Sunday, January 31, 2016

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

Sexual Risk Orders are ripping apart liberty and due process

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Original report here

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Saturday, January 30, 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

By that point, Jaramillo had grown quiet.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Original report here

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Friday, January 29, 2016

After 30 years, a prisoner gets a chance for justice

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

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

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

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

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

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

The jury convicted him.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"I am going home!" he finally yelled.

Original report here

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Thursday, January 28, 2016

Illinois: A State that Steals

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

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

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

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

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

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

Original report here

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Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Negligent British cops finally dismissed

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Original report here

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Tuesday, January 26, 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mr Entwistle is angry that his family had nobody.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Original report here

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Monday, January 25, 2016

Ciara Meyer, 12, shot dead by police after her father allegedly threatened them with a rifle

The unfortunate girl had a total asshole of a father. Just the fact that the police were there to evict him shows how irresponsible he was.  He had presumably stopped paying his rent or was abusing the property.  And pointing a gun at a cop is the ultimate stupidity

CIARA Meyer died where she fell - in the doorway of her family’s home. The 12-year-old girl had been standing there, in a place she was supposed to be safe.

Her father Donald Meyer, 57, answered the door of the apartment, near Duncannon in Pennsylvania, when a police officer arrived to serve an eviction notice on the family on Monday.

Meyer allegedly had a rifle in his hand, and pointed it at the officer’s chest — the officer instinctively drew his own weapon and fired.

The bullet went through the father’s arm and struck his daughter. She was pronounced dead at the scene, her injuries so devastating she couldn’t survive, The Washington Post reported.

It was purely a twist of fate that Ciara was even there at the time. She was supposed to be at school but had been unwell and stayed home. The girl’s mother wasn’t at the scene.

A neighbour, who knew Ciara well, heard the shot. But it wasn’t until later she discovered who the victim was.  “I burst into tears,” she told WHTM-TV. “I can’t understand it; it’s horrible.”

The neighbour said her daughter was friends with the girl and she couldn’t face telling her what had happened.

“She’s not going to handle it very well,” she told WHTM. “It’s horrible. How do you tell a little girl that something like this happened? How do you explain that? I’m an adult, and I don’t understand it.”

Another neighbour told an ABC affiliate of their shock at the loss of a “very kind, sweet kid”.

“Here’s a little girl that doesn’t even have a chance to grow up and live her life.  “It’s horrible, absolutely heartbreaking.”

Police moved quickly to explain what happened. There have been 22 fatalities linked with police shootings this year alone, some of which could lead to criminal charges being laid against officers.

Constable Bill Stoeffler, a spokesman with the local police union, alleged Meyer initially opened the door, spoke briefly to the officer, then closed it.

It was when Meyer opened the door a second time he allegedly raised a rifle that was slung across his body, pointing it at the officer, who has been named as Constable Clarke Steel.

“The constable had no place to retreat to,” Constable Stoeffler told the Post. “He had to respond immediately.”

Stoeffler said Steele “managed to get his gun out and fire one round.” Then, he took cover and called for backup.

It was then police discovered Ciara was dead.  The officer is said to be “devastated”.  “He’s absolutely heartbroken over the outcome of this,” Stoeffler told the Post.

Stoeffler said Steele has not been charged with a crime but has suspended his work voluntarily during the routine police investigation.

Pennlive reported a rifle was found with a loaded chamber and a magazine containing 30 rounds.

Donald Meyer was treated in hospital for his injuries and has been charged with assault, aggravated assault, reckless endangerment and terroristic threats, according to court records.

He is being held in custody and will appear in court tomorrow.

Original report here

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Sunday, January 24, 2016

Former Miss GB policewoman faces inquiry into botched Poppi Worthington case as toddler's father could be charged over her death after CPS says it will review the case

The coverup over this matter was always extraordinary.  It now seems that the coverup was to protect an incompetent dickless Tracy

A former Miss GB policewoman is facing an inquiry into the botched Poppi Worthington case as it emerged the toddler's father could be charged over her death after the CPS reviews the case.

Detective Inspector Amanda Sadler - an ex-beauty queen who was Miss Great Britain 1989 - is to undergo a 'satisfactory performance' inquiry which could result in disciplinary action or dismissal.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) investigated three officers in connection with the botched case but said that just one of the serving officers faces disciplinary proceedings.

It comes as prosecutors said Poppi's father, Paul, 48, who has reportedly fled his home in Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria, after receiving death threats, could now face criminal charges after all.

A High Court family judge ruled this week that he raped or gravely assaulted his 13-month-old daughter before she collapsed and died at the family home in December 2012.

His family, who claim they are trying to get advice from miscarriage of justice experts to prove his innocence, said he is now 'hundreds of miles away' after fleeing Britain on Tuesday.

His sister Tracy told the Guardian: 'He has had to leave the country because of all of this. 'People keeping knocking on my door asking where he is thinking he is going to be wondering around my estate but he is not here.

'He has been in limbo for the past three years and there is absolutely nothing he can do because the agencies did not just fail Poppi, they failed him.

'Any evidence that could have proved that he was innocent was destroyed and now he is being accused of being a child rapist and paedophile, yet he has not been convicted of anything ... everything has been lost and there is no evidence at all that can prove my brother's innocence.'

The Crown Prosecution Service said it is now 'reviewing' its decision last year not to take any action over the case. Officials were provided with a file by Cumbrian police who were accused of carrying out a botched investigation.

The harrowing case has resurfaced following the findings of High Court Judge Mr Justice Peter Jackson following a legal campaign by the Daily Mail and other media groups.

In a fact-finding judgment released on Tuesday, his report said Poppi must have suffered terrible injuries following a sexual assault by her father at the family home in Barrow-in-Furness.

Paul Worthington is desperate to win back custody of his five other children, his sister said.

Tracy Worthington said the 48-year-old is a 'nervous wreck' after a judge this week ruled he carried out a sex attack on daughter Poppi before she died.

The 13-month-old's brothers and sisters were taken into care 10 months after her death in 2012 and are now all in long-term foster homes. But last night Miss Worthington, 45, said her brother was hoping he will be able to see them and eventually win custody.

Saying her brother is staying with friends 'hundreds of miles' from his home in Cumbria, she added: 'Paul just wants to prove he didn't do what they said he did. All he wants is to win back custody of his boys.'

The Tesco worker is said to be making plans to write a statement when a second inquest is held into Poppi's death. But experts said he could be compelled to attend the hearing. Mr Worthington has not been seen at his home in Barrow-in-Furness since the damning legal judgment was published on Tuesday.

The judge also ruled that a 'wholly inaccurate' assessment by social workers after Poppi's death led to a 10-month delay before her siblings were put into care.

He said an incompetent and 'deficient' investigation by Cumbria police meant the evidence that could have proved how she died was lost. Officers failed to begin any serious investigation for more than eight months.

The CPS said yesterday: 'Following the findings of the Family Court judge we are now reviewing the case.'

The Family Court has ignited an outcry over the way the authorities in Cumbria covered up the case. For three years the conduct of police, social workers and medical staff was hushed up, and at one stage the local council tried to persuade a court to ban all mention of the death until 2029.

In a furious Commons debate, MPs from all parties have demanded an outside police force be sent in to start a new criminal investigation.

The Daily Mail has now learned that Cumbria police defied recommendations by watchdog the IPCC to bring gross misconduct charges against several officers.

A report into the affair, handed to the force in May last year but not made available to the public, said there should be a full inquiry into DI Sadler, Detective Chief Inspector Mike Forrester and other officers.

Such hearings would have been held in public along with Home Office guidelines.

However, DCI Forrester has been allowed to retire without going before a public hearing, and DI Sadler now faces a lesser charge which, crucially, means that hearings can be carried out in secret.

Last night Mr Forrester said: 'They are trying to keep it all secret. I have said I would welcome a gross misconduct hearing for a chance to fight my corner and defend myself in public.'

As pressure piled on the force the county's Police and Crime Commissioner Richard Rhodes yesterday broke his silence and called the initial investigation 'inadequate and unacceptable'.

Labour MP John Woodcock condemned the failure to hear complaints against police officers in public.

But he said of the review by the CPS: 'This shows the public pressure to get justice for Poppi is making a difference, we need to keep pushing until we get the case properly re-opened.'

The IPCC said it will consider publishing its investigation report 'once all relevant proceedings have concluded'.

Ministers have so far declined to take any action against police or social workers before a second inquest into Poppi's death is held.

A farcical first inquest lasted just seven minutes and suppressed all information about her death.

David Roberts, the senior coroner for Cumbria, said he would decide on February 9 whether to hold a new inquest. If he decides to go ahead, the new hearing could be held later this year.

The review follows the High Court family judge's findings that Cumbria Police conducted no 'real' investigation for eight months into the death of the toddler.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) said an investigation into the force's handling of the tragic death had been completed and that one officer could face dismissal.

In a statement released yesterday, the IPCC said: 'As a result of the evidence we presented, one serving officer is to face a third stage performance meeting – which has the power of dismissal if gross incompetence is proved.

'A second officer has received management action. A third officer cited in the report has since retired from the force.'

Police previously said no one would face charges over the incident due to a lack of evidence.

Photos of Poppi's final resting place at Thorncliffe cemetery emerged yesterday as it was revealed that the doctor who first examined her after her death did not have English as his first language.

He used different words to describe her state in his initial notes and in his evidence to the court.

It had previously been revealed that the paediatrician was also not aware of the protocols for infant deaths and was unable to lead the forensic medical investigation correctly.

It wasn't until a Home Office Pathologist saw Poppi's body that concerns were raised about the circumstances of her death - but police did not act upon her concerns, believing she had 'jumped to conclusions'.

Original report here

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Saturday, January 23, 2016

Grand jury indicts police officer who shot unarmed, naked man

DECATUR, Ga. — An Atlanta-area grand jury on Thursday indicted a police officer who fatally shot an unarmed, naked man on charges including felony murder, aggravated assault, and violating oath of office.

The decision came after DeKalb County prosecutors presented their case against Officer Robert Olsen, who fatally shot Anthony Hill on March 9 while responding to a call of a naked man behaving erratically outside a suburban Atlanta apartment complex.

The family of the 27-year-old Hill says he was a US Air Force veteran who struggled with mental health problems.

DeKalb County District Attorney Robert James said a warrant had been issued for Olsen’s arrest, and he expected the officer to be taken into custody Thursday evening. After announcing the indictment, James said prosecutors presented evidence for eight hours.

Olsen was indicted on two counts each of felony murder and violating oath of office and one count each of aggravated assault and making a false statement.

A witness to the fatal police shooting of a naked, unarmed man in Chamblee, Ga., said Tuesday that the man had approached the officer with his hands in the air, prompting the frightened officer to shoot at close range with a handgun.

Olsen’s attorney, Don Samuel, said they are disappointed, but he noted that the defense was not allowed to present any of its witnesses, experts, or evidence and was not allowed to challenge any of the prosecution’s evidence.

Original report here

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Friday, January 22, 2016

Sorry seems to be the hardest word... Police break silence over Lord Bramall (but there's no sign of an apology)

Police issued an 891-word statement on the Lord Bramall case yesterday – that contained not one word of apology for their heavy-handed investigation into baseless child sex allegations.

The rambling letter was designed to explain why Scotland Yard would not say sorry for its probe into unsubstantiated claims that the 92-year-old war hero was a paedophile.

But last night Lord Bramall, the former head of the Army, attacked the force’s move as self-serving and ‘purely the police justifying themselves’.

He said, however, that he would accept an offer from a senior officer to meet him to explain what happened during their ten-month investigation.

Lord Bramall had his home raided by police last March in the presence of his dying wife after a suspected serial fantasist, known only as Nick, accused him of historical child sex abuse.

Nick had alleged that Britain’s most decorated living soldier abused him at a military base more than 30 years ago.

He has also claimed that a VIP paedophile ring, including ex-prime minister Edward Heath, former Tory Home Secretary Leon Brittan, and various ex-heads of the security services, killed three boys.

A senior detective provoked a storm after telling a press conference the allegations were regarded as being ‘credible and true’.

D-Day hero Lord Bramall was later interviewed under caution about the abuse claims, which were never corroborated, and spent nearly a year under suspicion.

But on Friday night, police grudgingly announced there was insufficient evidence to bring charges and that they had dropped the case.

Since then, Metropolitan Police boss Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe has been under mounting pressure from top political, military and police figures to make a full apology.

Yesterday Sir Bernard, who in October ducked an opportunity to explain to a committee of MPs his force’s failings in the bungled Leon Brittan rape inquiry – the former Cabinet minister was not told he had been exonerated before his death last year – left it to one of his subordinates to say why Lord Bramall does not deserve an apology.

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

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

She added: ‘However, if we were to apologise whenever we investigated allegations that did not lead to a charge, we believe this would have a harmful impact on the judgments made by officers.

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

Miss Gallan said she would meet Lord Bramall at the end of a wider police investigation into historical abuse claims, called Operation Midland, and explain the force’s conduct.

But last night Lord Bramall’s son, Nicholas, said his father should receive an ‘exoneration’ rather than an apology. He added: ‘I never doubted my father for one minute, nor did any of his family or friends.

‘I have been saddened beyond belief by the vicious attacks on his character and reputation. He does not deserve any of it.’

Anthony Stansfeld, the Police and Crime Commissioner for Thames Valley who served under Lord Bramall in the Army, said the Met statement was ‘dishonest’.

He added: ‘Having got it wrong, largely through gullibility and incompetence, they have a moral duty to apologise properly, not a private explanation.

'It needs an apology as public as their actions were in taking this case forward.’


    An explanation of why a senior detective described Lord Bramall’s accuser as being ‘credible and true’ at the start of the inquiry

    Why officers were never able to find any corroboration of alleged victim’s account

    ‘Disproportionate’ breakfast-time raid (involving 20 officers) on Lord Bramall’s home – in front of his dying wife

    Officers went to local village pub for lunch during search operation

    Lowest rank officers in the Met later sent to interview Lord Bramall

    Why it took ten months to investigate ‘baseless’ allegations

    Case against him was so weak that the Met could not justify asking Crown Prosecution Service to consider charges

    Why Assistant Commissioner Patricia Gallan – not Met Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe – made yesterday’s statement

Original report here

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Thursday, January 21, 2016

Police officer lucky to have had body camera, camera shows accusations of abuse  clearly false

STONE MOUNTAIN, Ga. - In this day and age, police officers are under intense scrutiny. Any complaint of bad conduct could trigger an internal investigation and possible disciplinary action. So our FOX 5 I-Team was intrigued when a DeKalb Fire department employee complained that a local police officer cussed her out. Dale Russell reports that things are not always as they seem.

Stone Mountain Police Sergeant Stephen Floyd was patrolling on a sleepy DeKalb County street early one morning when he spotted a car with an expired tag.

He ordered the driver to pull over. Routine stuff. But, what happened next was far from routine. This stop led to a citizen's complaint alleging a "hostile" Sgt. Floyd "threatened" a witness to the traffic stop.

This is how it unfolded. Sergeant Floyd approached the car to find DeKalb County Fire and Rescue Captain Terrell Davis behind the wheel.

And virtually the first words out of Captain Davis' mouth, "Do I need to call my chief or supervisor, your chief or Dr. Alexander?"

Dr. Alexander is DeKalb County's Public Safety director, Dr. Cedric Alexander.

But Sgt. Floyd ignores the name dropping and heads back to his car to write a ticket. There, he meets Krystal Cathcart, another DeKalb Fire and Rescue employee. Once again he hears about Dr. Alexander.

Cathcart asks, "Do we need to call Dr. Alexander?" Sgt. Floyd responds, "Call Dr. Alexander for what?"

What happened next led to Krystal Cathcart filing an official complaint claiming that Sergeant Floyd created "a sense of fear" at the scene, cussed her out twice, telling her to "back the f*** up" or he will throw her in the "back of my squad car."

DeKalb Fire Captain Terrell Davis backed up her written complaint saying Sgt. Floyd was "unprofessional, belligerent and disrespectful."

"If it's true, he's subject to reprimands, any kind of discipline including firing, termination." Bill McKenney, a former police officer and now a lawyer who represents police, looked at the case for us. He says this kind of complaint can be damaging to an officer. "Even if he's not fired, that's going to stay with him. That's part of his history."

But when Krystal Cathcart filed her complaint with Stone Mountain police, she must not have known that Sgt. Davis had a dashboard camera on his car and a body camera on his chest.

You heard the complaint about a threatening, hostile, and cussing officer. But the video tells a much different story.

    Sgt. Floyd: "You can wait over there."

    Krystal Cathcart: "Why."

    Sgt. Floyd: "Because I asked you to. This traffic stop had nothing to do."

    Krystal Cathcart: "I can stand right here."

    Sgt. Floyd: "No you cannot stand right there, and it’s the last time I’m going to ask you or I’m going to put you in the back of my car."

    Krystal Cathcart: "We’ll call Dr. Alexander."

    Sgt. Floyd: "That’s right, call Dr. Alexander, thank you very much." . . .

We showed the video to Bill McKenney. He called Floyd's handling of the roadside stop, "textbook."

McKenney says, "That's standard procedure. Law enforcement doesn't want someone close to them when conducting an investigation for safety reasons."

Stone Mountain police investigated the complaint. They showed the video to Krystal Cathcart and she changed her story, writing "I recant the error of Sgt. Floyd using profanity."

Stone Mountain Police Internal Affairs found Cathcart and Captain Davis "less than truthful in their written and recorded statements."

Stone Mountain Police Chief and the DeKalb Fire chief wouldn't talk to us on camera about the incident.

But Bill McKenney would. He said the officer was lucky the cameras recorded the stop, "Because, it shows that's a false report. It's clear."

Because Filing a false report is a crime, Bill McKenney thinks it could be turned over to the local district attorney for investigation.

DeKalb Fire Chief, D.D. Fullum, in a written statement, says the incident involves Stone Mountain Police but If  any other information arises and warrants further attention he will be happy to look into it further.

Original report here

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Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Police officer filmed shoving mum's throat multiple times

The family was Aboriginal and the mother was interfering with the arrest

WARNING, DISTRESSING: An Australian police officer has been filmed repeatedly pushing a woman by her throat, causing her to fall backwards.

Queensland police have been contacted by Yahoo7 for comment on this matter but declined at time of publication.

Loanna King, 17, said police allegedly entered the Boondal home, near Brisbane on Saturday night.

She claimed police barged inside and grabbed her younger brother, 16, while she was inside with her mother.

She said she was told he was being arrested for alleged domestic violence.

Miss King told Daily Mail Australia she had been left with scars on her legs after she was dragged out to the street by officers.

Footage shows her brother being pushed up against a wall while police handcuffed him.

His mother can be heard telling an officer that the boy is her son before she is told to ‘get back’ and is pushed in the shoulder.

Natasha starts to scream ‘that’s my son’ when the same officer shoves her in the throat with quite a bit of force.

Miss King told Daily Mail her two-year-old brother was left alone inside the home during the arrests.

The family was issued with a court order for obstructing police and they were released on to the street about 20 minutes later.

Since the video was shared on Facebook it has sparked outrage with many claiming it was an act of ‘police brutality’ and violence against a woman.

Original report here

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Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Irish nanny moves on after murder charges dropped

BALLINCOLLIG, Ireland — On most days, Aisling Brady McCarthy goes for a walk in this quiet, well-kept suburb with Addie, her terrier lab.

Addie was about the only thing McCarthy brought back with her after living in and around Boston for 15 years. All her possessions remained behind in the house she rented with her husband, Don, in the Wollaston section of Quincy.

She couldn’t get out of Boston fast enough. Who could blame her?

She was locked up for more than two years for something the evidence says she didn’t do, facing life in prison, accused of killing a 1-year-old girl in her care. When Middlesex prosecutors finally acknowledged the evidence against her didn’t stand up, McCarthy was deported back to Ireland.

She flew home in September with her sister Sharon, who lives in Braintree. For the first hour of the flight, they just held hands and cried.

The medical examiner’s office said it could no longer stand by its ruling that a Cambridge infant’s death in 2013 was a homicide.

After she landed in Shannon, reporters followed her everywhere, but she said nothing. While reporters camped outside her mother’s house in Cavan, she and Don snuck away to her sister’s house in Galway. They celebrated their third anniversary, the first one when she wasn’t in jail, with a quiet dinner at an Italian restaurant.

“We were home by 10,” she says. “Don and I are not ones for going out much.”

Don found work house painting in his native Cork, and it was just as well, because Aisling didn’t want to spend the rest of her life in Cavan, explaining over and over again to people she knew what had happened to her in Boston

“I have no choice but to move on,” she said, over tea, at the kitchen table of her sister-in-law’s house. “I have changed. I don’t trust people like I used to. You’re nearly afraid to get to know people because they’ll say, ‘Oh, you’re the girl from Boston.’ It makes me want to cut my hair off and dye it black.”

She hasn’t been able to find work.

“I was a nanny. I’m not going to do that again,” she said. “Who’s going to want to hire a 37-year-old who’s been out of the country for 15 years?”

Three years ago, Rehma Sabir, the baby girl McCarthy had been taking care of for months, died, and in just a few days Dr. Alice Newton had diagnosed the baby as a victim of violent head trauma, and 10 police officers showed up at McCarthy’s house in Wollaston to arrest her. Don was at work. The cops wouldn’t let her change out of her pajamas. They wouldn’t let her leave Addie some water.

She was thrown into prison in Framingham, surrounded by many women who had been in prison before. Being labeled a baby killer is the worst thing in a women’s jail.

“I was terrified,” she said. “I wouldn’t come out of my cell.”

She got lucky when a pair of lawyers named David Meier and Mindy Thompson took her case. They were fearless. They were relentless. And they eventually were able to show the case against Aisling Brady McCarthy was no case at all.

As Meier and Thompson exposed the rush to judgment against McCarthy, and the case against her began to collapse, she gained a certain status among her fellow prisoners. They believed she was innocent and high-fived her when passing. McCarthy tried to use her status to stop other prisoners from attacking Pallavi Macharla, a Burlington woman accused of killing a 6-month-old child she was minding.

“I couldn’t believe they put her in general population,” she said. “They were spitting at her.”

McCarthy got cards and letters from all over the world, and from the families of children she had taken care of over the years.

“That’s what kept me going,” she said. “That and the support of my family.”

One family brought the little girls she had minded into the prison to visit her. Some of her former employers were prepared to testify about her character on her behalf. Neither police nor prosecutors talked to any of these people before or after she was charged.

Had they done so, they would have realized that what they were accusing Aisling Brady McCarthy of doing was so out of character, that a nanny of so much experience would not lose her head over a sickly, colicky baby.

She grieves for Rehma, the little girl whose cause of death remains a mystery.

“I looked after Rehma 10 hours a day, five days a week,” she said. “I stayed over to help her sleep train. I’ve been looking after kids since I was 13. I had seven younger brothers and sisters. I started with a family in Lexington with seven kids. I always got work by word of mouth.”

After McCarthy was released, Mindy Thompson, the lawyer McCarthy calls “my guardian angel,” came to Ireland to visit. Thompson was greeted by the locals like a rock star. People lined up to hug her.

Christmas was magic. McCarthy’s two brothers came back from Australia. She is one of 10 siblings, and it was the first time in 15 years the whole family was together for Christmas.

She misses Boston. But she doesn’t think she could ever go back. Elsewhere in America? Maybe. New York? Maybe. But that’s moot at this point, as she is banned from returning to the United States for 10 years because she overstayed her visa and lived in the country illegally all those years.

She tries not to dwell on the fact that she lost more than two years of her life, but wants Dr. Alice Newton, the doctor who first implicated her in the death of Rehma Sabir, and Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan and prosecutors who a judge found withheld exculpatory evidence, held accountable. Newton and Ryan have defended their actions.

“They weren’t just wrong in my case, they were reckless,” McCarthy says. “And they never lost a minute’s sleep. They just moved on to the next case. I want to expose this because I don’t want it to happen to anyone else.”

This isn’t over. Aisling Brady McCarthy is planning to use the civil courts to expose what happened to her in a criminal court. Hers is just one of several cases of shaken-baby syndrome in Middlesex County and elsewhere that have collapsed in a heap of shaky evidence and conflicting medical diagnoses.

She is torn by her desire to move on and a compulsion to use her case to show how unchecked power can needlessly ruin lives.

“If I don’t let go, it will consume me,” she said. “I don’t want people to feel sorry for me. I want to move on.”

She went to Bible study in jail and came out more spiritual. She goes to Mass regularly, sometimes on weekdays. She’s less concerned with material things.

“What happened to me has given me a new perspective,” she said. “When I was in prison, I had a loving family that came to see me. I called my husband twice a day. Some of the girls had nobody. Some people have nothing. No matter what, your life is always better than someone else’s.”

Original report here

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Monday, January 18, 2016

Australia's very own Keystone Kops

What a bunch of amateur idiots! Kids terrified as cops storm Gold Coast home by mistake.  No apology

A Gold Coast mother-of-two says her children were too traumatised to sleep last night after half-a-dozen police burst into their home and detained their innocent father by mistake.

Kristy Stewart told myGC a squad of officers stormed her Coombabah home along The Esplanade at around 9.30pm on Friday after allegedly mistaking her address for another in the street.

Mrs Stewart, 35, says her two children, aged 10 and eight, were shaking in terror as they watched police order her out of the house and rush inside to detain their innocent father.

"My husband was out on the back patio with the kids and I was in the kitchen when I looked outside and seen an officer approach the front patio," Mrs Stewart recalled.

"I opened the front door and five or six police officers and two police dogs started coming from the front. "They yelled ‘step out from the door and put your hands to the front’.

"I stepped to the side and they yelled at me to stay put. "I kept repeating that they had made a mistake, that we have done nothing wrong (but) they wouldn’t listen."

Mrs Steward told myGC the officers then raced inside her home and detained her 32-year-old husband in front of her 10-year-old daughter and eight-year-old son.

"My husband walked up the hallway as he could hear the commotion and was grabbed by both hands by an officer and (the police) said, ‘we know who you are’."

But as it would turn out, the police actually had no idea whose home they were in.

"My husband kept saying that he hadn’t done anything and my daughter was pleading with them that we were not doing anything wrong.  "Finally they asked for our address which obviously didn’t correlate with the address they were suppose to attend."

Mrs Stewart told myGC the officers "bowed their heads", some with "embarrassing smirks on their face", as they walked back out of the house and regrouped on the front lawn.  "The police where discussing how to get to the other address which is when I helped them out by giving them directions," she said.

"It is extremely embarrassing for the Queensland Police Service, considering they are equipped with GPS."

"It certainly shook us up. My kids and husband were so scared. It was scary as hell."

Mrs Stewart said one officer yelled from the window of his patrol car before speeding off, "some excitement for you tonight!"

Original report here. (Via Australian Politics)

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Sunday, January 17, 2016

Bungling British cops launch drugs raid on home of innocent cancer sufferer and her elderly husband 'then kill pet dog by stepping on it'

A leukaemia sufferer and her elderly husband claim police who stormed their home in a mistaken drugs raid stood on and killed their dog.

Police officers broke through the front door of pensioners Dennis Blanchard, 67, and 65-year-old wife Joyce after receiving 'community information' their home was linked to drug activity.

The couple, from Goole, East Riding, were handcuffed, bundled into separate police cars and taken to Scunthorpe Police Station for questioning on September 9 but were bailed the same day.

Dennis and Joyce - who has chronic lymphocytic leukaemia - claim an officer stood on their treasured 13-year-old West Highland terrier Robbie, causing kidney failure which meant he had to be put down two days later.

Humberside Police confirmed the couple have now been unconditionally released but they deny harming Robbie.

Dennis, a former Hull City Council employee, said: 'When the raid happened Joyce was on the toilet and I was in bed.  'It was awful how they treated us - the officers dragged me out of bed and handcuffed me and wouldn't even let me put some more clothes on.

'It took us completely by surprise, we were so shocked we didn't know what was happening, and one of the officers stood on Robbie while he was on our bedroom floor.

'We think the officer just didn't see him and it was an accident, we know he didn't do it deliberately, but that dog was Joyce's soulmate. She still cries about what happened.'

Humberside Police executed a Misuse of Drugs Act warrant at the couple's home in Goole on the morning of September 9.

Joyce, a former factory worker who now makes and sells charity Christmas wreaths to support Hull's Castle Hill Hospital, said: 'He meant everything to me - losing him was like losing my baby.

'It was like he understood whenever I was really ill - he would come over if I was crying and lick my tears.

'I believe the shock of the raid brought my leukaemia back on worse than it was before.'

Dennis and Joyce also have a three-year-old terrier cross, Romany, and bought new bichon frise pup Zorro, aged two months, to replace Robbie.

The couple said they have no idea who would have reported their address to the police but both vehemently deny they have ever been involved with drugs.

Dennis said: 'Mud sticks, and we just want everyone to know what has actually happened and that we didn't do anything wrong so we can get back to normal.  'We hate drugs - I and Joyce have never, ever dealt with drugs.

'We have no idea who reported it but it is obviously someone who bears a grudge against us.'

At the time of the raid last year, Humberside Police released a statement claiming 'community information' had linked the raided address to drug activity.

This statement reads: 'Police in Goole have executed a Misuse of Drugs Act warrant at a property on Eastgate, Goole after community information linked the address to drug activity.

'Officers seized various items of property from the address which are believed to be linked to criminality.'

Dennis said these items were cash, a laptop, a tablet and a mobile phone which have since all been returned by police.

At the time of the raid, Inspector Stuart Ross said in a statement: 'These recent warrants are really good examples of proactive police work following calls from the public.

'I would therefore urge people to help us make a difference in bringing offenders to justice and tackling criminality by reporting anyone involved in crime in the town.'

A spokesman for Humberside Police said: 'A 67-year-old man and a 65-year-old woman were initially arrested on suspicion of being concerned with the supply of controlled drugs.  'They have now had their police bail cancelled and been unconditionally released.

'Police have not received any complaints in connection with the investigation.'

Later they added: 'There is no indication that a dog was hurt during the execution of the warrant.

'Food and water was left out for dogs at the address when their owners were in police custody and an officer attended the address later in the day to check on their well-being.'

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

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Australia: Police charged with assaulting teen boys who filmed alleged attack

Thug cops tried to cover up their misdeeds by destroying evidence

There are concerns over the handling of the internal investigation into an alleged assault of two teenagers by police.

A mobile phone video taken by a teenage boy as his young mate was allegedly assaulted by two policemen was mysteriously deleted on the night of the attack, but could now provide damning evidence when the officers face court in May.

The footage was only recovered when the father of one of the boys paid $4000 to an IT consultant, but its disappearance raises serious concerns about the handling of the internal investigation into the officers' conduct.

It is understood the family of one of the alleged victims will ask the Office of Public Prosecutions to examine the case, while the matter could also be referred to the Independent Broad-based Anti-Corruption Commission.

Leading Senior Constable Dennis Gundrill and Senior Constable Simon Mareangareu will face the Ringwood Magistrate Court over the alleged assault on Christmas morning 2014 near a convenience store in Vermont.

The boys, who had just completed Year 11, were detained for several hours at Ringwood police station, and later charged with resisting arrest and possession of a small quantity of marijuana.  But all charges against the 17-year-olds were dropped in August last year.

An internal investigation by Whitehorse CIU was only launched when the father of the alleged victim handed over video footage from the phone.

It is understood there are discrepancies between the statements given by Mr Gundrill and Mr Mareangareu, which also differ markedly from the footage of the incident and evidence given by an independent witness.

Mr Gundrill and Mr Mareangareu were initially suspended with pay, but both men are now permitted to perform non-operational duties. They have not faced any disciplinary action from Victoria Police.

Mr Gundrill was previously involved in a serious assault at Ringwood police station in 2008, when he held Bonsai gardener, Tim Vivoda, before another officer punched him "as hard as he could" in the face. The entire incident was captured on CCTV cameras.

During a civil case in the County Court in 2013, Mr Vivoda was awarded $130,000 in damages after Judge Chris O'Neill ruled his treatment by police had breached his rights and undermined public confidence in the force.

Judge O'Neill expressed reservations about Mr Gundrill's credibility during the trial and rejected some of his evidence.

"Clearly the evidence was given after a reconstruction from the footage ... That was an artificial reconstruction and not an honest recollection," Judge O'Neill said.

The most recent allegations of excessive police force raise further concerns about the contentious practice of police investigating their colleagues, particularly when the respective parties are known to each other.

According to the Human Rights Law Centre, more than 90 per cent of complaints about police conduct are referred back to Victoria Police, despite the IBAC having jurisdiction to handle them.

"When serious allegations are made against police, it's essential that the complainant and the public have confidence in a system that is fair and impartial and properly resourced to deal with their complaint. Serious complaints should not be referred back to police to investigate their own conduct," said HRLC spokeswoman Anna Brown.

In July last year, Victoria's highest court referred allegations of police brutality and racism to the IBAC to determine if an independent investigation should be launched into a complaint by Ethiopian man Nassir Bare.

Mr Bare claimed that officers smashed his teeth in a gutter, racially vilified him and capsicum-sprayed him when he was handcuffed, after police stopped his car in February 2009.

The now defunct Office of Police Integrity decided not to investigate the allegations by Mr Bare, who unsuccessfully appealed the case to the Supreme Court of Victoria.

But the Court of Appeals found the OPI's decision was unlawful and ordered the matter be sent to the IBAC.

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

Friday, January 15, 2016

How cops elicit false confessions from innocent people

HAVE you ever wondered why people confess to crimes they didn’t commit? Surely if someone knows they are innocent why would they own up to something they didn’t do?

It turns out persuading someone to confess is much easier than you think, thanks to an interrogation technique used widely by law enforcement in the US.

Over the past few weeks much has been made of the seemingly coerced confession of Brendan Dassey, the nephew of Steven Avery, the man at the centre of the Netflix true-crime docuseries, Making a Murderer.

If you are unfamiliar with the 10-part program, Avery spent 18 years in jail for a rape he didn’t commit. Two years after he was exonerated he was charged, and later convicted, along with Dassey, of the murder of Teresa Halbach, a photographer who took pictures of a car he was about to sell.

The series delves into the case against the pair and the tactics used by police to supposedly get their man.

While there were a few jaw-dropping revelations that poked holes in the case against Avery, one of the most controversial stemmed around the videotaped confessions of Dassey.

The footage shows the then 16-year-old Dassey, whose IQ puts him in the range of intellectual disability, being interrogated by officers without an adult or lawyer present and being pressured into admitting his part in the crime despite appearing confused.

This interrogation process is known as the Reid Technique, a controversial nine-step interrogation tactic that aims to wear down a suspect until you get a confession.

Mark Nolan, associate professor at ANU’s College of Law, told the technique, which was developed in the 1950s, is used when authorities believe the suspect is guilty.

The whole process changes from fact-finding to confirming guilt. Questioning of a suspect becomes intimidating, interrogations last for hours and can result in people making false confessions just to get out of their current predicament.

Mr Nolan said criticism around the practice stemmed from the fact the sole aim of interviewing someone using the Reid Technique was to elicit a confession.

“So what they do [at this stage] is not actually take any transcripts or notes of the interview until the last moment when confession takes place,” he said. “So what you have in America is not a whole lot of audiovisual recording of what happened in the interview stage or the interrogation phase up until the point the confession is obtained.

“There is a lot that can be missed out on in the record of interview compared to Australia. They just record the very last bit under the interrogation plan which is not always discussed but in some of these steps you can have people using deception such as a folder of information that supposedly has evidence that they wave under the interviewee’s nose and say ‘we’ve got all this information against you’.”

Mr Nolan said the Reid Technique is not used in Australia because it conflicts with our evidence laws.  A technique known as conversation management is used instead.

Mr Nolan also said the introduction of audiovisual recording has made it harder for authorities in Australia to get away with it.

“The culture and practice of interviewing really changes when audiovisual recording of the entire interview is the [mandated] practice,” Mr Nolan explained. “Also, if obtaining a confession from someone you are convinced is guilty is thought to be the sole purpose of the interview/interrogation, then, the strategies and techniques used are often more coercive and are aimed at inducing confessions.

“In Australia, evidence law makes it easy to exclude confessions in interviews when the interviewer has used deception or been coercive in their questioning style.

“Doing so with a vulnerable witness [age, Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander descent, cognitive impairment] on their own without a lawyer or a support person [which was the case with Dassey] is not only unethical, but illegal most of the time in Australia.”

And while the Reid Technique is not supposed to be used in Australia, Mr Nolan said there have been times when authorities have overstepped the mark.

One such case was the matter against Izhar ul-Haque, a medical student who was accused of being a terror suspect.

ASIO confronted ul-Haque, forced him into a car, then took him to a park where he was threatened unless he co-operated.

They later charged him with training with the Pakistani-based terrorist group Lashkar-e-Taiba.

But the NSW Supreme Court threw out the case saying the officers had not only broken the law by kidnapping ul-Haque but deliberately attempted to coerce answers from him.

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

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Australia: Police officer pushed cyclist off his bike in Sydney's CBD, witnesses say

Marcus De Giorgio says a police officer on a motorbike pushed a cyclist off his bike in the Sydney CBD on Wednesday morning

A NSW Police officer has been accused of pushing a cyclist off his bicycle at a major intersection in Sydney's CBD during peak hour, in a situation a cycling advocacy group has described as aggressive and "totally unacceptable".

Police are now conducting an internal investigation into the incident, which occurred about 8.25am on Wednesday at the intersection of College and William streets, beside Hyde Park in the city

One witness to the crash claimed the police officer, who was on a motorcycle, rode up alongside the cyclist and "just pushed him off his bike in the middle of the intersection".

"He fell on the road. It wasn't like he got pushed and sort of wobbled and kept rolling, and sort of [went] into a death spiral or anything. He just went bang," the witness, Marcus De Giorgio, told Fairfax Media.

Different accounts have emerged from the police and witnesses about what unfolded at the intersection, resulting in the cyclist lying in the middle of the road.

Police say that officers from the Motorcycle Response Team were patrolling near the intersection of William and Yurong streets in Darlinghurst when they allege the 30-year-old cyclist, who was not wearing a helmet, disobeyed a red traffic signal there.

The police motorcyclist "activated his warning lights and sirens", police said, and attempted to stop the cyclist, who continued riding west along William Street.

"The cyclist continued along William Street and the officer made further attempts to stop the rider near the intersection of College Street," the statement said.

Police said the cyclist "has fallen from his bicycle", but did not detail any circumstances about how the cyclist fell or whether the police officer made any contact with him.

Mr De Giorgio, who had just finished an early morning training ride, had cycled north along College Street and was stopped at a red light at the intersection with William Street as he waited to turn left when the crash occurred.

He estimated he was three or four metres from the rider when the crash occurred.

He said the cyclist was travelling about 15km/h when he rode through the intersection of College and William streets on a green light.

"I don't know what led up to that situation. The only thing that was visually evident was that he wasn't wearing a helmet," Mr De Giorgio said. "The guy wasn't running a red light or anything [at the crash scene]. He was just riding along.

"The motorcyclist came up alongside him. There wasn't a siren that I heard, and it's not like he rode alongside him and asked him to pull over. It was literally like he came up from behind, then alongside and just pushed him over."

He said the motorcyclist's lights were flashing, but he did not hear a siren.

Mr Di Giorgio said the male cyclist fell onto the road, and suffered abrasions to his leg.  "He was lying in prone position, and kind of screaming and yelling in pain," Mr Di Giorgio said.  "The guy was saying 'You pushed me! What the hell? What the f---? You pushed me! ... He was angry and appeared to be in pain.

"The police officer essentially said: 'No I didn't.'

"It was like the guy [the cyclist] wasn't even aware he [the police officer] was there. When he was on the ground, he was saying 'I didn't even know you were there. I didn't hear you.' "

The police motorcyclist stopped immediately and was joined a short time later by another police officer, Mr Di Giorgio said.

It took about 10 minutes before the crash scene was cleared.

Police said the cyclist was treated by paramedics and taken to St Vincent's Hospital. He was discharged later in the day after being cleared of serious injury.

Police said the cyclist "will be issued with infringement notices for not stopping at a stop light and not wearing a helmet".

Another person who said he saw the incident, Tom McNamara, said he was on a bus beside the rider when he crashed.

"The cyclist was crossing College Street, the cop rode alongside him and knocked him down pretty hard. From where we were it looked very excessive," Mr McNamara wrote online.

Bicycle Network chief executive Craig Richards said the police officer had pushed the shoulder of the rider, according to witness accounts.  "This use of force against a rider moving on the street is totally unacceptable, and could have resulted in serious head injuries or worse to the rider," Mr Richards said.

"NSW Police are very fortunate that they are not having to explain the incident to the family of someone who is seriously injured.

"We know that NSW has strict protocols around the interception of vehicles on the street, with a high priority given to public safety.

"Police can make a vital contribution to safety on the roads, but there is no need to be aggressive and forceful in this way.

"There needs to be a full explanation of why the rules were not followed [on Wednesday] morning."

Police said the circumstances surrounding the incident will be the subject of an internal review.

Fairfax Media has asked NSW Police to provide further details about the nature of how the cyclist came off his bike.

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

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Appeals court delays trial of Freddie Gray van driver

BALTIMORE — A Maryland appeals court postponed the trial of a police van driver charged with second-degree murder in the death of Freddie Gray, saying it needs to address whether another Baltimore officer should be compelled to testify against Caesar Goodson.

Jury selection for Goodson’s trial was supposed to start Monday. Prosecutors have indicated that testimony from Officer William Porter, whose trial ended in a hung jury last month, is crucial to their case against Goodson.

Baltimore Circuit Judge Barry Williams, who is overseeing the trial, ruled last week that Porter must testify against Goodson despite Porter’s assertion that he has a right not to incriminate himself.

Porter’s trial is postponed indefinitely, pending further proceedings, including more written filings from both sides, followed by oral arguments before the Court of Special Appeals, Maryland courts spokeswoman Terri Charles said.

Gray died in April, a week after his neck was broken during a van ride. Goodson was with Gray for every second of his 45-minute trip from the site of his arrest to the Western District police station, where Gray arrived critically injured and unresponsive.

The trial could provide the public with its first chance to hear Goodson's side of the story. He has not spoken with investigators or made any public comments.

He faces the most serious charge of the six officers charged — second-degree murder, which carries a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison. To be convicted, prosecutors must prove Goodson was so callous in his disregard for Gray’s life that he deliberately allowed him to die.

Since Porter’s case ended in a mistrial, the stakes for Goodson's trial have grown in a city still on edge from the rioting and unrest in April.

Porter’s lawyers say he risks going to jail for contempt if he refuses an order to testify, but if he does testify, he could be charged with perjury if he makes any statements that differ from what he said or will say in his own defense.

Prosecutors say Porter has immunity at Goodson's trial and they can’t use his statements against him later. But defense attorney Gary Proctor wrote in court documents: "The bell cannot be unrung."

The judge himself acknowledged that he was entering "uncharted territory" before issuing his ruling last week.

His order is unprecedented in Maryland and could have tremendous implications for cases with multiple defendants.

Criminal defense attorney Clarke Ahlers, a former Maryland police officer who is not involved in the Gray case, said if the appellate courts decide Porter doesn’t have to testify, prosecutors could try to gain Porter’s cooperation by offering him complete immunity. Or they could ask to re-try Porter first, or proceed without Porter’s testimony. "I think there is some chance that the state may have to choose between prosecuting Porter and prosecuting Goodson," he said.

Ahlers said the Court of Special Appeals could rule within 10 days, but either side could seek an opinion from the state’s highest court, the Court of Appeals, further delaying Goodson's trial.

Gray’s death exposed the deep divide between the public and the police in Baltimore, and became a national symbol of the Black Lives Matter movement.

Prosecutors say the officers should be held accountable for Gray’s fatal injuries because they left him handcuffed and shackled at the legs but unbuckled by a seat belt, making him vulnerable to injury inside the metal compartment. Neither did they call an ambulance when he indicated he needed medical attention. Goodson, they say, bears the most responsibility because he drove the van, so Gray was technically in his custody.

Prosecutors have revealed little about their case against Goodson, but their witness list includes a former police officer who can describe "retaliatory prisoner transport practices," suggesting they intend to raise the possibility that Gray was given a "rough ride" in the van.

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