Monday, September 30, 2013


Woman says her 10-month-old puppy was shot in the head after asking officers not to shoot it… twice

On September 22, Anna "Chrissy" Music-Peed, of Macon, GA, drove to the Jones County Sheriff’s Department to request an officer come to and investigate a vehicle that had been brought to her property by an acquaintance, that both she and her roommate strongly suspected to have been stolen. Music told that it was a Nissan Xterra from Virginia Beach, VA.

As Music wrote in a blog post, "I will not have that influence around my family," saying she was trying to do the right thing by making a report. The acquaintance was still on the property and Music had not let on that she had gone to talk to the police.

Music wrote on that while she was providing officers with details of the stolen property, and the individual who had brought it over, she also explicitly told the police not to shoot her dogs. "The puppy may jump, we have been trying to get her out of that," Music explained, stating that the dogs were friendly puppies. She said the officers laughed and told her not to worry about it.

Unconvinced, she emphasized again: "PLEASE don’t shoot my dogs, they are my babies." The officers asked her to stay at the station while units were sent to her home to obtain the property and arrest the individual who may have stolen it. Her dogs, Ammo and Half-Pint, and roommate, Kyle Sewall, age 22, waited at home.

Sewall gave his account in an exclusive interview with "I was waiting on officers to arrive, Ammo needed to go the bathroom and she had been whimpering for 15 minutes. So I gave in and let her out," said Sewall. "The person who had stolen the property was outside cleaning the stolen vehicle with a shop-vac and while I kept an eye on Ammo I was talking to him playing it cool." He continued:

"About 5 minutes later is when the sheriffs pulled up, came flying in. Sgt Little was exiting the vehicle and as he was exiting I noticed he already had his sidearm trained on Ammo who was just sniffing around the ground wagging her tail. And then she looked up at him, did not growl, did not bark, and before I could say anything he fired his weapon. Shot her point blank in the head," Sewall told

"I went to go rush toward Ammo and he trained his weapon on me," Sewall explained. "I identified myself saying, ‘I am Kyle, lower your weapon.’ He did and they allowed me to tend to Ammo."

Ammo the Dog after coming out of anesthesia. (Source: Facebook)

Ammo the Dog after coming out of anesthesia. (Source: Facebook)

Ammo, the 10-month-old pit bull / mastiff puppy, had been struck in the head with a .40 caliber slug, fired by Sergeant D. Little of the Jones County Sheriff’s Department. While Sewall tended to the wounded animal, officers investigated the vehicle and arrested the man who was in possession of it. Animal Control showed up and asked if Sewall wanted to euthanize the dog. Sewall declined.

Some time later, Music returned to the home after being allowed to leave the sheriff’s office. She found Sewall behind a kiddy pool with a strange look on his face. He was cradling her puppy in his arms. "They shot her," Sewall said.

Music asked Sgt. Little why he had shot her dog, after she had explained to him and other deputies that it was a friendly, harmless puppy, and explicitly had asked him not to shoot it.

Music says that Sgt. Little denied that she had told him this, but that an accompanying deputy confirmed her account. Rather than continue to argue she quickly scrambled to make emergency arrangements to have Ammo treated by a veterinarian on a Sunday.

She found an animal hospital and got her dog X-rayed and bandaged up. The bullet had traveled down the dog’s skull into its neck, where it disappeared from the X-ray. She relayed on Facebook, "They said that Ammo NEEDS this surgery to survive. We need at LEAST $800.00 for the surgery."

Music contacted Captain Mitchell of the Jones County Sheriff’s Department, whom she says told her that the dog was shot because it "charged at" Sgt. Little, which contradicts Sewall’s eyewitness account.

It was only a year ago when Sgt. D. Little shot another dog in Jones County; an American Bulldog named Eden. "It is officers like Sgt. Little, who lack discipline and necessary training and firearm safety, that pose a threat to the very people that they swore and took an oath to protect," Sewall told

Ammo’s chances of survival depend on that surgery and the owner needs help in funding it.

Original report here




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Sunday, September 29, 2013

TX: Prosecutor of wrongfully convicted man resigns

You wonder what goes on in the mind of a prosecutor who hides exculpatory evidence. Had all the available evidence been led, a conviction would have been most unlikely. As it is, the real murderer goes free. How can you have that on your conscience -- if you have a conscience? Previous report on the case on this blog on April 22

Williamson County state district Judge Ken Anderson, who oversaw the wrongful murder conviction of Michael Morton in 1987, submitted a letter to Gov. Rick Perry on Monday resigning his position effective immediately.

Anderson is facing both civil and criminal court proceedings for his role in prosecuting Morton for the 1986 murder of his wife, Christine Morton. Attorneys for Morton allege that Anderson withheld critical evidence that pointed to Morton's innocence and that he lied to the judge about the existence of that evidence.

Morton was sentenced to life in prison and spent nearly 25 years behind bars before DNA testing revealed that he was innocent and connected another man to his wife's killing. He was released from prison in 2011.

Morton and his lawyer, John Raley, declined to comment about Anderson's resignation. Anderson's lawyer, Eric Nichols, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Anderson was appointed to the bench by Gov. Rick Perry in 2002 and the State Bar of Texas named him "Prosecutor of the Year" in 1995. Perry responded to Anderson on Monday with a letter accepting the resignation and thanking the longtime prosecutor and judge for his service.

The State Bar filed a disciplinary case against Anderson last year, and the trial is scheduled to begin on Monday in Williamson County. Anderson could be disbarred if he is found to have violated professional rules of conduct in securing Morton's wrongful conviction.

Anderson is also facing criminal charges after Tarrant County state district Judge Louis Sturns, following a court of inquiry in February, charged the former prosecutor with tampering with government records (a misdemeanor), tampering with physical evidence (a felony) and failing to comply with a judge's order to turn over such evidence, for which he could be held in "contempt of court."

Anderson has said that he regrets the errors of the justice system in Morton’s case. But he has maintained that he committed no wrongdoing in the prosecution.

During their investigation of Morton's case, Raley, of the Houston law firm Raley & Bowick, along with Barry Scheck and Nina Morrison of the New York-based Innocence Project, discovered evidence that they allege Anderson deliberately withheld from defense lawyers and from the judge in the case.

Among the items was a transcript of a phone call in which Morton’s mother-in-law recounted to police a conversation with her 3-year-old grandson, who said he saw a "monster" beat his mother to death. He said Morton, his father, was not at home when the beating happened. They also found reports from neighbors who told police that they saw a man in a green van park near the Mortons' home and walk into the nearby woods several times before the crime.

The State Bar conducted a 10-month investigation after a grievance was filed against Anderson in the case. The State Bar’s Commission for Lawyer Discipline wrote in its court filing that Anderson knew of the evidence and withheld it. The filing also alleged that Anderson made a false statement to the court when he told the judge he had no evidence that could be favorable to Morton’s claims of innocence.

His conduct, the State Bar commission wrote, violated five of the state’s Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct.

A spokeswoman for the State Bar did not immediately respond to a phone call requesting comment.

Original report here



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Saturday, September 28, 2013

After wrongful conviction, second man to be tried in murder

Crooked lawyer involved

State and federal prosecutors have had two explanations for how Robert Long ended up dead. In the first, he was killed over a dispute with a drug dealer. In the second, he was killed because he agreed to testify against one of his co-conspirators in a scheme to steal construction equipment.

The first explanation — backed up by two eyewitnesses — proved good enough for a Baltimore jury to convict Demetrius Smith of murder in 2010. But authorities now acknowledge that account was wrong, and Smith has been freed.

At a trial scheduled to begin Tuesday, federal prosecutors plan to lay out the second explanation as they seek to convict Jose Morales of organizing Long's death.

"It's a murder case that the government feels strongly about because of the principle it stands for," Assistant U.S. Attorney Sandra Wilkinson said, according a transcript of a hearing in a related case. "[Smith] is a man who is innocent, has been convicted of a murder that he didn't commit, and the government's effort to undo that wrong starts with Jose Morales."

Morales' involvement, alleged in filings in the federal case, came to light after he and his attorney were charged in separate federal investigations.

Morales, 37, is accused of hiring a member of the Dead Man Incorporated prison gang to kill Long in March 2008, after Morales learned that Long was working with authorities against him.

Morales' name had surfaced in the original investigation — police said they discovered that he had made threats against Long — and Smith's lawyer sought to identify him as another potential suspect at the trial.

Police never interviewed Morales, and prosecutors called two eyewitnesses who testified they saw Smith arguing with Long before shooting him.

"None of the evidence led to Mr. Morales," a detective testified, according to court documents.

Morales' attorney declined to comment.

But while police zeroed in on Smith, federal authorities were uncovering elements of the case against Morales. "The government was quite aware that there was a possible injustice floating around the Baltimore City courthouse," Wilkinson said, according to the hearing transcript.

Nancy Forster, the attorney who prepared the appeal, said that despite her misgivings about the evidence, there was not much she could do.

"I wasn't surprised that the jury found him guilty because when you have any eyewitness come in and testify, 'I saw this person shoot this person,' a jury's not going to ignore that," Forster said.

Morales had confessed his role in the killing to his longtime lawyer Stanley Needleman shortly after it happened, prosecutors wrote in filings in the federal murder for hire case, but Needleman thought the information was protected by attorney-client privilege.

It was Morales himself who poked a hole in that normally ironclad protection, prosecutors wrote.

A month after Smith was charged with murder in Baltimore, federal authorities arrested Morales at a Texas airport on charges of trying to smuggle six kilograms of cocaine back home. In an interview with one agent, Morales said it was Needleman who had arranged for Long to be killed, according to a summary of his statement included in court records.

Morales later recanted that story, according to another filing. But Needleman felt that Morales' attempts to implicate him in the killing opened the door for him to tell federal authorities in Baltimore what he knew, in hopes they might show leniency on separate tax evasion charges he faced.

Needleman's attorney declined to comment.

As the federal investigation proceeded, Smith filed a motion for a new trial based on the new evidence, and the charges against him were dropped in August 2012. He was released this year after spending almost five years in custody.

"The wrongful conviction of Demetrius Smith illustrates how easily under certain circumstances an innocent person can be convicted of the most serious crimes," said Smith's attorney, Michelle Nethercott.

Original report here



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Friday, September 27, 2013

Rambold released from prison after serving 30-day sentence for rape

Stacey Rambold, the former Billings teacher whose 30-day sentence for raping a 14-year-old student brought scorn on a Montana judge from across the country, was released Thursday morning from the Montana State Prison.

Prison spokeswoman Linda Moodry said Rambold was set free at about 9:30 a.m. after completing the sentence imposed on him by Yellowstone County District Court Judge G. Todd Baugh on Aug. 26.

Rambold, 54, was ordered by Baugh to serve 15 years in prison, with all but 31 days suspended, for the 2007 rape of Cherice Moralez, who later committed suicide.

Rambold was given credit for one day served.

Rambold served his month-long sentence at the Martz Diagnostic Intake Unit, a prison facility adjacent to the main prison grounds in Deer Lodge where new inmates are screened before being placed in a more permanent housing unit, Moodry said.

Moodry said it appears Rambold served his time without incident. There is no record of any disciplinary issues at the prison involving Rambold, she said.

About four hours after he was released from prison, shortly before 1:30 p.m., Rambold arrived at the state Probation and Parole office on South 27th Street in Billings.

Rambold emerged from the office about an hour later and was met by several news crews. He did not respond to questions as he got into a waiting car.

Rambold will now be required to check in regularly with a probation officer in Billings to begin the probationary term of his sentence, which is set to end in 2028.

Rambold will also be required to register with the Yellowstone County Sheriff’s Office as a sex offender.

Moralez’s mother, Auliea Hanlon, said Wednesday she is disappointed that Rambold’s sentence didn’t keep him behind bars for a much longer time. "It came very quickly," she said of Rambold’s release from prison. "It seems like yesterday he went in."

The sentence Rambold received, and statements made by Baugh about the victim, caused an uproar as national and international media outlets reported the story.

Moralez committed suicide in February 2010, shortly before her 17th birthday and while the criminal case against Rambold was pending in District Court.

A protest gathering on the courthouse lawn two days after Baugh announced the sentence drew hundreds to downtown Billings. Protesters demanded Baugh’s resignation, complaining that the sentence showed a bias against rape victims.

During the sentencing hearing, Baugh described Moralez as "older than her chronological age" and "as much in control of the situation" as Rambold, her former teacher.

Baugh apologized for the statements two days later, but the gesture failed to quiet his critics. Earlier this week, a formal complaint seeking the judge’s ouster was filed with the state Judicial Standards Commission.

The Montana Attorney General’s Office has also filed a notice of intent to appeal the case to the Montana Supreme Court. Prosecutors say the sentence imposed by Baugh was illegal because state law requires a mandatory minimum sentence of two years in such cases.

Hanlon said she holds out hope that the state’s highest court will "do the right thing" and order a longer sentence.

Court officials said the appeal process could take between six and 18 months.

Hanlon said she believes the appropriate sentence for Rambold is that recommended by the prosecution at Rambold sentencing hearing; 20 years in prison with 10 years suspended.

Hanlon also said she has had nothing to do with the complaint filed against Baugh. The complaint to the Judicial Standards Commission was filed Tuesday in Helena by representatives of the Montana National Organization for Women and a women’s rights group known as UltraViolet. "Stacey Rambold is my business, not Judge Baugh," Hanlon said.

The case began in 2007, when Rambold was a Senior High business and technology teacher and Moralez was a freshman at the school. Prosecutors said Rambold groomed Moralez, whom they described as an at-risk child, for a sexual relationship.

Moralez later told a church counselor about her relationship with the teacher. The counselor told Hanlon, who reported the allegations to police.

Rambold, who had been warned by school officials in 2004 about inappropriate behavior toward female students, was immediately placed on paid leave while the school district and police conducted separate investigations.

Rambold later resigned his teaching job, and he was charged in 2008 with three counts of sexual intercourse without consent. Prosecutors said Rambold and Moralez had sexual contact at least three times, including once in his school office. Two other incidents occurred in Rambold’s vehicle and at his residence, prosecutors said.

The age of consent in Montana is 16.

Moralez’s suicide in 2010 eventually led to a deferred prosecution agreement between Rambold and prosecutors, who said at the time their case was severely hampered by the victim’s death.

The agreement required Rambold to complete a sex offender treatment program and, among other requirements, make a written confession to one of the three felony rape charges.

In return, prosecutors agreed to dismiss the case outright in three years if Rambold adhered to the terms of the agreement.

But the charges were revived last November when prosecutors learned that Rambold had been terminated from the sex offender treatment program. Rambold was kicked out of treatment for not telling counselors that he had contact with the minor children of relatives and had a sexual relationship with an adult woman.

In April, Rambold pleaded guilty to the rape charge he previously confessed to as part of the deferred prosecution agreement. Prosecutors agreed to dismiss the other two charges in exchange for his guilty plea.

Original report here



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Thursday, September 26, 2013


Crook run down and killed by Florida police car

Marlon Brown [above] was spotted by DeLand, Florida, police on May 8 for allegedly not wearing a seatbelt, and decided to do a runner when they attempted to pull him over.

When he reached a dead-end, he stopped his car and fled on foot.

Dashcam footage shows a second police car slamming through bushes and hitting Brown head on as he falls to the ground.

A loud thud is heard as Mr Brown disappears underneath the car. "I think he’s underneath the (expletive) car," a voice can be heard off camera.

Mr Brown’s family made the decision to release the footage after a grand jury decided not to indict officer James Harris on a charge of vehicular manslaughter, reports CNN .

"We knew it wasn’t going to be an easy video to watch," said Krystal Brown, the ex-wife and mother of Mr Brown’s children. "But in order to obtain justice, and that’s what we’re looking for, we knew it was something that we had to do."

During a press conference, the Brown family’s attorney, Benjamin Crump, said: "Marlon Brown was executed in a vegetable garden."

The family has already received a payout of $550,000 from the city of DeLand, albeit never admitting any fault, according to Ms Brown.

"We’re just asking for justice, nothing extra. Nothing no one else would want for their family member. "We would have had no problem getting a call that morning saying, ‘OK Marlon ran from the police and we had to tase him’ or ‘the dogs bit him’ or something more along the lines of not using excessive force," Krystal Brown said. "But to get the call that he has been ran down with a vehicle for running from the police? That doesn’t fit."

She added that the family was "disappointed" and "felt let down by the criminal justice department".

"Just knowing what the charge entails, it doesn’t have to show intent — it only has to show reckless driving," she said.

DeLand Police Chief William Ridgway has been delicate in his handling of the situation, telling CNN in a statement: "The actions taken by Officer Harris that night are not consistent with our department’s training, directives, or accepted practices or techniques."

The department are conducting an internal review into the incident.

Mr Brown was a known crook to police, arrested more than a dozen times. According to he had 18 misdemeanour charges against his name, plus five felony charges and three felony convictions.

Original report here




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Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Some police thuggery in Ohio

An Ohio police officer was placed on paid leave earlier this week after a video showing him forcing a family — including a little boy — on the ground while brandishing a taser was widely circulated on the Internet.

Washington Township Officer Eric Hart pulled over Cassandra Meyers for allegedly altering her license registration, according to The Blade. Moments later, her father in law, Aaron Tatkowsi, pulled up in a truck and reportedly confronted the officer.

"I’m [expletive] sick of you cops," Tatkowsi allegedly shouted at the officer. "I’m [expletive] sick of you harassing people for no reason." According to Tatkowsi, he then obeyed the officer’s instructions to get back into his truck.

"He hollered for me to get back in my truck so I got back in my truck," Tatkowsi told WTOL-TV. "Next thing you know, I’m yanked out of the truck and it made my girlfriend say a few things. He yanked her out of the truck."

Hart’s police report, however, tells a different story, saying that Tatowski was forced to lie on the ground because he would not follow instructions to go back into his truck.

Tatkowsi, nonetheless, told WTOL-TV Hart threw him, his girlfriend, Meyers and his 14-year-old son to the ground. The man also claims he was trying to comply with the officer’s orders, but was worried because his two granddaughters were still in the backseat of his truck.

In the video, the officer can be seen pointing his taser at the individuals. According to the police report, Hart also unholstered his handgun.

A woman can be heard shouting at Hart, throughout the incident. She reportedly alleges the officer smashed her cell phone when she attempted to dial 911. Later in the video, Hart can also be seen tossing another man’s cell phone to the ground when he dials 911 for help.

Police Chief Christopher Kaiser said his department had ordered an investigation into the officer’s conduct, but was unsure how long it will take.

"He’s not in trouble, but to keep things aboveboard, we put him on administrative leave until an internal investigation is fully complete," Kaiser said. "I’m not saying he did anything wrong, but we’re trying to show we’re not trying to sweep this under the rug or cover it up.

Tatkowsi pleaded not guilty to charges of misconduct at an emergency, obstructing official business, and resisting arrest.

Original report here




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Monday, September 23, 2013


The People Will Not Stand By as Lone Man is Beaten by goons once Subdued

A lesson for U.S. police? Probably not. They already know to do their dirty deeds out of the public eye

This crowd of soccer fans WON’T stand for such wanton use of force and power, as these 4 goons quickly learn. After looking closely, you can see one motion to the other who is jabbing with a blackjack to tone it down, but it’s too late, the crowd has seen, and the crowd will not sit idly by as witnesses to such behavior, and decide to dish it back.

The game was in Switzerland, a local team versus a major team from Portugal (Benfica), a Portuguese supporter ran with a sign onto the pitch saying that his family was supporting the referee, who happened to be Portuguese too.. He was caught and got a beating from PRIVATE SECURITY (men in black), who forgot that most of the spectators were Portuguese supporters too.



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Sunday, September 22, 2013

NJ Prosecutor Blocks Release of Man Who Claims Wrongful Conviction

Prosecutors Get 30 Days To Prove He Wasn't Jailed 2 Decades For Nothing

Hope turned to disappointment inside a New Jersey courtroom on Thursday. Lawyers for a man convicted of murder said new DNA testing proves he is innocent. However, prosecutors were not ready to say the man was wrongfully imprisoned, CBS 2’s Tony Aiello reported.

Gerard Richardson entered court with a smile for his family and hope in his heart that he might walk free. But it was not to be, much to his daughter’s dismay. "Sad, ‘cause I really miss him. I just wish this all was over with and he got his life back. That’s it," Vivian Nash said.

Richardson has served almost 20 years for a murder he has always insisted he did not commit.

It happened in 1994. A battered body was found in a ditch off Old Stage Coach Road in Bernards. Her name was Monica Reyes. She occasionally sold drugs for Richardson, Aiello reported.

At trial, bite mark expert Ira Titunik testified that a bite mark on the victim’s back was made by Gerard Richardson. The defense expert disagreed but the jury convicted.

"He stated on the day of his sentencing ‘I will never confess to what I didn’t do,’" said Kevin Richardson, Gerard’s brother.

Now years later a DNA test using new technology found the saliva taken from the bite mark did not come from Gerard Richardson.

"It was left by the person who killed her, and we have robust reliable DNA evidence that established a full profile that shows that person is not Gerard Richardson. This conviction cannot stand," said Vanessa Potkin of The Innocence Project.

On Thursday, Potkin asked a judge to toss the conviction, arguing that not only does the DNA point to someone else; the bite mark analysis is now viewed with suspicion by many in the legal field.

But prosecutor Tim Van Hise said not so fast. "It’s not as simple as counsel would have this court believe," Van Hise said.

Van Hise made clear he still believes Gerard Richardson is guilty. He said he will defend the bite mark analysis and will argue the DNA on the victim could have come from an accomplice.

Judge John Pursel clearly feels the case against Gerard Richardson is now very weak, but he gave the prosecutor 30 days to convince him otherwise.

The judge asked the defense if Gerard Richardson would make a bail application, a clear indication he is troubled by the case, Aiello reported.

Original report here



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Saturday, September 21, 2013

British cops could face charges over men's wrongful murder conviction

Watchdog hands files on 14 officers to prosecutors after senior judges find 'serious perversion of course of justice'

Fourteen police officers could face charges after senior judges found a "serious perversion of the course of justice" in a murder case in which five men were wrongly convicted over a gangland murder.

Information undermining the credibility of the main witnesses was kept from defence lawyers in a case that the court of appeal described as "shocking" when it quashed the murder convictions. On Friday the Independent Police Complaints Commission said files would be sent to prosecutors on 14 police officers, including four of the most senior in Britain.

In 2008, five men were convicted and received life sentences totalling a minimum of 135 years for the murder of Kevin Nunes, who was taken to a country lane and shot dead in a drugs feud in 2002.

The prosecution case was left so flawed that the Crown Prosecution Service did not oppose the convictions being overturned last year by the court of appeal, nor did it seek a retrial. The court of appeal judgment demanded action against those responsible, with senior judges saying that they hoped "appropriate measures will be taken against those responsible for what appears to us to be a serious perversion of the course of justice, if those measures have not already been taken.

It is to be hoped that lessons will be learned from this shocking episode," the court said. The murder was investigated by the Staffordshire force and concerns led the court to ask the Criminal Cases Review Commission to investigate. Its findings led to an investigation ordered by the IPCC, which was and carried out by the chief constable of Derbyshire, Mick Creedon.

The Guardian revealed in 2011 that four police chiefs, who had served in the Staffordshire force, were under investigation by the IPCC. They are the chief constable of Gloucestershire police, Suzette Davenport, Northamptonshire's chief constable, Adrian Lee, the West Midlands assistant chief constable, Marcus Beale, and the Staffordshire assistant chief constable, Jane Sawyers.

They were issued with regulation 14 notices in December, informing them that their conduct was under investigation, a measure not meant to imply any wrongdoing. All four police chiefs have continued their duties since the IPCC criminal investigation began, and they have been interviewed under criminal caution.

Failings in the case were revealed by a senior detective turned whistleblower and concerned a key prosecution witness, Simeon Taylor, who claimed to have witnessed the murder of Nunes. In its judgment the court of appeal said the detective "states that there was a decision to deliver Simeon Taylor to court to secure his evidence. He believed that Simeon Taylor was promised a substantial cash reward in return for his co-operation. He believed it amounted to an inducement. Those involved in this included those responsible for the handling of Simeon Taylor."

Original report here




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Friday, September 20, 2013

Perverted text sent by British auxiliary cop to schoolgirl, 14, after sending indecent picture of himself

A police community support officer has been jailed today for grooming a 14-year-old schoolgirl online and begging her to send him explicit pictures.

Liam Austerfield, 28, had over 300 exchanges with the child by text and Facebook when police seized his mobile phone, laptop and computer.

During one exchange he sent an indecent picture of himself and told her: 'If you want to see more you have to show more'.

Today Austerfield was jailed for 15 months at Sheffield Crown Court. He had admitted three counts of making indecent images of children, one count of possessing 13 indecent images of a child and one count of inciting a child to engage in sexual activity.

The 28-year-old was serving with the North West neighbourhood policing team in Wakefield, West Yorkshire, at the time of the offences.

He was suspended from duty while an investigation was carried out, prompted by concerns raised by the girl's parents, and he resigned from West Yorkshire Police in April.

The court heard that communication between Austerfield and the girl 'started on innocent terms but after a short period of time it turned to topics of a sexual nature'.

Michael Rawlinson, prosecuting, said: 'He requested naked images of her but the girl didn't send naked images despite his requests. 'She sent pictures of herself in her pyjamas and her bra and knickers instead. 'He knew full well how old this complainant was.'

Jailing Austerfield, Judge Roger Keen QC said: 'Instead of behaving properly, you abused the trust the community placed in you in order to gain sexual satisfaction.

'You have brought a great deal of distress to your own family but more importantly your actions have had a profound effect on your victim and her family.

'Your position if further aggravated because of your work at the time. 'You corrupted this girl and as a consequence her life has been greatly affected. 'Your position in the community takes this well outside the appropriate guidelines.'

After police seized his mobile phone and laptop following his arrest on March 21, they discovered Austerfield had searched the internet for 'pre-teen taboo'.

Mr Rawlinson said Austerfield claimed to be 'heavily intoxicated when the worst of the incidents took place and could recall very little about them'.

Describing the victim impact statements written by the girl's parents, Mr Rawlinson said: 'Her mum feels that the incident has destroyed her family due to the stress of it. 'She has separated from the girl's father following so many arguments and she blames herself for what happened. She feels it has set her daughter back a very great deal.'

Alison Dorrell, mitigating, said: 'This is a serious breach of trust. He was well aware from the outset of her age.

'He has lost his good character. He has lost a career he enjoyed and he now has no prospect of ever becoming a police officer. 'He has thrown away all the progress he at 28 had made in his life. His family are dismayed at having to support him through a crown court case.

'He spent two years working in the community and he had been well thought of.'

Original report here




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Thursday, September 19, 2013

British cop illegally used police computer to research a woman he fancied... but was caught when he accidentally accessed details of the wrong person

A police officer illegally used a force computer to access details of a woman he fancied, but was caught out when he accidentally entered the details of the wrong person.

Thomas Grant, a Sussex Police constable since 2008, was looking for police records on a woman he was sending text messages to. But Brighton Magistrates’ Court heard today that the 24 -year-old had accessed the records of someone with a similar name - a witness to criminal damage.

Juliet Evans, prosecuting, said: 'He fancied her and thought he might have some luck in dating her. 'He was using the police computer for non-policing purposes.'

The Sussex Police constable searched the woman's records in the early hours of May 1 while he was on duty at Bognor Police Station.

He initially denied any wrongdoing but eventually admitted obtaining data without the consent of the data controller, an offence under the Data Protection Act 1988.

Miss Evans said the woman he researched did not know Grant - who has since resigned. She said she was upset when she found out what he had been doing.

Kim Goodall, defending, said Grant's actions were 'stupid' and he had 'ruined' his career. She added: 'He's ended his career in the police force. He knew he would be caught - he apologises.' He was fined £800.

Speaking after the hearing Grant, of Bognor, West Sussex, said: 'I'm just glad that this is over. 'I just want to thank my friends, family and former colleagues for supporting me.'

Sussex Police Detective Sergeant Niall Moloney said: 'The misuse of force computers or systems by either officers or staff for anything other than a policing purpose is totally unacceptable and is not tolerated by Sussex Police. 'Any allegation of this kind is investigated thoroughly.

'Members of the public can be assured that their details are safe with us. 'Anyone who attempts to undermine that confidence will be dealt with swiftly and robustly.' [An £800 fine is robust??]

Original report here




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Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Married British cop jailed for having sex with victim of domestic violence after string of lewd texts

A predatory police constable who had intercourse with a victim of domestic violence while on duty was jailed for 15 months today. Jordan Powell, 31, would call at the woman’s home in the middle of the night while he was on duty to have sex with her.

Powell, a married father of two with West Mercia Police, had a 'large sexual appetite', which led him to repeatedly cheat on his wife.

The day before Powell was arrested in July last year he sent - as he arrived at work - text messages simultaneously to three women asking for sex, Gloucester Crown Court heard.

Powell was caught when his own force became suspicious and set a trap using an undercover female officer. The officer, known only as Roxy, pretended to be a victim of domestic violence and rang police in June last year for assistance.

Powell was dispatched to her home - fitted with covert recording equipment - to investigate her complaint. Within a couple of hours of leaving Roxy’s home in Kidderminster, Powell had sent her flirtatious text messages from his personal mobile phone, the court heard. Powell sent text messages containing kisses and flirtatious comments, asking whether Roxy had a 'smile on that pretty face'.

The conversation then became more sexual, prosecutor Sarah Regan said.

Powell, who joined West Mercia Police in 2004, received a warning for gross misconduct in 2008 for having sex while on duty with a victim of crime.

Miss Regan said that in May last year Powell attended the home of a woman who was making a complaint about a breach of a non-molestation order by her husband. Over the following days he sent her a string of suggestive text messages from his personal mobile phone.

Miss Regan said that six days after Powell had first taken her statement, they slept together for the first time.

Powell sent the woman one text, which read: 'Let me come round now. Got 15 minutes. You want me inside you now.'

She replied: 'You are so naughty. On duty as well.'

The court heard that the woman’s self-confidence has been left 'shattered' by Powell’s actions. 'He has in my eyes behaved even more appallingly than my husband,' the woman said in a statement. 'He has abused his position as a police officer.'

Three other similar charges against a third woman and an allegation of sexual assault - that Powell used a pen to expose a fourth woman’s breasts when he took her statement - were ordered to lie on file.

Kevin Baumber, defending, said Powell’s wife, who was in court, was standing by him despite his numerous affairs. 'He had a large sexual appetite which is something he has recognised and addressed since,' Mr Baumber said. 'He has recognised there is something wrong with his sexual appetite and has started counselling.

'He has reflected upon his own behaviour and is determined to change. There will not be a repeat of his behaviour. 'He offers an apology.'

Mr Baumber described the university business graduate as a 'kind and attentive father'.

'In his role as a police officer he has always been hard-working. He had before these matters been held in high regard and passed his sergeants exam,' Mr Baumber added.

Jailing Powell, Judge Jamie Tabor QC said his offending had 'undermined public confidence' in the police. 'It is vital that law-abiding members of the public feel they can trust those that are empowered to protect them,' the judge told him. 'You were preying on those in society who you were paid to protect. This is a course of conduct over a considerable period of time.

'Your sexual appetite was certainly out of control. Your behaviour has undermined the confidence the public holds in the police. 'Police officers who breach that trust and take advantage of vulnerable people are acting contrary to the oath they took.'

Judge Tabor said that Powell, whom he described as a sexual predator, had not changed his ways even after receiving a warning five years ago and said it was fortunate for him that his court was 'not a court of morals'.

'You have not curtailed your sexual behaviour at all. You are an intelligent man who must have known what you were doing was committing criminal offences,' he said.

'When a complaint was made, your superiors decided to set a trap for you. You had not chosen Roxy as a victim but when the opportunity presented itself you couldn’t resist. 'Such behaviour undermines public confidence.

'Your behaviour has been predatory but you didn’t go out looking for victims but rather waited for them.'

West Mercia Police said Powell, who had been suspended from duty following his arrest, would face a misconduct hearing.

The court heard that last month Powell wrote to formally tender his resignation but the deputy chief constable rejected it.

Original report here




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Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Illegal police attack on guns again

It’s happened again: two men open-carrying AR-15s in public were stopped, and according to the audio and video evidence documenting the call, they were treated rudely by police.

Read and pay attention to how the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel frames the encounter:

"Two men heading to Appleton’s downtown farmers market with AR-15 rifles slung over their shoulders and handguns in holsters swiftly attracted the attention of police officers last weekend.

Now, they’re attracting attention across the Internet, with some gun rights advocates expressing outrage that the pair were held at gunpoint and handcuffed, while others voice frustration at what they consider a foolish and dangerous stunt.

The men, Charles Branstrom, 27, and Ross Bauman, 22, ultimately were released without tickets or charges.

Branstrom recorded the confrontation with Appleton Police. About six minutes into the recording, one officer sees Branstrom’s camera, confiscates it and attempts to turn it off — but stops only the video. The device continues recording audio for about 45 minutes.

Gun rights advocates think the police acted inappropriately.

"I would never blame police for following up on ‘man with a gun’ calls, but they still have to behave within the limits of the law and abide by people’s constitutional rights," said Nik Clark, president of Wisconsin Carry, Inc., a gun rights group. "I believe the police were acting outside of their legal authority when they pointed guns at the individuals and involuntarily detained them."

Milwaukee’s police chief ridiculed the pair.

"In a post Aurora-Newtown environment, it’s a reckless and irresponsible stunt to strut around in public with an assault-style weapon and think police should assume you’re well-intentioned," Milwaukee Police Chief Edward Flynn said Thursday, referring to mass shooting incidents in Colorado and Connecticut.

"It’s just absurd," Flynn said. "This has nothing to do with the Second Amendment. These characters and those who support them should be ashamed of themselves."

Appleton police declined to comment beyond a prepared statement issued after a Journal Sentinel inquiry Thursday. It said police responded after getting calls about the men from concerned citizens, briefly detained the men and released them after determining they intended no harm and were in legal possession of the guns. The department "has no ongoing investigation and considers the issue resolved," the statement reads."

It would be irresponsible for police to not respond to what were likely multiple calls about "men with assault rifles" walking through the city. That is abnormal behavior, and the police need to check the situation out because it is, after all, their chosen career to "serve and protect."

Milwaukee Police Chief Edward Flynn is well-known as a vocal opponent of both concealed and open carry who has (with one exception) always been a chief in cities where the citizens are kept disarmed and compliant. Do you think his dismissive attitude towards armed citizens has trickled down to the cops on the street? Listen to the call, and judge for yourself.

If the two men were being as compliant as they seemed to be in their recordings (which captured next to no useful video, but which did a good job of documenting most of the audio), the police went too far in pulling their sidearms to "cover" men who never acted in a threatening manner (the AR-15s were on their backs), cuffing them, and threatening to arrest them for being well within their rights.

It is also chilling that these officers apparently felt the need to stop recording the event. I can think of no legal justification for law enforcement officer to attempt to cover up their actions during the performance of their official duties.


Original report here




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Monday, September 16, 2013

America's trigger-happy cops again

Having a big, fit and very black man running at you would be rather nerve-racking but the cop should have held his fire until the guy got to within speaking distance

Police in North Carolina shot and killed a man running toward them Saturday morning -- but he may have just been looking for help after a car wreck.

Officers responded to a "breaking and entering" 911 call at a home in Charlotte. The homeowner told dispatchers that a man had been knocking on her door repeatedly.

Police say that when they got to the scene, a man matching the caller's description ran toward them. One of the officers fired his stun gun, but it was "unsuccessful." Another officer then opened fire, police said.

Jonathan Ferrell died at the scene. He was shot several times. He was unarmed.

Police now believe Ferrell was seeking assistance after crashing his car.

Ferrell was 24 and a former football player at Florida A&M University. Police found a wrecked car nearby, indicating that he may have been trying to get help.

"It was a pretty serious accident," Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Chief Rodney Monroe told CNN affiliate WSOC. The crash was so severe that authorities now believe Ferrell had to climb out of the back window, another affiliate WBTV reported.

He ran to the closest house for help. The woman inside thought it was her husband. "To her surprise, it was an individual that she did not know or recognize," Monroe told WBTV. "She immediately closed the door, hit her panic alarm, called 911."

The man stood outside and "continued to attempt to gain the attention of the homeowner," a police statement said.

Police have charged Officer Randall Kerrick with voluntary manslaughter -- a felony. He turned himself in Saturday afternoon and was being held early Sunday on a $50,000 bond.

There were three officers at the scene, but Kerrick was the only one to use a gun. He fired several times, police said.

"The evidence revealed that Mr. Ferrell did advance on Officer Kerrick and the investigation showed that the subsequent shooting of Mr. Ferrell was excessive," police said in another statement issued late Saturday night. "Our investigation has shown that Officer Kerrick did not have a lawful right to discharge his weapon during this encounter. "

All three officers have been placed on paid leave.

A charge of voluntary manslaughter means the person used excessive force in self-defense, or carried out the act without intent to kill.

Friends expressed grief on social media, calling Ferrell a "brother" and demanding "justice."

Original report here




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Sunday, September 15, 2013

The enforcement caste’s war on women

Under what circumstances, if any, is it appropriate for two large men to throw a small woman face-down into a paved street, shattering her face? Is such an act justified because the woman is drunk and unpleasant? Does the moral nature of the assault change because of the way the assailants are dressed?

If the woman is suspected of a non-violent crime, and wasn’t cooperative when police arrested her, are we permitted to conclude that she "had it coming"? Are police officers entitled to dispense summary punishment, or retaliatory violence, against uncooperative suspects?

On August 10, Christina West of Tallahassee, Florida – who was under the influence of alcohol and painkillers -- drove her car off a road and into a house. Officers Christopher Ormerod and Matthew Schmidt arrived to investigate the crash. After West performed poorly on several sobriety tests, she was handcuffed and placed in a police car. The 44-year-old woman was so small that she managed to slip out of the cuffs, and when the officers attempted to shackle her again she refused to cooperate.

This led to an incident that – after being fed through the Regime’s euphemism-generation filter -- was described in the media as a "struggle," rather than an act of gang violence.

As recounted in Ormerod’s official report, "West aggressively resisted by kicking her leg behind her and striking Officer Schmidt in the leg." That action was violent, but resistance, by strict definition, cannot be "aggressive."

Ormerod and West then "lifted West off the car so that she could be laid on the ground to prevent her kicking." While she was being hoisted into the air, West fired a desperate kick behind her that, according to Ormerod, hit him in the genitals.

Since he is a police officer, we can assume that the target was quite small, which means that West’s uncanny aim belied her intoxicated condition. Ormerod explains that he and Schmidt then "pulled" West "to the ground so that she was laying [sic] on her stomach," an action that somehow resulted in the woman suffering severe contusions and broken bones in her face.

Ormerod’s austere description doesn’t do justice to the actual event, as captured in the dashcam video. The officer can be heard snarling: "Don’t you f***ing touch me!" before slamming West’s face into the side of a police car, and then onto the pavement.

In his daintily-worded report, the officer carefully omitted mention of that outburst, which demonstrated that by face-planting West he was engaged in retaliation or summary punishment, rather than an attempt to control a suspect. He described the victim’s reaction to the assault as "screaming in rage and violently grasping with her hands at me" in what he described as an attempt "to grab for my genital area" – without mentioning that this happened after he and Schmidt had gang-tackled the woman and slammed her face into the concrete.

When West complained about the injury to her face, her uniformed assailant dismissively replied: "You’re fine."

A total of six officers eventually arrived to deal with the bloodied 5 foot six-inch, 130-pound woman. An examination at a local hospital revealed that West – far from being "fine" -- had a broken orbital bone around her right eye.

Despite the fact that West’s face was wrecked, and her assailants were unscathed, the victim was charged with "battery on a law enforcement officer" and "aggravated assault on an officer." Those charges were dropped, but the Tallahassee PD insists that tag-team face-planting of the partially handcuffed woman was "appropriate."

It’s worth noting that Ormerod was previously cleared by the department after using a Taser to punish a teenager who had stepped in front of the officer’s patrol vehicle. When the officer yelled at the 15-year-old to be more careful, the teenager fled into his home. Rather than leaving well enough alone, Ormerod – no doubt out of zeal for the youngster’s safety – pursued the teenager into the house, tasered him, and then arrested him for resisting arrest.

This peculiar form of solicitude for citizen "safety" appears to be commonplace within Florida’s law enforcement caste. A similar display of concern by Florida Trooper Dan Cole left a 19-year-old woman in a persistent vegetative state.

Danielle Maudsley was arrested in September 2011 after fleeing from the scene of two accidents. Cole handcuffed Maudsley and took her to an FHP station in Pinellas Park. While the trooper filled out some paperwork, Maudsley – who was handcuffed but not secured – dashed out of the building. Cole gave pursuit for as long as his level of conditioning permitted, which apparently was no longer than two or three seconds. Despite the fact that he was within tackling distance of Maudsley, Cole drew his Taser and shot her in the back.

The Taser strike felled the 19-year-old woman, causing her to spin one hundred eighty degrees, then fall backwards and hit her head on the concrete sidewalk. A dashcam video captured the entire incident, including the percussive, brittle sound of Maudsley’s head colliding with concrete.

"I can’t get up," Maudsley gasped – the last words she will ever speak. She immediately lapsed into a coma. The injury left her brain-dead, as insensible as the tax-fattened clod who left her in that condition.

During the official inquiry, Cole insisted that it was necessary to use a Taser because "she was already outrunning me" and had to be stopped before she could dash into traffic – where, presumably, she could suffer an injury that might leave her brain-dead. This might have been prevented had the officer – who outweighed the slender girl by the better part of two hundred pounds -- been willing to break a sweat.

"Tell me that’s not excessive force," protested Cheryl Maudsley, the victim’s mother. "I’m not saying she was an angel, but she didn’t deserve that. He couldn’t reach out and grab her? He was an arm’s length away."

Going "hands-on," however, posed unacceptable risks, Cole protested during an official inquiry by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

"I [couldn't] just jump on her," Cole maintained. "I’m three times her weight. If we go down, one or both of us is going to get hurt. The Taser is the intermediate weapon of choice."

Although routinely described as a "non-lethal" alternative to firearms, the Taser is regarded as a deadly weapon when it is seized by a criminal suspect and used against a police officer. Assuming that it is properly described as an "intermediate" option in the use-of-force continuum, Cole’s decision to employ it against a tiny, handcuffed, non-violent misdemeanor suspect is an unmistakable violation of the guidelines contained in the Florida Highway Patrol’s policy manual.

Use of a Taser (referred to as a Conducted Electrical Weapon, or CEW) by a trooper, the manual states, is appropriate only in dealing with a suspect who "(a) Has the apparent ability to physically threaten the [officer] or others; or, (b) Is preparing or attempting to flee or escape. (NOTE: Fleeing cannot be the sole reason for deployment of the CEW)." (Emphasis in the original.)

The manual also dictates that "Unless exigent circumstances exist, members shall not use the device in the following situations: (a) In a punitive or coercive manner; (b) On a handcuffed or secured prisoner."

While Maudsley was obviously not "secured," she was handcuffed. Cole’s laziness or lack of conditioning did not constitute an "exigent" circumstance. His Taser use was punitive, not defensive.

Despite the fatal consequences to a non-violent offender who posed no threat to anybody, Cole – an amalgam of arrogance and adipose tissue -- defiantly told the inquiry that he would do exactly the same thing in the future under the same circumstances. After reviewing the incident, both the Florida Highway Patrol and the Florida State Department of Law Enforcement concurred with Cole, ruling that his actions – though a violation of established guidelines -- were "justified," as they almost always are.

Despite the fact that she suffered terribly at the hands of Officers Ormerod and Schmidt, Christina West was spared a life-ending injury of the kind inflicted on Danielle Maudsley – something that could have happened very easily when her unprotected head was driven into the pavement by two large males. Although the injury to West’s right eye was considerable, she’s still able to see.

Monique Hernandez of Beaumont, California wasn’t nearly as fortunate: As a result of her encounter with Police Officer Enoch Clark, will never see her ten-year-old daughter again.

On February 21, 2012, Clark conducted a traffic stop involving Hernandez after receiving a call about a domestic dispute involving two of her relatives. According to witnesses, Hernandez’s sister got into a fight with her boyfriend during a child custody exchange. When the boyfriend attacked the young woman, Hernandez intervened to protect her sister, then fled with the woman and her 2-year-old daughter.

After Officer Clark arrived, he demanded that Hernandez undergo a sobriety test – then claimed that the Breathalyzer unit had malfunctioned. When Hernandez asked about the test results, Clark ordered her to shut up, then he slammed her head against the hood of his car. After yanking one of the uncooperative victim’s arms behind her back, the officer pulled out a "non-lethal" JPX device – a weapon that uses a gunpowder charge to fire a stream of pepper spray at roughly 400 miles an hour – and fired it at her head.

The JPX weapon is designed for use at a distance of 6 to 15 feet, and training presentations depict it being used against armed targets. Promotional literature for the JPX weapon – which isn’t categorized as a firearm, because it doesn’t fire a projectile – boasts of "devastating stopping power."

Clark’s attorney insists that the officer’s attack was justified in order "to gain compliance and in defense of his person." The JPX is not designed to induce "compliance," but rather to incapacitate a targeted person at a distance. Clark – who was armed and wearing body armor — fired it into Hernandez’s temple from less than a foot away, blowing apart her right eye and leaving the left with severe, irreparable damage.

Anyone who had undergone rudimentary training with the JPX would understand that the weapon should not be fired directly into the head or face of a non-violent suspect. Clark’s actions demonstrated that his intention was not to gain "compliance," but rather to inflict summary street punishment for "contempt of cop."

Hernandez was taken to the hospital and never charged with an offense. Following an investigation by the county Sherriff’s office, a grand jury indicted Clark on four felony charges: Assault under color of authority, assault with a less lethal weapon, use of force causing severe bodily injury, and assault with force likely to cause severe bodily injury.

Clark, who was chairman of the local police union, was initially placed on administrative leave, and then quietly fired by the department. With the help of the most tenacious defense attorneys the police union can afford, Clark has filed a series of dilatory motions and has yet to stand trial.

Neither the presiding judge nor the DA’s office has displayed an abundance of zeal to see Clark prosecuted for a sadistic crime of violence against an innocent woman. But this is to be expected. Any time a woman is left disfigured, disabled, or dead as a result of state-authorized violence, the official view is that the victim must have done something to deserve what she received.

Original report here




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Saturday, September 14, 2013

Britain's un-serious fraud squad again

Thousands of confidential documents lost by the Serious Fraud Office have turned up at a cannabis farm, it emerged last night.

The fraud squad last month admitted it had lost 32,000 documents, 81 audio tapes and other electronic media from 59 sources after accidentally putting them in the post.

The data included the identity of a major prosecution witness in a £43billion fraud case against defence giant BAE Systems.

But now it has emerged the files were put in a self-storage warehouse in London’s Docklands, which was also used to house stolen goods and grow cannabis.

Shadow attorney general Emily Thornberry said she was ‘profoundly shocked’ after being told about the epic blunder.

It is the latest in a long list of episodes that have called into question the competence of the fraud office, which receives £31million of taxpayers’ money annually.

Mrs Thornberry, the Labour MP for Islington South and Finsbury, said: ‘They sent it to the wrong person, who put it into storage.

'I understand there was stolen property in the warehouse, and there was also a cannabis factory. You couldn’t make it up.’

In a written parliamentary answer to Mrs Thornberry, solicitor general Oliver Heald revealed the SFO had spent more than £10,000 finding the files. It claims it has recovered 98 per cent of them.

Officials are now contacting all of the individuals affected by the loss and have ensured the same mistake will not happen again.

Last month, the SFO said 98 per cent of the material had been found and were quick to emphasise that none of the data which had been lost between May and October 2012 related to national security.

Ms Thornberry said the SFO had been riddled with problems for a number of years, as she blamed the Government for cutting the SFO’s budget by 27 per cent.

She added: 'I want the SFO to succeed and this is another dreadful mistake. 'I understand that they are doing their utmost to make sure something like this never happens again.

'I’m really shocked, I’m profoundly shocked by this, and I am quite sure that members of the public who were giving assistance to the authorities, they certainly never expected their identities to be abused in this way.

'If (the identities are) found in this paperwork and it ends up in a storage facility which is being used for crime I think it just makes it so much worse. I am almost lost for words.'

'The fact of the matter is we get one huge mistake after another. I don’t think it makes life any easier for them also to be subjected to 27 per cent cuts - I point the finger of blame at the Government.

'They are the ones that have made the decision. I don’t think that makes their functioning any easier. I don’t think it makes the new person in charge’s job any easier at all. 'Clearly that doesn’t help them.'

The SFO’s investigation into BAE began in 2004, prompted by allegations concerning the company’s dealings with Saudi Arabia.

Eventually it was looking into contracts between BAE and a number of other countries including the Czech Republic, Romania and South Africa.

The Saudi Arabia investigation was discontinued in December 2006 in the interest of national security.

BAE was also under investigation in the US in 2010, but reached a settlement with the American Department of Justice, paying £255.7 million and pleading guilty to one charge of conspiring to make false statements to the US government.

The FTSE 100 giant was also fined £500,000 at Southwark Crown Court in December 2010 after admitting it had failed to keep adequate accounting records in relation to the defence contract for the supply of an air traffic control system to the government of Tanzania.

An SFO spokesman said: 'The SFO has been taking this matter very seriously since identifying the loss and is in the process of contacting all the affected parties.

'We have ensured no further material can be wrongly returned to a source in an investigation and are implementing the recommendations from an independent review.'

Original report here




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Friday, September 13, 2013

Fat female cop backs down

Clumsy! It was just a normal kerb she tripped over

A policewoman who planned to sue the owner of a petrol station after tripping on a kerb while investigating a break-in has dropped her claim for damages.

PC Kelly Jones has dropped her pursuit of damages in the hope that 'wider concerns the public may have' can be resolved, the Police Federation said today.

Ms Jones faced controversy last year after she filed a civil claim against the garage owner in Thetford, Norfolk, demanding he reimburse the income she lost as a result of injuries sustained at the scene.

A statement given by the Federation which represents 124,000 police officers said today: 'Contrary to media reports at the time PC Jones was not seeking a vast compensation payment, rather she was seeking monies that covered the income she had lost as a result of her injury.

'She will bear the financial loss with a hope that the wider concerns the public might have can be resolved by government and the police service for the future.

'This case raised a very real issue in that police officers find themselves financially disadvantaged when injured at work, with no other option other than to seek financial redress just as any other employee in any other industry would in the same circumstances.'

Ms Jones filed the claim against Steve Jones, the owner of the Nun's Bridges Filling Station earlier this year, claiming he failed to ensure she was 'reasonably safe' when after responding to a reported burglary.

Mr Jones and the officer were checking the outside of the building after an alarm had gone off, when she was alleged to have fallen and hurt her leg and wrist in August 2012.

The garage owner welcomed today's news describing it as 'a victory for common sense'. He told Heart Norfolk radio: 'I now wish to move on and concentrate on running my business'.

The Police Federation, which represents members of the police up to the rank of chief inspector in England and Wales, funded the WPC Jones' legal costs last year.

A month after she filed her claim Home Secretary Theresa May told the Federation’s annual conference that she wanted to see an end to 'frivolous' legal claims.

She told delegates: 'I know that the vast majority of you are dedicated public servants of the best kind.

'But when a police officer sues a member of the public because they slipped on private property - that is simply not the sort of attitude police officers should exhibit. 'I want to work with the Federation to make sure police officers don’t make frivolous claims.'

Original report here




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Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Australian police guilty of misconduct, now facing criminal charges



Six northern NSW police officers are facing possible criminal charges and dismissal from the force after the Police Integrity Commission found they used excessive force against a young Aboriginal man at Ballina police station and then falsely claimed he had assaulted them.

In scathing findings tabled in Parliament on Tuesday, the commission criticised the officers involved in the January 2011 incident, finding them guilty of serious police misconduct and recommending a range of charges including assault, perjury and giving false evidence.

The incident began when Aboriginal man, Corey Barker, then 21, was arrested on Tamar Street, Ballina, for trying to obstruct police, and taken to the local police station.

The police officers involved claimed that when they attempted to move Mr Barker to a different cell he assaulted Senior Constable David Hill, punching him in the face.

However, the commission found that CCTV footage revealed there was no assault.

Rather, the commission found, the footage showed Mr Barker being slammed into a wall and a large metal object in the station's charge room by the officers, before they dragged him backwards by the arms along the ground into a cell.

Six of the officers who were either involved in the altercation or witnessed it, subsequently signed sworn statements accusing Mr Barker of assaulting police, statements which they then backed up with sworn evidence in court.

The case was thrown out by Ballina Local Court Magistrate David Heilpern, who referred the police's actions to the commission.

All of the officers – Senior Constable Hill, Constable Lee Walmsley, Constable Ryan Eckersley, Constable Luke Mewing, Senior Constable Mark Woolvern, and Robert McCubbin (now discharged) – conceded in the commission that the footage did not show any punch by Mr Barker.

Senior Constable Hill continued to maintain he was struck, a claim which the commission found "cannot be given any credence".

"Barker did not assault Hill in the Ballina Police Station on the night of 14 January 2011 and, in particular, did not punch, or even attempt to punch, Hill on the nose or face," the Commissioner, Bruce James, QC, said.

He found there was "no justification for the degree of force to which Barker was subjected".

"The police treatment of Barker can fairly be described as violent ... [the] method of taking Barker to the cell would have been acutely painful and was brutal."

Previous allegations that two of the officers kicked Mr Barker were not upheld.

The commissioner found that Senior Constable Hill was a witness "of little credibility", and he and the other five officers had lied in their statements and in court.

The commission recommended Senior Constable Hill, Constable Walmsley, Constable Mewing, Senior Constable Mark Woolvern, and Constable Eckersley be considered for charges of assault, and that all but Constable Eckersley also be considered for charges of perjury.

It recommended that the NSW Police Commissioner consider dismissing or alternatively demoting all six officers.

The officer in charge of investigating the fabricated assault on Senior Constable Hill, Senior Constable Gregory Ryan was cleared of any wrongdoing, as was another officer involved in the arrest, Senior Constable Kelly Haines.

Original report here




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Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Train police to protect pets

The killing of family pets by law enforcement needs to stop

"I raised my girls to trust police officers," said Brittany Moore back in April. "That if they ever got lost, to find a police officer and they would help them. Now they don’t trust them."

Moore spoke those words at the state capitol in Colorado, during a rally on behalf of legislation meant to reduce incidents in which police officers shoot family pets. Her testimony underscores a serious problem for anyone who supports good law enforcement (which everyone should).

Just as biased news reporting is not just bad journalism but also bad for journalism, because it undermines trust in the press, poor policing is bad for law enforcement because it undermines trust in law enforcement.

Moore’s German Shepherd, Ava, was shot in 2011 by an officer who claims the dog bared its teeth and lunged. Moore says otherwise. "The rawhide bone fell from Ava’s mouth and she made the most awful sound that I have ever heard, and then immediately fell to the ground. She tried to get up one last time, but her hind legs wouldn’t work because her spinal cord was severed. . . . Our golden retriever went over and was nudging Ava trying to help her. Ava fell back on the ground and laid there and died slowly. . . . I will never forget the sound of my daughter’s torturous cries that night."

Unfortunately, Moore’s story is not unusual. Cases of cops shooting dogs happen with discouraging frequency. According to a Justice Department report, "in most police departments, the majority of shooting incidents involve animals, most frequently dogs." The shootings happen despite the fact that "dogs are seldom dangerous," rarely bite, and even when they do, "the overwhelming majority of dog bites are minor, causing either no injury at all or injuries so minor that no medical care is required."

The trouble is that police officers all too often don’t understand dog behavior. As the report ("The Problem of Dog-Related Incidents and Encounters") explains: "an approaching dog is almost always friendly. A dog who feels threatened will usually try to keep his distance."

Yet because officers often don’t know that, you get situations such as the one a couple weeks ago in North Carolina, where a Mooresville police officer shot a dog being trained as a service animal after it wandered onto his property.

Then there was the case — reported the same day — in Leander, Texas: Police officers serving a warrant went to the wrong house, then shot the family pet, Vinny. Or another recent case in which a Los Angeles officer shot a dog outside the owner’s home for reasons "not immediately clear," according to news accounts. Or another recent case in which a St. Louis police officer shot his partner (yes, really) while aiming at "what they said was an aggressive-looking dog."

Aggressive-looking? That’s an awfully low standard for pulling a trigger, isn’t it?

There are two opportunities to address this issue: after an unnecessary shooting, or before one.

After-the-fact remedies include lawsuits — with all the attendant expense, turmoil, and negative publicity those can entail. (Brittany Moore has filed a federal lawsuit over the death of Ava.) Another remedy involves criminal prosecution. In December a Denver, Colo., police officer was charged with aggravated animal cruelty — a felony — after he shot a dog that had been restrained on a catch-pole.

Prosecutions are better than impunity, and they might send a message. But they represent a far-less-than-optimal solution.

The best answer is to train police officers on how to avoid shooting family dogs. That’s what Leander authorities did, bringing in trainer Jim Osorio after Vinny got shot. "I teach them dog behavior, types of aggression, how to approach dogs, and what types of tools are out there other than a firearm," Osorio told Texas TV station KVUE.

Here in central Virginia, Henrico County trains officers on dog behavior through video, demonstrations, and instruction from animal-control officers. But not all departments around the state are so enlightened. So Virginia lawmakers should introduce a measure like the Dog Protection Act that passed in Colorado last year.

The measure stipulates that Colorado policy is "to prevent, wherever possible, the shooting of dogs by law enforcement officers." It requires every officer to be trained in handling domestic animals. The training is provided by a webinar created by volunteers — including animal-welfare experts — that costs the state nothing. And the law requires officers to let pet owners or animal-control personnel "control or remove a dog from the immediate area in order to permit a local law enforcement officer to discharge his or her duties" whenever that is feasible.

David Balmer, a Colorado state lawmaker who co-sponsored the measure, says the key to winning passage was cooperating with law-enforcement agencies — rather than simply trying to ram a mandate down their throats.

"We met with sheriffs and police departments from across Colorado," he says, "incorporating their suggestions into the early drafts of our bill. At the beginning, we faced stiff opposition from law enforcement. As we met with them over and over, they eventually dropped their opposition and began helping us write the bill."

The Colorado bill would make a good model for the commonwealth — and, for that matter, the country. It would save some dogs’ lives. It would keep some departments from getting sued — and perhaps keep a couple more partners from getting shot. And it would increase people’s trust of the police they see on patrol. What’s not to like?

Original report here




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Monday, September 09, 2013

From the files of the Nineveh PD

Life was uncomplicated for emissaries of the Assyrian Empire. They weren’t burdened by conscience, or hindered by the need to make moral distinctions. Their role was to extract tribute for the king in Nineveh, destroy all potential resistance to his rule, and maintain order. To that end they dispensed aggressive violence without pretense or pity, and didn’t flinch from targeting women – including expectant mothers.

At some point within the last decade or so, American police adopted a modified version of the Assyrian model of law enforcement. This helps to explain why it is now considered permissible for a police officer to assault an uncooperative but non-violent pregnant woman.

Rochester, New York Police Officer Lucas Krull was recently captured on videoassaulting a 21-year-old expectant mother named Brenda Hardaway, who had allegedly interfered with the arrest of her 16-year-old brother, Romengeno.

Police claim that they had arrived at the house to investigate a “disturbance” involving several people in the neighborhood. By the time they arrived, the fight – assuming that one had taken place – had dissipated. Rather than making sure nobody was hurt and then leaving, the police claimed that “tumultuous behavior” justified their involvement.

That “behavior” consisted of 16-year-old Romengeno calmly asserting his rights by refusing to speak to a police officer and denying him consent to come onto his property. The government-employed gangster replied by snarling that the young man was a “smartass” and placing his hands violently on the teenager. That provoked his sister to come to his defense. Krull claims that Brenda grabbed a can of pepper spray and ordered the police to leave.

That’s when Krull escalated the incident by assaulting Brenda. As Krull threw her up against a vehicle, Brenda cried out, “Get off of me, you’re going to kill my baby” just seconds before the officer punched the woman in the back of the head and hurled her face-first to the ground. In the video, the victim is heard moaning, “My baby, oh my baby” as the officer continues his assault, kneeing her in the back and forcing her to put weight on her stomach.

Rochester PD Chief James Sheppard defended the actions of his trained simian, praising him for using “tremendous restraint.” He blamed Miss Hardaway for the assault she suffered, and described the blow to the back of her head as a “distractionary” strike. “When we receive resistance from an individual, we may strike you in a way that changes your channel, so to speak,” the chief smugly explained. “In a way that changes your resistance.”

And when this tactic fails to subdue a pregnant woman, the Assyrian mercenaries under Sheppard’s supervision feel entitled to throw her face-down onto a sidewalk.

Romengeno was charged with two counts of disorderly conduct and a single count of resisting arrest. Miss Hardaway was booked on several charges, including felonious assault on a law enforcement officer.

It’s worth remembering that all of this was supposedly justified because the police were dealing with “tumultuous behavior” – that is, the impermissible offense called “contempt of cop.”

This is not the first occasion on which a Rochester Police Officer has inflicted gratuitous violence on a pregnant woman. In an earlier incident, a young pregnant girl was kneed in the stomach by one of three Rochester Police Officers who were restraining her during an arrest. The assailant had just been informed that the victim was an expectant mother – which apparently prompted him to target her for a blow to the abdomen.

A pregnant mother and an elderly woman were collateral victims in yet another episode involving “tumultuous” behavior. In April of last year, three Rochester cops swarmed and beat an innocent 25-year-old man named Jose Lugo, who was hospitalized after being subjected to “distractionary strikes.”

Lugo was walking on a street near the home where he had lived for several years when a Rochester police cruiser suddenly screeched to a halt next to him and decanted three officers – Kevin Flanagan, Joel Hasper, and Richard Doran – who seized the bemused young man and started to drag him away.

When Lugo asked why he was being abducted, the assailants threw him to the ground, kicked him, beat him, and tasered him at least three times. The thugscrum expanded to fifteen as reinforcements arrived. Lugo’s aunt, Annette Velzquez, pleaded with the officers to stop beating her nephew, then informed themthat she was going to call Chief Sheppard, whom she had met while working in the local school district. Backup officer Benjamin Mitchell responded by shoving Velazquez, stealing her cell phone, pepper-spraying her, and arresting her. A pregnant mother and an elderly mother were also attacked by Mitchell or his comrades.

While Lugo was in the hospital – where he was kept under armed guard by the gang that had inflicted his injuries — he was charged with “assaulting” the armed bullies who had put him there. This follows long-established procedure: Any time a police officer goes “hands-on” with an innocent victim, the victim is charged with a crime to consecrate the laying-on of hands as a ministration of official justice, rather than an act of criminal violence. Lugo had to endure six months of expensive and unnecessary legal harassment before being acquitted of the spurious charges.

Raven Dozier of DeKalb County, Georgia was likewise charged with a crime after she and her then-unborn child were assaulted by a police officer. Dozier, who was nine months pregnant, was present when police arrived to deal with a domestic dispute between her brother and his girlfriend. She had actually been urging her brother to cooperate with the officers – until the point at which they threw him to the ground, attacked him with “distractionary strikes,” and tasered him.

“He’s on the ground!” Dozier cried in horror. “You don’t need to do that!”

Displaying the refinement that typifies those who follow his loathsome profession, one of the officers snarled at Dozier to “Shut the f**k up!” To punctuate that directive, Officer Jerad Wheeler strode up to the sobbing and horrified woman and kicked her in the stomach with sufficient force to open a door.

Dozier’s brother was dragged out of the house, and several police conferred on the front porch. After one of them pointed out that they had a problem because Wheeler had “kicked a pregnant woman,” another observed that they had to “charge her with something.”

Her son, Levii, was born by way of an emergency C-section a few weeks later. Doctors informed her that the kick to her abdomen had been delivered with sufficient force to cause the child to defecate in utero – which means that he had the sh*t kicked out of him by a police officer before he was born.

A few minutes later, Dozier – who was recovering from the assault – was approached by the on-scene supervisor, who in a voice of affected concern said that the officers needed to take her photograph. He instructed her to put on her shoes and follow him outside. The instant Dozier crossed the threshold of her home, Dozier was arrested for “obstruction” and taken away in handcuffs to the DeKalb County Jail. The intake officer, who possessed some residual decency, refused to book the victim. He demanded that Dozier be taken to the hospital, where she passed a small issue of blood and amniotic fluid.

Wheeler is a police officer, which means he is trained to lie, given social permission to lie, and does so without hesitation. In his official report of the incident, Wheeler falsely claimed that he was dealing with an “aggressive” woman and that he used “a front push kick to the abdomen, as [I] was taught to do at the academy” – once again, as a “distractionary” strike. It was only after he arrested this “aggressive” woman that he supposedly noticed her condition. His potentially fatal act of criminal violence was ratified by his superiors, who blithely stated that it was “within policy.”

Police in Ocean City, Maryland also “acted appropriately” when they tackled and assaulted 24-year-old Dalima Ekundayo Ibironke Palmer, who was part of a group being investigated for – what else? – “tumultuous” behavior at a local beach. Palmer was nine months pregnant, a fact that was obvious to horrified onlookers who pleaded with the police as they wrestled with the woman. Shortly after being abducted, Palmer underwent an emergency c-section – but not before being hit with four charges, including assault on a police officer.In at least two separate cases, police have attacked pregnant women who went to them seeking help.

Jacksonville, Florida resident Melanie Williams, who was seven months pregnant, went into premature labor and called 911. Bleeding and dizzy, Williams decided not to wait for help and drove herself to the hospital, running a red light en route.

When she was pulled over, Williams frantically told the officers that she was losing her baby, sped off to the hospital, and dashed inside. However, the officers pursued her into the building, tackled her, and handcuffed her as she screamed, “I’m pregnant – someone help me, I’m bleeding!” One of the officers thoughtfully responded to that plea by putting a boot on her neck, and them stomping on her back, before she was dragged from the emergency room and put into a squad car. Thankfully, the child survived the vicious attack on her mother.

Valreca Redden was tasered by police in Dayton, Ohio when she visited a suburban police station to request that her one-year-old son be taken into protective custody. After speaking briefly with the police, she changed her mind and said, “I’m leaving.” Despite the fact that Redden wasn’t suspected of a crime, she was told that she wasn’t free to leave.

Officer Michael Wilmer grabbed the thirteen-month-old child with one arm and used the other to shove the mother to the floor. A second officer materialized and attempted to handcuff the screaming woman. When she resisted, he applied a taser to the back of her neck. Redden was charged with “resisting and obstructing”; as she was being checked into jail, one of the officers discovered that she was visibly pregnant.

Seattle resident Malaika Brooks was seven months pregnant when she was stopped for speeding while driving her 11-year-old son to school. When presented with the extortion note, Mrs. Brooks refused to sign it, assuming that by doing so she would be admitting guilt. The officer then attempted to arrest her for violating a “law” that defines such a refusal as a “crime.” Not surprisingly, Mrs. Brooks didn’t allow herself to be kidnaped without putting up as much resistance as possible.

Three officers were dispatched to put down this intolerable act of defiance. Officer Juan Ornelas twisted Brooks’ arm behind her back while Officer Donald Jones applied a taser to her left thigh, then her left arm, and then to her neck. Mrs. Brooks, who was left with permanent scars, was later found guilty of refusing to sign the ticket –a misdemeanor charge – and acquitted of resisting arrest.

Once again: The infraction that supposedly justified the use of electroshock torture was a misdemeanor.

Brooks filed a lawsuit against the City of Seattle and its Police Department. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the police had used excessive force. The court also decided that the officers enjoyed limited immunity because in 2004, when the incident occurred, it had not been clearly established that using a taser in “drive-stun” mode against a very pregnant woman suspected of a traffic violation constituted excessive force.

That ruling provoked a paroxysm of theatrical outrage from police unions, and an appeal by the officers who had attacked Brooks. In their petition of certiorari to the US Supreme Court (which was rejected), the officers whined that the ruling “effectively strips officers of the authority to use any pain compliance technique to control an actively resisting arrestee.”

In an amicus brief filed on behalf of the officers, the Los Angeles County Police Chiefs’ Association predicted that the limited exoneration granted to the thugs who assaulted Brooks (and her unborn child) threatened the existence of “the rule of law” itself.

“It won’t be long before the word spreads throughout society’s criminal underground that the Ninth Circuit hasn’t simply given them a `get out of jail free’ card, but a `never have to go to jail in the first place’ card,” insisted the brief.

In other words: Unless police have unrestricted “authority” to beat and torture pregnant women suspected of trivial offenses, lawful order will collapse. One can easily imagine similar claims being made by the revenue-gatherers and dispensers of punitive violence who were employed by Sargon II or some other ancient Assyrian ruler.

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