Saturday, October 25, 2014

Man Gets Arrested for Just Playing His Guitar in New York City

Watch out: dangerous guitar players could threaten you next!

That seems to be the mindset of the New York Police Department. The NYPD recently arrested a local musician for loitering while playing the guitar in a New York subway station, despite reading word for word the law which allowed him to perform his music.

The incident was recorded and uploaded to YouTube on Friday. The video shows Andrew Kalleen being confronted by an unidentified police officer who orders him to pack up his guitar and leave the subway station.

In the background, an onlooker exclaims, "We have bigger problems in New York City than someone playing guitar!"

Kalleen disputes the order to leave, and instead requests that the officer read Section 1050.6c of the MTA Rules of Conduct. That section states in pertinent part:

"Except as expressly permitted in this subdivision, no person shall engage in any nontransit uses upon any facility or conveyance. Nontransit uses are noncommercial activities that are not directly related to the use of a facility or conveyance for transportation. The following nontransit uses are permitted by the Authority, provided they do not impede transit activities and they are conducted in accordance with these rules: public speaking; campaigning; leafletting or distribution of written noncommercial materials; activities intended to encourage and facilitate voter registration; artistic performances, including the acceptance of donations"

Despite reading out loud the clear language of the rule, the officer tells Kalleen that playing the guitar was prohibited, and that since he lacked a permit, he must leave. The officer never told Kalleen he was impeding transit activities—just that playing an instrument required permission from the government.

The crowd watching the confrontation was clearly disturbed by the officer’s ultimate decision to arrest Kalleen and remove him from the subway platform.

An unidentified voice in the background shouts, "You said it out loud. You said it out loud. There are crack dealers in New York City, and you are arresting this man for playing a guitar!"

Another says, "I listen to this guy’s music every day, I like it. I don’t wanna hear you trying to arrest him." reported the NYPD’s response to the incident:

Kalleen was playing guitar, singing and accepting donations ‘without permit of permission’ from the MTA. Because he is a ‘transit recidivist,’ which the spokesperson explained as someone having an open ticket or warrant, perhaps related to turnstile jumping or a similar offense—he was arrested and charged with loitering. There was no mention of him impeding transit activities.

Was there truly an outstanding warrant for Kalleen’s arrest? If so, the behavior and statements of the NYPD officer certainly did not support that conclusion. Kalleen was repeatedly told in the video he would have to leave because he lacked a permit, not because he was a "transit recidivist."

From all that we can see on the videotape, the musician did nothing justifying his arrest. There is no evidence that the musician was disturbing the public or being a nuisance. What really went on here is that the musician refused to comply with the officer’s directive to leave the station and stood on his rights.

Interestingly enough, our knowledge of this incident was made possible only because someone videotaped it on a camera or cell phone, something that others have been arrested for doing, in violation of the First Amendment.

Not every incidence of perceived misconduct merits law enforcement intervention–especially when the MTA Rules of Conduct allow artistic performances. Unless Kalleen was causing harm to others around him, or impeding the flow of traffic, the NYPD should have refrained from turning an underground concert into a criminal arrest scene.

Instead of entertaining a crowd who were clearly enjoying his rendition of Pink Floyd’s "Wish You Were Here," this guitarist will be playing "Jailhouse Rock."

Original report here

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Friday, October 24, 2014

Sham wedding trial collapses: Judge slams lies of border staff as he is forced to free asylum vicar 'who ran conveyor belt of bogus marriages'

A vicar suspected of running Britain’s biggest sham marriage racket has walked free after his £1million trial dramatically collapsed as a result of ‘serious misconduct’ by the Border Agency.

The Rev Nathan Ntege, 54, was accused of overseeing a ‘matrimonial conveyor belt’ of Eastern European brides at his parish.

The jury was told weddings at his church rocketed from six a year to up to nine a day – with chaotic ‘cattle market’ scenes as brides who seemed to scarcely know their grooms hurriedly squeezed into ill-fitting shared wedding dresses in the lavatories.

But all charges against the Uganda-born clergyman were thrown out. In extraordinary courtroom scenes:

Judge Nic Madge accused two officials of perjury and perverting the course of justice;

Defence lawyers claimed immigration officer Maggie Harkins and chief immigration officer John Bradbourne destroyed and tampered with evidence, acted dishonestly and interfered with the investigation log;

The court heard that five months of evidence, including key admissions by some of the accused, vanished, only to reappear at the 11th hour;

Harkins faces a misconduct inquiry after it was revealed she posted the slogan ‘Peppa Pig against Muslims’ on her Facebook page.

The collapse of the trial leaves taxpayers with a £1million bill and means two disgraced public servants – who have since been suspended from duty – could now face criminal charges themselves.

Angela Pelachie, 54, and Innocent Odoh, 34, were also accused of being involved in the scam. The court previously heard that couples lined up at the back of the church before having their ceremonies

It is also a huge embarrassment for the now-defunct Home Office agency and raises fresh questions about the state of the nation’s beleaguered immigration controls.

Ntege, who wore his dog collar in the dock at Inner London Crown Court, was accused of carrying out 494 fake marriages, an average of one every other day, between December 2007 and March 2011. He joined St Jude’s with St Aidan’s Church in Thornton Heath, South London, in 2002, after seeking asylum from Uganda.

The vicar was ‘fast-tracked’ into the post because officials were desperate to recruit more Africans – and in the words of the prosecutor, thought he brought ‘a bit of colour to proceedings’ in the Church.

But suspicions were aroused of a ‘no questions asked policy’ when the Church went from conducting six marriages a year to up to nine a day.

Ntege was accused of knowingly presiding over sham marriages as almost £70,000 in wedding fees went missing.

Verger Brian Miller, 81, and Maudlyn Riviere, the 67-year-old church secretary, as well as four others, were also accused of being part of the ‘industrial-scale’ plot. They all denied the charges.

Most of the weddings involved Bulgarians who had the right to live and work in Britain marrying husbands or wives from outside the EU whose UK visas had expired.

But after several days of legal argument, Judge Madge threw out the case, saying to proceed would endanger the ‘integrity’ of the courts. He agreed there had been an ‘abuse of process’ involving Harkins, who led the inquiry, and her boss, Bradbourne.

In scathing comments, the judge said: ‘Officers at the heart of this prosecution have deliberately concealed important evidence and lied on oath. It has tainted the whole case.’ Last night, Ntege described the case as a ‘perversion of justice’ and said the high number of weddings was due to the increasing popularity of his church.

He told Channel 4 News: ‘Most of them were legitimate. I don’t say we weren’t duped – there were a few who tried to use the advantage – but whenever they were caught, we reported it to the diocese, the Home Office and the police.’

The saga has been referred to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) and the Home Office and Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) announced internal inquiries.

Harkins, Bradbourne and a third officer have been suspended. One source said: ‘The UK Border Agency must have trusted these officers to give them the biggest sham marriage case Britain has ever seen.

‘They must be seen to take this very seriously. These were both experienced officers who had worked on a number of cases. It calls into question how those cases were carried out.’

A Home Office spokesman said: ‘The collapse of this trial is an extremely disappointing end to a long investigation. We expect the highest standards from all our staff, and clearly we are treating the judge’s ruling that our officers acted in bad faith with the utmost seriousness.’ A CPS spokesman said: ‘We accept the ruling that the prosecution case has been fatally undermined.’

Original report here

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Thursday, October 23, 2014

Big coverup of police incompetence in Britain

Why is the death of this baby cloaked in secrecy? Judges ban details... then inquest lasts just seven minutes

The facts surrounding the suspicious death of a 13-month-old girl remain shrouded in official secrecy nearly two years on.

Judges have imposed a draconian order preventing details of the death of Poppi Worthington from being revealed.

Authorities have repeatedly refused to reveal any information about the circumstances in which Poppi died, despite a long-running police investigation.

During an inquest this week that lasted a mere seven minutes, a coroner simply ruled that the cause of her death was ‘unascertained’ and failed to disclose any other information.

The police investigation has led to the arrest of two people, including Poppi’s father Paul Worthington, 46, who was questioned on suspicion of sexually abusing his child.

No one has yet been charged as a result of the Cumbria Police inquiry, which continues.

But it can be revealed that the force itself is being investigated by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) over its response to the death.

An officer has been suspended after concerns that the force did not respond ‘properly and appropriately’. At the inquest on Tuesday, the coroner merely referred to a family court hearing held in private earlier this year and opted to rely on its findings.

A far-reaching injunction means that the media has been prevented from revealing various details about the case, including where Poppi lived or the hospital in which she died.

Liberal Democrat MP John Hemming, who campaigns for open justice in the family courts, said that the injunction could prevent wrongdoing by public bodies from coming to light.

‘The strict injunctions that sometimes apply in family court proceedings often act to protect public officials from allegations that they have not done their job properly rather than protecting a child,’ he said.

‘In this case, anonymity for the family may be reasonable – but why can we not know any more? A lot of these injunctions just protect people who receive a salary from being questioned.’

A serious case review, begun by the Cumbria Local Safeguarding Board in April, may eventually be made public.

Cumbria County Council said it had no involvement in Poppi’s life before her death on December 12, 2012.

During the inquest at Cumbria Coroner’s Court, coroner Ian Smith recorded an open conclusion. He acknowledged that the circumstances around the death were ‘unusual and strange’ but failed to elaborate on any aspects of Poppi’s brief life or death.

The inquest also appeared to be veiled in secrecy, with a listing for the hearing omitting Poppi’s name and instead referring to ‘a child aged 13 months’.

The opening of the inquest in February 2013 also took place in private, with no recording or transcript available. According to coroners’ rules, inquests should always be held in public unless exceptional matters of national security are involved.

Mr Smith said he was happy to rely on the findings of a judge in the High Court’s family division in June and did not need to go over the same ground.

The Daily Mail has joined other media organisations in arguing that there is a public interest in revealing how Poppi died and how authorities dealt with her.

Cumbria Police confirmed that a 30-year-old woman and 46-year-old man have been arrested and remain on police bail.

In a statement the force said: ‘Cumbria Police can confirm that an investigation is still ongoing into the death of a one-year-old girl who died in Cumbria on Wednesday, December 12, 2012.’

‘We can confirm that the constabulary has made a referral to the IPCC and they are conducting an investigation.

‘Currently a number of officers are subject of the investigation and one officer has been suspended.’

Original report here


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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Australia: Six Adelaide SAPOL police officers charged with theft, abuse of public office

POLICE will probe into the culture of the alleged offending of six officers arrested in the first major bust by the state’s new ICAC and its potential causes, Police Commissioner Gary Burns says.

Speaking outside the Police Association of SA annual delegates conference this morning, Mr Burns said a police department review of the Operation Mantle team where the officers worked would consider "the circumstances that may have fostered this type of behaviour to make sure it doesn’t happen again or in any other Mantle team".

He said the seventh member of the team, a senior constable who has not faced charges, was also under investigation.

Mr Burns said the investigations of those officers, who have been suspended on full pay, may put cases they were working on under threat and also revealed the charges relating to property damage involved the destruction of potential police exhibits.

"That’s part of what we are looking at now — what the broader impact on policing is, in particular if these particular officers are involved in any arrests or reports that might be before the courts or going before the courts," Mr Burns said.

He was unable to identify how many investigations it could affect.

Police Association of SA President Mark Carroll said the all members of the team are association members and should be considered innocent until proven guilty. He said the association would be speaking with them over the coming days.

Earlier this morning, Mr Burns told 891 ABC radio the offending ranks as a "ten" on the scale of one to ten in its seriousness.

Despite considering the level of alleged corruption as low level, when asked on radio this morning to rank the seriousness of the alleged offending Mr Burns had no hesitation in putting it at the top of the scale.

"From a police department’s perspective I expect every police officer to act with honesty and integrity," he told 891 ABC radio this morning. "Talking to people within the department there’s quite a level of shock and horror about it.

"All I’m trying to say here is no form of corruption should be tolerated. "From a police perspective this is something that really impacts on us particularly when it comes to public confidence."

Mr Burns said he did not have a value of the goods allegedly taken by the officers charged. He said while none of the goods could be considered high value there were greater issues at play for police.

"The issue for us is that these officers used their authority to enter premises to investigate drug offences and while they were doing that the allegation is that they took this type of equipment and they had no authority to do that," he said.

Mr Burns agreed with the suggestion that prosecutors would allege the officers charged "got sticky fingers". "Yes, that’s right," he said.

Mr Burns and Independent Commissioner Against Corruption Bruce Lander announced the officers, including a sergeant, were charged on Monday with abuse of public office and stealing items including alcohol and electronics.

Mr Burns conceded the arrests would damage the public impression of SA Police. "The allegations are very disappointing," Mr Burns told The Advertiser today. "Obviously every police officer in South Australia ... will be concerned about this, because we work on reputation. "We need public confidence and public support.

"Any matter like this, where police officers are involved in criminality will always have an impact." "It shouldn’t be seen as a reflection on the other 4500 police officers who go out and do their work on a daily basis to the best of their ability."

He said a deeper probe of the Operation Mantle branch would be conducted.

The joint investigation was led by Mr Lander with assistance from SA Police’s Anti-Corruption Branch. The four men and two women will appear in court on December 19.

The six officers are part of a seven-person Operation Mantle drug squad operating from the Sturt police station. They include a sergeant, senior constables and constables:

* A 53-year-old man from Darlington has been charged with abuse of public office and aggravated theft.

* A 43-year-old man from Aberfoyle Park has been charged with two counts of abuse of public office, two counts of theft, and property damage.

* A 38-year-old man from Woodcroft has been charged with two counts of abuse of public office, two counts of aggravated theft and property damage.

* A 33-year-old man from Camden Park has been charged with abuse of public office and aggravated theft.

* A 31-year-old woman from Sellicks Beach has been charged with abuse of public office, aggravated theft and property damage.

* A 27-year-old woman from Woodcroft has been charged with abuse of public office and aggravated theft.

Mr Burns said "irregularities" were first raised with senior police in January and February this year. The ICAC was then alerted, as required by legislation, including interviews with the one member not arrested and former staff in the unit.

"This is isolated to a small group," Mr Burns insisted. "We’ll be looking at what opportunities they had that formed this little subculture that they operated."

The six officers face a total of 18 charges including abuse of public office, aggravated theft and property damage. They range in age from 27 to 53. The group is not accused of onselling the allegedly stolen property.

Mr Lander, a former Federal Court judge, said he took charge of the inquiry to ensure that a person independent of the police force was probing the allegations.

Mr Lander said the accused officers had "let down" the force but he remained impressed by the professionalism of Anti-Corruption Branch officers he had worked with. "I thought it appropriate that somebody independent of SAPOL head the investigation because of the allegations that have been made," Mr Lander said.

"I’m satisfied with the integrity of the Anti-Corruption Branch. "I think they would have still carried out the investigation even if I had not been occupying the position I did."

Mr Lander said he was "disappointed" by both the allegations and evidence uncovered.

Mr Burns said Operation Mantle was dispatched to deal with "low level" drug dealing and street crime. There was "no indication" the officers had stolen drugs, he said. "It’s mainly in the lower-category items. Liquor, tools, some electronics," Mr Burns said.

"The arrests today don’t finalise the investigation. This investigation will be ongoing."

SA became the last state in the nation to set up an ICAC when the new watchdog became operational in September last year. This is its first case to result in arrests.

Mr Lander has previously revealed he had referred some allegations for prosecution.

Premier Jay Weatherill said he was disappointed by the allegations but said the arrests vindicated his move to set up an ICAC after having claimed the Labor leadership.

"Of course it’s awful when we see these breaches in public trust," he said. "The public should have confidence the ICAC is doing its work and, where it finds these instances of breaches of public integrity, it’s rooting them out and bringing people to justice.

"The truth is there are still people that engage in opportunistic episodes of corruption, and we’re seeing that revealed. "It’s a good thing though (that) before these things take hold and become institutionalised that they’re able to be searched for, found and the people that have had these breaches of public trust brought to justice. "I’m confident that it’s an isolated instance."

The officers have been suspended from duty pending court proceedings.

Last month, Mr Lander told The Advertiser he had referred a middle-ranking public servant to the Director of Public Prosecutions and was preparing other briefs.

He said one case under investigation related to the "conduct of a senior person in public administration’’ and local government was over-represented in complaints.

Of more than 900 complaints and reports made in the first year of the ICAC’s operation, less than 60 are under investigation for corruption-related offences after being assessed.

Mr Lander’s first report to State Parliament is expected to be tabled within weeks.

Original report here

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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Police officer called over a family's dog then SHOT it for no reason

A Texas community is outraged over a newly released video showing and officer calling a pitbull over before shooting the dog to death.

The incident happened in August but footage has just now been released by the Cleburne police department.

The officer, who has not been identified, claims the pitbull was aggressive and rushing towards him.

CBS DFW reports that the officer was called to Lindsey Lane in response to a 911 call from a woman saying three pits were menacing a car and keeping people from leaving.

The loose dogs belonged to neighbor Amanda Henderson.

She said the footage showed a murder. 'I see him murdering my puppy, our family...our dog,' she told WFAA. She says that the footage shows no reason to shoot her dog.

'Never once did Max stop wagging his tail. Never once do you hear a growl, an aggressive anything,' she said.

Footage shows one pitbull running up to one cop with its tail wagging upon the officer's arrival.

Another officer, fitted with a body camera, can be seen going behind the house to find two more dogs in a ditch.

The unidentified officer is heard to make kissing noises at the animals as a gun comes into frame.

The officer claims the dog was charging with teeth barred when he opened fire, but in the footage the gun fills most of the frame.

Police say the video is not representative of the situation, and that the officer who fired was trying to get the dogs secure until animal control could respond when one animal became a threat.

Residents are not comfortable with how he handled the situation.

'To call the dog and act like you’re going to be sweet to the dog, and you just blatantly shoot it, I don’t think that’s right at all,' says neighbor Virginia Granger.

Kristin Dodge, who also lives in the area, told CBS DFW the dogs were well behaved and played with her kids. 'These are people’s pets. These are people’s family. To see something like that happen wasn’t really necessary, I think,' she said.

Both the pitbull's owners and the 911 caller have since moved out of the neighborhood.

Original report here

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Monday, October 20, 2014

How British police fitted me up for a vile sex crime they KNEW I hadn’t done, says Met’s gun girl who’s suing over ‘malicious leaks’

When Carol Howard, the former poster girl for the Metropolitan Police, took her employers to an employment tribunal, the verdict was huge embarrassment to the pre-eminent force in the land.

The Met was found to have subjected her to an orchestrated campaign of ‘malicious, vindictive and spiteful actions’, which effectively derailed a glittering 13-year career.

Just how malicious and vindictive, however, she has only now revealed. Because, in a new legal action, 35-year-old Miss Howard says her employers not only discriminated against her, but accused her of crimes – including possession of an indecent image of a child – she had not committed to silence and discredit her.

More shocking still, details of the ‘crimes’ were passed to the media and even to the employment tribunal in an apparent smear campaign, despite the fact that, in at least two cases, the allegations against her had already been quietly dropped.

‘I’m in no doubt at all that these arrests and so-called allegations were a crude attempt to silence me,’ says Carol, a firearms officer attached to the elite Diplomatic Protection Squad, whose image was seen all over London as the face of the Met at the 2012 London Olympics.

‘I have had my reputation besmirched. My personal life was turned inside out, my daughter kept from me and fingers pointed at me as though I was some kind of sexual deviant and unable to do my job properly.

‘I was effectively being punished for daring to think I was as good as the white men I worked with and for speaking up for myself.’

She says she has issued legal proceedings in an attempt to force the Met – which still employs her – to own up to its actions.

Carol was arrested on three occasions between August last year and April 2014, leading to a total of eight investigations against her for ‘crimes’ including criminal damage, harassment and perverting the course of justice.

In fresh employment tribunal papers, seen by The Mail on Sunday, Ms Howard also accuses the Met of maliciously informing Sussex Social Services about an ‘indecent image’ to spark a child protection investigation that prevented Ms Howard from seeing her six-year-old daughter for four weeks. The information was passed on despite the fact Sussex Police had already decided it was not necessary to refer the matter to social services.

In one particularly humiliating instance, five uniformed Met officers arrived at her daughter’s school and marched her away.

She is particularly angry that investigations following her arrest on April 22, 2014 were dropped within a matter of weeks, yet she was not informed and was kept on suspension and police bail until the end of July 2014 when the Met finally told her they would be taking no further police action against her.

Worse still, the Met told both the media and the Tribunal judge about Ms Howard still being on police bail as a result of this arrest as late as July – based on investigations that had already been abandoned. She spent a full 13 months on bail with the threat of legal action that never materialised.

Ms Howard has already spoken about the way she was victimised within the Met’s firearms squad, in particular by her Acting Inspector who had attempted to ‘undermine, discredit and belittle’ her.

But the breakdown of Carol’s ten-year relationship with the father of her youngest daughter made matters worse. She and her husband separated in 2012.

‘In August last year, not long after our separation, we had a dispute. He was upset and under so much stress he stupidly went to Crawley police station and falsely claimed that I had assaulted him 14 months previously and harassed him,’ she says.

She is still astonished, however, at how quickly things spiralled out of control after that.

‘Even if I had scratched him, which I didn’t, it would only have been a minor offence of common assault, but the Police deliberately ramped it up to the more serious allegation of actual bodily harm to justify an arrest.’

Although Rob called the station seven times without my knowledge to withdraw his allegations, he stated he was being fobbed off. Then on the day prior to my arrest, he went to the station in person to make a withdrawal statement and he was told to ‘go away and to come back later at 6:30pm’ and the same officers attended my home and arrested me at 6:00pm – 30 minutes before he was due to return to the police station. It was a set-up.’

Carol says she was held for four hours in a police cell before being interrogated ‘like a common criminal’. And, although this was Sussex police’s jurisdiction, she was confronted on arrival at the police station by a Met police inspector who had been involved in her tribunal complaints and was later found to have acted unlawfully against her. Carol believed this further supports her claims of both forces working together to close ranks against her.

‘I felt the officers in attendance were enjoying the fact that I was frightened and upset.

They didn’t bother to tell me or my solicitor that Rob had withdrawn his statement. Given my clean record they could simply have invited me in for an interview under caution, but it was all done with malice and clearly pre-planned. The Met wanted to have the arrest over me, so they could use it at the forthcoming employment tribunal.’

But when her husband lodged a complaint over their treatment of Carol, he too was arrested by the same police officers for perverting the course of justice and wasting police time. Carol feels he was being punished for standing up for her.

To Carol’s astonishment, in January 2014 she, too, was further arrested for perverting the course of justice and witness intimidation (the police claimed she had cajoled her husband into withdrawing his allegations against her.)

In May 2014, it is alleged that the Metropolitan Police contacted Sussex Social Services and asked them to carry out a child protection referral into an ‘indecent image’.

In her latest employment tribunal application Ms Howard says: ‘There was absolutely no basis on which the innocent picture of my own daughter could be said to be indecent. Even Sussex police had apparently accepted that there was no basis on which to inform child protection or social services about the matter. However, to victimise me and harass me further, the Met had maliciously referred me to Sussex social services and closely liaised with Sussex Police to do so.

‘I did not see my daughter for four weeks. It was awful and heartbreaking. I had to go to my daughter’s sports day and see parents look at me in disgust because they thought I was a paedophile,’ she recalls.

‘It is the worst thing you could say about any woman – especially a mother – and I was unable to defend myself, because of it. It is all connected with my complaints of discrimination against the Met. They appear to victimise officers who complain by arresting them.’

Last month an employment tribunal awarded her £37,000 in aggravated damages for sexual and racial discrimination. But she says it is no compensation for being falsely labelled a ‘child predator’ – or the destruction of her career.

Original report here

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Sunday, October 19, 2014

At least 2,000 corrupt British police officers suspected of 'tipping off criminals, stealing, fabricating evidence and using their power to get money and sex', says Home Office report

At least 2,000 officers have been suspected of tipping off criminals, stealing and fabricating evidence, says a Home Office report.

The Home Office Select Committee will launch an investigation next month into police corruption after claims officers also used their power to get money and sex.

The probe comes amid a series of police scandals that have related to recent inquiries involving phone-hacking and the Plebgate scandal.

In a Home Office report analysis by researchers revealed that the government estimate that at least 2,000 officers of all ranks could be comprimising the police by dealing with criminals.

The report states that intelligence over a one year period from some forces involved in their research showed that between 0.5 per cent and one per cent of the 200,000 police staff were 'potentially corrupt.'

It explains: 'Corrupt activities across these examples have included the protection of criminals for financial payments, the theft and recycling of drugs to criminals, the stealing of money from crime scenes, and the fabrication of evidence to obtain convictions.'

It also adds how some officers 'used their powers to obtain money or sexual favours from the public.'

Among the corrupt practices listed by the 2003 report are dealing and using drugs, fraud and domestic violence as well using 'sexist, racist and homophobic behaviour.'

It also pointed to raids where suspects could have been tipped off because when officers arrived there was no incriminating evidence and they already 'had the kettle on'.

The report also adds that corruption could be taking place at all levels and suggests that police should be dealt with behind closed doors if they commit crimes, to make it 'less damaging'.

Critics say this Home Office report shows why now Home Secretary Theresa May is having to deal with historic police scandals.

Member of the Home Affairs Select Committee and Conservative MP Lorraine Fullbrook told the Independent: 'Labour's kid-gloves treatment of the police bred a lack of accountability which ultimately let down the public.

'There has been a loss of confidence in the police as a result, which is quite dangerous. Theresa is trying to tackle these historic issues to restore the public's trust.'

Earlier this year, it also emerged that dozens of corrupt police officers helped organised criminals hide evidence, intimidate witnesses and access details of ongoing operations.

An internal investigation by the Metropolitan Police claimed officers were bribed to destroy surveillance logs and some officers even co-owned houses and racehorses with suspected gang leaders.

The 2002 report, produced as part of Operation Tiberius, an investigation into police corruption, named 80 corrupt officers. More than half of them were still serving at the time.

However, a statement issued by Scotland Yard said said that the Met continued to investigate corruption, and has 'no complacency' about the matter.

Policing minister Mike Penning told the newspaper: 'The public expect the police to act with honesty and integrity and it is right that the full force of criminal law is available to punish and deter acts of corruption by police officers.'

Original report here

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Saturday, October 18, 2014

British police took away mother's panic alarm in 'huge catalogue' of failings before she was strangled by ex who had killed a previous partner

Police took away a mother's panic alarm in a 'huge catalogue' of failings just months before she was strangled by her ex partner - who had already killed before.

Marc Chivers - who had been convicted of murdering another woman in 1992 - used a dog lead to kill Maria Stubbings at her home in Great Baddow, Essex in December 2008.

A four-week inquest into the death has revealed a series of failures by Essex Police in 'almost every part of its investigation'.

Ms Stubbings' family has lashed out at police claiming they were as much to blame 'as the murderer himself'.

The inquest in Chelmsford heard Ms Stubbings began a relationship with Chivers without knowing he had killed his last partner.

Ms Stubbings was considered to be 'high risk' after she reported an assault by Chivers in July 2008 and was given a panic alarm. But this was taken away a day later when Chivers was arrested.

Later that year he was found guilty of assault but was freed having already spent three months in jail awaiting the hearing - but Ms Stubbings was not told of his release.

The jury heard that she then made repeated 999 calls to police, but officers did not go to her house for a week.

When they finally did, Chivers, who had previously been jailed for murder in Germany, answered the door only for police to leave when he told them Ms Stubbings had gone away.

Her body was found the next day hidden under a pile of clothes in her bathroom. Chivers was jailed for life at Chelmsford Crown Court in 2009.

In 1992, Chivers, who was born and raised in Germany, strangled his first victim with a rope before burying her body in a shallow grave and going on the run.

He was arrested three months later before being jailed.

Speaking after the jury returned a damning narrative verdict, Ms Stubbings' family launched a scathing attack on Essex Police.

A statement issued by her brother, Manuel Fernandez, her daughter Celia Peachey and son, Benji Stubbings, said: 'Maria's murder is as much the fault of Essex Police as the murderer himself. 'They assessed Maria as being at high risk of death or serious harm from Chivers. 'Yet when she called asking for help, they found every excuse to do nothing.'

The family confirmed Essex Police have now admitted civil liability in a case brought against them. 'After six years of fighting for justice we are grateful to the jury for finding a huge catalogue of police failures,' they added.

Essex Coroner Caroline Beasley-Murray is sending a report about the case to the Government.

Afterwards Chief Constable Stephen Kavanagh admitted Essex Police did not protect Ms Stubbings and apologised to her family. He said: 'I know nothing can ever bring Maria back but I want them to know the way we deal with domestic abuse in Essex has changed greatly. 'Maria's family have shown great courage and determination in holding us to account for the mistakes we made.

This is not the first time Essex Police has been accused of failing a victim of violent crime.

In 2012 an investigation found a catalogue of police failings allowed killer David Oakes to murder his ex-partner and daughter.

The police watchdog said officers took 'inadequate action' to arrest the 50-year-old before he shot Christine Chambers, 38, and Shania, two, at their home in Braintree, Essex.

Oakes, of Steeple, near Maldon, was given two whole-life jail terms after being found guilty of the murders, which happened in June 2011.

It emerged during his trial at Chelmsford Crown Court that police had visited either his address or Miss Chambers' home six times in the two years before the murders.

The trial heard that Oakes stormed Ms Chambers’ house and blasted her and their daughter Shania with a shotgun just weeks after the family gained a restraining order against him. He then shot himself in the face, but survived.

A damning report released by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) concluded there was a number of failings by Essex Police, including missed chances to arrest Oakes before the killings.

Responding to the report, Essex Police said it accepted the findings and apologised for the failings which had been identified.

In March, it was revealed that police had failed to attend a call just hours before a mother was brutally murdered by her jealous ex-partner.

Jeanette Goodwin, 47, was stabbed more than 20 times by her former lover Martin Bunch at her home in Southend, Essex, in July 2011.

Bunch had stalked his ex-partner for months and was on bail for harassment when he broke into her back garden in a jealous rage with a kitchen knife.

A domestic homicide review by the Southend Community Safety Partnership said police failed to attend a call on the day of the murder.

Mrs Goodwin called police at 2.30pm on July 24, 2011, to inform them she was being harassed by Bunch and arranged for officers to check up on her at 4.30pm.

But police failed to attend the arranged meeting and only came hours later when a panic alarm was sounded during the frenzied attack at around 7.30pm.

'I have made it a personal mission that a situation like hers must never be allowed to happen again.

'Protecting every single person at risk of domestic abuse is a huge challenge for the police and our partners, but it is one we are determined to meet.'

In May last year, the Independent Police Complaints Commission judged Essex Police 'missed a large number of opportunities' to deal with Ms Stubbings' case before she was killed.

It concluded: 'It is ironic that Ms Stubbings was offered the most support and protection while Chivers was in prison, when the risk from him was minimal.

'When he was released both she and her son were left completely vulnerable.. 'All the risks that were there when Ms Stubbings called the police in July still existed after his release; indeed arguably the risk was even higher, as Chivers had just served several months in prison as a result of her complaint.

'Ms Stubbings was then murdered by Chivers and her son has endured profound and ongoing trauma as a result of his mother's brutal death.'

Original report here


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Friday, October 17, 2014

Mother of four who spent 19 days in jail now wants compensation after police admit she has not broken the law and release her

A mother of four who was jailed for taking a legal high into a prison during a visit has been released after prosecutors realised they were wrong over the charge.

Sharon Bolton, 38, spent 19 days in prison and missed her daughter's 18th birthday while she was locked up.

She had been jailed for taking Voodoo, a legal high, into prison during a visit to a former partner because it was believed to be on a list of 'banned substances.'

However prosecutors were forced to admit they had made a mistake when they realised Voodoo was not on the 'banned list' and Ms Bolton had not actually committed a crime.

She was then released from prison after 19 days.

The grandmother of three is now set to demand compensation from the Crown Prosecution Service, which has admitted there could be other cases of people wrongly punished for having substances which are not classed as illegal.

She said: 'I was put in a cell on my own and I was really nervous. We were locked up 21 hours a day. 'My concern was for my family. Two of my children live at home. 'My grandson was a few weeks old.'

Ms Bolton, whose children are aged between 16 and 22, was sentenced to nine months in jail after she took Voodoo into a prison where she was visiting a former partner, according to Louise Smith, of the Daily Mirror.

She was told Voodoo was on a list of 'banned substances' and pleaded guilty at a hearing at Lincoln Crown Court on September 18 to 'conveying a prohibited item into prison'.

While she was serving her sentence at HMP Peterborough prosecutors realised their mistake and the 38-year-old was taken back to court where Judge Michael Heath ordered her release.

A spokesman for the CPS admitted there could be other cases where people had been incorrectly punished. He said 'a small number of cases' were now being checked. 'The decision to charge was made by the police,' he added. 'But we acknowledge the issue should have been picked up.'

When he jailed Ms Bolton in September, Judge Michael Heath said: 'There has to be an element of deterrence. Those people who take items like this into prison have to go to prison themselves.'

Ms Bolton, of Rhodesia, Notts, was also given a six-month conditional discharge for possessing amphetamine.

Original report here

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Thursday, October 16, 2014

The Real Victims of Satanic Ritual Abuse

The dangers were imaginary, but the consequences were not

Among the atrocities that Frances and Dan Keller were supposed to have committed while running a day care center out of their Texas home: drowning and dismembering babies in front of the children; killing dogs and cats in front of the children; transporting the children to Mexico to be sexually abused by soldiers in the Mexican army; dressing as pumpkins and shooting children in the arms and legs; putting the children into a pool with sharks that ate babies; putting blood in the children’s Kool-Aid; cutting the arm or a finger off a gorilla at a local park; and exhuming bodies at a cemetery, forcing children to carry the bones.

It was frankly unbelievable—except that people, most importantly, a Texas jury, did believe the Kellers had committed at least some of these acts. In 1992, the Kellers were convicted of aggravated sexual assault on a child and each sentenced to 48 years in prison. The investigation into their supposed crimes took slightly more than a year, the trial only six days.

And now, even the Travis County district attorney agrees that the trial was unfair.

After multiple appeal efforts and 21 years in prison, the Kellers are finally free. Fran Keller, 63, was released from prison on Nov. 26 on a personal bond, just in time for Thanksgiving. Her daughter was waiting for her with a bag full of the first clothes that weren’t prison-issued that Keller had seen in years. Dan, who turned 72 in prison and now walks with a cane, was released on Dec. 5; this time, Fran was there to greet him. (The Kellers divorced while in prison yet remain close, as close as two people locked up in separate prisons for crimes they say they didn’t commit can be.)

Why did psychotherapists and investigators conclude that these fantastic allegations were true?

The Kellers were released after the doctor who had testified at their trial and provided the only physical evidence that any sexual assault had taken place recanted his testimony. Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg agreed with the findings of appeals filed on the Kellers’ behalf that they were denied their right to a fair trial and that their conviction should be overturned, allowing the Kellers to be released while their appeals move through the courts. In practical terms, this means the Kellers are on a path that may lead to their complete exoneration—and that they were able to celebrate their first Christmas with their families in more than 20 years.

Their release may also finally mark the end to one of the strangest, widest-reaching, and most damaging moral panics in America’s history: the satanic ritual abuse panic of the 1980s and 1990s.

"That was literally a witch hunt," said Keith Hampton, pro-bono lawyer for the Kellers. "We say ‘witch hunt’ in this figurative way, but that was a modern-day literal witch hunt. They really were after people who they thought were worshipping at the feet of the Dark Lord."

So what the hell happened?

The Keller case is typical of the satanic ritual abuse panic and the dozens of cases that popped up in breathless media reports. The trouble started when Christy Chaviers, a 3-year-old girl who was an infrequent visitor to the day care during the summer of 1991, told her mother that Dan had spanked her. With coaxing from her mother and her therapist, Donna David-Campbell, whom Christy had been seeing to deal with acting-out issues, an incident of spanking turned into something much worse—Dan Keller, the little girl said, had defecated on her head and raped her with a pen. From there, the stories Christy told David-Campbell became wilder: The Kellers "had everyone take off their clothes and had a parrot that pecked them in the pee-pee," they made her smoke a cigarette, they "came to her house with a chainsaw and cut her dog Buffy in the vagina until it bled." David-Campbell concluded not that Christy was an imaginative child having trouble with her parents’ divorce, but that she was the victim of ritual abuse.

The case was turned over to the police. Parents of children who’d attended the preschool, however, continued to talk to one another and their children. In October, another child, also a therapy client of David-Campbell, told his parents that he’d been abused; a third child, whose mother was in contact with the parents of the other two, came forward in February 1992. By the time of the trial in November 1992, the stories included the killing of a baby tiger in a graveyard, a person being shot by people in sheriff’s uniforms and then dismembered with a chainsaw, videotaped sex with adults and other children, and the Kellers wearing white robes and lighting candles to assault them. No other children, including those children who were supposedly the targets of abuse, or their parents confirmed the accounts. When put on the witness stand, Christy, by then 5, was at first unwilling to say anything had happened at all, then did, then recanted. Friends and acquaintances of the Kellers, including their landlord, who frequently dropped by unannounced, testified that they’d never seen anything out of the ordinary at the Kellers’ day care.

As with previous panics, the dangers may have been imaginary, but the consequences were not.

Why did psychotherapists and investigators conclude that these fantastic allegations were true? Because at the time, pretty much everyone else in America did.

The seeds of the panic were planted with the 1980 publication of Michelle Remembers, the best-selling account of a Canadian psychotherapist’s work with a woman named Michelle Smith, who, under his care, began recalling forgotten memories of horrific childhood sexual abuse at the hands of her mother and others who were part of a devil-worshipping cult. The book, though riddled with fantastical claims (for example, Jesus, the Virgin Mary, and the Archangel Michael healed Smith’s physical scars), launched a cottage industry in recovering memories of satanic ritual abuse. (The psychotherapist and Smith later married.)

The panic began in earnest with the McMartin Preschool trial, an investigation that began 30 years ago. The owners of a California preschool and several teachers were accused of molesting a 2½-year-old boy; before it was over, hundreds of children, usually after lengthy sessions with coercive therapists, came forward to say that they, too, had been taken to a church to watch the beheading of a baby, then forced to drink its blood or flown by plane to random cities for sexual abuse, or countless other bizarre stories.

While that investigation and trial unfolded, other cases surfaced. Media poured attention on the claims, which made great fodder for a newly created 24-hour news cycle (CNN Headline News launched in 1982). As televangelists prayed for deliverance from Satan’s scourge, talk show "experts" claimed that every imaginable form of abuse was happening on a massive scale in America and that networks of Satanists had infiltrated schools, the police, and local government. Geraldo Rivera claimed in a televised 1987 special report that more than a million Satanists were plying their evil trade in America right at the very moment. (He has since apologized.) In 1989, Oprah Winfrey interviewed Michelle Smith and another woman who claimed to have recovered memories of being abused by a satanic cult; Sally Jesse Raphael, not to be outdone, ran two shows on the subject. In 1990, Don’t Make Me Go Back, Mommy: A Child’s Book About Satanic Ritual Abuse, a children’s picture book featuring colored-pencil drawings of children being abused in satanic rituals, appeared in libraries and therapists’ offices. In 1992, folk singer Joan Baez released "Play Me Backwards," a song in the voice of a victim of satanic ritual abuse who was forced to witness the sacrifice of a baby and is now recollecting her repressed memories.

"It sounds laughable," says Debbie Nathan, an investigative reporter who co-wrote Satan’s Silence: Ritual Abuse and the Making of a Modern American Witch Hunt about the panic and is now a director for the National Center for Reason and Justice, which took up the Kellers’ cause. But there is certainly historical precedent, going back even further than the Salem witch trials: Ancient Romans, for example, claimed that Christians ate babies; Christians later claimed that Jews used Christian babies’ blood in religious rituals.

"Children symbolize the good things about culture, the innocence and purity, the future of the culture," says Nathan. When a culture feels under threat in some way, fear and anxiety focus on the safety of children. America was experiencing upheavals in gender roles, child-rearing practices, and social expectations, and more and more people were embracing fundamentalist religion and belief in the devil. The fear of satanic ritual abuse was perpetuated by both ends of the political spectrum. "In the right wing, you had that kind of preoccupation with Satan, and on the left, you had a lot of concern with the well-being of children, and women going back to work, and I think it was a perfect storm of fear and anxiety," says Nathan. Most if not all of those involved believed they were acting in the best interests of the children—which meant that any healthy skepticism was interpreted as anti-child.

But extensive investigations revealed little to no truth to the satanic ritual abuse panic. The McMartin Preschool trial ended in 1990 with no convictions, even after the government threw more than $15 million at prosecuting it. In 1992, FBI agent Kenneth Lanning, in his report on satanic ritual abuse, declared that satanic ritual abuse wasn’t credible: "Hundreds of communities all over America are run by mayors, police departments, and community leaders who are practicing Satanists and who regularly murder and eat people? Not likely." Two years later, the National Center on Child Abuse and Neglect, under the federal Department of Health and Human Services, released a report claiming that there was no evidence of truth in satanic ritual abuse claims. Even so, people still believed: A Redbook magazine survey conducted in 1994 found that fully 70 percent of Americans believed that satanic ritual abuse was real.

As with previous panics, the dangers may have been imaginary, but the consequences were not. The real toll of the satanic ritual abuse panic was on the children dragged into it and accused people like the Kellers, who numbered in the hundreds by the end of the decade. (In 1993, a survey by the American Bar Association Center on Children and the Law found that 26 percent of prosecutors reported handling at least one case with elements of alleged ritual abuse.)

Satanic ritual abuse was the thread that wound through the Kellers’ trial. Therapist David-Campbell testified for the prosecution that Christy’s acting out was consistent with children abused by satanic cults and that she believed Christy was telling the truth. A ritual abuse "expert," clinical psychologist Randy Noblitt, testified that satanic cults are real, that they are widespread, and that he too believed Christy, despite not having interviewed her. (As Hampton, the Kellers’ attorney, wrote in Fran Keller’s appeal, "In 2003, Noblitt was featured on ABC’s Primetime having a conversation with Satan who, Noblitt agreed, was actually a pretty nice guy, notwithstanding, of course, his role as the dark lord of evil. No court and no jury should ever rely on the testimony of Dr. Noblitt.") In addition, the jury heard evidence that local graveyards had been "disturbed," consistent with the children’s claims of impromptu exhumations, although the jury never heard that those disruptions included natural soil erosion.

Scott Taliaferro, assistant district attorney for Travis County, says that the prosecution’s case didn’t rest on satanic claims but on child abuse claims. He also says that the defense repeatedly raised the issue of satanic ritual abuse, likely in an effort to cast doubt on the claims of sex abuse in general. "This is a case where the state alleged aggravated sexual assault of a child … the ritual abuse in question wasn’t elicited by the state; it was the defense. All of that is in large part extraneous to the allegation of sexual abuse," said Taliaferro, who spoke with me before Fran Keller was released; he and the DA’s office have since declined to discuss the matter. But Hampton, the Kellers’ attorney, disagrees: Common sense and level-headed investigation would have found Christy’s claims incredible if satanic ritual abuse panic hadn’t lent a "distorted lens of hysteria" to the picture.

The methods used by forensic investigators to elicit stories of abuse from the children were taken straight from the ritual abuse panic playbook. University of Texas at El Paso psychologist James Wood, who has written about the suggestive interviewing techniques used in the McMartin trial, for a 1993 episode of American Justice viewed videos of investigators from the Travis County Sheriff’s Department interviewing the young children who made claims against the Kellers.

I have also seen the videos, seven in all, provided by sources close to the Keller case. At first glance, the videos look familiar for anyone who’s a parent of a young child: Christy is 3 years old, and it’s difficult to get her to sit still or remain on the chair or even in the room. Asking her basic questions is even harder: In one video, Christy turns her face petulantly into the back of the chair and says, "No, I’m not gonna talk!"

It becomes more uncomfortable to watch once the anatomically correct dolls, floppy rag dolls with floppy rag-doll genitalia, come out. The interviewer, armed with the now nude dolls, asks Christy to show her what "Danny" (Dan Keller) did to her at the day care. Christy is unwilling. "You tell me," Christy says. It wouldn’t be too much of a stretch to claim that in a way, Travis County forensic investigators and well-meaning therapists did.

In this particular segment, Christy’s interviewer first calls attention to the dolls’ genitalia and then says, "Show me what happened at the day care"—implying both that something did happen and that the interviewer knows what happened involved genitalia. Then the interviewer asks if there’s a boy or a man at day care, leading Christy to say "Danny." Handing her the doll, she says, "Show me what Danny does at the day care to Christy." In an interview with another investigator present, the woman tells Christy, "I think you forgot to tell us about some things that happened … about some stuff that you have to talk to me about that you told [therapist David-Campbell]."

Another child who was interviewed, a 5-year-old boy, is much more willing to talk, so willing, in fact, it’s strange. When the interviewer asks him what they’re here to talk about, he says matter-of-factly, "Yeah, Fran and Dan." "What is it about Fran and Danny we need to talk about?" the interviewer asks. "The things that they did wrong … at the time, we didn’t know that those things were wrong, but they were." But even though he’s had some preparation, it’s impossible for the interviewer to get him to say that anything sexual had happened—no matter how much she tries.

"Does anybody touch your privates?"


"Has anybody wanted you to touch their privates?"



"Are you telling me what really happened over at Fran and Danny’s house?"


"Are you forgetting to tell me some stuff that happened?"

"Only the things I forgot."

"What are those things?"

"I can’t remember!"

"Did anybody tell you not to remember?"

The implication is that the child isn’t telling the full story, that he needs to keep trying until he gets it right—the kind of dynamic that Nathan, Wood, and others say enables children to come up with some of the strange allegations. In this case, the interviewer is steering the conversation toward something physical; the boy brings up things like Dan falling asleep in the toy room or allowing the children to ride on the riding mower, or that he heard that Dan shot a pit bull. Eventually, she says, "Would it be easier if you showed me what happened with the dolls?" later adding, "Remember we looked at the doll’s penis; did anything happen with a penis?" When he says no, it’s evident that she doesn’t believe him.

These kinds of suggestive techniques were used throughout the questioning of the children in the Keller case, as they were in other satanic ritual abuse trials; by the time of the trial, allegations that emerged under questioning like this would form the basis of the prosecution’s claims.

Assistant DA Taliaferro is right in pointing out that the Keller convictions weren’t entirely about believing in satanic ritual abuse. They also relied on another piece of fantasy: the alleged physical evidence. This, too, was consistent with other satanic ritual abuse cases, where inaccurate physical evidence frequently played a major part in convincing otherwise skeptical juries.

Michael Mouw was the emergency-room doctor who examined Christy Chaviers after she told her mother that Dan Keller had abused her. Mouw testified during the trial that Christy’s labia minora and hymen had appeared reddened and that he had observed some lacerations to the hymen. Those lacerations, he said at the time, were consistent with sexual abuse. Mouw’s testimony was then taken as corroborating evidence that Christy had indeed been abused.

Except his observations weren't evidence of abuse at all. Mouw has since recanted his testimony, declaring that he knew soon after the trial that his conclusion was inaccurate and "not scientifically or medically valid." At the time he examined her, he said during a hearing about the Kellers’ appeal in August, he was an inexperienced emergency-room doctor who had little direct experience with or training to handle pediatric sexual abuse cases; subsequent research showed Christy’s "lacerations" were simply a natural formation of her genitalia. (Echoes of this junk science evidence are heard in the case of the San Antonio Four, four lesbians who were convicted and imprisoned for more than 15 years for the alleged sexual abuse of two young girls.)

And that was what finally freed the Kellers—that and the attention paid to the case by dogged Austin Chronicle reporter Jordan Smith, attorney Hampton’s efforts, and the support from the psychology community in Texas. Travis County District Attorney Lehmberg agreed that Mouw’s testimony had likely "affected the judgment of the jury" and violated the Kellers’ right to a fair trial; she agreed that the Kellers should be freed on bond.

More here

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Wednesday, October 15, 2014

The Drug War's Medical Quislings

When police dragged Felix Booker, naked and shackled, into the emergency room at the Methodist Medical Center in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, they knew Dr. Michael LaPaglia would set aside his Hippocratic obligation to the patient and act as an agent of the State.

On at least two previous occasions, LaPaglia had performed invasive, non-consensual procedures in order to extract narcotics evidence on behalf of the police. Though he was acting as a deputy interrogator rather than a private physician, narcotics investigators disingenuously insisted that LaPaglia wasn’t subject to Fourth Amendment restrictions because he wasn't a sworn law enforcement officer.

Booker was charged with felony marijuana possession, despite the fact that a search of the vehicle and his clothing turned up only 0.06 grams of the innocuous yet prohibited substance. Under what the State of Tennessee calls the "law," that amount justified, at most, a misdemeanor citation.

During the traffic stop the arresting officer, Oak Ridge PD K-9 handler Daniel Steakley, claimed to have smelled marijuana and said that he saw "crumpled marijuana" on the floor of the vehicle. No evidence directly linked Booker to the contraband; it could have belonged to his brother William, who was driving the car. Steakley let William go without so much as citing him for an expired registration tag, which was the pretext for the stop.

The decision to arrest Booker clearly wasn't dictated by the evidence, but grew out of Steakley's history with Booker. On a previous occasion he had found a dozen bags of marijuana hidden in Booker's underwear. A pat-down search during the more recent traffic stop found a substantial amount of currency in Booker's pockets, which he claimed was a cash payment for a job pouring concrete.

In his report Steakley claimed that while he was reviewing William Booker's license and registration documents, he could see Felix squirming in the passenger seat as if he were trying to conceal something. That furtive behavior supposedly continued after Booker was taken into custody.

At the Anderson County Jail, Booker was told to strip down in the shower and grab his ankles to facilitate a body cavity search. The officer conducting the inspection said that he saw a small string protruding from the relevant aperture. Still naked, Booker was shackled hand and foot, wrapped in a blanket, and taken to the Emergency Room. Invoking "exigent circumstances," his captors didn't bother to apply for a search warrant.

Booker's vitals were normal when he was admitted to the hospital. He neither displayed nor complained about symptoms of any kind. He was adamant in refusing permission to conduct what was euphemistically called a DRE. (The "D" stands for "digital"; the "E" for "examination." No extra points will be awarded to those who guess what "R" signifies.) Dr. LaPaglia told the captive patient that he was required to find and remove any drugs Booker had concealed in his body because of the potential risk to his health. Booker was told that if he didn't submit, he would be given a paralyzing agent and the search would be happen anyway.

"That exam was going to occur with or without his consent," LaPaglia later testified in court. He also attested that Booker eventually gave his verbal assent to a "digital search." That claim was strenuously denied by Booker, and wasn't corroborated by any of the nurses or officers who were in the room at the time. The doctor proceeded with the probe, only to be stymied by Booker's instinctive resistance to the violation.

This inspired an utterance by LaPaglia that really should define his medical career: "If an individual does not want you to enter [his] rectum, you are not going to."

In defiance of the principle – valid in both romantic and medical contexts – that "`no' means `no,'" LaPaglia gave Booker a roofie. That is, he instructed an emergency room nurse to administer a sedative and paralytic agent intravenously. This meant that the victim (at this point, neither "suspect" nor "patient" is a suitable description) had to be intubated to control his breathing during what was now a life-threatening medical procedure.

Booker was paralyzed for about eight minutes, and unconscious for about a half-hour. During that time LaPaglia removed a five-gram "rock" of crack cocaine, which was turned over to Steakley.

Booker was indicted on a charge of cocaine possession with intent to distribute. His defense attorney filed a motion to suppress, contending, correctly, that the initial arrest was unlawful and that the involuntary medical examination -- which, once again, involved a life-threatening procedure – was a mortifying violation of the protections supposedly afforded by the Fourth Amendment.

In August of last year, the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals threw out Booker's conviction, ruling that the "un-consented procedure" inflicted on him "shocks the conscience at least as much as the stomach pumping that the Supreme Court long ago held to violate due process."

The 1952 Supreme Court ruling to which the Sixth Circuit referred, Rochin v. California, resulted from a case in which a doctor – acting on behalf of two sheriff's deputies – delivered an emetic via a feeding tube into the stomach of a suspected drug dealer in order to force him to expel two capsules found to contain morphine. The High Court described the conduct of the officers and the doctor as "too close to the rack and screw to permit of constitutional differentiation."

It is, or should be, self-evident that since it is unconstitutional to shove a feeding tube down a suspect's throat, the forcible violation of a suspect's antipodal bodily orifice must likewise be impermissible. It should be just as obvious that a doctor who commits an act of that kind is not behaving as a physician, but a police interrogator – a member of Mengele's despicable fraternity, rather than a disciple of Hippocrates.

Hippocrates trumps the State: Dr. Faria.

A patient who arrives in an ER with a rock of crack cocaine lodged in his descending digestive tract does face a potential medical emergency, notes neurosurgeon and historian Dr. Miguel Faria. However, the physician is morally and ethically required to obtain the patient's consent if he is not in immediate danger.

"All the risks should be explained to the patient or his guardian," Dr. Faria explained to me. "And then informed consent obtained. If the patient is unconscious and there is no family around, then the doctor may proceed on an emergency basis. The point is that the doctor must act in the interest of the patient first; society, the government, and the police come second."

If the danger to the patient is minimal and if he "refused to give consent," and the physical "acted solely in the interest of the police" because of the "refusal of the patient," then "the doctor acted inappropriately and unethically," continues Dr. Faria. It is never appropriate, at least under the canons of Hippocratic discipline, for a physician to act as a "government agent" in violation of the best interests, and informed decisions, of the patient.

On September 27, LaPaglia was informed that his claim of "qualified immunity" was rejected by the federal court that is now considering a lawsuit filed by his victim. The same news was given to Steakley and two other police officers who took part in the molestation of Felix Booker.

Although the officers continue to draw salaries as members of the State's enforcement caste, LaPaglia is no longer licensed to practice medicine – not because of his treatment of Booker or his conduct in two similar cases, but because of allegations of grievous domestic violence and narcotics-related offenses.

In September of last year, LaPaglia’s then-girlfriend, Christina Maria Becker, called the police and obtained a protective order against the doctor. A search of LaPaglia’s home revealed the remnants of an extensive marijuana growing operation, in addition to substantial amounts of prescription pills and controlled pharmaceuticals.

In her affidavit, Becker claimed that LaPaglia frequently assaulted her and claimed that "if I ever contacted police for help or reported his drug use [he] would use his powers as a physician to have me committed to a psychiatric facility."

Lurid accusations of this kind are commonplace in domestic disputes, and often quite difficult to corroborate. LaPaglia’s conduct as a Drug War collaborator lends a certain plausibility to Becker’s claims: Threatening to send an innocent and rational woman to the psychiatric gulag is what we should expect from a "medical professional" willing to adulterate his Hippocratic duty in the service of a totalitarian government policy.

In Deming, New Mexico, doctors carry out DREs and forced colonoscopies on behalf of the police; in Utah, forced catheterization in search of DUI and narcotics evidence is a well-established practice. In several states, "No refusal" DUI checkpoints result in compelled blood draws that are carried out either by police with no legitimate medical credentials, or people who have the credentials but lack the moral character to behave as physicians, rather than instruments of state policy.

Until we stop pretending that the State has a proprietary claim on us, and the corresponding authority to police the content of our bloodstreams, Prohibition will continue to provide career opportunities for medical Quislings of Michael LaPaglia’s ilk.

Original report here

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Tuesday, October 14, 2014

British council slammed by judge and ordered to pay £80,000 after social workers snatched pensioner with dementia from her house while her son was out

A council has been slammed as 'woefully inadequate' and ordered to pay a legal bill of more than £80,00 after its social workers snatched a dementia-sufferer from her house while her son was out.

The 81-year-old woman was removed after a manager at a daycare centre she visited raised concerns about bruises and scratches on her face and legs.

It took the son 19 days to get Milton Keynes Council to tell him where they had taken her.

Taking on the council in the Court of Protection he racked up huge legal fees - which he claimed were a 'direct consequence' of the council's 'actions and omissions'.

At the Court of Protection, District Judge Paul Mort today ruled that the local authority must foot the bill.

Back in May he described Milton Keynes Council’s treatment of the pensioner, a former magistrate with severe dementia, as ‘woefully inadequate’.

In today's judgment, published on a legal website, he said that the council had set a 'juggernaut in motion' when it initially failed to investigate - and concluded that an 'award of costs' was 'manifestly justified'.

The judge did not identify the woman but named Milton Keynes Council as the local authority with responsibility for her welfare.

In September 2012 the manager of a care centre the woman attended had raised concerns about bruises and scratches on her face and legs. A month later, a visiting student social worker saw more injuries and alerted her bosses.

The council’s social services staff removed the woman and put her in a care home as they thought she may have been abused by her son, who lived with her. But their own inquiries and a subsequent police investigation found no evidence.

Judge Mort said the manner in which the social services removed the woman without getting the correct court orders violated her human rights, and described it as ‘unlawful detainment’. He also said she now has little prospect of being able to return to her home.

The judge said the woman had lived at her house for 32 years and was rooted in her local community. Her son sold his business abroad so he and his partner, along with a care worker he employed, could look after her.

Earlier in the year, he described to The Mail on Sunday in May how he returned home to find his mother gone. He said: ‘The care worker said to me, "The council have taken her to a place of safety." ‘I thought you need a warrant to enter someone’s house, but they just came and took her away.’

He said he was eventually given access to his mother at the care home, but under severe restrictions. ‘I was only allowed to visit her in the afternoons, and a staff member sat with us,’ he said.

Judge Mort lifted council restrictions that prevented the son from seeing his mother without being monitored by social workers. He can now see her as many times as he likes and take her out.

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 or here

Monday, October 13, 2014

Iowa cop tries to search car because ‘Everybody that plays frisbee golf smokes weed’

Ankeny’s police chief is apologizing after a video surfaced showing an officer trying to search a motorist’s car because, according to the officer, everyone who plays Frisbee golf smokes pot.

The video, which was taken by the motorist, starts with the officer giving that unknown motorist a warning about driving without headlights.

Then the officer begins his interrogation. "You play frisbee golf?" the officer asks. "I do actually. I play out at Heritage (Park)" the motorist replies. So the officer says, "OK. I need you to answer me a question. Why is it that everybody that plays Frisbee golf smokes weed?" "No, it’s not everybody," the motorist insists. "It’s everybody, man. You can’t tell me you never smoked weed," the officer says. The motorist replies, "I’m not gonna tell you one way or another." So the officer says, "See, there you go. How much weed do you have in the car today?"

The driver tells the officer he doesn’t have any marijuana. So the officer says, "You understand you’re free to go and everything but you wouldn’t have a problem with me looking through your car?" The motorist denies the request saying, "I actually would. Just because I have a disc golf bag doesn’t mean that every disc golfer does have weed." The officer says, "So you have weed in the car then is what you’re saying?" The motorist answers, "No I would say I have a problem with you searching my car because you’re profiling me based on being a disc golfer."

Eventually, the officer lets the driver go.

Drake Law Professor Robert Rigg says the officer broke the law by trying to search the car during an equipment violation stop.

"What the officer did after that was try to extend that stop into a general search of the defendant’s car, or the individual’s car. That’s not permissible anymore," Rigg says, adding that if the driver had allowed the officer to search the car, and the officer found something illegal, chances are that evidence would be thrown out of court. "The Iowa Supreme Court has held that under the Iowa constitution you can’t convert an equipment violation stop into a general search. and any consent that would have been given would have been invalid in any event."

The city of Ankeny did release a statement saying, in part, "The officer engages the driver in a line of questioning that is foolish and not representative of the Ankeny Police Dept.’s training or interactions with the public. This verbal exchange did not meet the level of professionalism expected of Ankeny police officers. Ankeny Police Chief Gary Mikulec respectfully apologizes for the officer`s demeaning statement."

As for the motorist, Rigg says, "I think the young man did exactly what he was supposed to do. He did not admit to smoking marijuana. He didn’t answer that question at all and he has the right not to answer that question. And he has the right to say, look, if you want to ask me questions, why don’t you call my lawyer."

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 or here

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Innocent grandmother walks free after 17 years in prison

An American woman who spent 17 years in prison for the death of a homeless man hugged her grandchild for the first time after her conviction was overturned and she was freed.

"I always knew that one day God would bring the truth to the light," 59-year-old Susan Marie Mellen, told reporters on Friday, after she was released from a California courthouse.

A Los Angeles County judge overturned her conviction saying her attorney failed to properly represent her and a woman who claimed she heard Mrs Mellen confess was a "habitual liar".

Based solely on witness testimony, Mrs Mellen was convicted of orchestrating the beating death of Richard Daly at a Lawndale home where Mrs Mellen and others lived.

The mother of three was sentenced to life in prison without possibility of parole.

Three gang members subsequently were linked to the crime, and one was convicted of the killing.

Mrs Mellen said she held no ill will against those who put her behind bars.

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 or here