Sunday, May 24, 2015

Obama's 'Ban' on Military Supplies for Police

On Monday, Barack Obama announced a ban on some of the surplus military style gear that has been transferred to police departments over the last several years. The announcement is surprising, given Obama's track record of being on the wrong side of almost every policy. As with all of his policy decisions, though, this move is entirely for political reasons.

We have previously expressed concern about the militarization of police forces across our nation. Is it really necessary for local police forces to use military gear and vehicles in their duties to serve and protect? Perhaps one might point to violence and rioting in Ferguson and Baltimore as a reason for this military equipment, but it's also arguable that — at least in Ferguson — it only made things worse.

None of this is to say there aren't legitimate concerns for officers who seek protection from violent criminals. "We need to only look back to Baltimore to see what happens when officers are sent out ill-equipped in a disturbance situation," said James Pasco, executive director of the Fraternal Order of Police, in response to Obama's order. "Because you don't like the optics, you can't send police officers out to be hurt or killed."

Indeed, our society has devolved in dangerous ways and law enforcement officers are on the front lines. That said, this escalation and war-like view of civilian law enforcement is troubling for those who love Liberty.

Police departments have been able to arm themselves in recent years through the Defense Department's 1033 Program for excess property. Since its inception in 1997, more than $4.3 billion worth of equipment has been transferred to local police departments with at least half a billion dollars' worth transferred in 2013 alone.

We can't blame police departments for accepting surplus military gear. Think about it; in an era of budget constraints amongst police forces across the nation, who wouldn't accept such a sweet deal? On another note, at least some of the military gear was staying in our own country instead of being sold or given to our past, future or even present enemies. Oh, wait, that's still happening.

The Washington Post highlights that "banned items are tracked armored vehicles, bayonets, grenade launchers, ammunition of .50-caliber or higher and some types of camouflage uniforms. ... Other equipment, including tactical vehicles [such as MRAPs], explosives and riot equipment, will be transferred only if local police provide additional certification and assurances that the gear will be used responsibly."

Two points: First, other than bayonets, everything on this list was already banned. Second, as Reason's Scott Shackford notes, however, the layer of certification is merely "another layer of bureaucracy." And with a federal bribe to the tune of $163 million to get law enforcement agencies on board, who will be first in line?

Speaking before a crowd in Camden, New Jersey, Obama stated, "We've seen how militarized gear sometimes gives people a feeling like they are an occupying force as opposed to a part of the community there to protect them. ... Some equipment made for the battlefield is not appropriate for local police departments."

In the wake of protests against police across the nation, Obama's remarks reveal his political motivation. He's saying, "I'm with you, the people of these cities who are the victims of out of control cops, and I'm going to do something about it."

But, per his standard divisive tactics, he's pitting the police against the people. That only exacerbates the problem. Is it really out of control cops with military gear that cause lawlessness, or is it failed government policies that stifle economic opportunities and prevent people from leaving poverty plantations and drug zones?

Again, we aren't disputing Obama's executive action to demilitarize police forces, as it may open the door for further action to be taken through Congress. But it's his intentions behind doing it now that cause concern. Recently, several on the far Left, most notably Al Sharpton, have called for federalizing police forces, an unconstitutional idea that Obama had floated on the campaign trail in 2008. Let's hope his effort to supply or not supply local police isn't a step toward that goal.

Original report here

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Saturday, May 23, 2015

Policeman who knocked out student protester’s tooth with riot shield then bragged to colleagues 'I just f***ing hit him' is jailed for eight months

A police officer who knocked a student's tooth out with his riot shield during the 2010 student protests has been jailed for eight months.

PC Andrew Ott, 36, was taped threatening to 'batter' protesters at the demonstration in central London and telling a colleague he had 'just had enough of these c****'.

And when Royal Holloway student William Horner, then aged 20, tried to leave the 'kettled' area on Parliament Square, the officer struck him with his riot shield, knocking his front tooth out.

The assault happened after Ott, of Rochester, Kent, chased Mr Horner as he tried to scale a fence near the Houses of Parliament.

The violent protests saw riot police pelted with missiles, including rocks and concrete blocks, and statues in Parliament Square were daubed with graffiti.

Audio recordings taken from a device worn by Ott captured the student as he accused the police officer of breaking his tooth, to which Ott responded, 'not me mate, you slipped on a metal fence'.

Video footage taken by a police photographer that night shows Mr Horner pointing towards his missing tooth and asking the camera man to 'get the number' of the officer detaining him.

Jurors heard that Ott was also taped threatening violence towards the crowds that had gathered and talking about 'getting' the protesters.

Speaking later to another officer about Mr Horner, Ott said: 'I've had enough of these c****. I just f****** hit him', the court heard.

Judge Jeffrey Pegden said he had 'absolutely no doubt' that policing the protests was 'frightening, stressful and exhausting'.

But that Mr Horner, who was not in court for the sentencing, 'simply wanted to go home' and had not committed an offence when he was attacked. No further action was taken against Mr Horner.

The judge told Ott he had carried out 'gratuitous and unnecessary violence' and abused his power as a police officer. He said: 'This offence was committed in a sterile area, in relative darkness, when you had the victim cornered and no violence was necessary at all.

'An extremely serious aggravating factor is your abuse of power as a police officer. You hit him with a full force blow to his face with your shield. 'That was wholly gratuitous, unnecessary violence, and I have considered the stress on William Horner over the last few years.'

In mitigation, Kevin Baumber said his client had been diagnosed with depression and suffered from severe stress. 'Your honour may feel think on that day he was pushed into losing his normally sound judgment in what was a long, tiring and terrifying day,' Mr Baumber said. 'It was a day that was traumatic. It was a trauma that still lives with him.'

Ott, who has served in the police since 2003, faced the 'double jeopardy' of criminal proceedings and disciplinary action and was in danger of losing a career 'that is dear to him', he added.

Ott sobbed in the dock as he was sentenced to eight months in jail today after being found guilty yesterday of one count of assault occasioning actual bodily harm. He was cleared of perverting the course of justice.

Ott's colleagues, Pc Calvin Lindsay and Pc Thomas Barnes, were both cleared yesterday of perverting the course of justice.

An investigation by the Independent Police Complaints Commission found all three officers have a case to answer for gross misconduct and they will face disciplinary hearings by the Metropolitan Police Service.

Deputy Assistant Commissioner Fiona Taylor, of the Met Police's directorate of professionalism, said: 'We are naturally disappointed that an MPS officer has been convicted of an assault.

'His behaviour clearly fell well below the high standards we expect of our officers, even in challenging circumstances such as the violent disorder in which this incident occurred, and it is right that he was held to account in the criminal courts.

'His case and that of the other two officers involved will now be subject to the misconduct process. Until this is completed it would be inappropriate for us to comment further.'

Original report here

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Friday, May 22, 2015

Young woman falls to her knees sobbing after retrial jury clears her of murdering friend's violent boyfriend

A young woman has been cleared of murdering her friend's violent boyfriend after the jury heard she had acted in self defence following a retrial ordered by the Court of Appeal

Stacey Hyde, now aged 23, from Wells in Somerset, fell to her knees sobbing as she was cleared of the 2010 killing of Vincent Francis when she was just 17.

Miss Hyde was originally convicted at Bristol Crown Court in 2010 of killing the 34-year-old at the flat he shared with her friend, Holly Banwell.

Miss Hyde had denied murder and said she was in fear for her life but the original jury disagreed and she was sentenced to a minimum of nine years in prison by Mr Justice Field.

However in November last year the court of appeal overturned her murder conviction after hearing about the state of her mental health at the time of the incident and Lord Justice Laws ordered a four-week retrial at Winchester Crown Court.

Miss Hyde sobbed and wiped away tears today as the judge, Mr Justice Teare, discharged her and told her she was free to leave the court.

The original trial heard that Miss Hyde, a waitress, armed herself with a 10-inch knife and stabbed Mr Francis several times.

The Bristol court was told that after stabbing Mr Francis, Miss Hyde told Ms Banwell: 'I did it for you because I don't like the way he treats you.'

Mr Justice Fields said that in sentencing Miss Hyde he had taken into consideration that the violence had been initiated by Mr Francis.

The trial heard that Miss Hyde, who had been drinking heavily, had gone back to Ms Banwell's flat in Wells on September 4, 2009, after a night out.

Ms Banwell called 999 after Mr Francis attacked her and then Miss Hyde.

The court heard Miss Hyde and Mr Francis exchanged blows before she picked up a carving knife and stabbed him in the back and chest.

The jury was played the 999 call made by Ms Banwell in which she asked for help to stop Mr Francis from attacking Miss Hyde.

She says in the call: 'My boyfriend is smashing, beating up my friend, she's a girl and I need the police, I need the police ASAP.'

She continued: 'There was a huge row and he hits me, and he started on, basically he hit me and he hit me so she hit him and now he has started on her and now they are hitting each other. I need the police.'

Ms Banwell then goes on to say: 'Don't f****** punch me, I'm on the phone to the police, don't punch me, do you know what I mean, I've just got a smack in. No Stacey, put that down.'

With screaming heard in the background, she continues: 'She has got a knife, she's got a knife, she's got a knife. 'She's stabbed him. Oh my God she has stabbed him.'

The retrial heard from several expert witnesses about the state of Miss Hyde's mental health, with the defence and prosecution disagreeing over the extent she may have suffered from a personality disorder and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) - which can lead to a failure of impulse control.

The Winchester court was also told that Miss Hyde had difficulty coping with stressful situations and in 2009 had been sent for urgent assessment for problematic use of alcohol, depression, self-harm and suicidal tendencies.

In a statement released after she was cleared, Miss Hyde said: 'I would like to say thank you to Justice for Women, my legal team, friends and family for believing in me and giving me hope and strength to never give up. 'I will be forever grateful and blessed to have been given my life back.'

Her mother Diane Hyde said: 'It's the happiest day of my life. We're ecstatic, very happy, can't believe this has happened.

'We are very sad that someone died but we are very grateful for this verdict. We are very proud of Stacey who has shown great courage and dignity throughout this nightmare.

'It's been five years of knowing the verdict was wrong in the first place, my daughter wouldn't knowingly hurt anyone and none of us know what we would do if we are in fear.'

A spokeswoman for Justice for Women criticised the prosecution for the 'unnecessary and costly murder retrial of a damaged and vulnerable young woman'.

She said: 'Justice for Women have supported Stacey since 2011 throughout a series of appeals. 'We are delighted that justice has finally been done and that Stacey will now be able to receive the support she needs instead of being unjustly punished for her own vulnerability and fear.'

The spokeswoman said that the retrial had been unnecessary because Miss Hyde had been willing to plead guilty to a charge of manslaughter on the grounds that she was acting out of self-defence. She added that prosecution psychiatric witnesses had agreed that Miss Hyde had been suffering from a 'number of mental disorders'.

The spokeswoman continued: 'A 999 call made at the time of the killing revealed that Stacey was screaming in terror throughout the incident and that her former friend Holly Banwell, despite her evidence to the contrary, was under attack by Francis at the time of the stabbing.

'Evidence emerged of a history of violence towards women by Francis, including a former girlfriend who gave similar evidence.'

Original report here

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Thursday, May 21, 2015

Innocent man whose marriage fell apart in the 11 years he was suspected of murdering 74-year-old woman celebrates conviction of the REAL killer by remarrying his ex-wife

An innocent man whose marriage fell apart in the 11 years he was suspected of murdering a 74-year-old woman has celebrated the conviction of the real killer by remarrying his ex-wife.

Phil and Jill Williams, from Camelford, Cornwall, divorced in 2008, five years after Mr Williams was arrested on suspicion of strangling pensioner Joan Roddam.

Although Mr Williams, 54, was never charged with the crime, which occurred in November 2003, he remained a suspect for 11 years.

He has now been cleared of any wrongdoing after neighbour Patrick Curran was convicted of the 74-year-old's murder and jailed for life.

Truro Crown Court heard how Curran, 38, strangled Mrs Roddam after she spurned his sexual advances. He was arrested at the time but it took a decade until he was convicted following a DNA breakthrough.

During that period, Mr Williams remained under suspicion from Devon and Cornwall Police because he was the one who discovered Mrs Roddam's body.

The delivery driver was arrested shortly after raising the alarm when he found Mrs Roddam's isolated bungalow empty in November 2003.

She had been strangled and hidden partially undressed underneath a wheelbarrow in the field behind her Cornish house, police later discovered.

Mr Williams was questioned for three days and bailed until April 2004, but days before he was due to reappear, police told him he was no longer needed. He spent the following 11 years waiting anxiously because he was never officially cleared as a suspect.

Due to the stress of the arrest, his 50-year-old wife was diagnosed with chronic fatigue and the couple got divorced in 2008.

She said: 'Things were going downhill. I stopped working even though I loved my job. Both of us were depressed, I just didn't want to live here anymore.'

However, following the conviction of Curran, the couple have now got back together and remarried on the anniversary of their divorce on May 10.

They were joined by their family, including their four children, and two close friends when they exchanged their vows for the second time at St Nectans Glen, near Tintagel, Cornwall.

Mr Williams said after the ceremony that he had finally got his life back and felt getting remarried to Jill was the perfect way to put what happened in the past behind them. He said: 'It feels a bit strange getting married to Jill again, and I hope this time she will behave herself. 'She's a wonderful woman and it's great to be back to normal again.'

He described the last decade as 'like a bad dream'. 'It was frightening. I thought I was going to have a heart attack,' he said. 'At the time, the police interviewed all my customers and friends, and although trade didn't drop off I had everyone asking me about what was happening.'

Mrs Williams said it was now time for the couple to move on from the incident but insisted she always knew her husband was innocent. She said: 'I never thought in a million years that Phil was involved.

'I was 100 per cent sure he had nothing to do with it, and I always said to all our customers that when we were free of all this, I'd fly the Union Jack from the bedroom window, which was exactly what I did.

'I think in time, Phil will get over it, but what happened will always be with us, we'll never be able to erase something like that from our memories, but we are beginning to look forward to better things now.'

During sentencing for Curran, Judge Graham Cottle described the decision to arrest Mr Williams as 'incomprehensible'.

The case's conclusion brought to an end more than a decade of turmoil for Mr Williams, who was originally arrested after police became suspicious of his nervous demeanour and saw that he had cuts on his arms.

He had arrived at Mrs Roddam's house on the evening of her murder to drop off her groceries and a lottery ticket, which he picked up for her every two weeks.

When there was no answer, he had tried to open the door - which was unlocked - and found no one inside.

Worried for her safety, he flagged down a St John Ambulance, which was passing by on the way to a fireworks display, and telephoned others, including his wife, to help him.

Police found the pensioner's body three hours later in a field behind her home and she was covered with a blanket from the conservatory that she used as a bed for her cat.

The following day, Mr Williams found police waiting for him when he arrived home from a Remembrance Sunday service.

He said: 'Joan was not just a customer, she was a friend. I would never harm anyone.'

Earlier this year, Truro Crown Court heard that Mrs Roddam’s killer Curran, who was 27 at the time of the murder, had images saved on his computer depicting elderly women having sex with young men and had visited 151 'granny porn' websites.

The court heard that he burned some of his clothes and a computer hard drive on the day he killed his elderly neighbour.

A bloodstain on the blanket used to cover her up revealed DNA which was 'one billion times' more likely to belong to Curran than another man.

A post mortem showed Mrs Roddam, who lived alone at the remote bungalow, had been strangled and suffered numerous other injuries to her head and body.

Original report here

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Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Police hit with record £160,000 fine for losing DVDs of a victim's 'graphic and disturbing' account of being sexually abused as a child

A police force has been fined a record £160,000 for losing footage of an interview with a sex abuse victim.

South Wales Police was hit with the penalty after unencrypted DVDs containing video of the woman's 'graphic and disturbing' account went missing from a desk drawer.

The recorded interview took place in August 2011 and the loss was discovered by staff after an office move in October that year.

But the security breach was not reported for nearly two years due to a 'lack of training', the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) said.

A second interview with the victim, who was abused as a child, had to be abandoned due to her distress.

The DVDs, which show her face clearly throughout, have still not been recovered. Victims of sexual abuse are automatically entitled to anonymity for life.

After being informed of the breach the woman made a formal complaint and argued it could have affected the outcome of the case. The defendants were ultimately convicted and sentenced.

It is the third time the ICO has taken such action against a police force.

Anne Jones, assistant commissioner for Wales, said: 'Without any doubt we would expect a professional police force, in a position of trust, dealing with this type of highly sensitive information from victims and witnesses on a daily basis to have robust procedures to keep track of the personal data in their care.

'The organisation has failed to take all appropriate measures against the unauthorised processing and accidental loss of personal data.

'This breach is extremely serious and despite guidance from our office, the Ministry of Justice and Association of Chief Police Officers stating it is essential to have a policy on storing this sort of information they still haven't fully addressed the issue.

'The monetary penalty given to South Wales Police should send a clear message that organisations have to take responsibility for personal data and the way in which it is stored.'

Yvonne Traynor, CEO of Rape Crisis South London, said the force had been 'unprofessional and careless'. She said: 'I find it hard to believe that a professional body can be so insensitive to lose a vital interview with a survivor of sexual violence. 'It takes a lot of strength to report to the police and to provide video evidence takes time and a lot of inner courage which she will now have to redo.

'Careless doesn't even begin to describe how unprofessional this unit have behaved. I hope it does not deter other survivors from coming forward to report this heinous crime.'

The police force has now been asked to sign an undertaking to ensure changes are made to implement policies to stop any incidents happening again.

Assistant Chief Constable Richard Lewis said: 'South Wales Police takes its responsibilities for the management and security of information extremely seriously and has apologised to the victim in this case.

'Once it was apparent what had happened South Wales Police voluntarily referred the details to the ICO and launched a full investigation into this incident. 'As a result two officers have subsequently been given management advice and training.

'This is the first incident of a serious nature regarding loss of sensitive data for South Wales Police and unlike similar incidents which have occurred nationally, where materials have been lost in a public place, the DVDs were stored in a secure area of a police station to which access is restricted.'

He added that South Wales Police may consider an appeal against the penalty.

Original report here

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Tuesday, May 19, 2015

FBI admits flaws in hair analysis over decades

The Justice Department and FBI have formally acknowledged that nearly every examiner in an elite FBI forensic unit gave flawed testimony in almost all trials in which they offered evidence against criminal defendants over more than a two-decade period before 2000.

Of 28 examiners with the FBI Laboratory’s microscopic hair comparison unit, 26 overstated forensic matches in ways that favored prosecutors in more than 95 percent of the 268 trials reviewed so far, according to the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) and the Innocence Project, which are assisting the government with the country’s largest post-conviction review of questioned forensic evidence.

The cases include those of 32 defendants sentenced to death. Of those, 14 have been executed or died in prison, the groups said under an agreement with the government to release results after the review of the first 200 convictions.

The FBI errors alone do not mean there was not other evidence of a convict’s guilt. Defendants and federal and state prosecutors in 46 states and the District are being notified to determine whether there are grounds for appeals. Four defendants were previously exonerated.

The admissions mark a watershed in one of the country’s largest forensic scandals, highlighting the failure of the nation’s courts for decades to keep bogus scientific information from juries, legal analysts said. The question now, they said, is how state authorities and the courts will respond to findings that confirm long-suspected problems with subjective, pattern-based forensic techniques — like hair and bite-mark comparisons — that have contributed to wrongful convictions in more than one-quarter of 329 DNA-exoneration cases since 1989.

In a statement, the FBI and Justice Department vowed to continue to devote resources to address all cases and said they "are committed to ensuring that affected defendants are notified of past errors and that justice is done in every instance. The Department and the FBI are also committed to ensuring the accuracy of future hair analysis testimony, as well as the application of all disciplines of forensic science."

Peter Neufeld, co-founder of the Innocence Project, commended the FBI and department for the collaboration but said, "The FBI’s three-decade use of microscopic hair analysis to incriminate defendants was a complete disaster."

"We need an exhaustive investigation that looks at how the FBI, state governments that relied on examiners trained by the FBI and the courts allowed this to happen and why it wasn’t stopped much sooner," Neufeld said.

Norman L. Reimer, the NACDL’s executive director, said, "Hopefully, this project establishes a precedent so that in future situations it will not take years to remediate the injustice."

While unnamed federal officials previously acknowledged widespread problems, the FBI until now has withheld comment because findings might not be representative.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), a former prosecutor, called on the FBI and Justice Department to notify defendants in all 2,500 targeted cases involving an FBI hair match about the problem even if their case has not been completed, and to redouble efforts in the three-year-old review to retrieve information on each case.

"These findings are appalling and chilling in their indictment of our criminal justice system, not only for potentially innocent defendants who have been wrongly imprisoned and even executed, but for prosecutors who have relied on fabricated and false evidence despite their intentions to faithfully enforce the law," Blumenthal said.

Flawed forensic testimony by state VIEW GRAPHIC

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa) and the panel’s ranking Democrat, Patrick J. Leahy (Vt.), urged the bureau to conduct "a root-cause analysis" to prevent future breakdowns.

"It is critical that the Bureau identify and address the systemic factors that allowed this far-reaching problem to occur and continue for more than a decade," the lawmakers wrote FBI Director James B. Comey on March 27, as findings were being finalized.

The FBI is waiting to complete all reviews to assess causes but has acknowledged that hair examiners until 2012 lacked written standards defining scientifically appropriate and erroneous ways to explain results in court. The bureau expects this year to complete similar standards for testimony and lab reports for 19 forensic disciplines.

Federal authorities launched the investigation in 2012 after The Washington Post reported that flawed forensic hair matches might have led to the convictions of hundreds of potentially innocent people since at least the 1970s, typically for murder, rape and other violent crimes nationwide.

The review confirmed that FBI experts systematically testified to the near-certainty of "matches" of crime-scene hairs to defendants, backing their claims by citing incomplete or misleading statistics drawn from their case work.

In reality, there is no accepted research on how often hair from different people may appear the same. Since 2000, the lab has used visual hair comparison to rule out someone as a possible source of hair or in combination with more accurate DNA testing.

Warnings about the problem have been mounting. In 2002, the FBI reported that its own DNA testing found that examiners reported false hair matches more than 11 percent of the time. In the District, the only jurisdiction where defenders and prosecutors have re-investigated all FBI hair convictions, three of seven defendants whose trials included flawed FBI testimony have been exonerated through DNA testing since 2009, and courts have exonerated two more men. All five served 20 to 30 years in prison for rape or murder.

University of Virginia law professor Brandon L. Garrett said the results reveal a "mass disaster" inside the criminal justice system, one that it has been unable to self-correct because courts rely on outdated precedents admitting scientifically invalid testimony at trial and, under the legal doctrine of finality, make it difficult for convicts to challenge old evidence.

"The tools don’t exist to handle systematic errors in our criminal justice system," Garrett said. "The FBI deserves every recognition for doing something really remarkable here. The problem is there may be few judges, prosecutors or defense lawyers who are able or willing to do anything about it."

Federal authorities are offering new DNA testing in cases with errors, if sought by a judge or prosecutor, and agreeing to drop procedural objections to appeals in federal cases.

However, biological evidence in the cases often is lost or unavailable. Among states, only California and Texas specifically allow appeals when experts recant or scientific advances undermine forensic evidence at trial.

Defense attorneys say scientifically invalid forensic testimony should be considered as violations of due process, as courts have held with false or misleading testimony.

The FBI searched more than 21,000 federal and state requests to its hair comparison unit from 1972 through 1999, identifying for review roughly 2,500 cases where examiners declared hair matches.

Reviews of 342 defendants’ convictions were completed as of early March, the NACDL and Innocence Project reported. In addition to the 268 trials in which FBI hair evidence was used against defendants, the review found cases in which defendants pleaded guilty, FBI examiners did not testify, did not assert a match or gave exculpatory testimony.

When such cases are included, by the FBI’s count examiners made statements exceeding the limits of science in about 90 percent of testimonies, including 34 death-penalty cases.

The findings likely scratch the surface. The FBI said as of mid-April that reviews of about 350 trial testimonies and 900 lab reports are nearly complete, with about 1,200 cases remaining.

The bureau said it is difficult to check cases before 1985, when files were computerized. It has been unable to review 700 cases because police or prosecutors did not respond to requests for information.

Also, the same FBI examiners whose work is under review taught 500 to 1,000 state and local crime lab analysts to testify in the same ways.

Texas, New York and North Carolina authorities are reviewing their hair examiner cases, with ad hoc efforts underway in about 15 other states.

Original report here

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Monday, May 18, 2015

Girlfriend's tears as family of black father-of-two who died in police custody promise they 'will not rest until they have the truth’

The family of a father who died after being arrested today demanded to find out the circumstances behind his sudden death, saying they cannot grieve until they know 'the truth'.

Sheku Bayoh, 31, was detained by police after being accused of carrying a knife, but he lost consciousness while being restrained by nine officers.

His girlfriend Collette Bell wept at a press conference as she said, 'I need answers' - but the police claimed that Mr Bayoh had carried out 'a violent and unprovoked attack' and urged caution in jumping to conclusions.

Mr Bayoh, a father of two, died on the morning of May 3 in his home town of Kirkcaldy, Fife after police were called to the scene by members of the public who reported that he was carrying a knife.

He was pronounced dead shortly after and an investigation into the cause of his death has now been launched by the Police Investigations and Review Commissioner.

Today, members of Mr Bayoh's family and his partner today told of their 'grave concerns' about the role of police and questioned why no officers who attended the incident have been suspended while an inquiry takes place.

His partner Miss Bell, mother to his four-month-old son, described him as her 'soulmate and best friend'. She said: 'I need answers as to why he was taken from me.

'I want to know the whole truth of the circumstances surrounding his death so that one day I can explain to my son Isaac Bayoh why he has had to grow up without his daddy.'

She was joined by Mr Bayoh's mother and two of his sisters at the media conference in Edinburgh. They later met the Lord Advocate, who has instructed the PIRC to look at the case.

His sister Kadi Johnson talked about how he had moved to the UK from Sierra Leone when he was 11 and then to Scotland aged 17.

Mr Bayoh, who worked for British Gas, was father to four-month old Isaac and Tyler, his three-year-old son by a previous partner.

Mrs Johnson said: 'At this point in time our family is heartbroken, not able to grieve; his body is still in a mortuary all alone.

'Even once we have buried my baby brother we will not be able to grieve until we know the truth. 'All we are asking for is the truth of what actually happened to my brother Sheku on morning of May 3.

'We all have grave concerns at the role of Police Scotland and are asking the Lord Advocate and the PIRC to help us get the truth.'

Aamer Anwar, the family's solicitor, said Mr Bayoh was a 'well-liked, peaceful and healthy young man' who had no previous history of violence.

He said: 'The family does not understand why the officers involved in engaging with Sheku Bayoh were not immediately suspended without prejudice after his death.

'It is a matter of wider public concern that officers remain at their desks or in contact with the public pending the outcome of the investigation into a death in custody.'

Mr Anwar claimed five different versions of events were given to Mr Bayoh's family by police officers over the course of 10 hours.

The lawyer said the family were advised officers had been called to the scene after responding to an alert following calls from members of the public.

He said reports of any officer having been stabbed were 'simply untrue'.

Mr Anwar added: 'For the Chief Constable to suspend the officers without prejudice is not a question of pre-judging the outcome of the investigation but ensures neutrality, integrity of the investigation, transparency as well as protecting officers involved in such incidents.'

However, the Scottish Police Federation (SPF) said police had been responding to a call of a man brandishing a knife.

SPF chairman Brian Docherty said 'innuendo and speculation' while the investigation is ongoing 'adds nothing other than to the pain and grief of the family'.

He explained: 'The Scottish Police Federation recognises that the family of Sheku Bayoh is mourning his death and that this is a painful process.

'The SPF does not wish to add to that pain by making unhelpful comments to the press. We are saddened that his legal representatives appear not to take the same approach.

'We are also saddened that his legal representatives are inferring police officers should not have the same legal protections as any other member of the public.

'A petite female police officer responding to a call of a man brandishing a knife was subject to a violent and unprovoked attack by a large male. 'The officer believed she was going to die as a result of this assault.'

Professor Peter Watson, legal adviser to the SPF, later added: 'We all seek the truth and part of that truth will lie, in part, in the post-mortem and toxicology reports which will follow in due course.

'Calls for the suspension of the officers serve no purpose and do nothing but add unhelpful rhetoric in a difficult situation for all.'

Mr Anwar responded by saying the family were 'deeply upset and disturbed' at the tone of the SPF statement. He added: 'It beggars belief that police officers as of yet have not spoken to PIRC yet police federation are releasing details of what they believe to be the circumstances surrounding Mr Bayoh's death.

'The central issue in this case is one of how did Mr Bayoh die in police custody. That matter is still to be investigated.'

A PIRC spokeswoman said the independent investigation was continuing and 'making good progress'. A report on its findings will be submitted to the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service in due course.

After Lord Advocate Frank Mulholland met Mr Bayoh's relatives, a spokesman for the Crown Office said: 'The Lord Advocate met Mr Bayoh's family this morning when he offered his condolences for their loss. 'What was discussed at the meeting will remain confidential.'

Original report here

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Sunday, May 17, 2015

Police tsar under fire after giving £60,000 contract to organisation that did not legally exist and employs his deputy's daughter

The mosquito

A police tsar has been forced to defend handing a £60,000 contract to a crime-tackling organisation that doesn't legally exist - and which also employs his deputy's daughter.

West Midlands police and crime commissioner (PCC) David Jamieson has been told he has 'serious questions' to answer by a Conservative MP.

The daughter of his deputy, Yvonne Mosquito, works for a group which was awarded a six-month contract to provide help and support to Birmingham companies targeted by criminals.

But Broad Street BID (Business Improvement District), where Alicia Mosquito is deputy manager, no longer legally exists.

Its five-year remit of working on behalf of city centre businesses ran out after March 31 at around the same time the decision to award the contract was made.

However, the PCC's office has said no money has been handed over and any suggestion that it has acted improperly 'is completely and utterly untrue and incorrect'.

The daughter of the deputy police and crime commissioner (DPCC), a university law graduate, joined the Broad Street team ten months ago as an unpaid intern to general manager Mike Olley and was later employed in the full-time position.

An investigation by the Birmingham Mail also discovered a friend of Ms Mosquito's daughter has been taken on in a temporary role as a research assistant on a salary believed to be £18,000 to £20,000 per year.

A PCC spokesman confirmed she worked closely with the DPCC, and attended some engagements with her.

Labour PCC Jamieson was elected to the £100,000 per year West Midlands policing role in August following the sudden death of his predecessor Bob Jones.

He is facing more questions over the resignation of his chief executive Jacky Courtney, who left on April 17, with sources claiming she could be awarded a substantial payout from the taxpayer.

Sources, who say she did not want to leave the role, claim restructuring savings made by the PCC could be offset by a substantial payout to Ms Courtney.

Meanwhile, a consulting firm only set up last summer by a magistrate and her business partner was paid £43,000 in contracts after being brought in to help save money.

Two former Labour Party activists have allso been taken on in non-advertised, taxpayer-funded roles, it has been reported.

Julian Knight, Conservative MP for Solihull, said: 'This raises serious questions that Mr Jamieson needs to answer.'

Yvonne Mosquito, who earns £65,000 per year in her deputy PCC role, has been linked to controversies in the past.

The Broad Street BID was first set up in 2005 after a ballot of local businesses who agreed to contribute to its runnings costs. Its legal status has to be renewed every five years with a new ballot.

That happened in 2010, but did not take place before the next five-year deadline of March 31 - the date a decision was made to award the £60,000 contract to the Broad Street BID.

The group is now set to be renamed as Westside BID, covering a wider business area, once a new ballot is eventually held, expected to be in June.

Alicia Mosquito and Mike Olley, a former Labour councillor, will continue in their roles with the new organisation.

It has been reported that the PCC office was initially set to give the business victim support contract to Broad Street BID 'months ago' without putting the contract out to tender. A police figure is said to have objected to the lack of procurement, and other applications were then invited.

A number of BID teams from across the city applied, but the Broad Street group was awarded the six-month Ministry of Justice-funded contract at the end of March. The decision was announced on the PCC website after the Broad Street BID ceased to exist after March 31.

It is understood an official complaint was lodged to the PCC office by a rival BID team which pointed out the Broad Street BID no longer existed.

In a statement about Ms Courtney, the PCC's office said: 'Jacky Courtney took voluntary redundancy.

'The reasons behind her decision are a matter for her. In the drive for value for money the PCC reduced the salary for the chief executive post by over £20,000 as part of the ongoing review. The settlement process is ongoing.'

It added: 'To reduce costs and ensure that the taxpayer gets value for money the PCC is restructuring his office.

'As part of this restructure the chief executive’s salary has been reduced by over £20,000 and the overall budget has been reduced by over £300,000, making the PCC’s office budget the smallest share of any force budget in the country.'

Original report here

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Saturday, May 16, 2015

Video Shows Deputy Smash Autistic Man’s Skull into the Ground, Killing Him for Joking Around

Mount Vernon, OH — A Knox County deputy is now being investigated after he fatally assaulted 33-year old David Dehmann on April 21. Dehmann was autistic and had Tourette’s Syndrome, and this was well-known by the local law enforcement.

Mount Vernon police picked up Dehmann on the 21st for being intoxicated but was released within a couple hours after being cleared by a hospital for release. At 7:43pm that same day, he was arrested near a public school for disorderly conduct – harm to self, at which point he was taken to Knox County Jail by MVPD Cpl. Travis Tharp when things took a turn for the worse.

During the booking process, Dehmann would not make it 15 feet into the station before his life would be ended.

The sickening surveillance camera footage of his killing was released last week which showed this deadly act of police rage.

The video starts out showing Dehmann being completely cooperative. He maintained this cooperation throughout the entire process.

He’s seen helping the deputies to remove his clothing and his shoes. At one point, he even playfully pats one of the deputies on the back; something a child might do.

Most of the deputies in the room seemingly laugh it off as an innocent autistic man being silly because he’s drunk. This was apparent by the lack of restraints on Dehmann.

However, Deputy Chase Wright was not enjoying Dehmann’s shenanigans.

As Dehmann is walking past the officers, either drunkenly or playfully, he points his finger at them; never making actual physical contact. When he gets to deputy Wright, he points just like he did to the first, but he is swiftly met with physical retaliation. His hand is slapped and deputy Wright proceeds to slam the autistic and impaired Dehmann to the ground with so much force that when his head hit, it killed him.

Prior to the body slam, Dehmann can be seen with his arm up in what seems to be some sort of physical move. However, his fist is not closed and is fingers are out. He was obviously not trying to punch nor was he in any capacity to cause harm to Wright.

Dehmann’s family is left devastated. Dehmann’s step-mother Melissa spoke on the tragedy, saying "He might have had his issues in the past and everything, but he didn’t deserve to die because of this."

The original statement by the KCSO stated,

"While Dehmann was in the jail’s intake area he became aggressive with the jail staff making an aggressive move towards Deputy [Chase] Wright. Mr. Dehmann did attempt to hit Dep. Wright in the face causing Dep. Wright to place Mr. Dehmann into a take down hold, taking him to the ground to get control of him. Once control was gained it was found that Mr. Dehmann had hit his head on the floor during the incident. Mr. Dehmann was transported to KCH ER by Mount Vernon medics for a medical evaluation."

When you watch the video, it is all too clear who "became aggressive" in this situation.

Original report here. Video at linbk.

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Friday, May 15, 2015

British police detective 'stole £113,000 seized from suspected drug dealer

A retired detective accused of stealing £113,000 from a former police headquarters had mounting debts of more than £50,000, a court has heard.

Paul Greaves, 56, of Nottingham, is alleged to have taken the money from a locked exhibit store in the old wine cellar at Warwickshire Police's old base in Leek Wootton.

The prosecution told the court Greaves disguised paying the stolen cash into his own bank accounts by claiming he had enjoyed 'good luck on the horses'.

Simon Davis, for the prosecution, said his accounts showed deposits that 'could not be reasonably explained'.

When asked about the payments by police, Greaves supplied hundreds of bookmakers' betting slips, most of them winners, which in one case appeared to show a 34-race winning streak.

The Crown are to call an expert witness who has described the chances of such a winning run occurring as almost zero, alleging Greaves had been selective about his betting record.

'In a nutshell, the money going in couldn't be explained because he was losing more than he was winning,' said Mr Davis.

He added: 'Betting he did - no issue about that. He did bet. But he was a loser.'

He said it was the Crown's case Greaves came into a 'surplus of cash' in the weeks immediately after the money was seized on a police raid in June 2009.

Jurors were shown bank records charting payments of more than £30,000, used to pay off loans and credit cards.

The cash was initially found in a raid by a team of officers, including Greaves, on a Leicestershire farm during a drugs operation and later formally seized under the Proceeds Of Crime Act.

It was Greaves' job to be 'in charge of the money' as the team's financial investigator, but Mr Davis said he 'failed to follow proper procedures'.

A review of the police's national computer database, the joint asset recovery database into which the money should have been logged, later found no entry had ever been recorded, Mr Davis said.

Mr Davis, told Birmingham Crown Court today, said: 'You'll have to decide whether the state of his finances were such that they assist you in determining whether he took the cash.

'We don't have to prove a motive, but you might think, listening to what his finances were like that temptation - we say - must have got the better of him.'

After being seized, the cash was put in a red lock-box to which Greaves had the key and placed in the headquarters's exhibit store.

Mr Davis said none of Greaves' colleagues recall seeing the cash after it was placed in the box.

The loss of the money was only discovered in September 2011, nine months after Greaves had retired from the force, when it was due to be returned to its owners. Mr Davis said a search of the cellar found 'the cupboard was bare'.

Warwickshire Police, being liable for the cash, then had to pay back the money out of its own funds, and subsequently launched an anti-corruption investigation to find out whether the money had been stolen.

Mr Davis said that trail led investigators to the now retired officer, who was arrested in March 2013.

Mr Davis said a police expert carrying out a peer review of record-keeping found Greaves, an officer with almost 25 years' experience, had 'fallen well short of the standards expected of him'.

Investigators discovered he had borrowed thousands of pounds from friends and relatives and by 2008 he had spiralling debts of £52,000, the court heard.

Mr Davis said betting slips provided to police by Greaves showed an 'unrealistic' picture of his betting, including a 34-run winning streak.

An expert from the British Horseracing Authority calculated the odds of stringing together a run of up to 30 was 0.0001 per cent - in real terms a '0 per cent chance'.

'The money Mr Greaves could have made on a £1 stake on that first horse, had he then won 30 in a row, was £478 million,' said Mr Davis.

Original report here

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Thursday, May 14, 2015

Immigration Checkpoint Tyranny

Welcome, New Yorkers, to the world of immigration checkpoint tyranny! You’re now seeing what Americans in the Southwest have had to experience for decades.

Starting back in the 1960s, the Border Patrol, along with the DEA, instituted border patrol checkpoints on highways in Texas and the rest of the American Southwest similar to that found in Cuba. Thanks to the much-vaunted "war on terrorism," those highway checkpoints have now spread to New York, as 21-year-old student Jessica Cooke of Ogdensburg, New York, discovered last week.

Traveling within the United States, Cooke encountered one of those checkpoints, a place where armed agents of the Border Patrol stop domestic travelers on U.S. highways to check citizenship and to search for drugs. During her encounter with the agents, Cooke failed to show the necessary deference to authority that Border Patrol agents expect. For that, she paid a heavy price — being manhandled to the ground and tased, causing her to scream in agony and pain.

The video of the encounter is posted near the bottom of this news story about the event.

This is the type of Cuban-like police state activity with which I grew up in Laredo, Texas, which is situated on the Texas-Mexican border. I first wrote about these Cuban-like highway checkpoints in 1998 in an article entitled "Domestic Passports for Hispanic Americans."

Northbound travelers from Laredo to San Antonio on Interstate 35 come over a crest of a hill and encounter an astounding sight — a Border Patrol checkpoint. The reason the sight is so astounding is that at first blush, you think that you’re in Mexico and approaching the U.S.-Mexico border. After all, border checkpoints are supposed to be at the border, right? Well, this "border" checkpoint is about 40 miles north of the border.

Everyone is required to stop at the checkpoint. The driver is expected to roll down his window, at which point a Border Patrol agent asks, "Are you an American citizen?" If you’re an Anglo and speak English without an accent and behave in a friendly, deferential manner ("Good morning, officer. Yes, sir, I’m an American citizen."), you should be automatically waved on. If you were a long-haired hippie in the 1960s and 1970s, you would be required to open your trunk and have your vehicle searched for drugs.

However, if you are a dark-skinned Mexican-American, especially one who cannot speak English (and a large percentage of the population in Laredo cannot speak English), you had better be carrying your passport or you are in a world of hurt. You will be detained and will not permitted to continue your trip until you somehow are able to prove that you are, in fact, an American citizen.

The reason I say that this system is similar to what is found in Cuba is because I’ve had the same experience there — or at least near-experience. When I visited Cuba many years ago, I took a cab from Havana to a town called Trinidad, which was about 6 hours away. There were no hotels in Trinidad and the only place to stay overnight was by renting a room in someone’s home.

No one would permit me to stay in his home. Why? I had forgotten my passport back in my hotel in Havana. The law prohibited people from renting rooms to people who didn’t have their papers with them.

There was palpable fear on the faces of the Cuban renters. One lady told me, "You will never make it back to Havana because there are checkpoints along the highway. Without your passport, you will certainly be jailed for an indefinite time." Needless to say, I had no desire to spend any time in a Cuban jail.

I finally paid a bribe to a homeowner to overlook the passport requirement. I flew back to Havana, distracting the airline agent with talk about baseball in the hopes he would forget about my passport. It worked and I was able to get back to Havana without incident.

Notice something important here: Those highway checkpoints are for people traveling within Cuba. That’s the way things work in a police state.

That’s precisely what happens to people who are traveling within the United States in the Southwest. American citizens who never enter Mexico and are traveling solely within the United States are subjected to these Border Patrol checkpoints.

While things might have changed since I moved away, interestingly there was never a Border Patrol checkpoint for people traveling east to Corpus Christi or south to Brownsville. But that didn’t mean they weren’t checking for illegal aliens and drugs there too. For those highways, they used what are called "roving" Border Patrol checkpoints. That entails Border Patrol agents arbitrarily pulling you over and demanding to search your vehicle.

I was once the victim of this type of Border Patrol stop. I was a teenager and headed to the beach to meet friends. A Border Patrol car came up behind me and flashed his lights, indicating that he wanted me to pull over. I did so and the agent approached my vehicle and asked me to get out and open my trunk. I politely said, "No, thank you."

He then made it clear that he was no longer requesting me to open the trunk but was ordering me to do so. I said, "I don’t think you have legal authority to issue such an order." He screamed, "Don’t you know the drug problem we are having in this country?" (Yes, the war on drugs was going on 40 years ago!)

I responded, "You don’t have the authority to arbitrarily stop me to look for drugs." Taken aback, he said, "I won’t be looking for drugs. I will be looking for illegal aliens but if I happen to find drugs, I will enforce the law."

In fact, that’s what these Border Patrol checkpoints have turned into — a way to meet drug-war arrest quotas and, even better, to confiscated assets under the infamous asset-forfeiture laws, which are enabling law-enforcement agencies to become self-funding fiefdoms. Take a look at the video with Jessica Cooke. After claiming that she "looked nervous," the Border Patrol agents ordered her to pull over and await a K-9 unit. After manhandling her and tasing her, they failed to find any drugs.

In any event, I told that Border Patrol agent that he didn’t have the authority to stop me and look for illegal aliens either. On roving Border Patrol stops, they need some sort of reasonable suspicion that the person they’re stopping has committed a crime. But the Supreme Court has held that just about any ridiculous excuse can serve as a reasonable suspicion.

The agent who stopped me didn’t point to anything suspicious. He just said to me, "I’m going to give you a choice. You can follow me back to headquarters, where we will open your trunk there or you can open up your trunk here and proceed on your trip." I wish I had chosen the former but that would have meant a long delay in meeting my friends at the beach and so I chose the latter. He looked in my trunk and give me permission to continue on my way.

I later learned from a friend, whose father headed up the local Border Patrol office, that I was the talk of the station. No doubt that’s because most everyone else would say, "Yes, sir, officer" and submissively and deferentially open his trunk for inspection.

There is another factor at work here. The Border Patrol loves targeting young people for abuse. That’s because some young people, despite the many years of public schooling, still have an air of independence and rebelliousness, unlike many old people who have learned to be submissive and deferential to those in authority. The agents feel that it’s their moral duty to smash that sense of independence and rebelliousness out of young people and convert them into good little dutiful citizens who say "Yes sir" to the agents and obediently follow their orders. You see this in the Jessica Cooke video, where the Border Patrol agents clearly do not like Cooke talking back to them and finally escalate the situation by one agent ordering Cooke to move to another location. Expecting Cooke to follow his order, much like an army private is expected to follow the orders of his drill sergeant, the agent went ballistic when Cooke failed to obey his order, whereupon he proceeded to manhandle her by physically moving her involuntarily to the new location.

Four years ago, country music star Willie Nelson fell into the snare of a Border Patrol checkpoint. One thing is clear: It would be impossible to mistake Willie Nelson for an illegal alien. Nonetheless, the Border Patrol refused to let him proceed on his way. That’s because the agents found a quantity of marijuana inside his vehicle. Nelson was lucky. Perhaps owing to his celebrity, the feds turned the case over to the state authorities, who permitted him to plead to a misdemeanor.

These Border Patrol checkpoints gradually spread to highways running east-west in the American Southwest. And as we now see, Americans who live in the northern states are getting to experience what people in the Southwest have experienced for decades.

All to keep us safe, of course, from the drug dealers, the illegal aliens, the terrorists, the Muslims, and the boogeymen. But pray tell: Who protects the citizens from the police state itself?

Original report here

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Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Two policemen sacked for 'gratuitous' assault on car chase suspects as force sued for £150,000 damages

Two policemen have been sacked for a 'gratuitous' assault on car chase suspects after the men claimed they were kicked in the head and told they would go 'one-to-one' with a dog.

Scotland Yard is now being sued for up to £150,000 for the alleged violent assault and false imprisonment of three men, one of whom had learning difficulties, following a police stop.

Six officers were investigated for gross misconduct after the car chase in Barnet, north London, in July 2009 and legal documents seen by the Standard suggest the Met could settle out of court.

PC Peter Ganson, 44, a former soldier who served for 12 years and the first officer on the scene when model Katie Piper suffered an acid attack was one of those dismissed.

PC Dejan Ralevic, 40, was also sacked and two other officers were found to have committed gross misconduct and were given final warnings.

Scotland Yard admitted using 'excessive force' against suspects Ali Shahbazi, Irfan Ashraf and Idnan Ashraf, then 18, 31 and 33, who are of Pakistani and Iranian origin.

One claimed he was dragged out of the car, punched and kicked in the head several times and left with a broken nose.

'Around four officers then each took a swing' at him with one punch landing, according to the disciplinary hearing.

He said the officers threatened he would have to go 'one-to-one' with a dog and claimed his face was 'scraped along a wooden fence'.

Another man said he was put in a headlock, kicked and thrown face first against a wooden fence.

The third man was kicked and his head was 'banged against the car bonnet four or five times'.

More than 20 officers raced to the scene after the Citro├źn Saxo initially failed to stop at around midnight.

But an internal investigation by the Met found that no supervisors attended the incident and no officer accepted responsibility for being in overall control.

A panel hearing found that: 'No officer accepted responsibility for being in overall control of this incident and the panel believe that this is because no officer took control and that the four officers each became involved without asking questions upon their arrival and acted upon their own perceptions of the incident.'

The three men were held at the scene in Red Lion Hill, on the edge of the Grange Estate, for three hours and they were not arrested.

They said they asked the driver to stop when they were pursued by police but he ignored them. The driver fled and was never found.

The claim states there were 'no reasonable grounds' to stop the car and detain the men and 'no lawful justification for the use of any force'.

Scotland Yard has admitted the officers did not give 'sufficient explanation' for detaining, searching and handcuffing the men, but denies having 'no lawful justification for the use of force'.

The Met denied all the detailed allegations made by the men.

John Hine, 35, and Florence Hughes, 39, were cleared of misconduct by Scotland Yard Directorate of Professional Standards.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission ruled in 2011 that: 'The officers were unable to reasonably account for their actions and their use of force' after the men were 'compliant' and 'detained without being told their rights'.

A Met spokesman said: 'Discussions with the claimants are ongoing. All allegations made against officers were investigated.'

The Crown Prosecution Service said there was 'insufficient evidence' to bring criminal proceedings against the officers.

Original report here

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Tuesday, May 12, 2015

British police watchdog launches probe after video appears to show 14-year-old boy getting serious head injury as he is arrested

Declan Diedrick was arrested by officers last week on suspicion of theft

The police watchdog has launched an investigation after a video emerged showing a 14-year-old boy with a serious head injury as he is arrested.

Blood can be seen streaming down Declan Diedrick's face as he was detained by officers on suspicion of an unrelated theft.

The boy's family say he was 'shoved' through a window by Hertfordshire Police officers as he was arrested last week.

Mobile phone video footage posted online shows Declan screaming 'get off me' as he is hauled towards a police car by two officers in Waltham Cross, near Enfield.

One of the officers can be heard telling the boy to 'calm down', with Declan replying: 'don't f***ing calm down me. I can't breathe.'

One of the officers, who later asks for a first aid kit, provided his name and his ID number to the person filming the incident.

Declan's mother Lorraine Hall told the Mirror that her son needed 20 stitches to his head.

She said: 'The police rang me and told me he was on his way to hospital. Then the hospital rang me to ask if they could stitch him up. He was taken back to the police station straight after to be questioned.

'When I saw the injury I was freaked out. He's been off school ever since. He's still suffering headaches and feeling dizzy. 'They were too heavy-handed. The officers knew he was a 14-year-old boy.'

Hertfordshire Police has referred itself to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) - the usual procedure after a someone is seriously injured during an arrest.

A force spokesman said: 'Police were called to Waltham Cross at around 5.30pm on Wednesday May 6, following reports of a group of 10 people fighting in the High Street.

'Whilst dealing with this incident officers arrested a 14-year-old boy, in connection with a previous unrelated suspected theft offence.

'During his arrest the boy had sustained a cut to his head and was taken to Princess Alexandra Hospital in Harlow for treatment and was discharged the same day. 'The boy remains on police bail at this time and is due to return to Hoddesdon Police Station on June 20.

'Two other men were arrested at the scene for affray and enquires continue with regards to the wider incident.

'Following the mandatory guidelines regarding injuries sustained during arrests, Hertfordshire Constabulary has referred the incident to the IPCC for further investigation.

'At this time the Constabulary has received no complaints in relation to the incident.'

Original report here

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Monday, May 11, 2015

Yet another false rape claim in Britain -- and a totally irresponsible police response to it

The instant Hilary Green heard her student son’s voice on the telephone, she knew something was terribly wrong. But never in her wildest nightmares did she ever imagine that he would tell her he had been accused of raping a woman at a party.

That anguished call was the beginning of a 15-month ordeal. ‘Although he never even had sex with this woman and it was clearly a false allegation, his life was ripped apart,’ says Hilary, 56, a public health scientist, who has stepped forward to speak about her son’s situation and what she maintains is his mistreatment at the hands of the police.

‘The stress forced him to drop out of university, and he went from being easy-going to someone who was tearful and fearful.’

It is a terrible accusation – one that means her son, although innocent and willing to speak to The Mail on Sunday, will only do so on condition of anonymity (his mother is using her maiden name). ‘I can understand how some young men have been driven to suicide,’ he says. ‘I will never be the same trusting and carefree person I used to be.’

It wasn’t until the case came to trial, says Hilary, that the family realised just how little police officers had bothered to investigate the alleged victim.

‘Apart from her allegations, there wasn’t a shred of physical evidence she’d ever been raped,’ says Hilary, who has another son, 27, and a daughter, aged 24, with husband James, a retired Ministry of Defence administrator.

‘She had a history of mental illness, depression, attention-seeking behaviour and lying. Most shocking was that this was the second time she had falsely accused a man of rape.’

It took a jury at Winchester Crown Court just an hour to clear her son when the case was heard in January. Even though the woman’s claims were entirely false, she is guaranteed anonymity by the law, unlike Hilary’s son.

The family, from Salisbury, Wiltshire, have since made a formal complaint and are consulting lawyers about suing the police.

They claim officers neglected to even consider the woman’s rape accusation was false, and insist that their son should never have been charged.

Now 22, he is one of an increasing number of men who have been hauled through the courts by women making false rape claims.

His ordeal began in September 2013 when he went to a friend’s black-tie 21st birthday party and met his accuser, a former Oxford University student.

Their evening ended with ‘a few cuddles and kisses’ at the house, but nothing more. Three weeks later, he bumped into the woman again, spending the day and evening with her and a group of friends. But it wasn’t until two weeks later he received a call from police who said they wanted to question him about a rape allegation at the party.

‘At first this woman said she had woken up at the party and found herself being raped,’ says Hilary.

‘Then that story changed to she had been pinned down and raped. You might have thought the police might suspect she was lying as her story kept changing. But they kept on putting these allegations to him as if they were facts.’

He feels the police didn’t believe him or listen to him from the beginning. After being charged, he claims he then had to endure a magistrates’ court hearing where he was spoken about by police as if ‘already guilty’.

However, when the case came to trial it emerged that not only had the woman told five people different stories about the night in question, but that she had already falsely accused another man. ‘The police did an appalling job,’ says Hilary.

‘Apart from putting an innocent man through hell, thousands of pounds of taxpayers’ money were wasted on a trial that should never have happened.

‘Of course all rape allegations should be thoroughly investigated. But police should investigate the rape victim too.’

Her son, who hoped by now to be starting a career in advertising, dropped out of his art and design studies. He now works in a shop. He says the trauma of the case has left him a chronic insomniac who suffers stress-related eczema and headaches.

Last night Hampshire Constabulary said a complaint had been received. A spokesman said: ‘This is being investigated from a professional standards perspective.’

Original report here

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