Wednesday, September 02, 2015




Video shows Texas police officers shoot dead man with his hands up



SHOCKING video obtained by a Texas TV station shows a man, with his hands up, being shot dead by police officers. The Bexar County Sheriff’s Office said Gilbert Flores, 41, died shortly after the Friday shooting Friday, adding that he resisted arrest and nonlethal weapons failed to bring him under control.

Officers Greg Vasquez and Robert Sanchez were responding to a domestic disturbance and found a woman with a cut on her head and a baby who appeared injured, according to the statement.

The officers encountered Flores, who they say was armed, and attempted to arrest him, the sheriff’s department said. The statement didn’t say what type of weapon Flores had.

After Flores resisted, the officers used nonlethal weapons in an attempt to detain him, but when “those efforts failed,” they shot him, according to the statement.

The video, taken by a bystander and obtained by KSAT-TV in San Antonio, appears to show Flores standing still with his arms raised just before two shots are heard. Flores drops to the ground.

The video doesn’t include audio of officers’ commands or Flores’ response, and the scene is partially obscured by police vehicles and passing cars.

Moments later, deputies drag and flip Flores onto his stomach. About a minute and a half later, an ambulance arrives.

The officers, who had both been with the sheriff’s office for more than 10 years, have been placed on standard paid administrative leave. The sheriff’s department is investigating and has said the officers were not wearing body cameras.

“Certainly what’s in the video is a cause for concern, but it’s important to let the investigation go through its course so that we can assure a thorough and complete review of all that occurred,” Sheriff Susan Pamerleau said at a news conference.

But her office later criticised the release of the video as “unethical” and “sensational.”

“These deputies have not been charged with a crime and a family lost their loved one,” the office wrote in a Facebook post on Monday.

The department didn’t respond to messages seeking further comment on the video.

A woman at the residence where the shooting took place declined a reporter’s questions on Monday, referring him to San Antonio lawyer Thomas J Henry, who did not immediately return phone calls seeking comment.

Original report here


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Tuesday, September 01, 2015



Irish nanny accused of killing girl, one, in Massachusetts is set to go free as new evidence of the child's medical problems CLEAR her of murder charges after TWO YEARS

Prosecutors have dropped a murder charge against an Irish nanny accused of killing a one-year-old girl after a state medical examiner reversed an earlier decision that the death was a homicide.

Aisling Brady McCarthy, 37, was charged with murder in the death of Rehma Sabir in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in 2013.

Her lawyers said she was innocent, challenging the medical examiner's findings that Rehma died of complications of blunt-force head injuries.

McCarthy has been in and out of courts since 2013, when the baby girl, Rehma Sabir, died in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Prosecutors said that Rehma had died after being violently shaken

But Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan announced on Monday that the murder charge was dropped because the medical examiner issued an amended ruling changing the manner of death from 'homicide' to 'undetermined'.

Ryan said the medical examiner found Rehma had prior medical issues and may have had some type of undiagnosed disorder.

McCarthy has been living in the U.S. illegally for 15 years. The former nanny remained in jail until May, when she was freed on a $15,000 cash bail by superior court judge Maureen Hogan, according to the Boston Globe.

At the time, Hogan said McCarthy would be deported if the criminal case against her ended. It is unknown when she will be deported.  

Rehma was hospitalized on January 14 - the day of her first birthday - and declared dead two days later.

Prosecutors said that McCarthy claimed Rehma was sleeping for hours before her family called 911 when they couldn't wake her up.

They reportedly later found a pillow, baby wipes and a dish towel stained with blood.

McCarthy's lawyers argued that she is innocent and that Rehma had been injured weeks before, when McCarthy was nowhere near her, and was also an ill child who had a bleeding disorder.

'Ms McCarthy was put in jail for two-and-a-half years over a crime that never occurred,' her lawyer, Melinda Thompson, told the Globe, according to the Irish Times. 'Not just a crime that she did not commit, but a crime that did not occur.'

On Monday the medical examiner's office released a statement explaining why Rehma's death could no longer be considered a homicide, Boston.com reported.

The statement read: 'In particular the overall state of Rehma's health and her past medical issues raise the possibility that she had some type of disorder that was not able to be completely diagnosed prior to her death.

'Given these uncertainties, I am no longer convinced that the subdural hemorrhage in this case could only have been caused by abusive/inflicted head trauma, and I can no longer rule the manner of death as a homicide.'

Since Rehma's death, her parents, Nada Siddiqui and Sameer Sabir set up a foundation in their daughter's name, The Rehma Fund for Children.

The organization aims to provide equal access to high-quality healthcare to children everywhere. In doing so, it supports and works with charitable causes that further their mission, including the Boston Children's Hospital, the Children's Cancer Foundatoin and the Vietnam Vascular Anomalies Center.

They have held fundraisers in countries across the world in hopes of spreading their goal and telling their daughter's story.

Original report here


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Monday, August 31, 2015



NZ: Young man who came across two men attempting to break into his car is ordered to pay the THIEVES $600 after knocking them out when he caught them

Decking a car thief is "disproportionate" in New Zealand, apparently

A man who caught a burglar breaking into his car and responded by punching him unconscious was ordered to pay compensation to the thief.

Ethan Annett, 21, got word that his work vehicle was being broken into at Christchurch's Dallas St at about 10.40pm on May 9.

He arrived to the scene with his co-offender, lashing out at the two men who were attempting to steal the vehicle, reports Herald NZ.

Mr Annett fronted Christchurch District Court on Thursday for sentencing after pleading guilty to an assault charge.

His lawyer Kerry Cook said that Mr Annett was remorseful, however the incident would not have happened if someone had not been breaking in to the vehicle, which was his 'only asset'.

Mr Anette was convicted on the assault charge and in turn ordered to pay $600 compensation to his victim.

A fundraising page titled 'Ethan Annett, a reward for bravery' has been launched with the following message:  'We wish to raise funds for Ethan Annett and his brave friend to help with the wages they have lost after being unjustly convicted for assault.'

Original report here


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Sunday, August 30, 2015


Australia: Officers having sex on station desks, female staff being groped and revolting slurs: Top cop concedes poor behaviour has 'spiked' amongst Gold Coast police

[Qld.] Police Commissioner Ian Stewart believes a review into the culture of the Gold Coast police stations will likely find poor-behaving officers.

Commissioner Stewart said there has been a spike in ‘poor behaviour’ among the officers in the coastal, south Queensland region but believes it’s more likely a few spoiling the reputation.

It comes after Gold Coast Bulletin alleged to have obtained a leaked copy of a survey detailing allegations of female staff being groped, discriminatory slurs graffitied in stations, and officers have sex on station desks and in police cars while on duty.

‘The actions of the few often tarnish the great work done by the many,’ Commissioner Stewart said in Brisbane.

One fifth of Gold Coast police surveyed said they did not believe their managers showed the type of behaviour expected of all employees, according to the Gold Coast Bulletin.

But Commissioner Stewart said this was distinct from a cultural review being undertaken by an independent consultant, with findings expected to be handed down in coming weeks.

‘I want the answers,’ he said.  ‘We need to understand have we actually got an inherent problem ... in the Gold Coast area.’

He said the review wouldn't have been instituted unless there were valid concerns about a ‘spike’ of incidents in the past year or so.

‘[But] I'm quite convinced that what could potentially be found is that the actions of a few are tarnishing the great work of most of the police that work on the Gold Coast,’ he said.

Nevertheless, Commissioner Stewart said he was confident community faith in the state's police force wouldn't be damaged by reports of cops behaving badly.

‘We're more transparent and accountable than probably any other organisation that I know of,’ he said.

He said police would determine if the review's eventual findings would be made public.

The commissioner was also asked to address recent controversy about allegations of excessive force used by officers on people in custody.

He said officers found to have genuinely mistreated subjects would be punished in the same way a regular member of the public would be.

Original report here


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Saturday, August 29, 2015



Australia: Gold Coast police brutality: Another alleged incident captured on CCTV

THERE has been an explosion of allegations of police brutality on the Gold Coast, with shocking footage emerging of a recent attack.

The Courier-Mail has obtained disturbing CCTV footage from inside the Surfers Paradise police station which shows a handcuffed Michael Cox, 29, being physically restrained and his head slammed into the tile floor.

The footage shows Mr Cox and watchhouse officer Peter Nummy talking on a bench inside the station. Both men appear relaxed. At no point does Mr Cox lunge at the officer, but moments later the footage shows Officer Nummy twist Mr Cox’s handcuffed wrist backward and slam his head into floor.

The Courier-Mail showed the footage to a former detective who questioned the officer’s use of force.

Police yesterday confirmed they were aware of the matter and that Officer Nummy had not been disciplined.

Mr Cox has lodged a claim against the Queensland Police Service for more than $100,000 for pain and suffering caused by Officer Nummy on May 4 last year.

Mr Cox was taken to the Surfers Paradise police station after he was victim to a random assault outside East Nightclub in Broadbeach.

Michael Cox is wrestled to the floor, slamming his head on a tile.
Court documents reveal Mr Cox told an officer: “I’m going mate, I just want to know that the other guy is going to get charged”, when he was asked to move on.

The male police officer then yelled: “You’re a (expletive) stupid (expletive) and I’m not your (expletive) mate” before arresting him for contravening a “move on” direction.

Mr Cox said the evening was a nightmare.  “I had to take six weeks off work because my wrist was broken,” Mr Cox said.  “If I walked down the road and broke someone’s wrist I’d be charged with assault, so why can the police get away with it?”

The revelations come as an internal review into the culture of Gold Coast police began this week, and the Crime and Corruption Commission decided no officer would be charged over another police bashing in the basement of the Surfers Paradise station.

However an accused police whistleblower faces prosecution for allegedly leaking video of the incident to The Courier-Mail.

Shine Lawyers general manager Kimberly Allen said the CCTV footage shows a handcuffed Mr Cox “did not resist his arrest or threaten or demonstrate aggression to the officers”.

The Courier-Mail can reveal solicitors across the Gold Coast have been inundated with inquiries from people who have suffered serious injuries allegedly at the hands of police.

One law firm is currently handling more than 50 excessive force claims.

Potts Lawyers director Bill Potts said his firm receives inquiries on a weekly basis from members of the public who have been “touched up” by police.

Original report here


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Friday, August 28, 2015



Australia: More on the Roseanne Catt case

A disgrace to the NSW police

The NSW woman unjustly imprisoned for 10 years has slammed the case against her as a “disgrace”, on the day she finally won $2.3 million in damages for wrongful prosecution.

Roseanne Beckett today was awarded the compensation after she spent a decade behind bars for a slew of charges, including soliciting the murder of her ex-husband, Barry Catt.

“It’s a disgrace that it has gone on as long as it has, and cost the taxpayer hundreds of millions of dollars,” Ms Beckett said after the payout was announced.

Justice Ian Harrison found the late detective Sergeant Peter Thomas, who led the charge against Ms Beckett, had perverted the course of justice and acted maliciously.  “[Mr Thomas] utilised the legal system in a war that did not secure justice, but perverted it,” he said.

It comes more than a decade after Ms Beckett was released from jail in 2001, having served the majority of her 12-year sentence.

Ms Beckett's conviction for her ex-husband’s murder and other offences were quashed in 2005.

All the heartache seems to have stemmed from one incident - a blaze at her Taree delicatessen on Christmas Day, 1983.

"Ms Beckett would appear at all times up until the fire ... to have been an ordinary citizen going about her business in an unremarkable way," Justice Harrison said.

"From 25 December that year, however, things changed dramatically and for the worse."  Det. Sgt Thomas investigated the fire and accused Ms Beckett of arson - a charge that was later dropped.

Meanwhile, Det. Sgt Thomas found himself facing a number of complaints from Ms Beckett, who claimed he made suggestive remarks to her and was inebriated at the time of the blaze.

"This was the cauldron out of which the later monumental events would develop," Justice Harrison said.

As the internal investigation into Det. Sgt Thomas continued, Ms Beckett married local panel beater Barry Catt in 1987 - who had a history of mental illness.

A year later the pair separated, with Ms Beckett taking an AVO out on him.

On August 24, 1989, at 7.30am, Ms Beckett was in her night attire when police came to her house, handcuffed her and began a search.

A pistol was found in the ensuite and the next day Ms Beckett was charged with several offences against Mr Catt, including two counts of solicit to murder.

Ms Beckett has always claimed the gun was planted.

Pointing at one of the solicit to murder charges, Justice Harrison found the "so-called evidence" against Ms Beckett was "woefully inadequate".

"It would surprise me to the point of astonishment if Detective Thomas had ever been presented with a more absurd complaint in the whole of his policing career," Justice Harrison said.

Other charges laid against her were clearly an "act of vengeance" on Det. Sgt Thomas's behalf, he found.

Original report here


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Thursday, August 27, 2015



Australia: Vindictive Qld. police

This is a disgrace to both the police and the State they serve.  It is an endorsement of police thuggery

A GOLD Coast cop who allegedly blew the whistle on the brutal bashing of a young chef in the Surfers Paradise police station basement has been hit with a serious criminal charge.

While the four officers who bashed 22-year-old Noa Begic while he was handcuffed largely escaped punishment, Sergeant Rick Flori, who is accused of leaking CCTV footage of the incident to The Courier-Mail, faces up to seven years behind bars.

Sgt Flori was formally charged with misconduct in public office after being summoned to police headquarters in Brisbane yesterday.

Mr Begic was assaulted in January 2012 after being arrested for public nuisance and obstructing police.

CCTV footage, obtained by The Courier-Mail, showed him being repeatedly punched and ground into the concrete floor with his hands cuffed behind his back.

The video also showed a senior-sergeant washing away the blood with a bucket of water.  He quit the service before any adverse findings were made by internal investigators, while the senior-constable who threw the punches was given a suspended dismissal and is back on the beat.

The other two officers involved were not disciplined.
Video of police bashing

The charges against Mr Begic were dropped and he won a confidential settlement from the Queensland Police Service.

Sgt Flori’s home was raided by Ethical Standards Command officers.

Queensland Police Union lawyer Calvin Gnech said the 25-year veteran officer had been charged with one count of misconduct in public office, which carries a maximum penalty of seven years’ jail.

Emerging from police headquarters, Sgt Flori said he had been inundated with support and was “very grateful” but could not comment further.

He is believed to have been stood down with pay and is due to face Southport Magistrates Court on July 15.

Supporter Renee Eaves, who accompanied Sgt Flori yesterday, said he had been to “hell and back” and could “absolutely” lose his job.  “It’s been an awful burden on him and his family,” she said. “People are really quite outraged.’’

Ms Eaves said Mr Begic was “still not in a good way”.

After his charges were dropped in June 2012, Mr Begic said it would be “a disgrace” if the officer who leaked the video was punished.

Original report here


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Wednesday, August 26, 2015



Federal Prosecutors Fight Back After Judge Orders Motorist Be Returned $167K Seized

Federal prosecutors have filed an appeal in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals after a federal judge ordered the government return $167,000 it seized from Straughn Gorman in 2013.

After a federal judge ordered the government return $167,000 law enforcement seized from a motorist driving through Nevada, federal prosecutors are fighting the decision.

The U.S. attorney’s office in Reno, Nev., filed documents with the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco, Calif., earlier this month calling on the court to revisit a decision requiring the government to return cash it seized from Straughn Gorman several years ago.

Gorman was never charged with a crime.

“The prosecutors simply have the financial calculus [to appeal]—either pay a six-figure attorney’s fees to Mr. Gorman or potentially win a six-figure return if they win in the ruling and prevail,” Jason Snead, a policy analyst at The Heritage Foundation, told The Daily Signal.

In January 2013, police stopped Gorman twice outside of Elko, Nev., during a trip he was making from Delaware to Sacramento, Calif.

Gorman was driving across the country with a motorhome to see his girlfriend, and a Nevada Highway Patrol trooper first stopped the man as he headed west on Interstate 80 for driving too slowly in the passing lane. According to court documents, Gorman didn’t consent to a search of his vehicle, but the trooper sent him on his way without issuing any citations.

Less than 50 minutes later, though, an officer with the Elko County Sheriff’s Office stopped Gorman again.

On the second stop, the officer had a drug-sniffing dog with him, and law enforcement conducted a search of the motorhome, where he found $167,000 in cash stored throughout the vehicle.

The officer seized the cash, Gorman’s computer, cell phone, and vehicle under civil asset forfeiture laws. However, police found no drugs in the motorhome and never charged Gorman with a crime.

According to documents filed with the U.S. District Court for the District of Nevada, the Nevada Highway Patrol trooper had arranged for Gorman to be pulled over once more by the Elko County Sheriff’s Office deputy.

Gorman filed a claim in federal court to get his money back, and in June, Larry Hicks, a U.S. district judge for the District of Nevada, ordered the government to return Gorman’s money. In his ruling, Hicks criticized the government for failing to disclose information related to Gorman’s second traffic stop, specifically that the first officer with Nevada Highway Patrol had instructed the Elk County Sheriff’s deputy to pull Gorman over again.

“In particular, the government has a duty of candor and fair disclosure to the court,” he said. “The court expects and relies upon the United States attorney’s office to be candid and forthcoming with material information uniquely held only in possession of the government and clearly relevant to central issues before the court. That did not occur here.”

Snead pointed to Hick’s criticism of the federal government as a reason why the U.S. attorney’s office is working to have his ruling overturned.

“There’s the incentive to win the case to save face, especially potentially since the judge called them out on their conduct in this case,” he said. “At the very least, they have the financial desire to win at this point.”

Hicks also encouraged Gorman to request the government cover his legal fees, which amount to $153,000. Under the Civil Asset Forfeiture Reform Act of 2000, the government is liable for lawyer fees and other expenses in cases where a claimant, such as Gorman, prevails.

However, the U.S. attorney’s office asked the court not to require the government pay Gorman’s lawyer’s fees.

The Nevada District Court won’t decide whether Gorman is entitled to lawyer’s fees until the 9th Circuit has issued its ruling.

Under civil asset forfeiture, law enforcement can seize cash and property if it’s suspected of being connected to a crime. The original intent of the legal practice was to curb money laundering and drug trafficking. However, innocent Americans have been caught up in the system, having money and property seized by law enforcement without ever being charged with a crime.

Property owners can fight to get their money back, but the government will often try to settle with the owner, avoiding what could be a long and costly process in court.

Over the last few years, local, state and federal law enforcement agencies have been criticized for abusing civil asset forfeiture laws, as policy experts say the tool creates perverse incentives.

Original report here



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Tuesday, August 25, 2015




Australia:  Roseann Catt wins at last

A notorious case.  The evidence against her was always specious.  She was the victim of a crooked cop

A woman has been awarded a $2.3 million payout after she was wrongly imprisoned for a decade for the attempted murder of her husband.

Roseanne Beckett, formerly Roseanne Catt, has successfully sued the state of NSW after serving the majority of a 12-year sentence.

Justice Ian Harrison awarded the $2.3 million payout, plus legal costs, for malicious prosecution in the Supreme Court on Monday morning, 26 years to the day after her arrest, according to Nine News.

‘Victory, at long last victory,’ Ms Beckett told Nine, who was in tears on Monday morning following the judgement.

She was released in 2001 after new evidence came to light, and her conviction for soliciting the murder of her ex-husband, Barry Catt, was eventually quashed in 2005 by the Court of Criminal Appeal following a judicial inquiry into allegations she was framed.

The convictions against Ms Beckett, now dropped, claimed that she had spiked drinks in her husband's office fridge with the drugs Lithium and Rivotril, according to journalist Wendy Bacon, who closely reported on the injustice throughout the decades.

Ms Beckett and the defence has maintained since her arrest on August 24, 1989, that she had been framed and the victim of a conspiracy between her husband, his friend Adrian Newell, a key witness in her conviction, and Newcastle Detective Peter Thomas.

Ahead of the case in 1989, Mr Catt had been facing charges of assaulting Ms Beckett and had a restraining order to keep clear of the family home in Taree, regional NSW. He was also acquitted for charges of sexually assaulting their children.

Ms Bacon reported allegations that Ms Beckett's arrest had been part of a successful campaign to get Mr Catt acquitted for the charges.

The Taree woman won the right to appeal for compensation on May 8 in 2013 in the High Court in Canberra, Australia's highest court.

Original report here


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Monday, August 24, 2015


British gym coach says he has 'been through 18 months of hell' after being cleared of child cruelty charges

The coach who led a gymnastics troupe to victory on Britain’s Got Talent act has said he has suffered through ’18 months of hell’ after being cleared of child cruelty charges.

Neil Griffiths, 42, was accused of child cruelty by the parents of three children he coached, but the charges were dropped last week before the case went to trial.

The national gymnastics coach, from Ashford, Surrey, is regarded as one of the country’s best – and coached Spelbound to win the fourth series of Britain’s Got Talent in front of more than 15million people in 2010.

The troupe then went on to perform at the closing ceremony of the London Olympics two years later.

Mr Griffiths had always maintained his innocence after being questioned on suspicion of mistreating children as young as nine by police in July.

Now, after being cleared, he says his reputation has been tarnished and he has lost his livelihood – but is now looking for a chance to return to the job he loves.

‘I have been through hell for the last 18 months,’ he told the Telegraph.  ‘I’m grateful for all the support I’ve received, but devastated that the good name I have built up over 15 years in the sport, training British, European and world champions, has been tarnished and called into question.’

He added: ‘This matter should never have dragged on as long as it did or been allowed to go on as far as it did.’

Friends said the charges were ‘baseless’ and he attracted support from his former pupils and their parents, who launched a campaign on Facebook to help clear his name.

As well as training Spelbound, Griffiths had been head coach at Heathrow Gymnastics Club, in west London. The club’s senior acrobatics squad, which includes children, trains up to four hours a day, five days a week.

But he was suspended by British Gymnastics after the allegations first emerged – and following police questioning, he was charged with five counts of child cruelty dating back to nearly a decade ago.

A trial date was set for February 2016, but following a senior crown prosecution lawyer’s review of the evidence, the decision was made to drop the charges.  The lawyer decided there was no realistic possibility of a conviction and wrote to Mr Griffiths's lawyer John Hartley to inform him of the decision this week.

Mr Hartley told MailOnline tonight: ‘It has been a very difficult and stressful time for Neil and his family. We hope that British gymnastics will respect the decision and allow him to return to the sport he has devoted himself to for many years.  ‘He was suspended pending the outcome of this matter and is of course keen to get back to his many supportive students and to earn a living.

‘I am very pleased that the CPS finally reviewed the matter and decided there was insufficient evidence to proceed. We had advised the CPS and the court that we would be making submissions to that effect in due course.  ‘I have represented Neil from the outset and he had maintained his position from the beginning that these allegations were untrue.’

Original report here


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Sunday, August 23, 2015



'Buy these or I take your car': Secret video shows officer pressuring driver during traffic stop to support police fundraiser

Blatant corruption but his bosses seem relaxed about it

A patrolman in Philadelphia has been seen in a video pressuring a driver to support a police fundraiser or have his car towed has been placed on desk duty, police said.

Officer Matthew Zagursky embarrassed the police department and may have committed a crime, Commissioner Charles Ramsey said.

On the video, the officer asks: 'You and your friend got any money to buy these thrill show tickets? Either you buy these or I take your car. 'Cause it's unregistered. Ten bucks each, man.'

The uniformed officer balks at the driver's plan to buy just two tickets, and the driver ultimately agrees to give the officer $30 for three tickets.

The officer also is heard making a homophobic remark while discussing pink windshield wipers on the unregistered car. The driver says they honor a grandmother who had breast cancer.

Ramsey said he learned of the video on Friday morning and plans to refer it to local prosecutors.

'That's totally inappropriate, and it could very well be illegal,' Ramsey said. 'He tainted a cause that I think is certainly one that I think we should all be proud of.'

Zagursky couldn't be reached for comment because he doesn't have a listed phone number. The police union said it couldn't comment because its president was on vacation.

The fall fundraiser collects money for the families of police officers and firefighters killed on duty. Ramsey said the police department distributes tickets at district offices but does not pressure officers to sell a certain number.

The video appears to have been taken from within the car.

Ramsey said he does not know when the traffic stop occurred, but he said the tickets displayed by the officer have been available for only about a month.

Police learned of the video after it was posted on Facebook.  They hope to learn the names of the driver and a male passenger.

The Philadelphia Inquirer first reported Friday on an Internal Affairs investigation into the video.

Original report here


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Saturday, August 22, 2015



Wrongfully convicted Conn. man sues DA, Springfield cops

A Connecticut man who spent 27 years behind bars for a murder he didn’t commit is suing police in Springfield and Hartford, as well as the Hampden District Attorney’s Office, arguing his wrongful conviction left him missing “weddings, funerals, births, graduations and birthdays.”

Mark Schand was 21 and a father of three in 1986 when he was convicted of the homicide of 25-year-old Victoria Seymour outside the After Five Lounge in Springfield, and 48 and a grandfather when his name was finally cleared in 2013.

“Honestly, I think I survived it because I was numb and had such tunnel vision trying to get out of prison, writing lawyers and law students and innocence projects until someone would listen. I think that’s what kept me sane,” Schand, now 50, told the Herald.

Schand’s wife, Mia, and the couple’s three adult sons, Mark Jr., Quinton and Kiele, are also named plaintiffs in the civil action filed yesterday in U.S. District Court in Boston. The case has already been assigned to Judge Michael A. Ponsor and summons issued to the defendants. The Schands seek monetary damages to be determined by a jury.

“I’m sure they’re going to fight me tooth and nail,” Schand said. “I’m just trying to be compensated for the time I lost.”

Seymour was an innocent bystander outside the bar the night of Sept. 2, 1986, when, the lawsuit states, gunfire erupted during a drug deal and she was shot in the back.

A half-dozen witnesses claimed Schand was with his wife at the beauty salon where she worked at the time of the killing.

The 68-page lawsuit argues, among other things, that witnesses were coerced to pick Schand out of a photo array in exchange for having criminal charges dropped against them and that witness statements pointing to suspects other than Schand were withheld from the defense.

Hartford police declined to comment, and Springfield police and the Hampden DA’s office did not respond to requests for comment.

Original report here


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Friday, August 21, 2015



Wheelchair-bound grandad, 88, who was jailed for having an antique gun is freed after his barrister admits bungling the case

An 88-year-old great-grandfather who was jailed for having an antique shotgun in his car has been freed after a legal mix-up.

Wheelchair-bound Roy Delph had approached police to tell them about a group of yobs he suspected had trashed his allotment shed and killed his kitten.

But he found himself under arrest after officers spotted the shotgun on the passenger seat of his car.

The frail pensioner was then jailed at the end of last month after admitting carrying a loaded weapon in public - despite the court hearing he had an unblemished record, had been tormented by local youths and only kept the licensed weapon to shoot vermin on his land.

But Mr Delph wept as he was released on Tuesday, after his barrister realised he had wrongly classified the weapon as requiring a mandatory jail term - and had argued Mr Delph’s case on that basis.

Judge Nicholas Coleman re-sentenced the former wartime ‘Bevin Boy’ to a two-year prison term, suspended for 18-months with a 12-month supervision order at Norwich Crown Court.

By then, Mr Delph had spent 17 nights at the Victorian Norwich Prison - once home to Reggie Kray and great train robber Ronnie Biggs - before he was finally reunited with housebound wife Jackie, 73, his wife of more than 40 years.

Sipping a cup of tea at the couple’s home in Downham Market, Norfolk, Mr Delph, who is severely deaf and suffers from heart problems and arthritis, said he did not realise he was being jailed until the dock officers stood up to lead him to the cells.

The grandfather-of-five and great-grandfather-of-two added: ‘I was in complete shock - I never had a chance in that court room.

‘I was never allowed to speak and give my side of the story about the trouble we’d been having.  ‘And I do feel I’d done nothing wrong - a mountain was made from a molehill as far as I’m concerned.

‘I wasn’t prepared for going to prison - I didn’t pack anything or even take my watch.’ Asked what had got him through the ordeal, he pointed to his wife of 48 years and added: ‘It’s this lady here and the kind people out there who helped get me out,” said Mr Delph, who has heart problems, a hernia and severe arthritis.

‘The people who read or heard about my story in the media and what had happened to me.’ Mrs Delph said the couple were still waiting for a proper explanation over how the gun had been misclassified by barrister Lawrence Bruce, but said the bungle concerned the length of the gun barrel.

She added: ‘Roy should never have been jailed either way though. You only have to look at him to see that - he’s too frail and has never been in any sort of trouble before.’ She said Mr Delph had owned the 124-year-old gun since before they met, having repaired it for a man he then bought it off.

Cambridge-based Mr Bruce said he had mistakenly thought that the OAP’s gun had put the case in the category of the mandatory five-year minimum prison sentence imposed by Parliament.

He told the court on Tuesday: ‘I take primary responsibility for that error - an error to which I fell at a relatively early stage in proceedings.’ Mr Bruce said he took responsibility for getting it wrong but said the prosecution had not challenged his interpretation.

The original sentence was cut by Judge Coleman to two years in light of mitigation.

Addressing the barrister’s astonishing error, Judge Coleman told Mr Delph on Tuesday: ‘It had this unfortunate outcome for you Mr Delph that I had to approach the sentencing on the basis put forward by the prosecution and defence.’ The judge added: ‘It’s now been accepted that the minimum term does not apply.

‘Free from that it seems only right and proper that I should deal with this matter in a much more lenient way.’ The judge said that as Mr Delph’s weapon had been confiscated, and the ‘danger removed’, he could suspend the sentence.

Country lover Mr Delph worked for Great Ouse River Authority for 30 years after being conscripted to the coal mines during the Second World War as a teenage ‘Bevin Boy’.

Last night, Paula Ogungboro, of Mothers Against Guns, said she had no argument with the pensioner being jailed for carrying the weapon, adding: ‘Whether he’s an old man or a young man is irrelevant.

‘That gun was not safety stored and he had no reason to have it in his car - anybody could have got their hands on it.’

Original report here


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Thursday, August 20, 2015



West Australia: Corruption and Crime Commission reveals assault by cops against woman at East Perth Watch House

No action planned against the cops concerned.  Determined and forceful refusal to co-operate with lawful police requests does risk the cops losing it

A WOMAN was repeatedly struck by police — with one officer using “hammer blows” – and had her finger broken in a shocking strip search incident condemned by the state’s corruption and crime watchdog.

The Corruption and Crime Commission’s damning report into the incident at the East Perth Watch House on April 7, 2013 found there were “serious misconduct, misconduct or reviewable police action in relation to five officers”.

The report was tabled in Parliament on Thursday morning, and CCTV vision showing part of the incident was also released.

In the early hours of that day, Joanne Martin, then 33, was arrested for disorderly conduct in Northbridge and taken to the East Perth Watch House.

The CCC found there was “nothing to indicate Ms Martin was a threat to any person” and that no person should be subjected to the kind of treatment meted out to her.

The watchdog noted in its report that soon after her arrival, Ms Martin found herself naked, lying face down on a floor, with a number of female watch house officers seeking to forcibly restrain her.

“One (was) applying hammer blows with a fist to the shoulder blade area, a second also striking here, and another using such force to try and remove a ring that it caused a serious fracture of a finger,” the report states.

“A little later, Ms Martin was escorted handcuffed and with leg restraints, naked apart from a blanket, past male officers.

“It is of considerable concern that a person could in Perth in 2013 undergo what befell Joanne Martin at the watch house on the morning of 7 April 2013.”

The CCC condemned the “unacceptable” treatment.  “It is clear from the … analysis of the events of 7 April 2013 that poor training and supervision, failures to adhere to the statutory and regulatory framework, and inconsistencies between the legislative protections for those in police custody and internal police rules were prime causes of those events,” it reports.

The report states this incident was occurring in the context of apparently similar conduct — tacitly or otherwise — approved by WA Police.

“That this is the case is the result of institutionalised failure by WA Police and the failure of its chains of command to ensure that the law, various regulations, policies and procedures are correctly applied, and its officers and their supervisors are accordingly held to account,” the report states.
The East Perth Watch House where a woman was subjected to a shocking strip search and had her finger broken.

While noting that some steps had been taken to improve procedures since the move to the Perth Watch House in Northbridge, the CCC is calling for urgent action on training and supervision of officers in the wake of its investigation into this matter.

The CCC supported police’s plans to install a body scanner at the Perth Watch House to replace strip searches, but it remains “dissatisfied” with other measures taken to address the misconduct.

Improved training, supervision, record keeping and a mandatory regime to protect detainees who are strip-searched are among six recommendations in the report.

In a response to the CCC in January, WA Police Superintendent of the Ethical Standards Division, John Leembruggen, said no criminal or managerial would be taken against the officers involved. However, a sergeant did receive “verbal guidance” for failing to accommodate Ms Martin’s request to lodge a complaint.

“Martin’s extraordinary physical strength posed a risk to the individual officers who were merely trying to lawfully remove her clothing and personal property and it is regrettable that during this process she received an injury to her ring finger,” he said.

“Ms Martin’s strength and grim determination not to allow the officers to carry out their lawful duty is illustrated by the necessity for seven other women to restrain her.

“WA Police hold the view it was Ms Martin’s unswerving and sustained opposition that set the standard, not something precipitated by uncontrolled aggression by any officer.”

In a subsequent letter to the CCC in July, Acting Assistant Commissioner of Judicial Services Lawrence Panaia said police supported the watchdog’s recommendations.

“Our staff work in a volatile environment with many intoxicated and violent detainees and experience has shown detainees frequently try to do harm to themselves or others,” he said.

“In particular, officers need to tread the fine line between not searching thoroughly (leading to self-harm and assaults) and searching too thoroughly, leading to unnecessary conflict with detainees ... where procedures are lacking or mistakes have been made, we will make improvements.”

Mr O’Callaghan said situations escalated in occasion in watch houses but the officers didn’t deviate from their training. “They have to make a decision about how they restrain the prisoner in those circumstances,” he told 6PR.

He also said the concern was for the safety of the detainee, who wasn’t a small woman. “We don’t agree that there was no reason to strip search that woman,” he said.

WA Police Union President George Tilbury said he fully supports the Commissioner in his reaction to the CCC report.  “Police watch houses are dynamic and volatile environments, and the WAPU will always support our members taking the necessary precautions, to ensure their safety as well as that of persons in custody,” he said.

“We will continue to work with WA Police and our Perth Watch House branch to ensure the safety of our members is paramount. “WAPU is disappointed it took so long for the CCC to form its opinions relating to our Members’ actions. Under its old administration, the CCC identified this incident and directed WA Police not to investigate.

“We believe the Professional Standards Portfolio is best placed to investigate allegations of police misconduct. If they were allowed to investigate, any perceived issues would have been resolved much sooner.”

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