Monday, February 08, 2016

Officer sues estate of teen he shot

There seems to be no doubt that the young black was swinging a metal baseball bat around

A white Chicago police officer who shot dead a black 19-year-old college student and accidentally killed a neighbour has filed a lawsuit against the teenager's estate, arguing the shooting left him traumatised.

The highly unusual suit was filed on Friday in the middle of the city's effort to grapple with serious questions about the future of its police force.

The timing and unusual nature of the suit by officer Robert Rialmo, who is seeking $US10 million ($A13.92 million) in damages, could complicate the department's efforts to demonstrate more sensitivity toward the community in how police shootings are handled.

His lawyer, Joel Brodsky, said it was important in the charged atmosphere to send a message that police are "not targets for assaults" and "suffer damage like anybody else".

The teen's father, Antonio LeGrier, filed a wrongful death lawsuit days after the December 26 shooting, saying his son, Quintonio, was not armed with a weapon and was not a threat.

His lawyer, Basileios Foutris, was incredulous at what he called the officer's "temerity" in suing the grieving family of the person he shot. "That's a new low even for the Chicago Police Department," he said.  "First you shoot them, then you sue them."

The lawsuit provides the officer's first public account of how he says the shooting happened, offering details that differ with the family's version.

It says Rialmo, who was responding to a domestic disturbance call with another officer, opened fire after Quintonio LeGrier swung a bat at the officer's head at close range.

A downstairs neighbour, 55-year-old Bettie Jones, was standing nearby and was shot and killed by accident. She was not part of the domestic dispute.

"The fact that LeGrier's actions had forced Officer Rialmo to end LeGrier's life and to accidentally take the innocent life of Bettie Jones has caused, and will continue to cause, Officer Rialmo to suffer extreme emotional trauma," the filing says.

Original report here

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Sunday, February 07, 2016

Useless Scottish police

Shocking CCTV footage shows how a shopkeeper was brutally beaten up by a hooded thug who had threatened him twice before.

Muhammad Jawad Ali twice phoned police about the yob's menacing behaviour - but they refused to turn up to his shop because the case was not a priority.

The man later returned and pinned the businessman against a shelf, repeatedly whacking him in the face and hitting him over the head with a bottle.

The first time the man appeared at his shop in Glasgow, he loitered on the premises and threatened staff and customers, verbally abusing Mr Ali.

Two days later, he came back and started menacing others with an umbrella.

The shopkeeper called police both times, but they said they were unable to intervene and instead offered to turn up the next day for a conversation about the case.

On January 3, the man came back and wordlessly started attacking Mr Ali, a father of one, before trying to run off with the cash register.

Mr Ali said: 'The first time he came to the shop, I called the police and they said, "We can't come because he's not attacking you." I called two times on that day.

'Two days later he came again in the evening. He started getting rude and threatened customers, an old lady and me with an umbrella. He was standing here for an hour.

'I called police more than three times on that day. They should have done something when I told them he was threatening us.  'The police said there's no case for them to turn up. They said they could not come until he attacked someone. They said they have different priorities.

'Days later he came back. He didn't say a single word. He kicked me in the back and I fell onto the bottles. 'He grabbed me and started punching me for no reason. Then he tried to grab the till but he couldn't take it. He threw it on the floor and just ran away. My blood was everywhere.'

CCTV footage of the incident shows the yob repeatedly punching Mr Ali in the head and running away as the shopkeeper reels, unable to stand up normally.

He was rushed to Glasgow Royal Infirmary with facial injuries, including three fractures to his cheekbone, a further to his nose and cuts to his mouth. He is now having trouble with his vision.

Mr Ali described his attacker as white, of a skinny build, just over 6ft tall, clean-shaven and speaking with an Eastern European accent.

Police said their enquiries are continuing to catch the thug and have urged anyone with information regarding this incident to contact them.

Mr Ali said: 'After all this happened I thought they would get the guy, but no. I want to come back to work but I can't stand here by myself.

'Now it's been a month and nothing has happened. If he was caught I would be satisfied. I am destroyed from inside. My life is not secure.'

A spokesman for Police Scotland said: 'We can confirm that a call was made to the police relating to a disturbance on two separate occasions in a shop in Glasgow in December.

'On both occasions it was reported that a man had been causing a disturbance within the shop.

'All incidents are graded in line with their priority level and as there were no officers in the area available to attend the store at the time, the shopkeeper was offered advice and guidance over the phone.

'The complainer was asked to call back if things escalated. He was then invited to make appointments with the police for the following day after both reports. The shopkeeper declined these appointments and stated that he no longer wished for police to attend.

'Enquiries are ongoing to establish if the two incidents are linked to the serious assault.'

Original report here

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Saturday, February 06, 2016

As the deceased John Inman becomes the latest target of the Savile Squad, RICHARD LITTLEJOHN says deranged witch hunt has turned basic principle of British justice on its head

The actor John Inman is the latest target of the increasingly insane Celebrity Nonce Squad. Far be it from me to point out that Inman died in 2007 and, just like Jimmy Savile, remains dead.

Since when has the lack of a live suspect ever stopped them? Having failed to arrest Savile while he was still breathing, the Old Bill have been trying desperately to pin bogus charges of 'historic' sex abuse on everyone from disc jockey Paul Gambaccini to the former Prime Minister Edward Heath, who is also dead.

This deranged witch-hunt has ruined the lives of countless innocent individuals and turned the basic principle of British justice on its head.

All those accused are presumed guilty unless they can prove themselves innocent. In the case of war hero Lord Bramall, absurdly accused of being a member of a VIP paedophile ring, investigating officers took a full ten months before contacting key witnesses who could testify that the allegations against him were nonsense.

Speaking in a BBC interview yesterday, Lord Bramall said: 'I don't see how a level-headed policeman could believe a word of it.'

Me neither. But the problem is we are not dealing with level-headed policemen, we are dealing with politically motivated, careerist zealots like Met Commissioner Bernard Hyphen-Howe and his ambitious sidekick 'Fat Pat' Gallan, head of the costly, utterly discredited, over-the-top Operation Midland investigation into rape and murder in high places.

They have been cruising the graveyards, like Burke and Hare, trying to dig up charges of sex abuse against the dead, who are no longer around to defend themselves.

Heavy-handed, very public, Stasi-style raids have been made on the homes of the living.

Hyphen-Howe still hasn't explained why sending 22 — yes, 22 — officers to ransack Lord Bramall's country home is a proportionate response to an accusation levelled by a dubious fantasist, let alone a measured use of police resources.

What the hell did they expect to achieve, other than to alert neighbours that they had a suspected sex offender living in their midst?

That outrageous abuse of power alone, quite apart from his other manifest failings, should disqualify him from winning an extension to his contract. If Theresa May gives him a new three-year deal, she should be ashamed of herself.

But, then again, this is a woman currently performing a cynical loop-de-loop on Europe, so she clearly has as little sense of shame as Hyphen-Howe himself.

Even when the charges are proven to be baseless, the Commissioner can't bring himself to issue a proper, personal apology.

As in the case of former Home Secretary Leon Brittan, who died with false allegations of abuse still hanging over his head, a subordinate is summoned to pen an insincere, weasel letter of 'regret' — although we're told Hyphen-Howe will finally get round to saying sorry to Brittan's widow. Bit late for that, I'd have thought.

Bold Bernard will never admit that the charges against most of those he decides to subject to ducking-stool justice are baseless.

The explanation is always that there was 'insufficient evidence' to proceed — even when there was absolutely no evidence at all. The clear implication is that there was no smoke without fire, and so the stigma lingers. It's character assassination by omission.

At this stage, it is customary to acknowledge that the Savile Squad has managed to nail some serious creeps, such as Stuart Hall and Rolf Harris.

But having failed to pin anything on a procession of entertainers, including Jimmy Tarbuck and Jim Davidson, they've now taken to targeting Seventies sitcoms.

John Inman was best known for playing the effeminate shop assistant Mr Humphries in the BBC's long-running comedy Are You Being Served?

A 48-year-old man has responded to the police promise that all allegations of sex abuse — no matter how bizarre or unfounded — will be believed, by claiming Inman sexually assaulted him at a Torquay hotel in the Seventies.  Inman's character was famously camp, so he must be guilty. Stands to reason, dunnit, guv?

Perhaps the Torquay hotel in question was Fawlty Towers. In which case, no doubt John Cleese can expect a 6am knock on the door from the heavy mob any day now.

And in late-breaking news, Scotland Yard has announced it is launching an investigation into the comedian Benny Hill. After studying video evidence of Hill chasing scantily clad dolly birds round a park in South-West London, they believe they have enough to charge him with a string of historic sex crimes.

Meanwhile, Benny Hill, like John Inman and Jimmy Savile, remains dead.

Original report here

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Friday, February 05, 2016

Lord Bramall launches blistering attack on the Metropolitan Police for its handling of child sex abuse allegations against him

Just one uncorroborated allegation can get the accused person's life turned upside down?

Former armed forces chief Lord Bramall has today launched a blistering attack on Scotland Yard for its handling of child sex abuse allegations against him.

The 92-year-old D-Day veteran, whose home was searched in front of his dying wife, said detectives 'didn't bother' to get any corroboration for the claims before launching the inquiry.

The probe was dropped by the Met last month after an inquiry that saw him publicly named as a suspect - and he said he was left to prove the allegations were not true.

Lord Bramall alleged that officers did not speak to witnesses who cast doubts on the allegations against him until 10 months after he was first spoken to.

Speaking to BBC Radio 4, he said that had the allegations not been so serious, he would have roared with laughter.

Lord Bramall said: 'Allegations had been made about me. I said, "what are they?". All they said was the allegation was I had abused an under-age male 40 years ago.'

Referring to one specific claim, he added: 'If the man's a field marshal, he's likely to choose Remembrance Sunday to have a sex party.

'I just don't see how a level-headed policeman could have believed a word of it without corroboration, which he didn't bother to get.

'It was I that had to prove I couldn't have done it. The same with the sex pool parties ... absurd business of the policeman saying, "can you swim?". And I said, "yes, I can swim".'

Lord Bramall described seeing the officer's face 'light up' at this information.

He was questioned as part of the Met's Operation Midland - a controversial inquiry into alleged child sex abuse and murder linked to VIPs.

The operation is reportedly on the verge of being scrapped, although Scotland Yard said on Wednesday that the probe was 'ongoing'.

The investigation was launched in November 2014 following allegations that boys were sexually abused by a paedophile ring centred around Westminster more than 30 years ago.

There were claims that sex parties were held at the exclusive Dolphin Square apartment block near the Houses of Parliament.

The inquiry - which centred on allegations by a man known as 'Nick' - was ratcheted up when police announced they were also looking into the alleged murder of three young boys.

Scotland Yard said it would not comment on the new criticism from Lord Bramall, and in a statement last month refused to apologise for its handling of the investigation.

Assistant Commissioner Patricia Gallan said: 'I fully recognise how unpleasant it may be to be investigated by the police over allegations of historic abuse.

'For a person to have their innocence publicly called into question must be appalling, and so I have every sympathy with Lord Bramall and his late wife and regret the distress they endured during this investigation.'

In a lengthy statement, the senior officer said police would be put off investigating claims if they had to apologise when inquiries did not end with a suspect being charged.

'The Metropolitan Police accepts absolutely that we should apologise when we get things wrong, and we have not shrunk from doing so.

'However, if we were to apologise whenever we investigated allegations that did not lead to a charge, we believe this would have a harmful impact on the judgments made by officers and on the confidence of the public.

'Investigators may be less likely to pursue allegations they knew would be hard to prove, whereas they should be focused on establishing the existence, or otherwise, of relevant evidence.

Original report here

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Thursday, February 04, 2016

Arrogant British cops

And no apology.  Puddles can conceal big potholes so what they did was dangerous to themselves as well as being contemptuous towards the public

This is the moment a helpless pedestrian gets showered with dirty water while walking along a pavement - after a police officer drove through a giant puddle.

The shocking footage shows the unidentified male strolling next to a main road when the marked police vehicle makes no attempt to avoid a puddle.

He then gets sprayed after the police car's left tyres create a wave of water which flies at the man, who is wearing shorts.

The incident was filmed by taxi driver Julie Matthews' dashboard camera when she was driving in Leigh Road, Eastleigh, Hants.

Her husband, Paul, 53, also a cab driver, said the behaviour of the police driver was 'disgusting' and has urged the officer to apologise to the young man.

But police have defended their actions - claiming it was 'safer' for them to drive through the large area of surface water.

They added it would have been more of a risk if the driver 'swerved' onto the opposite side of the road or if they stopped abruptly.

This is despite Mrs Matthews, 50, slowing down and driving around the large area of surface water which had gathered by the kerb.

Splashing a pedestrian while driving though a puddle can be an offence under the Road Traffic Act.

According to police, the offence is appropriate when the driving amounts to a clear act of incompetence, selfishness, impatience or aggressiveness in addition to inconvenience to road users.

The offence carries a maximum penalty of £5,000 and between and three and nine penalty points.

Mr Matthews, from Southampton, Hants, said after viewing the footage: 'It was disgusting. The young lad got soaked and had to carry on walking.

'I am not saying they did it deliberately but my wife pulled around it herself and if you've got no choice you should slow down. 'Julie came home and said to me straight away 'you need to download this footage from the dashboard camera'.

'She had a customer in the back and they were both shocked that the police car didn't slow down or move around the puddle.  'I watched it and I was completely shocked. The police car made no attempt to move out of the way and to drive around the puddle.

'Drivers normally do all they can to avoid going through puddles. It is filthy water from the road and can include all sorts of debris.

'It is something you'd expect a young driver to do for a laugh - not a police car.  'The police officer should have pulled over to at least apologise.

'Julie said the young man stood there in shock and was dripping wet. The driver could have offered him a lift somewhere so he could get into some dry clothes.

'If we had done it they probably would have pulled us over and spoke to us, they should run by the same laws as the rest of us.'

A spokeswoman for Hampshire Constabulary said: 'It is likely that the officer made an assessment that as they approached this it was safer to continue driving through the puddle rather than stop abruptly and risk causing another vehicle to run into the back of the police car, or avoid the puddle by swerving towards the oncoming vehicle on the other side of the carriageway.

'The driver behind the police car who recorded the footage was able to safely swerve to avoid the puddle as there were no vehicles on the other side of the road at that time.

'We are not aware of a complaint being made by the pedestrian shown in the footage but should we receive one, the matter will be dealt with appropriately as any other complaint would be.'

Original report here

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Wednesday, February 03, 2016

Justice review for San Francisco police

The US Justice Department said it will launch a review of the San Francisco Police, after the fatal police shooting of a black man that spurred protests and demands that the city's police chief be sacked.

Although the American Civil Liberties Union had asked for a federal investigation into the San Francisco Police Department following the death of Mario Woods, 26, at the hands of police in December, the review will result only in recommendations, not court-enforceable reforms.

"We will examine the San Francisco Police Department's current operational policies, training practices and accountability systems, and help identify key areas for improvement going forward," Attorney-General Loretta Lynch said in a statement.

At the conclusion of the review, the Justice Department will give San Francisco police a list of best practices it can follow to ensure fairness in its interactions with citizens.

San Francisco police will then report back to the Justice Department on a periodic basis to show it is following the practices, a Justice Department official said.

Other police departments, such as Baltimore, have asked the Justice Department to conduct similar reviews of its policies following accusations of discrimination.

In the case of Baltimore, a review was ongoing before the death of black detainee Freddie Gray. Gray's death then prompted a more formal investigation, the results of which will be enforceable by law.

Protests have flared in San Francisco over the fatal police shooting on December 2 of Woods, which was filmed by bystanders and described by San Francisco's public defender as unnecessary.

Demonstrators have repeatedly called for Police Chief Greg Suhr's ouster.

Suhr has said that Woods was a suspect in a stabbing, that he was holding a knife and was a threat to officers who had tried to subdue him with pepper spray and bean bag rounds.

In video recorded by onlookers, officers could be seen with their weapons pointed at Woods, who was standing with his back against the wall of a building. In the video, Woods does not seem to be holding anything when he is shot multiple times, although police have said they recovered a kitchen knife.

Original report here

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Tuesday, February 02, 2016

Is California preparing to execute an innocent man?

A 57-year-old man who has been on California's death row for 30 years is set to be the next prisoner executed by the state, even though five judges say he is innocent.

Kevin Cooper was sentenced to death in 1985 for the brutal slaying of  Douglas and Peggy Ryen, their 10-year-old daughter Jessica, and 10-year-old Chris Hughes, who was staying at their house in the Los Angeles suburb of Chino Hills.

Their eight-year-old son Josh was the only survivor, even though he had his throat slit, and his account of that night would be the key to the prosecution's case.

In November, a moratorium on executions in The Golden State was lifted, paving the way for Cooper's date with the gurney at San Quentin prison.

However he says he is planning to file a last-ditch motion to Gov. Jerry Brown to keep an 'open mind' about evidence in the case.  He has run out of other options so, if Brown doesn't intervene, he will be given the lethal injection.

In an interview with NBC from behind bars, he said: 'I am the only person in the history of the state to have five federal circuit judges say that 'the state of California may be about to execute an innocent man.

'I'm not asking America as a whole, or any one person in particular, to believe me. Forget what I say. I'm asking people to believe those [judges].

The young Ryen who survived the attack initially said that three white or Latino men murdered his parents. That account, combined with physical evidence suggested multiple killers and prompted police to release a criminal bulletin seeking three suspects who were 'white or Mexican males.'

On the night of the murders, two witnesses saw three white men driving a station wagon down the dead-end road away from the house. The family's station wagon was stolen that night.

Then a local woman, Diana Roper, told police she thought her ex-husband was involved in the 'Chino Murders,' according to records from the sheriff department.

She said a hatchet owned by convicted murderer and white supremacist Lee Furrow was missing. She also claims he left pants covered with blood at her home after the murder.

According to NBC she gave police the pants but she didn't test them. Later the Ninth Circuit would rule that action by police was illegal.

But the cops focused on Cooper, primarily because he had escaped from prison and was staying at a house nearby.

Beginning with circumstantial evidence, they then picked up on physical evidence - such as blood and a footprint at the scene of the crime. Prosecutors said it was from a prison-issue shoe, and therefore could have only been from Cooper.

However the warden of the prison from where he escaped said this wasn't true - a rebuttal the prosecution hid from the jury.

They also highlighted his long criminal record.

At trial, Ryen also changed his testimony to see that it was Cooper who murdered his family and tried to kill him. He changed his mind despite the fact that when he saw a picture of Cooper on TV, he said: 'That’s not the man who did it.'

After a week of deliberating, the jury found Cooper guilty and he was sentenced to death.

Some people questioned the ruling, but others said it was clear-cut.  Dennis Kottmeier, the district attorney who prosecuted Cooper, maintained it was 'the strongest evidentiary case' he 'had ever seen.'

Bill Hughes, the father of victim Chris Hughes, said the 2004 ruling was 'unfathomable.'

In 2004, he was three hours away from being put to death after the then Governor of California Arnold Schwarzenegger denied his request for clemency.

He was saved by the Ninth Circuit Court, who said some of the evidence against him was flawed and illegal. They also said Cooper was 'almost certainly' not wearing shoes from the crime scene.

'You watch the clock as your life goes off, minute by minute,' Cooper told NBC News. 'I was ten feet away from being murdered.'

It would also turn out that the blood found at the scene did not belong to Cooper. Tests found it contained DNA from two people - a discovery the judge said was 'startling'.

It was enough to raise questions, however prosecutors maintained that cigarette butts found linked him to the crime.

On November 30, 2009, the United States Supreme Court upheld the Ninth Circuit Court's denial of his appeal - but the judges were bitterly divided.

In an unprecedented 103-page dissent signed by five of judges, they warned: 'The State of California may be about to execute an innocent man.'

His case was also highlighted in July 2015 during an episode of CNN's Death Row Stories, which suggested that there was evidence which could exonerate Cooper.

On October 28, 2015, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights found Cooper's basic rights had been violated throughout the trial. They also concluded that he had been given ineffective counsel at trial.

A statement on a website dedicated to Cooper's case reads: 'Mr. Cooper was prosecuted, tried and convicted 30 years ago in an atmosphere of racial hatred.

'When the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Dept. identified their suspect in the Ryen/Hughes murders as an African-American man, it set off a wave of racial hatred that culminated in acts such as a monkey being hanged in effigy outside the courthouse with a sign saying “Kill the N****r.”

'Mr. Cooper has never received a fair hearing on his claims of innocence. Commenting on post-conviction legal proceedings in Mr. Cooper’s case, five federal appellate judges said: “There is no way to say this politely. The district court failed to provide Cooper a fair hearing. ... The district court impeded and obstructed Cooper’s attorneys at every turn".

'Lacking a motive to ascribe to Mr. Cooper for the crimes, the prosecution claimed that Mr. Cooper, who had earlier walked away from custody at a minimum security prison, stole the Ryens’ car to escape to Mexico.

'But the Ryens had left the keys in both their cars (which were parked in the driveway), so there was no need to kill them to steal their car.

'The prosecution also claimed that Mr. Cooper needed money, but money and credit cards were found untouched and in plain sight at the murder scene.'

Original report here

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Monday, February 01, 2016

There's some fine characters in the British police

A police officer has been found guilty of murdering his wife with a mallet, large battery and a paint pot.

Adrian Goldsmith, 49, also known as Otis, was accused of killing Jill Goldsmith in the porch of their home next to Northamptonshire Police headquarters last March.

After a three week trial, the jury at Stafford Crown Court returned a guilty verdict today.

Mrs Goldsmith's body was found at the couple's semi-detached £140,000 home in Wootton Hall Park, Northampton, just yards from Northamptonshire Police HQ.

Goldsmith was arrested on March 26 at the property following the discovery of his 49-year-old wife’s body. A post mortem concluded Mrs Goldsmith died of a head injury.

Goldsmith was awarded a Police Long Service and Good Conduct Medal by the force in 2009 when he was a Detective Constable. At the time of his arrest he was a Police Constable after volunteering to return to uniform.

During the trial, Stafford Crown Court heard a 999 call he made claiming his wife attacked him. In the recording, Goldsmith said: 'My wife tried to kill me, I think she's dead.'

When officers arrived at their home on March 26 last year they found Goldsmith, who had served in the police force for 28 years, holding a smashed drinking glass and a knife.

In interview Goldsmith said his wife had come at him with the knife 'like a whirling dervish' and stabbed him.

The court heard the couple, who married in May 2014, had problems including Jill's 'lack of sex drive caused by her starting the menopause'.

Prosecutor John Lloyd Jones QC said: 'Jill was undergoing the menopause and the reduction in her sex drive was something that annoyed and frustrated the defendant.'

The court also heard Goldsmith, who has three children from a previous marriage, told officers he was forced to defend himself against her, saying he felt it was 's*** or bust.'

Mr Jones told the court that in 2012, the Professional Standards Department investigated Goldsmith on suspicion of misconduct - after which he went on long term sick leave due to stress.

Mr Jones added: 'Adrian Goldsmith enjoyed drinking alcohol. Unfortunately, his personality changed when he was drinking and this made Jill feel afraid of him.

'Not being able to have a drink was another source of annoyance for him. He also wasn't allowed to see two of his children from a previous relationship, which was a further cause of upset.'

The court was also told Goldsmith was in the habit of writing long letters addressed to himself or his wife in which he would micro-analyse events. The letters were said to be 'all very self-absorbed', with one detailing how he felt he was 'ready to explode' and feared what he might do in such circumstances.

Mr Jones said when officers arrived at the house, they found Mrs Goldsmith 'lying in a pool of blood'.

He added: 'They saw [Adrian Goldsmith] behind the porch door. He was holding a small kitchen knife in one hand and a broken drinking glass in the other. He had fresh and dried blood on his face and appeared to have suffered facial injuries.

'He had blood and black paint on his clothing and was sweating, crying and out of breath.

'He told them his wife had come at him. He told them she was on drugs and psychotic and had attacked him with a glass and a knife. He said she wouldn't drop it and he had killed her.'

After his arrest, Goldsmith is said to have told detectives he and his wife had argued because of her cannabis smoking.

He said she threw a glass at him before punching and kicking him.

Mr Jones said: 'He bizarrely claimed she then picked up a mallet and hit herself on the back of the head with it. He said she then banged her own head hard off a nearby wall. He said he put her in a headlock to protect her but she broke free.

'He said she started to stab him, then they struggled and fell over. He remembered getting hit in the head with a volt box-type battery. He tried to put her in a sleeper hold and as they fought the knife had gone between his legs. He described this as "a game-changer".

'He hit her in the head with a can of paint. He said this had no effect so he picked up the battery and hit her in the head as hard as he could.'

Goldsmith will be sentenced on Monday.

Original report here

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Sunday, January 31, 2016

In dystopian Britain, the police now hunt down ‘pre-rapists’

Sexual Risk Orders are ripping apart liberty and due process

To see what tyranny looks like, look no further than the case of the Yorkshire man who must give the cops 24 hours’ notice before he has sex with anyone. The man, who can’t be named for legal reasons, was found not guilty of rape in a trial last year. And yet a magistrate’s court decided he was nonetheless dodgy, and served him with a Sexual Risk Order decreeing that he must provide the police with the name, address and date of birth of anyone he plans to bed, ‘at least 24 hours prior to any sexual activity taking place’. So despite not being found guilty of a crime, he will still be treated as a criminal. This should alarm anyone who cares about due process, liberty and not allowing the state to stick its snout into the sexual relations of consenting adults.

Most of the coverage of this ‘sex risk’ ruling, which was revealed at the end of last week, has treated it as weird or funny. The idea of some poor bloke having to dampen his passions when he’s on the cusp of copping off in a bar, and basically seek the permission of the police before he gets his leg over, has got people chortling and tweeting. But there’s little funny about this case. In fact it speaks to the creeping warping of the values of both justice and liberty. It smashes together the sex-policing instinct of Big Brother in 1984 with the idea of ‘precrime’ from Philip K Dick’s Minority Report, making real the dystopian dread of a society that believes it can interfere in people’s most intimate relationships and treat individuals as criminals-in-the-making.

The Sexual Risk Order against the man is an interim one. In May, there will be another hearing to decide whether it should become a full Sexual Risk Order, which can last for anything between two years and forever. If an individual breaks an order, he or she can be imprisoned for up to five years. So if this guy – who is not a criminal, remember – has sex with someone without first informing the police, he could be jailed. That is, he could be jailed for having sex. It should concern anyone who believes in even basic autonomy, in the sovereignty of the individual over his mind and body, that the threat of jail-for-sex hangs over the head of an ostensibly innocent man.

Sexual Risk Orders, which were introduced in 2013, bring to life the dystopian idea of precrime. They are served in cases where there isn’t enough evidence to convict someone of an actual sex crime. As one leading lawyer says, they’re given to people whom the authorities think ‘might commit an offence’; they’re about ‘predicting crimes’. So Britain in 2016 is policing ‘precrime’; it views certain individuals as precriminals whose rights can be restricted, not on the basis of what they’ve done, but on the basis of what they might do; on the basis of the fantasies of the self-styled seers of officialdom who now police the future as well as the present.

The government says Sexual Risk Orders are given in cases where a person has ‘done an act of a sexual nature’ which has given officials ‘reasonable cause to believe that it is necessary for an order to be made’, even if the person ‘has never been convicted’. So these individuals aren’t criminals; they’ve just had sex in a way the authorities don’t like. The authorities have gone from punishing sex crimes to punishing sex, slapping orders on people for behaving in a way that was presumably a little strange, possibly perverted, but not criminal. Through these orders, our rulers have invited themselves into the realm of sex, into what happens between non-criminal, consenting adults. Even the most intimate act that two (or more) grown-ups can engage in is now not free from the prying eyes of officialdom.

The Yorkshire case, and Sexual Risk Orders more broadly, demolishes the ideal of due process. If someone can be treated as a criminal, or precriminal, despite not having been convicted of a crime, then the entire, Magna Carta-derived basis of civilised law is called into question. Last year, Britain celebrated the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta, a document which insists that ‘no free man shall be seized or imprisoned, or stripped of his rights or possessions’, unless he’s found guilty of a crime through ‘lawful judgement’. This is the foundation stone of democratic societies: that citizens are free until such a time as they have been convincingly, openly convicted of an offence. This is now reversed. A man has been deprived of rights the rest of us enjoy even though he has not been convicted of a crime. He’s effectively been categorised as a pre-rapist.

This is not a one-off. Increasingly, the British criminal justice system is used not just to punish crime but to police behaviour, and to pre-empt crime. Sexual Risk Orders bring sex under the purview of the law. Anti-Social Behaviour Orders, and their various replacements, control the irritating habits of people who have not been found guilty of an offence. Extremism Disruption Orders are designed to police and punish ‘pre-terrorism’, through controlling the ability of non-violent radicals to express their opinions. The idea of leaving people be unless they’re convicted of an offence – leaving them to have sex with whomever they want, and say whatever they want – has been ripped apart. We pay lip service to Magna Carta while destroying its spirit. A society in which a non-guilty man must provide the police with information about his every sexual conquest is not a free society. It’s the opposite; it’s a society in which no zone of life exists independently of officialdom, and in which more and more of us are viewed as precriminals, and sex is viewed as pre-rape.

Original report here

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Saturday, January 30, 2016

Footage shows man screaming ‘I can’t breathe’ in custody before death

Newly released police body camera footage shows a 51-year-old man screaming "They’re killing me!" and "I can’t breathe" while Oakland, Calif., police officers held him down. The man later died and last week, the city of Oakland settled a wrongful death lawsuit filed by the family for $450,000.

"You’re killing me, I can see it," Hernan Jaramillo howled repeatedly in a five-minute video obtained by the Oakland Tribune.

Law enforcement officers were originally called to Jaramillo’s home on July 8, 2013, because his sister, Ana Biocini, reported that an intruder was trying to kill her brother. Upon arrival, there was no sign of an intruder; instead, police said in court documents that Jaramillo was exhibiting "erratic behavior" and refused to be handcuffed.

In a statement released at the time, police said the subject became unresponsive in the "ensuing struggle," at which point the officers immediately attempted to resuscitate him while waiting for emergency medical personnel to arrive.

Jaramillo never regained consciousness and was pronounced dead at the local hospital.

Police did not respond to requests for comment from The Washington Post Wednesday evening. Questions from the Associated Press and the Tribune about whether the department has policies on medical treatment and restraint, and if there was an internal investigation, have also been unanswered.

The grainy body camera footage uploaded to the Tribune website on Tuesday presents a murky illustration of the encounter, which has been described in differing accounts from the family and the city.

According to the AP, the restraint tactic police used is associated with the 2014 in-custody death of New York’s Eric Garner, who was brought to the ground with a chokehold.

As Jaramillo screamed and struggled, the video captured law enforcement officers hovering above him and calmly telling him to relax.

A woman can be heard crying and speaking Spanish in the background. This is most likely Biocini, as she looked on while the arrest took place.

"Calm down, bud. We’re not killing you," one officer said to Jaramillo. "You need to stop tensing up. Just relax."

The back-and-forth continued for a couple minutes before Jaramillo’s softened, and police started asking him whether he had taken any drugs.

"Are you under the influence tonight?" an officer asked. "Did you take anything you shouldn’t have? We’re going to call the paramedics here. The more information you can give, the better."

By that point, Jaramillo had grown quiet.

The paramedic’s report said he had vomit in his airwaves, was handcuffed and nonresponsive when medical personnel arrived, the Tribune reported. A coroner declared the cause of death multiple drug intoxication associated with physical exertion.

There was evidence of cocaine metabolites and alcohol in Jaramillo’s blood, the autopsy found, and there was no indication that he suffered internal injuries. The coroner said the man’s heart was compromised by hardening arteries.

The family’s lawsuit disputed this assessment, citing an independent pathologist who countered that there was no evidence of cocaine use that evening.

The complaint alleged that Jaramillo was killed by the force police exerted on him.

"People have been taught that you don’t get on somebody’s back and press down," the family’s attorney, John Burris, told the Tribune.

The family claimed that an officer pressed his knee into Jaramillo’s back, but the city said body camera footage doesn’t support this accusation, nor were there bruises found on his back.

Original report here

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Friday, January 29, 2016

After 30 years, a prisoner gets a chance for justice

George Perrot was tied to a rape by an FBI analysis of a strand of hair, a method that has since been discredited

George Perrot could soon be free at last. He should never have been behind bars.

In a groundbreaking ruling with national implications, a Superior Court judge on Tuesday ordered that he be given a new trial on the rape charge that put him behind bars for so long. It is the first time a judge in the United States has ruled that justice was denied because prosecutors relied on forensic hair analysis, now widely discredited.

"George was only 17 when he was arrested and has spent 30 years in prison without ever receiving a fair trial," said his attorney, Kirsten V. Mayer. "He never had the opportunity to do the everyday things that are so easy to take for granted when you are not in prison. We are now working to reunite him with his family as soon as possible."

Perrot was charged with raping an elderly Springfield woman in 1985, when he was 17, even though the victim, a neighbor, insisted he was not her attacker.

No matter, prosecutors argued: There was other evidence against Perrot — most notably, a single strand of hair found at the scene. On the stand, an expert witness from the FBI testified that the hair, found on the victim’s bed, was a match for Perrot, and that only someone "with a lesser amount of training" would conclude otherwise. In closing arguments, prosecutor Francis Bloom told jurors the hair evidence was so strong that Perrot could be innocent only if police had planted that strand in the victim’s house.

The jury convicted him.

We now know that Bloom crossed a line — in this and in other ways — presenting the jury with a false choice, a fact underscored by Judge Robert J. Kane’s thoughtful and thorough decision Tuesday.

Over the last two decades, consensus has grown that the microscopic hair analysis that was crucial to Perrot’s conviction, and a factor in hundreds of others, amounts to bogus science. The FBI now acknowledges that nobody can identify a particular person as the source of a hair or say whether a match is even probable.

"It is not a close call," Judge Kane wrote. "Without that [hair analysis], the Commonwealth’s claims of Perrot’s violence were open to several lines of attack conducive to the creation of reasonable doubt."

Before this week’s ruling, Perrot’s attorneys had tried several times to win him a retrial, alleging prosecutorial misconduct and citing gaps in the Commonwealth’s case.

Perrot was troubled, under the influence of drugs and alcohol, and sleep-deprived when police interrogated him. Though he was a minor, no parents or attorneys were present. Police said he eventually signed a confession admitting to breaking into the rape victim’s home but still denying the sexual assault. But he has no recollection of signing the statement, and he has since repeatedly denied breaking into the woman’s house that night.

When Perrot was first arrested, District Attorney Matthew J. Ryan Jr. suggested he was responsible for a series of horrendous rapes of elderly women in the area. But three victims failed to pick the 17-year-old out of a highly suggestive lineup that included police officers. An analysis of semen found at the scene of another of the rapes excluded Perrot. The victim in the one rape with which he was charged described a clean-shaven attacker, but Perrot had plentiful facial hair. During Perrot’s first trial, the woman said a paragraph was added to her sworn statement after she signed it.

None of it was ever enough to clear his name: It kept coming back to that single hair.

Tuesday’s ruling "will send a thunderbolt through the forensic community," said Chris Fabricant, director of strategic litigation at The Innocence Project, which assisted Mayer in the case, which was also taken up by the Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism at Brandeis University. "The judge ruled that the hair evidence would be inadmissible in a trial today, upsetting a century of precedent."

In his decision, Kane took the remarkable step of singling out Bloom for criticism. The prosecutor "despised Perrot," Kane wrote. "He referred to Perrot as ‘inherently evil’ and ‘a sociopath’ and scoffed at Perrot’s redemption."

The judge said "such feelings enable a person possessing public authority to shed the restraints and scruples that limit the exercise of power. The feelings allow the official to see the individual as apart from the community of citizens whose rights must be regarded."

Kane found that Bloom’s animus towards Perrot influenced his dealings with the FBI expert who testified in the case, who then "departed from his role as a neutral expert and slipped into the role of a partisan for the government."

It was merely the latest finding of a transgression by Bloom, who left a trail of them when he was an assistant district attorney. Before Perrot’s first trial, a first-degree murder conviction was overturned because of Bloom’s misconduct in the courtroom. After Perrot was convicted, it was discovered Bloom had fabricated a written confession, forging the signatures of Perrot and a detective, to trick two of the teen’s friends into admitting they had helped rob and rape one of the victims.

A judge called his actions "outrageous" and "reprehensible," and Bloom was publicly censured. In 2013, another murder conviction was overturned, and the defendant released from prison after 27 years, because witnesses recanted their identifications of him. They claimed Bloom had offered them leniency for false testimony. Bloom, now a personal injury lawyer, did not return a call.

Perrot’s attorney will now request he be released on bail pending a retrial. The Hampden district attorney may appeal the decision, or accept it and retry the case against Perrot — or decide not to.

In a statement, District Attorney Anthony D. Gulluni said he disagrees with the judge’s decision, citing the fact that Perrot was found guilty in two trials and previous appeals were denied. He is likely to argue that Perrot, who left the state when a previous release was reversed, will flee if granted bail.

"Going forward," the statement continued, "we will evaluate an appeal and will respond in court to the defendant’s request for bail, based on his security risk to the public and his history of flight before trial."

A friend called Perrot to tell him the good news on Tuesday night. He was so happy he couldn’t form words at first.

"I am going home!" he finally yelled.

Original report here

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Thursday, January 28, 2016

Illinois: A State that Steals

Seventy-one-year-old grandmother, Judith Wiese, is just now getting back her car months after it was stolen. The thief? The state of Illinois.

Wiese’s grandson, Lukus Baker, had his license revoked in 2014 for driving under the influence. In August of 2015, Baker assured his grandmother that his driver’s license had been reinstated as he drove off in her Jeep Compass. Cue the sirens – Baker is pulled over and then arrested for driving with a suspended license. Police in Rock Island County, Illinois seized the vehicle under a subset of Illinois forfeiture law that allows for forfeitures when the person’s driving privileges have been revoked because of a DUI. Meanwhile, Wiese was unknowing of the crime.

After months of fighting to prove her innocence, Weise’s sole vehicle was returned to her last week for a $150 fee.

Civil asset forfeiture is a legal tool which allows officials to seize property they assert to be related to criminal activity. In fact, it is the property itself charged rather than the owner. This means your property can be seized without you ever committing a crime. For those who cannot afford a lawyer, it is often impossible to see a return of their belongings. Furthermore, the costs of a lawyer can be higher than simply surrendering the property. The practice was originally intended to aid law enforcement in curbing money laundering and drug trafficking, but has led to a governmental perversion of policing for profit.

The Institute for Justice says Illinois has some of the worst civil asset forfeiture laws in the nation. The evidentiary standard to subject property to forfeiture is very low and the property owner carries the burden of proof. What’s more, a perverse profit motive exists, as law enforcement agencies in the state can keep up to 90 percent of the proceeds from cash and property seized, and there are poor protections for innocent third-party property owners. Rock Island County, Illinois, the location of the aforementioned seizure, filed nearly 1,500 forfeiture petitions from 2010 to 2015. The state won 1,200 of those cases, which translated into $2 million cash, 500 cars, and 14 properties.

Due process, equal protection, mens rea… the list goes on when it comes to grounds for demanding protection from civil asset forfeiture. The movement towards reform on this policy has had a slow start, but the first step towards freedom is awareness spread through grassroots efforts. Groups like FreedomWorks, the Institute for Justice, and Fix Forfeiture are leading that fight. Federal laws may take longer to change, but Dick Carpenter, Director of Strategic Research at the Institute for Justice, urges citizens to push for state level reforms first. After FreedomWorks’ activists made nearly 5,000 calls to the governor, New Mexico passed reforms requiring a criminal conviction for civil forfeiture last year. The states of Montana and Michigan did too.

Original report here

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Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Negligent British cops finally dismissed

A police officer and a community support officer have been sacked over their failure to stop the murder of a disabled man who was beaten to death and set alight by a neighbour.

PC Kevin Duffy, 52, and PCSO Andrew Passmore, 56, were found guilty of misconduct in a public office in connection with the death of Bijan Ebrahimi in Bristol three years ago.

Mr Ebrahimi, 44, was punched and kicked to death and his body set on fire by Lee James, who wrongly believed he was a paedophile.

And Avon and Somerset Police announced this afternoon that both PC Duffy and PCSO Passmore have been dismissed from the force following misconduct hearings.

PC Duffy and PCSO Passmore are two of 18 officers and staff facing misconduct proceedings within the force. Of those, nine are accused of gross misconduct.

Mr Ebrahimi's sister, Manizhah Moores, previously called on Avon and Somerset Police to remove PC Duffy and PCSO Passmore from the force.

Judge Neil Ford QC, the Recorder of Bristol, has said that all options are open when he sentences the men on a date to be fixed.

A police spokesman said: ‘It was alleged that PC Duffy breached the standards of professional behaviour in relation to his dealings with Bijan Ebrahimi between July 10 and 15, 2013.

‘PC Duffy knew that, or ought to have known that, Mr Ebrahimi was at risk of harm. He failed to visit or otherwise make contact with Mr Ebrahimi and refused to speak to him on the telephone.

‘As a result, PC Duffy was convicted of misconduct in a public office on December 21, which has brought discredit to the constabulary. The allegations were upheld by the misconduct panel and, as a result, PC Duffy was found guilty of gross misconduct.

‘The ruling of the panel was that PC Duffy be dismissed from Avon and Somerset police without notice. At a separate hearing earlier this week, PCSO Andrew Passmore was also dismissed in relation to this matter.’

Mr Ebrahimi was informed that PC Duffy, his local beat manager, would visit but the officer refused to speak to him.

‘My life is in danger. Right now a few of my neighbours are outside and shouting and calling me a paedophile. I need to see PC Duffy,’ Mr Ebrahimi told one operator.

PC Duffy told a supervisor: ‘He should be told in no uncertain terms that I will speak to him at my convenience, it's Mr Bijan Ebrahimi, he's well known to me and I won't be taking any calls from him.’

He asked PCSO Passmore to conduct a ‘bit of a foot patrol’ around his home road.

PCSO Passmore was found not guilty of failing to patrol there but was convicted of later falsely telling murder detectives he had spent an hour in the area.

On July 13, Mr Ebrahimi tried to contact Duffy and Winter. He phoned police at 00.12am on July 14 - about an hour before his murder - asking for Winter.

The officer told a call operator: ‘I'm absolutely not interested in speaking to him ever.’

Witnesses saw James repeatedly stamp on Mr Ebrahimi's head before setting him alight at 1.35am.

A post-mortem examination found Mr Ebrahimi, who had problems with mobility and suffered from depression, died before he was set alight.

James was jailed for life for the murder, while Stephen Norley, who lived next door, was sentenced to four years in prison for assisting an offender.

Tony Murphy, of Bhatt Murphy, the solicitor of Mr Ebrahimi's family, said: 'The family hopes that this outcome means that the police will protect victims of race hate crime in future, so that others do not lose their lives.

Original report here

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Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Father of a British man convicted of killing his American wife and their baby daughter blames depressed wife for deaths

The father of a British man convicted of killing his American wife and their baby daughter believes his son is innocent - and claims his daughter-in-law shot the child before killing herself.

Almost exactly ten years after the horrific event which became known as the 'Entwistle slayings,' Neil Entwistle's father, Cliff, from Worksop, Nottinghamshire, claims he has identified 'glaring holes' in the case against his son.

His son Neil, now age 37, a former IT consultant, was sentenced to life in prison in 2008 after being found guilty of the murder of his American wife Rachel and their nine-month-old daughter Lillian in their Boston home.

The bodies of 27-year-old Rachel and baby Lillian were found on January 22, 2006 in the master bedroom of the family's rented home where they had been living for only ten days.

Autopsy results showed that Rachel died of a gunshot wound to the head and Lillian of a gunshot wound to the torso.

But now, on the 10th anniversary of the murders, Neil's parents maintain that their son is not guilty.

Mr Entwistle said: 'There is no way on God's Earth that my son would murder his wife and child. He was not given a fair trial, key evidence that proves his innocence was swept under the carpet and people are finally beginning to realise this.'

Mr Entwistle has now recruited Australian detective turned crime author Duncan McNab to look into the case and the pair believe that Neil had 'no chance' even before his trial began.

Mr Entwistle said: 'A book which portrayed Neil as a cold-blooded killer was given the go ahead to be published on the day of the trial.

'Members of the jury would have seen that book everywhere and would, of course, been influenced by it.

'That just goes to show what kind of environment my son was tried in.'

Mr Entwistle claims that other crucial factors including Rachel's state of mind at the time of the killings and the fact she had gunshot residue on both sides of her hands went unnoted by the judge.

Mr Entwistle said: 'Rachel had post-natal depression and I just don't understand why this wasn't brought up in court at all.

'I remember one occurrence when Yvonne and I were speaking to her on the phone and she asked if we had received photos of Lillian from Christmas that she had posted over.

'When we replied that we hadn't, she put the phone down and, according to Neil, ran upstairs sobbing.

'She had been having problems since Lillian was born. This is what should have been addressed.'

On the day of the deaths, in January 2006, Mr Entwistle says that Neil was making breakfast when he heard a gunshot and rushed upstairs to find Lillian already dead before Rachel turned the gun on herself.

Mr Entwistle said: 'Inevitably, the finger was pointed at Neil when he got on a plane and rushed home to Worksop.

'But why wouldn't he have done? Have you ever been through a traumatic incident? The natural instinct is to go home to your family.

'It would have been the same wherever he was in the world.

'He didn't go off running to Bolivia and shack himself up somewhere- he came home because he simply didn't know what else to do.'

When Neil returned home, his father said he knew immediately that his son was 100 per cent innocent.

Mr Entwistle said: 'He was in a state of shock - we all were. I telephoned Rachel's parents immediately.'

Mr Entwistle has criticised the British Government for ignoring the family's requests for legal help and for instead turning Neil over to the American Embassy.

Mr Entwistle is angry that his family had nobody.

Cliff said: 'In America it was easy for them to jump to the conclusion that this British man had killed his family before hopping on a plane back to England.

'Imagine being alone in a situation like that- what do you do?'

Author Duncan Mcnab is now hoping to publish a book on the 'reasonable doubt' surrounding Neil's conviction and Cliff has said this has finally given the family 'some hope'.

Mr Entwistle said: 'We won't stop until we have a re-trial. We will continue to stand by the fact that our son is completely innocent.'

Yvonne explained that she and Mr Entwistle fly over to America once a year to see their son.

She said: 'Not a day goes by where we don't think of Neil, or of our granddaughter, Lillian.

'I miss them every day. Every birthday and Christmas goes by and all I feel is emptiness. But I will never give up fighting.'

Original report here

(And don't forget your ration of Wicked Thoughts for today. Now hosted on Wordpress.  If you cannot access it, go to the MIRROR SITE, where  posts  appear as well as on  the primary site.  I have reposted  the archives (past posts) for Wicked Thoughts  HERE or HERE