add up to me,” he said.

However, Newsome said the investigation hasn’t confirmed his “gut feeling,” so he wasn’t going to speculate. He said it couldn’t be determined at this point whether the killing was premeditated.

Newsome said nothing has been able to confirm or deny that Hutcheson knew Cook or the juvenile.

He also said he can’t confirm the juvenile was the same boy involved in Cook’s arrest in March.

She was charged with interference with child custody and contributing to the delinquency of a minor in that incident, according to jail records.

Cook hasn’t gone to court on those charges, records indicate.

Newsome said Cook had not appeared to be violent in previous police interactions.

“This would be out of the ordinary for her,” he said.

Newsome said he personally told Hutcheson’s mother, who lives in Cedartown, the news of the suspects’ capture.

“She was very emotional and very appreciative of the efforts,” he said. “We had a very emotional visit with her.”

The rest of Hutcheson’s family is also from Cedartown, he said. That includes a boyfriend and a four-year-old girl.

Hutcheson was a 2003 graduate of Cedartown High School and a 2011 graduate of Georgia Northwestern Technical College in Rome, according to her Facebook page.

Newsome is meeting for a debriefing with law enforcement this afternoon to decide how to proceed with the investigation.

He has also been talking throughout the night and morning with Polk County District Attorney Bobby Brooks,

Brooks, who came to the Polk County Sheriff’s Office after being informed the suspects had been apprehended, said he hasn’t decided whether to try the juvenile as an adult.

That decision will be made later after the investigation in completed, he said.

Update:Ken McIntyre, vice president of communication for Domino’s Pizza said during an interview that the corporation was informed of the stabbing last night.

“We were horrified. An innocent person losing her life is just beyond words,” McIntyre said. “Are prayers go with the family.”

McIntyre said Domino’s was grateful that the police were able to respond so quickly in the capture of the suspects.

When asked about the risk to employees delivering pizza McIntyre said Domino’s gives training programs to its employees and takes preventative measures in order to lessen the risk of violent encounters such as limiting the amount of money drivers carry.

“We have been delivering pizzas for 52 years, and there’s a lot we do, but what we can’t do is eliminate evil,” McIntyre said.

Update:The suspects were captured around noon Friday, according to Newsome.

The suspects were found near Thompson and Lafayette streets, according to police.

Previously reported:A pizza delivery worker was killed Thursday night while making a delivery at 229 Thompson Street, Cedartown, according to officials.

The two suspects remain at large, police said.

Elizabeth Hutcheson, 27, was found by police around 9:15 p.m. bleeding in the doorway of the Thompson Street home, according to Cedartown Assistant Police Chief Jamie Newsome. Hutcheson suffered multiple stab wounds and had been bludgeoned, he said.

She was pronounced dead at Polk Medical Center.

“It’s been 15 to 18 years since we’ve had a something this violent,” Newsome said.

Newsome said police believe the suspects, Cadedra L. Cook, 18, of the residence, and a 15-year-old juvenile ordered a pizza from Domino’s and they killed Hutcheson when she delivered it.

Murder warrants have been issued for both, but police have not yet found either.

Police do not have a motive and do not know if drugs were involved, he said.

“I feel rather confident we know what happened. We don’t know why,” Newsome said.

He said police discovered Hutcheson by chance just moments after the attack.

“Cedartown police was working a traffic stop in the 100 block of Thompson Street and officers heard frantic screaming,” he said. “They could tell it was something serious so they abandoned the traffic stop to go find it.”

Newsome said the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) has assisted the city in the case from the beginning and Cedartown is also receiving help from the Polk County Police Department and the Polk County Sheriff’s Office.

Neighbors to 229 Thompson St. said they are shocked at the brutal killing of a pizza deliver person Thursday night.

“I can’t sleep. I have to go to work, but I’ve been up all night,” one neighbor, who spoke on condition of anonymity said.

“It’s just a shock that it happened so close to home,” another neighbor, who also didn’t want to be identified, said.

One said she saw police lights when Cedartown officers made a traffic stop on the street, just 50 feet from where Elizabeth Hutcheson, 27, was killed.

“I came out on the porch. Police had a car pulled over and then I heard someone screaming for help,” she said.

“They walked up there and she was laying halfway in the house, half on the porch.”

No one said they saw the attack where Hutcheson was stabbed multiple times and bludgeoned to death.

Police are still looking for Cadedra Cook, 18, and a 15-year-old juvenile suspected in the attack.

No motive has been determined and police are not speculating on whether the brutal slaying was premeditated.

Polk County Jail reports indicate that Cook, who was living at 1019 Jones St., Cedartown, was arrested March 19 on charges of contributing to the delinquency of a minor and interference with custody.

It is unknown whether the minor in that case is the same one suspected in Thursday’s homicide.

She was released on bond March 20.

Cook’s Facebook page stated she was originally from Marietta and had ties to Aragon and had more than 200 virtual friends. It also lists her as a Rockmart High School graduate and married.

Domino’s Pizza was supposed to open at 11 a.m. on Friday, but remained closed, locked with opening lights off. Although four cars were parked on the lot, no one was in the building.

Calls made to the local franchise owner and to Domino’s corporate headquarters in Ann Arbor, Mich., have not yet been returned.

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Aurora Colorado Police Stop And Handcuff 40 Innocent Motorists

June 6, 2012

AURORA, COLORADO – If you can’t beat them… handcuff all of them? That may not be how the expression goes, but it was the theory put into practice by Aurora police, over the weekend during a search for suspected bank robbers.

According to ABC News, on Saturday police say they received a “reliable” tip that the suspect behind an armed robbery that had occurred earlier at a Wells Fargo bank was stopped at a red light at the intersection of E. Iliff Avenue and S. Buckley Road.

The only problem was this: the police didn’t have a description of the suspect, the vehicle or anything that would help them narrow down their search. So, rather than let their man get away, the cops barricaded the area, trapped about 25 cars and pulled each and every occupant out of their car at gunpoint and ultimately handcuffed 40 adults.

Sonya Romero, one of the handcuffed drivers, told 7News about the incident, “Cops came in from every direction and just threw their car in front of my car. We didn’t know if we were in the line of fire or what the hell was happening.”

The operation lasted around two hours and ended when police found two loaded firearms, the evidence they were looking for, in the final car that was searched and apprehended the bank robbery suspect. And although none of the 40 people handcuffed complained, the department has received about five complaints from people not involved in the operation.

Aurora police Chief Dan Oates defended the department’s unusual decision to handcuff all the adults at the scene to the Aurora Sentinel saying, “No question we inconvenienced citizens, and I feel badly about that.” But says he backs up the decision to proceed with the unusual method, “I can’t find fault with the decisions that were made.”

But, removing 40 people from their cars at gunpoint, handcuffing and detaining them? That seems extreme. Oates went on to state that although he was sorry for detaining innocent people, he felt the ends justified the means, “The law is clear that investigative detentions are lawful for a reasonable period of time. Reasonableness is determined by the facts and circumstances at issue, and the facts and circumstances were the suspect was in one of 19 cars,”

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Man Exonerated Of Bogus Rape Charge After 5 Years In Prison – Victim Lied About Kidnapping, Rape, Received $1.5 Million In Civil Suit, And Probably Won’t be Prosecuted For Lying

May 24, 2012

LONG BEACH, CALIFORNIA — A former high school football star whose dreams of a pro career were shattered by a rape conviction burst into tears Thursday as a judge threw out the charge that sent him to prison for more than five years.

Brian Banks, now 26, pleaded no contest 10 years ago on the advice of his lawyer after a childhood friend falsely accused him of attacking her on their high school campus.

In a strange turn of events, the woman, Wanetta Gibson, friended him on Facebook when he got out of prison.

During an initial meeting with him, she said she had lied; there had been no kidnap and no rape and she offered to help him clear his record, court records state.

But she refused to repeat the story to prosecutors because she feared she would have to return a $1.5 million payment from a civil suit brought by her mother against Long Beach schools.

During a second meeting that was secretly videotaped, she told Banks, “`I will go through with helping you, but it’s like at the same time all that money they gave us, I mean gave me, I don’t want to have to pay it back,'” according to Freddie Parish, a defense investigator who was at the meeting.

It was uncertain whether Gibson will have to return the money and unlikely she would be prosecuted for making the false accusation so long ago, when she was 15.

Gibson did not attend the hearing and she could not be reached for comment. Prosecutors and defense attorneys said they were unable to find her recently.

Banks, once a star middle linebacker at Long Beach Polytechnic High School, had attracted the interest of such college football powerhouses as the University of Southern California, Ohio State University and the University of Michigan, according to the website Rivals.com, which tracks the recruiting of high school football and basketball players.

Banks said he had verbally agreed to attend USC on a scholarship when he was arrested.

He still hopes to play professional football and has been working out regularly. His attorney Justin Brooks appealed to NFL teams to give him a chance.

“He has the speed and the strength. He certainly has the heart,” Brooks said. “I hope he gets the attention of people in the sports world.”

Gil Brandt, an NFL draft consultant, said Banks would be eligible to sign with any team that might show interest. However, his years away from the game will be hard to overcome.

“History tells us guys who come back after one or two years away when they go into the service find it awfully hard,” Brandt said. “And this has been much longer a time.”

Brandt compared the challenge to someone who has been out of high school for years trying to get an A in their first class in college.

Banks said outside court that he had lost all hope of proving his innocence until Gibson contacted him.

“It’s been a struggle. But I’m unbroken and I’m still here today,” the tall, muscular Banks said, tears flowing down his face.

He recalled being shocked and speechless on the day Gibson reached out to him after he had been released from prison, having served five years and two months.

“I thought maybe it wasn’t real,” he said. “How could she be contacting me?”

He said he knew that if he became angry when he met with her it wouldn’t help, so he struggled to keep calm.

“I stopped what I was doing and got down on my knees and prayed to God to help me play my cards right,” he said.

In court, Deputy District Attorney Brentford Ferreira told Superior Court Judge Mark C. Kim that prosecutors agreed the case should be thrown out. Kim dismissed it immediately.

Banks had tried to win release while he was in prison, but Brooks, a law professor and head of the California Innocence Project at California Western School of Law in San Diego, said he could not have been exonerated without the woman coming forward and recanting her story.

Brooks said it was the first case he had ever taken in which the defendant had already served his time and had been free for a number of years.

Banks remained on probation, however, and was still wearing his electronic monitoring bracelet at the hearing. His lawyer said the first thing the two planned to do was report to probation officials and have it removed.

“The charges are dismissed now,” Brooks said. “It’s as if it didn’t happen. … It was the shortest, greatest proceeding I’ve ever been part of.”

Banks had been arrested after Gibson said he met her in a school hallway and urged her to come into an elevator with him. The two had been friends since middle school and were in the habit of making out in a school stairwell, according to court papers.

There were contradictions in Gibson’s story, as she told some people the rape happened in the elevator and others that it happened in the stairwell.

A kidnapping enhancement was added to the case because of the allegation Banks had taken her to the stairwell. That enhancement also was thrown out Thursday.

Outside court, Banks donned a sweat shirt that read “Innocent,” as several friends and family members wept. His parents were jubilant, and Banks thanked them for standing by him.

“I know the trauma, the stress that I’ve been through, but I can’t imagine what it’s like to have your child torn from you,” he said. “I don’t know what I would have done without my parents.”

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Highest Court In Texas Orders State To Pay Just $2 Million To Man Inprisoned 26 Years On Bogus Conviction – Opens Door To Others Wrongfully Imprisoned To Receive Compensation

May 19, 2012

HOUSTON, TEXAS — The Texas Supreme Court has ordered the Lone Star State to pay more than $2 million to a former inmate who spent 26 years in prison for murder, a ruling that could set a precedent for compensating other prisoners whose convictions are overturned.

Billy Frederick Allen, now in his 60s, was convicted of two 1983 Dallas-area murders. Unlike other inmates freed after DNA evidence proved their innocence, Allen was freed in 2009 after a court found problems with witness testimony and his trial attorneys’ representation. Allen sued the state for compensation for wrongful imprisonment.

Allen’s attorney said the Supreme Court ruling may prove key to developing standards for when the state must compensate former prisoners.

“There are many cases where people are struggling and they don’t have DNA, but they now have hope,” Allen’s attorney, Kris Moore of McKinney, Texas, told the Los Angeles Times. “The implications of this for the Texas justice system are probably larger than people realize.”

He said the ruling may make it easier for inmates such as Richard Miles of Dallas – who served 14 years for crimes he didn’t commit, then spent two years awaiting a court ruling that finally came in February – to be compensated more quickly.

But he said it’s not clear what bearing Allen’s case may have on other ongoing high-profile exoneration battles. In one such case, Kerry Max Cook has written a book and attracted celebrity supporters in his fight to prove his innocence and receive compensation for serving 22 years on Texas’ death row for an East Texas murder he says he never committed.

Texas’ compensation law is the most generous in the U.S., according to officials at the New York-based Innocence Project. Freed inmates declared innocent by a judge, prosecutor or a governor’s pardon can collect $80,000 for every year of imprisonment, along with an annuity and medical and education benefits.

Dallas has become a lightning rod in the national debate over exonerations and capital punishment, with the most exonerations in Texas and the state’s first African-American district attorney who has championed the cause of exonerees.

But in Allen’s case, Texas Comptroller Susan Combs resisted paying, arguing that unlike other wrongfully convicted inmates, Allen did not have newly tested DNA or other evidence to prove his innocence.

On Friday, a spokesman for Combs’ office released a statement to the Times saying the state did not plan to appeal and was already processing Allen’s payment.

“Now that we have helpful guidance from the Supreme Court, we have immediately started the process of paying Billy Allen approximately $2 million for wrongful-imprisonment compensation,” spokesman R.J. DeSilva said in the statement. “The court’s decision will also help us pay any other exonerees with similar circumstances to Mr. Allen.”

DeSilva noted that Texas has already paid 80 exonerees $49.5 million in wrongful-imprisonment compensation.

The state Supreme Court ruled Allen had a legitimate claim, despite the fact that his innocence had not been established through DNA.

“While unlikely, it is conceivable that the state could compensate someone who is later found guilty of the crime,” the court said in the ruling. However, the court said, that should not be grounds for limiting compensation to some wrongfully convicted inmates and not others.

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Probe Finds That Texas Executed Wrong Man In 1989 – Looked Like Killer, Had Same First Name, And Was In The Wrong Place At The Wrong Time

May 15, 2012

CORPUS CHRISTI, TEXAS – He was the spitting image of the killer, had the same first name and was near the scene of the crime at the fateful hour: Carlos DeLuna paid the ultimate price and was executed in place of someone else in Texas in 1989, a report out Tuesday found.

Even “all the relatives of both Carloses mistook them,” and DeLuna was sentenced to death and executed based only on eyewitness accounts despite a range of signs he was not a guilty man, said law professor James Liebman.

Liebman and five of his students at Columbia School of Law spent almost five years poring over details of a case that he says is “emblematic” of legal system failure.

DeLuna, 27, was put to death after “a very incomplete investigation. No question that the investigation is a failure,” Liebman said.

The report’s authors found “numerous missteps, missed clues and missed opportunities that let authorities prosecute Carlos DeLuna for the crime of murder, despite evidence not only that he did not commit the crime but that another individual, Carlos Hernandez, did,” the 780-page investigation found.

The report, entitled “Los Tocayos Carlos: Anatomy of a Wrongful Execution,” traces the facts surrounding the February 1983 murder of Wanda Lopez, a single mother who was stabbed in the gas station where she worked in a quiet corner of the Texas coastal city of Corpus Christi.

“Everything went wrong in this case,” Liebman said.

That night Lopez called police for help twice to protect her from an individual with a switchblade.

“They could have saved her, they said ‘we made this arrest immediately’ to overcome the embarrassment,” Liebman said.

Forty minutes after the crime Carlos DeLuna was arrested not far from the gas station.

He was identified by only one eyewitness who saw a Hispanic male running from the gas station. But DeLuna had just shaved and was wearing a white dress shirt — unlike the killer, who an eyewitness said had a mustache and was wearing a grey flannel shirt.

Even though witnesses accounts were contradictory — the killer was seen fleeing towards the north, while DeLuna was caught in the east — DeLuna was arrested.

“I didn’t do it, but I know who did,” DeLuna said at the time, saying that he saw Carlos Hernandez entering the service station.

DeLuna said he ran from police because he was on parole and had been drinking.

Hernandez, known for using a blade in his attacks, was later jailed for murdering a woman with the same knife. But in the trial, the lead prosecutor told the jury that Hernandez was nothing but a “phantom” of DeLuna’s imagination.

DeLuna’s budget attorney even said that it was probable that Carlos Hernandez never existed.

However in 1986 a local newspaper published a photograph of Hernandez in an article on the DeLuna case, Liebman said.

Following hasty trial DeLuna was executed by lethal injection in 1989.

Up to the day he died in prison of cirrhosis of the liver, Hernandez repeatedly admitted to murdering Wanda Lopez, Liebman said.

“Unfortunately, the flaws in the system that wrongfully convicted and executed DeLuna — faulty eyewitness testimony, shoddy legal representation and prosecutorial misconduct — continue to send innocent men to their death today,” read a statement that accompanies the report.

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