Wednesday, November 23, 2016


OK.  I have had enough.  The sorts of injustices I have documented here sicken me -- but I have grown tired of being sickened.

One theme that has occurred over and over in what I read is the vicious circle between black and cop behaviour.  There is no doubt that blacks are often harshly treated by police and are railroaded into jail on flimsy evidence.  Some whites get similar treatment but it is rare.

So why does it happen?  Why do blacks cop so much bad treatment?  It is perfectly clear why.  Blacks are hostile to the police so the cops are hostile to blacks.  It's tit for tat.  No doubt some people will argue that the cops started it and blacks are simply retaliating but I don't think that is so.  It is very commonly reported that blacks resist arrest, sometimes very vigorously.  Many blacks do not "go quietly".  And that is a big problem to the police.  It makes them wary of blacks and resentful towards them.  They tend to "take it out" on all blacks.

And getting to the cause of the vicious circle does matter.  If it is the cops at fault, better training and supervision could presumably break the vicious circle.  But does anyone believe that will happen?  Many times when police are found to have over-reacted, stern measures have been taken within the police force concerned to prevent abuses but to what effect?  Usually none, as far as I can see.

But if black behavior is at the root of the vicious circle, how could we change that?  Blacks are clearly far more lawless than whites and cops are always going to be aware of that.  So I see little hope of improvement.  Cops are always going to be quite reasonably on hairtrigger alert when approaching a black and that trigger will sometimes be inappropriately pulled through no fault of either party.  Making cops fearful and nervous of you is seldom going to end well even when neither party has ill intent.

And when a cop has got a difficult black coralled he is going to be careless about the guilt or innocence of the alleged offender.  "He's sure to have done something" will be the thinking. So his guilt or innocence of the particular offence will be of little interest.  And it is true that most of the blacks eventually exonerated did have some criminal record at the time of the arrest.  So indifference to guilt or innocence of the offence on trial can be understood, even if it is not ideal

Through reading many years of many cases, that is my conclusion about what usually happens in miscarriages of justice.  I don't foresee much change.  The constant recurrence of the same old pattern is what tells me that nothing would be gained by my continuing this blog.  Future years are going to be much the same as past years. Nothing will really be new.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Review set for compensation after wrongful conviction

A Mississippi man could get more than $100,000 in state compensation because he spent time in prison for a wrongful conviction.

The state Supreme Court has upheld a Court of Appeals ruling that ordered a Coahoma County circuit judge to re-examine the case of Jamar Moore, a former pizza delivery man from Clarksdale.

Moore is seeking compensation after he was imprisoned for possessing painkilling hydrocodone pills without a prescription — a felony. He was sentenced to 16 years and spent more than 2 ½ years in jail.

However, court records state that after his conviction, Moore located a crime lab report stating the pills were a different chemical mix that made possession a misdemeanor, not a felony.

A circuit judge vacated Moore’s felony conviction and Moore was released from prison. However, a judge in 2015 denied his request for compensation. In April 2016, the state Court of Appeals told the judge to reconsider the case. Supreme Court justices upheld that ruling Thursday.

“The circuit court reasoned that Moore was not innocent — he was just convicted of the wrong crime,” the Court of Appeals wrote. “We conclude, however, that the statutory provision refers to innocence of all felonies for which the claimant has been indicted, convicted and incarcerated. There is no dispute that Moore’s conduct did not constitute a felony.”

A 2009 state law says if a judge finds a person was wrongfully convicted, the judge must award $50,000 for each year the person was imprisoned after indictment, with a cap of $500,000.

Court records show Moore was arrested in 2008 after one of his co-workers at a pizza business told police that Moore had two ounces of marijuana; the co-worker was a confidential informant for the Clarksdale Police Department.

Original report here

Monday, November 21, 2016

Top surgeon who was jailed alongside murderers is finally cleared of killing a patient

Evidence covered up

‘If you treated animals the way we treat prisoners on their way to jail, animal rights groups would be incensed. And this was only the beginning.’

Consultant surgeon David Sellu is describing the worst day of his life – November 5, 2013 – when he was transported to Belmarsh in London, one of Britain’s toughest high-security jails, to start a two-and-a-half-year sentence for killing a patient in his care.

His exemplary 40-year career, his professional and social standing, his family’s financial security – all were wiped out by the Old Bailey jury’s verdict that Mr Sellu was guilty of gross negligence manslaughter in causing the death of James Hughes, 66.

Last week, 16 months after this newspaper exposed how vital evidence that might have cleared Mr Sellu was hidden from his trial, the Court of Appeal quashed his conviction.

But the damage is done. His career is in tatters. His reputation ruined. And the ‘totally degrading’ trauma of being locked up 22 hours a day in a jail containing rapists and murderers has taken a heavy toll.

His story is a shocking indictment of the ‘blame culture’ afflicting Britain’s hospitals, which is seeing increasing numbers of healthcare workers thrown to the legal wolves – with potentially devastating consequences for patients. It also chillingly illustrates how easy it is for a public-spirited professional to find himself on the wrong side of the law.

‘I feel no jubilation, only a little relief,’ says Mr Sellu, 69, speaking exclusively to The Mail on Sunday at his West London home. Courteous and softly spoken as he recalls his long ordeal, he shudders, occasionally rubbing his eyes to hide his tears.

‘I still can’t sleep properly. I’m on beta-blockers to stop my heart racing. And I feel like a pariah. I’ve had to cope with headlines that called me “Doctor Death” and “Killer Surgeon”. That doesn’t go away. The Crown Prosecution Service knows they made a hash of this case. My hope now is that they will think twice before trying to criminalise others working in healthcare.’

Mr Sellu’s journey to the top of Britain’s medical profession began in a poor village in Sierra Leone. He is the eldest of ten children, born to rice-farmer parents who had no education. His chance came when his slightly wealthier aunt, who lived in Bo, the nearest town, offered to pay for him to go to school there and put him up.

‘It was an excellent school and I got good grades. Eventually, I won a national scholarship to study in England,’ Mr Sellu says. He entered Manchester University medical school in 1968.

Once he qualified, his progress was assured. He took up successive posts in Manchester, London and Southampton. In 1981, he married Catherine, an intensive care nurse he met at Hammersmith Hospital in London. The couple have four children.

Mr Sellu’s reputation as a meticulous, unflappable surgeon steadily grew, and in 1993 he was headhunted to become an NHS colorectal consultant at Ealing Hospital. Later he also worked part-time at the private hospital where Mr Hughes died – the Clementine Churchill in Harrow, owned by healthcare giant BMI. He has also spent months as a volunteer surgeon in the country of his birth.

When the police started investigating Mr Sellu, they combed through his record, searching for evidence that the death rate among his patients was abnormally high. There was none, and many colleagues gave glowing testimonials about his skill and experience.

Mr Sellu first saw Mr Hughes – a building firm boss from Northern Ireland – on February 11, 2010. Five days earlier, Mr Hughes had been given a replacement knee, but had developed worsening pain in his abdomen. Mr Sellu agreed to see him as a favour to the surgeon who did the knee op – largely because, at a private hospital at night, there was no one else, other than the more junior resident medical officer. The junior doctor thought Mr Hughes had cramp, and had given him muscle relaxants. Mr Hughes was in agony: clearly they were not working.

In fact, Mr Hughes had a perforated bowel – a life-threatening condition. But Mr Sellu was not able to operate until the early hours of February 13. By this time, Mr Hughes was critical, and never recovered consciousness. ‘I’m still very sorry for his family,’ Mr Sellu says. ‘They lost a husband and a father. I’ve analysed what happened a thousand times, and with the benefit of hindsight, there are things I might do differently. But there were reasons for the delay in operating that had absolutely nothing to do with me – for example, there was no rota for emergency anaesthetists.’

It was not until after Mr Sellu was convicted that the hospital sent an email to its doctors suggesting a rota be formed.

An inquest into Mr Hughes’s death opened in October 2010, but the coroner quickly halted it, and ordered police to begin a criminal investigation of Mr Sellu.

The consultant found himself being interrogated hour after hour, being asked repeatedly about the tiniest details of the case. ‘They were looking for discrepancies, trying to trip me up, so they could say I was a liar,’ Mr Sellu says. ‘They had a crime and a suspect, and they were trying to prove their case.’

But as this newspaper revealed last year, all this time a crucial document was hidden: a secret report by senior BMI staff compiled after Mr Hughes’s death. This so-called ‘root cause analysis’ found there were ‘inadequate’ procedures at the hospital when routine cases became emergencies, delays in getting scans, X-rays and an anaesthetist, and a failure to monitor Mr Hughes’s condition.

Mr Sellu was charged with manslaughter. He could no longer work, even in the NHS. ‘Imagine, you’ve been working all your life, and suddenly your salary is stopped, and you’re told you may have committed a criminal act,’ he says.

In 2012, his six-week trial began. The secret report was never shown to the jury. According to the prosecution, Mr Hughes died because of Mr Sellu’s ‘laid-back’ attitude. The jury deliberated for more than three days. When it came to sentencing, Mr Sellu says: ‘I felt the handcuffs go on my wrist. I looked up at my family. There was a lot of sobbing, but they were trying to make encouraging gestures.

‘I was taken down to the cells, and my barrister gave me a pep talk, saying I had nothing to worry about and would soon be in an open prison. And then they took me to Belmarsh.’ There was further humiliation to come: a long wait to be processed, and a strip search. ‘It was totally degrading,’ admits Mr Sellu.

Finally, he was taken to a cell with three other prisoners and two sets of bunks, with almost no space between them. The shared toilet was open – ‘the stench was the first thing I noticed’ – and they were locked in the cell for 22 hours a day.

Mr Sellu says: ‘I was trying to stay strong because my family were going through hell too. But I was on the top bunk, freezing, with one tiny blanket. The bed was very narrow, and every movement by the guy on the bottom bed was magnified. I barely slept at all.

‘Throughout my career I made life-and-death decisions, and now every aspect of my life – when I could wash, what I could eat – was controlled by someone else. I was terrified. I had been warned not to let other inmates know I was a doctor, because they might have assumed I was some kind of Harold Shipman [the serial-killer GP who murdered more than 200 patients] and sought retribution.

‘I was in a tiny space with three strangers, with one panic button by the door. My family could not send books. All I could do 22 hours a day was sit on my bunk, legs dangling, or try to sleep.’

After a month, Mr Sellu was moved to Highpoint, a high-security jail in Suffolk, where conditions were better, and finally, in the months before his eventual release in 2015, to an open prison. He served a total of 15 months. But even after being freed, his life was in limbo: ‘I felt ashamed to walk past my neighbours. And, of course, I could not work.’

Last week, the Court of Appeal said the trial judge failed to tell the jury how only truly exceptional negligence could rank as manslaughter, and how they might determine whether this had occurred. Yet cases of healthcare workers being accused of criminal conduct are increasing, with at least three convicted in the past two years.

Mr Sellu says two things helped lift his morale after being convicted. One was this newspaper’s investigation, and the other was a campaign chaired by his Ealing colleague Jenny Vaughan, a consultant neurologist. Dr Vaughan’s petition gathered 3,000 signatures, many from top doctors and former patients.

Dr Vaughan says: ‘Of course we are pleased with the decision. But as a doctor, I’m interested in what makes patients safer, so that lessons are learned. The threat of criminal charges only promotes cover-ups.’

Mr Sellu highlights another danger: ‘The potential consequence of my prosecution is that in cases where a patient may die, a surgeon might walk away rather than operate – because that will be safer for the doctor.  ‘Some patients who might live will lose their chance of survival.’

Mr Sellu still has to face the General Medical Council. But despite his appeal victory, his desire to practise his hard-won skills has gone. ‘Sometimes I think of the patients I could have treated while I was in prison. But I don’t want to go back to surgery. I’d like to do some teaching, some writing and research.

‘Above all, I’d like to restore my good name.’

Original report here

Sunday, November 20, 2016

"A policewoman tried to destroy my life - and they've let her off scot-free": Torment of mother whose jealous PC friend fabricated claim that she had sex with 14-year-old boy

Fiona Miller and her family had just finished a home-cooked roast chicken dinner when there was a knock at the door. There on the step stood a policeman, his face grave.

This was never going to be good news, anyone could see that. But no one, least of all 38-year-old mum Fiona, could have predicted what came next.

'The officer politely informed me that he was there on a welfare visit, to check on my three-year-old son,' she says. 'There had been some serious allegations of neglect, bordering on abuse.'

Anyone glancing across the kitchen where Fiona's partner, Steven, was stacking the dishwasher while their happy, healthy little boy, Tommy, played nearby that evening in January this year would have seen nothing untoward about the family, who live in a neat, semi-detached home in Ormesby, Cleveland.

Yet Fiona was terrified — so terrified, it was all she could do to stop herself grabbing Tommy and running. Someone was out to get her, and for the first time she feared this someone might actually have the power to see the job through.

For Fiona's accuser and tormentor was a serving policewoman — PC Kelly Jarvis, a former mounted officer and riding companion of Fiona's, a woman so twisted with hatred and jealousy that she would stop at nothing to see her former friend's reputation destroyed.

'I really started to panic at that point. All sorts of horrible thoughts started going through my mind. Would I be believed over a police officer? Are they all in on this together? And most terrifying of all, was I going to lose my little boy?

'If these allegations had come from a member of the public, I wouldn't have been too concerned — but as they were from a police officer, I knew they would be taken seriously. 'She had power. It came with her job. In the end her lies would be found out, but how long could that take?

'Tommy might be in care for months while they investigated. The prospect of not seeing my little boy again made me more afraid than I've ever been of anything in my life.'

Fiona and Steven managed to keep their cool and eventually, satisfied that Tommy was in no immediate danger, the officer left.

In the morning, after a sleepless night, Fiona dropped Tommy off at nursery en route to her part-time job as a veterinary receptionist. Alone in the car, she broke down for the first time. 'I sat and sobbed, gagging for air and shaking. I knew there was a real risk of losing Tommy. I couldn't let that happen.'

Without another thought, she phoned Cleveland Police Station to lodge a formal complaint against PC Jarvis.

This week, Jarvis quit in disgrace, but shockingly won't face further action after an investigation by her own force unearthed a level of abuse of police powers quite Orwellian in its magnitude, and with disturbing implications for how Britain is policed today.

For the PC, it emerged, was able to use her work computer to enter an 'intelligence log' on the Police National Computer against the woman she hated so much, fabricating a totally plausible and unquestioned record in her name.

Nothing, it appeared, was too low for her. Not only had she made false reports to the NSPCC, accusing Fiona of everything from domestic violence to leaving her son alone in the car while she went to the pub with friends — all of which was investigated and dismissed by social services — but she had also recorded 'evidence' of Fiona having had a sexual relationship with a 14-year-old boy when she was 25, a wholly malicious lie.

Fiona was only made aware of this when the disciplinary report into the PC was revealed this week.

Nevertheless, Fiona was still shocked at the level of spite: 'I was sickened, but it was all part of her vindictive campaign against me. She had told so many lies, yet still I was more worried about Tommy being put into care than anything else.'

But what could have sparked such animosity? It seems to have been nothing more than old-fashioned class jealousy.

The two women had first met in 2013 at Ormesby Grange stables, which are owned by the family of Fiona's partner, landscape gardener Steven Carter, 34, and were where Kelly Jarvis stabled her own horse.

The stables, in the picturesque grounds of a National Trust Georgian manor house, Ormesby Hall, are surrounded by hundreds of acres, all owned by the Carter family.

Perhaps it was this that piqued Kelly's envy. After all, it was a world away from the £90,000 terrace house that she and her police officer husband Lee, 41, share in Middlesbrough. She knew their modest salaries would never be able to provide such grandeur, which — as she saw it — would one day land in Fiona's lap.

'It was all about jealousy,' Fiona says. 'She would ask me lots of questions about my life and relationship. She would say: 'In a few years, when Steven's parents retire, you'll be living here in the big farmhouse.' I found her quite vulgar and intrusive, and tried not to engage with her.'

Soon afterwards, Fiona and some of her friends started to receive abusive messages on social media. She also received unpleasant text messages from unknown numbers, including a particularly disturbing one saying that Steven was cheating on her and had got another woman pregnant.

'I never believed it for a second, but of course it was really upsetting. Yet these messages came not long after Kelly started using the stables and they mirrored the way she spoke, her phrases and crudeness. I began to suspect that she was behind them, but I was determined not to let it bother me. I thought it was pathetic and sad, and just ignored her.'

The messages continued sporadically — then, in 2015, the campaign took a sinister turn. 'A social worker turned up saying she'd received a complaint about Tommy's welfare. They had been told I was leaving him in the car on his own while I went shopping or to the pub, or that he was left wandering around the farm unsupervised.

'It was absolutely unfounded. I was asked really probing and personal questions, everything from the state of my relationship with Steven to whether Tommy was potty trained. 'It was really embarrassing, too, as they made inquiries at Tommy's nursery. I felt people would think I was a bad mother.

'It was very upsetting, but once they were satisfied there was no truth in it, I thought that was that. Back then, it didn't cross my mind that Kelly was behind these accusations, that she would stoop so low.'

By April 2015, as the abusive phone messages continued, Fiona decided she'd had enough and told Kelly to move her horse from the stables. She did so quietly, and Fiona assumed that was the end of the matter. It wasn't — not by a long way.

In January this year, Steven's parents cancelled a contract with Kelly's father, Ian Armstrong, to fit a new kitchen for them. They had employed the 63-year-old joiner without realising his relationship to Kelly until Fiona explained who he was and why it wasn't a good idea.

The next evening was the one when a police officer arrived at her door and Fiona finally put two and two together, then made a complaint against the PC.

So serious were the allegations, the case was sent to Newcastle Crown Prosecution Service. Meanwhile, an internal investigation produced a damning report into Kelly Jarvis.

It found she had exploited her training and knowledge of working in a unit which deals with malicious communication offences to harass Fiona by creating three false Facebook profiles to send her abusive and upsetting messages.

In addition, the report upheld the allegations that she had accessed police systems inappropriately and made false referrals to the NSPCC.

The nasty falsehoods went on and on, painting a picture of a filthy house full of barking dogs and of Tommy being left for hours to cry himself to sleep while Fiona and Steven screamed and shouted at each other all night — all of which were recorded as 'facts' on Fiona's police file.

In there, too, was the statement about Fiona having sex with a 14-year-old boy — a boy who is now a man. He is now in a relationship with one of her friends. When he heard of the lies being told in his name, he submitted a statement to police to deny that he and Fiona had ever had a sexual relationship.

Pulling no punches, the police report said: 'As a police officer, PC Jarvis should have been honest and diligent in the exercise of her duties and responsibilities and provided the correct details on the referral forms… she has acted in a manner which discredits the police force.'

So why did Fiona learn to her horror this week that Kelly had been allowed to simply resign and will not face further action for her reign of spiteful terror?

Cleveland Police say there are 'exceptional circumstances' for why she has been allowed to slip quietly away before a disciplinary hearing, so safeguarding her pension rights.

Fiona is understandably furious and claims she was told by police that the reason for this was cost, as it is cheaper for her just to step down than to carry on paying her while an investigation drags on.

New legislation was brought in last year to prevent police officers resigning or retiring while facing gross misconduct proceedings except in certain circumstances, which include ill health and compromising a covert investigation.

As to why Kelly Jarvis has been allowed to resign, a Cleveland Police spokesman said: 'In some cases officers are allowed to resign prior to a misconduct hearing where there are exceptional circumstances.' However, they would not elaborate on what these circumstances were.

Yet unthinkable as it is for a police officer to behave in this way, and as awful as the ordeal has been for Fiona, the case raises another issue — it exposes a serious flaw in the British policing system.

To judge from what occurred, there seem to be no safeguards to prevent any police officer with a grudge from doing as Kelly did: fabricating a criminal record for anyone they may happen to dislike.

David Green, who runs the Civitas think-tank, says it is very surprising that false logs can be entered on someone's record without the need for any collaboration. He also believes Kelly Jarvis should not be allowed to just go quietly.

'It's obviously quite wrong, but I'm very surprised this could have happened. You shouldn't be able to just invent a criminal record or incidents that will be on a police file.'

Civil liberties campaigner Dr Sean Gabb, of the Libertarian Alliance, described the case as 'outrageous', adding: 'The issue is that a police officer thought there was nothing wrong whatsoever in using her position to mess up someone else's life. It is blatant moral corruption and cannot be tolerated.'

Interviewed under caution, Kelly, who did not wish to comment for this story, admitted the allegations put to her and used words such as 'pathetic', 'stupid' and 'remorseful' to describe how she feels.

However, these feelings appear to have been short-lived, as this week she posted a Facebook rant standing by what she did and seeming to blame everyone, from the media to the police, for what happened.

She wrote: 'I feel very let down by my current employer however this is something I will address one day in the future.' She has also dyed her hair brown and is starting out in a new career as a horse reflexologist.

For now, Fiona is worried that after leaving the police, Kelly may feel she no longer has anything to lose and could decide to take matters into her own hands.

'I'm glad she can no longer use her status as a police officer to try to ruin anyone else's life. But I look out of the window and think, is she going to come after me?'

Original report here

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Arizona Police Officer Punches Woman in the Face During Arrest

People who have to be evicted are problem people so the cop was presumably contemptuous of the woman but he should not have taken the law into his own hands.  She probably had it coming, though

A POLICE officer in Arizona is now on administrative leave after a video surfaced online showing him punching a woman in the face.

The Flagstaff Police Department learned of the video on Wednesday, according to The New York Post. It shows Officer Jeff Bonar punching an unidentified woman during an arrest earlier in the day, Sergeant Cory Runge said in a statement to the Arizona Republic.

“Our agency is very concerned by what is depicted in this video,” Sgt Runge said. “We are immediately initiating an internal investigation into this incident.”

The seven-minute video, which has been shared more than 1700 times since Wednesday’s incident, shows the woman arguing with two officers, claiming that she does not have an active warrant.

“You cannot arrest me! I know my laws,” the woman yells. “You cannot arrest me until I know that I have a warrant. I need to hear it.”

Someone off-camera then tells the woman that she should let the officers “run her name” to verify she no longer has an active warrant for her arrest.

One of the officers — apparently Bonar — then tells her to “stop resisting” before Bonar throws a right cross to her face.

“Hey, you can’t hit a girl like that!,” the man shooting the video says. He then confirms that he caught the entire incident on video. “Hey, what the f**k?”

The woman, who is referred to as Marissa throughout the video, is seen crying, holding her face before she is eventually led into a squad car. Bonar also threatened to use his Taser if she resisted further.

Jimmy Sedillo said the woman in the video is his girlfriend, the Arizona Republic reported. He said they received an eviction a week earlier and were due to vacate the home on Wednesday.

Mr Sedillo said Bonar and other authorities were watching the couple leave and lock up the home, but Bonar identified the woman as she left the house as having a warrant out for her arrest.

“She had a warrant a few weeks ago,” Mr Sedillo told the newspaper. “He still assumed she had a warrant.”

Mr Sedillo, along with his two children, mother, niece and brother-in-law, then watched as his girlfriend got tackled. Mr Sedillo’s brother-in-law, Danny Paredes, caught the melee on video and later shared it on Facebook.

Original report here

Friday, November 18, 2016

George Mason University and its goons

George Mason University is showing disturbing signs of embracing a totalitarian impulse, even though it is supported by the taxpayers of Virginia.  Consider that its admissions director, Andrew Bunting, did something astonishing: publicly called supporters of traditional marriage and of Donald Trump “worthless trash"

Not content with insulting and chasing conservatives out of consideration for admission to GMU, the university, through its police department, is now threatening a conservative political activist with five years in prison for putting up posters using library paste.  Oleg Atbashian, proprietor of the satirical site The People’s Cube, sends us this account of his arrest by GMU police while hanging posters criticizing Students for Justice in Palestine, a hate group aimed at the destruction of Israel.

I'm not easily scared. Back in my Soviet dissident days, when I was collecting signatures in defense of Andrei Sakharov, I was screamed at, threatened, and lectured by the KGB and Communist functionaries. What I never imagined was that in the United States, the land of the free, I would not only be subjected to similar treatment, but go to jail for my political activism, which never happened to me even in the USSR.

Progressivism and its main tool, political correctness, are absurd and dehumanizing not just in theory; its physical implementation is also rather dreadful and painful, as I personally experienced yesterday, being turned from an activist artist into inmate #2076524 in Fairfax County jail, with aching bruises on my wrists from excessively tight handcuffs, and the prospect of spending five years in prison as a convicted felon.

This was supposed to be a two-day poster campaign, to counteract the George Mason University hosting an official national conference for Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), which is an anti-Semitic organization with well-documented ties to Hamas - a terrorist group whose stated goal is to exterminate the Jews. The GMU poster campaign was conceived by the David Horowitz Freedom Center.

My part in it was to create provocative artwork for the posters and to hang them around the GMU campus, as well as to distribute flyers in order to raise awareness among the students, faculty, and the administration about the true meaning of their support for the SJP conference.

On the first day, my friend and I placed a few stickers on walls, poles, and signs around the GMU campus. We also placed paper flyers inside and outside the university buildings. We had decided to hang the larger posters on the following night, right before the start of the SJP conference.

Arriving at the campus in the evening, we noticed a large police presence everywhere, including the campus Starbucks. From what we overheard at the tables, the police were on the lookout for people posting "disturbing" flyers. At one point we considered canceling our mission due to this higher risk, but then decided to hang a few posters in new locations, in order to get the message out more effectively.

We only had time to hang three large posters when, at about 4am, our car was pulled over by a GMU PD cruiser with flashing lights. As we found out later, they already had a description of our rental KIA Optima. Officer M.J. Guston and his female partner, Officer Daniels, requested to see our drivers' licenses, which they took away. Then they inquired if we had any weapons and proceeded with the visual search, noticing our bucket with mixed wheat paste and some rolled posters on the back seat, covered with towels.

The police officers took pictures of the contents of our car and retrieved some of the loose fliers from the floor as evidence. They claimed that since we were covering the posters and flyers with towels, we intended to conceal our wrongdoing. We explained that the towels were needed to wipe our hands, to prevent the bucket from spilling, and to stop the papers from rolling around the car, which was the honest truth.

The officers said we had been photographed while attaching the flyers, but never showed us the actual pictures. They ordered us to give them our car key and to step out of the car. Then we were told to put our hands behind our backs and to spread our legs.  Officer Guston then held my thumbs behind my back with his left hand, while his right hand gave me a complete and very thorough pat-down and searched the content of my pockets. He repeated the same procedure with my friend, repeatedly asking us if we had any kind of weapons on us or in the car.

My friend and I tried to be as friendly and cooperative as the situation allowed, but that had no effect. We were ordered to sit on the curb, as Officer Daniels told us that the content of our posters was violent and disturbing to some students, especially the one with the Hamas terrorist standing in pools of blood over his dead victims. Such interpretation flipped our message on its head entirely, turning it from sympathy for the victims of violence into a threat of violence.

It dawned on me that the reason they kept searching us and asking about weapons was that they were convinced we were members of some violent militant group of "domestic terrorists" who meant to do harm to the students - a stereotype largely created by the "progressive" media and unscrupulous politicians. And now we, defenseless artists, armed with nothing but brushes and paper, became victims of this manipulative mythology, which caused the police to treat us with extreme prejudice. At the same time, the officers who handled us as if we were terrorists, seemed to be blissfully unaware of the true nature of the SJP they were defending, and their organization's very real ties to a known terrorist organization with a record of mass murder, kidnappings, and targeting innocent civilians.

Since they couldn't find any weapons and our message was protected by the First Amendment, the officers decided to charge us with "destruction of property worth of at least $2,500," which was a "class 6 felony." They claimed we had "super-glued" our fliers to school signs and it was impossible to peel them off.

It didn't matter that we never used permanent glue, or that there could be other volunteers on campus who posted the stickers they could have downloaded online. Our wallpaper paste was made of wheat and water; we only used it on three large posters, which could be easily removed with water and would be washed off by the first rain. The rest were stickers, printed on regular self-adhesive paper found in any office store. They, too, could be easily removed with a tissue soaked in Goo Gone, a common household cleaner found in any dollar store. We even offered to remove any posters and stickers for them, then catch our flights in the morning and never bother them again. But the officers weren't interested in that. They seemed to have a rather inflexible phantom image of us as dangerous felons and "right-wing extremists" who belonged in jail.

A phone call that Officer Guston made inside his cruiser seemed to reinforce their determination. Stepping out into the street, he ordered us to put our hands behind our backs and then handcuffed us so tightly that our bruises were painful to the touch even on the following day. Then he emptied our pockets, took away my hat, and placed everything in two plastic bags.

We were then taken to the back of his police car. Officer Guston never read us our rights; he simply declared that we were under arrest for committing felony and were going to jail. The partitioned space in the back of his police cruiser was extremely narrow, which forced my friend and I to contort our bodies in order to avoid additional pain from leaning on our tightly handcuffed hands behind our backs.

The full, politically correct name of the county jail was Fairfax County Adult Detention Center, but the jailers inside continued to refer to it as "jail." We were put before a magistrate named W. Talavera. Officer Guston repeated his trumped-up charges about the destruction of property, supporting them with a dozen computer printouts. They were daytime photographs of our stickers posted around the campus. The officer put extra emphasis on pictures that documented his unsuccessful attempts to remove the stickers with his fingernails, which in his mind was undeniable proof that the paper was "super-glued" and thus anything to which it was attached was irreparably destroyed.

Some of his printouts were almost completely black night shots, looking like screen captures of security camera footage. Allegedly, they had our car in them. That was probably what he meant when he claimed that we had been "photographed."

When we were given our chance to speak, we explained our motives and our mission, which was to help stop campus support for terrorism and anti-Semitism. The magistrate asked how we would feel if someone would come to our house and post stickers everywhere. My first impulse was to say that if I were unwittingly giving aid and comfort to terrorist supporters and someone would point it out to me in such a memorable way, then yes, I would probably be annoyed at first, but in the long run, as an honest person, I would most likely be grateful for opening my eyes to my bad judgment. But considering that such an answer would further antagonize the magistrate, I only said that we would never destroy anything, or do anything we thought was a felony. I repeated that the stickers were easily removable, which was why no destruction of property had occurred. I also volunteered to prove it by removing any remaining stickers myself, whether they had been posted by us or by others.

The magistrate's decision was quick:  $8,000 bail for each of us and a mandatory court hearing within several days. As we were led away to be processed into the system, Officer Guston said, somewhat triumphantly, his final words to us: "You can't come to GMU ever again."

We were then fingerprinted and searched again. We were only allowed to keep one shirt, one pair of pants, and no shoes. The next 14 hours we spent locked up in a smelly room with about a dozen other inmates, most of whom were sleeping on the floor. As hours went by and everyone woke up, it appeared that many of them were brought there for public intoxication, and one of them claimed that the police asked him to step out of the bar into the street, and then charged him with being drunk in a public space. Everything pointed to the fact that the Fairfax police department could be somewhat overzealous in trying to justify its existence in a wealthy Washington, DC, suburb largely populated by federal employees and other professionals feeding off the plentiful government trough.

The room had an old-fashioned telephone on the wall, programmed to tell time and make collect calls. I had to enter my inmate number and calling pin, which I found written on a yellow piece of paper above my mug shot. Luckily, I'm blessed with a very supportive wife who set up a pre-paid account for my calls and was extremely helpful in communicating messages between me and the Horowitz Freedom Center throughout the entire day, even though she was at work. When it became clear that, for one reason or another, the Freedom Center bail was never entered into the system and we could easily spend the next night in a jail cell, she contacted the local office of the Freedom Bail Bond Company and paid them 10% of the $16,000 bail for the both of us. We were released shortly after 6pm, 14 hours after being arrested.

The troubles didn't end there. Our rental car had been impounded with our personal belongings inside, but the police gave us no receipt. The jailer who discharged us lied to us when he said we would find the receipt inside the plastic bag with our belongings, for which we signed, but which we weren't allowed to open until we were outside. Luckily for us, a sympathetic Freedom Bail Bond employee made the necessary research and then even gave us a ride to the car pound.

The car had been rented from Advantage. Our rental term hadn't even expired and we imagined we could pay the towing and other fees, pick up the car, extend the term by one day, and return it at the airport in the morning. But according to the existing rules, we had no right to retrieve either the car or our personal things until an Advantage employee arrived in person. Given that it was already Friday night, and they don't do this on weekends, we had to wait until the middle of the following week because they allegedly had a list of other such cases and ours had to wait. This, of course, would lead to continued lot charges, thus taking advantage of our misfortune to the tune of $800 - a practice that gives the car rental company a completely different meaning. Upon hearing our story, however, the towing company workers allowed us to pick up our things from the car. The unused posters and flyers, and even the bucket with paste were still there, covered with hotel towels. We threw all of it into the dumpster, picked up our bags, and called Uber for a ride to our hotel.

Since we had booked our room only until 11am that morning, it was already rented to someone else. My helpful wife had called the hotel earlier, and they placed our things into boxes for safekeeping in the office. We were able to rent another room in the same hotel that night, but had to use Uber drivers for the rest of our stay in Fairfax.

Needless to say, we also missed our flights home, and booking new tickets resulted in new expenses.

Our posters contained a hashtag, #StopCampusSupport4Terrorism. The just and moral choice here is clear to any decent human being. But when political correctness comes into play, morality becomes blurry and justice switches the polarity. As a result, terrorist supporters ended up having a safe space and vigorous protection, while their non-violent opponents were subjected to brutal force, thrown in jail, and were robbed blind by the system.

George Orwell once said, "If you want a vision of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face - forever." That is what the future of America also will look like if progressivism and political correctness continue to expand their grip on every sphere of life.

Virginia governor Terry McAuliffe, a close associate of the Clintons, is unlikely to take any action against the obvious abuses taking place at GMU.  So it falls to the criminal justice system and tort bar to remedy the obvious injustice.

Original report here

Thursday, November 17, 2016

For specialists, the poor’s legal cases can be cash cows

There’s little dispute that public defenders in Massachusetts are overworked and underpaid. They carry heavy caseloads, yet their $45,000 starting salaries are among the lowest in the country.

Private lawyers who do public defense work face a similar plight: Until recently, many of them were waiting to be compensated for last year’s bills after the state ran out of money to pay them.

For one group of people, however, working on these legal cases can be a cash cow.

Some private-practice psychiatrists and psychologists are being paid several hundred thousand dollars a year by the state’s public defender agency, the Committee for Public Counsel Services, to provide expert opinions and trial testimony. Many of them also hold down other jobs.

The agency’s spending on mental health experts has risen 44 percent since 2011, to $6 million last year, even though its annual budget grew just under 9 percent during that time. In certain types of cases, CPCS spending on experts has increased between 55 and 60 percent.

At least six mental health professionals earned more than $1 million each from CPCS over a seven-year period, and one of them made that amount in just four years, according to state payroll data. One Harvard Medical School psychiatrist made $452,000 from CPCS in a single year.

To critics, this amounts to a lucrative, taxpayer-funded system in which private-sector mental health professionals collect handsome government paychecks while public defenders are perpetually shortchanged.

“If we have limited budget resources and they’re paying their lawyers so little, I don’t see why they’re paying private psychiatrists nearly a half-million dollars,” said Lynn attorney Thomas Schiavoni, who specializes in mental health law and frequently handles cases opposite public defenders. “It’s like a spigot has been turned on, and the process is being misused and abused.”

The director of CPCS’s mental health litigation unit, Mark Larsen, acknowledged that some psychiatrists and psychologists are “making a good living out of” public defense cases. But he defended the expense, saying CPCS pays them below-market rates and requires their services to adequately represent its clients.

“I find it quite surprising that someone would think what we are paying for someone’s defense is exorbitant,” Larsen said. “What do the critics want us to do that doesn’t deprive our clients of their constitutional and statutory rights?”

Detractors argue that CPCS could save money by putting psychiatrists and psychologists on staff, but the agency said it doubts that would result in cost savings after factoring in benefits and overhead. It also said experts would not be considered independent if they were employed by the state.

Public defenders can request that their clients be evaluated by so-called independent medical evaluators. The private psychiatrists and psychologists who provide those evaluations, as well as expert trial testimony, are paid an hourly rate by CPCS: $150 to $225 an hour for psychiatrists, and $100 to $180 an hour for psychologists.

Among the highest-paid, according to a Globe review of state payroll data: Fabian M. Saleh, a psychiatry professor at Harvard Medical School who made $452,445 from CPCS in 2013; Mark N. Rudolph, a Middleboro psychiatrist who has earned about $300,000 annually from CPCS over the past four years; and Leonard A. Bard, a Needham psychologist who has taken home around $230,000 a year from CPCS since 2010.

Saleh, who also runs a private practice in Cambridge, did not respond to requests for comment. His 2013 earnings from CPCS would be the equivalent of between 1,900 and 3,000 hours of work.

Reached by the Globe, Rudolph, who also has a part-time clinical practice at McLean Hospital in Belmont, estimated he works 30 to 35 hours weekly for CPCS.

“CPCS attorneys have a really hard job, and I do believe they should be paid more,” he said.

Bard agreed to a telephone interview, but then e-mailed to say he had changed his mind because “it has been my policy in the past ten years not to speak with the media about my work.”

Beginning this summer, following an internal audit, CPCS capped the maximum amount of time an expert can bill annually at 1,650 hours because, according to Larsen, there was “a desire to limit how much CPCS was paying to any one individual.” Even with that restriction, mental health experts could make hundreds of thousands of dollars a year.

Over the past month, the Globe has repeatedly asked CPCS for numbers showing how much it spends on mental health experts. The agency has frequently been slow in its replies, blaming the delays on voluminous billing data. It has also struggled to provide certain figures and sometimes provided conflicting numbers.

To Schiavoni, that shows a lack of financial accountability by CPCS, which has an annual budget of $214 million.

“Nobody’s keeping honest-to-goodness data, statistics, metrics on this kind of stuff, and the very fact they can’t respond to you quickly” is evidence of that, he said. “And if they’re not keeping metrics like that, they’re not minding the resources properly.”

State law guarantees legal representation for people unable to afford an attorney in criminal cases, as well as in certain civil matters, such as when someone faces involuntary commitment to a mental hospital or involuntary treatment with antipsychotic drugs.

Some people are also entitled to public defenders in child welfare cases, and when prosecutors try to keep sex offenders jailed after completing their sentences on grounds that they remain dangerous.

CPCS experts are paid from a fund that covers expenses incurred while representing clients, from ballistics testing to blood analysis. Last year, that Indigent Court Costs fund paid out $18.7 million, roughly a third of which was spent on mental health professionals.

CPCS hires psychiatrists and psychologists from a list of about 100 willing to do hourly work for the state, as well as from hospitals and private group practices.

The highest-paid group practice appears to be Psychological Consulting Services in Salem, which has made $4 million from CPCS over the past seven years. One of the firm’s partners, Dr. Robert Joss, said it has 12 partners and associates, and its clients are mostly government agencies.

Numerous state agencies, including the trial courts, Department of Children and Families, and Executive Office of Health and Human Services, hire private mental health experts. But the gulf between how much CPCS pays its lawyers and experts is particularly stark, and CPCS has been criticized for pay disparities before.

About five years ago, frustrated that private attorneys paid hourly by CPCS were often earning more than CPCS staff attorneys, Governor Deval Patrick pushed for several hundred new public defenders to be hired. Whether that was ultimately a cost-saving move remains unclear after factoring in overhead costs.

Prosecutors also hire psychiatrists and psychologists, and pay them at a rate that usually does not exceed $400 an hour, according to the Suffolk district attorney’s office. But prosecutors spend less on mental health experts than public defenders do: $750,000 last year by the state’s 11 DA offices combined, according to a Globe tally.

That’s partly because prosecutors don’t have the civil caseload public defenders do, and partly because prosecutors have access to resources public defenders don’t, such as the state crime lab and prison clinicians.

CPCS argues it has little control over its workload and related costs because it must take on whatever cases come through the door.

Last year the agency handled 281,000 cases, divvied among 485 salaried staff attorneys and 2,850 private attorneys paid $50-$100/hour. The attorneys’ compensation is regulated by statute.

According to Jack Cinquegrana, a partner at the Boston law firm Choate who serves as chairman of CPCS, the agency’s growth in spending on psychologists and psychiatrists — from $4.2 million in 2011 to more than $6 million in the most recent fiscal year — is largely driven by two types of cases: those involving mental health and child welfare. In both, spending on medical experts has jumped nearly 60 percent over the last six years.

In child welfare cases, public defenders sometimes represent families when the state tries to remove children from their homes due to claims of neglect or abuse. Cinquegrana said CPCS’s child welfare caseload is growing because the Department of Children and Families has become more aggressive due to several highly publicized child deaths. The opioid crisis is also believed to be increasing DCF’s caseload.

In mental health cases, public defenders often get involved when someone is experiencing a psychiatric crisis and a doctor recommends the person be hospitalized or medicated against his or her will. In these so-called civil commitment cases, the patient is entitled to a public defender because the court system presumes that anyone in that circumstance is indigent (although the public defender can be revoked if the patient is later found not to be).

The number of medical evaluations that CPCS pays for in mental health cases appears to be another cost driver. These are basically second opinions, and they’ve grown sharply: up 60 percent in recent years, from 1,105 in 2011 to 1,758 last year.

CPCS says it pays for evaluations in 20 and 30 percent of its civil commitment cases, but former state mental health commissioner Marcia Fowler, now CEO of Bournewood Health Systems, a Brookline psychiatric facility, said she has seen an “incredible increase” in requests for second opinions by CPCS and considers many of them unnecessary.

“What we’re seeing is this perfunctory and indiscriminate filing” of them, Fowler said. “There should absolutely be protections in place around imposing psychiatric medication on individuals, but when your clients are in acute psychotic distress and aren’t able to make competent decisions and they’re not receiving treatment, I really question” the value and expense of a second opinion.

CPCS strenuously disagrees. It argues that people at risk of being deprived of their civil liberties must have robust legal representation.

“People can be taken off the street by a police officer, taken to an emergency room, and detained there until they can find space for them in a psychiatric unit,” Larsen said. “If you’re the patient in that case, do you want to have your own expert examine you?”

Larsen also noted that a public defender who does not request a medical evaluation could be faulted later for providing an inadequate defense.

Newton psychologist Eric L. Brown has made $1.3 million since 2010 working for CPCS and acknowledges there are “inequities” in how the agency compensates experts like him versus its staff attorneys.

“I feel guilty about not so much how much money I make, but that they’re so underpaid,” Brown said. “I think it’s grossly unfair.”

Original report here

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Judge orders Making A Murderer 'accomplice' Brendan Dassey released after 10 years in prison

A federal judge on Monday ordered Making a Murderer’s Brendan Dassey released from prison.

The Wisconsin man, now 27, was serving a life sentence for the 2005 murder and sexual assault of Teresa Halbach after confessing as a sixteen-year-old.

In August, U.S. Magistrate Judge William Duffin ruled that police tricked the intellectually disabled teenager into describing how he supposedly helped rape, stab, shoot and dismember Halbach on his uncle Steven Avery’s orders.

And he has now ordered Dassey be released while prosecutors appeal that ruling.

Dassey has until noon Tuesday to provide the address of where he plans to live and his lawyer said he hopes to have him out by Thanksgiving.

But hours after the decision to release Dassey, the Wisconsin Attorney General said he would file an emergency motion to block Dassey's release.

Dassey's supposed confession to the murder of Theresa Halbach was one of the most shocking moments of the December 2015 documentary Making a Murderer.

Halbach was killed on Halloween 2005, after she visited the Avery family's salvage yard in Manitowoc County. Investigators allege Avery lured her there by asking her to take photos of a minivan.

Viewers saw police officers apparently coerce Dassey - the teenager with an IQ of 70 - into confessing to the murder of Halbach along with his uncle Steven Avery.

The documentary also heavily suggested that Avery was framed for the murder by police officers with a grudge.

In freeing Dassey, Magistrate Judge William Duffin held that investigators made specific promises of leniency to Dassey and that no 'fair-minded jurists could disagree.'

He cited one investigator's comment early in the interview that 'you don't have to worry about things,' plus repeated comments like 'it's OK' and that they already knew what happened.

Dassey was memorably shown complaining in the documentary that he would miss Wrestlemania after his confession.

Dassey was sentenced to life in prison in 2007 after his arrest in March 2016. Court documents describe him as a slow learner who had poor grades and has difficulty understanding language and speaking. Avery was convicted in a separate trial and was also sentenced to life in prison. He's pursuing his own appeal.

Dassey has been in jail since March 2006. He's pictured above being led to the Manitowoc County Courthouse on April 16, 2007

Dassey's Attorney Steve Drizin, would not say where Dassey plans to live and said he had not spoken yet with Dassey.

'That's what I'm focused on right now, getting him home, getting him with his family and then helping him to re-integrate back into society while his appeal plays out,' Drizin said.

Dassey's brother Brad also issued a statement, saying, according to 'My brother is one step closer to the freedom he DESREVES! My heart is pumping beyond belief and I'm extremely ecstatic to hear he'll finally get a taste of freedom until things are completely resolved. Despite what people say, I love and care about my brother, Brendan. I always have and always will.'

Dassey will also be barred from obtaining firearms or controlled substances and has been ordered not to have contact with Halbach's family, or Avery.

Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel said in a statement Monday that he will file that motion with the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. A federal judge ordered Dassey released while prosecutors appeal a ruling that overturned Dassey's conviction in the 2005 slaying of photographer Teresa Halbach.

U.S. Magistrate Judge William Duffin ruled in August that investigators tricked Dassey into confessing he helped Avery with the crime. The state has appealed that ruling.

Avery's lawyer Kathleen Zellner had earlier tweeted that Dassey would be released today, but then deleted it.

Original report here

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

An innocent man ruined by the London police

Embattled Metropolitan Police commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe is due to meet former Tory MP Harvey Proctor tomorrow.

Proctor was wrongly accused of child rape and murder in the Westminster VIP paedophile ring inquiry, and Hogan-Howe is finally making a long overdue apology in person.

After 15 police officers raided his cottage last year on the Duke of Rutland’s estate at Belvoir Castle in Leicestershire, Proctor lost his position as the duke’s private secretary as well as the grace-and-favour cottage that went with it.

The officers’ only evidence was spurious claims from a witness called ‘Nick’, who has been exposed as a fantasist and is now facing calls to be prosecuted.

‘I lost my job and my home,’ Proctor told me yesterday. ‘It has been devastating, and unrepairable. I have received death threats and am destitute. I have no money.’

He has been relying on friends, first staying with some in Spain and now living with others in Britain. An appeal has been set up on a JustGiving page by his friends in the Tory Party.

‘If there were any justice, the Metropolitan Police ought to be paying compensation for the trauma they have put this innocent man through. Hopefully, they will. But until they do, it’s up to others to help Harvey through some very difficult months,’ reads a statement on the appeal’s page.

Hogan-Howe, who is quitting next February, seven months early, should hang his head in shame.

Original report here

Monday, November 14, 2016

Australia: Excessive force systemic at Ballarat

Ballarat police who stripped a drunk, off-duty officer half naked while she was in custody and kicked and stomped on the vulnerable woman could be charged over the incident.

The January 2015 matter was been directed to the Director of Public Prosecutions after Victoria's anti-corruption watchdog found it was just one example of excessive force at the Ballarat station outlined in a report tabled in state parliament on Thursday.

IBAC commissioner Stephen O'Bryan QC made four recommendations, including human rights training for officers.

He also suggested the government should consider decriminalising public drunkenness, bringing it into line with every state but Queensland.

Both the government and Victoria Police have baulked at the prospect of decriminalising public drunkenness, saying the laws are there to protect the community and the drunk person themselves.

But acting deputy commissioner Luke Cornelius said Victoria Police would accept the four recommendations and were waiting on the DPP to decide whether charges should be laid.

"It is clear to us that our high standards and expectations in treating citizens with dignity and respect certainly fell short," Mr Cornelius told reporters.

The inquiry was launched after IBAC received CCTV footage from Victoria Police showing the 51-year-old woman being kicked, dragged, stripped and stomped on in police cells.

The officers involved did not know at the time that the woman, who had been arrested for public drunkenness, was a serving police officer on leave for medical reasons.

The woman at the centre of an investigation into shocking police brutality allegations is planning to sue the force. © Ten News The woman at the centre of an investigation into shocking police brutality allegations is planning to sue the force. At IBAC hearings in Ballarat in May, one of the officers involved denied kicking the drunk woman and insisted she only "touched" her with her foot to calm her down and another said the struggle ensued when the woman tried to escape the cell.

All officers involved have returned to work on reduced workloads.

The inquiry also investigated three other complaints of excessive use of force at Ballarat by one officer who later received a promotion to the rank of sergeant.

The officer dragged a woman into an interview room in 2010 and held two women in a choke hold when they refused to leave the station in 2009 - actions which he later admitted to IBAC were "entirely inappropriate".

The public hearings were told Ballarat station attracted more than three times the average number of assault complaints against officers.

Police Minister Lisa Neville said a line had definitely been crossed at Ballarat.

"There is no room in Victoria Police for these sorts of behaviours," she said.

Original report here

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Australian police officer who pulled gun on couple in outback awaits magistrate's ruling

A Brisbane magistrate has reserved his decision in the case of a police officer who pulled a gun on a couple for speeding along an outback Queensland highway in May last year.

Senior Constable Stephen Flanagan was charged with assault and deprivation of liberty after the couple lodged a complaint over the ordeal.

Flanagan's own dash-cam recorded most of the incident, where he is seen honking at the driver, before getting out of the car and pointing his pistol while swearing at the couple.

He is then filmed handcuffing the driver on the side of the highway, before issuing him with a speeding ticket.

The summary trial began yesterday and heard from three witnesses including Flanagan, driver Lee Povey and his partner Anna Lisa Cruse.

'Put you ******* hands in the air'

Mr Povey told the court he was confused at why a police car was following him without any lights and sirens.

He said when he eventually pulled over, he saw the police officer walking towards his vehicle window pointing a pistol and swearing.

"First up, he said, 'Put your ******* hands up in the air,'" Mr Povey said.

Mr Povey said he could feel the gun being pushed into his back while he was being handcuffed outside the car, a claim Flanagan told the court was unlikely.

Several videos of the incident were tendered to the court, including Flanagan's dash-cam and a recording Ms Cruse made on her smartphone.

Officer not a rogue lunatic: defence

In his final submissions, Flanagan's defence lawyer Stephen Zillman said the officer thought the car was stolen and the driver may have had a firearm, so he acted quickly.

"From what we've seen and heard on video, it's clear, he was very, very, highly stressed," he said. "It's not the case of some rogue lunatic police officer simply pulling pistols out, pulling them at someone who's been speeding."

The matter has been adjourned until December 7 and Flanagan's bail has been extended.

Original report here

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Hostility to the police bears fruit

As killings surge, Chicago police solve fewer homicides

After April Campbell’s 16-year-old son was shot to death in May about four blocks from their home, she took it upon herself to help police find the killer.

Campbell, 49, disabled with a spinal injury, grabbed her walker and went door to door on the city’s South Side trying to piece together a motive and gather evidence.

She found witnesses and urged them to talk to police. She collected Facebook posts by people who seemed to claim credit for his killing. She tracked down a shop owner who had a security camera that might have recorded her son’s killer.

Campbell shared what she had found with detectives and then began calling to see whether they had followed up on the leads.

“I called back, no answer. I called back, he’s on vacation. I called back, he wasn’t in. I called back, he’s out in the field,” Campbell said. “It’s just, nothing. Nothing, you know?”

 Rosemary Palmer-Gant, holding a photo of her son, William Tristen Palmer, near where he was fatally shot, says she turned over information about his alleged killer to Chicago police, but the case remains unsolved. (Joshua Lott/For the Washington Post)
The death of Campbell’s only son, Randall Young, is part of Chicago’s growing body count of unsolved homicides. The city is on pace to have one of its deadliest years in two decades, and some residents blame police for perpetuating the violence by leaving killers on the streets.

Last year, Chicago police cleared homicides at one-third the rate they did 25 years ago — a time when they faced twice as many killings, according to a Washington Post analysis of police data obtained through a public records request.

The department has gone from having one of the best clearance rates nationwide to one of the worst.

In Chicago, police consider a homicide cleared for one of two reasons: a suspect has been charged, or the killer has been identified but cannot be prosecuted, which includes cases­­ in which the suspect is dead or witnesses refuse to cooperate.

In 1991, Chicago police solved about 80 percent of all homicides in the city, compared with about 62 percent by police nationwide, according to data from the FBI and Chicago police. Since then, the national rate has remained fairly constant, but Chicago’s dropped below 26 percent last year, the worst clearance rate for police in any large city in the country, The Post analysis shows.

“Everything has just gone south in Chicago,” said Thomas Hargrove, founder of the Murder Accountability Project, a ­Washington-based nonprofit group that tracks unsolved homicides nationwide. “Everything has hit Chicago harder. Their murder rate is higher than other cities, and their failure to solve those murders is much worse.”

In the past 25 years, there have been more than 16,000 people killed in Chicago, reinforcing the city’s reputation as one of the nation’s most violent. In 1991, amid the scourge of crack cocaine, police logged 929 homicides and reported clearing 741 of those cases.

After peaking in the early 1990s, homicides in Chicago fell steadily each year for the next decade, and during much of the 2000s, the city saw fewer than 500 homicides a year. But the past two years have seen a surge in killings. As of Wednesday, 626 people had been killed this year in Chicago.

With each passing year, more killings have gone unsolved. As of August, Chicago police had cleared just 1 in 5 of the city’s homicides in 2016, The Post analysis shows. If homicide clearances continue their current downward trend, Chicago detectives would be solving just 1 in 10 killings citywide by 2023.

Chicago police and city officials did not dispute The Post’s findings.

But they said multiple factors explain the decline — noting, in particular, that the vast majority of the city’s homicides are gang- or drug-related, the types of killings in which witnesses may be reluctant to come forward. In the past, top department officials have publicly blamed the problem on a “no snitch” street code, saying that many residents refuse to cooperate with investigators.

Police officials also said advances in technology — such as DNA evidence and the proliferation of video recording — have forced detectives to meet a higher burden of proof before prosecutors will file criminal charges.

“Over the last 25 years, the nature of closing cases has certainly changed,” Chicago police spokesman Frank Giancamilli said in an email to The Post about the challenges that police face in solving homicides. He said, for example, that the increased use of guns to commit homicides has reduced physical evidence.

“This is all in addition to the reluctance of some witnesses and victims to provide information to detectives for fear of being identified,” he said.

In response to the upswing in violence, Mayor Rahm Emanuel has pledged to hire 1,000 police officers, including 200 detectives, in the next two years.


Crucial to solving homicides is community trust, said city officials and national policing experts.

But the Chicago Police Department, the second-largest municipal police force in the nation, with about 12,000 officers, has been roiled by corruption and scandal, including allegations of brutality against blacks and the 2010 conviction of a former police commander who led a torture ring over three decades. The disgraced commander, Jon Burge, was convicted of obstruction of justice and other crimes for denying in a civil lawsuit that he and detectives under his command burned, suffocated and used electrical current on more than 100 black men to compel their confessions, some of which later proved to be false.

The department has experienced frequent turnover in leadership: Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson is the city’s sixth top cop in the past 25 years. His predecessor resigned amid a national uproar following the release of a dash-cam video of the 2014 police-involved killing of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald, who was holding a knife when he was shot 16 times by an officer.

The McDonald shooting — and the video’s release a year later — prompted renewed scrutiny of the Chicago Police Department and led the Justice Department to launch an investigation into whether city police have a pattern of civil rights violations.

“We will not succeed at turning back the rising tide of violence without changing and rebuilding critical relationships with residents, and especially with communities of color,” Emanuel said in a September speech on gun violence at the city’s Malcolm X College.

April Campbell’s son was killed in one of those communities, West Englewood, site of more than 650 homicides since 1991. The city is divided into 77 community areas, and of those, West Englewood is among the deadliest.

Police declined to discuss the killing of Campbell’s son or other open cases. “We don’t comment on open investigations and are actively pursuing leads,” Giancamilli said.

In the past 25 years, West Englewood has had the biggest drop in the percentage of homicides solved among the community areas that had at least 10 killings.

In 1991, West Englewood had 43 homicides, of which 40 were solved, according to The Post’s analysis. Of the 24 killings in West Englewood as of August, just two have been cleared.

“What happened to police work?” Campbell said, exasperated. “What happened to investigation?”

The three-square-mile, predominantly black community is home to about 35,000 residents. It’s a mix of modest single-family homes. The businesses are mostly off-brand grocery stores bookended by cellphone shops, beauty supply stores, currency exchanges and fast-food restaurants. The median income is a little more than half the national average.

A drive down a stretch of street named for Emmett Till takes one past hand-painted wooden signs affixed to trees: “NSA, No Shooting Allowed,” “My Day is Complete, I Heard a Child Laugh” and “No Shooting Zone.”

Many contend that the growing ledger of unsolved homicides here and across the city leaves killers free to commit more violence and leads to a feeling of general futility.

“It’s a cyclical tsunami, all stemming from, I think, a systemic disregard and disrespect for constituents that police take a pledge to serve and protect,” said state Sen. Jacqueline Y. Collins, whose district includes West Englewood.

Collins said there is a “lack of commitment and follow-up” by homicide detectives that is exacerbated by a lack of trust between the predominantly white police force and black residents in the highly segregated city. “Many of the homicides, if they go unsolved, perpetuate the violence because that individual will continue to prey on the community,” she said.

Amid the spike in homicides, some city officials and academics have suggested that officers have pulled back from policing for fear of public scrutiny.

“They don’t want to be a news story themselves . . . and it’s having an impact,” Emanuel told U.S. Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch at a meeting in Washington last year. The mayor told Lynch that officers had become “fetal.”

One critical step for police would be to hire more black and Hispanic detectives, said residents and local leaders in West Englewood.

“People like to see people who look like them. And they feel comfortable [with] people who look like them,” said Chicago Alderman David Moore, who lives in West Englewood. Moore noted that two-thirds of city residents are black or Latino but that most of the homicide detectives are white.

“Until we increase the number of African American detectives, this is going to continue to be an issue,” Moore said.

Police said that in recent months they have ramped up efforts to hire minorities and to better reflect the city’s racial composition.


As police brass vow to put more officers into the city’s most violent neighborhoods, police union officials said staffing levels and decisions by police leadership about deployment are among the reasons the department isn’t solving more homicides.

From the early 1990s through about 2003, the department had upward of 1,400 detectives; as of August, there were 868, said Dean C. Angelo Sr., president of the department’s largest union, which includes all detectives.

The department lost some detectives through a buyout — which began about six years ago and is being offered through June 2017 — that incentivized early retirement for health benefits.

The detectives who remained were overwhelmed, Angelo said, and some new ones lacked experience.

“Going into investigations after seven weeks of 40 hours’ worth of training at the academy, you don’t go upstairs to the detectives’ division and start working murders” as the lead or lone investigator, Angelo said. “It doesn’t work that way.”

In addition, the department in the mid-1990s moved its gang-crime specialists out of many of the South Side neighborhoods, weakening police intelligence and the relationship with residents, Angelo said. In the past, detectives would provide gang-crime specialists with information about the identities of alleged killers and would accompany detectives on interviews with the suspects, Angelo said.

To compensate for the gaps in intelligence, residents say some homicide detectives have pushed victims’ families to gather evidence and provide investigators with leads. Angelo did not dispute this.

Rosemary Palmer-Gant, 59, said detectives urged her to help find her 32-year-old son’s killer.

In June, William Tristen Palmer was found dead in the passenger side of a car near the family’s West Englewood home, shot multiple times.

“When my baby was murdered, I received phone calls from several people because we started getting information right away about who the killer was,” she said. Palmer-Gant said she and family friends turned over what she had to investigators, including links to the Facebook profile of the alleged killer.

“She was following up on every lead,” Palmer-Gant said of the detective. Then, she said, that detective was reassigned. The new investigators told her that they needed more information.

“They said, ‘Why don’t you go get one of the witnesses?’ ” ­Palmer-Gant recalls. She said she was stunned and told them: “You want me to go and knock on the door of the person who’s supposed to have something to do with my son’s murder?”

His killing remains unsolved.

Residents say, and police acknowledge, that some high-profile cases, such as the recent killing of Nykea Aldridge, the cousin of Chicago Bulls star Dwyane Wade, receive more police attention and are more likely to be solved.

“It’s in the big-money part of the city. It’s someone with a name, or someone with a connection, and it’s the headline,” Angelo said of “heater cases,” or high-profile homicides. “And that moves manpower.”

Within two days of Aldridge’s slaying, which drew national media coverage, two suspects had been arrested and charged.

Several West Englewood residents said in interviews that people often know who committed less-prominent killings.

Some residents said the “no snitch” rule that police blame for unsolved homicides applies to gang members and not to most people in the community. But they said witnesses fear cooperating with police — even anonymously — because detectives can’t assure them that they will be protected, especially if they must face the accused in court.

“People are afraid because not all of the police, [but] some of them, say you’ll be protected. But then, you open your mouth and your house get shot up,” said Clarence Franklin, 31, a former gang member and now a youth advocate for the nonprofit I Grow Chicago who has lived in West Englewood since 1996. “Snitches get stitches.”

Kenneth Johnson is the new police commander in the district that includes West Englewood. One month into the job, he said that adding officers will help but that one of the critical problems is rebuilding trust with the community. He recently sat down for dinner to discuss concerns with area residents at the Peace House, a once-abandoned home in West Englewood that is now a community center.

“I believe we had a stronger relationship with the community. And I think that has to be fostered and reestablished in order to solve crimes,” Johnson said as he arrived for the dinner in October. “We can’t do our jobs, we can’t solve crimes, clear crimes without the cooperation of the public.”

Original report here

Friday, November 11, 2016

Now put VIP abuse 'fantasist' in the dock

As damning report blasts gullible police's 43 blunders in their Operation Midland inquiry, accused ex-MP calls for 'victim' who sparked it to be prosecuted

The suspected fantasist who triggered Scotland Yard's disastrous VIP child sex abuse inquiry is facing prosecution.

Detectives are probing whether the man known only as 'Nick' should be charged with attempting to pervert the course of justice.

His baseless claims about sex abuse and murder involving an Establishment paedophile ring led to the Yard's bungled Operation Midland.

The £2.5million inquiry led to raids on the homes of D-Day veteran Lord Bramall, the late former home secretary Leon Brittan and ex-Tory MP Harvey Proctor.

Last night Mr Proctor, who was falsely accused of rape and murder, described Nick as a fantasist, adding: 'I have called for him to be prosecuted on a number of occasions and I do so again.'

Yesterday, a report by a retired High Court judge savaged the Metropolitan Police Service for giving credence to Nick's wild allegations.

Sir Richard Henriques identified no fewer than 43 separate blunders and said it was time for police to stop automatically believing the accounts of alleged victims.

Nick's baseless claims about sex abuse and murder involving an Establishment paedophile ring led to the Yard's bungled Operation Midland. The £2.5m inquiry led to raids on the homes of D-Day veteran Lord Bramall (left), the late ex-home secretary Leon Brittan and ex-Tory MP Harvey Proctor (right)

In a series of dramatic developments yesterday:

    Five Scotland Yard officers were referred to the police watchdog for potential breaches of professional standards;

    Met chief Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe issued a grovelling apology for the bungled inquiry – but escaped any personal blame for the failings;

    It emerged that the vast majority of the 400 complaints to wider inquiries lacked merit;

    One prison inmate made allegations against 40 people, including celebrities, and all were false;

    Scotland Yard faced claims of a cover-up after publishing only 84 pages of Sir Richard's report.

The existence of the inquiry into Nick was revealed following the publication of Sir Richard's report into the Midland fiasco yesterday.

The suspected fantasist had claimed that a string of politicians and military figures murdered three children and abused others at depraved sex parties.

The claims were initially described by senior officers as 'credible and true'. Nick, who could not be contacted last night, was also interviewed by the BBC.

Detectives are expected to interview him under caution and examine his computer, mobile phone records and his previous statements.

Last night Scotland Yard confirmed Northumbria Police was investigating an attempt to pervert the course of justice.

In a barely disguised attack on a now defunct investigative website called Exaro, Sir Richard's report highlighted how their journalists fatally undermined the police inquiry.

He said they drove Nick around London looking for 'scenes of abuse' and showed him photos of possible suspects.

The retired judge said this 'unwelcome intrusion' should spur policymakers to consider statutory regulation of investigative journalism.

'Had a prosecution resulted from the investigation, very considerable difficulty would have resulted in identification procedures sufficient to render convictions possible,' he said.

Daniel Janner QC, whose late father, the Labour peer Lord Greville Janner was falsely accused by Nick, said: 'I am pleased to hear that Nick is being investigated by the police for attempting to pervert the course of justice.'

Mr Proctor added: 'I hope the Home Office will look at these matters carefully and bring forward proposals to amend the current system where a complainant, even a fantasist and liar, can be given lifelong anonymity and financially benefit while the alleged suspect is routinely fingered and named by the police and in my case left destitute.'

Operation Midland began to unravel after the Daily Mail revealed in September last year that several detectives had 'grave doubts' about Nick's story and the inquiry.

A number of subsequent articles by this newspaper made further revelations about the shambolic investigation, which closed earlier this year without a single arrest.

Sir Bernard said he 'fully recognised' Lord Bramall, Lord Brittan and Mr Proctor were all innocent.

Sir Richard said their reputations had been 'shattered by the word of a single, uncorroborated complainant'.

Original report here

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Murky past of Australian cop Damian Goodfellow, and the criminal who went on to kill

A senior NSW police officer who played a key role in a botched drug case that resulted in a violent criminal being released to roam the streets has been convicted of assault, drink driving and has twice survived recommendations he be fired.

Despite an assault conviction for the drunken bashing of an off-duty colleague at a cricket international, then being arrested at gunpoint for fleeing a breath test and crashing a police car, Damian Goodfellow has climbed through the police ranks to become one of Sydney's most prominent crime managers.

A Fairfax Media probe has placed him at the heart of two recent significant investigations that resulted in a drug sting that left four police officers claiming they were wrongly persecuted, and the release of a criminal who was facing serious drugs charges:

    "As acting crime manager at Kings Cross local area command in 2011, Detective Inspector Goodfellow filed a report to the agency's Professional Standards Command that later resulted in a string of drug charges being inexplicably dropped against a violent criminal named Wayne Edward Jones. A year later, the Nomad Outlaw Motorcycle gang member, who was operating an illegal prostitution racket in Kings Cross, tortured and strangled to death a mother of four.

    As the current crime manager at Newtown, Inspector Goodfellow was one of three senior police from the station who, based on "strong supposition", recommended a "covert investigation" be launched against the only openly gay male officers within the command, targeting illicit drug use. After combing through their private lives for six months, the operation found no evidence of wrongdoing. The Anti-Discrimination Board of NSW has since "accepted for investigation" four individual complaints of employment-based "homosexuality discrimination" against the force"

In 1999, Inspector Goodfellow was one of two police personnel who were recommended be sacked after they repeatedly punched a third off-duty officer during a drunken brawl at a one-day cricket international at the SCG.

Magistrate Kevin Flack recorded convictions and fined each of the officers $400 plus $52 court costs.

The then police commissioner Peter Ryan gave Inspector Goodfellow a second chance.

But in 2002, he was convicted again, this time of drink driving, after an erratic attempt to skip a breath test resulted in him crashing an unmarked patrol car.

While Mr Ryan lost his patience and issued a dismissal notice, Inspector Goodfellow received another reprieve from incoming commissioner Ken Moroney who, 18 months earlier, had delivered a heart-warming speech at the detective's wedding to fellow officer Carlee Mahoney, the daughter of then assistant commissioner Reg Mahoney.

Police sources who spoke to Fairfax Media at the time expressed dismay that other officers, with no such ties, had been sacked for far less.

Mr Moroney responded by saying his confidence in any officer was relevant to them acknowledging their mistakes and their continued good behaviour.

"Leniency extended once is rarely extended twice," he said.

Inspector Goodfellow was in the headlines again 12 months later as was one of four off-duty officers who were hospitalised following a punch up inside a Kings Cross strip club.

While he was the least injured, Inspector Goodfellow had been knocked unconscious.

"There's no suggestion they made it known they were police officers," said former Kings Cross commander Dave Darcy, who added it was irrelevant they were from the force.

"It could just as well have been any group of young people who happened to be visiting a strip club."

While more than 10 years have passed since those personal indiscretions, Inspector Goodfellow is again under scrutiny after a Fairfax Media investigation published explosive revelations last week about a Kings Cross drug case, handled by him, that ended in controversy and tragedy.

After the drugs case was bungled, Senior Constable Glen Roberts faced charges relating to the professional standards report filed by Inspector Goodfellow (see below).

But in court, magistrate Graeme Curran tongue-lashed police, labelling the conduct as "quite unacceptable" and "quite inexcusable".

In dismissing the case against Senior Constable Roberts and awarding him costs, Mr Curran pointed to two "critical" pieces of evidence the agency had withheld from the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions and the defence that would have proved the officer's "truthfulness" from the start.

But equally as important, he cited the prosecution's "failure to obtain" any form of statement or evidence from Inspector Goodfellow. "It could have been of assistance to the prosecution ... it may easily have been of assistance to the defence," he said.

Fairfax Media requested an interview with Inspector Goodfellow and also forwarded him questions about the case. However, the NSW Police Force advised he was on scheduled annual leave. It provided the following statement:

"[Inspector Goodfellow] was not relieving as crime manager when the charges were recommended for withdrawal.

"The charges against Jones were properly and ethically withdrawn when the force found it could no longer rely upon the evidence upon which the [drug] charges were founded. It was alleged the original information provided by the main police witness [Roberts] was incorrect and that witness never produced a statement for use in court.

"The charges preferred against the former officer were supported by the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), and this matter was prosecuted by the DPP. Any questions concerning material contained within the brief are best referred to the DPP."
The botched drug bust that set free a criminal

In April 2011, Senior Constable Glen Roberts witnessed a drug exchange in Darlinghurst between a man, Wayne Jones, and one of three young women he had allegedly transported to Sydney from Newcastle and the Central Coast for prostitution.

Already on parole over a brutal bashing that left a woman disfigured, the drug charges served that night were enough to send Jones back to jail for several years. But a short time later, Inspector Goodfellow forwarded a "report" to the Professional Standards Command.

It's contents remain a mystery. However, it led to the PSC charging Senior Constable Roberts with having fabricated evidence and Jones being released from jail in October 2012.

A year later, Jones tortured, burned, bashed and strangled Central Coast mother of four Michelle Reynolds in a Coffs Harbour motel while high on ice.

When Senior Constable Roberts' own case finally came before Sydney's Downing Centre in 2013, the prosecution went all out to jail him.

Today, after being exonerated by Mr Curran, Senior Constable Roberts is no longer in the force and is haunted by "what might have been" had Jones' charges not been "wrongly withdrawn".
The secret police drug sting and the gay officers

In May last year, Inspector Goodfellow was the "resolution manager" who, with two senior colleagues at Newtown, escalated a complaint to the PSC, recommending a sting be launched against three serving gay officers and one of their long-term partners who used to work at the station, over suspicions they might be taking drugs.

The result was an eight-man strike force codenamed "Andro" that, six months later, had turned up "no evidence" of drug use or "related misconduct". The covert operation is estimated to have cost about $250,000 in wages alone.

Their lawyer has since written to police hierarchy, complaining about the "improper use of public resources" to "systematically target" the men because of their "sexual orientation".

Assistant Commissioner Mick Fuller replied, stating he was "satisfied" the investigations were "appropriate in the circumstances".

The initial response from Anti-Discrimination Board NSW suggests otherwise and it has "accepted for investigation" all four complaints of "homosexuality discrimination" against police.

Despite suppressed documents entitled "behavioural observations of subject officers", "analysis of subject officers' communications" and further material relating to bars "regularly visited", the force said on Saturday the investigation had "involved no covert surveillance as alleged".

It added the inquiry was "concluded before it was necessary" to interview any of the men who had been "exonerated of any wrongdoing." Only one of the officers remains in the force.
The life and crimes of a Sydney police officer

1995: As a probationary constable, Damian Goodfellow was forced to apologise to a motel owner after property was damaged and female guests harrassed during a police conferencing session.

1999: Bashes a fellow off-duty officer at the SCG while drunk, is convicted of common assault and fined $400. Receives notice requiring him to show cause why he should not lose his job. Then Commissioner Peter Ryan gives him a second chance.

2000: Marries the daughter of NSW Assistant Commissioner Reg Mahoney. Future Police Commissioner Ken Moroney is among the speech givers.

2002: An attempt to flee a breath test backfires when he crashes a police car while drunk and then gets arrested at gunpoint. Fined by the court. Loses his licence. Issued with a dismissal notice by Mr Ryan but gets another reprieve by incoming Commissioner Ken Moroney.

2003: Among four off-duty officers hospitalised after a violent, early hours brawl inside a Kings Cross strip club.

2007: Receives specialist promotion to senior sergeant at what was then Special Crime and Internal Affairs.

2009: Joins Kings Cross as Duty Officer.

2011: While Goodfellow stands in as acting crime manager at Kings Cross, one of the station's detectives, Glen Roberts, lays drug charges against local crime figure and Nomads bikie gang member Wayne Jones. After Goodfellow sends a report to the force's Professional Standards Command (PSC), they are dropped.

October 2012: Senior constable Roberts is charged by the force with having fabricated false evidence against Jones.

December 2012: Jones tortures, bashes and strangles to death Central Coast mother of four Michelle Reynolds.

2013: A magistrate dismisses the case against Roberts, awards him costs and slams police for failing to obtain evidence from Goodfellow and concealing, for two years, vital evidence from the DPP that verified the detective's "truthfulness".

2015: Goodfellow, now crime manager at Newtown, is one of three senior police who, based on "strong supposition", signed off on a joint decision to investigate four officers over illicit drug use. The men, who are gay, claim homophobia sparked the six month sting - which found no evidence of wrongdoing.

2016: The Sun-Herald reveals the chain of events that led to the murder of Michelle Reynolds.

Original report here